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Conduct him thro' your fav'rite bowers,
Ah, luckless hour! mistaken maids ! When Cupid sought the Muses’ shades : Of their sweetest notes beguil'd, By the sly insidious child; Now of power his darts are found, Twice ten thousand times to wound. Now no more the slacken'd strings Breathes of high immortal things, But Cupid tunes the Muse's lyre To languid notes of soft desire. In ev'ry clime, in ev'ry tongue, "Tis love inspires the poet's song: Hence Sappho's soft infectious page; Monimia's woe; Othello's rage ; Abandon's Dido's fruitless prayer ; And Eloisa's long despair : The garland bless'd with many a vow, For haughty Sacharissa's brow; And, wash'd with tears, the mournful verse That Petrarch laid on Laura's herse.
But more than all the sister quire,
Tis your's to cull with happy art
SONG-WRITING IN GENERAL.
HILE the two capital species of poetry, the epic and dramatic, have long engaged the nicest attention of taste and criticism, the humbler but not less pleasing productions of the Muse have not obtained that notice from the critic to which the exertions of the poet would seem to entitle them. This will appear the more extraordinary when we reflect that some of the most excellent productions in the former have been the spontaneous growth of a rude and uncultivated
soil, whereas the latter have never flourished without acquired richness in the soil and the fostering hand of art. This critical neglect has given rise to uncertainty in the distinctions, and irregularity in the composition of most of the minor classes of poetry; and while the long established divisions of ode, elegy, and epigram, are involved in these difficulties, it is not a matter of wonder to meet with them in the modern pieces which range under the general title of Songs.
Although many of our most celebrated poets have exercised their talents in composing these little pieces, and their pleasing effect is universally known and acknowledged, yet have we but one professed criticism on their composition ; and this, though elegant and ingenious, is both too short and too superficial to give precision and accuracy to our ideas on this subject. It is contained in a paper of the Guardian, written by Mr. Phillips.
In attempting the task of determining
with 'exactness the nature of song-writing, and the various distinctions of which it is susceptible, together with the specific excellence of each, I find it therefore necessary to go far back into the origin of poetry in general, and to recur to those first principles existing in the human mind, which alone can give a firm foundation to our deductions.
The original poetry of all nations must have been very much confined to the description of external objects, and the narration of events. This is a necessary consequence of the barrenness of infant language with regard to abstract ideas, and is confirmed by the remains of antiquity which have reached us. Among a fierce and warlike people constantly engaged in enterprises of arms, poetry was solely employed in rehearsing the valorous deeds of their heroes; and the horrid pictures of war and desolation were enlivened by the kindred imagery of whatever nature afforded of the awful, terrific and stupendous. In happier