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CHORUS OF YOUTHS AND VIRGINS*.
Ou Tyrant Love! haft thou poflest
The prudent, learn’d, and virtuous breast ?
Love, soft intruder, enters here,
* Some of Dryden's short lyrical odes and songs are wonderfully harmonious; and not sufficiently noticed; particularly in King Arthur, Act III.
" O fight ! the mother of desire,” &c. The song also of the Syrens in Aet IV: and the Incantations in the Third Act of @dipus, put in the mouth of Tiresias ; « Chuse the darkest
grove, Such as ghosts at noon-day love," &c. Nor must his first ode for St. Cecilia's Day be forgotten, in which are passages almost equal to any of the second: especially its opening, and the second stanza that describes Tubal and his brethren. It is, methinks, impoffible to read, without astonishment and regret, such tasteless commendations and unmerited applauses as such a man as Dr. Johnson has bestowed on the ode to Mrs. Killigrew, and the strange preference he gives it, especially the firft ftanza, to any composition in our language, which stanza is really unintelligible, and full of absurd bombast, and nearly approaching the realm of nonsense.
Why, Why, Virtue, dost thou blame desire,
Which Nature has imprest?
The mild and gen'rous breast?
Love's purer flames the Gods approve;
Brutus for absent Portia sighs,
What is loose love? a transient gust,
And burn for ever one ;
Productive as the Sun.
Oh source of ev'ry social tye,
What various joys on one attend;
Whether his hoary fire he fpies,
NOTES. VER... Wby, Virtue, &c.] In allusion to that famous conceit of Guarini,
W. Bayle is fond of saying that Manicheism probably arose from a Itrong meditation on this deplorable state of man.
" Se il
Or meets his spouse's fonder eye;
What home-felt raptures move?
With rev'rence, hope, and love.
Hence guilty joys, distastes, surmises,
Fires that scorch, yet dare not shine :
Sacred Hymen! these are thine .
NOTES. Ver. 31. Or meets] Recalling to our minds that pathetic stroke in Lucretius;
6 dulces occurrunt ofcula nati Præripere, & tacitâ pectus dulcedine tangunt."
Lib. iii. 909.
Ver. 42.] Not to the purposez long leisure.
a These two Chorus's are enough to shew his great talents for this species of Poetry, and to make us lament he did not prosecute his purpose in executing some plans he had chalked out; but the Character of the Managers of Playhouses at that time, was what (he faid) foon determined him to lay afide all thoughts of that nature. Nor did his morais, less than the just sense of his own importance, deter him from having any thing to do with the Theatre. He remembered that an ancient Author hath acquainted us with this extraordinary circumstance; that, in the construction of Pompey's magnificent Theatre, the seats of it were so contrived, as to serve, at the same time, for steps to a VOL. I.
temple of Venus, which he had joined to his Theatre. : The moral Poet could not but be ftruck with a story where the rágos and the pubos of it ran as imperceptibly into one another, as the Theatre and the Temple.
W. How lamentable is it, that a writer of great talents, should misemploy them ip striving to discover new meanings, and analogies, in things not alike, and not founded on plain truth and reason! Thus, the Vine in Lycidas is called gadding, because, though married to the Elm, like bad wives she goes abroad. Thus, in Shakespear, the flower called Love-in-idleness intimates that this passion has its chief power when people are idle. Thus, in Macbeth, screams of death and prophesying, should be read, Aunts, prophesying, old women. And thus, in Midsummer Night's Dream, instead of Cupid all-arm'd, read Cupid alarm'd ; that is, alarmed at the chaftity of Lady Elizabeth, which lefsened his power.
ODE ON SOLITUDE'.
APPY the man, whose with and care
A few paternal acres bound, Content to breathe his native air,
In his own ground.
Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire, Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire.
Blest, who can unconcern’dly find
Hours, days, and years slide soft away, In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day,
Sound sleep by night; study and ease,
Together mixt ; fweet recreation: And innocence, which most does please
Thus let me live, unseen, unknown,
Thus unlamented let me die,
Tell where I lie.
* This was a very early production of our Author, written at about twelve old.