To Mr. Addison on His Tragedy of Cato
Too long hath love engross'd Britannia's stage,
And sunk to softness all our tragic rage:
By that alone did empires fall or rise,
And fate depended on a fair-one's eyes:
The sweet infection, mixt with dangerous art,
Debas'd our manhood, while it sooth'd the heart.
You scorn to raise a grief thyself must blame,
Nor from our weakness steal a vulgar fame:
A patriot's fall may justly melt the mind,
And tears flow nobly, shed for all mankind.
How do our souls with generous pleasure glow!