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from Dryden’s ‘Mac Flecnoe;' but the plan is so and place, and wrong place, it had been vain to ask enlarged and diversified as justly to claim the Pope, who probably had never asked himself. praise of an original, and affords the best specimen Having exalted himself into the chair of wisdom, that has yet appeared of personal satire ludicrously he tells us much that every man knows, and much pompous.
that he does not know himself; that we see but That the design was moral, whatever the author little, and that the order of the universe is beyond might tell either his readers or himself, I am not our comprehension; an opinion not very uncommon; convinced. The first motive was the desire of re- and that there is a chain of subordinate beings renging the contempt with which Theobald had “ from infinite to nothing,” of which himself and treated his “Shakspeare,' and regaining the honour his readers are equally ignorant. But he gives us which he had lost, by crushing his opponent. Theo- one comfort, which without his help he supposes bald was not of bulk enough to fill a poem, and unattainable, in the position “ that though we are therefore it was necessary to find other enemies fools, yet God is wise.” with other names, at whose expense he might di This Essay affords an egregious instance of the Fert the public.
predominance of genius, the dazzling splendour of In this design there was petulance and malignity imagery, and the seductive powers of eloquence. enough; but I cannot think it very criminal. An Never was penury of knowledge and vulgarity of author places himself uncalled before the tribunal sentiment so happily disguised. The reader feels of Criticism, and solicits fame at the hazard of dis- his mind full, though he learns nothing; and, when grace. Dulness or deformity are not culpable in he meets it in its new array, no longer knows the themselves, but may be very justly reproached talk of his mother and his nurse. When these when they pretend to the honour of wit or the in- wonder-working sounds sink into sense, and the fluence of beauty. If bad writers were to pass doctrine of the Essay, disrobed of its ornaments, is without reprehension, what should restrain them? left to the powers of its naked excellence, what impune diem consumpserit ingens Telephus; and shall we discover? That we are, in comparison upon bad writers only will censure have much with our Creator, very weak and ignorant; that we effect. The satire, which brought Theobald and do not uphold the chain of existence; and that we Moore into contempt, dropped impotently from could not make one another with more skill than Bentley, like the javelin of Priam.
we are made. We may learn yet more: that the All truth is valuable, and satirical criticism may arts of human life were copied from the instinctive be considered as useful when it rectifies error and operations of other animals; that, if the world be improves judgment; he that refines the public taste made for man, it may be said that man was made is a public benefactor.
for geese. To these profound principles of natural The beauties of this poem are well known; its knowledge are added some moral instructions chief fault is the grossness of its images. Pope and equally new; that self-interest well understood, Swift had an unnatural delight in ideas physically will produce social concord; that men are mutual impure, such as every tongue utters with unwil- gainers by mutual benefits; that evil is sometimes lingness, and of which every ear shrinks from the balanced by good; that human advantages are unmention.
stable and fallacious, of uncertain duration and But even this fault, offensive as it is, may be for- doubtful effect; that our true honour is, not to have given for the excellence of other passages; such as a great part, but to act it well; that virtue only is the formation and dissolution of Moore, the account our own; and that happiness is always in our power. of the Traveller, the misfortune of the Florist, and Surely a man of no very comprehensive search the crowded thoughts and stately numbers which may venture to say that he has heard all this bedignify the concluding paragraph.
fore; but it was never till now recommended by The alterations which bave been made in the such a blaze of embellishments, or such sweetness Dunciad,' not always for the better, require that of melody. The vigorous contraction of some it should be published, as in the present collection, thoughts, the luxuriant amplification of others, the with all its variations.
