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whole, has loosenied from its foun- looking up, saw, half surprised, dations and actually started to the hoary rock still firm on its crush the wholé below!
foundations, amidst this seeming .....I escaped before it fell... crush of worlds. soon found my companions, and
FOR THE ANTHOLOGY.
strains of lavish encomium, the Pope was fond of imitating the mushroom poetasters of the day. ancients, though what he borrow. A writer, who with the rapidity of ed he improved, and his own a Blackmore, shall finish an epick thoughts were not inferiour to in six weeks, attracts the admiratheirs. Some very beautiful lines, tion of many, who consider celeriin his Elegy to the memory of an ty in writing as a proof of extraorunfortunate young lady, he seems dinary genius. The reverse of to have imitated from Ovid ; and this however is true ; and the I am surprized that Dr. Warton, greatest master-pieces of writing, in his excellent edition of Pope's far from being dashed off at a hit, works, has not remarked the re have consumed a very considerable semblance. I shall quote both the portion of time in theircomposition. English and Latin, that the read- Perfection is the reward of great er may judge for himself.
labour, united with great genius.
The co-operation of both can alone What can atone, oh! ever-injured shade, ensure success. Without genius, Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites anpaid ?
labour would be dull and insipid ; No friend's complaint, no kind domestick tear
without labour, genius would be Pleased thy pale ghost, or graced thy mournful
absurd and extravagant. Had the By foreigt hands thy dying eyes were closed,
Alcander of Pope, an epick poem by foreign hands thy decent timbs composed, By foreign hands thy humble grave adorned, which he wrote at sixteen, been By strangers honoured, and by strangers mourned. preserved, he would probably have
been deemed a great poet by those, Though these are exquisite
who now dispute his claims to that lines, (for no man, says Hume, can
character. These gentlemen rewrite verses with equal spirit and
quire originality, at the expense of elegance to Mr. Pope) yet the
whatever absurdity. They prefer following passage of Ovid unques
the wilderness to the garden, tionably supplied the materials.
though the latter may possess all
the beauties of nature, without her Ergo ego nec lachrymas matris moritura videbo,
deformities. But true taste adNec, mea qui digitis lumina condat, erit. Spiritus infelix peregrinas ibit in auras, mires nature only in her charms, Nec positos artus unget amica manus,
not in the gross. Neither poet Deca superstabunt volueres inhumata marina. nor painter would describe a Ovid's Epistles. Ariadne to
quagmire, nor expose to view Theseus. lin. 119.
those parts of the person, which It has been the fashion, of late decency clothes. Yet nature has years, to depreciate the poetical claims as equal to what is concealmerit of Pope, and to exalt, in ed, as to what is exhibited.
True wit is nature to advantage drest,' ties leave us room to doubt, wheths not a ragged gypsy, nor a tawdry er we ought to look upon him as strumpet. High, masterly execu- the best, or as the worst of men. tion is what constitutes a preemi. On the one hand, he was a great nent writer. He exhibits the best philosopher, who knew how to thoughts, exprest in the best man- distinguish truth from falsehood, ner. When he borrows, he im- who could at one view perceive all proves ; what he imitates, he ex- the consequences of a principle, cels. He commands a certain fe- and discover how they are linked licity of style, which, though sim- together. On the other hand, he ple, is highly figurative, which was a great sophist, who underconvinces by its energy, and took to confound truth with falsecharms by its beauty. Of all the hood, and knew how to draw false ancient poets Pope most resembles inferences from the principles he Virgil. He has the same correct supported. On the one hand, a. ness, the same majesty of num- man of learning and knowledge, bers, allowing for the inferiority who had read all that can be read, of a modern language. There is and remembered all that can be scarcely a page of Virgil, his remembered. On the other hand, Georgics excepted, in which we ignorant, or at least feigning to be cannot trace him imitating or so, with regard to the most comtranslating whole passages from mon things ; proposing such diffiother writers, so that he has fewer culties, as had been a thousand pretensions to originality, than al- times answered, and urging objecmost any poet ancient or modern. tions, which a schoolboy could not And yet what ancient author is so make without blushing. On the universally read, or affords so one hand, attacking the most emi"much pleasure, Horace perhaps nent men, opening a large field excepted ? Pope has more origi. for their labours, leading them nality than Virgil, but less than through the most difficult roads, Dryden. Yet who reads more of and, if he did not vanquish them, Dryden than a single satire and a giving them at least a great deal of single ode? Pope is the poet of trouble to vanquish him. On the the human species, the favourite other hand, a man who made use of all ages, the oracle of all pro- of the worst of authors, to whom fessions. Originality! Fiddledy he was lavish of his praises ; and diddledy.
