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words: and in this unadorned manner to pe rufe the paffage. If there be really in it a true poetical spirit, all your inverfions and transpo fitions will not disguise and extinguish it; but it will retain its luftre, like a diamond unset, and thrown back into the rubbish of the mine. Let us make a little experiment on the following well-known lines: " Yes, you defpife the man that is confined to books, who rails at humankind from his study; though what he learns, he speaks; and may, perhaps, advance fome general maxims, or may be right by chance. The coxcomb bird, fo grave and fo talkative, that cries whore, knave, and cuckold, from his cage, though he rightly call many a passenger, you hold him no philofopher. And yet, fuch is the fate of all extremes, men much, as well as books. We
may be read too
grow more partial, for the fake of the obferver, to obfervations which we ourselves make; less so to written wisdom, because another's. Maxims are drawn from notions, and thofe from guess." What shall we fay of this paffage? Why, that it is moft excellent fenfe, but just as poetical as the Qui fit Mæcenas" of the author who recommends this method of trial. Take ten lines of the Iliad, Paradife Loft, or even of
the Georgics of Virgil, and fee whether, by any process of critical chemistry, you can lower and reduce them to the tameness of
profe. You will find that they will appear like Ulyffes in his disguise of ftill a hero, though lodged in the cottage of the herdsman Eumæus.
The fublime and the pathetic are the two chief nerves of all genuine poefy. What is there transcendently fublime or pathetic in POPE? In his Works there is, indeed, “nihil inane, nihil arceffitum; puro tamen fonti quam magno flumini proprior;" as the excellent Quintilian remarks of Lyfias. And because I am, perhaps, unwilling to speak out in plain English, I will adopt the following paffage of Voltaire, which, in my opinion, as exactly characterizes POPE as it does his model Boileau, for whom it was originally defigned: "INCAPABLE PEUT-ETRE DU SUBLIME QUI ELEVE L'AME, ET DU SENTIMENT QUI L'ATTENDRIT, MAIS FAIT POUR ECLAIRER CEUX A QUI LA NATURE ACCORDA L'UN ET L'AULABORIEUX, SEVERE, PRECIS, PUR, HARMONIEUX,
HARMONIEUX, IL DEVINT, ENFIN, LE POETE
DE LA RAISON. dựn
Our English Poets may, I think, be dif pofed in four different claffes and degrees. In the first class I would place our only three fublime and pathetic poets; SPENSER, SHAKESPEARE, MILTON. In the fecond class should be ranked such as poffeffed the true poetical genius, in a more moderate degree, but who had noble talents for moral, ethical, and panegyrical poefy. At the head of these are DRYDEN, PRIOR, ADDISON, COWLEY, WAL-、} LER, GARTH, FENTON, GAY, DENHAM, PARNELL. In the third clafs may be placed men of wit, of elegant taste, and lively fancy in defcribing familiar life, though not the higher fcenes of poetry. Here may be numbered, BUTLER, SWIFT, ROCHESTER, DONNE, 3 DORSET, OLDHAM. In the fourth clafs, the mere verfifiers, however fmooth and mellifluous some of them may be thought, should be disposed. Such as PITT, SANDYS, FAIRFAX, BROOME, BUCKINGHAM, LANSDOWN. This enumeration is not intended as a complete. catalogue of writers, and in their
but only to mark out briefly the different fpecies of our celebrated authors. In which of these claffes POPE deferves to be placed, the following Work is intended to determine.
And faithful Servant.
GENIUS AND WRITINGS
OF THE PASTORALS, AND THE MESSIAH,
PRINCES and Authors are seldom spoken of, during their lives, with justice and impartiality. Admiration and Envy, their constant attendants, like two unskilful artists, are apt to overcharge their pieces with too great a quantity of light or of shade; and are disqualified happily to hit upon that middle colour, that mixture of error and excellence,