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She speaks! 'tis rapture all, and nameless bliss,
(V. Citizen of the World, ii. p. 164). I am amazed that none have yet found out the secret of flattering the worthless, and yet of preserving a safe conscience. I have often wished for some method by which a man might do himself, and his deceased patron justice, without being under the hateful reproach of self-conviction. After long lucubration, I have hit upon such an expedient, and send you the specimen of a poem upon the decease of a great man, in which the flattery is perfectly fine, and yet the poet perfectly innocent.
ON THE DEATH OF THE RIGHT HON. ' • •.
Ye muses, pour the pitying tear
For Pollio snatch'd away;
He had not died to-day.
Oh! were he born to bless mankind
In virtuous times of yore,
Whene'er he went before.
How sad the groves and plains appear,
And sympathetic sheep;
If hills could learn to weep.
His bounty in exalted strain Each bard might well display;Since none implored relief in vain That went reliev'd away.
And hark! I hear the tuneful throng
His obsequies forbid,
These verses seem to have been the first rough sketch, afterwards altered and improved into the Elegy on Mrs. Mary Blaize.
(v. Citizen of the World, ii. 193). The weapon chiefly used in the present contest is epigram, and certainly never was a keener made use of. They have discovered surprising sharpness on both sides. The first that came out upon this occasion was a kind of new composition in this way, and might more properly be called an epigrammatic thesis, than an
L 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.
ADDRESSED TO THE GENTLEMEN REFLECTED ON IN THE
Worried with debts, and past all hopes of bail,
Let not the hungry Bavius' angry stroke
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
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,
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;
Its panting tenant is not mine.
TRANSLATION OF THE SOUTH AMERICAN
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