« EelmineJätka »
'Tis he, ° who gives my breast a thousand pains,
P But not this part of the poetic state,
355 My liege! why writers little claim your thought, I guess; and with their leave, will tell the fault : We'poets are (upon a poet's word) Of all mankind, the creatures most absurd ; The ' season, when to come, and when to go, 360 To sing, or cease to sing, we never know; And if we will recite nine hours in ten, You lose your patience just like other men. Then too we hurt ourselves, when to defend A 'single verse, we quarrel with a friend ;
then it languished. We have not mounted again above the two last.”— Walpole's Observations.
From this account of dramatic poets by the late Lord Orford, Dr. Warton very properly excepts the tragedy of Douglas. I may be here permitted to pay a similar tribute to the excellent tragedies of Miss Baillie, which abound in rich
description, eloquent language, and genuine pathos.-Bowles. Ver. 350. Think of those authors, Sir,] Augustus being greatly and exclusively fond of dramatic poets alone, Horace puts in a word of recommendation for those of another species. The good prince, to whom our author was writing, was equally indifferent to poets of all kinds and sorts, and asked, when somebody was highly praising Milton, “Why did he not write his Paradise Lost in prose ?”—Warton.
Ver. 354. a library] Munus Apolline dignum. The Palatine library, then building by Augustus.-Pope.
Ver. 355. Merlin's Cave] A building in the royal gardens of Richmond, where is a small, but choice collection of books.--Pope.
Cùm loca jam "recitata revolvimus irrevocati :
*Gratus Alexandro regi Magno fuit ille
To mention Merlin's Cave, for the Palatine library, heightens the ridicule.-Warton.
Ver. 366. Repeat unask'd ;] Unavoidably weaker than the original, loco jam recitata ; public recitations before great audiences, collected for that purpose, being common at Rome (see many Epistles in Pliny), to which we have no custom that can answer in an imitation. Juvenal, in a well known passage, laughs at Statius's reciting his
ebaid : “ Curritur ad vocem jucundam,” &c.—Warton. Ver. 379. Laureats weighty place.] It became a fashion for all the admirers and followers of Pope to join with him in condemning Colley Cibber. Dr. Johnson wrote a very pointed Epigram on this subject, which was also equally severe on George the Second :
“ Augustus still survives in Maro's strain,
And Spenser's verse prolongs Eliza's reign ;
For nature form’d the poet for the king."—Warton. Ver. 380. Charles, to late times, &c.] In the third volume of the Catholic Church History of England, printed at Brussels, 1742, fol. there is a curious anecdote concerning this matter, taken from an Italian MS. of the Memoirs of Panzani, the Pope's agent : “ Before Panzani set out on his journey, (to England,) which was about the year 1635, her Majesty wrote a letter to Cardinal Barberini ; wherein, amongst other things, she desired he would use his interest with the famous sculptor, Cavalier Bernini, that he would
Repeat "unask'd ; lament, the wit's too fine
grace, Fit to bestow the " Laureat’s weighty place.
a Charles, to late times to be transmitted fair, 380 Assign'd his figure to Bernini's care ; And great Nassau to Kneller's hand decreed To fix him graceful on the bounding steed;
cut two bustos ; one of the king, the other of herself: which were to be brought over by Panzani, alleging that her husband was uncommonly curious in works of that kind, and no present could be more acceptable to him. Bernini was one of a haughty temper, and had lately refused the like favour to the Cardinal Richlieu, who desired his own busto from the same hand. But Barberini's reputation and address prevailed upon him to grant the request. I mention this busto upon account of the extraordinary circumstances which attended it ; some whereof are taken notice of by our historians. But what I shall further relate, is not commonly known. It is reported that when Bernini took a view of the original picture, according to which he was to form the king's busto, he observed such melancholic lines, that they in a manner spoke some dismal fate that would befal the person it represented. And this he signified to those who were present,” p. 38.-Warburton.
Ver. 382. And great Nassau] “ This prince,” says Mr. Walpole, “ like most of those in our annals, contributed nothing to the advancement of the arts. He was born in a country where taste never flourished, and nature had not given it to him as an embellishment to his great qualities. Reserved, unsociable, ill in his health, and soured by his situation, he sought none of those amusements that make the hours of the happy, much happier. He had so little leisure to attend to, or so little disposition to men of wit, that when St. Evremond was introduced to him, the king said coldly : ‘I think you was a major-general in the French service.” -Warton.
Judicium subtile videndis artibus illud
[At neque dedecorant tua de se judicia, atque Munera, quæ multâ dantis cum laude tulerunt, Dilecti tibi Virgilius Variusque poëtæ ;]
Nec magis expressi vultus per ahenea signa, Quàm per vatis opus mores animique virorum Clarorum apparent. Nec sermones ego mallem Repentes per humum, quàm res componere gestas,
Ver. 384. So well in paint] The taste and knowledge of Charles I. in the fine arts are universally known and acknowledged ; and his fondness for Shakespear and Fairfax's Tasso, shows his judgment in poetry.-Warton.