incidental illustrations, and sometimes the dignity, The ‘ Essay on Man’ was a work of great labour sometimes the softness of the verses, enchain phiand long consideration, but certainly not the hap- losophy, suspend criticism, and oppress judgment piest of Pope's performances. The subject is per- by overpowering pleasure. haps not very proper for poetry, and the poet was This is true of many paragraphs; yet, if I had not sufficiently master of his subject; metaphysical undertaken to exemplify Pope's felicity of compomorality was to him a new study; he was proud of sition before a rigid critic, I should not select the his acquisitions, and, supposing himself master of Essay on Man;' for it contains more lines unsucgreat secrets, was in haste to teach what he had cessfully laboured, more harshness of diction, more not learned. Thus he tells us, in the first epistle, thoughts imperfectly expressed, more levity withthat from the nature of the Supreme Being may be out elegance, and more heaviness without strength, deduced an order of beings such as mankind, be than will easily be found in all his other works. cause Infinite Excellence can do only what is best. The Characters of Men and Women' are the He finds out that these beings must be “ some product of diligent speculation upon human life; where;" and that “ all the question is, whether much labour has been bestowed upon them, and man be in a wrong place.” Surely if, according to Pope very seldom laboured in vain. That his exthe poet's Leibnitian reasoning, we may infer that cellence may be properly estimated, I recommend man ought to be, only because he is, we may allow a comparison of his characters of Women,' with that his place is the right place, because
he has it. Boileau's Satire; it will then be seen with how Supreme Wisdom is not less infallible in disposing much more perspicacity female nature is investithan in creating. But what is meant by somewhere gated, and female excellence selected; and he
surely is no mean writer to whom Boileau should/ Pope had, in reoportions very nicely adjusted to be found inferior. The Characters of Men,' how each other, all the qualities that constitute genius. ever, are written with more, if not with deeper He had Invention, by which new trains of events thought, and exhibit many passages exquisitely are formed, and new scenes of imagery displayed, beautiful. The 'Gem and the Flower will not as in the · Rape of the Lock;' and by which exeasily be equalled. In the women's part are some trinsic and adventitious embellishments and illusdefects; the character of Atossa is not so neatly trations are connected with a known subject, as in finished as that of Clodio; and some of the female the • Essay on Criticism.' He had Imagination, characters may be found perhaps more frequently which strongly impresses on the writer's mind, and among men; what is said of Philomede was true of enables him to convey to the reader, the various Prior.
forms of nature, incidents of life, and energies of In the Epistles of Lord Bathurst and Lord Bur-passion, as in his · Eloisa,'' Windsor Forest,' and lington, Dr. Warburton has endeavoured to find a 'Ethic Epistles.' He had Judgment, which selecte train of thought which was never in the writer's from life or nature what the present purpose rehead, and, to support his hypothesis, has printed quires, and, by separating the essence of things that first which was published last. In one, the from its concomitants, often makes the representamost valuable passage is perhaps the Elegy on tion more powerful than the reality: and he had "Good Sense;' and the other, the * End of the Duke colours of language always before him, ready to deof Buckingham.'
corate his matter with every grace of elegant exThe Epistle to Arbuthnot, not arbitrarily called pression, as when he accommodates his diction to the the ‘Prologue to the Satires,' is a performance con- wonderful multiplicity of Homer's sentiments and sisting, as it seems, of many fragments wrought into descriptions. one design, which by this union of scattered beau Poetical expression includes sound as well as ties contains more striking paragraphs than could meaning: “Music,” says Dryden, “is inarticulate probably have been brought together into an occa- poetry;" among the excellences of Pope, theresional work. As there is no stronger motive to fore, must be mentioned the melody of his metre. exertion than self-defence, no part has more ele. By perusing the works of Dryden, he discovered gance, spirit, or dignity, than the poet's vindica- the most perfect fabric of English verse, and hation of his own character. The meanest passage, is bituated himself to that only which he found the the satire upon Sporus.
best; in consequence of which restraint, his poetry Of the two poems which derived their names has been censured as too uniformly musical, and as from the year, and which are called the 'Epilogue glutting the ear with unvaried sweetness. I sus to the Satires, it was very justly remarked by pect this objection to be the cant of those who Savage, that the second was in the whole more judge by principles rather than perception; and strongly conceived, and more equally supported, but who would even themselves have less pleasure in that it had no single passages equal to the conten- his works, if he had tried to relieve attention by tion in the first for the dignity of Vice, and the studied discords, or affected to break his lines and celebration of the triumph of Corruption.
