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He blames Pope for being prosaic in morals, and here he cenfures Mallet for using figures in narration.-But to go on with our Author and his citations.
Where'er you find the cooling western breeze,
In the next line it whistles through the trees. Unvaried rhymes,' says he, highly disgust readers of a good ear.' If the rhymes are good the ear cannot be offended. The mind, indeed, may, as by the first rhyme the second may be guessed, by which the composition loses the charm of novelty.
• We have not,' he adds, many compositions where new + and uncommon rhymes are introduced.' He has, however, mentioned some poets who have been studious of this beauty, Parnelle, Pitt's Vida, West's Pindar, Thomson's Castle of Indolence, and the author of an Ode on Summer. These new rhymes, however, do no great honour to their inventors,
When speaking of the lines meant as instances of adapting the found to the ienfe, the Critic might have shewn that they are taken from Vida, lib. IIId. The Italian poet, however, in his exemplifications, is not chargeable with the fault justly imputed by the Rambler to those of Pope. Our Critic remarks on the following lines,
Now they who reach Parnassus’ losty crown,
Employ their pains to fpurn some others down. That the arts used by Addison to suppress the rising merit I of Pope, which are now fully laid open, give one pain * to behold, to what mean artifices envy and malignity will i compel a gentleman and a genius to descend. It is certain, " that Addisun discouraged Pope from inserting the machinery
in the Rape of the Lock; that he privately insinuated that
Pope was a Tory and a Jacobite, and had a hand in writing 6 the Examiners; that Addison himself translated the first
book of Homer, published under Tickel's name; and that he secretly encouraged Gildon to abuse Pope, in a virulent pamphlet, for which Addison paid Gildon ten guineas.'
As we cannot suppose this Author would publiíh these things against a man of Mr. Addison's character, without fufficient proofs of their certainty, so ought he, in justice, to have subjoined them to the acculation. If Addison was guilty of these bafenefits, his moral writings ought only to make bim the more detestable.
• The common opinion,' says our Critic, that the reign of Charles the second was the Augustan age in England, is
exceffively false. A just taste was by no means yet formed. < What was called Sheer-Wit, was alone studied and applaud6 ed. Rochester is said to have had no idea of better poetry.
than Cowley's. The King was perpetually quoting Hudi< bras. The neglect of such a poem as the Paradise Loft, 6 will for ever remain a monument of the bad taste that pre
vailed. It may be added, that the progress of philological « learning, and of what is called the Belle Lettres, was, per• haps, obstructed by the institution of the Royal Society, « which turned the thoughts of men of genius to physical en
quiries. Our stile in prose was but beginning to be polished; 6 altho' the diction of Hobbs is sufficiently pure: which philoso• pher, and not the florid Sprat, was the classic of that age.'
If Cowley had not wrote Essays, Dryden Prefaces, Clarendon his Controversial Pieces and his History, we should, perhaps, have agreed with our Author. , There were, however, some profe compositions in the time of Charles the first, which, for a manly flow of diction, and a roturditas sententiarium, have not yet been furpassed.
We come next to this Writer's comment on the following couplet.
With mean complacence ne'er betray your trust,
Nor be so civil as to be unjust. 6.Our poet,' says he, practised this excellent precept in • his conduct to Wycherly, whose pieces he corrected with • equal freedom and judgment. But Wycherly, who had
a bad heart, and an insufferable share of vanity, and ( who was one of the professed wits of the last mentioned age, • was soon disgusted at this candour of Pope's, insomuch that • he came to an open and ungenerous rupture with him.'
Does not the Critic here. make rather too free with the hearts of other men? It is, however, evident, that Pope, who must have known W. better than Mr. ****** could possibly do, thought differently of that spirited and witty comic writer ; for, in one of his Letters, written after Wycherly's death, he bears express testimony to the probity of his departed friend. But to return :
Horace itil charms with graceful negligence,
And without method talks us into fenfe. After agreeing with Mr. Hurd, * that the Epistle to the Pilo's
* Although we think that this excellent Commentator has shewn the connexion of the several
parts of that poem, is not Horace ftill blameable for having wrapr it up in such a manner that the perspiÇacity of so many ages was not suficient to develope it?
is striāly methodical, and not a compleat Art of Poetry, but solely confined to the state and defects of the Roman drama, our Author thus proceeds. It seems also to be another com« mon mistake, that one of Horace's characteristics is the < sublime; of which, indeed, he has given a very few strokes, (and thofe taken from Pindar, and, probably, from Alcæus. « His excellence lay in exquisite observations on human life, " and in touching the foibles of mankind with a delicate
urbanity. It is easy to perceive this moral turn in all his compositions. The writer of the Epistles is discerned in (the Odes. Elegance, not Sublimity, was his grand charac6teristic.'
