Page images
PDF
EPUB

welcome visitor, Lady Augusta Volney, to look for; and on learning that it had while Miss Beresford proceeded to faith- been drawn by an order from the Earl fully discharge the important commis on Howard's, observed, laughingly, that sion with which she had been entrusted. he hoped her Ladyship had not unsexed On her way, indeed, she could not for- for the occasion, and forgotten to sign her bear recalling to mind the extreme per Christian name. Miss Beresford repelled turbation and hurry that was visible in the insinuation with scorn; and Levison, the Countess's manner in giving the having apologized for what he had said, paper, but imputing her agitation merely by declaring that the words were spoken to an apprehension, lest their prohibited only in jest, returned the note of hand intercourse might be observed, she which the Countess had given him as a did not suffer her mind to dwell on kind of security, and having written an the circumstance. When, however, she acquittal in full of all demands on her waited on her worthy colleague, Levi- Ladyship, took an affectionate farewell son, he enquired, with some surprise, of his fair accomplice in villany, who how her Ladyship had raised the sum, expressed great regret at the necessity which, but a few hours since, she had of his figlit. sincerely protested she knew not where (To be concluded in the next.)

[blocks in formation]

ESSAY ON POPE'S ART OF CRITICISM.

(Concluded from page 434.) The poet censures the Alexandrine of contempt.” He and Pope were once verse", which was too generally adopt- friends ; but they quarrelsed at a time ed by the writers of poetry in his day: when the poetical world seemed to be

up in arms, and continually contending A needless Alexandrine ends the song, in a manner disgraceful to their charac That, like a wounded snake, drags its slow ter. In this affair, however, Pope aplength along. 356357. pears to have been the aggressor.

Lord

Hervey was opposed to him in politics, Dryden was the first who introduced into being a zealous partizan of Sir Robert our English heroic the frequent use of

Walpole. He also wrote many able the Alexandrine, which thus agreeably pamphlets in support of administration; relieved the unvarying repetition of and his speeches in parliament were unithat measure, and enabled him to give formly in favour of government; which an harmonious conclusion to many of circumstances were of themselves suffihis triplets : " by scrupulously avoiding ciently

offensive to Pope. But what

parit, Pope has fallen into an unpleasing ticularly excited our author's indignaand tiresome monotony in his version ţion, against Lord Hervey, was his being of the Iliad."

concerned with Lady Mary Wortley

Montague in some Verses to the ImitaWhat woful stuff this madrigal would be

tor of Horace; and in a poetical epistle In some starv'd hackney sonnetteer or me!

to Dr. Sherwin, entitled An Epistle to But let a Lord once own the happy lines, a Doctor of Divinity, from a Nobleman How the wit brightens! how the style re at Hampton Court ; containing some fines!

severe remarks in reply to Pope's first Before his sacred name fies ev'ry fault, attack. This drew from Pope that ceAnd each exalted stanza teems with lebrated prose letter, which has been thought!

418-423 considered the master-piece of invec

tive, and superior to the character of This is another stroke of satire at Sporus already quoted. His enmity Lord Hervey, afterwards Earl of Bris- also vented itself in petty sarcasms and tol, whom Pope had first ridiculed un- sly insinuations, which he never failed der the title of Lord Fanny, and then to introduce when an oppportunity ofattacked with such caustic severity in fered. Thus in the Epistle to Dr. Arthe character of Sporus. In this last buthnot, (verse 16) he alludes to Lord attack, the critic has used so many Hervey as the rhyming peer ;” and in acrimonious expressions, and such un verse 588 of the present Essay, as the justifiable censure, that we are surprised " honourable fool.The Song by a Perat his want of candour and liberality. son of Quality, written in the year 1733, “ Language,” says Warton, “ cannot was intended as a burlesque on the poafford more glowing or more forcible etical productions of this nobleman: terms to express the utmost bitterness but these, however ridiculed by Pope,

* A verse containing twelve syllables, so called from Alexander of Paris, a French author of the twelfth century, who introduced it into a poem op Alexander the Great.

