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CHORUS OF YOUTHS AND VIRGINS*.
OH Tyrant Love! hast thou poffeft
The prudent, learn'd, and virtuous breast? Wisdom and wit in vain reclaim,
And Arts but foften us to feel thy flame.
Why, Virtue, doft thou blame defire,
• Some of Dryden's fhort lyrical odes and fongs are wonderfully harmonious; and not fufficiently noticed; particularly in King Arthur, A&,III.
"O Sight! the mother of Defire," &c.
The fong alfo of the Syrens in A& IV; and the Incantations in the Third A&t of Edipus, put in the mouth of Tirefias;
Chufe the darkeft part o' th' grove,
Nor muft his firft ode for St. Cecilia's Day be forgotten, in which are paffages almoft equal to any of the fecond: especially its opening, and the second stanza that defcribes Jubal and his brethren. WARTON.
Love's purer flames the Gods approve ;
Oh fource of ev'ry focial tye,
Or views his smiling progeny:
" dulces occurrunt ofcula nati
Præripere, et tacitâ pectus dulcedine tangunt.”
VER. 31. Or meets] Recalling to our minds that pathetic stroke in Lucretius;
Lib. iii. 909.
What tender paffions take their turns,
What home-felt raptures move?
Hence guilty joys, diftaftes, furmifes,
Fires that fcorch, yet dare not shine :
a These two Chorus's are enough to fhew us his great talents for this fpecies of Poetry, and to make us lament he did not profecute his purpose in executing fome plans he had chalked out; but the Character of the Managers of Playhouses at that time, was what (he faid) foon determined him to lay afide all thoughts of that nature. WAR BURTON. Perhaps there were other reasons which determined Pope to lay afide all thoughts of the Drama.
ODE ON SOLITUDE.
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air,
Whofe herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
a This was a very early production of our Author, written at about twelve years old. POPE.
VER. 1. Happy the man, &c.] Might not Pope have feen, when very young, Cotton's pleafing lines on Contentation?
That man is happy in his share
Who is warm clad and cleanly fed,
And honeft labour makes his bed.
Can think the longest day well-fpent;
Dr. Warton fays, "These stanzas on Solitude are characteristic of the Author's contemplative and moral turn of mind;" but more probably fuch ideas, those of rural life, innocence, content, &c. as they are the eafieft expreffed, fo are they generally the most obvious, and, as such, would be natural to all young writers.
Blest, who can unconcern'dly find
Sound fleep by night; ftudy and ease,
Thus let me live, unfeen, unknown,
SCALIGER, Voltaire, and Grotius, were but eighteen years old when they produced, the two firft their Edipufes, and the laft his Adamus Exul. But the most extraordinary inftance of early excellence is The Old Batchelor of Congreve, written at nineteen only; as comedy implies and requires a knowledge of life and characters, which are here displayed with accuracy and truth. Mr. Spence informed me that Pope once faid to him, "I wrote things, I am afhamed to fay how foon; part of my epic poem Alcander when about twelve. The scene of it lay in Rhodes, and fome of the neighbouring iflands; and the poem opened under the water, with a defcription of the court of Neptune; that couplet on the circulation of the blood, which I afterwards inferted in the Dunciad,
As man's mæanders, to the vital fpring
Roll all their tides, then back their circles bring,
was originally in this poem, word for word." After he had burnt this very early compofition, Atterbury told him, he much wished some parts of it, as a specimen, had been more carefully preserved. Quintilian,