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Let cot the original author lose by his imitators.
Praise however hould be due before it is given. The author of Waller's Life ascribes to him the first practice, of what Erythræus and some late critics call Aliteration, of using in the same verse many words beginning with the same letter. But this knack, whatever be its value, was so frequent among our early writers, that Gascoign, a writer of the fixteenth century, warns the young poet against affecting it; and Shakespeare in the Midsummer Night's Dream is supposed to ridicule it.
He borrows too many of his fentiments and illustrations from the old Myp looy, for which it is vain to plead
the example of the ancient poets : the deities which they introduced so frequently, were considered as realities, fo far as to be received by the imagination, whatever sober reason might even then determine. But of these images time has tarnished the splendor. A fiction, not only detected but despised, can never afford a solid basis to any pofition, though sometimes it may furnish a transient allusion, or slight illustration. No modern monarch can be much exalted by hearing that, as Hercules had had his club, he has his navy.
But of the praise of Waller, though much may be taken away, much will remain; for it cannot be denied that he added something to our elegance of diction,
and something to our propriety of thought; and to him may be applied what Taffo faid, with equal spirit and justice, of himself and Guarini, when, having perused the Pastor Fido, he cried out, “ If he had not read Aminta, he “ had not excelled it."
AS Waller profeffed himself to have learned the art of versification from Fairfax, it has been thought proper to fubjoin a specimen of his work, which, after Mr. Hoole's translation, will per. haps not be foon reprinted. By knowing the state in which Waller found our
121 poetry, the reader may judge how much he improved it.
Erminiaes fteed (this while) his mistresse bore Through forrests thicke among the shadie treene, Her feeble hand the bridle raines forlore, Halfe in a fwoune she was for feare I weene ; But her flit courser spared nere the more, To beare her through the defart woods unseene Of her strong foes, that chas'd her through the
plaine, And still pursu'd, but still pursu'd in vaine.
Like as the wearie hounds at last retire, Windlesse, displeased, from the fruitleise chace, When the slie heast Tapisht in bush and brire, No art nor paines can rowse out of his place :
The Chriftian knights so full of shame and ire. Returned backe, with faint and wearię pace ;
Yet still the fearefull Dame fied, swift as winde, · Nor euer staid, nor euer lookt behinde.
3. Through thicke and thinne, all night, all day,
she driued, Withouten comfort, companie or guide, Her plaints and teares with every thought re
uiued, She heard and saw her greefes, but nought beside. But when the sunne his burning chariot diued In Thetis waue, and wearie teame vatide,
On Jordans fandie banks her course the staid,
At last, there downe the light, and downe the . laid.
Her teares, her drinke; her food, her sorrowings,
And loue, his mother, and the graces kept Strong watch and warde, while this faire Ladie sept.
5. The birds awakte her with their morning song,
Carbling musicke pearst her tender eare,