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in such an exquisite strain, says Fenton, that though he had left no other monuments of his genius behind him, his name had been immortal. Dr. J. Warton. [Mr. Dunster hopes that Paradise Regained "slipped acci"dentally out of this list." Mr. Todd gives a note of Dr. Warton's on P. R. i. 44. which shews at least that he rated the Par. Reg. very highly. E.]

Doctor Johnson observes, that Lycidas is filled with the heathen deities; and a long train of mythological imagery, such as a College easily supplies. But it is such also, as even the Court itself could now have easily supplied. The public diversions, and books of all sorts and from all sorts of writers, more especially compositions in poetry, were at this time overrun with classical pedantries. But what writer, of the same period, has made these obsolete fictions the vehicle of so much fancy and poetical description? How beautifully has he applied this sort of allusion, to the Druidical rocks of Denbighshire, to Mona, and the fabulous banks of Deva! It is objected, that its pastoral form is disgusting. But this was the age of pastoral: and yet Lycidas has but little of the bucolic cant, now so fashionable. The Satyrs and Fauns are but just mentioned. If any trite rural topics occur, how are they heightened!

Together both, ere the high lawns

Under the opening eyelids of the morn,
We drove afield, and both together


What time the gray-fly winds her sultry horn, Batt'ning our flocks with the fresh dews of night.

Here the day-break is described by the faint appearance of the upland lawns under the first gleams of light: the sun-set by the buzzing of the chaffer: and the night sheds her fresh dews on their flocks. We cannot blame pastoral imagery, and pastoral allegory, which carry with them so much natural painting. In this piece there is perhaps more poetry than sorrow. But let us read it for its poetry. It is true, that passion plucks no berries from the myrtle and ivy, nor calls upon Arethuse and Mincius, nor tells of rough Satyrs with cloven heel. But poetry does this; and in the hands of Milton, does it with a peculiar and irresistible charm. Subordinate poets exercise no invention, when they tell how a shepherd has lost his companion, and must feed his flocks alone, without any judge of his skill in piping: but Milton dignifies and adorns these common artificial incidents with unexpected touches of picturesque beauty, with the graces of sentiment, and with the novelties of original genius. It is objected" here is no art, for there "is nothing new." To say nothing that there may be art without novelty, as well as novelty without art, I must reply, that this objection will vanish, if we consider the imagery which Milton has raised from local circumstances. Not to repeat the use he has made of the mountains of Wales, the isle of Man, and the river Dee, near which Lycidas was shipwrecked; let us recollect the introduction of the romantic superstition of St. Michael's Mount in Cornwall, which overlooks the Irish seas,

the fatal scene of his friend's at a loss for a meaning, a meandisaster.

But the poetry is not always unconnected with passion. The poet lavishly describes an ancient sepulchral rite, but it is made preparatory to a stroke of tenderness. He calls for a variety of flowers to decorate his friend's hearse, supposing that his body was present, and forgetting for a while that it was floating far off in the ocean. If he was drowned, it was some consolation that he was to receive the decencies of burial. This is a pleasing deception: it is natural and pathetic. But the real catastrophe recurs. And this circumstance again opens a new vein of imagination.

Dr. Johnson censures Milton for his allegorical mode of telling that he and Lycidas studied together, under the fictitious images of rural employments, in which, he says, there can be no tenderness; and prefers Cowley's lamentation of the loss of Harvey, the companion of his labours, and the partner of his discoveries. I know not if, in this similarity of subject, Cowley has more tenderness; I am sure he has less poetry. I will allow that he has more wit, and more smart similies. The sense of our author's allegory on this occasion is obvious, and is just as intelligible as if he had used plain terms. It is a fiction, that when Lycidas died, the woods and caves were deserted and overgrown with wild thyme and luxuriant vines, and that all their echoes mourned; and that the green copses no longer waved their joyous leaves to his soft strains but we cannot here be

ing which is as clearly perceived, as it is elegantly represented. This is the sympathy of a true poet. We know that Milton and King were not nursed on the same hill; that they did not feed the same flock, by fountain, shade, or rill; and that rough Satyrs and Fauns with cloven heel never danced to their ruralditties, But who hesitates a moment for the application? Nor are such ideas more untrue, certainly not less far-fetched and unnatural, than when Cowley says, that he and Harvey studied together every night with such unremitted diligence, that the twin-stars of Leda, so famed for love, looked down upon the twin-students with wonder from above. And where is the tenderness, when he wishes, that, on the melancholy event, the branches of the trees at Cambridge, under which they walked, would combine themselves into a darker umbrage, dark as the grave in which his departed friend was newly laid?