How frugal is our Critic of his praise? Horace undoubtodly poffefsed elegance in a very eminent degree, and many of his Odes are moral and fatyric; but can no poet who draws images from familiar life, and makes remarks that come home to mens business and boloms, be sublime ? What then must become of Pindar, whose Odes abound with ethic sentences ? But why must Horace bave borrowed his very few frokes of the sublime from Pindar and Alcæus ? How far the Roman borrowed from the Lesbian poet, whom he regarded with a fingular reverence, as the Critic cannot determine, fo was there no occasion for the infinuation. The old Scholiasts mention but one or two lines – which Horace translated from Alcæus ; and had therc been more, those gentlemen, who were suffici. en ly fond of thewing their reading, would not have failed to have quoted then. Besides, as the hatred of tyranny was the characteristical excellence of Alcæus, could the courtier of Auguftus imitate him in that? And as to his love and social composition, delicacy, not sublimity, seems to be their per
We, indeed, know that Horace has made freer with the Th ban bard. Yet how many imitations have Critics, after all their search, been able to find in the Roman Lyrift? not above half a dozen passages ;* and we will venture to affirm, that they have not changed conditions for the worse, and that the Pindarum quisquis Studet æmulari, not only shews that Horace could be as sublime as Pindar, when he chose it, but throws the ballance of literary obligation on Horace's side.
But left that Ode should not equally strike our ingenious Critic, he is desired to consider the following Odes, and then to declare if there are any in Pindar superior to them, viz. Odes 15, 35, 37, of the first book; Odes i, 13 (which the
* Ode xviij. Lib. 1.
Critic thinks the best in Horace) and 19. of the second book; and especially Ode 1, 3, 4, the Character of Regulus in the 5th, and the 25th of the third book; Ode 4, 9, and 14 of the fourth book, not to mention some of the Epodes.
Indeed Horace, in his Satyres and Epistles, modestly difclaimś not only all title to fublimity, but even to poetry, and in his Odes often fays, that his Muse was not suited to subjects of grandeur, but fung
Convivia et prælia virginum,
Non præter folitum levis.
In grave Quintilian's copious work we find,
The justest rules and clearest method join'd. To recommend Quintilian, fays the Critic, very justly, barely for his method, and to infift merely on this excellence, is below the merit of one of the most rational and elegant of Roman writers. As no author ever adorned a scientifical treatise with so many beautiful metaphors, he afforded matter for a more appropriated and poetical character.
Art. 42. After praising the abrupt address to Longinus, he adds, † the taste and sensibility of Longinus were exquisite, but his observations were too general, and his method too loose. The precision of the true philosophical critic is loft in the declamation of the florid rhetorician.
From the same foes, at last, both felt their doom,
And the same age saw learning fall and Rome. Our author remarks, that tho’ it was the opinion of Longinus, Shaftsbury, and Addison, that arbitrary governments are pernicious to the fine arts as well as to the sciences; yet modern History has afforded an example to the contrary. Painting, sculpture, and music have been seen to arrive at a high perfection in Rome, notwithstanding the superstition and Navery that reign there : nay, that superstition itself has been highly productive of these fine arts: for with what enthusiasm muft a popish painter work for an altar-piece? - That the fine arts, in short, are naturally attendant upon power and luxury. But the sciences require unlimited freedom to raise them to their full vigour and growth. In a monarchy there may be po* Thee, bold Longinus, all the Nine in pire,
And bless their Critic with the poet's fire. of As Mr. Hard had observed before him,
ets, painters, and musicians ; but orators, historians, and philosophers can exist in a republic alone. He proceeds.
A second deluge learning thus o'er-run,
And the Monks finish'd what the Goths begun. • Every custom and opinion that can degrade humanity, was • to be found,' says the Essayist, in the times here alluded • to. The most cruel tyranny, and the grossest superstition
reigned without controul. Men seemed to have lost not on
ly the light of learning, but of their common reasoning, • Duels, Divinations, the Ordeal, and all the oppressive cul(toms of the feudal laws, were universally practised: Witch
craft, Possessions, Revelations, and Astrology, were gene
rally believed. The clergy were so ignorant, that in some c of the most folemn acts of Council, such words as these, as
my Lord Bishop cannot write himself, at his request I have subscribed. They were at that time lo profligate, as to publish
abfolutions for any one who had killed his father, mother, "fifter, or wife, or had committed the most enormous pol
This just and animated picture evidently shews, that superfition and tyranny are, in their natural tendency, not only destructive of the sciences, but of the arts of beauty. And if Taffo and Raphael flourished in arbitrary governments, their fuccess was owing to the smiles of the court. painters, or muficians has eastern deipotism produced ?
But, however, let us not load the clergy of the middle centaries with more odium than they deserve. What learning was then known in Europe, they, and they only, pofleffed.
At length Erasmus, that great injur'd name,
And drove those holy Vandals off the stage. Our Critic wilhes Mr. Pope had drawn a fuller portrait of this wonderful man, of whom, according to our Author, he appears to have been so fond, as to declare in his Letters, that he had some design of writing his life in Latin.*
This is not ftrialy true. Some lines in the Efíay on Criticisin, and particularly those relating to Erasmus, having displeased many bigoired Catholics, Pope says, in one of his Letters to the Honourable J. C. that if they did not fuffer the mention of Erasmus 10 país unrega:ded, he should be forced to do that for his reputation which he would never do for his own ; that is, to vindicate to great a light of his Church from the malice of past times, and the igno.