who disgraced his writings by
quoting such names as a learned BAYLE.
mouth never pronounced. On the , BAYLE was a great and original one hand, free, at least in appeargenius. I believe, that it is not ance, from all the passions, which generally known, that his charac- are inconsistent with the spirit of ter is admirably drawn by Saurin, christianity ; grave in his discourwhich I doubt not will be more ses, temperate in his diet, austere acceptable to many readers of the in his manner of living. On the Silva, than any original remarks of other hand, employing all the the present writer. He was one strength of his genius to overthrow of those extraordinary men (says the foundations of moral virtue, atthat eloquent preacher) whom the tacking, as much as lay in his powgreatest wit cannot reconcile with er, chastity, modesty, and all the himself, and whose opposite quali. christian virtues. On the one side, appealing to the throne of the most might transpose the paragraphs as severe orthodoxy ; going to the you read without injury. The purest springs, borrowing his ar- style is indeed more pure and clasguments from the least suspected sical than that of Thomson, which writers. On the other hand, fol- abounds with gorgeous epithets lowing the paths of hereticks, pro- and ill-sounding compound adjecposing again the objections of the tives. But the latter has infinitely alicient heresiarchs, lending them the advantage in the superiour innew arms, and collecting together terest which he excites, in more in our age all the errours of past vigour of conception, in greater ages. May that man, who had tenderness and delicacy, and in erbeen endowed with so many tal- cry poetical embellishment. I ents, be acquitted before God of the five the Seasons an annual peruill use he made of them! May that sal, and they always afford me Jesus, whom he so often attacked, fresh pleasure. I have never been have expiated his sins!'
able to read the Task a second
time. As to Cowper's producPARXELL AND VOLTAIRE. tions in rhyme, if any man can The story of the hermit, which read them at all, I shall rather apParnell tells in verse, Voltaire re- plaud his patience, than imitate his lates in prose, precisely in the same example. He seems to have no order, in his romance of Zadig ear for harmony, so that, were we Quere, which is the plagiary, or not acquainted with his age, we have they both borrowed the story should scarcely suspect him of be. from another ? Voltaire continued ing a modern. Though there an author for more than sixty may be harmony without poetry, years, but still I think that Parnell there can be no good poetry withmust have been his senior. Few out harmony. The want of this have written so well as Voltaire on indispensible requisite constitutes such an infinite variety of subjects; the principal charge of Horace abut in every department of litera- gainst Lucilius, as the possession ture he has been excelled by some. of it in a pre-eminent degree gives His immortality would have been to Virgil and Pope the exalted rank more secure, had he confined his which they hold among the poets genius to any one species of com- of their respective countries. The position, though his temporary satires and epistles of Horace we popularity would have been less probably know not the true methextensive.
od of reading. We cannot at pre
sent discover in them that harmo· COWPER AND THOMSON. ny, the want of which he censures
I am astonished that any one in Lucilius, and which, for this can prefer Cowper to Thomson. very reason, they must undoubtedThe Task is indeed a poem of con- ly possess. I once endeavoured siderable merit, exhibitivg an orig- to read Cowper's Homer, but I inal cast of thought, and a strong found it an herculean task, and I imagination. But it does not pose was no Hercules. It may possess sess the same interest as the Sea- every other merit, but certainly sons, nor do I recollect any passa. wants the power of keeping its ges in it eminently beautiful. readers awake. The first lines of. There is so little order and con- the Seasons are ridiculous, as they nexion in this poem, that you contain absurd imagery. Observe.
Vol. III, No. 1.' C
Come, gentle Spring, ætherial mildness, come! uncommon in Europe, but is here
ceeds this difference? From the I quote from memory, but I be inferiority of education among us. lieve correctly. Now reduce this Our schoolmasters receive a inere to painting, and what kind of pic- pittance, and are consequently men ture does it present ? Spring, an of inferiour talents. Every man, allegorical personage, is described capable of instructing well, follows as descending from the bosom of some profession or business, able a dropping cloud (quere, what does to support him. A preceptor, the cloud drop ?) while musick without genius, can never inspire wakes around. What musick, vo- a pupil with the love of learning. cal, or instrumental ? non liquet, Instead of reading Virgil and veiled in a shower of shadowing Horace with the enthusiasm of an roses. If Thomson had often amateur, and of explaining them written as ill as this, there would with the taste and acuteness of a. be no comparison between him and Busby, he will barely require a Cowper. But at present, as a poet, verbatim translation, and a knowl. I think the latter decidedly infe- edge of the rules of grammar. riour. Though he may possess The spirit and beauties of the auno passage so faulty as the one just thór remain without notice ; and quoted, yet he seldom rises above what has never been taught will the level of mediocrity. Notwith- seldom be discovered. They go standing that the style of Cowper to college with but a smattering of is unusually chaste, yet is there a learning, and often leave it with sombre cast of thought, which still less. For the same system of seems to proceed from a mind not economy pervades our academick altogether sound and at ease. walls, and a college tutor receives
father legs thair a Boston labourer. EDUCATION.
