A Pindarick Ode on Painting Part 4

A Pindarick Ode on Painting -

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When er'st APELLE's friend enquir'd, Why touch'd so oft in every part With repeated strokes of art, The picture which already they admir'd, The Artist, with becoming pride, "I'm Painting for Eternity," replied.


But vain, great Genius! was thy boast; Long since th' eternal piece is lost---- Thy VENUS now no more expresses, Rising from her watery bed, 300 The moisture from her twisted tresses O'er her dazzling bosom spread--- No more thy colours bloom, effac'd by age, But in the poet's or th' historian's page.


Oh then---reject not with disdain, Great Artist, this unpolish'd strain---- Though happy while it may intend Thy s.h.i.+ning merits to display, It may serve only in the end My own weak genius to betray, 310 May shew with what presumption I aspire To build the rhyme And tow'er sublime With PINDAR's vanity without his fire.


Yet----confide----(for every trifler's breast) And by this influence I presage In the long course of rolling years, When all thy labour disappears, Yet shall this verse descend from age to age, And, breaking from oblivion's shade, 320 Go on, to flourish while thy paintings fade.


If so---at present though thy hand May glory of itself command, Nor can the muse's laurels now, Though wove with nicer skill than mine, Help to adorn it, while they twine Round thy already loaden brow--- Yes---if my presage is not vain--- Yes---if this verse hereafter should remain--- 330 (Though now indeed as needless quite As at noon's blaze the taper's light) It may then serve to aggrandize thy name, And add some splendor to thy future fame.


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