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To you, bright fair, the nine address their lays,
While soul-brought tears steal down each shining face.
* From The Citizen of the World, 1762. — The Chinese philosopher remarks that the favorite method of writing for the stage is the composition of panegyrics on the performers; and thus gives his instructions for a flaunting copy of newspaper verses : – “In these, nature and the actor may be set to run races, the player always coming off victorious; or nature may mistake him for herself; or old Shakspeare may put on his winding-sheet and pay him a visit; or the tuneful nine may strike up their harps in his praise; or should it happen to be an actress— Venus, the beauteous queen of love, and the naked graces, are ever in waiting! The lady must be herself a goddess bred and born; she must—but you shall have a specimen of one of these poems, which may convey a more precise idea.”
ON SEEING MRS. * * PERFORM IN THE CHARACTER
She speaks—’tis rapture all, and nameless bliss ;
And felt her charms, without disguise, within.
Oh! were he born to bless mankind
Whene'er he went before.
* From The Citizen of the World, 1762. — The Chinese philosopher comments on the lavish expenditure of “the pastoral or elegy, the monody or apotheosis,” when men of distinction die; condemns the use of premeditated flattery; and unfolds the “secret of flattering the worthless, and yet of preserving a safe conscience.”—This second burlesque elegy, as it is called in the table of contents, is on the model before described.
How sad the groves and plains appear, And sympathetic sheep;
Even pitying hills would drop a tear— If hills could learn to weep.
His bounty in exalted strain
That went reliev'd away.
And hark! I hear the tuneful throng
As ever dead man did.
TRANSLATION OF A SOUTH-AMERICAN ODE.1
IN all my Enna's beauties bless'd,
Its panting tenant is not mine.
From The Citizen of the World, 1762. — The Chinese philosopher relates a conversation which turned upon love. The opinions were various, but chiefly in favor of its beneficial influence. The philosopher, to keep up the dispute, affirmed it to be merely a name, and “no way more natural than taking snuff or chewing opium.” A female orator insisted that it was a natural and universal passion; that it had “flourished in the coldest as well as in the warmest regions — even in the sultry wilds of southern America.” She then recited, in proof, her South-American ode.