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T has been so usual among modern authors to write prefaces, that a man is
of what he is to expect in the book.
The greatest part of this collection consists of amorous verses. Those who are converfant with the writings of the ancients, will obterve a great difference between what they and the moderns have published on this subject. The occafions upon which the
of the former are written, are such as happen to every maa almost that is in love; and the thoughts fuch, as are natural for every man is love to think. The moderns, on the other hand, have sought out for occasions that none meet with but themselves; and fill their verses with thoughts that are farprizing and glittering, but not tender, passionate, or natural to a man in love.
To judge which of these two are in the right; we ought to consider the end that people propose in writing love verses: and that I take not to be the getting fame or admiration from the world, but the obtaining the love of their mistress ; and the best way I conceive to make her love you, is to convince her that you love her. Now this certainly is not to be done by forced conceits, far-fetched fimilies, and shining points ; but by a true and lively representation of the pairs and thoughts attending such a pasion.
-Si vis me flere, dolendum eft
I would as soon believe a widow in great grief for her husband, because I faw her dance a courant about his coffin, as believe a man in love with his miftress for his writing such verses as some great modern wits have done upon theirs.
I am fatisfied that Catulius, Tibullus, Propertius, and Ovid were in love with their mistresses while they upbraid them, quarrel with them, threaten them, and forswear them ; but I confess I cannot believe Petrarch in love with his, when he writes conceits upon her name, her gloves, and the place of her birth. I know it is natural for a lover, in transports of jealousy, to treat his mifrels with all the violence imaginable ; but I cannot think it natural for a man, who is much in love, to amuse himself with such trilles as the other. I am pleased with Tibullus, when he says, he could live in a desart with his mistress where never any human fontsteps appeared, because I doubt no: but he really thinks what he says: but I confels I can hardly forbcar laughing when Petrarch tells us, he could live without any other suffenance than his mistress's looks. I can very easy believe a man may love a woman so well as to desire no company but ber's; but I can never beliste
A man can love a woman so well as to have no need of meat and drink if he
upon her. The first is a thought so natural for a lover, that there is no man really in love, but thinks the same thing; the other is not the thought of a man in love, but of a man who would impose upon us with a pretended love (and that indeed very grossly too) while he had really none at all. .
It would be endless to pursue this point ; and any man who will but give himself the trouble to compare what the ancients and moderns have said upon the same occafions, will soon perceive the advantage the former have over the others. I have chosen to mention Petrarch only, as being by much the moit famous of all the moderns who have written love-verses : and it is, indeed, the great reputation which he has gotten, that has given encouragement to this falfo fort of wit in the world : for people, seeing the great credit he had, and has indeed to this day, not only in Italy, but ove: all Europe, have satisfied themselves with the imitacia on of him, never enquiring whether the way he took was right or not.
There are no modern writers, perhaps, who have succeeded better in love-verses than the English; and it is indeed just that the fairest ladies should inspire the best poets. Never was there a more copious fancy or greater reach of wit than what appears in Dr. Donne; nothing can be more gallanic or genteel than the poems of Mr. Waller; nothing more gay or sprightly than thole of Sir John Suckling; and nothing fuller of variety and learning than Mr. Cowley's. However, it may be observed, that among all these, that softness, tenderness, and violence of passion, which the ancients thought most proper for love-verses, is wanting : and at the fame time that we must allow Dr. Donne to have been a very great wit; Mr. Waller a very gallant writer; Sir John Suckling a very gay one ; and Mr. Cowley a great genius; yet methinks I can hardly fancy any one of them to have been a very great lover. And it grieves me that the ancients, who could never have handsomer women than we have, Mould nevertheless be so much more in love than
But it is probable the great reason of this may be the cruelty of our ladies; for a man must be imprudent indeed to let his passion take very deep root, when he has no reason to expect any sort of return to it. And if it be so, there ought to be a petition made to the fair, that they would be pleased sometimes to abate a little of their rigour for the propagation of good verse. I do not mean that they Tould confer their favours upon none but men of wit, that would be too great a confinement indeed; but that they would admit them upon the same foot with other people; and if they please now and then to make the experiment, I fancy they will find entertainment enough from the very variety of it.
