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NON SATIS EST PURIS VERSUM PERSCRIBERE VERBIS.
It is amazing this matter fhould ever have been mistaken, when Horace has taken particular and repeated pains, to fettle and adjust the opinion in question. He has more than once difclaimed all right and title to the name of POET, on the fcore of his ethic and fatiric pieces.
NEQUE ENIM CONCLUDERE VERSUM
DIXERIS ESSE SATIS
are lines, often repeated, but whofe meaning is not extended and weighed as it ought to be. Nothing can be more judicious than the method he prefcribes, of trying whether any compofition be effentially poetical or not; which is, to drop entirely the measures and numbers, and transpose and invert the order of the
words: and in this unadorned manne to peruse the paffage. If there be reall in it a true poetical spirit, all your inver fions and tranfpofitions will not disguif and extinguish it; but it will retain it luftre, like a diamond, unfet, and throw back into the rubbish of the mine. Le us make a little experiment on the fol lowing well-known lines; "Yes, you
defpife the man that is confined to books “who rails at human kind from his study “tho' what he learns, he speaks; an may perhaps advance fome genera maxims, or may be right by chance "The coxcomb bird, fo grave and fo talk "ative, that cries whore, knave, an "cuckold, from his cage, tho' be right! "call many a passenger, you hold him n philofopher. And yet, fuch is the fat
of all extremes, men may be read too "much, as well as books. We grow more "partial, for the fake of the obferver, to "observations which we ourselves make ; lefs, fo, to written wisdom, because " another's. Maxims are drawn from no"tions, and those from guefs." What fhall we fay of this paffage?--Why, that it is most excellent fenfe, but juft as poetical as the Qui fit
"Mæcenas" of the author who recommends this method of trial. Take any ten lines of the Iliad, Paradife Loft, or even of the Georgics of Virgil, and fee whether by any process of critical chymistry, you can lower and reduce them to the tamienefs of profe. You will find that they will appear like Ulyffes in his dif
guife of rags, ftill a hero, tho' lodged in the cottage of the herdsman Eumæus.
THE Sublime and the Pathetic are the two chief nerves of all genuine poefy. What is there very fublime or very Pathetic in POPE? In his works there is indeed," nihil inane, nihil arceffitum ;-
puro tamen fonti quam magno Aumini propior;" as the excellent Quintilian remarks of Lyfias. And because I am perhaps afhamed or afraid to speak out in plain English, I will adopt the following paffage of Voltaire, which, in my opinion, as exactly characterizes POPE, as it does his model Boileau, for whom it was originally designed. "INCAPABLE
PEUTETRE DU SUBLIME QUI ELEVE L' AME, ET DU SENTIMENT QUI L' ATTENDRIT, MAIS FAIT POUR ECLAIRER CEUX A QUI LA NATURE ACCORDA L'UN
ET L'AUTRE, LABORIEUX, SEVERE, PRECIS, PUR, HARMONIEUX, IL DEVINT, ENFIN, LE POETE DE LA RAISON."
OUR English poets may, I think, be be difpofed in four different claffes and degrees. In the first class, I would place, firft, our only three fublime and pathetic poets; SPENSER, SHAKESPEARE, MILTON; and then, at proper intervals, OTWAY and LEE. In the fecond class should be placed, fuch as poffeffed the true poetical genius, in a more moderate degree, but had noble talents for moral and ethical poefy. At the head of thefe are DRYDEN, DONNE, DENHAM, COWLEY, CONGREVE. In the third class may be placed, men of wit, of elegant taste, and fome fancy in describing familiar life. Here may be numbered, PRIOR, WALLER,