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But thou rejoice, dear Book,
Or wandering from thy kindred band
In some vile den thy honours torn,
That thou again may'st view the skies;
As wanting to his perfect hoard,
Rouse, who a nobler treasure keeps,
By Grecia's pious bounty piled,
f Nam te Roüsius sui
Optat peculi, numeroque justo
lön, Actæâ genitus Creusâ. For the other stanzas of the original Ode see p. 277, 278, 279, 280.
Tbine her fair domes and velvet meads,
Than Pindus more ;-and thine, proud choice!
Midst bards of giant fame to stand;
And ye, my other toils,
From Envy's fang shall speed your way,
There nor the rabble shall revile,
A purer race shall scan the page;
Mr. Warton, the late Laureat, having been frequently mentioned in the preceding pages, and not always with that respect which his friends imagine to be due to him, let me openly avow, in this unconnected place, that whatever credit for probity and worth I am disposed to attribute to him as a man, I can discover no superior merit in him as a writer; and am compelled to class him with those, who have accidentally been raised into cele
brity by the caprice of the day, above the rightful claim of their intellectual endowments or their literary acquisitions. Some of his poetry rnay be allowed to be pretty: but his learning was confined and superficial; and his criticism, at all times weak, was almost uniformly erroneous. He was not perhaps an unuseful labourer in the leaden mines of Gothic and English antiquity; and his brother antiquarians, who can learnedly descant on the classification of the various species of fools that have formerly flourished in our happy land, may approach him with the reverence of the knee, and may assign to those, who refuse to unite in the silly worship, what opprobrious epithets they please: but unable with any efforts to add to their own stature, or to breathe the breath of life into their idol, they will still continue to be little, and he to be uninformed with a sparkle of the Divinity.” “ But Pope
Like all the small men in the world of
c See Douce's “ Illustrations of Shakspeare," or rather the article on this work in the British Critic, for August 1808– [V.xxxii. 160.] Mr. Douce is a respectable writer and a gentleman: but his friendly Critic has exceeded him in his generous zeal for Mr. Warton's reputation, and has involved all, who refuse to seat this author by the side of Aristotle and Homer, in one rush of condemnation as sciolists and slanderers." I know nothing of the offences of others against the fame of the late Laureat: but I know that the anger of his friends is too indiscriminate in its expressions, and cannot be of any use to their cause. Its scribble however will be little read and less regarded.
letters, Mr. Warton would sometimes indulge himself with an attack
Of the many blows which he aimed at Milton, and to which he was incited, no doubt, by the zeal of his tory virtue, some have been noticed in the course of the present work: but other favourites of the Muse could not escape him. For borrowing two or three expressions from Il Penseroso and the Comus, Mr. W. could thus speak of Pope: was a gleaner of the old English poets; and he was here pilfering from obsolete English poetry without the least fear or danger of being detected"!!!” A few years, however, will sweep this, acute and candid detector of plagiarism to oblivion; and will leave the laurel of Eloisa's poet without the vestige of a stain. T'he Laureat’s brother, the late most respectable and amiable master of Winchester school, certainly possessed more liberality of sentiment and a finer taste: but I am assured, by those who knew them and are more competent to decide upon the question than myself, that on the whole he was the inferior man. It
and I stand corrected; and whenever again I may have occasion to speak of them, Thomas shall be placed in the sentence before Joseph.
Wart. ed. of Milt. Juv. Poems, p. 193
In Lord Teignmouth's elegant biography, a work which ought to be placed in the hands of every young man of talents and ambition, we find a letter," addressed by the great and amiable Sir William Jones to the Countess Dowager Spencer, in which the writer speaks of Forest-hill, near Oxford, as of a place in which Milton“ spent some part of his life;" which he chose for his retirement soon after the event of his first marriage; where he wrote L'Allegro and Il Penseroso; and where tradition still preserves the memory of the poet's residence, and points to the ruins of his chamber.
To those, who have perused the preceding volume, it will be superfluous to remark that this relation is founded altogether upon error. No biographical circumstances can be ascertained with more precision than are the various residences of Milton. By Edward Philips, who must have been acquainted with the facts which he assumes to relate, for he was then an inmate with his uncle, we are informed that Milton, about Whitsuntide, (in 1643,) after a month's absence from his house in Aldersgate Street, returned home with his wife, Mary Powell; that the Lady, when she had cohabited for a month with
d Memoirs of the Life of Sir William Jones, p. 67.