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The naked beggar fhivering lies,
While whistling tempefts round her rise,
The object of fear indicated in the two last lines, is, I believe, new and unborrowed, and interefts us in the fcene defcribed. Under this head it would be unpardonable to omit a capital, and, I think, the most excellent example extant, of the beauty here intended, in the third Georgic of Virgil: * The poet having mournfully described a heifer struck with a peftilence, and falling down dead in the middle of his work, artfully reminds us of his former fervices;
Quid labor aut benefacta juvant? quid vomere terras
This circumstance would have been fufficient, as it raised our pity from a motive of gratitude; but with this circumftance the tender
* Ver. 525.
By the epithet GRAVES Virgil infinuates after his manner the difficulty and laborioufnefs of the work.
Virgil was not content; what he adds therefore of the natural undeviating temperance of the animal, who cannot have contracted difeafe by excess, and who for that reafon deferved a better fate, is moving beyond compare:
·Atqui non maffica Bacchi
Munera, non illis epulæ nocuere reposta!
Or English poets, perhaps, none have excelled the ingenious Mr. Dyer in this oblique. instruction, into which he frequently steals imperceptibly, in his little defcriptive poem entitled GRONGAR HILL, where he difpofes every object so as it may give occafion for fome obfervation on human life. Denham himself is not fuperiour to this neglected author, in this particular. After painting a landfchape very extenfive and diverfified, he adds;
Thus is nature's vefture wrought
Thus the dreffes green and gay,
To disperse our cares away!
Another view from his favourite spot, gives him an opportunity, for fliding into the following moralities.
* How close and fmall the hedges lie!
So we mistake the future's face
Which to thofe who journey near,
THE unexpected infertion of such reflections, imparts to us the fame pleasure that we feel, when in wandering through a wilderness or grove, we fuddenly behold in the turning of the walk, a statue of fome VIRTUE OF MUSE.
* In this light alfo his poem on the Ruins of Rome deferves a perufal. Dodfley's Mifcell. Vol. 1. Pag. 78.
IT may be obferved in general, that defcription of the external beauties of nature, is usually the first effort of a young genius, before he hath studied manners and paffions. Some of Milton's most early, as well as most exquifite pieces, are his Lycidas, L'Allegro, and Il Penferofo; if we may except his Ode on the Nativity of Chrift, which is indeed prior in the order of time, and in which a penetrating critic might have discovered the feeds of that boundless imagination, which was one day to produce the Paradise Loft. This ode, which, by the way, is not fufficiently read, or admired, is also of the defcriptive kind; but the objects of his defcription are great, and striking to the imagination; the false gods and goddeffes of the Heathen forfaking their temples on the birth of our faviour, divination and oracles at an end! which facts though perhaps not historically true, are poetically beautiful.
The lonely mountains o'er,
And the refounding fhore,
A voice of weeping heard, and loud lament!
From haunted spring, and dale
Edg'd with poplar pale,
The parting Genius is with fighing fent;
The nymphs in twilight fhade of tangled thicket mourn.
The lovers of poetry, and to fuch only I write, will not be difpleafed at my presenting them alfo with the following image, which is fo ftrongly conceived, that methinks I fee at this instant the dæmon it represents;
And fullen Moloch fled
Hath left in fhadows dread,
In vain with cimbals ring
They call the griefly king,
In difmal dance about the furnace blue. +
Attention is irresistibly awoke and engaged by that air of folemnity, and enthusiasm, that reigns in the following ftanzas:
*On the morning of Chrift's nativity. Newton's edition, ⚫ctavo. Vol. 2. pag. 28, 29. of the miscellaneous poems.
+ See also verfes written at a Solemn mufic, and on the Paffion, in the fame volume, and a vacation exercise, pag. y. in all which are to be found many strokes of the sublime.