« PreviousContinue »
he planned a very heterogeneous and unnatural compofition. If he preferred a general statelinefs both of found and words, he can be only understood to with that Butler had undertaken a different work.
The measure is quick, fpritely, and colloquial, fuitable to the vulgarity of the words and the levity of the fentiments. But fuch numbers and fuch diction can gain regard only when they are used by a writer whofe vigour of fancy and copioufnefs of knowledge entitle him to contempt of ornaments, and who, in confidence of the novelty and juftness of his conceptions, can afford to throw metaphors and epithets away. To another that conveys common thoughts
thoughts in carelefs verfification, it will only be faid, "Pauper videri Cinna "vult, & eft pauper." The meaning and diction will be worthy of each other, and criticifm may justly doom them to perish together.
Nor, even though another Butler fhould arife, would another Hudibras obtain the fame regard. Burlesque con-fifts in a disproportion between the file and the fentiments, or between the adventitious fentiments and the fundamental fubject. It therefore, like all bodies compounded of heterogeneous parts, contains in it a principle of corruption. All difproportion is unnatural, and from what is unnatural we can derive only the pleasure which novelty produces.
We admire it awhile as a strange thing; but, when it is no longer ftrange, we perceive its deformity. It is a kind of artifice, which by frequent repetition detects itself; and the reader, learning in time what he is to expect, lays down his book, as the fpectator turns
away from a fecond exhibition of those tricks, of which the only use is to fhew that they can be played.