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any enthusiasm or emotion is to be expressed, or for poems of a greater length, blank verse is undoubtedly preferable. An epic poem in rhyme appears to be such a sort of thing as the Æneid would have been if it had been written like Ovid's Fasti, in hexameter and pentameter verses ; and the reading it would have been as tedious as the travelling through the one long, strait avenue of firs that leads from Moscow to Petersburgh. I will give the reader Mr. Pope's own opinion on this subject, and in his own words, as delivered to Mr. Spence : “I have nothing to say for rhyme; but that I doubt if a poem can support itself without it in our language, unless it be stiffened with such strange words as are likely to destroy our language itself. The high style that is affected so much in blank verse would not have been supported even in Milton, had not his subject turned so much on such strange and out-of-the-world things as it does." May we not, however, venture to observe, that more of that true harmony, which will best support a poem, will result from a variety of pauses, and from an intermixture of those different feet (iambic and trochaîc particularly) into which our language naturally falls, than from the uniformity of similar terminations.
“ There can be no music," says Cowley, “with only one note.” See Mr. Webb’s excellent Observations on Rhyme and Blank Verse, in his Beauties of Poetry.
Dr. Adam Smith, as well as Fontenelle, thought that much of the pleasure we receive from the imitative arts arose from the difficulty of imitation. Voltaire also, in the preface to his Edipus, talks of the pleasure arising from the difficulté surmontée with respect to rhyme. But Smith, with whom I lived many years in a state of intimacy, was always a lover of French poetry, as was his friend David Hume. After all, we cannot subscribe to the authoritative decision of a certain noted critic, “that our epic compositions are found most pleasing when clothed in rhyme: And that the generality of readers, if left to themselves, and were not prejudiced by their admiration of the Greek and Latin languages, would be more delighted with Milton, if, besides his various
pause and measured quantity, he had enriched his numbers with rhyme.” This may remind us of the opinion of another learned prelate, who says,
" that Paradise Lost was much admired, though the author affected to write it in blank verse." Burnet's Hist. vol. i.
EPISTLE III. .
ALLEN LORD BATHURST.
Of the Use of RICHES.
THAT it is known to few, most falling into one of the extremes
Avarice or Profusion, Ver. 1, &c. The Point discussed, whether the invention of Money has been more commodious or pernicious to Mankind, Ver. 21 to 77. That Riches either to the Avaricious or the Prodigal, cannot afford Happiness, scarcely necessaries, Ver. 89 to 160. That Avarice is an absolute Frenzy, without an End or Purpose, Ver. 113, &c. 152. Conjectures about the Motives of Avaricious Men, Ver. 121 to 153.
That the conduct of Men, with respect to Riches, can only be accounted for by the ORDER OF PROVIDENCE, which works the general Good out of Extremes, and brings all to its great End by perpetual Revolutions, Ver. 161 to 178. How a Miser acts upon Principles which appear to him reasonable, Ver. 179. How a Prodigal does the same, Ver. 199. The due Medium and true Use of Riches, Ver. 219. The Man of Ross, Ver. 250.
The fate of the Profuse and the Covetous, in two examples; both miserable in Life and in Death, Ver. 300, &c. The Story of Sir Balaam, Ver. 339 to the End.
P. Who shall decide, when Doctors disagree, And soundest Casuists doubt, like you and me? You hold the word, from Jove to Momus giv'n, That Man was made the standing jest of Heav'n ; And Gold but sent to keep the fools in play, 5 For some to heap, and some to throw away,
But I, who think more highly of our kind (And surely, Heav'n and I are of a mind), Opine, that Nature, as in duty bound, Deep hid the shining mischief under ground : 10
VARIATIONS. Epistle III.) This epistle was written after a violent outcry against our Author, on suspicion that he had ridiculed a worthy nobleman merely for his wrong taste. He justified himself upon that article in a letter to the Earl of Burlington; at the end of which are these words: “I have learnt that there are some who would rather be wicked than ridiculous: and therefore it may be safer to attack vices than follies. I will therefore leave my betters in the quiet possession of their idols, their groves, and their high places, and change my subject from their pride to their meanness, from their vanities to their miseries; and as the only certain way to avoid misconstructions, to lessen offence, and not to multiply ill-natured applications, I may probably, in my next, make use of real names instead of fictitious ones. P.
Ver. 2. like you and me?] A most unaccountable piece of false English—me for I. It is not for the sake of making petty objections that it is thought necessary to hint at these inaccuracies in so correct a writer, but merely to prevent their becoming authorities for errors. “In the Epistles to Lords Bathurst and Burlington," says Johnson, “ Warburton has endeavoured to find a train of thought which was never in the writer's head; and, to support his hypothesis, has printed that first which was published last."