Those, who are qualified for nothEDUCATION has been greatly ing else, consequently become tuimproved in this country of late tors, and our guides to Parnassus years. But though much has been are themselves ignorant of the road done, yet much remains to be done. that leads thither. Our literary discipline is well cal. The schoolmasters of Europe, culated for common purposes, and particularly of Great-Britain, are our professional men are little in- amply rewarded for their labours, feriour to those of other countries and generally consist of the best in the knowledge of their profes. scholars in the kingdom. The sion. But here our claims to praise employment is honourable and lumust end. Our lawyers are mere crative, and is almost always re. lawyers, our physicians are mere warded with some distinguished
physicians, our divines are mere ecclesiastical preferment, the prer divines. Every thing smells of the ceptors themselves being always
shop,and you will, in a few minutes clergymen of the established conversation, infallibly detect a church. I shall close this article man's profession. We seldom with the character of Dr. Sumners meet here with an accomplished master of Harrow-school, drawn character, a young man of fine ge- by his pupil, Sir W. Jones, in the nius and very general knowledge, preface to his treatise on Persian the scholar and the gentleman, poetry. The translation of course united. Such a character is not must be very inferiour to the degance of the original Latin. another Socrates, he wrote little
The reader, I hope, will par himself, no one could more ably don me, if I cannot here resist the detect the faults, or point out the temptation of extolling the virtues beauties of authors of every des. of this most learned man, who was cription. Had fortune destined my intimate friend, and of express- him for the bar or senate, and not ing just sorrow at his lamented confined him to the employment death. He was a man of distin- of tuition, he would have yielded guished genius and integrity, of to no one in eloquence, which is admirable temper, polite manners, exclusively cultivated in Great and exquisite learning. He pos- Britain. For he possessed, if not sessed, beyond any instructer I in perfection, at least in a very high ever knew, the faculty of commu- degree, all the accomplishments nicating knowledge ; and such was commendable in an orator, a muthe pleasantry of his deportment, sical voice, purity of language, a that it was difficult to determine, flowing style, uniting elegance and whether he was more agreeable to wit with a most tenacious memohis friends, or scholars. In Gre- ry; in a word, the eyes, the councian and Roman literature he was tenance, the action, not of a player, profoundly skilled; and, though like but of another Demosthenes.'
FOR THE ANTHOLOGY.
No. 5. Durant eptam censores, ne quid respublica (literarum) detrimenti caperet.--Sall. Cat.
SO little have the writers of our mains of national animosity ; and country been accustomed to the when a critick among ourselves rigour of a critical tribunal, that, has sometimes ventured to speak to secure a comfortable seat in some in a tone of authority, he has been of the out-houses belonging to the set down for a conceited imitator temple of fame, nothing has been of foreign impertinence. So rare Hitherto necessary, but the resolu- have been the instances among us tion to write, and the folly to pub- of manly and unprejudiced critilish. While, however, the same cism, that, to point out the faults of models of excellence are accessible, a living author, instead of making the same laws of taste are promul- him grateful, only makes him Sated, and the same language is mad ; and he discovers all the fu. vernacular on both sides of the At- ry, which is felt by an antiquated lantick, I know not why the sen- belle, when her little niece unluck. tences of criticism should not be ily espies a gray hair among the executed in ali their rigour on these sable honours of her head, and in Western shores; or why the majes- nocently presumes to pull out the ty of the republick of letters should intruder.' be insulted with impunity in the: So imperfectly has the right of itmotest provinces of the empire, criticism been attended to among Every man of reading, who has us, that many a sober citizen, I watched the jealous spirit of the doubt not, is unable to distinguish tines, must have observed, that between the privilege of finding whenever an American work is fault with an author, and the wick, censured in the journals of British edness of publishing a defamatory criticism, their judgment is attrib.. libel. But in truth this right of uted to some unextinguished re- literary censure is bestowed upon