(John Dryden)

To Mr. Granville, on his excellent Tragedy, called Heroick Love

AUSPICIOUS Poet, wert thou not my Friend,
How could I envy, what I must commend!
But since tis Natures Law in Love and Wit,
That Youth shoud reign and with ring Age submit,
With less regret those Lawrels I resign,
Which dying on my Brows, revive on thine.
With better Grace an Ancient Chief may yield
The long contended Honours of the Field
Than venture all his Fortune at a Cast,
And fight, like Hannibal, to lose at last.
Young Princes Obstinate to win the Prize,
Thô Yearly beaten, Yearly yet they rise:
Old Monarchs though successful, still in Doubt,
Catch at a Peace; and wisely turn Devout.
Thine be the Lawrel then; thy blooming Age
Can best, if any can, support the Stage:
Which so declines, that shortly we may see
Players and Plays reducd to second Infancy:
Sharp to the World, but thoughtless of Renown,
They Plot not on the Stage, but on the Town,
And, in Despair their Empty Pit to fill.
Set up some Foreign Monster in a Bill:
Thus they jog on; still tricking, never thriving;
And Murdring Plays, which they miscal Reviving.
Our Sense is Nonsense, through their Pipes conveyd;
Scarce can a Poet know the Play He made,
Tis so disguisd in Death: nor thinks tis He
That suffers in the Mangled Tragedy.
Thus Itys first was killd, and after dressd
For his own Sire, the Chief Invited Guest.
I say not this of thy successful Scenes;
Where thine was all the Glory, theirs the Gains.
With length of Time, much Judgment, and more Toil,
Not ill they Acted, what they coud not spoil.
Their Setting Sun still shoots a Glimring Ray,
Like Ancient Rome, Majestick in Decay;
And better gleanings their worn Soil can boast,
Than the Crab-Vintage of the Neighbring Coast.
This difference yet the judging World will see;
Thou Copiest Homer, and they Copy thee.

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