† Prologue to the Satires. 305—333.
| Warton's Edit. of Pope's Works, Vol. III. pag. 339.

The lines are weak, another's pleas'd to say,
Lord Fanny spins a thousand such a day.

Imit. of Horace. B. II. Sat. 1. v. 6.
Also in the Epistle to Arbuthnot,149, 150.

Like gentle Fanny's was my flow'ry theme,

A painted mistress, or a purling stream. And again in the Epilogue to the Satires.—49, 50.

But were his verses vile, his whisper base,

You'd quickly find him in Lord Fanny's case. Eur. Mag. Vol. 81, June 1822.

3 Z

was

were in general easy and elegant, and of their own country writers (just as sufficiently satirical to make that poet Aristotle and Longinus did of theirs) feel.-Lord Hervey likewise wrote some and discourse upon the beauties and epistles in the manner of Ovid; the defects of composition. Whereas, had best of which are those of Monimia to they confined their efforts to verbal criPhilocles, Flora to Pompey, Arisbe to ticism on the learned languages, their Marius, (taken from Fontenelle) and acuteness and industry might have raisRoxana to Usbeck, (from the Lettres ed them a name equal to the most faPersannes of Montesquieu). The rea mous of the scholiasts."It has exder will find them in the fourth volume cited some surprize that Dennis should of Dodsley's Collection of Poems. have been mentioned only twice, and

that so slightly, in the Dunciad, but the Appius reddens at each word you speak, fact is, that he was looked upon with And stares tremendous, with a threat'ning

some esteem by Pope for having ateye,

tempted no disguise, and for having Like some fierce tyrant in old tapestry.

585587.

candidly prefixed his name to all his

productions. He was also at that time “This picture," says

Warton, “ far advanced in years, and was on that probably intended for, and indeed was account probably regarded with some taken to himself by one John Dennis, degree of compassion by the incensed a furious old critic' by profession ; who,

bard. It should be mentioned to Pope's apon no other provocation, wrote against

honour, that he wrote a prologue to a this poem and its author, in a manner play which was represented for the beperfectly lunatic." His fierce hostility nefit of Dennis, in 1733, a short time to Pope was first excited by some pas

before his death, when he was blind, sages in it, which this redoubted critic old, and in great distress, in which Pope applied to himself, and never forgave;

speaks in the most favourable terms of but pursued their author through life

Dennis's abilities as a critic, an author, with bitter' invectives against every

and a man of letters : work he published. His indignation was still further excited by a pamphlet,

who long had warr'd with modern entitled, the Narrative of Dr. Robert

Hups, Norris, concerning the strange and de

Their quibbles routed, and defy'd their

puns; plorable Frenzy of Mr. John Dennis,

A desp'rate bulwark, sturdy, prim, and written by Pope to gratify Addison in fierce, revenge for the severe strictures, which

Against the Gothic sons of frozen verse. Dennis had passed on the tragedy of How chang'd from him who made the Cato. Pope's officious zeal on this occasion, however, failed in its object, And shook the stage with thunders all as it only served still more to exaspe his own! rate the critic, without tending to conciliate the poet. Pope also placed Den It is pleasant to observe anger thus nis with Gildon in the Dunciadt; an disarmed of its resentment, and perhonour, of which he does not appear to sonal animosity thus yielding to the be particularly solicitous. “Both he more generous emotions of benevolence and Gildon," says a contemporarywriter, and compassion. " had good abilities, but they became On the merits of Dennis, as a pothe public scorn by a mistake of their litical and dramatic writer, it is not talents. They would need turn critics requisite here to enlarge ; but as a

boxes groan,

The principal of these were Critical and Satirical Reflections on a late Rhapsody, called an Essay on Criticism; Remarks on the Translation of Homer, with two letters concerning the Windsor Forest and Temple of Fame ; Observations on the Dunciad and Rape of the Lock; A true Character of Mr. Pope and his Writings, in a Letter to a Friend ; and Pope Alexander's Supremacy and Infallibility examined.See also the catalogue of the many other abusive pamphlets written against Pope, before and after the publication of the Dunciad, and prefixed to that poem in the various editions of his works. + Dunciad, I. 106; II. 239; III. 173–176.

