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fimple and touching notes, without any of those intricate variations, and affected divifions, into which, in compliance with a vicious and vulgar tafte, this great master hath fometimes defcended. Even this piece of Handel, fo excellent on the whole, is not free from one or two blemishes of this fort, particularly in the air, with ravish'd

"ears," &c.

THE moderns have perhaps practised no fpecies of poetry with fo little fuccefs, and with such indisputable inferiority to the anci

Un prêtre environné d'une foule cruelle
Portera fur ma fille une main criminelle,
Dechirera fon fein, et d'un œil curieux,

Dans fon cœur palpitant confultera les dieux.

One of the company has often declared that they all thought themselves present at this dreadful fpectacle, and that the notes with which Lully accompanied these words, erected the hair of their heads with horror.

The opinion of Boileau concerning mufic is remarkable; he afferts, qu'on ne peut jamais faire un bon opera; parceque la mufique ne fauroit narrer; que les paffions n'y peuvent etre peintes dans toute l'etenduë qu'elles demandent; que d'ailleurs elle ne fauroit fouvent mettre en chant les expreffions vraiment fublimes et courageufes.


ents, as the ODE; which feems owing to the harshness and untuneablenefs of modern languages, abounding in monofyllables, and crowded with confonants. This particularly is the case of the English, whofe original is Teutonic, and which therefore, is not fo mufical as the Italian, the Spanish, or even the French, as not having fo great a quantity of words derived from the Latin. But the Latin language itself, as well as all others, muft yield to the unparalled fweetnefs and copioufnefs of the Greek. "Tanto eft fermo græcus latino jucundior, fays Quintilian, in his twelfth book, ut noftri poetæ, quoties dulce carmen effe voluerunt, illorum id nominibus exornent." *

He gives fome inftances that are curious and worth attention. Quid quod pleraque nos illa quafi mugiente literâ cludimus M, quâ nullum Græcè verbum cadit? At illi N jucundam et in fine præcipuè quafi tinnientem, illius loco ponunt, quæ eft apud nos rariffimè in claufulis. Quid quod fyllabæ noftræ in B literam et D innituntur? adeò afperè, ut plerique non antiquiffimorum quidem, fed tamen veterum mollire tentaverint, non folum averfa pro adverfis dicendo, fed et in præpofitione B literæ abfonam et ipfam S fubjiciendo. Apply thefe obfervations with proper alterations to the English tongue. Quintil. 1. xii. c. 10.

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What line even in the Italian poets is so soft and mellifluous, as *

Αλλ' αιει ζεφύροιο λιγυπνείονίας ἄλλας

or as in the tender Bion,

Αιάζω τον Αδωνιν, απωλειο καλο Αδωνις,

to instance in no more? If we caft a tranfient view over the moft celebrated of the modren lyrics, we may observe, that the stanza of Petrarch, which has been adopted by all his fucceffors, difpleases the ear, by its tedious uniformity, and by the number of identical cadences. And indeed to speak truth, there appears to be little valuable in Petrarch, except the purity of his diction. His fentiments even of love, are metaphyfical and far fetched, neither is there much variety in his subjects, or fancy in his method of treating them; Metaftafio is a much better lyric poet. When Boileau attempted an ode, he exhibited a glaring proof, of what will be more fully infisted on in the course of this Effay, that the writer whofe grand, characteristical talent, is

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fatyric or moral poetry, will never fucceed, with equal merit, in the higher branches of this art. In his ode on the taking Namur, are inftances of the


PROSAIC, and of the PUERILE.

And it is

no fmall confirmation of the ruling paffion of this author, that he could not conclude his ode, but with a fevere stroke on his old antagonist Perrault, though the majesty of this fpecies of compofitions is fo much injured, by descending to personal fatire. The name of Malherbe is refpectable, as he was the first reformer of the French poefy, and the first who gave his countrymen any idea of a legitimate ode, though his own pieces have hardly any thing but harmony to recommend them. The odes of la Motte, are fuller of delicate

* An instance of the FIRST, is to be found in the third ftanza. Of the SECOND, in the ninth stanza,

Qui domta Lille, Coutrai,
Gand, la fuperbe Espagnole,
Saint Omer, Bezancon, Dole,
Ypres, Maftricht, et Cambrai.

Of the THIRD fort, is, his making a star or comet, fatal to his enemies, of the white feather, which the king ufually wore in his hat.

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fentiment, and philosophical reflection, than of imagery, of figures, and poetry. There are particular stanzas eminently good, but not one entire ode. Some of Rouffeau, particularly that to Fortune, and fome of his pfalms; and one or two of Voltaire, particularly, to the king of Pruffia, on his acceffion to the throne, and on Meaupertuis's travels to the north, to measure the degrees of the meridian towards the equator, feem to rife above that correct mediocrity which diftinguishes the lyric poetry of the French. In this ode of Voltaire, we find a profopopeia of Americus, and afterwards a fpeech of Newton, on the defign of this traveller and his companions, that approach to the sublime,

Comme ils parloient ainfi, Newton dans l'empirée,
Newton les regardoit, et du ciel entr'ouvert
Confirmez, difoit il, a la terre eclairée

Ce que j'ai decouvert.

I hope I fhall not tranfgrefs a very fenfible obfervation of Mr. POPE, who would have a true critic be

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