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dulging himself in too forid a manner of expression, especially in the dramatic parts of his fable, where he iatroduces dialogue : And the writer of tragedy cannot fall into so nauseous and unnatural an affectation, as to put laboured descriptions, ponpous epithets, ftudied phrases, and high-flown metaphors, into the mouths of his characters. But as the didactic poet speaks in his own person, it is necessary and proper for him to use a brighter colouring of stile, and to be more fudidus of ornament. And this is agreeable to an admirable precept of Aristotle, which no writer should ever forget,
that diction ought most to be labour'd in the unactive, that is the descriptive parts of a poem, in which the opinions, manners and passions of men are not represented; for too glaring an expresion obscures the manners and the sentiments.'
We have already observed that any thing in nature may be the subject of this poem. Some things however will appear to more advantage than others, as they give a greater latitude to genius, and admit of more poctical ornaments. Natural history and philosophy are copious subjects. Precepts in these might be decorated with all the flowers in poetry ; and, as Dr. Trapp observes, how can poetry be better employed, or more agreeably to its nature and dignity, than in celebrating the works of the great Creator, and describing the nature and generation of animals, vegetables, and minerals; the revolutions of the heavenly bodies; the inotions of the earth; the flux and reflux of the fea; the cause of thurider, lightning, and other meteors ; the attraction of the magnet; the gravitation, cohesion, and repulsion of matter ; the impulsive motion of light; the now pro. greflion of founds; and other amazing phenomena of nature. Most of the arts and sciences are also proper subjects for this poem, and none are more so than its two sister arts, painting and music. In the former, particularly, there is rooin for the most entertaining precepts concerning the disposal of colours ; the arrangement of lights and shades; the secret attractives of beauty ; the various ideas which make up the one; the distinguishing between the attitudes proper to either sex, and every pasfion; the representing prospects of buildings, battles,
or the country; and lastly, concerning the nature of imitation, and the power of painiing. What a boundless field of invention is here ? What roo:n for descrip. tion, comparison, and poetical fable? How easy the transition, at any time, from the draught to the original, from the shadow to the subitance ? and from hence, what noble excursions may be made into history, into panegyric upon the greatest beauties or heroes of the paft or present age? The task, I confess is difficult; but, according to that noted, but true saying, so are all things act are greato'
CHI A P. XV.
Of T A L E s.
A , .
Tale implies nothing more than a relation of a
raffed with a multitude of forcign circumstances, but may admit of fuch digrellons as arise naturally from the fub. ject, and do riot break in upon, or obscure the main d-lign. It Mould inculcate loine useful iesion, and be both intcreling and perplexing, in order that it may excite and support the attention of the reader ; for great part of the pleasure or entertainment which the mind receives from a well-written Tale, will be found to arise from the suspense and anxiety we are kept in; and which, (as in the plot of a 'Tragedy or Comedy) fhould not be removed till the end. Were the whole scope and deligo, or, if I may so speak, the point of the Tale first dir. covered, the reader would grow languid and indifferent, and have nothing to attend to but the diction and verfi. fication.
The reader will find these rules illustrated in the Hermit, a Tale, by Mr. PARNEL; which we esteem an excellent example.
The Hermit. A Tale. By Mr. PARNEL,
Far in a wild, unknown to publick view,
A life fo sacred, such serene repose,
To clear this doubt, to know the world by light,
The morn was wasted in the pathlefs grass, And long and lonesome was the wild to pass ; But when the southern sun had warm'd the day, A youth came posting o'er a crossing way; His rayment decent, his complexion fair, And soft in graceful ringlets wav'd his hair. Then near approaching, Father, hail! he cry'd'; And hail, my son, the rev'rend Sire reply'd : Words follow'd words, from question answer flow'd, And talk of various kind deceiv'd the road ; 'Till each with other pleasd, and loth to part,
While in their age they differ, join in heart:
Now sunk the sun; the closing hour of day
At length ’tis norn, and at the dawn of day Along the wide can als the zephyrs play; Fresh o'er the gay parterres the breezes creep, And Make the neighb'ring wood to banish sleep. Up rise the guests, obedient to the call ; An early banquet deck'd the splendid hall; Rich luscious wine a golden goblet grac'd, Which the kind master forc'd the guests to taste. Then pleas'd and thankful, from the porch they go ; And, but the landlord, none had cause of woe : His cup was vanishd; for in secret guise The younger guest purloin'd the glitt'ring prize.
As one who 'spies a serpent in his way, Glist’ning and balking in the summer ray, Disorder'd stops to thun the danger near, Then walks with faintness on, and looks with fear; So seem'd the fire, when far upon the road, The shining spoil his wiley partner show'd. He stopp'd with filence, walk'd with trembling heart, And much 1:e wish'd, but durft not ask to part; Murm'ring he lifts his eyes, and thinks it hard, That generous actions meet a base reward.
While thus they pass, the sun his glory shrouds, The changing skies hang out their sable clouds ; A sound in air prelag'd approaching rain, Ard tasts to covert scud a-cross the plain. Warn'u by the signs the wand'ring pair retreat, To seek for shelter at a neighbouring seat ; 'T'was built with turrets, on a riling ground, And trong, and large, and unimprov'd around; Its owner's temper, tim'rous and icvere, Unkind and griping, caus’d a desart there.
As near the nailor's heavy doors they drew, Fierce rising gusts with sudden fury blew ; The nimble light'ning mix'd with Thow'rs began, And o'er their heads loud rolling thunder ran. Here long they knock, but knock or call in vain Driv'n by the wind, and batter'd by the rain. At length some pity warm'd the master's breast, ('Twas then, his threshold first receiv'd a guest.) Slow creaking turns the door with jealous care, And half he welcomes in the shiv'ring pair ; One frugal faggot lights the naked walls, And nature's Tervor thro' their limbs recalls : Bread of the coarsest fort, with eager wine, (Each hardly granted) serv'd them both to dine ; And when the tempest first appear'd to cease, A ready warning bid them part in peace.
With ftill remark the pond'ring Hermit view'd, In one so rich, a life so poor and rude s And why shou'd such, (within himself he cry'd) Lock the lost wealih a thousand want beside ? But what new marks of wonder foon took place, In every settling feature of his face ! When from his veft the young companion bore
the generous landlord own'd before, And paid profusely with the precious bowl The stinted kindness of this churlish soul.
But now the clouds in airy tumults ily, The sun emerging opes an azure sky; A fresher green the smelling leaves display, And glitt'ring as they tremble, cheer the day : The weather courts them from the poor retreat, And the glad master bolts the wary gate,