Notes to the Dunciad, book III. Scriblerus,

critic, and a friend to learning, he cer- weight.” This increase of dominion, tainly has a claim to our attention. therefore, induced its governors to exérAnd, indeed, he was not ill qualified cise tyranny and injustice in order to for sustaining that highly important make new conquests, or to preserve character, Some of his earlier literary those which they had already gained ; performances are distinguished by great and as the extension of the empire necritical sagacity and good sense. Of cessarily caused a division of its force, these, the best are, his Remarks on Sir by drawing off its chief supports, it Richard Blackmore's epic poem, entitled, became an easy prey to foreign inPrince Arthur; the Essay on Taste in vaders. “At its fall," says Lord Shaftes-Poetry, and the Causes of its Dege- bury, “ the arts and sciences, which the neracy; the Advancement and Reforma- Romans had so successfully cultivated, tion of Modern Poetry; the Grounds of likewise fell into decay. No sooner had Criticism in Poetry, intended as a sequel they begun to emerge from their roughto the preceding; and Letters on the ness and barbarism, and learn of Greece Genius and Writings of Shakespeare. to form their heroes, orators, and poets All these contain many just and in on a right model, than, by their unjust genious observations, and respectively attempt upon the liberty of the world, contributed to raise his reputation.-It they justly lost their own. With that, was not till after the publication of the they lost not only their force of eloSpectator, in which he imagined him- quence, but even their style and lanself to be attacked, that he gave wayguage itself; and from the period when to his indignant feelings, and published despotism became fully established, not that ill-judged and virulent abuse which a statue, picture, or medal, nor a tolercharacterized his Remarks on Addison's able piece of architecture, appeared." Cato, and on Pope's Essay on Criticism, The Essay on Criticism, according and Rape of the Lock. He was provoked, to Warton, was first written in prose, it seems, by Sir Richard Steele neglect- although he adduces no very strong ing to mention his works favourably in proof in support of this assertion. the Spectator, according to his promise; There is certainly some probability of and conceiving himself alluded to in its correctness, as it is well known that some of its early passages, he entered Pope wrote the Essay on Mæn from the into a furious controversy with Addison, plan drawn by his friend Lord BolingSteele, and Pope, who were the original broke. But whether true or not, it has conductors of the work.

been the subject of frequent and just

admiration, that a person so young, as Learning and Rome alike in empire grew,

the author was when he wrote this And arts still follow'd where her eagles work, should have produced a poem flew;

which displays such quick insight into From the same foes both felt at last their human nature, such perfect knowledge doom,

of life and manners, such accurate obAnd the same age saw learning fall and servations on men and books, and such Rome, -683—686.

correctness and true taste. He has like

wise shewn great skill in the conduct “ Literature and the arts," observes of the poem ;-the outline is clear and Warton, “which flourished to so great unbroken, the arguments bold and vi. a degree about the time of Augustus, gorous, the rules plain and precise ; gradually felt a decline after that period and, although on a trite subject, in from many concurrent causes; from the many places original; the remarks navast extent of the Roman empire, and turally introduced, and the illustrations its consequent despotism, which crushed so diversified and so well chosen, as to every noble effort of the human mind; form an entire whole. It abounds also from the military government, which in many excellent metaphors most aprendered life and property precariouspositely applied, and in figurative lanand from the irruptions of the barbar- guage most happily and elegantly exous nations, which were occasioned and pressed. “ In short,” to use the words facilitated by the state of things. In of a late able writer, “ if we attentively fact, the empire was overgrown, and examine this poem, and observe the became too large to support its own regularity of its plan, the masterly

