are those which were added to enliven the stillness of the scene, the appearance of Father Thames, and the transformation of Lodona, Addison had in his Campaign derided the Rivers that rise from their oozy beds to tell stories of heroes, and it is therefore strange that Pope should adopt a fiction not only unnatural but lately cenfured. The story of Lodona is told with sweetness; but a new metamorphosis is a ready and puerile expedient; nothing is easier than to tell how a flower was once a blooming virgin, or a rock an obdurate tyrant.

The Temple of Fame has, as Steele warmly declared, a thousand beauties. Every part is splendid; there is great luxuriance of ornaments; the original vision of Chaucer was never denied to be much improved ;. the allegory is very skillfully continued, the imagery is properly selected, and learnedly displayed a yet, with all this comprehension of excellence, as its scene is laid in remote ages, and its sentiments, if the concluding paragraph be excepted, have little relation to general manners or common life, it never obtained much notice, but is turned filently over, and seldom quoted or mentioned with either praise or blame.

That the Mesrah excels the Pollio is no great praise, if it be considered from what original the improvements are derived.

The Verses on the unfortunate Lady have drawn much attention by the illaudable fingularity of treating suicide with respect; and they must be allowed to be written in some parts with vigorous animation, and in others with gentle tenderness; nor has Pope produced any poem in which the sense predominates more over the diction. But the male is not skillfully told; it is


nnot ealy to discover the character of either the Lady bor her. Guardian. Hiftory relates that the was about 3.to/disparage herself by a marriage with an inferior; Pope praises her for the dignity of ambition, and yet condemns the unkle to detestation for his pride; the ambitious love of a niece may be opposed by the interest, malice, or envy of an unkle, but never by his pride. On such an occasion a poet may be allowed to be obscure, but inconsistency never can be right *.

The Ode for St. Cecilia's Day was undertaken at the desire of Steele: in this the author is generally confessed to have miscarried, yet he has miscarried only as compared with Dryden; for he has far outgone other competitors f. Dryden's plan is better chosen ;


* The account hereinbefore given of this lady and her catastrot phe, cited by Johnson from Ruffhead with a kind of acquiescence in the truth thereof, seems no other than might have been extracted from the verses themselves. I have in my possession a letter to Dr. Johnson, containing the name of the lady, and a reference to a gentleman well known in the literary world for her history. Hin I have seen; and, from a memorandum of some particulars to the purpole communicated to him by a lady of quality, he informs me, that the unfortunate lady's name was Withinbury, corruptly pronounced Winbury; that the was in love with Pope, and would have married him; that her guardian, though she was deformed in her perion, looking upon such a match as beneath her, sent her to a convent, and that a noose and not a sword put an end to her life.

+ This ode was set to music by Mr. Maurice Green, organist of St. Paul's, as an exercise for his doctor's degree, which he took at Cambridge in 1730. Mr. Pope, to answer Greene's purpołe, condescended to make considerable alterations in it, and at his request to add to it an entire new ftanza, viz. the third. The Ode, with the music, may be seen in iny History of Music; and I here give the words as a literary curiofiiy.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

history will always take stronger hold of the attention than fable: the passions excited by Dryden are the


As altered by Mr. Pope for Dr. Greene.

Desccnd ye Nine! descend and fing;
The breathing instruments inspire ;
Wake into voice each silent string,
And sweep the sounding lyre!

In a fadly-pleasing strain

Let the warbling lute complain :
In more lengthen'd notes and flow,
The deep, majestic, folemn organs blow.

Hark! the numbers soft and clear,
Gently steal upon the ear:

Now louder they found,
'Till the roofs all around

The Thrill echoes rebound:
'Till, by degrees, remote and small,

The strains decay,

And melt away,
In a dying, dying fall.

By mufic minds an equal temper know,

Nor suell too high, nor fink too low.
If in the breast tumultuous joys arise,
Music her soft, assuasive voice applies ;

Or when the soul is funk in cares,

Exalts her with enlivening airs.
Warriors the fires by sprightly founds ;
Pours balm into the lover's wounds :
Partions no more the soul engage,
Ev’n factions hear away their rage.

Amphion thus bade wild diffenfion cease,
And foften’d mortals learn’d the arts of peace.

Amphion taught contending kings,


pleasures and pains of real life, the scene of Pope is laid in imaginary existence; Pope is read with calm


From various discords to create

The music of a well-tun'd state;
Nor Nack nor ftrain the tender strings,

Those useful touches to impart,

That strike the subject's answering heart,
And the soft silent harmony that springs
From sacred union and consent of things.

But when our country's cause provokes to arms,
How martial music every bosom warms!

When the firit vessel dar'd the seas,

The Thracian rais'd his strain,
And Argo saw her kindred trees
Descend from Pelion to the main.

Transported demi-goods stood round,
And men grew heroes at the sound,

Inflam'd with glory's charms !
Each chief his fey'nfold fhield display'd,
And half unsheath'd the shining blade :
And seas, and rocks, and skies rebound,
To arms, to arms, to arms!

But when thro' all th’infernal bounds,
Which flaming Phlegeton surrounds,
Sad Orpheus sought his confort lost:

The adamantine gates were barr'd,

And nought was seen and nought was heard
Around the dreary coast;

But dreadful gleams,
Dismal screams,
Fires that glow,
Shrieks of woe,
Sullen moans,

Hollow groans,
And cries of tortur'd ghosts !

I 2



acquiescence, Dryden with turbulent delight; Pope hangs upon the ear, and Dryden finds the passes of the inind.

Both the odes want the effential constituent of me. trical compositions, the stated recurrence of settled numbers. It may be alleged, that Pindar is said by Horace to have written numeris lege solutis: but as no

But hark! he strikes the golden lyre ;
And see! the tortur'd ghosts respire,

See, shady forms advance!

And the pale spectres dance!
The Furies link upon their iron beds,
And suakes uncurl'd hang list’ning round their heads.

By the streams that ever flow,
By the fragrant winds that blow

O'er th' Elyfian flowers;
By those happy fouls that dwelt
In yellow meads of Afphodel,

Or Amaranthine bowers,
By the heroes' armed fhades,
Glittering thro' the gloomy glades
By the youths that dy'd for love,

Wandering in the myrtle grove,
Resture, restore Eurydice to life,
Oh take the husband, or return the wife!

He fung, and hell consented

To hear the poet's prayer ;
Stern Proferpine relented,
And gave him back the fair.

Thus fong could prevail

O'er death and o'er hell,
A conqued how hard and how glorious !

Tho' had fast bound he

With Styx nine times round her,
Yet Music and Love were victorious.


« 前へ次へ »