There are three forts of poems that are proper for love: pastorals, elegies, and lyric verses; under which laft, I comprehend all songs, odes, fonnets, madrigals, and ftanzas. Of all these, pastoral is the lowest, and, upon that account, perhaps most proper for love; since it is the nature of that paflion, to render the soul süft and humble. These three forts of poems ought to differ, not only in their numbers, but in the designs, and in every thought of them. Though we have no difference between the verses of pastoral and elegy in the modern languages, yet the numbers of the first ought to be looser and not so sonorous as the other; the thoughts more simple, more easy, and more humble. The design ought to be the representing the life of a fhepherd, not orly by talking of sheep and fields, but by Thowing us the truth, sincerity, and innocence, that accompanies that sort of life': for though I know our masters, Theocritus and Virgil, have not always conformed in this poin; of innocence; Theocritus, in his Daphnis, having made his love too wanton, and Virgil, in his Alexis, placed his passion upon a boy; yet (if we may be allowed to censure those whom we must always reverence) I take both those things to be faults in their poems, and should have been better pleased with the Alexis if it had been made to a woman; and with the Daphnis, if he had made his thepherds more modeft. When I give humility and modesty as the character of pastoral, it is not, however, but that a hepherd may be allowed to boast of his pipe,
his fongs, his flocks, and to sew a contempt of his rival, as we fee both Theocritas and Virgil do. But this must be still in luch a manner as if the occasion offered itself, and was not fought, and proceeded rather from the violence of the hepherds paflion, than any natural pride or malice in him.
There ought to be the same difference observed between pastorals and elegies as between the life of the country and the court. In the first, love ought to be represented as among shepherds, in the other as among gentlemen. They ought to be smooth, clear, tender, and pallionate. The thoughts may be bold, more gay, and more elevated, than in pastoral. The passions they represent; either more gallant or more violent, and less innocent than the others. The subjects of them, prayers, praise, expoftulations, quarrels, reconcilements, threatnings, jealousies, and in fine, all the natural effects of love.
Lyricks may be allowed to handle all the same subjects with elegy, but to do it however in a different manner. An elegy ought to be so entirely one thing, and every verle ought so to depend upon the other, that they should not be able to subfift alone; or, to make use of the words of a * great modern critic, there must be
a just coherence made
“ Like goodly mountains, till they reach the kies.” Lyricks, on the other hand, though they ought to make one body as well as the other, yet may consist of parts that are entire of themselves. It being a rule in modern languages, that every stanza ought to make up a complete fense without running into the other. Frequent sentences, which are accounted faults in elegies, are beauties here. Befides this, Malherbe, and the French poets after him, have made it a rule in the stanzas of fix lines, to make a paufe at the third ; and in those of ten lines, at the third and the seventh. And it must be confeft that this exactness renders them much more musical and harmonious; though they have not always been fo religious in observing the latter rule as the former.
But I am engaged in a very vain or a very foolish design: those who are critics, it would be a prelump:ion in me to pretend I could inftru&t; and to instruct those who are not, at the fame time I write myself, is (if I may be allowed to apply another man's fimile) like selling arms to an enemy in time of war: though there ought, perhaps, to be more indulgence shewn to things of love and gallantry than any others, because they are generally written when people are young, and intended for ladies who are not supposed to be very old; and all young people, especialy of the fair sex, are more taken with the liveliness of fancy, than the correctness of judgment. It may also be observed, that to write of love well, a man must be really in love; and to correct his writings well, he must be out of love again. I am well enough fatisfied I may be in circumstances of writing of love, but I am almoft in despair of ever being in circumstances of correcting it. This I hope may be a reason for the fair and the young to pass over some of the faults; and as for the grave and wise, all the favour I shall beg of them is, that they would no: read them. Things of this nature are calculated only for the former. If love-veries
the ladies, a man will not trouble himself with what the critics fay of them: and if they do not, all the commendations the critics can give him will make but very little amends. All I shall say for these trifles is, that I pretend not to vie with any man whatíoever. I doubt not but there are several now living who are able to write better on all subjeets than I am upon any one: but I will take the boldness to say, that there is no one man among them all who shall be readier to 26knowledge his own faults, or to do justice to the merits of other people.
