« 上一頁繼續 »
The smoke rises not through the trees, for the honors of the grove are fallen; and the hearth* of the cottager is cold; but it rises from villages burned with fire, and from warm ruins, spread over the now naked plain.
The ear is filled with the confused bellowing of oxen, and sad bleating of over-driven sheep; they are swept from their peaceful plains; with shouting and goading are they driven away; the peasant folds his arms, and resigns his faithful fellow-laborers.
The farmer weeps over his barns consumed by fire, and his demolished roof, and anticipates the driving of the win. ter snows.
On that rising ground, where the green turf looks black with fire, yesterday stood a noble mansion; the owner had said in his heart, here will I spend the evening of my days, and enjoy the fruit of my years of toil: my name shall descend with mine inheritance, and my children's children shall sport under the trees which I have planted.—The fruit of his years of toil is swept away, ir a moment; wasted, not enjoyed; and the evening of his days is left desolate.
The temples are profaned: the soldier's curse resounds in the house of God: the marble pavement is trampled by iron hoofs : horses neigh beside the altar.
Law and order are forgotten : violence and rapine are abroad: the golden cords of society are loosed.
Here are the shriek of wo and the cry of anguish; and there is suppressed indignation bursting the heart with silent despair. The groans
of the wounded are in the hospitals, and by the road-side, and in every thicket; and the housewife's web, whiter than snow, is scarcely sufficient to stanch the blood of her husband and children.-Look at that youth, the first-born of her strength; yesterday he bounded as the roe-buck; was glowing as the summer-fruits; active in sports, strong to labor; he has passed in one moment from youth to age; his comeliness is departed; helplessness is his portion, for the days of future years. He is more decrepit than his grandsire, on whose head are the snows of eighty Winters; but those were the snows of nature; this is the desolation of man.
Every thing unholy and unclean comes abroad from its lurking-place, and deeds of darkness are done beneath the eye of day. The villagers no longer start at horrible sights; the soothing rites of burial are denied, and human bones are tossed by human hands.
* Pron, barth.
No one careth for another; every one, hardened by misery, careth for himself alone.
Lo these are what God has set before thee; child of reason! son of woman! unto which does thine heart in. cline?
Parallel between Pope and Dryden. Johnson. Pove professed to have learned his poetry from Dryden, whom, whenever an opportunity was presented, he praised through his whole life with unvaried liberality; and perhaps nis character may receive some illustration, if he be comnared with his master.
Integrity of understanding, and nicety of discernment, were not allotted in a less proportion to Dryden than to Pope. The rectitude of Dryden's mind was sufficiently shown by the dismission of his poetical prejudices, and the rejection of unnatural thoughts and rugged numbers. But Dryden never desired to apply all the judgment that he had. He wrote, and professed to write, merely for the people; and when he pleased others, he contented himself. He spent no time in struggles to rouse lātent powers; he never attempted to make that better which was alre dy good, nor often to mend what he must have known to be faulty. He wrote, as he tells us, with very little consideration: when occasion or necessity called upon him, he poured out what the present moment happened to supply, and, when once it had passed the press, ejected it from his mind; for, when he had no pecuniary interest he had no further solicitude.
Pope was not content to satisfy; he desired to excel, and therefore always endeavored to do his best; he did not court the candor, but dared the judgment of his reader, and, expecting no indulgence from others, he shewed none to himself. He examined lines and words with minute and punctilious observation, and retouched every part with indefatigable diligence, till he had left nothing to be forgiven.
For this reason he kept his pieces very long in his hands, while he considered and reconsidered them. The only poems which can be supposed to have been written with such regard to the times as might hasten their publication, were the two sātires of Thirty-eight : of which Dodsley told me, that they were brought to him by the author, that they might be fairly copied. “Every line,” said he," was then written twice over ; I gave him a clean transcript, which he sent some time afterwards to me for the press, with every line written twice over a second time.”
His declaration, that his care for his works ceased at their publication, was not strictly true. His parental attention never abandoned them: what he found amiss in the first edition, he silently corrected in those that followed. He appears to have revised the Iliad, and freed it from some of its imperfections; and the Essay on Criticism received many improvements after its first appearance.
will seldom be found that he altered without adding clearness, elegance, or vigor. Pope had perhaps the judgment of Dryden; but Dryden certainly wanted the diligence of Pope.
În acquired knowledge, the superiority must be allowed to Dryden, whose education was more scholastic, and who, before he became an author, had been allowed more time for study, with better means of information. His mind has a larger range, and he collects his images and illustrations from a more extensive circumference of science. Dryden knew more of man in his general nature, and Pope in his local manners. The notions of Dryden were formed by comprehensive speculation, and those of Pope by minute attention. There is more dignity in the knowledge of ryden, and more certainty in that of Pope.
Poetry was not the sole praise of either; for •both excelled likewise in prose; but Pope did not borrow his prose from his predecessor. The style of Dryden is capricious and varied; that of Pope is cautious and uniform. Dryden obeys the motions of his own mind; Pope constrains his mind to his own rules of composition. Dryden is sometimes véhement and rapid ; Pope is always smooth, uniform, and gentle. Dryden's page is a natural field, rising into inequalities, and diversified by the varied exuberance of abundant vegetation; Pope's is a velvet lawn, shaven by the sithe and levelled by the roller.
Of genius, that power which constitutes a poet; that quality without which judgment is cold, and knowledge is inert; that energy which collects, combines, amplifies, ard animates; the superiority must, with some hesitation, be allowed to Dryden. It is not to be inferred, that of this
poetical vigor Pope had only a little, because Dryden had more ; for
other writer since Milton must give place to Pope ; and even of Dryden it must be said that if he has brighter paragraphs, he has not better poems. Dryden's performances were always hasty, either excited by some external occasion or extorted by domestic necessity; he composed without consideration, and published without correction. What his mind could supply at call, or gather in
one excursion, was all that he sought, and all that he gave. · The dilatory caution of Pope enabled him to condense his
sentiments, to multiply his images, and to accumulate all that study might produce, or chance might supply. If the flights of Dryden, therefore, are higher, Pope continues longer on the wing. If of Dryden's fire the blaze is brighter, of Pope's the heat is more regular and constant. Dryden often surpasses expectation, and Pope never falls below it. Dryden is read with frequent astonishment, and Pope with perpetual delight.
This parallel will, I hope, when it is well considered, be found just; and if the reader should suspect me, as I suspect myself
, of some partial fondness for the memory of Dryden, let him not too hastily condemn me: for meditation and inquiry may, perhaps, show him the reasonableness of my determination.
SELECT SENTENCES AND PARAGRAPHS.
Now gentle gales,
for mercy; And that same prayer doth teach us all to render The deeds of mercy.
The deserted mansion.
Forsaken stood the hall,
spun his shroud, and laid him up to die
The man of a cultivated imagination.-CAMPBELL. His path shall be where streamy mountains swell Their shadowy grandeur o'er the narrow dell,
* Pron. et.