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they are direct manifestations of mind, and, the celestial armour, and the very brazen presuppose poetry in their very conception; greaves of the wellbooted Greeks? Is it and have, moreover, as being such, a some- solely from the legs, and the back, and the thing of actual life, which cannot belong breast, and the human body, which they to any part of inanimate nature, unless we inclose? In that case, it would have been adopt the systein of Spinoza, that the world more poetical to have made them fight is the Deity. There can be nothing more naked; and Gulley and Gregson, as being poetical in its aspect than the city of Venice: nearer to a state of nature, are more poetdoes this depend upon the sea, or the ical, boxing in a pair of drawers, than tleccanals? -
tor and Achilles in radiant armour, and “The dirt and sea-weed whence proud Venice
with heroic weapons. rose?"
Instead of the clash of helmets, and the Is it the canal which runs between the pa- rushing of chariots, and the whizzing of lace and the prison, or the “Bridge of Sighs" spears, and the glancing of swords, and which connects theni, that renders it poet- the cleaving of shields, and the piercing of ical? Is it the “Canal Grande," or the Ri-breast-plates, why not represent the Greeks alto which arches it, the churches which and Trojans like two savage tribes, tugging tower over it, the palaces which line, and and tearing, and kicking, and biting, and the gondolas which glide over the waters, gnashing, foaming, grinning, and gouging, that render this city more poetical than in all the poetry of martial nature , uninRome itself? Mr. Bowles will say, per- cumbered with gross, prosaic artificial arms, haps, that the Rialto is but marble, the an equal superfluity to the natural warrior, palaces and churches only stone, and the and his natural poet? Is there any thing gondolas a "coarse” black cloth, thrown unpoetical in Ulysses striking the horses of over some planks of carved wood, with a Rhesus with his bow (having forgotten his shining bit of fantastically-formed iron at thong), or would Mr. Bowles have had him the prow, "without the water. And I tell kick them with his foot, or sinack them him that without these the water would be with his hand, as being more unsophistinothing but a clay-coloured ditch, and cated ? whoever says the contrary, deserves to be In Gray's Elegy, is there an image more at the bottom of that werc Pope's heroes striking than his "shapeless sculpture ?” are embraced by the mud nymphs. There Of sculpture in general, it may be observed, would be nothing to make the canal of that it is more poetical than nature itself, Venice more poetical than that of Padding-inasmuch as it represents and bodies forth ton, were it not for the artificial adjuncts that ideal beauty and sublimity which is above mentioned, although it is a perfectly never to be found in actual nature. This natural canal, formed by the sea, and the at least is the general opinion; but, always innumerable islands which constitute the excepting the Venus di Medicis, I differ site of this extraordinary city.
from that opinion, at least as far as regards The very Cloaca of Tarquin at Rome female beanty; for the head of Lady Charare as poetical as Richmond - Hill; many lemont (when I first saw her, nine years will think more so. Take away Rome, and ago) seemed to possess all that sculpture leave the Tiber and the seven hills in the could require for its ideal. I recollect seenature of Evander's time: let Mr. Bowles, ing something of the same kind in the head or Mr. Wordsworth, or Mr. Southey, or of an Albanian girl, who was actually emany of the other “naturals,” make a poem ployed in mending a road in the mountains, npon them, and then see which is most and in some Greek, and one or two Italian poetical, their production, or the common-faces. But of sublimity, I have never seen est guide- book which tells you the road any thing in human nature at all to apfrom St. Peter's to the Coliseum, and in- proach the expression of sculpture, either in forms you what you will see by the way. the Apollo, the Moses, or other of the The ground interests in Virgil, because it sterner works of ancient or modern art. will be Rome, and not because it is Evan- Let us examine a little further this "babder's rural domain.
