Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

Pope, no small gratification on the annunciation of the present vork. The Advertisement prefixed to it, will shew what the reader is to expect from Mr. Wakefield:

• As the expensiveness of the present undertaking renders it neceffary for me to make the experiment of the public disposition in detached volumes, I shall reserve the general remarks, which I in, tend to offer on the poetical character of my author, to a future occafion. In the mean time, it is proper that I mhould advertise the redider, that my notes are intended to recommend Mr. Pope as an Enghfh claflic to men of taste and elegance; and that they pretend to no subtleties of investigation, no profundities of criticism, no grand discoveries of refined argumentation and curious coherence. It has been my resolution to present to the world as much originality as poffible; and I shall be found to have borrowed very little from other commentators; and that little has been conscientiously assigned to its proper owner. I never could approve of the too common practice of swelling books with the reiterated labours of other cri. tics; a practice not honourable as it regards our own fraternity of writers, nor respectful to the community. The text is taken from bishop Warburton's edition ; a man, for whose talents and penetration I entertain the highest reverence; and whose powers of intelleet have been surpafied by very few individuals of his species, in any age or nation. All communications relative to this work, conveyed to the publishers, whether of historical anecdote, or literary remark, will be thankfully received, and faithfully acknowledged.

I lubmit this work with diffidence and folicitude to the judge ment of the candid and intelligent : and, if I should be fortunate enough to meet with their countenance on this occasion, the succeeding volumes, if life and health permit, will speedily appear.'

This volume comprehends Mr. Pope's very elegant Preface, his Discourse on Pastoral Poetry; his Juvenile Poems, including his Pastorals, and Windsor Forest; Ode on St. Cecilia's Day; Chorus to the Tragedy of Brutus; Effay on Criticism; Rape of the Rock; Elegy on a Lady; Eloisa to Abelard; Epistles to several Persons, Epitaphs, &c.- Mr. Wakefield Thould have given us a table of contents.

In the notes on the discourse on paftoral poetry, Mr. Wake. field gives us the following information:

• The variations in this discourse, inserted below, and those in the pastorals not marked P. are from “ the first copy of the pastorals,” written in Mr. Pope's own hand, and communicated to me in the most ready and obliging manner by Thomas Brand Hollis, esq. On the firit page are found the words in the inverted commas above, and on the second, the following memorandum in the same hand :

“ Mem : This Copy is that wch. past thro. ye. hands of Mr. Wallh, Mr. Congreve, Mr. Mainwaring, Dr. Garth, Mr. Gran

ville, Mr. Southern, Sr. H. Sheers, Sr. W. Trumbull, Ld. Halifax, Marg. of Dorchester, D. of Bucks, &c. Only ye. 3rd. Eclog. was written since some of these saw ye. other 3. wch. were written as they here stand wth. ye. Effay, anno 1704. Ætat. meæ, 16.

The alterations from this copy were upon the objections of some of these, or my own."

• The next leaf, on which probably nothing was written of im. portance, has been torn out : then on the third page is in large printed chara&ters, “ An Essay on Pastoral ;" which regularly commences with the following paragraph : the original, &c. The whole of · which eslay, as well as the pastorals, is most beautifully written in

imitation of print: on which subject Dr. Johnson has the following remark. “ He first learned to write by imitating printed books; a species of penmanship in which he retained great excellence through his whole life, though his ordinary hand was not elegant.” Elegant, perhaps, it may not deserve to be called in comparison with the other ; but regular, distinct, and legible it certainly is, as it can poffibly be. The variations shall be noticed with all the brevity, that a proper specification of them will admit.'

To enable our readers to form a judgment of the manner in which this work is conducted, we shall present them with part of the Windsor Forest, together with Mr. Wakefield's notes.

"WINDSOR FOREST*. • To The Right Honourable GEORGE LORD LANS.

DOWN.
• Non injutsa cano: te noftræ, Vare, myricæ,
Te nemus omne canet; nec Phæbo gratior ulla eft,
Quam fibi quæ Vari præfcripsit pagina nomen. Virg.
My lawns and woodlands no unbidden lays
Shall teach, O! Varus, to refonnd thy praise.
No pages Phæbus confecrates to fame
More pleas’d, than what prescribe thy honour'd name.