pauses. “ The Imitations of Horace' seem to have been But though he was thus careful of his versificawritten as relaxations of his genius. This em-tion, he did not oppress his powers with superfluployment became his favourite by its facility; the ous rigour. He seems to have thought with Boiplan was ready to his hand, and nothing was re- leau, that the practice of writing might be refined quired but to accommodate as he could the senti- till the difficulty should overbalance the advantage. ments of an old author to recent facts or familiar The construction of his language is not always images; but what is easy is seldom excellent; such strictly grammatical; with those rhymes which imitations cannot give pleasure to common readers; prescription had conjoined, he contented himself, the man of learning may be sometimes surprised without regard to Swift's remonstrances, though and delighted by an unexpected parallel; but the there was no striking consonance; nor was he very comparison requires knowledge of the original, careful to vary his terminations, or to refuse adwhich will likewise often detect strained applica- mission, at a small distance, to the same rhymes. tions. Between Roman images and English man To Swift's edict for the exclusion of Alexanners, there will be an irreconcileable dissimilitude, drines and Triplets he paid little regard; he adand the works will be generally uncouth and party- mitted them, but, in the opinion of Fenton, too coloured: neither original nor translated, neither rarely; he uses them more liberally in his translaancient nor modern.*
tion than in his poems.
He has a few double rhymes: and always, I * In one of these poems is a couplet, to which belongs think, unsuccessfully, except once in the 'Rape of a story related by the Rey. Dr. Ridley:
the Lock.' Blander or poison dread from Delia's rage;
Expletives he very early ejected from his verses; Hard words, or hanging, if your judge be **** but he now and then admits an epithet rather comSir Francis Page conceiving that his name was meant modious than important. Each of the first six lines to fill up the blank, sent his clerk to complain of the in- of the “Iliad' might lose two syllables with very sult. Pope told the young man, that the blauk might be little diminution of the meaning; and sometimes, supplied by many monosyllables other than the judge's after all his art and labour, one verse seems to be name :-" But, Sir, the judge says that no other word will make sense of the passinge."-"So then it seems," made for the sake of another. In his latter prosays Pope, "your master is not only a judge but a poet: as that is the case, the odds are against me. Give my respects to the judge, and tell him, I will not contend this distinction to the unjustifiable insolence he displayed with one that has the advantage of me, and he may fill on the memorable trial of Savage, of whom Pope was up the blank as be pleases.” Judge Page probably owed the sincere friend.
ductions the diction is sometimes vitiated by French veral hundred places; and the Cambridge editors idioms, with which Bolingbroke had perhaps in- of the large Homer, in Greek and Latin, attributed fected him.
so much to Hobbs, that they confess they have I have been told that the couplet by which he corrected the old Latin interpretation very often declared his own ear to be most gratified was this: by his version. For my part, I generally took the Lo, where Mæotis sleeps, and hardly flows
author's meaning to be as you have explained it; The freezing Tapais through a waste of snows.
yet their authority, joined to the knowledge of my
own imperfectness in the language, overruled me. But the reason of this preference I cannot discover. However, Sir, you may be confident I think you
It is remarked by Watts, that there is scarcely in the right, because you happen to be of my opia happy combination of words, or a phrase poeti- nion: for, men (let them say what they will) never cally elegant in the English language, which Pope approve any other's sense, but as it squares with has not inserted into his version of Homer. How their own. But you have made me much more he obtained possession of so many beauties of proud of, and much more positive in my judgment, speech, it were desirable to know. That he glean- since it is strengthened by yours. I think your ed from authors, obscure as well as eminent, what criticisms, which regard the expression, very just, he thought brilliant or useful, and preserved it and shall make my profit of them: to give you some all in a regular collection, is not unlikely. When, proof that I am in earnest, I will alter three verses in his last years, Hall's Satires were shown him, on your bare objection, though I have Mr. Dryhe wished that he had seen them sooner. den's example for each of them. And this, I hope,
New sentiments and new images others may you will account no small piece of obedience from produce; but to attempt any further improvement one who values the authority of one true poet of versification will be dangerous. Art and dili- above that of twenty critics or commentators. But, gence have now done their best, and what shall be though I speak thus of commentators, I will conadded will be the effort of tedious toil and need- tinue to read carefully all I can procure, to make less curiosity.
