Зображення сторінки



logue of writers, and in their proper order, but only to mark out briefly the different species of our celebrated authors. Where then shall we with justice be authorized to place our admired Pope? Not assuredly in the same rank with Spenser, Shakespeare and Milton, however justly we may applaud the Eloisa and Rape of the Lock; but considering the correctness, elegance and utility of his works, the weight of sentiment, and the knowledge of man they contain, we may venture to assign him a place next to Milton, and just above Dryden. Yet to bring our minds steadily to make this decision, we must forget for a moment the divine Music Ode of Dryden, and may, perhaps, then be compelled to confess, that though Dryden be the greater genius, yet Pope is the better artist. The preference here given to POPE above other modern English poets, it must be remembered, is founded on the excellencies of his works in general, and taken altogether ; for there are parts and passages in other modern authors, in Young and in Thomson for instance, equal to any of Pope, and he has written nothing in a strain so truly sublime as the Bard of Gray! I think one may venture to remark, that the reputation of Pope as a Poet among posterity, will be principally owing to his WINDSOR FOREST, his Rape of the Lock, and his ELOISA TO ABELARD, whilst the facts and characters alluded to and exposed in his later writings will be forgotten and unknown, and their poignancy and propriety little relished. For, wit and satire are transi



tory and perishable, but NATURE and PASSION are eternal!"

It would be amusing to draw out a graduated scale of the merits of the English Poets; this has been done by the French, with respect to their own poets, with singular ingenuity.“ In one of the rooms of the National Library at Paris, is a curious piece of workmanship, by Titon du Tillet, called the FRENCH Parnassus. It is a very picturesque rock, about eight feet high, made of some composition, and painted to imitate bronze so accurately, that I should not have discovered the deception, had not a piece been broken off by some clumsy visitor, whose eyes were at the end of his cane. On the top is a figure of APOLLO in the likeness of Louis the Fourteenth ; and at different heights, according to their merits, are placed all the Poets who have distinguished themselves in France. The figures are of real sculptured bronze, each about ten or twelve inches in height, the faces worked into very excellent portraits. The whole is arranged with taste, and though so whimsical, forms a very pleasing object. *" And why may not an En. GLISH PARNASSus be constructed on similar principles? It would be useful to young persons, and constitute an appropriate embellishment for a gentleman's library. The ingenious constructor, beginning with Shakespeare, might end with the last British poet who has died fondly anticipating a niche in the Temple of IMM ORTALITY. . * See Memorandums of a Residence in France, 1815, 1816, &c.



· Mr. Broome, who assisted Mr. Pope in his version of The ODYSSEY, would have placed him near the top of Parnassus; for he, in the year 1726, thus flamingly compliments the Bard on his Translation of Homer and his Edition of Shakespeare; these were then, his principal publications :

Let vulgar souls triumphal arches raise
And speaking marble, to record their praise,
Or carve with fruitless toil, to fame unknown,
The mimic feature on the breathing stone ;
Mere mortals, subject to Death's total sway,
Reptiles of earth and beings of a day!
'Tis Thine on every heart to grave thy praise,
A monument which worth alone can raise,
Sure to survive when Time shall whelm in dust
The arch, the marble and the mimic bust;
Nor till the volume of th' expanded sky
Blaze in one flame shalt thou and Homer die;
When sinks together in the world's last fires,
What Heaven created and what Heaven inspires !
If aught on earth, when once this breath is filed,
With human transport touch the mighty dead,
SHAKESPEARB! rejoice his hand thy page refines,
Now every soene with native brightness shines;
Just to thy fame he gives thy genuine thought,
$o Tully published what Lucretius wrote;
Prun'd by his care thy laurels loftier grow,

And bloom afresh on thine IMMORTAL BROW! No apology will be deemed requisite for having given this Outline of Mr. Pope and his Writings. It is of importance that the juvenile mind, naturally attached to the muses, should have its taste formed,



and its judgment rightly constituted. This preserves the young from wasting their time on those inferior poetical productions with which the age is inundated. A predilection for the Belles Lettres is a perennial source of amusement. It restrains youth from low and illiberal pursuits, preparing the mind for the charms of virtue, and for the impregnation of the heart with all the treasures of a rational piety.

I am tempted to add, by way of conclusion, a summary Chart of a literary description, which you, my young Friend, will find gratifying to your curiosity and conducive to your improvement.

“ History has recorded five ages of the world in which the human mind has exerted itself in an extraordinary manner, and in which its productions in Literature and the Fine Arts have arrived at a perfection not equalled in other periods. The First is the age of Philip and Alexander, about which time flourished. Socrates, Plato, Demosthenes, Aristotle, Lysippus, Appelles, Phidias, Praxiteles, Thucydides, Xenophon, Æschylus, Euripides, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Menander, Philemon. The Second Age, which seems not to have been sufficiently taken notice of, was that of Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt, in which appeared Lycophron, Aratus, Nicander, Apollonius Rhodius, Theocritus, Callimachus, Eratosthenes, Philicus, Erasistratus the physician, Timæus the historian, Cleanthes, Diogenes the painter, and Sostrates the architect. This prince, from his love of learning, commanded the Old Testament to



be translated into Greek. The Third Age is that of Julius Cæsar and Augustus, marked with the illustrious names of Laberius, Catullus, Lucretius, Cicero, Livy, Varro, Virgil, Horace, Propertius, Tibullus, Ovid, Phædrus, Vitruvius, Dioscorides. The Fourth Age was that of Julius II. and Leo X., which produced Ariosto, Tasso, Fracastorius, Sannazarius, Vida, Bembo, Sadolet, Machiavel, Guicciardin, Michael Angelo, Raphael, Titian. The Fifta Age is that of Lewis XIV. in France, and of King William and Queen Anne in England, in which, or thereabouts, are to be found Corneille, Moliere, Racine, Boileau, La Fontaine, Bossuet, La Rochefoucault, Paschal, Bourdaloue, Patru, Malbranche, De Retz, La Bruyere, St. Real, Fenelon, Sully, Le Sæur, Poussin, La Brun, Puget, Theodon, Gerardon, Edelinck, Nanteuil, Penault, Dryden, Tillotson, Temple, Pope, Addison, Garth, Congreve, Rowe, Prior, Lee, Swift, Bolingbroke, Atterbury, Boyle, Locke, Newton, Clarke, Kneller, Thornhill, Jervas, Purcell, Mead, and Freind."

Before I quit Twickenham and its delightful environs, it must be mentioned that some of the Citizens of London prefer passing a few weeks here, in the summer season, to an excursion at the sea-side. Engaging a neat little box for their residence, with a garden, where they may, with a friend, drink their grog and smoke their pipe, they here enjoy life to their heart's content. Should there be young folks, then the Thames is frequented morning and evening;

« НазадПродовжити »