Imágenes de páginas

sights; the soothing rites of burial are denied, and human bones are tossed by human hands.

No one careth for another; every one, hardened by misery, careth for himself alone.

Lo these are what God has set before thee; child of reason! son of woman! unto which does thine heart in. cline?


Parallel between Pope and Dryden.—JOHNSON. Pore professed to have learned his poetry from Dryden, whom, whenever an opportunity was presented, he praised through his whole life with unvaried liberality; and perhaps his character may receive some illustration, if he be compared with his master.

Integrity of understanding, and nicety of discernment, were not allotted in a less proportion to Dryden than to Pope. The rectitude of Dryden's mind was sufficiently shown by the dismission of his poetical prejudices, and the rejection of unnatural thoughts and rugged numbers. But Dryden never desired to apply all the judgment that he had. He wrote, and professed to write, merely for the people ; and when he pleased others, he contented himself. He spent no time in struggles to rouse lātent powers; he never attempted to make that better which was already good, nor often to mend what he must have known to be faulty. He wrote, as he tells us, with very little consideration: when occasion or necessity called upon him, he poured out what the present moment happened to supply, and, when once it had passed the press, ejected it from his mind; for, when he had no pecuniary interest he had no further solicitude.

Pope was not content to satisfy; he desired to excel, and therefore always endeavored to do his best; he did not court the candor, but dared the judgment of his reader, and, expecting no indulgence from others, he shewed none to himself. He examined lines and words with minute and punctilious observation, and retouched every part with indefatigable diligence, till he had left nothing to be forgiven.

For this reason he kept his pieces very long in his hands, while he considered and reconsidered them. The only poems which can be supposed to have been written with such regard to the times as might hasten their publication, were the two sātires of Thirty-eight : of which Dodsley told me, that they were brought to him by the author, that they might be fairly copied. “Every line,” said he,“ was then written twice over; I gave him a clean transcript, which he sent some time afterwards to me for the press, with every line written twice over a second time.”

His declaration, that his care for his works ceased at their publication, was not strictly true. His parental attention never abandoned them : what he found amiss in the first edition, he > silently corrected in those that followed. He appears to have revised the Iliad, and freed it from some of its imperfections; and the Essay on Criticism received many improvements after its first appearance. It will seldom be found that he altered without adding clearness, elegance, or vigor. Pope had perhaps the judgment of Dryden; but Dryden certainly wanted the diligence of Pope.

In acquired knowledge, the superiority must be allowed to Dryden, whose education was more scholastic, and who, before he became an author, had been allowed more time for study, with better means of information. His mind has a larger range, and he collects his images and illustrations from a more extensive circumference of science. Dryden knew more of man in his general nature, and Pope in his local manners. The notions of Dryden were formed by comprehensive speculation, and those of Pope by minute attention. There is more dignity in the knowledge of Dryden, and more certainty in that of Pope.

Poetry was not the sole praise of either; for both excelled likewise in prose; but Pope did not borrow his

prose from his predecessor. The style of Dryden is capricious and varied ; that of Pope is cautious and uniform. Dryden obeys the motions of his own mind; Pope constrains his mind to his own rules of composition. Dryden is sometimes vehement and rapid ; Pope is always smooth, uniform, and gentle. Dryden's page is a natural field, rising into inequalities, and diversified by the varied exuberance of abundant vegetation ; Pope's is a velvet lawn, shaven by the sithe and levelled by the roller. Of genius, that power which constitutes

a poet; that quality without which judgment is cold, and knowledge is inert; that energy which collects, combines, amplifies, and animates; the superiority must, with some hesitation, be allowed to Dryden. It is not to be inferred, that of this poetical vigor Pope had only a little, because Dryden had more ; for every other writer since Milton must give place to Pope; and even of Dryden it must be said that if he has brighter paragraphs, he has not better poems. Dryden's performances were always hasty, either excited by some external occasion or extorted by domestic necessity; he composed without consideration, and published without correction. What his mind could supply at call, or gather in one excursion, was all that he sought, and all that he gave. The dilatory caution of Pope enabled him to condense his sentiments, to multiply his images, and to accumulate all that study might produce, or chance might supply. If the flights of Dryden, therefore, are higher, Pope continues longer on the wing. If of Dryden's fire the blaze is brighter, of Pope's the heat is more regular and constant. Dryden often surpasses expectation, and Pope never falls below it. Dryden is read with frequent astonishment, and Pope with perpetual delight.

