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He blames Pope for being prosaic in morals, and here he censures Mallet for using figures in narration. But to go on with our Author and his citations,
Where'er you find the cooling weitern 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 lense, 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 Crític remarks on the following lines,
Now they who reach Parnassus' lofty crown,
Employ their pains to spurn 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 compel a gentleman and a genius to descend. It is certain,
that Addison 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
the Examiners; that Addison himself tranflated 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 publish 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 accusation. If Addison was guilty of these basenefits, his moral writings ought only to make him the more detestable.
• The common opinion,' says our Critic, that the reign of Charles the second was the Augustan age in England, is
• exceflively exceffively false. A just taste was by no means yet formed.
What was called Sheer-Wit, was alone studied and applaud. 6 ed. Rochester is said to have had no idea of better poetry
than Cowley's. The King was perpetually quoting Hudi6 bras. The neglect of such a poem as the Paradise Lost, 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. Qur ftile in prose was but beginning to be polished; « altho' the diction of Hobbs is sufficiently pure: which philofo• 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 prose compositions in the time of Charles the first, which, for a manly flow of diction, and a roturditas sententiarium, have not yet been furpassed.
Wecome next to this Writer's comment on the following couplet.
With mean complacence ne'er betray your truft,
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 ca bad heart, and an insufferable share of vanity, and
who was one of the professed wits of the last mentioned age, 6 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 tl charms with graceful negligence,
And without method taiks us into sense. 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 still blameable for having wrapt it up in fuch a manner that the perspiÇacity of so many ages was not sufficient to develope it?
is strialy 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 those 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 charac6. teristic.'
How frugal is our Critic of his praise ? Horace undoubtodly possessed 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 bufiness and booms, be sublime? What then must become of Pindar, whose Odes abound with ethic sentences ?But why must Horace have 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 singular reverence, as the Critic cannot determine, so was there no occasion for the insinuation. The old Scholiasts mention but one or two lines + which Horace translated from Alcæus ;
; and had there been more, those gentlemen, who were suffici. en ly fond of shewing their reading, would not have failed to have quoted them. Besides, as the hatred of tyranny was the characte iftical excellence of Alcæus, could the courtier of Auguftus imitate him in that? And as to his love and social composition , delicacy, not sublimity, seens to be their perfection. 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 paílages;* 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 balance of literary obligation on Horace's fide.
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 xviii. 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,t 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 lait, 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 slavery that reign there : nay, that superstition itself has been highly productive of these fine arts: for with what enthusiasm must 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. + 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 Esayist, in the times here alluded
to. The moft cruel tyranny, and the groffest 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 ( 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 • absolutions for any one who had killed his father, mother,
fifter, or wife, or had committed the most enormous pol«lutions.'
This just and animated picture evidently shews, that superftition and tyranny are, in their natural tendency, not only deftractive 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. What poets, painters, or muficians has eastern despotism 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, possessed.
At length Erasmus, that great injur'd name,
And drove those holy Vandals off the stage.
* This is not ftriatly true. Some lines in the Essay on Criticisin, and particularly those relating to Erasmus, having displeased many bigotred Catholics, Pope says, in one of his Letters to the Honourable J. C. that if they did not fuffer the mention of Erasmus to pass unregarded, he hould be forced to do that for his reputation which he would neler do for his own ; that is, to vindicate so great a light of his Church from the malice of part times, and the igno.