up, that waỹ, for my own want of critical underAfter all this, it is surely superfluous to answer standing in the original beauties of Homer. Though the question that has once been asked, Whether the greatest of them are certainly those of InvenPope was a poet? otherwise than by asking in re- tion and Design, which are not at all confined to turn, If Pope be not a poet, where is poetry to be the language: for the distinguishing excellences of found? To circumscribe poetry by a definition, Homer are (by the consent of the best critics of all will only show the narrowness of the definer; nations) first in the manners (which include all the though a definition which shall exclude Pope will speeches, as being no other than the represennot easily be made. Let us look round upon the tations of each person's manners by his words;) present time, and back upon the past; let us inquire and then in that rapture and fire, which carries to whom the voice of mankind has decreed the you away with him, with that wonderful force, wreath of poetry; let their productions be examin- that no man who has a true poetical spirit is mased and their claims stated, and the pretensions of ter of himself while he reads him. Homer makes Pope will be no more disputed. Had he given the you interested and concerned before you are aware, world only his version, the name of poet must have all at once, whereas Virgil does it by soft degrees. been allowed him: if the writer of the Iliad' were This, I believe, is what a translator of Homer to class his successors, he would assign a very high ought principally to imitate; and it is very hard for place to his translator, without requiring any other any translator to come up to it, because the chief evidence of genius.
reason why all translations fall short of their origiThe following Letter, of which the original is in nals is, that the very constraint they are obliged the bands of Lord Hardwicke, was communicated to, renders them heavy and dispirited. to me by the kindness of Mr. Jodrell.
“The great beauty of Homer's language, as I
take it, consists in that noble simplicity which runs “To MR. BRIDGES, at the Bishop of London's at through all his works; (and yet his diction, conFulham.
trary to what one would imagine consistent with “SIB,
simplicity, is at the same time very copious.) I “The favour of your Letter, with your Remarks, don't know how I have run into this pedantry in a can never be enough acknowledged; and the speed Letter, but I find I have said too much, as well as with which you discharged so troublesome a task spoken too inconsiderately: what farther thoughts doubles the obligation.
I have spoken upon this subject, I shall be glad to “I must own that you have pleased me very communicate to you (for my own improvement) mach by the commendations so ill bestowed upon when we meet; which is a happiness I very earme; but I assure you, much more by the frankness nestly desire, as I do likewise some opportunity of your censure, which I ought to take th more of proving how much I think myself obliged to kindly of the two, as it is more advantage to a your friendship, and how truly I am, Sir, scribbler to be improved in his judgment than to be “Your most faithful, humble servant, soothed in his vanity. The greater part of those
POPE." deviations from the Greeks, which you have observed, I was led into by Chapman and Hobbs; who are, it seems, as much celebrated for their know The Criticism upon Pope's Epitaphs, which was ledge of the original, as they are decried for the printed in The Universal Visitor,' is placed here, badness of their translations. Chapman pretends being too minute and particular to be inserted in to have restored the genuine sense of the author, the Life. from the mistakes of all former explainers, in se Every art is best taught by example. Nothing
contributes more to the cultivation of propriety, stations with much harshness; in long performances than remarks on the works of those who have most they are scarcely to be avoided; and in shorter excelled. I shall therefore endeavour, at this visit, they may be indulged, because the train of the to entertain the young students in poetry with an composition may naturally involve them, or the examination of Pope's Epitaphs.
scantiness of the subject allow little choice. HowTo define an Epitaph is useless; every one knows ever, what is borrowed is not to be enjoyed as our that it is an inscription ou a Tomb. An epitaph, own; and it is the business of critical justice to give therefore, implies no particular character of writ- every bird of the Muses his proper feather. ing, but may be composed in verse or prose. It is
Blest courtier! indeed commonly panegyrical; because we are seldom distinguished with a stone but by our friends; Whether a courtier can properly be commended but it has no rule to restrain or mollify it, except for keeping his ease sucred, may perhaps be disthis, that it ought not to be longer than common be- putable. To please king and country, without saholders may be expected to have leisure and pa-crificing friendship to any change of times, was a tience to peruse.