This parallel will, I hope, when it is well considered, be found just; and if the reader should suspect me, as I suspect myself, of some partial fondness for the memory of Dryden, let him not too hastily condemn me: for meditation and in. quiry may, perhaps, show him the reasonableness of my determination.




O WINTER! ruler of the inverted year!
Thy scatter'd hair with sleet like ashes fill'd,
Thy breath congeal'd upon thy lips, thy cheeks
Fringed with a beard made white with other snows
Than those of age, thy forehead wrapt in clouds,
A leafless branch thy sceptre, and thy throne
A sliding car, indebted to no wheels,
But urg'd by storms along its slipp'ry way,
I love thee, all unlovely as thou seem'st,
And dreaded as thou art!


Now gentle gales, Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole Those balmy spoils. As when, to them who sail Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past Mozambic, off at sea northeast winds blow Sabean odors from the spicy shore Of Araby the blest; with such delay Well-pleas'd they slack their course, and many a league Cheer'd with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles.

The quality of mercy is not strain'd;
It droppeth as the gentle dew from Heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes ;
"Tis mightiest in the mightiest. It becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's,
When mercy seasons justice. We do pray
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.

for mercy,

The deserted mansion.

Forsaken stood the hall,
Worms ate* the floors, the tap’stry filed the wall ;
No fire the kitchen's cheerless grate display'd ;
No cheerful light the long-clos'd sash convey'd !
The crawling worm that turns a summer fly,
Here spun his shroud, and laid him up to die
His winter death :-upon the bed of state,
The bat shrill shrieking, woo'd his flickering mate:
To empty rooms the curious came no more,
From empty cellar, turn’d the angry poor.
To one small room the steward found his way,
Where tenants followed to complain and pay.

The man of a cultivated imagination.-CAMPBELL.
His path shall be where streamy mountains swell
Their shadowy grandeur o'er the narrow dell,

* Pron. et.

Where mouldering piles and forests intervene,
Mingling with darker tints the living green;
No circling hills his ravish'd eye to bound,
Heaven, Earth, and Ocean, blazing all around!
The moon is up—the watch-tower dimly burns-
And down the vale his sober step returns ;
But pauses oft, as winding rocks convey
The still sweet fail of Music far

And oft he lingers from his home awhile
To watch the dying notes and start, and smile !

Evening sounds.—GOLDSMITH. Sweet was the sound, when oft, at evening's close, Up yonder hill the village murmur rose. There as I pass'd with careless steps and slow, The mingling notes came soften'd from below: The swain responsive as the milk-maid sung, The sober herd that low'd to meet their young, The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool, The playful children just let loose from school, The watch-dog's voice that bay'd the whispering wind And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind : These all in soft confusion sought the shade, And fill'd each pause the nightingale had made.

Moonlight.POPE. When the fair moon, refulgent lamp of night, O’er heaven's clear āzure spreads her sācred light; When not a breath disturbs the deep serene, And not a cloud o'ercasts the solemn scene; Around her throne the vivid planets roll, And stars unnumber'd gild the glowing pole, O'er the dark trees a yellower verdure shed, And tip with silver every mountain's head; Then shine the vales, the rocks in prospect rise, A flood of glory bursts from all the skies; The conscious swains, rejoicing in the sight, Eye the blue vault, and bless the useful light.

Morning Sounds.-BEATTIE. But who the melodies of morn can tell ? The wild brook babbling down the mountain's side;

« AnteriorContinuar »