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. this way, that she draws from me what sums she pleases.
Every room in my house is furnished with trophies of her eloquence, rich cabinets, piles of china, Japan screens, and coftly jars; and if you were to come into my great parlour, you would fancy yourself in an India warehouse: besides this, she keeps a squirrel, and I
am doubly taxed to pay for the china he breaks. She • is seized with periodical fits about the time of the sub
scriptions to a new opera, and is drowned in tears after
having seen any woman there in finer clothes than her• self: these are arts of persuasion purely feminine, and " which a tender heart cannot resist. What I would there
fore defire of you, is, to prevail with your friend who • has promised to diffect a female tongue, that he would • at the same time give us the anatomy of a female eye, . and explain the springs and sluices which feed it with ' such ready furplies of moisture; and likewise fhew by s what means, if possible, they may be stopped at a rea• sonable expence : or indeed, since there is something fo ' moving in the very image of weeping beauty, it would
be worthy his art to provide, that these eloquent drops may no more be lavished on trifles, or employed as fervants to their wayward wills ; but reserved for serious occasions in life, to adcrn generous pity, true peni
tence, or real sorrow. T
' I am, &c.'
Thursday, December 20.
Indignor quicquam reprehendi, non quia crase
Hor. Ep. 2. lib. 1. ver. 75.
Pope. TH HERE is nothing which more denotes a great
mind, than the abhorrence of envy and detraction. This paflion reigns more among bad poets, than among any other set of men,
As there are none more ambitious of fame, than those who are conversant in poetry, it is very natural for such as have not succeeded in it to depreciate the works of those who have. For since they cannot raise themselves to the reputation of their fellow-writers, they must endeavour to sink it to their own pitch, if they would still keep themselves upon a level with them.
The greatest wits that ever were produced in one age, lived together in so good an understanding, and celebrated one another with so much generosity, that each of them receives an additional luftre from his contemporaries, and is more famous for having lived with men of fo extraordinary a genius, than if he had himself been the fole wonder of the age. I need not tell my reader, that I here point at the reign of Auguftus, and I believe he will be of my opinion, that neither Virgil nor Horace would have gained so great a reputation in the world, had they not been the friends and admirers of each other. Indeed all the great writers of that age, for whom fingly we have so great an esteem, stand up together as vouchers. for one another's reputation. But at the same time that Virgil was celebrated by Gallus, Propertius, Horace, Varius, Tucca and Ovid, we know that Bavius and Mævius were his declared foes and calumniators.
In our own country a man seldom sets up for a poet, without attacking the reputation of all his brothers in the art.
The ignorance of the moderns, the scribblers of the age, the decay of poetry, are the topics of detraction, with which he makes his entrance into the world : but how much more noble is the fame that is built on candour and ingenuity, according to those beautiful lines of Sir John Denham, in his poem on Fletcher's works! “ But whither am I ftray'd ? I need not raise
Trophies to thee from other men’s dispraise : is Nor is thy fame on lesser ruins built, “ Nor needs thy juster title the foul guilt “ Of eaftern kings, who, to secure their reign, “ Must have their brothers, fons, and kindred flain.' I am sorry to find that an author, who is very justly esteemed among the best judges, has admitted some strokes
of this nature into a very fine poem ; I mean The Art of Criticism, which was published some months since, and is. a master-picce in its kind. The observations follow one another like those in Horace's Art of Poetry, without that methodical regularity which would have been requisite in a prose author. They are some cf them uncoinmon, but such as the reader mast afsent to, when he sees them explained with that elegance and perfpicuity in which they are delivered. As for those which are the most known, and the most received, they are placed in so beautiful a. light, and illustrated with such apt allusions, that they have in them all the graces of novelty, and make the. reader, who was before acquainted with them, still more convinced of their truth and solidity. And here give me leave to mention what Monsieur Boileau has. so
well enlarged upon in the preface to his works, that wit and fine writing do not confift fo much in advancing things that are new, as in giving things that are known an. agreeable turn. It is
It is impossible for us, who live in the later ages of the world, to make observations in criti. cism, morality, or in any art or science, which have not: been touched upon by others. We have little else left us, but to represent the common sense of mankind in more strong, more beautiful, or more uncommon lights. If a. reader examines Horace's Art of Poetry, he will find but very few
precepts in it, which he may not meet with inAristotle, and which were not commonly known by all the poets of the Augustan age. His way of expressing and applying them, not his invention of them, is what we are chiefiy, to admire.
For this reason I think there is nothing in the world fo. tiresome as the works of those critics who write in a pofitive dogmatic way, without either language, genius, or imagination. If the reader would see how the best of the Latin critics writ, he may find their manner very beautifully described in the characters of Horace, Petrorius, Quintilian, and Longinus, as they are drawn in the essay of which I am now fpeaking,
Since I have mentioned Longinus, who in his reflexionshas given us the same kind of sublime, which he observes in the several passages that occafioned them; cannot buta
take notice, that our English author has after the fame manner exemplified several of his precepts in the very pre. cepts themselves. I hall produce two or three instances. of his kind. Speaking of the infipid smoothness which some readers are so much in love with, he has the following verfes.
“ These equal fyllables alone require,
The gaping of the vowels in the second line, the expletive do in the third, and the ten monofyllables in the fourth, give such a beauty to this paffage, as would have been very much admired in an ancient poet. The reader may observe the following lines in the same view.
“ A needless Alexandrine ends the song, “ That like a wounded snake drags its flow length along."
And afterwards, 66 'Tis not enough no harshness gives offence, « The found must seem an echo to the sense. “ Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows, “And the smboth stream in smoother numbers flows;
But when loud surges lath the sounding shore, “ The hoarse rough verse shou'd like the torrent roar. " When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw, 61 The line too labours, and the words move flow; “ Not so, when swift Camilla scours the plain, sv Flies o’er th' unbending corn, and skims along the
- main." The beautiful distich upon Ajax in the foregoing lines, puts me in mînd of a description in Homer's Odyssey, which none of the critics have taken notice of. It is where Sifyphus is represented lifting his stone up the hill, which is no sooner carried to the top of it, but it immediately tumbles to the bottom. This double motion of the stone is admirably described in the numbers of these versesas in the four first it is heaved up by several Spondees intermixed with proper breathing places, and at laft trundles down in a continual line of Dactyls.
Και μην Σίσυφον, εισείδον, κρατέρ άλγε' έχουλα,
Odyff. 1. II. " I turn'd my eye, and as I turn’d survey'd “ A mournful vision! the Sisyphian fade : " With many a weary step, and many a groan,
Up the high hill he heaves a huge round stone: “ The huge round stone, resulting with a bound, “ Thunders impetuous down, and smokes along the ground.”
Pope, It would be endless to quote verses out of Virgil which have this particular kind of beauty in the numbers; but 1 may take an occasion in a future paper to thew several of them which have escaped the observation of others.
I cannot conclude this paper witivut taking notice that we have three poems in our tongue, which are of the same nature, and each of them a master-piece in its kind; the eliay on translated verse, the essay on the art of poetry, and the efray upon criticism.
Friday, December 21.
Σεμνός έρως αρετής, ο δε κυπρίδο άσος οφέλλει.
HEN I consider the false impresions which are
troubled at none more than a certain levity of thought, which many young women of quality have entertained, to the hazard of their characters, and the certain misfortune of their lives. The first of the following let