« 上一頁繼續 »
copiously displayed by Addison. Love is by Cowley, as by other poets, expressed metaphorically by fiame anul fire; and that which is true of real fire is said of love, or figurative fire, the same word in the same sentence retaining both fignifications. Thus, “ cb“ serving the cold regard of his mif“ tress's eyes, and at the same time their “ power of producing love in him, he “ confiders them as burning-glasses made “ of ice. Finding himself able to live “ in the greatest extremities of love, he “ concludes the torrid zone to be ha“ bitable. Upon the dying of a tree, “ on which he had cut his loves, he “ observes, that his flames had burnt “ up and withered the tree.”
These conceits Addison calls mixed wit; that is, wit which consists of thoughts true in one sense of the expresfion, and false in the other. Addison's representation is sufficiently indulgent. That confusion of images may entertain for a moment; but being unnatural, it foon grows wearisome. Cowley delighted in it, as much as if he had invented it; but, not to mention the ancients, he might have found it fullblown in modern Italy. Thus Sannazaro; Afpice quam variis diftringar Veíbia curis, Uror, & heu! nostro manat ab igne liquor; Sum Nilus, fumque Ætna simul; reftrin
gite flammas O lacrimæ, aut lacrimas ebibe flamma meas.
One of the severe theologians of that time censured him as having published a book of profane and lascivious Verses. From the charge of profaneness, the conftant tenour of his life, which seems to have been eminently virtuous, and the general tendency of his opinions, which discover no irreverence of religion, must defend him; but that the accusation of lasciviousness is unjust, the perusal of his works will sufficiently evince.
Cowley's Mistress has no power of seduction : “ The plays round the head, but comes not at the heart.” Her beauty and absence, her kindness and cruelty, her disdain and inconstancy, produce no correspondence of emotion His poetical account of the virtues of
plants, and colours of flowers, is not perused with more sluggish frigidity. The compositions are such as might have been written for penance by a hermit, or for hire by a philosophical rhymer who had only heard of another sex; for they turn the mind only on the writer, whom, without thinking on a woman but as the subject for a task, we sometimes esteem as learned, and sometimes despise as trifling, always admire as ingenious, and always condemn as unnatural.
The Pindarique Odes are now to be considered; a species of compofition, .which Cowley thinks Pancirolus might have counted in his list of the lojt invertions of antig::it), and which he has
made a bold and vigorous attempt to recover.
The purpose with which he has paraphrased an Olympick and Nemezan Ode, is by himself sufficiently explained. His endeavour was not to fhew precisely what Pindar Spoke, but bis manner of Speaking: He was therefore not at all restrained to his expressions, nor much to his sentiments; nothing was required of him, but not to write as Pindar would not have written.
Of the Olympick Ode the beginning is, I think, above the original in elegance, and the conclusion below it in strength. The connection is supplied with great perspicuity, and the thoughts, which to a reader of less skill seem