Page images
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

WOMEN ben full of Ragerie,

Yet fwinken nat fans fecrefie.

Thilke moral fhall ye understond,
From Schoole-boy's Tale of fayre Irelond:
Which to the Fennes hath him betake,
To filche the gray Ducke fro the Lake.
Right then, there paffen by the way
His Aunt, and eke her Daughters tway.
Ducke in his Trowses hath he hent,
Not to be spied of Ladies gent.
"But ho! our Nephew, (crieth one)
"Ho! quoth another, Cozen John;"

And stoppen, and lough, and callen out,-
This fely Clerk full low doth lout:

They afken that, and talken this,

"Lo here is Coz, and here is Miss."

But, as he glozeth with Speeches foote,
The Ducke fore tickleth his Erfe roote:
Fore-piece and buttons all-to-brest,
Forth thrust a white neck, and red crest.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Te-he, cry'd Ladies; Clerke not spake : Miss star'd; and gray Ducke cried Quaake. "O Moder, Moder, (quoth the daughter) "Be thilke fame thing Maids longer a'ter? "Bette is to pyne on coals and chalke,

"Then trust on Mon, whose yerde can talke."


DR. WARTON juftly obferves, "That this is a grofs and dull caricature of the Father of English Poetry." He might have added, it is as difgufting as it is dull, and no more like Chaucer, than a "Billing/gate" is like "an OBEREA."



HE that was unacquainted with Spenfer, and was to form his ideas of the turn and manner of his genius from this piece, would undoubtedly suppose that he abounded in filthy images, and ex. celled in defcribing the lower fcenes of life. But the characteristics of this sweet and allegorical poet are not only ftrong and circumstantial imagery, but tender and pathetic feeling, a moft melodious flow of versification, and a certain pleasing melancholy in his fentiments, the conftant companion of an elegant tafte, that cafts a delicacy and grace over all his compofitions. To imitate Spenfer on a subject that does not partake of the pathos, is not giving a true representation of him; for he seems to be more awake and alive to all the foftneffes of nature than almost any writer I can recolle&t. There is an affemblage of disgusting and disagreeable founds in the following stanza of Pope, which one is almost tempted to think, if it were poffible, had been contrived as a contraft, or rather as a burlesque, of a moft exquisite stanza in the Fairy Queen: "The snappish cur (the passengers annoy)

Close at my heel with yelping treble flies;
The whimp'ring girl, and hoarser-screaming boy,
Join to the yelping treble, fhrilling cries;
The fcolding Quean to louder notes doth rife,
And her full pipes thofe fhrilling cries.confound;
To her full pipes the grunting hog replies;
The grunting hogs alarm the neighbours round,
And curs, girls, boys, in the deep base are drown'd.”

The very turn of thefe numbers bears the clofeft refemblance with the following, which are of themselves a complete concert of the most delicious mufic:

"The joyous birds fhrouded in cheerful shade,

Their notes unto the voice attempred sweet ;



Th' angelical, foft trembling voices made
To th' inftruments divine refpondance meet;
The filver-founding inftruments did meet
With the base murmure of the water's fall;
The water's fall with difference discreet,
Now foft, now loud unto the wind did call,
The gentle warbling wind low answered to all.'

Book ii. cant. 12. f. 71.

These images, one would have thought, were peculiarly calculated to have ftruck the fancy of our young imitator with so much admiration, as not to have fuffered him to make a kind of travesty of them.

The next stanza of Pope represents some allegorical figures, of which his original was fo fond:

Hard by a fly, beneath a roof of thatch,
Dwelt Obloquy, who in her early days
Baskets of fish at Billingsgate did watch,

Cod, whiting, oyster, mackrel, sprat, or plaice;

There learn'd she speech from tongues that never cease.

Slander befide her, like a Magpie, chatters,

With Envy, (fpitting Cat) dread foe to peace;

Like a curs'd Cur, Malice before her clatters,

And vexing ev'ry wight, tears cloaths and all to tatters."

But these perfonages of Obloquy, Slander, Envy, and Malice, are not marked with any distinct attributes; they are not those living figures, whofe attitudes and behaviour Spenfer has minutely drawn with fo much clearness and truth, that we behold them with our eyes as plainly as we do on the cieling or the banquetinghouse. For, in truth, the pencil of Spenfer is as powerful as that of Rubens, his brother allegorist; which two artists resembled each other in many refpects: but Spenfer had more grace, and was as warm a colourist. WARTON.





IN ev'ry Town, where Thamis rolls his Tyde,
A narrow Pass there is, with Houses low;
Where ever and anon, the Stream is ey'd,
And many a Boat foft fliding to and fro.

There oft are heard the notes of Infant Woe,


The short thick Sob, loud Scream, and fhriller Squall : How can ye, Mothers, vex your Children fo?

Some play, fome eat, fome cack against the wall, And as they crouchen low, for bread and butter call.


And on the broken pavement, here and there,
Doth many a stinking sprat and herring lie;
A brandy and tobacco fhop is near,



And hens, and dogs, and hogs are feeding by ;
And here a failor's jacket hangs to dry..
At ev'ry door are fun-burnt matrons seen,
Mending old nets to catch the scaly fry;
Now finging fhrill, and fcolding eft between ;
Scolds anfwer foul-mouth'd fcolds; bad neighbour

hood I ween.

U 2


« EelmineJätka »