ble of green fields," and of bare nature in Mr. Bowles then proceeds to press Homer general, as superior to artificial imagery, into his service, in answer to a remark of for the poetical purposes of the fine arts. Mr. Campbell's, that “Homer was a great In landscape-painting, the great artist does describer of works of art.” Mr. Bowles not give you a literal copy of a country, contends that all his great power, even in but he invents and composes one. Nature, this, depends upon their connexion with in her actual aspect, does not furnish him nature. The “shield of Achilles derives its with such existing scenes as he requires. poctical interest from the subjects described Even where he presents you with some faon it.” And from what does the spear of mous city, or celebrated scene from monnAchilles derive its interest and the hel- tain or other nature, it must be taken from met and the mail worn by Patroclus, and some particular point of view, and with
such light, and shade, and distance, as "tower," it would have been as poetical as serve not only to heighten its beauties, but if he had compared her to a tree. to shadow its deformities. The poetry of "The virtuous Marcia towers above her sex," Nature alone, eractly as she appears, is not is an instance of an artificial image to exsufficient to bear him out. The very sky
press a moral superiority. But Solomon, it of his painting is not the portrait of the sky is probable, did not compare his beloved's of Nature; it is a composition of different nose to a "tower” on account of its length, skies, observed at different times, and not but of its symmetry; and, making allowance the whole copied from any particular day: for eastern hyperbole and the difficulty of And why? Because Nature is not lavish of finding a discreet image for a female nose her beauties; they are widely scattered, in nature, it is perhaps as good a figure as and occasionally displayed, to be selected with care, and gathered with difficulty.
Art is not inferior to nature for poetical Of sculpture I have just spoken. It is the great scope of the sculptor to heighten diers a more noble object of view than the
purposes. What makes a regiment óf solNature into heroic beauty, i. e. in plain
same mass of mob? Their arms, their dresses, English, to surpass his model. When Ca- their banners, and the art and artificial nova forms a statue, be takes a limb from
symmetry of their position and movements. one, a hand from another, a feature from A Highlander's plaid, a Mussulman's turban, a third, and a shape, it may be, from a and a Roman toga, are more poetical than fourth. probably at the same time improv- the tattooed or untattooed buttocks of a Newing upon all, as the Greek of old did in Sandwich savage, although they were deembodying his Venus.
scribed by William Wordsworth hiniself Ask a portrait - painter to describe his like the idiot in his glory.” agonies in accommodating the faces with
I have seen as many mountains as most which Nature and his sitters have crowded
men, and more fleets than the generality his painting-room to the principles of his of landsmen: and, to my mind, a large art : with the exception of perhaps ten faces convoy, with a few sail of the line to conin as many millions, there is not one which duct them, is as noble and as poetical a he can venture to give without shading prospect as all that inanimate nature can much and adding more. Nature, exactly; produce. I prefer the mast of some great simply, barely Nature, will make no great ammiral,” with all its tackle, to the Scotch artist of any kind, and least of all a poet - fir or the Alpine tannen; and think that the most artificial, perhaps, of all artists
more poetry has been made out of it. In in his very essence. With regard to na- what does the infinite superiority of “Faltural imagery, the poets are obliged to take coner's Shipwreck,” over all other shipsome of their best illustrations from art. wrecks, consist? In his admirable applicaYou say that a “ fountain is as clear ortion of the terms of his art; in a poet-sailclearer than glass,” to express its beauty - or's description of the sailor's fate. These “O fong Bandusiæ, splendidior vitro !"
very terms, by his application, make the In the speech of Mark Antony, the body of strength and reality of his poem. Why? Cæsar is displayed, but so also is his mantle: because he was a poet, and in the hands “You all do know this mantle,"
of a poet art will not be found less ornamental than nature. It is precisely
in general nature, and in stepping out “Look! in this place ran Cassius' dagger through." of his element, that Falconer fails; where If the poet had said that Cassius had run and such branches of learning.”
he digresses to speak of ancient Greece, his fist through the rent of the mantle, it would have had more of Mr. Bowles's “na- fame rests, the very appearance of Nature
In Dyer's Grongar Hill, upon which his ture” to help it; but the artificial dagger herself is moralized into an artificial image: is more poetical than any natural hand without it. In the sublime of sacred poet
“Thus is Nature's vesture wrought,
To instruct our wandering thought; ry, “Who is this that cometh from Edom?
gay, with dyed garments from Bozrah ?” Would To disperse our cares away.' “the comer” be poetical without his dyed And here also we have the telescope, the garments ?” which strike and startle the mis-use of which, from Milion, has rendered spectator, and identify the approaching Mr. Bowles so triumphant over Mr. Campobject.
bell. The mother of Sisera is represented list- “So we mistake the future's face, ening for the “wheels of his chariot.” So- Eyed through Hope's deluding glass." lomon, in his Song, compares the nose of And here a word, en passant, to Mr. his beloved to “a tower," which to us ap- Campbell: pears an eastern exaggeration. If he had
"As yon summits, soft and fair, said, that her stature was like that of a Clad in colours of the air,
Thus she dresses
Which, to those who journey near, who has rendered the “game of cards poet-
But all this ordering” of poets is purely
arbitrary on the part of Mr. Bowles. There Is not this the original of the far-famed
may or may not be, in fact, different orders “'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view, of poetry, but the poet is always ranked And robes the mountain in its azure hue ?"
