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Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows,
VER. 365. The found muft feem an Echo to the sense.] Lord Roscommon says, ,
6 The found is ftill a Comment to the sense." These are both well expressed, although so differently; for Lord R. is shewing how the sense is assisted by the found; Mr. P. how the found is affifted by the sense.
WARBURTON. VER. 366. Soft is the frain] See examples in Clarke's Homer, Iliad i. V. 430 ; ï. v. 102 ; iii. v. 337 ; vi. v. 510; vii. v. 157; viii. v. 210, 551 ; xi. v. 687.697.766; and many others.
These lines are usually cited as fine examples of adapting the found to the sense. But that Pope has failed in this endeavour has been clearly demonstrated by the Rambler. “ The verse in. tended to represent the whisper of the vernal breeze mult surely be confessed not much to excel in softness or volubility, and the fmooth stream runs with a perpetual clath of jarring consonants. The noise and turbulence of the torrent is, indeed, diftin&tly inaged; for it requires very little skill to make our language rough. But in the lines which mention the effort of Ajax, there įs no particular heaviness or delay. The swiftness of Camilla, is rather contrafted than exemplified. Why the verse should be lengthened to exprefs speed, will not eafily be discovered. In the dactyls, used for that purpose by the ancients, two short fyllables were pronounced with such rapidity, as to be equal only to one long; they therefore naturally exhibit the act of passing through a long space in a short time. But the Alexandrine, by its paufe in the midft, is a tardy and stately measure ; and the word unbending, one of the most fluggish and flow which our language affords, cannot much accelerate its motion.” Aaron Hill, long before this was published by the Rambler, wrote a letter to Pope, pointing out the many instances in which he had failed to accom.
VER. 366. Soft is the rain, &c.]
“ Tum & læta canunt," &c. Vida, Poet. I. iii. ver. 403.
But when loud furges lash the founding shore,
375 While at each change, the son of Libyan Jove Now burns with glory, and then melts with love;
NOTES. modate the found to the sense, in this famous passage. This rule of making the found an echo to the sense, as well as alliteration, has been carried to a ridiculous extreme by several late writers. It is worth observing, that it is treated of at length, and recom. mended by Taffo, page 168 of his Discorsi del Poema Eroico.
WARTON. Ver. 374. Hear how Timotheus', &c.] See Alexander's Feaft, or the Power of Music; an Ode by Mr. Dryden. Pope.
66 Some of the lines (says Dr. Johnson) are without correspondent rhymes; a defect which the enthufiasm of the writer might hinder him from perceiving.”
IMITATIONS, Ver. 368. But when loud furges, &c.] “ Tum longe fale faxa fonant," &c. Vida, Poet. I. iii. v. 388. Ver. 370. When Ajax Arives, &c.] “ Atque ideo fi quid geritur molimine magno,” &c.
Vida, ib. 417 Ver. 372. Not so, when swift Camilla, &c.] " At mora fi fuerit damno, properare jubebo," &c.
Vida, ib. 420.
Now his fierce eyes with sparkling fury glow,
Avoid Extremes; and shun the fault of such,
VER. 384. Avoid Extremes ; &c.] Our Author is now come to the last cause of wrong Judgment, PARTIALITY; the parent of the immediately preceding cause, a bounded capacity: nothing fo much narrowing and contracting the mind as prejudices entertained for or against things or persons. This therefore, as the main root of all the foregoing, he prosecutes at large (from ver. 383 to 474].
Ver. 391. fools admire, but men of sense approve :] “ This prudish sentence has probably made as many formal coxcombs in literature, as Lord Chesterfield's opinion on the vulgarity of laughter, has among men of high breeding. As a general maxim, it has no foundation whatever in truth.
“ Proneness to admiration is a quality rather of temper than of understanding; and if it often attends light minds, it is also in. beparable from that warmth of imagination which is requisite for
As things seem large which we through mist descry, Dulness is ever apt to magnify.
Some foreign writers, fome our own despise ; The Ancients only, or the Moderns prize. 395
Thus COMMENTARY, VER. 395. Some foreign writers, &c.] Having explained the disposition of mind which produces an habitual partiality, he proceeds to expose this partiality in all the shapes in which it appears both amongit the unlearned and the learned.
I. In the unlearned, it is seen, first, in an unreasonable fondness for, or averfion to, our own or foreign, to ancient or modern writers.
NOTES, the strong perception of what is excellent in art or nature. In. numerable instances might be produced of the rapturous admira. tion with whích men of genius have been struck at the view of great performances. It is enough here to mention the poet's favourite critic, Longinus, who is far from being contented with çool approbation, but gives free scope to the most enraptured praise. Few things indicate a'mind more unfavourably constituted for the fine arts, than a lowness in being moved to the ad. miration of excellence; and it is certainly better that this passion fhould at first be excited by objects rather inadequate, than that it Thould not be excited at all.” Aikin.
After all, nothing more is meant by Pope, than that Admira. tion is not Criticism.
Ver. 394. our own despise ;] If any proof was wanting how little the Paradise Lost was read and attended to, at this time, our author's total filence on the subject would be sufficient to thew it. That an Essay on Criticism could be written, without a single mention of Milton, appears truly strange and incredible ; if we did not know that our author seems to have had no idea of any merit fuperior to that of Dryden! and had no relish for an author, who,
Omnes * Extinxit ftellas, exortus uti ætherius fol.” Lucret.
Thus Wit, like Faith, by each man is apply?d
Some ne'er advance a Judgment of their own,
They COMMENTARY. VER. 408. Some ne'er advance a Judgment of their own,] A second instance of unlearned partiality is, (as he shews from ver. 407 to 424.) men's going always along with the cry, as having po fixed nor well-grounded principles whereon to raise any judg. ment of their own. A third is reverence for names ; of which fort, as he well observes, the worst and vileft are the idolizers of names of quality,
NOTES, Ver. 395. The Ancients only,] A very sensible Frenchman says, * En un mot, touchez comme Euripide, etonnez comme Sophocle, peignez comme Homere, & composez d' apres vous. Ces maitres n'ont point eu de regles ; ils n'en ont eté que plus grands ; & ils n'ont acquis le droit de commander, que parce qu'ils n'ont jamais obei. Il en est tout autrement en literature qu'en poli. tique ; le talent qui a besoin de subir des loix, n'en donnera jamais."
WARTON. VER. 402. Which from the forf, &c.] Genius is the fame in all ages; but its fruits are various, and more or less excellent as