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« oxen, and to say I'm goaded on by love ? “ After which question he never spoke “ again.”.
Of the Distres Mother not much is pretended to be his own, and therefore it is no subject of criticism : his other two tragedies, I believe, are not below mediocrity, nor above it. Among the Poems comprised in this collection, the Letter from Denmark may be justiy praised; the Pastorals, which by the writer of the Guardian were ranked as one of the four genuine productions of the rustick Muse, cannot surely be dea, spicable. That they exhibit a mode of life which does not exist, nor ever existed, is not to be objected; the suppofition of such a state is allowed to Pasto
ral. In his other poems he cannot be denied the praise of lines sometimes elegant; but he has seldom much force, or much comprehension. The pieces that please best are those which, from Pope and Pope's adherents, procured him the name of Namby Pamby, the poems of short lines, by which he paid his court to all ages and characters, from Walpole the steerer of the realm to miss Pulteney in the nursery: the numbers are smooth and spritely, and the diction is seldom faulty. They are not loaded with much thought, yet if they had been written by Addison they would have had admirers : little things are not valued but when they are done by those who can do greater.
In his translations from Pindar he found the art of reaching all the obscurity of the Theban bard, however he may fall below his sublimity; he will be allowed, if he has less fire, to have more smoke.
He has added nothing to English poetry, yet at least half his book deserves to be read : perhaps he valued most himself that part, which the critick would reject.
THE Poems of Dr. WATTS
1 were by my recommendation inserted in this Collection; the readers of which are to impute to me whatever pleasure or weariness they may find in the perusal of Blackmore, Watts, Pomfret, and Yalden.
ISAAC WATTS was born July 17, 1674, at Southampton, where his father, of the same name, kept a boarding-school for young gentlemen, though coinmon report makes hin a shoemaker.