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WALLER, PARNELL, SWIFT, FENTON. In the fourth clafs, the mere verfifiers, however smooth and mellifluous fome of them may be thought, fhould be ranked. Such as PITT, SANDYS, FAIRFAX, BROOME, BUCKINGHAM, LANSDOWN. In which of these claffes POPE deferves to be placed, the following work is intended to determine.


Your affectionate

And faithful fervan

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an Eclogue.

RINCES and Authors are feldom

spoken of, during their lives, with juftice and impartiality. Admiration and envy, their conftant attendants, like two unskilful artifts, are apt to overcharge their pieces with too great a quantity of light or of fhade; and are difqualified happily to hit upon that middle colour, that mixture of

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error and excellence, which alone renders every representation of man just and natural. This perhaps may be one reason, among others, why we have never yet seen a fair and candid criticifm on the character and merits of our laft great poet, Mr. POPE. I have therefore thought, that it would be no unpleafing amusement, or uninstructive employment to examine at large, without blind panegyric, or petulant invective, the writings of this English Claffic, in the order in which they are arranged in the elegant edition of Mr. Warburton. As I fhall neither cenfure nor commend, without alleging the reafon on which my opinion is founded, I fhall be entirely unmoved at the imputation of malignity, or the clamours of popular prejudice.

It is fomething strange, that in the paftorals of a young poet there fhould not be found a fingle rural image that is new: but this I am afraid is the cafe in the PASTORALS

before us. The ideas of Theocritus, Vir

gil, and Spenfer, are indeed here exhibited in language equally mellifluous and pure; but the descriptions and fentiments are trite and common. That the defign of pastoral poefy is, to represent the undisturbed felicity of the golden age, is an empty notion, which, though fupported by a Rapin and a Fontenelle, I think, all rational critics have agreed to exftirpate and explode. But I do not remember, that even these last-mentioned critics have remarked the circumftance that gave origin to the opinion that any golden age was intended. Theocritus, the father and the model of this enchanting fpecies of compofition, lived and wrote in Sicily. The climate of Sicily was delicious, and the face of the country various, and beautiful: it's vallies and it's precipices, it's grottos and cascades were sWEETLY INTERCHANGED, and it's fruits and flowers were lavish and luscious. The poet defcribed what he faw and felt: and had no need to have recourse to those artificial affemblages of pleasing objects, which are not to be found


to all mankind and I only fay, that this fpecies of poetry is not the moft excellent one of the art. of the art. We do not, it fhould feem, fufficiently attend to the difference there is, betwixt a MAN OF WIT, a MAN OF SENSE, and a TRUE POET. Donne and Swift, were undoubtedly men of wit, and men of fense: but what traces have they left of PURE POETRY? Fontenelle and La Motte are entitled to the former character; but what

at can they urge to gain the latter? Which of these characters is the moft. valuable and useful, is entirely out of the queftion all I plead for, is, to have their-feveral provinces kept diftinct from each other; and to impress on the reader, that a clear head, and acute understanding are not fufficient, alone, to


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