Page images
PDF
EPUB

QUINTILIAN, whofe knowledge of human nature was confummate, has obferved, that nothing very correct and faultlefs, is to be expected in very early years, from a truly elevated genius that a generous extravagance and exuberance are its proper marks, and that a premature exactness is a certain evidence of future flatnefs and fterility. words are incomparable, and worthy confideration." Audeat hæc ætas plura, et INVE

His

NIAT, et inventis gaudeat, fint licet illa <c non fatis interim ficca et fevera. Facile "remedium eft ubertatis, fterilia nullo labore "vincuntur. Illa mihi in pueris natura nimi

um fpei dabit, in quâ INGENIUM judicio

præfumitur. Materiam effe primum volo "vel abundantiorem, atque ultra quam opor"tet fufam. Multum inde decoquent anni, "multum ratio limabit, aliquid velut usu ip"fo deteretur, fit modo unde excidi poffit "et quod exculpi: erit autem, fi non ab ini"tio tenuem laminam duxerimus, et quam

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

" cælatura altior rumpat.Quare mihi ne "maturitas quidem ipfa feftinet, nec musta "in lacu ftatim auftera fint; fic et annos "ferent, et vetuftate proficient." This is very ftrong and mafculine fenfe, expreffed and enlivened by a train of metaphors, all of them elegant, and well preferved. Whether these early productions of POPE, would not have appeared to Quintilian to be rather too finished, correct, and pure, and what he would have inferred concerning them, is too delicate a fubject for me to enlarge upon. Let me rather add an entertaining anecdote, When Guido and Domenichino had each of them painted a picture in the Church of Saint Andrew, Annibal Carrache, their master, was preffed to declare, which of his two pupils had excelled. The picture of Guido represented Saint Andrew on his knees before the cross, that of Domenichino represented the flagellation of that apofte. Both of them in their different kinds were capital pieces, and were painted in fresco, oppofite each other, to eternize, as it were, their rivalihip and conten

tion

tion. Guido, faid Carrache, has performed as a master, and Domenichino as a scholar. But, added he, the worth of the fcholar is more valuable than that of the mafter. In truth, one may perceive faults in the picture of Domenichino that Guido has avoided; but then there are noble ftrokes, not to be found in that of his rival. It was eafy to discern a genius that promised to produce beauties, to which the sweet, the gentle, and the graceful Guido would never afpire.

The last piece that belongs to this Section, is the ODE entitled, THE DYING CHRISTIAN TO HIS SOUL, written in imitation of the well known fonnet of Hadrian, addrest to his departing fpirit; concerning which it was our author's judicious opinion, that the diminutive epithets with which it abounds, such as Vagula, Blandula, were by no means expreffions of levity and indifference, but rather of endearment, of tenderness and concern. This ode was written we find at the defire of Steele and our poet in a letter to him on that oc

"You have it, as Cowley

cafion, fays

"calls it, just warm from the brain; it came

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

to me the first moment I waked this morn

ing; yet you'll fee, it was not so absolutely infpiration, but that I had in my head, "not only the verfes of Hadrian, but the "fine fragment of Sappho."

IT

It appears however that our author had another compofition in his head, befides those he here refers to; for there is a close and furprising resemblance between this ode of POPE, and one of a very obfcure and juftly forgotten rhymer of the age of Charles the fecond, namely Thomas Flatman; from whose dunghill, as well as from the dregs of

Crafhaw, of Carew, of Herbert, and others, (for it is well known he was a great

* In Longinus, fect. 10. quoted by him, is a model of that fublime which combines together many various and oppofite pafions and fenfations, ἵνα μη εν τι παθος φαινήται, παθών δε ouredo.

+See THE ADVENTURER, vol. 2. II. Ed. p. 230.

Crashaw has very well translated the dies iræ, to which tranflation, Rofcommon is much indebted, in his Poem on the day of Judgment.

reader

reader of all thofe poets) POPE has very judiciously collected gold. And the following stanza is perhaps the only valuable one Flatman has produced.

When on my fick bed I languish,
Full of forrow, full of anguifh,
Fainting, gafping, trembling, crying,

Panting, groaning, fpeechlefs, dying;
Methinks I hear some gentle spirit say,
Be not fearful come away!

The third and fourth lines are eminently good and pathetic, and the climax well preserved; the very turn of them is closely copied by POPE; as is likewife the ftriking circumftance of the dying man's imagining he hears a voice calling him away;

Vital fpark of heavenly flame
Quit, O quit, this mortal frame;
Trembling, hoping, lingring, flying,
O the pain, the bliss of dying!

* Of whom fays Lord Rochester,

Not that flow drudge in swift Pindaric strains,
Flatman, who Cowley imitates with pains,
And rides a jaded muse, whipt, with loose reins.

FLYING has not here any force, and does not heighten the fenfe.

Hark!

« EelmineJätka »