(G. W.)
· Thy forest, Windsor! and thy green retreats,
At once the monarch's and the Muse's seats,

Invite

This poem was written at two different times: the first part of it, which relates to the country, in the year 1704, at the same time with the pastorals : the latter part was not added till the year 1713, in which it was published. P.

1. Our poet, in the prologue to the satires, thus modeftly exprelles himself, in allusion chiefly to the following poem and his pastorals :

« Soft were my nunibers: who could take offence
While pure description held the place of fense?
Like gentle Fanny's was my Howery theme,
A painted mistress or a furling fream. .

As

Invite my lays. Be present, sylvan maids !
Unlock your springs, and open all your shades.
Granville commands; your aid, O Mufes, bring !
What muse for Granville can refuse to fing?

• The groves of Eden vanilh d now so long,
Live in description, and look green in song:
These, were my breast inspir'd with equal flame,
Like them in beauty, should be like in fame.
Here hills and vales, the woodland and the plain,
Here earth and water seeni to strive again;
Not chaos-like together crush'd and bruis'd,
But, as the world, harmoniously confus’d:
Where order in variety we see,
And where, though all things differ, all agree.
Here waving groves a chequer’d scene display,
And port admit, and part exclude the day;
As some coy nymph her lover's warm address
Nor quite indulges, nor can quite repress.

As Virgil says of the prayer of Aruns, that the gods granted one hall, and difperft the other half into empty air ; so we cannot aliow the deficiency of Pente to our poet, but readily grant, that description never attained such excele leuce as in his juvenile performances. . .

VARIATION. • Ver. 3. &c. originally thus :

6 Chafte goddess of the woods,
Nymphs of the vales, and Naids of the floods,

Lead me through arching bow'rs and glimm’ring glades : - Unlock your springs • I cannot discover a fufficient reason for his omission of the beautiful verses in the variation; ard with that he had reitored then to their place. • Ver. 4. Virgil, Geo. i!. 175.

fanctos ausus recludere fontes :

Once more unlock for thee the sacred spring. Dryden. And, open all your fbades, is the pandite nunc Helicona, Dean of the famne poce, Æn. vii.

« Now, sacred sisters, open all your spring. Dryden. • Ver. 7. Our author doubtlcis had in view, two partages of Addifou's Letter from Italy; the first of which is worthy of Pope himlelf:

· Sonietimes misguided by the tuneful throng,
I look for treams immortaliz'd in song,
That lost in silence and oblivion lie;
Dumb are their fountains, and their channels dry;
Yet run for ever by the muse's skill,
And in the snooth description murniur still,
Oh! could the muse my ravish'd breast inspire
With warmth like your's, and raise an equal fire !
Unnumber'd beauties in my verse should shine,

And Virgil's Italy should yield to mine. · Ver. 14. The diction of this couplet is curiously happy. He might have in his eye the concors difcordia-tbe friendly difiord of Ovid.

Ver. 19. There is a levity in this comparison, which appears to me unfeasonable, and but ill according with the serene dignity of the lubject. But, as the pore omitted with great judgment the luxuriances of h's youthful inagination in future revifals of his works, and has retained this pallage, I am very diffident of diffent from hins is such cales.

There,

There, interspers’d in lawns and op’ning glades,
Thin trees arise that ihun each other's Mades.
Here in full light the rullet plains extend :
There wrapt in clouds the bluish hills ascend."
Ev'n the wild heath displays her purple dyes,
And ’midst the desert fruitful fields arise,
That crown'd with tufted trees and springing corn,
Like verdant illes the fable waste adorn.
Let India boast her plants, nor envy we
The weeping amber, or the balmy tree,
While by our oaks the precious loads are born,
And realms commanded which those trees adorn.
Not proud Olympus yields a nobler sight,
Though gods assembled grace his tow'ring height,
Than what more humbler mountains offer here,
Where, in their blessings, all those gods appear.
See Pan with flocks, with fruits Pomona crown'd;
Here blushing Flora paints th' enamellid ground;
Here Ceres' gifts in waving prospect stand,
And nodding tempt the joyful reaper's hand;
Rich industry fits smiling on the plains,
And peace and plenty tell, a Stuart reigns.

