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his ease or humour. When he wanted to sleep, he nodded in company, and once sumbered at his own table, while the Prince of Wales was talking of poetry. In familiar or convivial conversation he was not distinguished by vivacity. In his eating, he was both dainty and voracious; and when he had eaten too much, if a dram had been offered to him, he pretended to be angry, but did not forbear to drink it. It does not appear that he was addicted to wine. His impa. tience and irritability often led him into little quarrels, that would make him leave the houses of his friends abruptly. At Lord Oxford's he frequently met Lady Mary Wortley Montague, who knowing his peevilhoess, could by no entreaties be restrained from contradi&ing him, till their disputes were sharpened to such asperity, that one or other quitted the house. At home he was chiefly distinguished for his frugality. It is said that when he had two guests in his house, he would only set a single pint of wine on the table. He sometimes gave a splendid entertainment; and on those occasions showed taste, and magnificence. Of his fortune, which was very honourably obtained, he was proud. The great topic of his ridicule is poverty. He was accused of loving money ; but his love was eagerness to gain, not solicitude to keep it. He allifted Dodley with a hundred pounds, that he might open a shop, and contributed twenty pounds a-year to the subscription for Savage ; and bestowed considerable sums on charity. He was a faithful and constant friend; and notwithstanding the little defects of his constitutional temper, was beloved by them during his life, and remembered with the most tender affection after his death. His resentmene was too easily excited, and his revenge carried to too great a length. The provocation he received by no means justified, in many cases, the severe satire of the Dunciad. His malignity to Philips, whom he had at first made ridiculous, and then hated for being angry, continued too long. Of his vain desire to make Bentley contemptible, no good reason can be given. He was sometimes wanton in his attacks, before Chandos, Lady Mary Wortley Montague, and Hill, niean in his retreat. Though, on the whole, a man of integrity, he frequently used artifices that bordered on disengenuity. Those, however, seem to have resulted more from the idea of superiority, than of in. posing upon others. Even that gratification was a weakness in the character of Pope. Artifice and cunning require very little ability. A man of such exalted superiority, and so little modera. tion, would naturally have all his delinquencies observed; those who could not deny that he was ercellent, would rejoice to find that he was not perfe&.

Of his inteļlc&ual character, the conftituent and fundamental principle was good sense, a prompt and intuitive perception of consonance and propriety. He had likewise genius; a mind active, ambitious, and adventurous, always investigating, always aspiring. He was endowed with a fertile invention, and brilliant wit. To aslift these powers, he had great strength and exa&ness of memory, which readily supplied the understanding with abundance of materials. Those gifts he improved by indefatigable industry, and acquired a great compass of knowledge, completely digested.

Thus endowed with the means of acquisition, he superadded the most effcctual and agreeable modes of communication. His language is clear, forcible and elegant, enriched with figures, that at once illustrate, adorn, and impress. He considered poetry as the buliness of his life, and how. ever he might seem to lament his occupation, he followed it with constancy; to make verses was his first labour, and to mend them was his last. He used always the same fabric of verse. Of this uniformity the certain consequence was readiness and dexterity. By perpetual practice, language had in his mind a systematical arrangement; having always the fame use for words, he had words so selected and combined as to be ready at his call.

On the general character and effect of his poems, it is the less necessary to enlarge, as little remains to be added to the distinct examination of his excellent bivgrapher, Dr. Johnson, and the masterly criticism of Dr. Warton.

In his Pastorals, Dr. Warton observes, there is not to be found a single instance of a rural image that is new. The ideas of Theocritus, Virgil, and Spenser, are indeed exhibited in language equally mellifluous and pure, but the descriptions and sentiments are trite, and common. A mixture of British and Grecian ideas may juftly be deemed a blemish. An Englishman speaks of " celestial Venus, and Idalia's Groves, of Diana and Cynthius." They exhibit, however, a series of verlia fication, which had in English poetry no precedent, nor has since had an imitation.

The defign of Windsor Foroft is evidently derived from Dcabam's “ Cooper's Hill,” with fome at,

tention to Waller's poem on “ The Park ;" but Pope cannot be denied to excel his masters in variety, and elegance, and the art of interchanging description, narrative, and morality.

of the Temple of Fame, every parţ is fplendid; there is great luxuriance of ornaments. The original vision of Chaucer is much improved; the imagery is properly selected, and learnedly displayed ; yet, with all this comprehension of excellence, it never obtained much notice, and is feldom quoted of mentioned, with either praise or blame.

That the Meffab excells the “ Pollio" of Virgil, is no great praise, if it is considered from what fublime original the improvements are derived. Sumetimes indeed the fimple grandeur of Ifaiab is diminished by florid epithets, and injudicious prettineffes.

The Elegy on an Unfortunate Lady, as it came from the heart, is very tender and pathetic; nor has Pope produced any poem in which the sense predominates more over the diction.

Of the Ode for. St. Cecilia's Day, it is sufficient praise, that it is only inferior to the inimitable " Alexander's Feast" of Dryden. The general effect is very pleasing, and often striking.

Of the Efag er Criticism, Dr. Johnson observes, that if he had written nothing elfe, it would have placed him anong the first critics and the first poets, as it exhibits every mode of excellence that can embellish or dignify didactic composition, sele&ion of matter, novelty of arrangement, justness of precept, splendour of illustration, and propriety of digression.

The Rape of tbe Lock is universally allowed to be the most attractive of all ludicrous compositions. The means employed are, vigorous thought, brilliant fancy, poignant wit, forcible satire, and refined humour, molt agreeably interwoven and diverlified. The machinery is an ingenious expansion of that in Shakspeare's “ Tempeft," and the Rosicrucian dialogue of the Comte de Gabalis.

The epistle of Eloisa to Abelard is replete with poetical fire, passionate language, picturesque imae gery, and pathetic exclamation, which frike the imagination with a captivating horror.

“ Clouds interpose, waves roar, and winds arise.” It has certainly a charm hardly to be equalled; for who can read it without experiencing the ale ternate impulse of desire, pity, or rage; and lastly, the freezing languor of irrecoverable despair.

" This cpistle," says Dr. Warton, " is one of the most highly finished, and certainly the most interesting of the pieces of Pope; and, together with the Elegy on an Unfortunate Lady, is the only instance of the pathetic he has given us.”

The tranflation of Homer is a performance which no age or nation can pretend to equal. Such a version, the most perfe& knowledge of the Greek and English languages could not have produced. It is not the work of a scholar or versifier merely; it is the performance of a poet. The diction and versification muk vindicate to themselves a very confiderable share of the merit of this matterly work. “ Pope searched the pages of Dryden,” says Dr. Johnson, “ for happy combinations of poetic di&ion; but it will not be denied that he added much to what he found. He cultivated the language with so much diligence and art, that he has left in his Homer a treasure of poetical elegances to posterity. His version may be said to have tuned the English tongue; for since its appearance, no writer, however deficient in other powers, has wanted melody. Such a series of lines, fo elaBorately corre&ted, and so sweetly modulated, took possession of the public ear; the vulgar was cna. moured of the poem, and the learned wondered at the translation.”

It has been objected by some, that it is not Homerical; that it exhibits no resemblance of the ori. ginal and chara&eristic manner of the Father of Poetry, as it wants his awful fimplicity, his artless grandeur, his unaffe&ed majesty. This cannot be totally denied. Homer doubtless owes to his translator many Ovidian graces, not ftri&ly suitable to his character ; but to have added can be no great crime, if nothing be taken away. Elegance is surely to be desired, if it be not gained at the expence of dignity. Pope wrote for his own age and his own nation; he knew that it was Decessary to colour the images, and paint the sentiments of his author; he therefore made him graceful, but lost some of his fublimity.

As a work of wit and ingenious facire, the Dunciad has few equals. The hint is confessedly taken from Dryden's “ Mac Flecknoe;"' but the plan is so enlarged and diversified, as justly to claim the praise of an original, and affords, perhaps, the best specimen that has yet appeared of personal fa. ţire, ludicrously pompous. Without approving of the petulance and malignity of the design, the rigou of jøtellca, and the festility of fancy which it displays, are equally admirable.


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* The beauties of this poem,” says Dr. Johnson, “ are well known; its chief fault is the grosse ness of its images. But even this fault, offensive as it is, may be forgiven for the excellence of other pallages; such as the formation and diffolution of Moore, the account of the Traveller, the misfortune of the Florist, and the crowded thoughts and stately numbers which dignify the concluding paragraph."

The Ejay on Men, is a didadic poem written on metaphysical ideas, which he did not perfectly comprehend. His intentions were evidently good, to fhow men that the existence of imperfection and cvil is not inconsistent with the wisdom and goodness of God. Many of the facts are true, many of the observations are just, but do not tend to establish the truth of the proposed system. The adaptation of human senses, paslions, and reason, to their ends, the co-operation of the prin. ciples of self-love and benevolence, in producing happiness, the uncertainty of physical good, that man's supreme felicity consists in moral good, that we are very weak in comparison to our Creator, are all positions which are undoubtedly true, but do not prove that partial evil is univera fal good; that wbatever is, is right. Pope, like Addison, had considered man chiefly in a&tive life. When he exhibits him in action, his exhibition is natural, beautiful, and juft; but when he analyses his principles of thought, and of action, he is not always so successful. Voltaire ridiculed Pope's favourite position in his Candide. The consequences which Candide's application of the principle to various cases produces, are certainly such as Pope never intended, yet it must be acknow. ledged he did not sufficiently guard against his interpretation.

“ This essay," says Dr. Johnson, “ is certainly not the happiest of Pope's performances. It affords an egregious instance of the predominance of genius, the dazzling splendour of imagery, and the fedu&ive powers of eloquence. Never were penury of knowledge, and vulgarity of senciment so happily disguised, or recommended by such a blaze of 'embellishments, or such sweetness of melody. The vigorous contraction of some thoughts, the luxuriant amplification of others, the incidental illustrations, and sometimes the dignity, sometimes the softness of the verses, enchain philosophy, fufpend criticism, and oppress judgment, by overpowering pleasure.”

“ This is true of many paragraphs; yet if I had undertaken to exemplify Pope's felicity of composition before a rigid critic, I should not select the Elluy on Man: for it contains more lines unfuccessfully laboured, more harshness of di&ion, more thoughts imperfe&ly expressed, more levity without elegance, and nore heaviness without strength, thau will easily be found in all his other works.”

The Charakters of Men and Women, are the product of diligent speculation upon life and manners, and now a thorough knowledge of the human mind, engaged in action, and modified by the manners of the times.

“ I recommend,” says Dr. Johnson, a comparison of his Cbarallers of Women, with Boileau's satire; it will then be seen with how much more perspicacity female nature is invefigated, and female excellence selected. The Characlers of Men, however, are written with more, if not with deeper thought, and exhibit many passages exquifitely beautiful. The Gem, and the Flower, will not easily be equalled. In the women's part are fonie delects; the character of Atof, is not so neatly sinified as that of Clodio, and some of the female characters may be found, perhaps, more frequently

among men."

of his Epiftle to Lord Bathurs, the most valuable passage is, perhaps, the eulogy on Good Sense; and of the Fpifle to Lord Burlington, the end of Villiers, Duke of Buckingham. Of the Eiffle to Arbuthact, 30 part has more elegance, spirit, or dignity, than the vindication of his own character. The me.nett passage is the satire upon Sporus, The allucion to his mother is exquisitely beautiful and interesting. His translations from Ovid are rendered with faithfulness and elegance. The epistle from Sappho to Pbaon breathe such passionate and pathetic sentiments as are worthy of the exquisite Sensibility of the amorous Sappho; and the versification is in point of melody next to that of the Pafiorals.

On his Epitaphs, the minute criticism of Dr. Johnson, printed in the " Visitor,” is acute, and well ení rced; but his examination is too rigorous, and the general opinion is much more favourable.

His Imitations of Herace, display a great portion of wit, as well as argunient. He has the hu. mour, and almost the case of Horace, with more wit, and falls little short of the severity of Juvenal. In his Letters he is seen as connected with the other contemporary wits, and suffers no disgrace in the comparison. Those of Arbuthnot are written with ease and a beautiful fimplicity. Swift's

allo are unaffeded. Several of Bolingbroke’s and Atterbury's are masterly. There is something more Audied and artificial in Pope's productions than the rest. His letters to ladies are full of affe&ation.

“ Pope may be said,” says Dr. Johnson,“ to write always with his reputation in his head; Swift perhaps like a man who remembered that he was writing to Pope; but Arbuthnot, like one who lets thoughts drop from his pen, as they rise into his mind."

The compositions of Pope are perhaps a greater accellion to English literature, than those of any other poet of our nation, except Spenser, Shakspeare, and Milton. Of those pocts who rank in the highest class after them, Dryden is generally allowed to be the first; but his claim to that distinction is at least rendered doubtful by the pretensions of Pope, who learned his poerry from Dryden, and whose character perhaps may receive some illustration, if he be compared with his master.

To regulate the scale, by which the comparative merit of poetical pretensions is to be estimated, is one of the most difficult undertakings of criticism. Something of this kind, however, is attempted by Dr. Johnson in his parallel between Dryden and Pope, of which it is scarcely hyperbolical to affirm, that it is every way worthy of its subject, and such as perhaps the pen of Dr. Johnson only could have written.

“ Integrity of understanding, and nicety of discernment, were not allotted in a less proportion to Dryden than to Pope. The recitude of Dryden's mind was sufficiently shown by the dismillion of his poetical prejudices, and the rejection of unnatural thoughts, and rugged numbers. But Dryden dever defired to apply all the judgment that he had. He wrote, and profeffed to write, merely for the people; and when he pleased others, he contented hiniself. Pope was not content to fatisfy; he defired to excel; and therefore always endeavoured to do his best. He did not court the candour, but dared the judgment of his reader; and expecting no indulgence from others, he Thowed none to himself. For this reason, he kept his pieces very long in his hands, while he conlidered, and reconsidered them. It will seldom be found that he altered, without adding clearncís, elegance and vigour. Pope had perhaps the judgment of Dryden, but Dryden certainly wanted the diligence of Pope.

“ In acquired knowledge, the superiority must be allowed to Dryden, whose education was more scholastic. His mind has a larger range, and he colleas his images and illustrations from a more extensive circumference of science. Dryden know more of man in his general nature, and Pope in his local manners. The notions of Dryden were formed by a comprehensive speculation, and those of Pope by minute attention. There is more dignity in the knowledge of Dryden, and more certainty in that of Pope.

“ Poetry was not the sole praise of either, for both excelled likewise in prose; but Pope did noc borrow his prose from his predecessors. The style of Dryden is capricious and varied ; that of Pope is cautious and uniform. Dryden observes the motions of his own mind; Pope constrains his mind to his own rules of composition. Dryden is sometimes vehement and rapid ; Pope is always smooth, ucisorm, and gentle. Dryden's page is a natural field, rising into inequalities, and diversified by the varied exuberance of abundant vegetation; Pope's is a velvec lawn, shaven by the scythe, and levelled by the roller.

5 of genius, that power which constitutes a poet, that quality without which judgment is cold, and knowledge is inert ; that energy which collects, combines, amplifies, and animates, the superiority mul, with some hesitation, be allowed to Dryden. It is not to be inferred, that of this poetical vigour Pope had only a little, because Dryden had more, for every other writer since Milton must give place to Pope ; and even of Dryden it niust be said, that if he has brighter para- , graphs, he has not better poems. Dryden's performances were always halty, either excited by fame external occasion, or extorted by some domestic necessity; he composed without confideration, and published without corre&ion. What his mind could supply at call, or gather in one excursion, was all that he fought, and all that he gave. The dilatory caution of Pope enabled him to condense his sentiments, to multiply his images, and to accumulate all that study mighe produce, or chance might fupply. If the flights of Dryden therefore are higher, Pope continues longer on the wing. If of Dryden's fire the blaze is brighter, of Pope's the heat is more regular and constant. Dryden often surpasses expectation, and Fope never falls below it; Dryden is read with frequent aftunilha. mert, and Pope with perpetual delight."

The subject of this truly excellent parallel has been controverted by Mr. Wellon and Mife Seward, in the “ Gentleman's Magazine” for 1790. Both parties have shown much critical ingenuity in maintaining the pretensions of their favourite poct. To give any adequate idea of the controversy, would much exceed the limits of this preface. Mr. Weston, with justice, censures the poetry of Pope, as too exquisitely polished, too uniformly musical, and as glutting the car with unvaried sweetness. Judging perhaps by principles, rather than perception, he seems to think ftudied discords, varied pauses, triplets, expletives, and Alexandrines, essential to rhyme, because they have been used by Dryden. But the poetry of Pope, though perhaps less impregnated with enthusiasm, less enriched with classical knowledge, less illumined by vivid imagination, and less diversified by variety of cadence, is certainly more elaborately correct, more regularly harmonious, more delicately polihed, and more fyftematically dignificd, than that of Dryden.

He has even ventured to allert, that Pope was not a poet, but only an elegant versifier. When be affirms that the author of the Rape of the Lock, of the Dunciad, of Elvisa to Abelard, and of the Englifh Iliad, was not a poet, he mut mean something by the term different from the general acceptation.

" If Pope be not a poet,” says Dr. Johnson, " where is poetry to be found? To circumscribe poetry by a definition, will only show the narrowness of the definer, though a definition which Thall exclude Pope, will not easily be made. Let us look round upon the present time, and back upon the past ; let us inquire to whom the voice of mankind has decreed the wreath of poetry; let their productions be examined, and their claims Nated, and the pretensions of Pope will no more be disputed. Had he given the world only his version, the name of poet must have been allowed him; if the writer of the Iliad were to class his successors, he would alliga a very high place to his tranflator, without requiring any other evidence of genius."

A parallel, upon a more extensive scale, is given by Dr. Warton, in which the poetical qualifica. tions of Pope are as candidly examined, as they are judiciousy discriminated.

“ Of Pope's works, the largest portion is of the didactic, moral, and fatyric kind; and consequently pot of the moft poetic species of poetry: whence it is manifeft, that good sense and judgment were bis characteristical excellencies, rather than fancy and invention ; not that the author of the Rape of 15 Lock and Eloisa can be thought to want imagination, but because his imagination was not his predominant talent ; because he indulged it not, and because he gave not so many proofs of this ta. jent as of the other. This turn of mind led him to admire French models; he studied Boileau attentively, formed hiniself upon him, as Milton formed himself upon the Grecian and Italian fons of Fancy. He gradually became one of the most corre&, even, and exa& poets that cver wrote, po. Jishing his pieces with a care and assiduity that no bufiness or avocation ever interrupted; so that if he does not frequently ravish and transport his reader, yet he does not disgust him with unexpected inequalities and absurd improprieties. Whatever poetical enthugasm he adually possessed, he with. held and Rifled. The perusal of him affects not our minds with soch trong emotions as we feel from Homer and Milton; so that no man of a true poctical spirit is master of himself while he reads them. Hence, he is a writer fit for universal perusal, adapted to all ages and stations, for the old and for the young, the man of business and the scholar. He who would think “ Palamon and Ascite,"

," " The Tempest,” or “ Comus," childish and romantic, might relish Pope. Surely it is no narrow and niggardly encomium to say, that he is the great poet of reafon, the firt of ethical au. thors in verse.

Where th shall we, with justice, be authorised to place our admired Pope? Not assuredly in the same rank with Spenser, Shakspeare, and Milton ; however jusly we may applaud the Eloisa and Rape of the Lock; but, consideripg the corredness, elegance, and utility of his works, the weight of septiment, and the koowledge of man they contajn, we may venture to aflign him a place next to Milton, and just above Dryden. Yet, to bring our minds steadily to make this decifion, 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 artid.

" The preference here given to Pope above other Modern English Poets, it muß be remember. ed, is founded on the excellencies of his works in general, and taken all together ; for there are parta and passages in other modern authors, in Young and in Thomson for instance, equal to any of Pope ; and h¢ bas written nothing in a frain fo truly fublime as the " Bard of Gray,".

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