An Epistle to Mr. Southerne
Bold is the Muse to leave her humble Cell,
And sing to thee, who know'st to sing so well:
Thee! who to Britain still preserv'st the Crown,
And mak'st her rival Athens in Renown.
Cou'd Sophocles behold in mournful State,
The weeping Graces on Imoinda wait;
Or hear thy Isabella's moving Moan,
Distress'd and lost for Vices not her own;
If Envy cou'd permit, he'd sure agree
To write by Nature were to copy thee:
So full, so fair thy Images are shown,
He by thy Pencil might improve his own.
There was an Age, (its Memory will last!)
Before Italian Airs debauch'd our Taste;
In which the sable Muse with Hopes and Fears,
Fill'd every Breast, and ev'ry Eye with Tears.
But where's that Art, which all our Passions rais'd,
And mov'd the Springs of Nature as it pleas'd?
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