« ПретходнаНастави »
incat vebicle, lin Brittanyo - his retur
tions; as he was unable to speak the language of the country, and could have no information from foreigners, except what he could now and then, extort from the barbarous Latin of some Irish friar. He was himself so far from being delighted or edi. fied by his pilgrimage, that for private reasons, (as his biographer states) and from impatience of being restored to his family, he returned home, without having accomplished the object for which the Duke had taken him abroad. He set out for Bourdeaux in a courier's cart, but being dreadfully jolted in that. vehicle, he quitted it; and, having joined some carriers in Brittany, came home by way of St. Maloes. A month after his return to England, the Duchess of Bolton died; and our author, imagining that his patron would, possibly, have the decency to renain a widower, for a few weeks, wrote to his Grace, offering to join hiin immediately. But the Duke had no mind to delay his nuptials ; he was joined to Polly by a protestant clergyman, who was found upon the spot; and our author thus missed the reward of the only action of his life, which can be said to throw a blemish on his respectable memory.
In the year 1748-9 he had begun, and in 1753 he finished and published, an edition of Virgil in English and Latin. To this work Warburton contributed a dissertation on the sixth book of the Æneid; Atterbury furnished a commentary on the character of lapis; and the laureate Whitehead,
another on the shield of Æneas. Many of the notes were taken from the best commentators on Virgil, particularly Catrou and Segrais: some were supplied by Mr. Spence; and others, relating to the soil, climate, and customs of Italy, by Mr. Holdsworth, who had resided for many years in that country. For the English of the Æneid, he adopted the translation by Pitt. The life of Virgil, with three essays on pastoral', didactic, and epic poetry, and a poetical version of the Eclogues and Georgics, consti. tuted his own part of the work. This translation may, in many instances, be found more faithful and concise than Dryden's; but it wants that elastic and idiomatic freedom, by which Dryden reconciles us to his faults; and exhibits rather the diligence of a scholar than the spirit of a poet. Dr. Harewood, in his view of the classics, accuses the Latin text of incorrectness. Shortly after the
His reflections on pastoral poetry are limited to a few sentences; but he subjoins an essay on the subject, by Dr. Johnson, from the Rambler.
• With what justice I will not pretend to say; but after comparing a few pages of his edition with Maittaire, he seems to me to be less attentive to punctuation, than the editor of the Corpus Poetarum, and sometimes to omit the marks by which it is customary to distinguish adverbs fronu pronouns. I dislike his interpretation of one line in the first Eclogue of Virgil, which seems to me peculiarly tasteless; nainely, where he translates .“ Post aliquot arislas" " after a few years." The picture of Melibæus's cottage “ behind a few ears of corn,” so simply and exquisitely touched, is thus exchanged for a forced phrase with 'regard to time.
appearance of his Virgil, he took a share in the periodical paper, the Adventurer, and contributed twenty-four numbers, which have been generally esteemed the most valuable in the work. : · In 1754 he was instituted to the living of Tunworth, on the presentation of the Jervoise family: and in 1755 was elected second master of Winchester school, with the management and advantage of a boarding-house. In the following year Lord Lyttle. ton, who had submitted a part of his “ History of Henry II.” to his revisal, bestowed a scarf upon him. He found leisure, at this period, to complete his “ Essay on the Writings and Genius of Pope,” which he dedicated to Young, without subscribing his name. But he was soon, and it would appear with his own tacit permission, generally pronounced to be its author. Twenty-six years, however, elapsed before he either reprinted the Essay, or expanded it to its later shape. Dr. Johnson said, that this was owing to his not having been able to bring the public to be of his opinion as to Pope. Another reason has been assigned for his inactivity'. Warburton, the guardian of Pope's fame, was still alive; and he was the zealous and useful friend of our author's brother. The prelate died in 1779, and in 1782 Dr. Warton published his extended and finished Essay. If the supposition that he abstained from embroiling himself by the question about Pope with Warburton be true, it will at least impress us with an idea of his patience; for it was no secret that Ruffhead was supplied by Warburton with materials for a life of Pope, in which he attacked Dr. Warton with abundant severity; but in which he entangled himself more than his adversary, in the coarse-spun ropes of his special pleading. The Essay, for a time, raised up to him another enemy, to whom his conduct has 'even an air of submissiveness. In 'commenting on a line of Pope, he hazarded a remark on Hogarth's propensity to intermix the ludicrous with attempts at the sublime. Hogarth revengefully introduced Dr. Warton's works into one of his satirical pieces, and vowed to bear him eternal enmity. Their mutual friends, lowever, interfered, and the artist was pacified. Dr. Warton, in the next edition, altered his just animadversion on Hogarth into ani ill merited compliment.
1 Chalnero's Life of J. Warton, British Poets.
By delaying to republish -kis Essay on Pope, he ultimately obtained a more dispassionate hearing from the public for the work in its finished state. In the mean time, he enriched it with additions, 'digested from the reading of half a lifetime. The author of “ The Pursuits of Literature" has pronounced it a common place book; and Richardson, the novelist, used to call it a literary gossip: but à testimony in its favour, of more authority than any individual opinion, will be found in the popularity with which it continues to be read. It is very entertaining, and abounds with criticism of more research than Addison's, of more amenity than Hurd's or Warburton's, and of more insinuating tact than Johnson's. At the same time, while much inge. nuity and many truths are scattered over the Essay, it is impossible to admire it as an entire theory, solid and consistent in all its parts. It is certainly setting out from unfortunate premises to begin his Remarks on Pope with grouping Dryden and Addison in the same class of poets; and to form a scale for estimating poetical genius, which would set Élijah Fenton in a higher sphere than Butler. He places Pope, in the scale of our poets, next to Mil. ton, and above Dryden; yet he applies to him the exact character which Voltaire gives to the heartless Boileau—that of a writer, “ perhaps, incapable “ of the sublime which elevates, or of the feeling “ which affects the soul.” With all this, he tells us, that our poetry, and our language, are everlastingly indebted to Pope: he attributes genuine ten. derness to the “ Elegy on an unfortunate Lady;" a strong degree of passion to the “ Epistle of Eloise ;" invention and fancy to “ The Rape of the Lock;" and a picturesque conception to some parts of « Windsor Forest,” which he pronounces worthy of the pencil of Rubens or Julio Romano. There is something like April weather in these transitions. · In May, 1766, he was advanced to the headmastership of Winchester school. In consequence of this promotion, he once more visited Oxford, and proceeded to the degree of bachelor and doctor in