« PreviousContinue »
Th’ impartial Destinies have now assign'd
And drown the Monitor they dread to hear. 1030
Farewell! then, Muse, who still hast urg'd mine ire
Tead but to write, and write but what ye read ;—
Ye servile Dramatists, who, hir'd to please,
As a final observation, I may be permitted to say a few words upon the motives which occasioned the publication of the foregoing Poem. However disinclined we may be to admit the fantastical alliance between Politics and Poetry, which a late Writer in the Edinburgh Review so positively inculcates, it cannot be denied that our national verse has undergone a visible and radical change since the glorious era, when “Marlbro’ conquered, and when Prior sung.” One Innovator has attempted to vary the pause, by the introduction of a mixed cadence, in which the subordinate word is sometimes invested with the emphasis which should properly belong to its principal, and has presumed to abridge the use of the article; a second, with all the pedantry of learning, would establish English dactylics and spondees; while others, with a nobler aim, reject the monotonous antithesis of Pope, while they unite his harmony to the vigor of thought and expression so admirable in his predecessor, Whether all these, acting separately or in conjunction, have produced any thing like a new standard of poetic taste, I leave Theorists to determine: the evils which extremes of innovation have occasioned, I trust are amply exposed in the preceding pages. To make those evils manifest, to strengthen precept by all the force of example, has been my ardent endeavour. Of the minor subjects, upon which, contrary to my original intention, I have been induced to expatiate, there can scarcely be a difference of opinion. Immorality and Infidelity will, even in these corrupt times, find but few defenders. For the lines from v. 491 to v. 568, and from v. 851 to v. 888, as well as the two notes with the initials I. B., I am indebted to a friend, to whom I embrace this opportunity of making my acknowledgments; and conclude with this assurance, that however weak may be my censures, and however misplaced my praises, the former have received no incitement from personal or venal malevolence, and the latter are spontaneous expressions of gratitude for corresponding feelings of intellectual gratification.