[Page 34]

TO Sir GODFREY KNELLER, at his Country Seat.

1 TO Whitton's shades, and Hounslow's airy plain,
2 Thou, KNELLER, tak'st thy summer flights in vain,
3 In vain thy wish gives all thy rural hours
4 To the fair villa, and well-order'd bowers;
5 To court thy pencil early at thy gates,
6 Ambition knocks, and fleeting Beauty waits;
7 The boastful Muse, of others fame so sure,
8 Implores thy aid to make her own secure;
9 The great, the fair, and (if ought nobler be,
10 Ought more belov'd) the Arts solicit thee.
11 How can'st thou hope to fly the world, in vain
12 From Europe sever'd by the circling main:
13 Sought by the kings of every distant land,
14 And every heroe worthy of thy hand.
15 Hast thou forgot that mighty Bourbon fear'd
16 He still was mortal, till thy draught appear'd;
17 That Cosmo chose thy glowing form to place
18 Amidst her masters of the Lombard race?
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19 See on her Titian's and her Guido's urns,
20 Her failing arts, forlorn Hesperia mourns;
21 While Britain wins each garland from her brow,
22 Her wit and freedom first, her painting now.
23 Let the faint copier, on old Tyber's shore,
24 (Nor mean the task) each breathing bust explore,
25 Line after line with painful patience trace,
26 This Roman grandeur, that Athenian grace;
27 Vain care of parts; if, impotent of soul,
28 Th' industrious workman fails to warm the whole!
29 Each theft betrays the marble whence it came,
30 And a cold statue stiffen in the frame.
31 Thee Nature taught, nor Art her aid deny'd,
32 (The kindest mistress and the surest guide)
33 To catch a likeness at one piercing fight,
34 And place the fairest in the fairest light.
35 Ere yet the pencil tries her nicer toils,
36 Or on the palette lie the blended oyls,
37 Thy careless chalk has half atchiev'd thy art,
38 And her just image makes Cleora start.
39 A mind that grasps the whole is rarely found,
40 Half learn'd, half painters, and half wits abound:
41 Few, like thy genius, at proportion aim,
42 All great, all graceful, and throughout the same.
43 Such be thy life. O since the glorious rage
44 That fir'd thy youth, flames unsubdu'd by age;
45 Tho' wealth nor fame now touch thy sated mind,
46 Still tinge the canvas, bounteous to mankind.
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47 Since after thee may rise an impious line,
48 Coarse manglers of the human face divine,
49 Paint on, till fate dissolve thy mortal part,
50 And live and die the monarch of thy art.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): TO Sir GODFREY KNELLER, at his Country Seat.
Themes: art; painting
Genres: heroic couplet; panegyric; address
References: DMI 9315

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Source edition

Dodsley, Robert, 1703-1764. A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. I. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758], pp. 34-36. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163; OTA K104099.001) (Page images digitized by the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive from a copy in the archive's library.)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.