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The pageant of a day; without one friend
Not such our friends; for here no dark design,
Ye guardian powers who make mankind your care, Give me to know wise Nature's hidden depths, Trace each mysterious cause, with judgment read Th' expanded volume, and submiss adore That great creative Will, who at a word
Spoke forth the wondrous scene. But if my soul
Each towering hill, each humble vale below,
most finished of all his works of equal length, in point of language and versification. The exaggeration, however, which he has given to the most impassioned expressions of Eloisa, and his deviations from the true story, have been pointed out by Mr. Berrington in his lives of the two lovers.
ALEXANDER POPE, an English poet of great emi- ample remuneration for his labor. This noble work nence, was born in London in 1688. His father, was published in separate volumes, each containwho appears to have acquired wealth by trade, was ing four books; and the produce of the subscripa Roman Catholic, and being disaffected to the tion enabled him to take that house at Twickpolitics of King William, he retired to Binfield, in enham which he made so famous by his residence Windsor Forest, where he purchased a small house and decorations. He brought hither his father and with some acres of land, and lived frugally upon mother; of whom the first parent died two years the fortune he had saved. Alexander, who was from afterwards. The second long survived, to be cominfancy of a delicate habit of body, after learning to forted by the truly filial attentions of her son. About read and write at home, was placed about his eighth this period he probably wrote his Epistle from year under the care of a Romish priest, who taught "Eloisa to Abelard," partly founded upon the exhim the rudiments of Latin and Greek. His nat- tant letters of these distinguished persons. He has ural fondness for books was indulged about this rendered this one of the most impressive poems of period by Ogilby's translation of Homer, and San- which love is the subject; as it is likewise the dy's of Ovid's Metamorphoses, which gave him so much delight, that they may be said to have made him a poet. He pursued his studies under different priests, to whom he was consigned. At length he became the director of his own pursuits, the variety of which proved that he was by no means deficient in industry, though his reading was rather excursive During the years in which he was chiefly engaged than methodical. From his early years poetry was with the Iliad, he published several occasional adopted by him as a profession, for his poetical works, to which he usually prefixed very elegant reading was always accompanied with attempts at prefaces; but the desire of farther emolument inimitation or translation; and it may be affirmed duced him to extend his translation to the Odyssey, that he rose at once almost to perfection in this walk. in which task he engaged two inferior hands, His manners and conversation were equally beyond whom he paid out of the produce of a new subhis years; and it does not appear that he ever cul- scription. He himself, however, translated twelve tivated friendship with any one of his own age or books out of the twenty-four, with a happiness not condition. inferior to his Iliad; and the transaction, conducted Pope's Pastorals were first printed in a volume in a truly mercantile spirit, was the source of conof Tonson's Miscellanies in 1709, and were generally siderable profit to him. After the appearance of admired for the sweetness of the versification, and the Odyssey, Pope almost solely made himself the lustre of the diction, though they betrayed a known as a satirist and moralist. In 1728 he pubwant of original observation, and an artificial cast lished the three first books of the " Dunciad," a of sentiment: in fact, they were any thing rather kind of mock-heroic, the object of which was to than real pastorals. In the mean time he was exer- overwhelm with indelible ridicule all his antagocising himself in compositions of a higher class; nists, together with some other authors whom spleen and by his "Essay on Criticism," published two or party led him to rank among the dunces, though years afterwards, he obtained a great accession of they had given him no personal offence. Notwithreputation, merited by the comprehension of thought, standing that the diction and versification of this the general good sense, and the frequent beauty of poem are labored with the greatest care, we shall illustration which it presents, though it displays borrow nothing from it. Its imagery is often exmany of the inaccuracies of a juvenile author. In tremely gross and offensive; and irritability, ill1712 his Rape of the Lock," a mock-heroic, nature, and partiality, are so prominent through the made its first appearance, and conferred upon him whole, that whatever he gains as a poet he loses as the best title he possesses to the merit of invention. a man. He has, indeed, a claim to the character of The machinery of the Sylphs was afterwards added, a satirist in this production, but none at all to that an exquisite fancy-piece, wrought with unrivalled of a moralist.
skill and beauty. The "Temple of Fame," altered The other selected pieces, though not entirely from Chaucer, though partaking of the embarrass-free from the same defects, may yet be tolerated; ments of the original plan, has many passages which may rank with his happiest efforts.
In the year 1713, Pope issued proposals for publishing a translation of Homer's Iliad, the success of which soon removed all doubt of its making an accession to his reputation, whilst it afforded an
and his noble work called the "Essay on Man," which may stand in the first class of ethical poems, does not deviate from the style proper to its topic. This piece gave an example of the poet's extraordinary power of managing argumentation in verse, and of compressing his thoughts into clauses of 2 E 2
the most energetic brevity, as well as of expanding tion of a Catholic friend, with the ceremonies of them into passages distinguished by every poetic that religion, he quietly expired on May 30th, 1744, ornament. The origin of this essay is, however, at the age of fifty-six. He was interred at Twickengenerally ascribed to Lord Bolingbroke, who was ham, where a monument was erected to his memory adopted by the author as his "guide, philosopher, by the commentator and legatee of his writings, and friend;" and there is little doubt that, with re- bishop Warburton. spect to mankind in general, Pope adopted, without always fully understanding, the system of Bolingbroke.
