« AnteriorContinuar »
Cremona now shall ever boast thy name,
But soon by impious arms from Latium chased,
tell, • Nature's chief masterpiece is writing well.'
the more important bishopric of his native city. But the pope died : Vida's poetic fire, his fame, or the pontifical fondness for poetry, passed away with him; and the author of the 'Scacchia,' of all modern Latinity, perhaps the most dexterous and the most popular specimen, remained in Alba, where, in 1566, at the age of seventy-six, he died. He was a vigorous critic, an active political writer, and a learned controversialist; but his poetry was the foundation of his fortune.
723 Such was the Muse. The duke of Buckingham's rank, opulence, and love of literature, intitled him to more distinction than he deserved by his ability: but he was the object of panegyric to the whole living generation of poets. Yet not to all with equal success. Pope's insertion of this couplet in his second edition, touched the feeling or the vanity, which had been so often wooed in vain; and from that period this powerful nobleman was his friend.
Such was Roscommon, not more learn’d than good;
author's merit but his own. Such late was Walsh — the Muse's judge and
friend, Who justly knew to blame or to commend; To failings mild, but zealous for desert; The clearest head, and the sincerest heart. This humble praise, lamented shade! receive; This praise at least a grateful Muse may give : The Muse, whose early voice you taught to sing, Prescribed her heights, and pruned her tender wing,
736 Her guide now lost, no more attempts to rise, But in low numbers short excursions tries; Content, if hence the unlearn'd their wants may
view, The learn'd reflect on what before they knew : 740 Careless of censure, nor too fond of fame; Still pleased to praise, yet not afraid to blame : Averse alike to flatter or offend ; Not free from faults, nor yet too vain to mend.
725 Such was Roscommon. An Essay on Translated Verse' seems, at first sight, to be a barren subject; yet Roscommon has decorated it with many precepts of utility and taste, and enlivened it with a tale in imitation of Boileau.
744 Nor yet too vain to mend. Probably adopted from the concluding lines of Boileau's' Art of Poetry:'
Censeur un peu facheux, mais souvent nécessaire ;
IN FOUR EPISTLES :
TO SEVERAL PERSONS.
Est brevitate opus, ut currat sententia, neu se
MORAL ESSA Y S.
These Essays exhibit the highest powers of the author as a satirist : nothing can be more animated than his sketches of character, and nothing more poignant than his animadversions on vice. The Roman and French satirists were evidently his models; but equalling Horace in knowlege of the human heart, he excels the school of Boileau in strength of rebuke and accuracy of conception. The conversation and habits of France, and the graces of a language incomparable in its expression of the minor feelings, had long given a marked superiority to its delineations of national manners. The quaint truth of Montaigne, the vigorous eccentricity of La Bruyère, and the caustic brilliancy of Rochefoucault, were purely and perfectly French: but in the • Moral Essays of Pope we have superadded the soundness of English morals, and the manliness of English reason. These Essays were originally designed as a continuation of the great work on morals, to which Pope looked as the great labor of his life, and the consummation of his fame.
Warburton, familiar with the author's projects, is thus intitled to be listened to on the subject of the series. He tells us that the · Essay on Man’ was intended to be comprised in four books; the first of which the author has given us under that title, in four epistles. The second was to have consisted of the same number : 1. of the extent and