« EelmineJätka »
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
GEORGE LORD LANSDOWN.
Non injussa cano: Te nostræ, Vare, myricæ,
THE design of Windsor-forest is evidently derived from Coopershill, with some attention to Waller's poem on the Park; but Pope cannot be denied to excel his masters in variety and elegance, and the art of interchanging description, narration, and morality. The objection made by Dennis is the want of plan, of a regular subordination of parts, terminating in the principal and original design. There is this want in most descriptive poems; because as the scenes, which they must exhibit successively, are all subsisting at the same time, the order in which they are shewn must, by necessity, be arbitrary, and more is not to be expected from the last part than from the first. The attention therefore, which cannot be detained by suspence, must be excited by diversity, such as this poem offers to its reader.
But the desire of diversity may be too much indulged. The parts of Windsor-forest which deserve least praise, are those which were added to enliven the stillness of the scene; the appearance of Father Thames, and the transformation of Lodona. Addison had, in his Campaign, derided the rivers, that "rise from their oozy beds" to tell stories of heroes, and it is therefore strange that Pope should adopt a fiction not only unnatural, but lately censured. The story of Lodona is told with sweetness; but a new metamorphosis is a ready and puerile expedient. Nothing is easier than to tell how a flower was once a blooming virgin, or a rock an obdurate tyrant. Johnson.
The poem of Windsor-forest, although properly ranked as descriptive, contains in itself strong indications that the powers of the author were calculated for more elevated subjects and loftier flights. No sooner has he announced the scene of his poem, than he breaks through the narrow bounds by which he is apparently confined, and engages in an historical deduction of the effects produced by the tyranny of our early kings; terminating in the establishment of liberty, and the diffusion of national happiness. To this subject he recurs towards the close of his poem, where he brings down his historical notices to the reign of Queen Ann, and celebrates the peace of Utrecht, then just concluded. Many other passages indicate the attention he had paid to graver and more