Regarded as a poet, while it is allowed that Pope was deficient in invention, his other qualifications will scarcely be disputed; and it will generally be On his works in prose, among which a collection admitted that no English writer has carried to a of letters appears conspicuous, it is unnecessary here greater degree correctness of versification, strength to remark. His life was not prolonged to the period and splendor of diction, and the truly poetical of old age: an oppressive asthma indicated an early power of vivifying and adorning every subject that decline, and accumulated infirmities incapacitated he touched. The popularity of his productions has him from pursuing the plan he had formed for new been proved by their constituting a school of English works After having complied, through the instiga-poetry, which in part continues to the present time.
WHAT dire offence from amorous causes springs,
Say what strange motive, goddess! could compel
Sol through white curtains shot a timorous ray,
Or virgins visited by angel-powers,
With golden crowns and wreaths of heavenly flowers
"Know farther yet; whoever fair and chaste
"Tis but their Sylph, the wise celestials know,
For life predestin'd to the Gnome's embrace.
"Oft, when the world imagine women stray,
Beaux banish beaux, and coaches coaches drive.
"Of these am I, who thy protection claim,
And now, unveil'd, the toilet stands display'd, Each silver vase in mystic order laid. First, rob'd in white, the nymph intent adores, With head uncover'd, the cosmetic powers. A heavenly image in the glass appears, To that she bends, to that her eyes she rears; Th' inferior priestess, at her altar's side, Trembling, begins the sacred rites of Pride. Unnumber'd treasures ope at once, and here The various offerings of the world appear; From each she nicely culls with curious toil, And decks the goddess with the glittering spoil. This casket India's glowing gems unlocks, And all Arabia breathes from yonder box. The tortoise here and elephant unite, Transform'd to combs, the speckled and the white. Here files of pins extend their shining rows, Puffs, powders, patches, Bibles, billet-doux. Now awful Beauty puts on all its arms; The fair each moment rises in her charms, Repairs her smiles, awakens every grace, And calls forth all the wonders of her face: Sees by degrees a purer blush arise, And keener lightnings quicken in her eyes.
The busy Sylphs surround their darling care: These set the head, and those divide the hair; Some fold the sleeve, whilst others plait the gown, And Betty's prais'd for labors not her own.
NoT with more glories in th' ethereal plain,
But every eye was fix'd on her alone.
This nymph, to the destruction of mankind,
Th' adventurous baron the bright locks admir'd He saw, he wish'd, and to the prize aspir'd. Resolv'd to win, he meditates the way, By force to ravish, or by fraud betray; For when success a lover's toil attends, Few ask if fraud or force attain'd his ends.
For this, ere Phoebus rose, he had implor'd Propitious Heaven, and every power ador'd; But chiefly Love-to Love an altar built, Of twelve vast French romances, neatly gilt. There lay three garters, half a pair of gloves, And all the trophies of his former loves. With tender billet-doux he lights the pyre, And breathes three amorous sighs to raise the fire. Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes Soon to obtain, and long possess the prize : The powers gave ear, and granted half his prayer; The rest, the winds dispers'd in empty air.
But now secure the painted vessel glides, The sunbeams trembling on the floating tides: While melting music steals upon the sky, And soften'd sounds along the waters die; Smooth flow the waves, the zephyrs gentle play, Belinda smil'd, and all the world was gay, All but the Sylph—with careful thoughts opprest, Th' impending woe sat heavy on his breast. He summons straight his denizens of air; The lucid squadrons round the sails repair: Soft o'er the shrouds aëreal whispers breathe, That seem'd but zephyrs to the train beneath. Some to the Sun their insect wings unfold, Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold;
Gums and pomatums shall his flight restrain,
Transparent forms, too fine for mortal sight,
He spoke the spirits from the sails descend :
CLOSE by those meads, for ever crown'd with flowers,
Here Britain's statesmen oft the fall foredoom
Meanwhile, declining from the noon of day,
"This day, black omens threat the brightest fair And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine;
But what, or where, the Fates have wrapp'd in night.
Or stain her honor, or her new brocade;
The merchant from th' Exchange returns in peace
And swells her breast with conquests yet to come.
Or whether Heaven has doom'd that Shock must Soon as she spreads her hand, th' aëreal guard
Haste then, ye spirits! to your charge repair:
"To fifty chosen Sylphs, of special note,
Form a strong line about the silver bound,
"Whatever spirit, careless of his charge,
Descend, and sit on each important card :
The skilful nymph reviews her force with care :
Now move to war her sable Matadores,
In show like leaders of the swarthy Moors.
Led off two captive trumps, and swept the board.