very uncommon instance of prudence or felicity,
and deserved to be kept separate from so poor a
commendation as care of his ease. I wish our poets CHARLES EARL OF DORSET. would attend a little more accurately to the use of
the word sucred, which surely should never be apIn the Church of Wythyham in Sussex.
plied in a serious composition, but where some reDorset, the grace of courts, the Muse's pride,
ference may be made to a higher Being, or where Patron of arts, and judge of nature, died.
some duty is exacted or implied. A man may keep The scourge of pride, though sanctitied or great, Of fops in learning, and of knaves in state;
his friendship sacred, because promises of friendYet soft in nature, though severe his lay,
ship are very awful ties; but methinks he cannot, His anger moral, and his wisdom gay,
but in a burlesque sense, be said to keep his ease Blest satirist! who touch'd the means so true, sacred. As show'd, Vice had his hate and pity too. Blest courtier! who could king and country please,
Blest peer! Yet sacred kept his friendships, and his ease.
The blessing ascribed to the peer has no conBlest peer! his great forefather's every grace Reflecting, and reflected in his race;
nexion with his peerage; they might happen to any Where other Buckhursts, other Dorsets shine, other man whose posterity were likely to be reAnd patriots still, or poets, deck the line.
I know not whether this epitaph be worthy eiThe first distich of this epitaph contains a kind ther of the writer or the man entombed. of information which few would want, that the man for whom the tomb was erected, dicd. There are indeed some qualities worthy of praise ascribed to the dead, but none that were likely to exempt him
SIR WILLIAM TRUMBAL, from the lot of man, or incline us much to wonder one of the principal Secretaries of State to King that he should die. What is meant by “judge of William III, who, having resigned his place, nature," is not easy to say. Nature is not the ob
died in retirement at Easthampstead in Berkject of human judgment; for it is vain to judge shire, 1716. where we cannot alter. If by nature is meant
A pleasing form; a firm, yet cautious mind; what is commonly called nature by the critics, a
Sincere, though prudent; constant, yet resign d ; just representation of things really existing, and
Honour unchanged, a principle profest, actions really performed, nature cannot be properly Fix'd to one side, but moderate to the rest; opposed to art; nature being, in this sense, only the An honest courtier, yet a patriot 100; best effect of art.
Just to his prince, and to his country true;
Fillid with the sense of age, the fire of youth,
A scorn of wrangling, yet a zeal for truth;
A generous faith, from superstition free; of this couplet, the second line is not, what is
A love to peace, and hate of tyranny; intended, an illustration of the former. Pride, in Such this man was: who now, from earth removed, the Great, is indeed well enough connected with At length cnjoys that liberty he loved. knaves in state, though knaves is a word rather too ludicrous and light; but the mention of sanctified
In this epitaph, as in many others, there appears, pride will not lead the thoughts to fops in learn- at the first view, a fault which I think scarcely any ing, but rather to some species of tyranny or op- beauty can compensate. The name is omitted. pression, something more gloomy and more formi. The end of an epitaph is to convey some account dable than foppery.
of the dead; and to what purpose is any thing told
of him whose name is concealed? An epitaph, and Yet soft his nature
a history of a nameless hero, are equally absurd, This is a high compliment, but was not first be-ther are scattered at the mercy of fortune to be ap
since the virtues and qualities so recounted in eistowed on Dorset by Pope. The next verse is ex
propriated by guess. The name, it is true, may be tremely beautiful.
read upon the stone; but what obligation has it to Blest satirist
the poet, whose verscs may wander over the earth,
and leave their subject behind them, and who is In this distich is another line of which Pope was forced, like an unskilful painter, to mahu wis purnot the author. I do not mean to blame these imi-1 pose kawn by adrentitious help?
