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dure glittered; and moreover that the laurel-woven bower fung its verdure-glittering arch over the Poet's head, and fung it in a wild manner. I profess that this painting delighteth me, because it is so exceedingly artful. I suppose, that your fimple Poets would have been contented with calling the arch of glittering verdure a green arch; but that would have been a very poor and tritical expression, conveying nothing more than a simple idea of the arch.
Whereas all ornamental painting ought to make the ideas as complicate as possible.
What a rich luxuriancy, what a waste of imagery have we in the following address to the garden!
How soon obedient Flora brought her store,
And o'er thy breast a flower of fragrance flung!
And thy rich fates with waring purple hung.
He pierc'd th' oppofing oak's luxuriant shade;
Nor veil the glories of the golden mead. How beautifully and metonymically doth Flora fing a fhower of fragrance over the garden! It is ten to one whether, in the hands of any other Poet, she would have done any thing more than scatter a few Aowers. But then Vertumnus ! Reader, behold Vertumnus! The God of the Seasons is become an Upholsterer. No sooner had Flora perfumed the feveral apartments of the garden, by Ainging a fhower of fragrance on them, then Vertumnus came, with his colours under his arm, and hung the sides with purple:
his earliest blooms he bore, And thy rich fides with waving purple hung. In the next stanza, methinks, I see the crowding hawthorns duck down their heads, and fkulk off at the command of their Master:
Bad yonder crowding hawthorns low retire, Happy thought! and equalled only by the rich luxury of the following line :
Nor veil the glories of the golden mead. Repetition is, in Poetry, a most delectable thing; and "who shall presume to say, that our Author hath not exercised this figure with rare felicity, in these two verses?
Hal, Hail, fylvan wonders, lail; and bail the hand,
Whole native talie thy native charms display d. This bringeth to my remembrance a most beautiful couplet in an ancient ballad :
O Cælia, Cælia, Cælia, I,
Shall, Cælia, Cælia, Cælia, die ! Epithets are, if I may adopt a barbarous expression, the Factotums of poetry; and, rightly disposed, will make a stanza, with very little aid of any thing else. The Author of these Elegies seemeth well apprized of this, and, in truth, he is most liberal of his epithets. Witness, among many others, the following ftanza :
Too long, alas, my inexperienced youth
Misled by flattering Fortune's specious tale,
The huddling brook, cool cave, and whispering vale. Now, Reader, I proceed to lay before thee my strictures on the third and last Elegy, written on the death of a Lady. This Lady, thou wilt perceive, was the Countess of C-v-ntry, a woman, in her time, famous for her beauty:
It is usual with Poets, when they write Death-Elegies, to soll a bell at first setting out. Our Author hath complied with the custom, and hath made the clock strike twelve, and the bell toll in due form. I am here strongly tempted to enter upon a differtation concerning the use of bells in religious matters, and particularly to assign the cause of tolling, upon the departure of the soul from the body, which had its origin from a heathen custom; but I decline this business.
Had not this poem been published in the name of William Mason, Magister Artium, I should have ocemed it the work of the Author of Night Thoughts, for much of his contemplative manner, and solemn spirit, runneth through the whole. Were the rhymes removed from the following stanzas, I could almost persuade myself that in reading them, I was reading the Poet of Welwyn :
The midnight-clock has tolld; and hark, the bell
Of Death beats Now! heard ye the note profound ?
is dead. Attend the train,
So oft have tript in her fantastic train,
With hearts as gay and faces half as fair :
For she was fair beyond your brighteft bloom, &c. These verses breathe the genuine spirit of that admirable and venerable Bard before mentioned; nor are the following unworthy of him:
That beil again! it tells us what she is :
On what she was no more the strain prolong:
Demands the tribute of a serious Song. It grieveth me that these verses are tagged with rhyme, for verily they would have been much better without them; and so likewise would this stanza;
Say, are ye sure his mercy Thail extend
To you so long a span? Alas, ye sigh:
friend, And learn with equal cafe to sleep or die. I am inclined to believe that the Author wrote this Elegy originally in blank verse, after the manner of the Night Thoughts, and then, for some reason or other, fitted it up with rhyme.
Our Bard, however, very soon taketh leave of the celebrated Lady whose death is the subject of this Elegy, and devoutly preacheth against the Sons of Pleasure and the Votaries of Ambition, among whom the royal Philosopher and Poet of the North is treated as he deserveth : so that this Elegy may not be improperly termed the Lady C's funeral Sermon; and a good one, I ween, were it resolved into prose, and headed with a suitable text."
Thus far the learned Scriblerus, from whose profound strictures we presume not in the least to dissent. Yet we hope we shall not offend that venerable, Mirrour of Criticism in beftowing a few thoughts upon the first Elegy, which he hath, in some measure, overlooked; even though we should venture to praise it for that very simplicity which he condemneth. Thus it begins :
Ere yet, ingenuous youth, thy steps retire
From Cam's smooth margin and the peaceful vale,
And met thee musing in her cloysters pale ;
A lay like this thy early virtues claim,
And this let voluntary friendlip pay. These verses are perfectly easy and unaffected. Nor less beautiful is the stanza where the Poet, after having enumerated the dangers to which the blooming virtues of his noble friend would be exposed, pathetically adds,
If mimic hues, by art or fashion spread,
Their genuine, simple colouring should supply,
And with them, if it can, my friendship die.
Call we the shade of Pope from that bleft bower
Where thron'd he sits wiih many a tuneful Sage ;
When St John's name* illumin'd glory's page ?
Ask if his country's, his religion's foe,
The deathless meed he only could bestow ?
Clouds the celestial sunshine of his breast;
He heaves a figh amid the realms of rest.
Yet piry Dryden ; bark, whene'er he fings,
On titled Rhymers and inglorious Kings.
His glittering stores the tuneful Spendthrift throw's ;
Now grace a Cromwell's, now a Charles's brows.
Dryden! in vain to the those stores were lent:
Alluding to this couplet of Mr. Pope's.
To Calo Virgil paid one bonelt line,
Thy sweetest numbers but a trifling art;
Thy strongest diction idly eloquent.
Warbles a melody ne'er heard from thine :
Was Parnell's modeft fame and may be mine.
Be still thyself; that open path of truth
Which led thee here, let manhood firm pursue ;
And all thy virtue dictates, dare to do.
On Vice's front, let fearful caution lour,
Of knaves that plot, and fools that fawn, for power.
When Death's cold hand unstrings thy Malon's lyre,
Thy worth shall some superior Bard inspire:
On Rapture's plume shall give thy name to fly;
The Muse forbids the virtuous man to die.
Dinum Inude virum
Memorials and Letters relating to the History of Britain, in the
Reign of James the first. Published from the Original. 8vo. 2s. 6d. Glasgow, printed by Foulis.
IR David Dalrymple, the Editor of this little Collection
of original Papers, informs us in his preface, that they are selected from the many volumes of Letters and Memorials deposited in the Library of the Faculty of Advocates at Edinburgh: a bulky mass, relating to the History of Britain, in the seventeenth century; and chiefly collected by one Balfour of Denmylne ; who has rather evinced his assiduity in raking together a vast heap of materials, than his judgment in selecting and arranging them.