Слике страница

"Tis here as 'tis at fea; who fartheft goes, Or dares the moft, makes all the reft his foes. Yet when fome virtue much outgrows the reft,

It shoots too faft, and high, to be expreft; 30 As his heroic worth ftruck envy dumb, Who took the Dutchman, and who cut the boom.

Such praise is your's, while you the paffions


That 'tis no longer feign'd, 'tis real love,
Where nature triumphs over wretched art ; 35
We only warm the head, but you the heart.
Always you warm; and if the rifing year,
As in hot regions, brings the fun too near,
'Tis but to make your fragrant fpices blow,
Which in our cooler climates will not grow. 40
They only think
you animate your theme

With too much fire, who are themfelves all


Prizes would be for lags of flowest pace,

Were cripples made the judges of the race. Defpife thofe drones, who praife, while they accufe


The too much vigour of your youthful mufe. That humble ftyle which they your virtue make,

Is in your power; you need but ftoop and


Your beauteous images must be allow'd
By all, but fome vile poets of the crowd.
But how should any fign-poft dawber know
The worth of Titian or of Angelo ?
Hard features every bungler can command;
To draw true beauty fhews a master's hand.









WHETHER the fruitful Nile, or Tyrian shore, The feeds of arts and infant fcience bore, "Tis fure the noble plant, translated first, Advanc'd its head in Grecian gardens nurft. The Grecians added verse their tuneful tongue


Made nature first, and nature's God their fong. Nor ftopt tranflation here: for conqu'ring Rome,

With Grecian spoils, brought Grecian numbers home;

Enrich'd by thofe Athenian muses more, Than all the vanquish'd world could yield before.


"Till barbarous nations, and more barbarous times,

Debas'd the majefty of verse to rhimes;
Thofe rude at firft: a kind of hobbling profe,
That limp'd along, and tinkled in the close.
But Italy, reviving from the trance
Of Vandal, Goth, and Monkifh ignorance,
With pauses, cadence, and well-vowell'd words,
And all the graces a good ear affords,
Made rhyme an art, and Dante's polifh'd page
Reftor'd a filver, not a golden age.



Ver. 12. Debas'd the majesty of verse to rhimes;] The advo cates for rhyme feem not to advert to what Servius fays, that rhyme was used in the time of the Saturnalia by the Roman populace in their rude fongs, and by the foldiers in their acclamations, and at their feafts in honour of their victorious generals. We may apply to rhyme what Seneca fays of the fubtleties of logic, Comminuitur et debilitatur generofa indoles in iftas auguftias conjecta,"

JOHN WARTON. Ver, 14. and tinkled in the clofe.] Dryden adopts the contemptuous description of rhyme from preceding authors, and thofe of no mean note. Thus in Ben Jonfon's Maík of The Fortunate Ifles, Skogan, the jefter, is reprefented as a writer "in rime, fine tinckling rime!" And Andrew Marvell, in his fpirited verfes to Milton on his Paradife Loft, thus exclaims;

"Well might'st thou fcorn thy readers to allure
"With tinkling rhime, of thy own fenfe fecure."


Ver. 19. Dante's polish'd page] There is a very ancient Italian poem, entitled, Afpramonte, containing an account of the war of King Guarnieri and Agolante against Rome

Then Petrarch follow'd, and in him we fee, What rhyme improv'd in all its height can be: At beft a pleasing found, and fair barbarity. The French purfu'd their steps; and Britain, laft,

In manly sweetness all the rest surpass'd.
The wit of Greece, the gravity of Rome,
Appear exalted in the British loom :
The Mufes empire is restor❜d again,
In Charles his reign, and by Roscommon's pen.
Yet modeftly he does his work furvey,
And calls a finish'd Poem an Effay ;
For all the needful rules are scatter'd here;
Truth fmoothly told, and pleasantly severe;
So well is art difguis'd, for nature to appear.



and Charlemagne; which, from the circumftance of the style being a mixture of the Tufcan with other Italian dialects, appears to be prior to Dante. There was an edition of it at Venice, 1615. It is become extremely rare, and is a great curiofity. It is mentioned by Quadrio in his History of Italian Poetry. Dr. J. WARTON.

Ver. 21. Then Petrarch follow'd,] It was on the fixth of April, 1327, that Petrarch fell in love with Laura, in the twentythird year of his age. Paul Jovius reports, that it was a com mon faying in Italy, that Petrarch did not fucceed in writing profe, nor Boccacio in writing verfe. Few books are fo entertaining as the Abbé Sade's circumftantial Life of Petrarch, which contains alfo a curious picture of the manners and opinions of that age. It is pleasant to obferve, that Petrarch's Laura was allegorized to mean the Chriftian Religion by one commentator; the Soul by another; and the Virgin Mary by a third. Dr. J. WARTON.

Ibid. Then Petrarch follow'd,] No reafoning from the Italian language to the English about rhyme and blank verfe. One language (fays Johnfon) cannot communicate its rules to anoJOHN WARTON.


« ПретходнаНастави »