This epitaph is wholly without elevation, and Ennobled by hitself, by all approved, contains nothing striking or particular; but the poet
Praised, wept, and honour'd, by the Musc be loved. is not to be blamed for the defects of his subject. He said perhaps the best that could be said. There for an epitaph; and therefore some faults are to be
The lines on Craggs were not originally intended are, however, some defects which were not made Decessary by the character in which he was em from the poem that tirst contained them. We may,
imputed to the violence with which they are torn ployed. There is no opposition between an honest
however, observe some defects. There is a recourtier and a patriot; for, an honest courtier cannot
dundancy of words in the first couplet: it is superbat be a patriot.
tuous to tell of him, who was sincere, true, and It was unsuitable to the nicety required in short
faithful, that he was in honour clear. compositions, to close his verse with the word too; every rhyme should be a word of emphasis; nor fourth line, which is not very obvious: where is
There seems to be an opposition intended in the can this rule be safely neglected, except where the
the relation between the two positions, that he length of the poem makes slight inaccuracies ex
gained no tille and lost no friend? cusable, or allows room for beauties sufficient to overpower the effects of petty faults.
It may be proper here to remark the absurdity
of joining, in the same inscription, Latin and EnAt the beginning of the seventh line the word
glish, or verse and prose. If either language be filled is weak and prosaic, having no particular
preferable to the other, let that only be used; for, adaptation to any of the words that follow it.
no reason can be given why part of the information The thought in the last line is impertinent, hav. ing no connexion with the foregoing character, nor on a tomb, more than in any other place, or on any
should be given in one tongue, and part in another, with the condition of the man described. Had the other occasion; and to tell all that can be conveniepitaph been written on the poor conspirator* who died lately in prison, after a confinement of more
ently told in verse, and then to call in the help of than forty years, without any crime proved against
prose, has always the appearance of a very artless him, the sentiment had been just and pathetical; expedient, or of an attempt unaccomplished. Such but why should Trumbal be congratulated upon his an epitaph resembles the conversation of a foreigner, liberty, who had never known restraint?
who tells part of his meaning by words, and conveys part by signs.
HON. SIMON HARCOURT,
INTENDED FOR MR. ROWE.
In Westminster Abbey. Only Son of the Lord Chancellor Harcourt, at the
Church of Stanton-Harcourt, in Oxfordshire, Thy relics, Rowe, to this fair urn we trust, 1720.
And sacred place by Dryden's awful dust;
Beneath a rude and nameless stone he lies,
One grateful woman to thy fame supplies
What a whole thankless land to his denies. If Pope must tell what Harcourt cannot speak. Oh, let thy once loved friend inscribe thy stone, Of this inscription the chief fault is, that it beAnd with a father's sorrows mix his own.
longs less to Rowe, for whom it was written, than This epitaph is principally remarkable for the to Dryden, who was buried near him; and indeed artful introduction of the name, which is inserted gives very little information concerning either. with a peculiar felicity, to which chance must con
To wish Peace to thy shade is too mythological cur with genius, which no man can hope to attain to be admitted into a Christian temple: the ancient twice, and which cannot be copied but with servile worship has infected almost all our other composiimitation,
tions, and might therefore be contented to spare our I cannot but wish that, of this inscription, the two epitaphs. Let fiction, at least, cease with life, and last lines had been omitted, as they take away
let us be serious over the grave. from the energy what they do not add to the sense.
Who died of a Cancer in her Breast.*
Here rests a woman, good without pretence,
Convinced that virtue only is our own.
So unaffected, so composed a mind,
Heaven, as its purest gold, by tortures tried ;
The saint sustain'd it, but the woman died. In action faithful, and in honour clear!
I have always considered this as the most valuabo broke no promise, served no private end Who gain'd no title, and who lost no friend;
ble of all Pope's epitaphs; the subject of it is a
* In the North aitle of the parish church of St MargeMajor Daruarii, who died in Norrgate, Sept 20, 1736. I ret, Westminter.
ET CONSILIIS SANCTORIBUS
ANNOS HEU PAUCOS, XXXV.
OB. FEB. XVI. MDCCXX.