[Page 296]

On the Invention of LETTERS.

1 TELL me what Genius did the art invent,
2 The lively image of the voice to paint;
3 Who first the secret how to colour sound,
4 And to give shape to reason, wisely found;
5 With bodies how to cloath ideas, taught;
6 And how to draw the picture of a thought:
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7 Who taught the hand to speak, the eye to hear
8 A silent language roving far and near;
9 Whose softest noise outstrips loud thunder's sound,
10 And spreads her accents thro' the world's vast round:
11 A voice heard by the deaf, spoke by the dumb,
12 Whose echo reaches long, long time to come;
13 Which dead men speak as well as those alive
14 Tell me what Genius did this art contrive.

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    About this text

    Title (in Source Edition): On the Invention of LETTERS.
    Themes: education
    Genres: heroic couplet; riddle
    References: DMI 15296

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    Source edition

    A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. VI. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758], pp. 296-297. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163; OTA K104099.006)

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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 ECCO-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 3.0.