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taken him for some great boy. lle also used to help the boys in their exercises, generally putting in as many faults, as would disguise the assistance. · Every Englishman who values the literature of his country, must feel himself obliged to Warton as a poetical antiquary. As a poet, he is ranked by his brother Joseph in the school of Spenser and Milton ; but this classification can only be admitted with a full understanding of the immense distance between him and his great masters. He had, indeed, “ spelt the fabled rhyme;" he abounds in allusions to the romantic subjects of Spenser, and he is a sedulous imitator of the rich lyrical manner of Milton : but of the tenderness and peculiar harmony of Spenser he has caught nothing; and in his resemblance to Milton, he is the heir of his phraseology more than his spirit. His imitation of manner, however, is not confined to Milton. His style often exhibits a very composite order of poetical architecture. In bis verses to Sir Joshua Reynolds, for instance, he blends the point and succinctness of Pope, with the richness of the elder and more fanci. ful school. It is one of his happiest compositions ; and, in this case, the intermixture of styles has no unpleasing effect. In others, he often tastelessly and elaborately unites his affectation of antiquity, with the case-hardened graces of modern polish.
If we judge of him by the character of the majority of his pieces, I believe that fifty out of sixty of them
are such, that we should not be anxious to give them a second perusal. From that proportion of his works, I conceive that an unprejudiced reader would pronounce him a florid, unaffecting describer, whose images are plentifully scattered, but without selection or relief. To confine our view, however, to some seven or eight of his happier pieces, we shall find, in these, a considerable degree of graphic power, of fancy, and animation. His “ Verses to Sir Joshua Reynolds” are splendid and spirited. There is also a softness and sweetness in his ode entitled “ The Hamlet,” which is the more wel. come, for being rare in his productions; and his “ Crusade,” and “ Grave of Arthur," have a genuine air of martial and minstrel enthusiasm. Those pieces exhibit, to the best advantage, the most striking feature of his poetical character, which was a fondness for the recollections of chivalry, and a minute intimacy of imagination with its gorgeous. residences, and imposing spectacles. The spirit of chivalry, he may indeed be said, to have revived in the poetry of modern times. His memory was richly stored with all the materials for description, that can be got from books; and he seems not to have been without an original enthusiasm for those objects, which excite strong associations of regard and wonder. Whether he would have ever looked with interest on a shepherd's cottage, if he had not found it described by Virgil or Theocritus,
may be fairly doubted; but objects of terror, splendour, and magnificence, are evidently congenial to his fancy. He is very impressive in sketching the appearance of an ancient Gothic castle, in the fol. lowing lines:
“ High o'er the trackless heath, at midnight seen,
“ No more the windows, ranged in long array, “ (Where the tall shaft and fretted nook between
“ Thick ivy twines) the taper'd rites betray.” .
His memory was stored with an uncommon portion of that knowledge which supplies materials for picturesque description; and his universal acquaintance with our poets supplied him with expression, so as to answer the full demand of his original ideas. Of his poetic invention, in the fair sense of the word, of his depth of sensibility, or of his powers of reflection, it is not so easy to say any thing favourable.
VERSES ON SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS'S PAINTED
WINDOW, AT NEW COLLEGE, OXFORD.
Ah, stay thy treacherous hand, forbear to trace
deck'd herlove rites, the kefabling time
For long, enamour'd of a barbarous age,
But chief, enraptur'd have I lov'd to roam,
Chase not the phantoms of my fairy dream,
Such was a pensive bard's mistaken strain.-