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Pocula sunt fontes liquidi, atque exercita cursu
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':■,Of English poets, perhaps, none have excelled the ingenious Mr. Dyer in this oblique instruction, into which he frequently steals imperceptibly, in his little descriptive poem entitled Gkongab Hill, where he disposes every / object so as it may give occasion for some observation on human life. Denham himself is not superior to Mr. Dyer in this particular. After painting a landscape very extensive and
diversified, he adds, '' '" ."
;' !• . Lilr.ie} 'i ) :,, :.■ ;. .,' •
''•'•'—■' . • . . '.
''"' .' Thus is Nature's vesture wrought,
':.) ,' i .' T9 instruct our wandering thought;
, . i Thus she dresses green and gay.
To disperse our cares away.
'Another View from this favourite spot, gives him an opportunity for sliding into the following moralities:
* How close and small the hedges lie! j... .. What streaks of meadows cross the eye!
A step, •
* In this light also his pio'em on the Ruins of Rome deserves 'a 'perusal. t)odsley's Miscell; vol. 78'.' His Fleece,
'*" '.' which
A step, methinks, may pass the stream, . ■
So little distant dangers seem;
So we mistake the Future's face,
Ey'd through Hope's deluding glass.
As yon summits, soft and fair,
Clad in colours of the air,
Which to those, who journey near, . M
Barren, and brown, and rough appear,, . . .
Still we tread the same coarse way,
The Present's still a cloudy day^ -' n
The unexpected insertion of such reflections, imparts to us the same pleasure that we feel, when, in wandering through a wilderness or grove, we suddenly behold, in the turning of the walk, a statue of some Virtue or Muse.
^slt may be observed in general, that description of the external beauties of nature, is usually the first effort of a young genius, before he hath studied manners and passions^ Some of Milton's^ most early, as well as most exquisite pieces, are his Lycidas, L'Allegro, and II Penseroso; if we may except his Ode on the Nativity of Christ, which is, indeed, prior in the order of time, and
D 2 in
which I had the pleasure of reading in manuscript, with Dr. Akenside, is written in a pure and classical taste, and with many happy imitations of Vitgil.
in which a penetrating critic might have discovered the seeds of that boundless imagination, which afterwards was to produce the Paradise Lost. This ode, which, by the way, is not sufficiently read nor admired, is also of the descriptive kind; but the objects of its description are great, and striking to the imagination; the false deities of the Heathen forsaking their temples on the birth of our Saviour; divination and oracles at an end; which facts, though, perhaps, not historically true, are poetically beautiful- . ..'-i.i''
The lonely mountains o'er,
From haunted spring, and dale - •''
The parting Genius is with sighing sent;
The lovers of poetry (and to such only I write) wilt Hot be displeased at my presenting them faJso with the following, i image, which is so
* On the morning of Chrises Nativity. Newton's edition, ottavo. Vol. ii. page 28, 29, of the Miscellaneous Poems.
strongly conceived, that, methinks, I see at this instant the daemon it represents:
And sullen Moloch fled,
Hath left in shadows dread,
In vain with cimbals' ring
They call the griesly king,
Attention is irresistibly awakened and engaged by that air of solemnity and enthusiasm that reigns in the following stanzas;
The oracles are dumb;+
Such is the power of true poetry, that one is almost inclined to believe the superstitions here alluded to, to be real; and the succeeding circumstances make one start, and look around:
D 3 . In
•;fji,* See also verses written at a Solemn Musjc, and on the Passion,, in the same volume; and a vacation exercise, page 9, fn all which are to be found many strokes of the sublime.
f Page 28. *
In consecrated earth,
And on the holy hearth,
In urns and altars round,
A drear and dying sound
Methinks we behold the priests interrupted in