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Quid dicam, senior cum telum imbelle fine ictu
Invalidus jacit, & defectis viribus æger ?
Num quoque tum versus segni pariter pede languet :
Sanguis hebet, frigent effætæ in corpore vires.
Fortem autem juvenem deceat prorumpere in arces,
Evertise domos, præfractaque quadrupedantum
Pectora pectoribus perrumpere, fternere turres
Ingentes, totoque ferum dare funera campo,
'Tis not enough his verses to complete,
In measure, number, or determin'd feet.
To all, proportion'd terms he must dispense,
And make the found a picture of the sense ;
The correspondent words exactly frame,
The look, the features, and the mien the same.
With rapid feet and wings, without delay,
This swiftly flies, and smoothly skims away:
This blooms with youth and beauty in his face,
And Venus breathes on ev'ry limb a grace ;
That, of rude form, his uncouth members shows,
Looks horrible, and frowns with his rough brows;
His monstrous tail, in many a fold and wind,
Voluminous and vast, curls up behind;
At once the image and the lines appear
Rude to the eye, and frightful to the ear.
Lo! when the sailors steer the pond'rous fhips,
And plough, with brazen beaks, the foamy deeps,
Incumbent on the main that, roars around,
Beneath the lab'ring oars the waves resound;
The prows wide echoing thro' the dark profound.
To the loud call each distant rock replies;
Toît by the storm the tow'ring surges rise ;
While the hoarse ocean beats the founding fhore,
Dash'd from the strand, the flying waters roar.
Flash at the shock, and gathering in a heap,
The liquid mountains rise, and over-hang the deep.
But when blue Neptune from his car surveys,
And calms at one regard the raging seas,
Stretch'd like a peaceful lake the deep subsides,
And the pitch'd vefsel o'er the surface glides.
When things are small, the terms should still be so;
For low words please us when the theme is low.
But when some giant, horrible and grim,
Enormous in his gait, and vast in ev'ry limb,
Ştalks tow'ring on; the swelling words must rise
In just proportion to the monster's fize.
If some large weight his huge arms strive to shove,
The verse too labours; the throng'd words scarce move.
When each stiff clod beneath the pond'rous plough
Crumbles and breaks, th' encumber'd lines must flow.
Nor less, when pilots catch the friendly gales,
Unfurl their shrouds, and hoist the wide-stretch'd fails.
But if the poem suffers from delay,
Let the lines fly precipitate away,
And when the viper issues from the brake,
Be quick; with stones, and brands, and fire, attack
His rising crest, and drive the serpent back.
When night descends, or stunn'd by num'rous strokes,
And groaning, to the earth drops the vast ox
The line too sinks with correspondent sound,
Flat with the steer, and headlong to the ground.
When the wild waves sublide, and tempests cease,
And hush the roarings of the sea to peace;
So oft we see the interrupted strain
Stopp'd in the midst--and with the silent main
Pause for a space---at last it glides again.
When Priam strains his aged arms, to throw
His unavailing jav'line at the foe;
(His blood congeald, and ev'ry nerve unstrung)
Then with the thone complies the artful song ;
Like him the folitary numbers flow,
Weak, trembling, melancholy, stiff, and flow.
Not so young Pyrrhus, who with rapid force
Beats down embattled armies in his course.
The raging youth on trembling Ilion falls,
Burns her strong gates, and shakes her lofty walls;
Provokes his flying courser to the speed,
In full career to charge the warlike ftçed:
He piles the field with mountains of the slain ;
He pours, he storms, he thunders thro' the plain. PITT.
From the Italian gardens Pope seems to have transplanted this flower, the growth of happier climates, into a soil lefs adapted to its nature, and less favour. able to its increase.
Soft is the strain, when Zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows;
But when loud billows lash the founding shore,
The hoarse rough verse should like the torrent roar.
When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
The line too labours, and the words move flow;
Not so when swift Camilla scours the plain,
Flies o'er th' unbending corn, and skims along the main.
From these lines, laboured with great attention, and celebrated by a rival wit, may be judged what can be expected from the most diligent endeavours after this imagery of found. The verse intended to represent the whisper of the vernal breeze, must be confessed not much to excel in foftness or volubi. lity: and the smooth stream runs with a perpetual clash of jarring consonants. The noise and turbu. lence of the torrent is, indeed, distinctly imaged, for it requires very little skill to make our language rough : but in these lines, which mention the effort of Ajax, there is no particular heaviness, obstruction, or delay. The swiftness of Camilla is rather
contrasted than exemplified; why the verse should be lengthened to express speed, will not easily be discovered. In the dactyls used for that purpose by the ancients, two short fyllables were pronounced with such rapidity, as to be equal only to one long; they, therefore, naturally exhibit the act of passing through a long space in a short time, But the Alexandrine, by its pause in the midst, is a tardy and stately mea. sure; and the word unbending, one of the most suggish and flow which our language affords, cannot much accelerate its motion.
These rules and these examples have taught our present criticks to inquire very ftudiously and minutely into founds and cadences. It is, therefore, useful to examine with what skill they have proceeded; what discoveries they have made; and whether any rules can be established which may guide us hereafter in such researches.
NUMB. 93. TUESDAY, February 5, 1751.
-Experiar quid concedatur in illos
Quorum flaminia tegitur cinis atque Latiná.
More fafely truth to urge her claim presumes,
On names new found alone on books and tombs.
THERE are few books on which more time
is spent by young students, than on treatises which deliver the characters of authors; nor any which oftener deceive the expectation of the reader, or fill his mind with more opinions which the progress of his studies and the increase of his knowledge oblige him to resign.
Baillet has introduced his collection of the deci. sions of the learned, by an enumeration of the prejudices which mislead the critick, and raise the passions in rebellion against the judgment. His catalogue, though large, is imperfect; and who can hope to complete it? The beauties of writing have been obferved to be often such as cannot in the present state of human knowledge be evinced by evidence, or drawn out into demonstrations; they are therefore wholly subject to the imagination, and do not force their effects upon a mind preoccupied by unfavourable fentiments, nor overcome the counter-action of a false principle or of stubborn partiality.
To convince any man against his will is hard, but to please him against his will is justly pronounced by Dryden to be above the reach of human