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is hardly superior to the original couplet in Parnell's Night Piece. All the happy and discriminating epithets in the stanza beginning,

“ The breezy call of incense-breathing morn," are collected from other writers: the "twittering swallow” comes from Antonius. No lines in English verse are so often quoted as those commencing,—

“For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn;" they form a delightful and affecting picture, which every heart can feel and admire; but how small a portion of their beauty belongs to Gray! The classical reader will distribute the disjecta membra among Lucretius, Horace, and Virgil; Thomson and Dryden. Gray was pleased to say of the Castle of Indolence, that it contained some good stanzas: we are not going to comment upon such an epithet applied to one of the most delicious compositions in the language; but it will be seen that Thomson, in WINTER,'had anticipated some of the most touching particulars of this famous stanza,

“ For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,

Or busy housewife ply her evening care;
No children run to lisp their sire's return,

Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share."-GRAY.
“ In vain for him the officious wife prepares

The fire fair blazing, and the vestment warm ;
In vain his little children, peeping out
Into the mingling storm, demand their sire
With tears of artless innocence.”—Thomson. *

* Thomson was diligently read and studied by Gray. Gilbert Wakefield has discovered in Summer the original of a beautiful stanza in the Ode on the Spring :

“ To Contemplation's sober eye,

Such is the race of Man ;
And they that creep, and they that fly,

Shall end where they began.
Alike the Busy and the Gay,
But flutter through life's little day,

In Fortune's varying colours drest :
Brush'd by the hand of rough Mischance,
Or chill’d by Age, their airy dance

They leave in dust to rest.”—GRAY.

“ Thick in yon stream of light a thousand ways,

Upward and downward, thwarting and convolved,

If Gray has excelled his predecessor, he owes his success to the adaptations from the Latin poets, whom, however, he has not equalled. The children climbing their father's knees, an image borrowed from his favourite Dryden, is certainly not more graphic than their hanging round his neck in Virgil. “ Interea dulces pendent circum oscula nati.”

GEORG. II. 1. 523. And the “envied kiss” is less poetical and expressive than the oscula præripere of Lucretius, in which the eagerness of anticipation, and the affectionateness of childish rivalry, are most admirably portrayed. Horace's domestic Interior may, to some eyes, be made more touching and natural by the introduction of the epithet lassi : the wearied husband is more picturesque and interesting. The melancholy line,

The paths of glory lead but to the grave," is pronounced by Hayley a literal translation from the Latin prose of Bartholinus in his Danish Antiquities. The beautiful stanza

“Full many a gem of purest ray serene

The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,

And waste its sweetness on the desert air;"is almost a transcript of a passage in Bishop Hall's Contemplations. “ There is many a rich stone laid up in the bowells of the earth, many a faire pearle in the bosom of the sea, that never was seen nor never shall be.” And though we should grant that Gray was unconscious of the passage, and, considering the extent and diversity of his reading, we should be admitting a good deal, yet Young, in the Universal Passion, employs in one place words absolutely identical. With the aid of Mitford and the other commentators who have devoted so much learning to the illustration of Gray, we might easily continue these remarks. That some of the imitations may have been unconsciously introduced, we are willing to concede. In a letter to Horace Walpole he says, “I send you a bit of a thing for two reasons :—first, because it is one of your favourites, Mr. M. Green; and, next,

The quivering nations sport; till tempest-wing'd,
Fierce Winter sweeps them from the face of day.
E'en so luxurious men, unheeding, pass
An idle summer's life in Fortune's shine,
A season's glitter. Thus they flutter on
From toy to toy, from vanity to vice,
Till blown away by Death, Oblivion comes
Behind, and strikes them from the book of life.”—Thomson.

because I would do justice. The thought on which my second ode turns, is manifestly stole from thence; not that I knew it at the time, but having seen this many years before, it imprinted itself on my memory, and forgetting the author I took it for my own.” We are inclined to attribute the classic air of his poetry to a similar cause: his mind was so thoroughly saturated with the essence of antiquity, that his dreams were of Greece or Italy. Arcadia unfolded its verdant solitudes before his feet; the nightingale sang to him at Colonos; Castaly flowed in upon

his sleep; the footsteps of Plato were heard by the cool Ilissus; Demosthenes thundered from the Bema; and the summer moonlight glistened through the olives of the Academy.

There is one very remarkable quality in the poetry of Gray which appears to have been unknown to Goldsmith. We allude to his lively sense of the Picturesque; a word not easy of explanation, and for which no correspondent term has been discovered in the works of antiquity, although Winckelman, in his ignorance of Greek, rendered the ypapucòy of Strabo by picturesque. It seems to be derived from the Italians, and Mr. Knight supposes it to have been first employed by Redi, who flourished towards the termination of the 16th century. It is omitted in Johnson's Dictionary. The obvious sense of the word implies a relation to painting; but the signification we propose to attach to it in the present case is the peculiar effect imparted to the portraiture of any object by the mind of the author. The reader who happens to be familiar with the Elizabethan poets, and those of the succeeding reign, will recollect numerous illustrative examples in Spenser, Chapman, Marlowe, and others: the line in which Marlowe describes a woman,

“ With hair that gilds the water as it glides,” is a happy specimen. Among the Italians, Marino, from whom Crashaw derived so many of his faults and beauties, is remarkable for his devotion to the picturesque. Goldsmith's felicity of execution drew from his friend the jealous eulogy that he always seemed to do best that which he was doing; yet in refinement of taste and delicacy of selection, he was inferior to Gray. We should manage our thoughts in composing any work, was the saying of Swift, as shepherds do their flowers in making a garland : first select the choicest, and then dispose them in the most proper places, where they give a lustre to each other. This Gray did with an ingenuity and grace never excelled. The flowers might not indeed grow in his own garden, but no one ever combined their hues with more elegance and skill.

