Page images
PDF
EPUB

22. Some by old words to fame have made pretence.

QUINTILIAN's advice on this fubject is as follows. "Cùm fint autem verba propria, ficta, tranflata; propriis dignitatem dat antiquitas. Namque & fanctiorem, & magis admirabilem reddunt orationem, quibus non quilibet fuit ufurus: eoque ornamento acerrimi judicii Virgilius unice eft ufus. Olli enim, & quianam, & mis, & pone, pellucent, & afpergunt illam, quæ etiam in picturis eft gratiffima, vetuftatis inimitabilem arti auctoritatem. Sed utendum modo, nec ex ultimis tenebris repetenda." +

23. Where'er you find the cooling western breeze, In the next line it whispers through the trees. §

UNVARIED rhymes highly disgust readers of a good ear. We have not many compofitions where NEW and uncommon rhymes are introduced. One or two writers however I cannot forbear mentioning, who have been studious of this beauty. They are Parnelle, † Inft. Orat. lib. vii. c. §. $ Ver. 350.

Ver. 324.

Pitt

Pitt in his Translations from Vida, West in his Pindar, Thomson in the Caftle of Indolence, and the author of an elegant Ode To SUMMER, published in a Miscellany entitled the UNION.".*

24. A needless Alexandrine ends the fong. †

ALTHOUGH the Alexandrine may be fupposed to be a modern measure, yet I would remark, that it was firft ufed or invented by Robert of Glocefter, whofe poem confifts entirely of Alexandrine verses, with the addition of two syllables; as does that of Warner's ALBION'S ENGLAND, with many of the lives in the MIRROR of MAGISTRATES, and Drayton's POLYOLBION. Moft of the pfalms of Sternhold and Hopkins are really written § in this measure, though commonly printed otherwife. Dryden was the firft who introduced it in our English heroic, for we do not ever find it in Sandys or Waller.

Edinburgh, 1753, pag. 81.,

+ Ver. 356.

The man ist who hath not lent, to wicked read his ear.

25. And

25. And praise the eafy vigor of a line,

Where Denham's ftrength and Waller's fweetness join."

FENTON, in his entertaining obfervations on Waller, has given us a curious anecdote concerning the great induftry and exactness with which Waller published even his fmalleft compofitions. "When the court

was at Windfor, these verses were writ in Taffo of her Royal Highness, at Mr, Waller's request, by the late Duke of Buckinghamfhire; and I very well remember to have heard his Grace fay, that the author employed the GREATEST PART OF A SUMMER, in compofing, and correcting them. So that however he is generally reputed the parent of those swarms of infect-wits, who affect to be thought eafy writers, it is evident that he beftowed much time and care on his poems, before he ventured them out of his hands.

* Ver. 360.

+ Only ten in number.

Fenton's Waller, edit. 12mo. OBSERVATIONS, pag. 148.

[merged small][ocr errors]

26. True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance. *

Ir is well known, that the writings of Voiture, of Saraffin, and Fontaine, coft them much pains, and were laboured into that facility for which they are so famous, with repeated alterations, and many rafures. Moliere is reported to have past whole days in fixing upon a proper epithet or rhyme, although his verses have all the flow and freedom of converfation. This happy facility, said a man of wit, may be compared to gardenterraces the expence of which does not appear; and which, after the cost of several millions, yet feem to be a mere work of chance and nature. I have been informed, that Addison was fo extremely nice in polishing his profe compofitions, that, when almost a whole impreffion of a Spectator was worked off, he would stop the prefs, to insert a new prepofition or conjunction,

* Ver. 362.

27. Soft

27. Soft is the ftream, when Zephyr gently blows,
And the fmooth ftream in fmoother numbers flows;
But when loud furges lafh the founding fhore,
The hoarfe rough verse should like the torrent roar ;
When Ajax ftrives fome rock's vaft weight to throw,
The line too labours, and the words move flow;
Not fo when swift Camilla fcours the plain,

Flies o'er th' unbending corn, and skims along the main. THESE lines are ufually cited as fine examples of adapting the found to the sense. But that POPE has failed in this endeavour, has been lately demonstrated by the RAMBLER. "The verfe intended to reprefent the whisper of the vernal breeze muft furely be confeffed not much to excell in softness or volubility; and the smooth ftream runs with a perpetual clash of jarring confonants. The noise and turbulence of the torrent, is indeed, distinctly imaged; for it requires very little skill to make our language rough. But in the lines which mention the effort of Ajax, there is no particular heavinefs or delay. The fwiftnefs of Camilla is rather contrasted than exemplified.

Why the verse should be

[blocks in formation]
« EelmineJätka »