according to his execution, and not accordTo return once more to the sea. Let any ing to his branch of the art. one look on the long wall of Malamocco, Tragedy is one of the highest presumed which curbs the Adriatic, and pronounce orders. Hughes has written a tragedy, and between the sea and its master. Surely a very successful one; Fenton another; that Roman work (I mean Roman in con- and Pope none. Did any man, however,ception and performance), which says to will even Mr. Bowles himself rank Hughes the ocean, “thus far shalt thou come, and and Fenton as poets above Pope? Was even no further,” and is obeyed, is not less sub-Addison (the author of Cato), or Rowe lime and poetical than the angry waves (one of the higher order of dramatists, as which vainly break beneath it.
far as success goes), or Young, or even OtMr. Bowles makes the chief part of a way and Southern, ever raised for a moship's poesy depend on the “wind :” then ment to the same rank with Pope in the why is a ship under sail more poetical than estimation of the reader or the critic, before a hog in a high wind? The hog is all na- his death or since? If Mr. Bowles will ture, the ship is all art, “coarse canvas," contend for classifications of this kind, let "blue bunting," and “tall poles ;” both are him recollect that descriptive poetry has violently acted upon by the wind, tossed been ranked as among the lowest branches here and there, to and fro; and yet nothing of the art, and deseription as a mere ornabut excess of hunger could make me look ment, but which should never form "the upon the pig as the more poetical of the subject” of a poem. The Italians, with the two, and then only in the shape of a griskin. most poetical language, and the most fasti
Will Mr. Bowles tell us that the poetry dious taste in Europe, possess now five of an aqueduct consists in the water which great poets, they say, Dante, Petrarch, it conveys ? Let him look on that of Just- Ariosto, Tasso, and lastly Alfieri; and whom inian, on those of Rome, Constantinople, do they esteem one of the highest of these, Lisbon, and Elvas, or even at the remains and some of them the very highest ? Peof that in Attica.
trarch, the sonneteer: it is true that some We are asked “what makes the venerable of his Canzoni are not less esteemed, but towers of Westminster Abbey more poetical, not more; who ever dreams of his Latin as objects, than the tower for the manu- Africa ? factory of patent-shot, surrounded by the Were Petrarch to be ranked according to same scenery?” I will answer- the archi- the “order” of his compositions, where tecture. Turn Westminster Abbey, or Saint would the best of sonnets place him? With Paul's, into a powder-magazine, their poet- Dante and the others ? No; but, as I have ry, as objects, remains the same: the Par- before said, the poet who erecutes best is thenon was actually converted into one by the highest, whatever his department, and the Turks, during Morosini's Venetian siege, will ever be so rated in the world's esteem. and part of it destroyed in consequence. Had Gray written nothing but his Elegy, Cromwell's dragoons stalled their steeds in high as he stands, I am not sure that he Worcester cathedral; was it less poetical, would not stand higher; it is the corneras an object, than before ? Ask a foreigner stone of his glory: without it, his odes on his approach to London, what strikes would be insufficient for his fame. The him as the most poetical of the towers be- depreciation of Pope is partly founded upon fore him: he will point out St. Paul's and a false idea of the dignity of his order of Westminster Abbey, without, perhaps, poetry, to which he has partly contributed knowing the names or associations of either, by the ingenuous boast, and pass over the “tower for patent-shot,” not that, for any thing he knows to the
“That not in Fancy's maze he wander'd long,
But stoop'd to Truth, and moralized his song." contrary, it might not be the mausoleum of a monarch, or a Waterloo-column, or a He should have written "rose to truth.” In Trafalgar-monument, but because its archi- my mind the highest of all poetry is ethictecture is obviously inferior.
