At times Melpomene forgets to groan,
And brisk Thalia takes a serious tone;130
Nor unregarded will the act pass by
Where angry Townly "lifts his voice on high."
Again, our Shakespeare limits verse to Kings,
When common prose will serve for common things;
And lively Hal resigns heroic ire,
To "hollaing Hotspur" and his sceptred sire.
'Tis not enough, ye Bards, with all your art,
To polish poems; they must touch the heart:
Where'er the scene be laid, whate'er the song,
Still let it bear the hearer's soul along;140
Command your audience or to smile or weep,
Whiche'er may please you—anything but sleep.
The Poet claims our tears; but, by his leave,
Before I shed them, let me see him grieve.
And men look angry in the proper place.
If banished Romeo feigned nor sigh nor tear,
Lulled by his languor, I could sleep or sneer.
Sad words, no doubt, become a serious face,
- [In Vanbrugh and Cibber's comedy of The Provoked Husband, first played at Drury Lane, January 10, 1728.]
And Harry Monmouth, till the scenes require,
Resigns heroics to his sceptred Sire.—[MS. L. (a).]
- "And in his ear I'll holla—Mortimer!" [1 Henry IV., act i. sc. 3.]
- To "hollaing Hotspur" and the sceptred sire.—[MS. Corr. in Proof b, British Museum.]
- Dull as an Opera, I should sleep or sneer.—[MS. M.]