Johnson has declared that by the common consent of readers uncorrupted by literary prejudices, after all the refinements of subtlety and dogmatisms of learning, must be finally decided all claims to poetical honour. This, like many other of the Doctor's

aphorisms, moral and critical, is only partially true. In whatever degree a poem addresses itself to the wants, the hopes, and the sympathies of mankind, in an equal proportion will every heart be prepared to feel and acknowledge its beauty. Within this circle of the affections every true poet is a powerful Magician. But it must be apparent that if all claims to poetical distinction be decided by the common consent of readers, an inquiry into their capacities of taste and analysis becomes expedient. As a poem recedes from the ordinary duties and business, the pleasures and afflictions of life, the attention of the general reader droops and wearies; he is transported into a country, it may be, of surpassing loveliness, but he pines for the quiet walks and amusements of home. Such an one will pause with no sensation of delight upon the variegated fancy of Davenant; the serious sweetness and sunny voluptuousness of Spenser; the bright and learned visions of Milton; the pathetic wildness and mysterious beauty of Collins; the didactic philosophy of Wordsworth—the strain of Minerva upon the lute of Apollo; the wondrous tales of Southey; or the imaginative tenderness of James Montgomery. Let us not be suspected of a desire to degrade the inspiration of the heart; we deem it of all others the most enduring; the most healthful; and, after religion, the most ennobling. The sweetest of songsters has its home upon the ground; so in like manner we would have the poet continually descend from the height of his argument among the charities of life. We only demand an extension of Johnson's canon; we wish to muse over the Elegy without abandoning the Bard; to rejoice with the cottager round his evening fire, without losing sight of Milton riding upon the seraph wings of Ecstasy ; the march of Hyperion; or the Urn of Fancy.*

In parts of the poetry of Gray there is a splendour, a warmth, and an animation which Goldsmith neither attempted nor was capable of attaining; yet it may be questioned whether the heartiness and naturalness of his manner, are not often more delightful. Gray in his richly embellished works speaks the language of poets; Goldsmith always the language of men. Gray dazzles our eyes with the artificial light of a costly erudition; Goldsmith cheers us with the sunshine of the fields; in the one we often discover only the treasures of learning polished into brightness, and elaborated into beauty; in the other, the vivacious offspring of observation impregnated by genius; in the Deserted Village we forget the author in the poem; while in the Progress of Poetry, the writer is constantly by our side; we may speak of the Bard, but we are thinking of Gray. The prose of Goldsmith has all the artlessness of art, and is like true Beauty, though unadorned, adorned the most ; it combines the transparency and idiomatic raciness of Swift, with a sweeter modulation; the engaging familiarity of Cowper, with a richer tone of colouring, and a wider variety of illustration. Boswell has told us, in one of his florid common-places, that the mind of Goldsmith resembled a fertile but thin soil, rendering a quick but not a strong vegetation of whatever chanced to be thrown upon it: no deep root could be struck; the oak of the forest did not grow there; but the elegant shrubbery and the gay parterre appeared in succession. Here is all Johnson's flesh without any of his bone. From such inflated generalities what conclusion can be extracted ? If by the oak of the forest not flourishing there be meant that he did not compile a folio dictionary, or write a poem as long as Paradise Lost, the assertion may be admitted; but how are we to reconcile the idea of no deep root having been struck with the existence of a Tale which every one reads ; poems to which every heart responds; comedies at which Laughter still holds both his sides; essays sparkling with humour, pregnant with observation, alive with fancy; and histories rarely equalled in the charm and beauty of narration! No; the fame of Goldsmith has struck its roots into the very heart of our literature, and will continue to spread until Time shall drive its ploughshare over the Temples of Learning and the Bowers of Song. “ Taste in writing,” he said, “is the exhibition of the greatest quantity of beauty and use, that may be admitted into any description without counteracting each other." This rule he appears himself to have adopted. He never goes out of his way to gather a flower, but employs it when it lies in his path. To this rejection of ornaments he was indebted for the formation of a style which, in the opinion of the most celebrated of his contemporaries and friends, was copious without exuberance, exact without constraint, and easy without weakness. After such an eulogy, we shall think little of the remark of Mackintosh,

* See Progress of Poetry.

-a learned, painful, and ornamented writer,--that his prose, though of a pure school, has not sufficient elegance to atone for the substantial defects of his writings. The prose remains of Gray consist of letters, and a few fragments upon various subjects of classical learning. Of the history of poetry, which he once contemplated, the observations on Lydgate furnish an excellent specimen-clear, discriminating, and elegant.-His Letters have the fault, which, we believe, he imputed to Pope, that of having too studied an air; even the humour has a look of labour,we cannot divest ourselves, during the perusal, of a suspicion that they were written for the press; they want the delightful candour and unembarrassed fluency of Goldsmith and Cowper. Passages, however, reach a high degree of excellence; a rural sketch looks green in his language; and the reader, converted into a spectator, acknowledges the beauty of these Georgics in Prose.

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