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Warton, in the dedication of his elegant « Essay on the Writings and Ge nius of Pope," after making four classes of the various English poets, remarks: * In which of these classes Pope deserves to be placed, the following work is intended to determine; and he closes his second volume, thus: “ Where, then, according to the question proposed at the beginning of this Essay, shall we :ustly be authorized to place our admired Pope? Not, assuredly, in the same rank with Spenser, Shakspeare, and Milton; however justly we may applaud the Eloisa,' and the • Rape of the Lock;' but, considering the correctness, elegance, and utility of his works, the weight of sentiment, and the knowledge of man they contain, we may venture to assign him a place next to Milton, and just above Dryden. The preference here given to Pope, above other modern English poets, it must be remembered, is founded on the excellencies of his works in general, and taken altogether; for there are parts and passages in other modern authors, in Young and in Thomson, for instance, equal to any of Pope; and he has written nothing in a strain so truly sublime as the • Bard' of Gray."?
Rapt into future times, the bard begun:
1 He means next to that first class, which includes Spenser, Shakspeare, and Milton, naming these in a chronological order, and not in the order of their merits.
? And what has he written equal to the "Elegy," or the “ Progress of Poesy," of Gray
& Pollio was a Roman senator in the time of Augustus, and celebrated not only as a general, but as a patron of letters and the one arts. Virgil addressed to him his fourth Eclogue at a time (B. C. 40) when Augustus and Antony had ratified a league of peace, and thus, as it was thought, established the tranquillity of the empire, as in the times of the "golden age.” In this Eclogue Virgil is most eloquent in the praise of peace, and in some of his figures and expressions is thought to have imitated the prophecies of Isaiah, which, probably, he had read in the Greek Septuagint. But however this may be as regards Virgil, Roscoe well remarks of this production of Pope, that "the idea of uniting the sacred prophecies and grand imagery of ISAIAH, with the mysterious visions and pomp of numbers displayed in the POLLIO, thereby combining both sacred and heathen mythology in predicting the coming of the Messian, is one of the happiest subjects for producing emotions of subli. nity that ever occurred to the mind of a poet." 4 Jerusalem. 5 A mountain in Thessaly, sacred to the Muses. 6 Aonian maids--the Muses. 7 Isa. xi. 1. 8 Isa. xlv. 8. 9 Isa. xxv. 4.
10 Isa. ix. 7.
Swift fly the years, and rise the expected morn! O spring to light, auspicious Babe, be born! See, Nature hastes her earliest wreaths to bring, With all the incense of the breathing spring: See lofty Lebanon' his head advance, See nodding forests on the mountains dance; See spicy clouds from lowly Saron rise, And Carmel's flowery top perfumes the skies! Hark! a glad voice the lonely desert cheers; Prepare the way!2 A God, a God appears! A God, a God! the vocal hills reply; The rocks proclaim the approaching Deity. Lo, earth receives him from the bending skies! Sink down, ye mountains; and ye valleys, rise! With heads declined, ye cedars, homage pay; Be smooth, ye rocks; ye rapid floods, give way. The Saviour comes! by ancient bards foretold ! Hear him, ye deaf;3 and all ye blind, behold! He from thick films shall purge the visual ray, And on the sightless eyeball pour the day: 'Tis he the obstructed paths of sound shall clear, And bid new music charm th' unfolding ear: The dumb shall sing, the lame his crutch forego, And leap exulting, like the bounding roe. No sigh, no murmur, the wide world shall hear; From every face he wipes off every tear, In adamantine chains shall death be bound, And hell's grim tyrant feel th' eternal wound. As the good shepherd 4 tends his fleecy care, Seeks freshest pasture, and the purest air; Explores the lost, the wandering sheep directs, By day o'ersees them, and by night protects; The tender lambs he raises in his arms, Feeds from his hand, and in his bosoin warms: Thus shall mankind his guardian care engage, The promised 5 father of the future age. No more shall nation 6 against nation rise, Nor ardent warriors meet with hateful eyes, Nor fields with gleaming steel be cover'd o'er, The brazen trumpets kindle rage no more; But useless lances into scythes shall bend, And the broad falchion in a ploughshare end. Then palaces shall rise; the joyful son? Shall finish what his short-lived sire begun; Their vines a shadow to their race shall yield, And the same hand that sow'd shall reap the field. The swain in barren deserts 8 with surprise Sees lilies spring, and sudden verdure rise; And starts amidst the thirsty wilds to hear New falls of water murmuring in his ear. On rifted rocks, the dragon's late abodes, The green reed trembles, and the bulrush nods.