al poetry, as the highest of all earthly To the question, “whether the descrip- objects must be moral truth. Religion does tion of a game of cards be as poetical, sup- not make a part of my subject; it is someposing the execution of the artists equal, thing beyond huinan powers, and has as a description of a walk in a forest?” it failed in all human hands except Milton's may be answered, that the materials are and Dante's, and even Dante's powers certainly not equal; but that "the artist,” | are involved in his delineation of human
passions, though in supernatural circum- Milton is as absurd (and in fact, blasphemstances. What made Socrates the greatest ous) in putting material lightnings into the of men ? His moral truth-his ethics. What hands of the Godhead as in giving him proved Jesus Christ the Son of God hardly hands at all. less than his miracles? His moral precepts. The artillery of the demons was but the And if ethics have made a philosopher the first step of his mistake, the thunder the first of men, and have not been disdained next, and it is a step lower. It would have as an adjunct to his Gospel by the Deity been fit for Jove, but not for Jehovah. The himself, are we to be told that ethical poet- subject altogether was essentially unpoetry, or by whatever name you term it, ical; he has made more of it than another whose object is to make men better and could, but it is beyond him and all men. wiser, is not the very first order of poetry; In a portion of his reply, Mr. Bowles and are we to be told this too by one of asserts that Pope “envied Philips" becanse the priesthood? It requires more mind, he quizzed his pastorals in the Guardian, more wisdom, more power, than all the in that most admirable model of irony, his “forests” that ever were “walked” for their paper on the subject. If there was any thing "description ," and all the epics that ever enviable about Philips, it could hardly be were founded upon fields of battle. The his pastorals. They were despicable, and Georgics are indisputably, and, I believe, Pope expressed his contempt. if Mr. Fitzundisputedly, even a finer poem than the gerald published a volume of sonnets, or Æneid. Virgil knew this; he did not order a "Spirit of Discovery," or a “Missionary," them to be burnt.
and Mr. Bowles wrote in any periodical “The proper study of mankind is man."
journal an ironical paper upon them, would
this be "envy?” The authors of the “ReIt is the fashion of the day to lay great jected Addresses” have ridiculed the sixteeri stress upon what they call “imagination” or twenty “first living poets" of the day ; and “invention,” the two commonest of but do they "envy" them? “Envy" writhes, qualities : an Irish peasant, with a little it don't laugh. The authors of the Rewhiskey in his head, will imagine and injected Addresses may despise some, but vent more than would furnish forth a modern they can hardly “envy” any of the persons poem. If Lucretius had not been spoiled whom they have parodied; and Pope could by the Epicurean system, we should have have no more envied Philips than he did had a far superior poem to any now in Welsted, or Theobalds, or Smedley, or any existence. As mere poetry, it is the first other given hero of the Dunciad. He could of Latin poems. What then has ruined it? not have envied him, even had he himself His ethics. Pope has not this defect; his not been the greatest poet of his age. Did moral is as pure as his poetry is glorious. Mr. Ings “envy” Mr. Philips when he asked In speaking of artificial objects, I have him, “how came your Pyrrhus to drive omitted to touch upon one which I will oxen, and say, I am goaded on by love ?" now mention. Cannon may be presumed This question silenced poor Philips; but to be as highly poetical as art can make it no more proceeded from “envy” than her objects. Mr. Bowles will, perhaps, tell did Pope's ridicule. Did he envy Swift ? me that this is because they resemble that Did he envy Bolingbroke? Did he envy grand natural article of sound in heaven, Gay the unparalleled success of his “Begand simile upon earth — thunder. I shall gar's Opera ?". We may be answered that be told triumphantly, that Milton made these were his friends - trne; but does sad work with his artillery, when he armed friendship prevent envy? Study the first his devils therewithal. He did so; and this woman you meet with, or the first scribartificial object must have had much of the bler; let Mr. Bowles himself (whom I acsublime to attract his attention for such a quit fully of such an odious quality) study conflict. He has made an absurd use of some of his own poetical intimates: the it; but the absurdity consists not in using most envious man I ever heard of is a poet, cannon against the angels of God, but any and a high one; besides it is an universal material weapon. The thunder of the clouds passion. Goldsmith envied not only the would have been as ridiculous and vain in puppets for their dancing, and broke his the hands of the devils, as the "villanous shins in the attempt at rivalry, but was saltpetre:” the angels were as impervious seriously angry because two pretty women to the one as to the other. The thunder-received more attention than he did. This bolts became sublime in the hands of the is envy; but where does Pope show a sign Almighty, not as such but because he deigns of the passion? In that case Dryden envied to use them as a means of repelling the the hero of his Mac Flecknoe. Mr. Bowles rebel spirits; but no one can attribute their compares, when and where he can, Pope defeat to this grand piece of natural elec- with Cowper (the same Cowper whom in tricity : the Almighty willed, and they fell; his edition of Pope he laughs at for his his word would have been enough; and I attachment to an old woman, Mrs. Unwin:
