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may find others who will bear it-I won't.
want them he himself is a literature.
One word upon his so brutally abused translation of Homer. "Dr. Clarke, whose critical exactness is well known, has not been able to point out above three or four mistakes in the sense through the whole Iliad. The real faults of the translation are of a different kind." So says Warton, himself a scholar. It appears by this, then, that he avoided the chief fault of a translator. As to its other faults, they consist in his having made a beautiful English poem of a sublime Greek one. It will always hold. Cowper and all the rest of the blank pretenders may do their best and their worst: they will never wrench Pope from the hands of a single reader of sense and feeling.
The grand distinction of the vulgar forms of the new school of poets is their vulgarity. By this I do not mean that they are coarse, but "shabby-genteel," as it is termed. A man may be coarse and yet not vulgar, and the reverse. Burns is often coarse, but never vulgar. Chatterton is never vulgar, nor Wordsworth, nor the higher of the Lake school, though they treat of low life in all its branches. It is in their finery that the new under school are most vulgar, and they may be known by this at once; as what we called at Harrow "a Sunday blood" might be easily distinguished from a gentleman, although his clothes might be the better cut, and his boots the best blackened, of the two: probably be cause he made the one, or cleaned the other, with his own hands.
If there be force in virtue or in song!
In the present case, I speak of writing, not of persons. Of the latter I know nothing; of the former, I judge as it is found. Of my friend Hunt, I have already said, that he is any thing but vulgar in his manners; and of his disciples, therefore, I will not judge of their manners from their verses. They may be honourable and gentlemanly men, for what I know; but the latter quality is studiously excluded from their publications. They remind me of Mr. Smith and the Miss Broughtons at the Hampstead Assembly, in "Evelina." In these things (in private life, at least,) I pretend to some small experience; because, in the course of my youth, I have seen a little of all sorts of society, from the Christian prince and the Mussulman sultan and pacha, and the higher ranks of their countries, down to the London boxer, the "flash and the swell," the Spanish muleteer, the wandering Turkish dervise, the Scotch highlander, and the Albanian robber; -to say nothing of the curious varieties of Italian social life. Far be it from me to presume that there ever was, or can be, such a thing as an aristocracy of poets; but there is a nobility of thought and of style, open to all stations, and derived partly from talent, and partly from education, which is to be found in Shakspeare, and Pope, and Burns, no less than in Dante and Alfieri, but which is nowhere to be perceived in the mock birds and bards of Mr. Hunt's little chorus. If I were asked to define what this gentlemanliness is, I should say that it is only to be defined by examples — of those who have it, and those who have it not. In life, I should say that most military men have it, and few naval; that several men of rank have it, and few lawyers; that it is more frequent among authors than divines (when they are not pedants); that fencing-masters have more of it than dancing-masters, and singers than players; and that (if it be not an Irishism to say so) it is far more generally diffused among women than among men. In poetry, as well as writing in general, it will never make entirely a poet or a poem; but neither poet nor poem will ever be good for any thing without it. It is the salt of society, and the seasoning of composition. garity is far worse than downright blackguardiss ; for the latter comprehends wit, humour, and strong sense at times; while the former is a sad abortive attempt at all things," signifying nothing." It does not depend upon low themes, or even low language, for Fielding revels in both; but is he ever vulgar? No. the man of education, the gentleman, and the You see scholar, sporting with his subject, -its master,
While canker'd Weston, and his loathsome rhymes
A scribbler who, for a series of years, had been attacking the moral character of Pope, in the Gentleman's Magazine, "with all the virulence of Gildon, all the impudence of Smedley, and all the ignorance of Curl and his associates."
not its slave. Your vulgar writer is always most vulgar the higher his subject, as the man who showed the menagerie at Pidcock's was wont to say, "This, gentlemen, is the eagle of the sun, from Archangel, in Russia; the otterer it is the igherer he flies." But to the proofs. It is a thing to be felt more than explained. Let any man take up a volume of Mr. Hunt's subordinate writers, read (if possible) a couple of pages, and pronounce for himself, if they contain not the kind of writing which may be likened to "shabby-genteel" in actual life. When he has done this, let him take up Pope; and when he has laid him down, take up the cockney again if he can.
Note to the passage in page 396. relative to Pope's lines upon Lady Mary W. Montague.] I think that I could show, if necessary, that Lady Mary W. Montague was also greatly to blame in that quarrel, not for having rejected, but for having encouraged him: but I would rather decline the task- though she should have remembered her own line," He comes too near that comes to be denied." I admire her so much her beauty, her talents
that I should do this reluctantly. 1, besides, am so attached to the very name of Mary, that, as John
son once said, "If you called a dog Hervey(1), I should love him;" so if you were to call a female of the same species "Mary," I should love it better than others (biped or quadruped) of the same sex with a different appellation. She was an extraordinary woman: she could translate Epictetus, and yet write a song worthy of Aristippus. The lines,
"And when the long hours of the public are past,
And we meet, with champaigne and a chicken, at last,
There, Mr. Bowles! what say you to such a supper with such a woman? and her own description too? Is not her "champaigne and chicken" worth a forest or two? Is it not poetry? It appears to me that this stanza contains the "purée" of the whole philosophy of Epicurus: I mean the practical philosophy of his school, not the precepts of the master; for I have been too long at the university not to know that the philosopher was himself a moderate man. But, after all, would not some of us have been as great fools as Pope ? For my part, I wonder that, with his quick feelings, her coquetry, and his disappointment, he did no more,instead of writing some lines, which are to be condemned if false, and regretted if true.
[The Hon. Henry Hervey, third son of the first Earl of Bristol, from whom Johnson, in the early part of his London life, received great kindness.]
ABERDEEN, town of, 4. 11, 12.
Abstinence, the sole remedy for plethora,
Abydos, 103. 105, 106. 497. 663. See Bride
Abyssinia, Lord Byron's project of visiting,
Alder, Mr., 575.
Alfieri, Vittorio, his description of his first
Alfred Club, 147. 150. 303. 578.
Academical studies, effect of, on the ima- Algarotti, Francesco, 378.
ginative faculty, 65.
Acerbi, Giuseppe, 327.
Actium, remains of the town of, 97.
Adair, Robert, esq., 110, 111. 120.
Addison, Joseph, his character as a poet, 65.
His treatment of
His conversation, 690. His Drummer,' Alvanley (William Arden), second Lord,