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: As the Davideis affords 'only four books, 'though intended to consist of twelve, there is no opportunity for such eriticism as Epick poemis commonly supply. The plan of the whole work is very imperfectly shewn by the third part. The duration of an unfinished action cannot be known. Of characters either not yet introduced, or thewn But upon few occafions, the full extent and the nice discrimations cannot be ascertained. The fable is plainly implex, formed rather from the Odyssey than the Iliad; and many artifices of diversification are employed, with the skill of a man acquainted with the best models. The past is recalled by narration, and the future anticipated by vision : but he
has has been so lavish of his poetical art, that it is difficult to imagine how he could fill eight, books more without practising again the same mades of difposing his matter; and perhaps the perception of this growing incumbrance in clined him to stop. By this abruption, pofterity. loft more instruction than delight. If the continuation of the Da. videis can be niffed, it is for the learn. ing that had been diffused over it, and the notes in which it had been explainedan rin n , ..
Had not his characters been depraved like every other part by improper der corations, they would have deferved uncommon praise. He gives. Saul both the body and mind of a hero: ini, His way once chose, he forward thruft :' outright, in zii.. · Nor turn'd afide for danger or delight. "And the different beauties of the lofty Merah and the gentle Michol -are very justly conceived and strongly painted.
Rymer has declared the Davideis superior to the Ferufalem of Taso, " which, says he, the poet, with all his care, has not totally purged from pedantry.” If by pedantry is meant that minute knowledge which is derived from particular sciences and studies, in opposition to the general notions supplied by a wide furvey of life and nature, Cowley certainly errs, by introducing pedantry far more frequently than Taffo. I know not, indeed, why they should be com
pared, for the resemblance of Cowley's work to Taffo's, is only that they both exhibit the agency of celestial and infernal spirits, in which however they differ widely; for Cowley supposes them commonly to operate upon the mind by suggestion ; Taffo represents them as promoting or obstructing events by external agency.
of particular passages that can be properly compared, I remember only the description of Heaven, in which the different manner of the two writers is sufficiently, discernible. Cowley's is: scarcely description, unless it be possible to describe by negatives ; for he tells us only what there is not in heaven; Taflo endeavours to represent the splendours
and pleasures of the regions of happiness. Taflo affords images, and Cowley sentiments. It happens, however, that Taflo's description affords some reason for Rhymer's censure. He says of the Supreme Being,
Hà sotto i piedi e fato e la natura: Miniftri humili, e'l moto, e chi'l misura.
· The second line has in it more of pedantry than perhaps can be found in any other stanza of the poem. . In the perusal of the Davideis, as of all Cowley's works, we find wit and learning unprofitably squandered. Attention has no relief z: the affections are never moved; we are sometimes surprised, but never delighted, and find much to