網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

one broken line in the heat of recitation ; because in one the senfe is now unfinished ; and because all that can be done by a broken verse, a line interfected by a cesura and a full stop will equally effect.

Of triplets in his Davideis he makes no use, and perhaps did not at first think them allowable; but he appears afterwards to have changed his mind, for in the verses on the government of Cromwel he inserts them liberally with great happiness.

After so much criticism on his Poems, the Essays which accompany them must not be forgotten. What is said by Sprat of his conversation, that no man could draw from it any fufpicion of his excellence in poetry, may be applied

are

to these compositions. No author ever kept his verse and his prose at a greater distance from each other. His thoughts are natural, and his stile has a smooth and placid equability, which has never yet obtained its due commendation. Nothing is far-sought, or hard-laboured; but all is easy without feebleness, and familiar without grossness.

It has been observed by Felton, in his Essay on the Claflicks, that Cowley was beloved by every Muse that he courted; and that he has rivalled the Ancients in every kind of poetry but tragedy.

It may be affirmed, without any encomiaftick fervour, that he brought to his poetick labours a mind replete with learning, and that his pages are embel

lished

lished with all the ornaments which books could supply; that he was the first who imparted to English numbers the enthufiasm of the greater ode, and the gaiety of the less; that he was equally qualified for spritely fallies, and for lofty flights ; that he was among those who freed translation from servility, and instead of following his author at a distance, walked by his fide; and that if he left versifica. tion yet improvable, he left likewise from time to time such specimens of excellence as enabled succeeding poets to improve it.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

L DMUND WALLER was born L on the third of March, 1605, at Colfhill in Hertfordshire. His father was Robert Waller, Esquire, of Agmondesham in Buckinghamshire, whose family was originally a branch of the Kentish Wallers; and his mother was the daughter of John Hampden, of Hampden in the same county, and fister to Hampden, the zealot of rebellion,

« 上一頁繼續 »