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Every image is lively ; every thing different is withiheld : all the emotions the poet excites are of one character and complexion.
Let us now observe the conduct of his Il Penseroso. This poem is, in every respect, an exact counterpart to the former. And the intention of the poet being to promote a serious and solemn mood, he removes every thing lively ; . Hence, vain deluding • joys! He quits society; he chuses silence, and opportunities for deep reflection ; • Some still re. * moved place will fit. The objects he presents are few. In the quotation, beginning with · Russet • lawns,' there are eight leading images : in the fol. lowing, of equal length, there is only one.
To behold the wandering moon,
Stooping through a fleecy cloud. The sounds that can be, in any respect, agreeable to him, must correspond with his present humour: not the song of the milk-maid, but that of the night. ingale; not the whistling plowman, but the sound of the curfeu. His images succeed one another slowly, without any rapid or abrupt transitions, without any enlivening contrasts ; and he will have no other light for his landscape than that of the moon : or, if he cannot enjoy the scene without doors, he will have no other light within than that of dying embers, or of a solitary lamp at midnight. The times and the place he chuses for his retreat, are perfectly suited to his employment ; for he is engaged in deep meditation, and in considering
What worlds, or what vast regions hold
Every image is solemn; every thing different is with. held : here, as before, all the emotions the poet excites are of one character and complexion. It is owing, in a great measure, to this attention in the writer, to preserve unity and consistency of senti. ment, that, notwithstanding considerable imperfections in the language and versification, Allegro and Il Penseroso have so many admirers.
The skill of the poet and painter, in forming their works so as to excite kindred and united emotions, deserves the greater attention, that persons of true taste are not so much affected, even in contemplating the beauties of nature, with the mere perception of external objects, as with the general influences of their union and correspondence. It is not that particular tree, or that cavern, or that cascade, which affords them all their enjoyment; they derive their chief pleasure from the united effect of the tree, the cavern and the cascade. A person of sensibility will be less able, perhaps, than another, to give an exact account of the different parts of an exquisite land. scape, of its length, width, and the number of objects it contains. Yet the general effect possesses him altogether, and produces in his mind very uncommon sensations. The impulse, however, is tender, and cannot be described. Indeed, it is the power of producing these sensations that gives the stamp of genuine excellence, in particular, to the works of the poet. Verses may be polished, and may glow with excellent imagery ; but unless, like the poems of Parnel, or the lesser poems of Milton, they please by their enchanting influence on the heart, and, by exciting feelings that are consistent, or of a similar tendency, they are never truly delightful. Horace, I think, expresses this sentiment, when he says, in the words of my motto,
. Non satis est pulıbra esse poëmats; dulcia sunto ; and an attention to this circumstance is so important, that, along with some other exertions, it enables the poet and painter, at least, to rival the works of nature.
N 25. TUESDAY, APRIL 20, 1979.
To the Author of the Mirror.
Sir, SOME time ago, I troubled you with a letter, giving an account of a particular sort of grievance felt by the families of men of small fortunes, from their ac. quaintance with those of great ones. I am embold. ened, by the favourable reception of my first letter, to write you a second upon the same subject.
You will remember, Sir, my account of a visit which my daughters paid to a great lady in our neighbourhood, and of the effects which that visit had upon them. I was beginning to hope that time, and the sobriety of manners which home exhibited, would restore them to their former situation, when, unfortunately, a circumstance happened, still more fatal to me than their expedition to -- This, Sir, was the honour of a visit from the great lady in return.
I was just returning from the superintendence of my plows in a field I have lately inclosed, when I
was met, on the green before my door, by a gentleman (for such I took him to be) mounted upon a very handsome gelding, who asked me, by the appellation of honest friend, if this was not Mr. Homespun's; and, in the same breath, whether the ladies were at home? I told him, my name was Homespun, the house was mine, and my wife and daughters were, I believed, within. Upon this, the young man, pulling off his hat, and begging my pardon for calling me honest, said, he was dispatched by Lady with her compliments to Mrs. and Misses Homespun, and that, if convenient, she intended herself the ho. nour of dining with them, on her return from Bpark (the seat of another great and rich lady in our neighbourhood).
I confess, Mr. Mirror, I was struck somewhat of an heap with the message ; and it would not, in all probability have received an immediate answer, had it not been overhead by my eldest daughter, who had come to the window on the appearance of a stranger. Mr. Papillot,' said she immediately, I • rejoice to see you, I hope your Lady and all the • family are well.' " Very much at your service, • Ma'am,' he replied, with a low bow; my Lady • sent me before, with the offer of her best compli• ments, and that, if convenient'-and so forth, repeating his words to me. She does us infinite ho( nour,' said my young Madam ; • let her Lady• ship know how happy her visit will make us ; but • in the mean time, Mr. Papillot, give your horse to • one of the servants, and come in and have a glass of • something after your ride.' . I am afraid,' answered he (pulling out his right-hand watch, for, would you believe it, Sir? the fellow had one in each fob),
I shall hardly have time to meet my Lady at the o place she appointed me.' On a second invitation, however, he dismounted, and went into the house, leaving his horse to the care of the servants ; but the servants, as my daughter very well knew, were all in the fields at work ; so I, who have a liking for a good horse, and cannot bear to see him neglected, had the honour of putting Mr. Papillot's in the stable myself.
After about an hour's stay, for the gentleman seemed to forget his hurry within doors, Mr. Papil. lot departed. My daughters, I mean the two polite ones, observed how handsome he was ; and added another observation, that it was only to particular friends my Lady sent messages by him, who was her own body servant, and not accustomed to such of. fices. My wife seemed highly pleased with this last remark: I was about to be angry; but on such occasions it is not my way to say much ; I generally shrug up my shoulders in silence; yet, as I said before, Mr. MIRROR, I would not have you think me hen-pecked.
By this time, every domestic about my house, male and female, were called from their several employments to assist in the preparations for her Lady. ship's reception. It would tire you to enumerate the various shifts that were made, by purchasing, borrowing, &c. to furnish out a dinner suitable to the occasion. My little grey poney, which I keep for sending to market, broke his wind in the cause, and has never been good for any thing since.
Nor was there less ado in making ourselves and our attendants fit to appear before such company. The female part of the family managed the matter pretty easily ; women, I observe, having a natural talent that way. My wife took upon herself the charge of apparelling me for the occasion. A laced suit, which I had worn at my marriage, was got up for the purpose ; but the breeches burst a seam at the very first attempt of pulling them on, and.