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sent themselves in that finished order which no future study can improve.* This becomes at last the natural eloquence of the mind; the intimate connexion of language and thought: and according as our conceptions are clear, and our thoughts select, so will the words in which they are clothed acquire a proportionable correctness.

I think, however, that this art, or power of the mind, though it is in a great degree to be attributed both to the natural strength, and to the discipline of the poet's mind; yet will also very much depend upon the effect of the different measures, and even styles, used in the poems, in proportion as they confine or give liberty to the genius of the writer. In a short metre, the images and language will be presented to the mind of one practised in composition, by the confinement of the rhyme, and strictness of the measure, condensed, and moulded nearly into their finished form; or in other words, the mind of the writer will feel by experience, that such thoughts can assume a

* V. Johnson's Life of Pope. "By perpetual practice, language had in his mind a systematic arrangement, having always the same use for words; he had words so selected and combined as to be ready at his call."-See also Pope's advertisement to his Essay on Man, “I found I could express them (i. e. principles, maxims, &c.) more shortly this way, than in prose itself." Pope told Spence, that he wrote his Imitation of the first Sat. of Horace in two mornings, excellent as it is. Warton's Pope, vol. iv.

certain shape in preference to any other: and can appear, with more force and beauty, than could be produced by any different arrangement. Whereas in blank verse, and other measures of looser texture and greater length, the same thoughts would have room to expand into various shapes; would be capable of admitting different alterations and combinations of language; and the genius of the poet might, as it were, flower off into something of a wild and romantic luxuriance. Blank verse, and all measures of equal length, must derive much of their effect from the artificial arrangement, and disposition of the style; by which words of common occurrence, and little elevated above the level of prose-writing, assume, in the unexpected order in which they are ranged, a new appearance, and a grace and dignity that would not otherwise belong to them. Accordingly, many parts of the Paradise Lost derive their poetical effect from the disposition of the sentences, and arrangement of the words; where the language itself is such as might be used with propriety in the plainest prose. To form this inverted language, as it may be called, so as to preserve its perspicuity, while it acquires force and elevation, demands the most skilful and the finest art of the poet; and, in proportion to its difficulty, it is reasonable to expect that alterations, and amendments will be suggested by experience. The shortness of the lyric stanza, prevents its deriving its

beauties, from much variation in the common structure of language. There is not room to alter in any great degree the usual arrangement of words, and yet to retain that clearness of expression and transparency of thought, which is always required:

'No words transpos'd, but in such order all,

As wrought with care, yet seem by chance to fall.'

Its beauties accordingly are derived from other sources, which compensate for its deficiency, in one material branch of the poetical art. Though it does not receive its chief beauty from common words skilfully arranged, it is adorned with expressions, selected with taste, and not lowered by familiarity; and while its structure does not admit the balanced and suspended harmony of a long period, it is able to assume another source of pleasure, from the agreeable impression of its rhymes. In this way, I think, we may account for the successive changes, as well as improvements, which so often take place in poems that afford a wide scope to the language of the writer, and which cannot be always attributed to inexperience, or want of practice; as in the different editions of the Seasons* of Thomson, the Pleasures of Imagination by Akenside, the English Garden by Mason, and other poems. In these, the reader will

*The authority of Dr. Johnson has given currency to an opinion, that the Seasons of Thomson have not been

observe, that it is not always the error or omission in the subject, but the unexhausted fancy of the poet, that leads to the alteration. It is mentioned

much improved by the successive alterations of every fresh edition. He says, that they lost that raciness which they at first possessed. This opinion, I may venture to say, is by no means correct. They improved very much and very rapidly in the course of the second and third edition; so much so, that I have often been struck, in reading them in the different stages of their improvement, with the uncommon change which must have taken place in the taste of the author during so short a period. For this change, in some degree, I can now account satisfactorily; as I possess an interleaved copy of the Seasons (of the edition of 1736) which belonged to Thomson, with his own alterations; and, with numerous alterations and additions by Pope, in his own writing. Almost all the amendments made by Pope, were adopted by Thomson in the last edition; and many lines in the Seasons, as they now stand, are Pope's own composition. The last four lines of the tale of Palamon and Lavinia are Pope's entirely:

"The fields, the master, all, my fair, are thine! If to the various blessings which thy house

on me lavish'd

Has shower'd upon me, thou that bliss wilt add, dearest

That sweetest bliss, the power of blessing thee!"

The four lines which Thomson wrote, and which stood in the place of these, in the printed edition of 1736, were:

"With harvest shining all the fields are thine!
And, if my wishes may presume so far,

Their master too, who then indeed were blest,
To make the daughter of Acasto so."

as a saying of Pope's, by the younger Richardson the painter, "that in Garth's poem of The Dispensary, there was hardly an alteration, of the

In the same episode, Thomson had printed the following lines:

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Thoughtless of beauty, she was Beauty's self,

Recluse among the woods; if city-dames

Will deign their faith: and thus she went compell'd
By strong Necessity, with as serene

And pleas'd a look as Patience e'er put on,

To glean Palæmon's fields."

These lines Pope erased, and wrote the following in their place, which now stand in the subsequent editions:

"Thoughtless of beauty, she was Beauty's self. Recluse among the close embowering woods. deep

As in the hollow breast of Apennine,

Beneath the shelter of encircling hills
A myrtle rises, far from human eyes,

And breathes its balmy fragrance o'er the wild :
So flourish'd blooming, and unseen by all,
The sweet Lavinia; till at length compell'd
By strong Necessity's supreme command,
With smiling Patience in her looks, she went
To glean Palæmon's fields."-

The 259th line of this episode now stands:

"And as he view'd her ardent, o'er and o'er :"

But in the edition of 1736, it is somewhat comically expressed:

"Then blaz'd his smother'd flame, avow'd and bold,

And as he run her ardent, o'er and o'er," &c.

This however Thomson himself altered.

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