1 Isa. Xxxv. 2.
sa. Ix. 6.
9 Isa. xl. 3, 4.
3 Isa. xlii. 18; xxxv. 5, 6.
4 Isa. XI. 11.
Waste sandy valleys,' once perplex'd with thorn,
Thy realm for ever lasts, thy own Messiah reigns! Of the « Essay on Criticism,” Dr. Johnson remarks, «if he had written nothing else, it would have placed him among the first critics and the first voets; as it exhibits every mode of excellence that can embellish or digny composition--selection of matter, novelty of arrangement, justness of preceps splendor of illustration, and propriety of digression.":10
1 Ina. xli. 19; lv. 13. 2 Isa. xi. 6-8. 3 Isa. Ixv. 25.
4 Isa, lx. 1. 5 Isa. Is.. 6 lva. Ir. 3.
7 Isa. Ix. 6.
8 Isa. lx. 19, 20. Isa. 11. 6; liv, 10. 10 - For a person only twenty years old to lure produced such an Essay, no replete with a ledge of Use and manners, such accurate observations on men and books, such variety of litera anch strong good sense, and refined taste and judgment, has been the subject of frequent and o
ent and of just admiration.".- Warton.
For as in bodies, thus in souls, we find
Essay on Criticism, 2012
Essay on Criticism, 364. EVANESCENCE OF POETIC FAME. Be thon the first true merit to befriend; His praise is lost, who stays till all commend. Short is the date, alas, of modern rhymes, And 'tis but just to let them live betimes.
1 These lines are usually cited as fine examples of adapting the sound to the sense, but Dr. Johnson, in the ninety-second number of the Rambler, has demonstrated that Pope has here signally falled. "The verse intended to represent the whisper of the vernal breeze must surely be confessed not much to excel in softness or volubility; and the smooth stream runs with a perpetual clash of jarring consonants. The noise and turbulence of the 'torrent,' is indeed distinctly imaged; for it requires very little skill to make our language rough. But in the lines which mention the effort of * Ajax,' there is no particular heaviness or delay. The 'swiftness of Camilla' is rather contrasted than exemplified. Why the verse should be lengthened to express speed will not easily be discovered, But the Alexandrine, by its pause in the midst, is a tardy and stately measure; and the word 'un bending,' one of the most sluggish and slow which our language afforda, cannot much accelerate its
No longer now that golden age appears,
Essay on Criticism, 474. The “ Essay on Man" is a philosophical, didactic poem, in vindication of The ways of Providence, in which the poet proposes to prove, that, of all posmule systems, Infinite Wisdom has formed the best : that in such a system, evilell.cc, union, subcrdinauon, are necessary: that it is not strange that we sivuld not be able to discorur vetfection and order in every instance; be calde, in an infinity of thiago biulually relative, a mind which sees not infinitely, can see nothing fully.
THE SCALE OF BEING.?
I "Nothing was ever so happily expressed on the art of painting."-Warton.
9 "These lines are admirable patterns of forcible diction. To live along the line,' is equally o and beautiful. If Pope must yield to other poets in point of fertailty of fancy, yet in point of pro prioty, closeness, and elegance or diction, he can yield to none."- Warton.