search and you will find it; I remember that Mr. Bowles can do in return is to apthe passage, though not the page); in par- prove the “invariable principles of Mr. ticular he requotes Cowper's Dutch deli- Southey." I should have thought that the neation of a wood, drawn up like a seeds- word "invariable” might have stuck in Souman's catalogue, with an affected imitation they's throat, like Macbeth's “Amen!” I of Milton's style, as burlesque as the “Splen- am sure it did in mine, and I am not the did shilling.” These two writers (for Cow- east consistent of the two, at least as a per is no poet ) come into comparison in voter. Moore (ct lu, Brute!) also approres, one great work--the translation of Horner. and a Mr. J. Scott. There is a letter also Now, with all the great, and manifest, of two lines from a gentleman in asterisks, and manifold, and reproved, and acknow-who, it seems, is a poet of “the highest ledged, and uncontroverted faults of Pope's rank" who can this be? not my friend, translation, and all the scholarship, and Sir Walter, surely. Campbell it can't be; pains, and time, and trouble, and blank Rogers it won't be. verse of the other, who can ever read Cow
“You have hit the nail in the head, and•••• per? and who will ever lay down Pope, [Pope, I presume) on the head also.". unless for the original? Pope's was “not
I remain yours, affectionately, Homer, it was Spondanus ;” but Cowper's
(Four Astericks). is not Homer, either, it is not even Cowper. And in asterisks let him remain, Whoever As a child I first read Pope's Homer with this person may be, he deserves, for sach å rapture which no subsequent work could a judgment of Midas, that “the nail" which ever afford, and children are not the worst Mr. Bowles has “hit in the head" should judges of their own language. As a boy 1 be driven through his own ears; I am sure read Homer in the original, as we have all that they are long enough. done, some of us by force, and a few by The attempt of the poetical populace of favour; under which description I come is the present day to obtain an ostracism nothing to the purpose, it is enough that I against Pope is as easily accounted for as read him. - As a man I dhave tried to read the Athenian's shell against Aristides; they Cowper's version, and I found it impossible. are tired of hearing him always called the Has any human reader ever succeeded ? Just.” They are also fighting for life; forif he
And now that we have heard the Catholic maintains his station, they will reach their reproached with envy, duplicity, licenti- own by falling. They have raised a mosque ousness, avarice-what was the Calvinist ? by the side of a Grecian temple of the purest He attempted the most atrocious of crimes architecture; and. more barbarous than the in the Christian code, viz. suicide -- and barbarians from whose practice I have borwhy? because he was to be examined rowed the figure, they are not contented whether he was fit for an office which he with their own grotesque edifice, unless seems to wish to have made a sinecure. His they destroy the prior and purely beautiful connexion with Mrs. Unwin was pure fabric which preceded, and which shames enough, for the old lady was devout, and thein and theirs for ever and ever. I shall he was deranged; but why then is the in- lie told that amongst those I have been (or firm and then elderly Pope to be reproved it may be, still am) conspicnous – true, and for his connexion with Martha Blount? I am ashamed of it. I have been amongst Cowper was the almoner of Mrs. Throg- the builders of this Babel, attended by a morton; but Pope's charities were his own, confusion of tongues, but never amongst the and they were noble and extensive, far envious destroyers of the classic temple of beyond his fortune's warrant. Pope was our predecessor. I have loved and hothe tolerant yet steady adherent of the most noured the fame and name of that illustrious bigoted of sects; and Cowper the most bi- and unrivalled man, far more than my own goted and despondent sectary that ever an- paltry renown, and the trashy jingle of the ticipated damnation to himself or others. crowd of “Schools” and upstarts, who preIs this harsh? I know it is, and I do not tend to rival, or even surpass him. Sooner assert it as my opinion of Cowper personally, than a single leaf should be torn from his but to show what might be said, with just laurel, it were better that all which these as great an appearance of truth and candour, men, and that I, as one of their set, have as all the odium which has been accumu- ever written, should lated upon Pope in similar speculations. Line tronks, clothe spice, or, fluttering, in a row, Cowper was a good man, and lived at a Befringe the rails of Bedlam or Soho?" fortunate time for his works.
There are those who will believe this, and Mr. Bowles, apparently not relying en- those who will not. You , sir, know how tirely upon his own arguments, has, in far I am sincere, and whether my opinion, person or hy proxy, brought forward the not only in the short work intended for names of Southey and Moore. Mr. Southey publication, and in private letters which can "agrees entirely with Mr. Bowles in his never be published, has or has not been invariable principles of poetry.” The least the same. I look upon this as the declining