Our author has also been censured for mixing religious disputes with pagan and pastoral ideas. But he had the authority of Mantuan and Spenser, now considered as models in this way of writing. Let me add, that our poetry was not yet purged from its Gothic combinations; nor had legitimate notions of discrimination and propriety so far prevailed, as sufficiently to influence the growing improvements of English composition. These irregularities and incongruities must not be tried by modern criticism.


The Fifth Ode of Horace, Lib. I.

Quis multa gracilis te puer in rosa, rendered almost word for word without rhyme, according to the Latin measure, as near as the language will permit.

WHAT slender youth bedew'd with liquid odours
Courts thee on roses in some pleasant cave,
Pyrrha? for whom bind'st thou

In wreaths thy golden hair,

Plain in thy neatness? O how oft shall he

This Ode was first added in the second edition of the author's poems in 1673.

1. What slender youth] In this measure, my friend and school-fellow Mr. William Collins wrote his admired Ode to Evening; and I know he had a design of writing many more Odes without rhyme. In this measure also, an elegant Ode was written on the Paradise Lost, by the late Captain Thomas, formerly a Student of Christ Church, Oxford, at the time that Mr. Benson gave medals as prizes for the best verses that were produced on Milton at all our great schools. It seems to be an agreed point, that Lyric poetry cannot exist without rhyme in our language. Some of the Trochaics, in Glover's Medea, are harmonious, however, without rhyme. Dr. J. Warton.


sembly of the Passions, before Collins's favourite Ode on that subject.

There are extant two excellent Odes, of the truest taste, written in unrhyming metre many years ago by two of the students of Christ Church, Oxford, and among its chief ornaments, since high in the church. One is on the death of Mr. Langton, who died on his travels, by the late Dr. Shipley, Bishop of St. Asaph: the other, by the present Archbishop of York, is addressed to George Onslow, Esquire, the Speaker. But it may be doubted, whether there is sufficient precision and elegance in the English language without rhyme. In England's Helicon, there is Enone's complaint in blank verse, by George Peele, written about 1590. The verses indeed are heroic, but the whole consists of quatrains. T. Warton.

Dr. J. Warton might have added, that his own Ode to Evening was written before that 5. Plain in thy neatness?] of his friend Collins; as was a Rather 66 'plain in your ornaPoem of his, entitled the As- "ments." Milton mistakes the

On faith and changed Gods complain, and seas
Rough with black winds and storms
Unwonted shall admire!

Who now enjoys thee credulous, all gold,
Who always vacant always amiable

Hopes thee, of flattering gales

Unmindful. Hapless they

To whom thou untried seem'st fair. Me in

Picture the sacred wall declares t' have hung
My dank and dropping weeds

To the stern God of sea.





Ad Pyrrham. Ode V.

Horatius ex Pyrrhæ illecebris tanquam e naufragio enataverat, cujus amore irretitos, affirmat esse miseros.

QUIS multa gracilis te puer in rosa

Perfusus liquidis urget odoribus,
Grato, Pyrrha, sub antro?

Cui flavam religas comam

Simplex munditiis? heu quoties fidem
Mutatosque deos flebit, et aspera
Nigris æquora ventis

Emirabitur insolens !

Qui nunc te fruitur credulus aurea,

idiomatical use of munditia. She
was plain in her dress, or in the
manner of adorning herself. The
sense of the context is,


[blocks in formation]

Qui semper vacuam semper amabilem

Sperat, nescius auræ

Fallacis. Miseri quibus

Intentata nites. Me tabula sacer

Votiva paries indicat uvida

Suspendisse potenti

Vestimenta maris Deo.




BRUTUS thus addresses DIANA in the country of LEOGECIA.
GODDESS of shades, and huntress, who at will
Walk'st on the rowling† spheres, and through the


On thy third reign the earth look now, and tell

What land, what seat of rest, thou bidd'st me seek,
What certain seat, where I may worship thee

For aye, with temples vow'd, and virgin quires.

To whom, sleeping before the altar, DIANA answers in a vision the same night.

Brutus, far to the west, in th' ocean wide,
Beyond the realm of Gaul, a land there lies,

* These fragments of translations, taken from various parts of Milton's Prose Works, I insert from Mr. Warton's edition; omitting, however, those from Milton's Defensio, which Mr. Warton adopts from preceding editions, but which he himself

states to be the work, not of Milton, but of Washington the Translator of the Defensio. See the following note b. E.

◄ Hist. Brit. i. xi. “Diva po"tens nemorum, &c."

+ Tickell and Fenton read lowring.

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