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This harmless grove no lurking viper hides,
VARIATIONS. Ver. 79, 80.
Your praise the tuneful birds to heav'n shall bear,
And lift'ning wolves grow milder as they hear. So the verses were originally written. But the Author, young as he was, soon found the absurdity which Spenser himself overlooked, of introducing wolves into England.
POPE IMITATIONS. VIR. 80. And winds fball wafi, &c.] “ Partem aliquam, veniti, divům referatis ad aures ?" Virg.
Where'er you tread, your feet shall set
The moving mountains hear the pow'rful call,
But see, the shepherds fhun the noon-day heat,
REMARKS. Ver. 84. And beadlong, &c.] Pope has carried the idea into extravagance, when he makes the stream not only “ listening," but “ hang listening in its headlong fall.” Mr. Stevens in his MS. notes, quotes Lucan, in a passage where the image is precisely the same, though possibly Pope never saw it:
_“ de rupe pependit Abscissâ fixus torrens !” But as it is here used, it is too hyperbolical, and only allow. able in a very young writer. An idea of this fort will only bear just touching, if I may say so; the mind then does not perceive its violence : if it be brought before the eyes too minútely, it becomes almost ridiculous. This is often the fault of Cowley. Oldham has a passage of the same stamp:
« For which the lift'ning streams forgot to run,
And trees lean'd their attentive branches down." How much more judiciously and poetically has Milton given the same idea?
- Thirsis, whose artful strains have oft delay'd
Ver. 88. re Gods, &c.]
On me love's fiercer flames for ever prey,
REMARKS. VER. 92. By night, &c.] This is certainly the poorest of Pope's Paftorals ; and it has many false thoughts and conceits,
“ The bleating flocks with my complaints agree,
They parch'd with Thirst, and I inflam'd by thee."
« On me love's fiercer flames, &c.” But the ingenuous and candid critic will always bear in mind the early age in which they were written, and the false taste of Cowley at that time prevalent.
Speaking of the “ Headlong stream, that hangs lift'ning in its fall,” Ruffhead says, “ Though it may be allowed that the new " images in these Pastorale are not frequent, yet it is too much to “ say they do not contain a single image that is new! Let any « reader of senhbility attend to the following lines :
“ But would you ling, &c.
“ And headlong freams bang lifl' ning in their fall !" « The last line," he adds,“ surely presents a new image, and a “ bold one too !!” bold indeed! Virgil has,
Et mutata fuos requierunt Aumina cursus. But this idea is certainly not so "hold !” and according to Mr. Ruffhead, Milton's image is very tamé in comparison of Pope's.
THE THIRD PASTORAL,
HYLAS and ÆGON.
TO MR. WYCHERLEY.7
Hylas and Ægon sung their rural lays;
REMARKS. a This Pastoral consists of two parts, like the viïïth of Virgil : The Scene, a Hill; the Time at Sunset.
Pope. † His intrigues with the Dutchess of Cleveland, his marriage with the Countess of Drogheda, Charles the Second's displeasure on this marriage, his debts and distresses, and other particulars of his life, are well related by Dennis in a Letter to Major Pack, 1720. In Dennis's collection of Letters, published in two volumes, 1721, to which Mr. Pope subscribed, Lord Lansdown has drawn his character, as a Writer, in an elegant manner; chiefly with a view of shewing the impropriety of an epithet given to him by Lord Rochester, who called him Slow Wycherley ; for that, notwithstanding his pointed wit, and forcible expression, he composed with facility and halte.
Thou, whom the Nine, with Plautus' wit inspire, The art of Terence, and Menander's fire; Whose sense instructs us, and whose humour charms, Whose judgment sways us, and whose spirit warms! Oh, skill'd in Nature! fee the hearts of Swains, II Their artless passions, and their tender pains.
Now REMARKS. VER. 7. Thou, whom the Nine,] Mr. Wycherley, a famous author of Comedies ; of which the most celebrated were the Plain-Dealer and Country-Wife. He was a writer of infinite fpirit, satire, and wit. The only objection made to him was, that he had too much. However, he was followed in the same way by Mr. Congreve, tho' with a little more correctness. Pore. Surely with much more correctness, taste, and judgment.
WARTON. VER. 8. The art of Terence, and Menander's fire ;] This line alludes to that famous character given of Terence, by Cæfar:
“ Tu quoque, tu in fummis, ô dimidiate Menander,
Poneris, et merito, puri sermonis amator:
Comica." So that the judicious critic fees he should have faid--with Menander's fire. For what the Poet meant, was, that his friend had joined to Terence's art, what Cæsar thought wanting in Terence, namely, the vis comica of Menander. Besides,—and Menander's fire, is making that the Characteristic of Menander which was not. He was distinguished for having art and comic spirit in conjunction, and Terence having only the first part, is called the half of Menander.
WARBURTON. Ver. 9. Whofe sense instrues us,] He was always very careful in his encomiums not to fall into ridicule, the deserved fate of weak and prostitute flatterers, and which they rarely escape. For fenje, he would willingly have faid moral; propriety required it. But this dramatic Poet's moral was remarkably faulty. His plays are all shamefully profligate both in the Dialogue and Action.
WARBURTON. Oh, skilld] Few writers have less nature in them than Wycherley.