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to a few modes, and
than expressed. in the preten
W modes, and is to be felt rather expressed. Repentance, trembling the presence of the Judge, is not at mure for cadences and epithets. Supation of man to man may diffuse it
hrough many topicks of persuasion; u lupplication to God can only cry for
self through many
of sentiments purely religious, it will found that the most simple expression he m ost sublime. Poetry loses its
• and its power, because it is applied to the decoration of something
excellent than itself. All that inverse cas
can do is to help the memory, She the ear, and for these pur
Jay be very useful; but it supplies 8 to the mind. The ideas of Chris
m ay be very useful v nothing to the mind. The i
tian Theology are too fimple for eloquence, too sacred for fiction, and too majestick for ornament; to recommend them by tropes and figures, is to magnify by a concave mirror the sidereal hemisphere.
As much of Waller's reputation was owed to the softness and smoothness of his Numbers; it is proper to confider those minute particulars to which a versifyer must attend.
He certainly very much excelled in smoothness most of the writers who were living when his poetry commenced. The poets of Elizabeth had attained an art of modulation, which was afterwards neglected or forgotten. Fairfax was acknowledged by him as his model ; and
he might have studied with advantage the poem of Davies, which, though merely philosophical, yet seldom leaves the ear ungratified.
But he was rather smooth than strong; of the full resounding line, which Pope attributes to Dryden, he has given very few examples. The critical decision has given the praise of strength to Denham, and of sweetness to Waller.
His excellence of versification has fome abatements. He uses the expletive do very frequently; and though he used to see it almost universally ejected, was not more careful to avoid it in his last compofitions than in his first. Praise had given him confidence; and finding the world satisfied, he satisfied himself. . i 2
His rhyines are fometimes weak words : fo is found to make the rhyme twice in ten lines, and occurs often as a rhyme through his book.
His double rhymes, in heroick verse, have been censured by Mrs. Phillips, who was his rival in the translation of Corneille's Pompey; and more faults might be found, were not the enquiry below attention.
He fometimes uses the obsolete teimination of verbs, as waxeth, offecteth; and sometimes retains the final syllable of the preterite, as amazed, supposed; of which I know not whether it is not to "the detriment of our language that we have totally rejected them.
Of triplets he is sparing; but he did not wholly forbear them : of an Alexandrine he has given no example.
The general character of his poetry is elegance and gaiety. He is never pathetick, and very rarely sublime. He feems neither to have had a mind much elevated by nature, nor amplified by learning. His thoughts are such as a liberal conversation and large acquaintance with life would easily supply. They had however, then perhaps, that grace of novelty, which they are now often supposed to want by those who, having already found them in later books, do not know or enquire who produced them first. This treatment is unjust.