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So have I seen, in black and white
Majestically stalk ;
All futter, pride, and talk.
Let the curious reader compare Fenton's Imitation of Dorset's manner with this of Pope :
When first you try to win her;
Before two morning chapters ;
Encourag'd by the dark;
And hid the native spark.”
PHRYNE had talents for mankind,
Like some free port of trade :
Here first their entry made.
Her learning and good-breeding such,
Spaniards or French came to her :
'Twas S'il vous plait, Monsieur.
Obscure by birth, renown'd by crimes,
At length she turns a bride:
And Autters in her pride.
So have I known those Insects fair
Still vary shapes and dies ;
Then painted butterflies.
The point of the likeness in this imitation consists in describing the objects as they really exist in life, like Hogarth's paintings, without heightening or enlarging them, by any imaginary circumstances. In this way of writing Swift excelled; witness his Description of a Morning in the City, of a City Shower, of the House of Baucis and Philemon, and the Verses on his own Death. In this also consists the chief beauty of Gay's Trivia ; a subject Swift desired him to write upon, and for which he furnished him with many hints. The character of Swift has been scrutinized in so many late writings, particularly by Hawksworth and Sheridan, that it is superfluous to enter upon it. Voltaire affirms, “that the famous Tale of a Tub is an imitation of the old story of the three invisible rings, which a father bequeathed to his three children. These three rings were, the Jewish, Christian, and Mahometan, religions. It is moreover an imitation of the history of Mero and Enegu, by Fontenelle. Mero was the anagram of Rome, and Enegu of Geneva. These two sisters claimed the succession to the throne of their fathers. Mero reigned first. Fontenelle represents her as a sorceress, who could convey away bread, and perform acts of conjuration with dead bodies. This is precisely the Lord Peter of Swift, who presents a piece of bread to his two brothers, and says to them, ' This, my good friends, is excellent Burgundy; these partridges have an admirable flavour !' The same Lord Peter, in Swift, performs throughout the very part that Mero plays in Fontenelle. Thus all is imitation. The idea of the Persian Letters is taken from the Turkish Spy. Boiardo has imitated Pulci, Ariosto has imitated Boiardo. The geniuses, apparently most original, borrow from each other.
THE HAPPY LIFE OF A COUNTRY PARSON.
Parson, these things in thy possessing
He that has these, may pass his life,
“Swift,” says Hume, “ has more humour than knowledge, more taste than judgment, and more spleen, prejudice, and passion, than any of those qualities.” Discourse v.
At the hazard of an imputation of partiality to the author, I venture to say, that I prefer a poem, called The Progress of Discontent, to any imitation of Swift, that ever has yet appeared. I shall just add, that the Baucis and Philemon of La Fontaine far excels that of Swift.