Imágenes de página

epigram. It consists, first, of an argument in prose; next follows a motto from Roscommon. Then comes the epigram; and lastly, notes serving to explain the epigram; but you shall have it with all its decorations.



Worried with debts, and past all hopes of bail,
His pen he prostitutes t' avoid a gaol.


Let not the hungry Bavius' angry stroke
Awake resentment, or your rage provoke—
But pitying his distress, let virtue1 shine,
And giving each your bounty,2 let him dine.
For thus retain'd, as learned council can,
Each case, however bad, he'll new japan;
And by a quick transition, plainly show
'Twas no defeat of yours, but pocket low,
That caus'd his putrid kennel to o'erflow.

The last lines are certainly executed in a very masterly manner; it. is of that species of augmentation, called the perplexing. It effectually flings the antagonist into a mist; there's no answering it: the laugh is raised against him, while he is endeavouring to find out the jest. At once he shows

1 Charity.

2 Settled at one shilling, the price of the poem.

that the author has a kennel, and that this kennel is putrid, and that this putrid kennel overflows. But why does it overflow 1 It overflows, because the author happens to have low pockets.

There was also another new attempt in this way, a prosaic epigram, which came out upon this occasion. This is so full of matter, that a critic might split it into fifteen epigrams, each properly fitted with its string. You shall see it.

TO G. C. AND R. L.

'twas you, or I, or he, or all together,
'Twas one, both, three of them, they know not whether;This, I believe, between us great or small,
You, I, he, wrote it not—'twas Churchill's all.

There, there is a perplex! I could have wished to have made it quite perfect; the author, as in the case before, had added notes. Almost every word admits a scholium, and a long one too. I, YOU, HE. Suppose a stranger should ask, and who are you 1 Here are three obscure persons spoken of, that may in a short time be utterly forgotten. Their names should consequently have been written in notes at the bottom; but when the reader comes to the words great and small, the maze is inextricable. Here the stranger may dive for a mystery, without ever reaching the bottom. Let him know then that small is a word poorly introduced to make good rhyme, and great was a very proper word to keep small company.

This was denoted against the triumvirate of friends, Churchill, Colman, and Lloyd.

(v. Cit. of the World, ii. 208.) Even in the sultry wilds of Southern America the lover is not satisfied with possessing his mistress's person, without having her mind.

In all my Emma's beauties blest,

Amidst profusion still I pine;
For though she gives me up her breast,

Its panting tenant is not mine.


The following translations occur in Goldsmith's Essays (ed. 1821). When he has adopted a translation, he has affixed the name of the author; I conclude, therefore, that those without a name are his own.

The critic who, with nice discernment, knows
What to his country and his friends he owes;
How various nature warms the human breast,
To love the parent, brother, friend, or guest.
What the great functions of our judges are,
Of senators, and generals sent to war:
He can distinguish with unerring art
The strokes peculiar to each different part.

Suppose a painter to a human head
Should join a horse's neck, and wildly spread
The various plumage of the feather'd kind
O'er limbs of different beasts, absurdly join'd;
Or if he gave to view a beauteous maid,
Above the waist with every charm array'd,
Should a foul fish her lower parts unfold,
Would you not laugh such pictures to behold?


The tragic bard, a goat his humble prize, Bade satyrs naked and uncouth arise;His muse severe, secure, and undismay'd, The rustic joke in solemn strain convey'd, For novelty alone he knew could charm A lawless crowd, with wine and feasting warm.


Thespis, inventor of dramatic art, Convey'd his vagrant actors in a cart, High o'er the crowd the mimic tribe appear'd, And play'd and sung,with lees of wine besmear'd.


Then .dEschylus, a decent vizard used,
Built a low stage; the flowing robe diffus'd;
In language more sublime two actors rage,
And in the graceful buskin tread the stage.

The comic poets, in its earliest age, Who form'd the manners of the Grecian stage— Was there a villain who might justly claim A better right of being damn'd to fame, Rake, cut-throat, thief, whatever was his crime, They boldly stigmatiz'd the wretch in rhyme.


With passions not my own who fires my heart,

Who with unreal terrors fills my breast,

As with a magic influence possess'd. Hor.

But God and man, and letter'd post denies
That poets ever are of middling size.

Poets would profit, or delight mankind,

And with the amusing show the instructive join'd.

Profit and pleasure, mingled thus with art,
To soothe the fancy, and improve the heart.

At ease reclin'd beneath the verdant shade,
No more shall I behold my happy flock
Aloft, hang browzing on the tufted rock.


These on the mountain billows hung: to those The yawning waves the yellow sand disclose.


« AnteriorContinuar »