* Advice to an Author, vol. I. page 148. 12mo. edition.

arrangement of its various parts, the Nay, fly to altars, there they'll talk you penetration into human nature which it

dead; exhibits, and the compass of learning For fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

622-625. so conspicuous throughout, we cannot þut acknowledge it to be one of Pope's Gardez vous d'imiter ce rimeur furieux, best productions.” In the course of Qui de ses vaies écrits, lecteur harmonieux, the work, however, he has borrowed Aborde en récitant quiconque le salue,

Et poursuit de ses vers les passans dans la many images and ideas from the works of other authors. Thus the beautiful H n'est Temple si saint, des Anges re

rue, lines on the memory and on the warmth specté, of the imagination (56—59) quoted in Jui soit contre sa muse un lieu de sureté.t a former part of this Essay, were suggested by a passage in Locke's Essay “These lines," says Warton, “allude on the Understanding ; the remarks on

to the impertinence of a French poet, inequality of style (175—178) by Rose Damed Du Perrier; who, finding Boileau common's Essay on Translated Verse ; one day at ehurch, insisted upon repeatand those on the mutability of the ing to him an ode, during the elevation English language (476---483) by some

of the host, and desired his opinion, verses in Waller's

whether or no it was in the manner of poem on English verse. The story of the interview be. Malherbe. Without this, the pleatween the Knight of La Mancha and santry of the satire would be overthe Scholar (267- 284) is taken from looked." the second part of Don Quixote, origi

The last verses of the Essay on Cris nally written by Don Alonzo de Avel- ticism also bear a strong resemblance kanada, and afterwards re-modelled by to the conclusion of Boileau's poem :Le Sage. (Book III. chap. 10.) The Careless of censure, nor too fond of fame; simile of the Alps (225---232) is, as we Still pleas'd to praise, yet not afraid to have before observed, taken from cor blame; responding passages in Silius Italicus Averse alike to flatter, or offend; and Drummond ; the enumeration of Not free from faults, nor yet too vain to the faults in poetical composition (344

mend.-741-744. --357) from the first Satire of Persius Censeur un peu facheux, mais souvent and other works ; the examples of an necessaire, accommodation of the sound to the Plus enclin & blamer, que sçavant al bien sense (364-372) from Vida's Poetics ; faire. and the elegant verses on the art of painting (484_493) from Dryden's Ode borrowed many other observations.

From Boileau's poem Pope has also to Sir Godfrey Kneller. The following lines are borrowed from Boileau's Art ing remarkable fact:-“ Įn so polished

I conclude this Essay with the followof Poetry:

à nation, after criticism has been much Pride, malice, folly, against Dryden rose, In various shapes of parsons, critics, tablished, las any very extraordinary

studied, and the rules of writing esbeaus.

458_459.

work appeared ? This was visibly the L'ignorance et l'erreur a ses naissantes case in Greece, in Rome, and in France, pieces,

after Aristotle, Horace, and Boileau, had En habits de marquis, en robes de comtes. written their respective Arts of Poetry.

ses, Venoient pour diffamer son chef d'œuvre

In our own country, the rules of the

drama, for instance, were never more nouveau.

completely understood than at present, So also are the following:

yet how few interesting, though faultNo place so sacred from such fops is barr’d, less tragedies, have been produced. So Noris Paul's church more safe than Paul's much better is judgment than execuchurch-yard;

tion."

D. F.

Alluding to Milbourne, Sheffield, and Blackmore; the first of whom attacked the profligacy, and the latter the bombast, of some of Dryden's plays. Milbourn also wrote home severe remarks on his translation of Virgit; and Blackmore traduced bim in his “ Satire upon Wit." + Chant iv.

| Warton's Essay on Pope. vol. 1. page 209.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »