The Poetical Works of Alexander Pope, Vol. 2: With Memoir, Critical Dissertation, and Explanatory Notes (Classic Reprint)

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Fb&c Limited, 22 nov. 2017 - 354 páginas
Excerpt from The Poetical Works of Alexander Pope, Vol. 2: With Memoir, Critical Dissertation, and Explanatory Notes

N ow, that Pope possessed genius, and. Genius of a high order, we strenuously maintain. But whether this amounted to crea tive power, the highest quality of the poet, is a very different question. In native imagination, that eyesight of the soul, which sees in the rose a richer red, in the sky a deeper azure, in the sea a more dazzling foam, in the stars a softer and more spiritual gold, and in the sky a more dread magnificence than nature ever gave them, that beholds the Ideal always shining through and above the Real, and that lights the poet on to form within a new and more gorgeous nature, the fresh crea tion of his own inspired mind, Pope was not only inferior to Chaucer, Shakspeare, Spenser, and Milton, but to Young, Thomson, Collins, Burns, Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley, Byron, Coleridge, and many other poets. His native faculty, indeed, seems rather fine than powerful - rather timid than daring, and resembles rather the petal of a rose peeping out into the summer air, which seems scarce warm enough for its shrinking loveliness, than the feather of the wing of a great eagle, dip ping into the night tempest, which raves around the inacces sible rock of his birthplace. He was not eminently original in his thinking. In proof of this, many of those fine senti ments which Pope has thrown into such perfect shape, and to which he has given such dazzling burnish, are found by Wat son (see the Adventurer in Pascal and others. Shakspeare's wisdom, on the other hand, can be traced to Shakspeare's brain, and no further, although he has borrowed the plots of his plays. Who lent Chaucer his pictures, firesh as dewdrops from the womb of the morning? Spenser's Allegories are as native to him as his dreams; and if Milton has now and then carried off a load which belonged to another, it was a load'which only a giant's arm could lift, and which he added to a caravan of priceless wealth, the native inheritance of his own genius.

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