Ver. 385. But kings in wit may want discerning spirit.] This is not to be wondered at, since the sacerdotal character has been separated from the regal. This discerning of spirits now seems to be the allotment of the ecclesiastical branch, which the following instance will put out of doubt. The famous Hugo Grotius had, somehow or other, surprized the world into an early admiration of his parts and virtues. But his Grace, Archbishop Abbot, was not to be deceived by dazzling appearances. In one of his rescripts to Sir Ralph Winwood, at the Hague, he unmasks this forward Dutchman, who a little before had been sent over to England by the States. “ You must take heed how you trust Doctor Grotius too far, for I perceive him to be so ADDICTED TO SOME PARTIALITIES IN THOSE PARTS, THAT HE FEARETH NOT TO LASH SO IT MAY SERVE A TURN.
At his first coming to the king, by reason of his good Latin tongue, he was so tedious, and full of tittle tattle, that the king's judgment was of him, that he was some PEDANT, full of words, and of NO GREAT JUDGMENT. And I MYSELF DISCOVERING that to be his habit, as if he did imagine that every man was bound to hear him so long as he would talk, did privately give him notice thereof, that he should plainly and directly deliver his mind, or else he would make the king weary of him. This did not take place, but that afterwards he fell to it again, as was especially observed one night at supper at the Lord Bishop of Ely's, whither being brought by Mr. Casaubon (as I think), my Lord intreated him to stay to supper, which he did. There was present Dr. Steward and another civilian, unto whom he Alings out some question of that profession; and was so full of words, that Dr. Steward afterwards told my Lord : That he did perceive by him, that, like a sMATTERER, he had studied some two or three questions ; whereof when he came in company he must be talking, to vindicate his skill ; but if he were put from those, he would show himself but a SIMPLE FELLOW. There was present also Dr. Richardson, the king's Professor of Divinity in Cambridge, and another doctor in that faculty, with whom he falleth in also, about some of those questions, which are now controverted amongst the ministers in Holland; and being matters wherein he was studied, he uttered all his skill concerning them. MY LORD OF ELY SITTING STILL AT THE SUPPER ALL THE WHILE, AND WONDERING what a mau he had there, who never being in the place or company before, could overwhelm them so
So well in paint and stone they judg’d of merit :
Not with such « majesty, such bold relief, 390
with talk for so long a time. I write this unto you so largely, that you may know the disposition of the man : and how KINDLY HE USED MY LORD OF ELY FOR HIS GOOD ENTERTAINMENT."—Winwood's Memorials, vol. iii. p. 459.-Scribl. Seriously,
1, my Lord of Ely's case was to be pitied. But this will not happen every day : for as exposed as their Lordships may be to these kind of insults, happy is it that the men are not always at hand, who can offer them. A second Grotius, for aught I know, may be as far off as a second century of my Lords of Ely. But it was enough that this simple fellow was an Arminian and a Republican, to be despised by Abbot and his Master. For, in the opinion of these great judges of merit, religion and society could not subsist without PREDESTINATion and ARBITRARY Power. However, this discerning spirit, it is certain, had not left L. when the grave historian, Anthony Wood, was so hospitably entertained there ; who, in the journal of his life, under the year 1671, tells the following story : “I and John Echard, the author of the Contempt of the Clergy, dined with Archbishop Sheldon. After dinner, when the Archbishop had withdrawn and selected his company, I was called into the withdrawing room, and Echard was left behind to go drink and smoke with the Chaplains.” So well adjusted was this respect of persons ; Echard, the wittiest man of the age, was very fitly left to divert the chaplains ; and Anthony Wood, without all peradventure the dullest, was called in to enjoy the conversation of his Grace.- Warburton.
Ver. 385. But kings in wit] They may, nevertheless, be very good kings. It is not for his verses, any more than for his victories, that the late king of Prussia will be celebrated by posterity : but for softening the rigours of a despotic government, by a code of milder laws than his crouching people had known before ; and for building many villages and farm-houses, to encourage agriculture, and repair the wastes and ravages of war. He must therefore be pardoned for an absurd judgment, which he has passed on Homer, whom he could not read in the original, where he says : “Ses chants et l'action ont peu ou point de liaison les uns avec les autres, ce qui leur a mérité le nom de rapsodies.” Preface to the Henriade.Warton.
Ver. 387. pension'd Quarles ;] Who has lately been more favourably spoken of by some ingenious critics ; particularly by the author of Thirty Letters.- Warton.