As I from that all former marks efface,
10, little book, and to the world impart
The faithful image of an amorous heart : Those who love's dear deluding pains have known, May in my fatal stories read their own. Those who have liv'd from all its torments free, May find the thing they never felt, by me. Perhaps, advis'd, avoid the gilded bait, And, warn'd by my example, fhun my fate. While with calm joy, safe landed on the coast, I view the waves on which I once was toft. Love is a medley of endearments, jars, Suipicions, quarrels, reconcilem :nts, wars ; Then pesce again. Oh! woula it not be best To chase the fatal poison from our breast ? But, fince fo few can live from paffion free, Happy the man, and only happy he, Who with such lucky stars begins his love, That his cool judgment does his choice approye. Ill-grounded passions quickly wear away; What's built upon esteem can ne'er decay,
L E G Y. THE UNREWARDED LOVER.
ET the dull Merchant curse his angry fate,
And from the winds and waves his fortunc wait: Let the loud Lawyer break his brains, and be A llave to wrangling coxcombs, for a fee : Let the rough Soldier fight his prince's foes, And for a livelihood his life expose : I wage no war, I plead no cause, but Love's ; I fear no storms but what Celinda moves. And what grave cenfor can my choice despise ? But here, fair charmer, here the difference lies : The Merchant, after all his hazards past, Enjoys the fruit of his long toils ar last; The Soldier high in his king's favour ftands, And, after having long obey'd, commands; The Lairyer, to reward his tedious care, Roars on the bench, that babbled at the bar : While I take pains to meet a fate more hard, And reap no frui:, no favour, no reward.
E L E G Y.
To his mistress.
Were but her book an emblem of her breat!
Nay in the fury, in the height of that abborr d embrace, Believe you thought, believe at least you wish'd, me it the place.
And think, unless I lov'd thee ftill,
I had not treated thee so ill ; For these rude pangs of jealousy are much more certain
signs Of love, than all the tender words an amoroas fancy coins.
Thou pleasing torture of my breaft,
Sure thou wer: fram'd to piague my reit, Since both the III and Good you do, alike my peres
destroy; That kills me with excess of grief, this with exces
1. HO could more happy,who more blest could live, Than they whom kind, whom ainorous passions
move? What crowns, what empires, greater joys could give, Than the soft chains, the Navery of Love?
Were not the bliss too often croft
By that unhappy, vile dittruit, That gnawing doubt, that anxious fear, that dangerous
malady, That terrible tormenting rage, that madness, Jealousy.
His lighs I hear, his look: I view,
I see her damn'd advances too ;
If merit could not gain your love,
My sufferings might your pity move ;
No, though you from my kindness fly,
My vengeance you shall fatisfy: The Muse, that would have fung your praise, shall now
aloud proclaim To the malicious, spiteful world, your infamy and thame.
V. Ye Gods ! she weeps ; behold that falling Shower! See how her eyes are quite diffolv'd in tears ! Can Mhe in vain that precious torrent pour ? Oh, no, it bears away my doubts and fears :
'Twas Pity sure that made it fiow :
For the same pity, stop it now; For every charming, heavenly drop that from those eyes
does part, is paid with streams of blood, that gush from my o'erfowing heart.
I'll frame excuses for your fault,
CURE OF JEALOUSY.
HAT tortures can there be in hell,
Compar'd to what fond lovers feel, When, doating on some fair-one's charms, They think the yields them to their rival's arms?
As lions, though they once were tame,
Lift up their stormy voices, roar,
So fares the lover when his breast
Forswears the nymph for whom he burns,
But when the fair refolves his doubt,
The cloud of Jealousy's dispellid,
With what strange raptures is he bleft!