· Not thus the land appear'd in ages past,
A dreary desart, and a gloomy waste,

40

VARIATION,
• Ver. 24. Bluijs. This form of the word is destitute of dignity."
• Ver. 25. originally, thus:

" Why should I ling our better furs or air,
Whole vital draughts prevent the leach's care,
While through fresh fields th' en iv'ning odours breathe,

Or spread with vernal blooms the purple heath?' • The prosaic vulgar language, and the imperfect rhyme in these verses, jur. tify their suppression; and prove, like most of these instances, of personal criticifm in our poet, that he had not forgot what he imputes to Dryden,

"The last and greatest art, the art to blot.' · Ver. 28. This simile, both natural and apposite, is a very pleasing illustration of the subject.

Ver. 30. This verse exhibits the same beauty as was pointed out at verse fixty-second of the first pastoral. So Dryden, Virg. Geo. i.

And fost Idume weeps her od'rous tears. Ver. 31. This orthography is vicious : it Mould be borne. And a further defe in this couplet is a too quick recurrence of the rhyme.

Ver. 32. This fabulous mixture of Itale images, Olympus and the gods, is, in my opinion, extremely pucrile, especially in this description of real fcenery. Pan, Pomona, and the rest, mere representacive substitutions, give no offence, but contribute to elevate and enliven.

• Ver. 43. This retrospect is well imagined; and has a fine effect in connectivn with the gaiery and luxuriance of the preceding description. C. R. N. Arg. (XI.) June, 1794.,

. . TO

[ocr errors]

To savage beasts and savage laws a prey,
And kings more furious and severe than they;
Who claim'd the skies, dispeopled air and floods,
The lonely lords of empty wilds and woods ;.,
Cities laid waste, they storm'd the dens and caves,
(For wiser brutes were. backward to be saves). .
What could be free, when lawless beasts obey'd,
And ev'n the elements a, tyrant sway'd ?
In vain kind seasons (well’d the teeming grain,
Soft show'rs diftillid, and suns grew warm in vain;
The fwain with tears his frustrate labour yields,
And familh'd dies amidst his ripen'd fields.
What wonder then, a beast or sobject Nain
Were equal crimes'in a despotic reign? .
Both doom'd alike, for sportive tyrants bled,
But while the subject starv;d, the beast was fed.
Proud Nimrod first the bloody chace began,
A mighty hunter, and his prey was man:
Our haughty Norman boasts that barb'rous name,
And makes his trembling Naves the royal gamę.
The fields are ravish:d from th' industrious swains,
From men their cities, and from gods their fanes;
The levelld towns with weeds lie cover'd o'er;
The hollow winds through naked temples roar ;

Round

"

[ocr errors]

VARIATION. I Ver. 46. There is an inaccuracy in this couplet : the former verfe should hare run thus, with the transposition of a single word:

,! To favage laws and favage beasts a prey;!. Since the pronoun tbey of the following line can only refer with propriety to savage beasts, because the savage laws were a part of the fury and severity in question. '. Ver. 49. originally thus in the MS.

From towns laid waste, to dens and caves they ran,

(For who first stoop'd to be a llave was man).' • Ver. so. The conceit in this line is alike childish and deftitute of propri. ety; because dens and caves are the residence of these brutes at all times, and therefore their retreat to these places constitutes no argument of their aversion to llavery. And the following couplet is by no means wortby of the poet. The fix next verses are of a much superior character. • Ver. 57. &c. No wonder savages or subjects Nain....

But subjects starv'd, while lavages were fed.' It was originally thus; but the word javages is not properly applied to beafts, but to men ; which occafioned the alteration. P.

i Ver. 65. The fields are ravisb'd, &c.] Alluding to the destruction made in the New Forest, and the tyrannies exercised there, by William I. P.

The fields are ravilh'd from th' industrious (wains,

.. From men their cities, and from gods their fanes :' Translated from

Templa adimit divis, fora civibus, arva colonis, an old monkish writer, I forget who. P. • Ves. 67. The words cover'd o'er constitute, in my opinion, a very feeble tere

minacion

« AnteriorContinuar »