Page images

Believe me reader, can say more

Than many a braver marble can,
Here lies a truly honeft man. CRASHAW.

This modeft ftone, what few vain marbles can,
May truly fay," here lies an honeft man." POPE.

Two other critics have also remarked fome farther remarkable coincidencies of POPE'S thought and expreffions, with those of other writers, which are here inferted, as they cannot fail of entertaining the curious.

Pride, malice, folly, against Dryden rofe

In various shapes of parfons, critics, beaus. POPE.

L'ignorance, & l' erreur a fes naiffantes peices,

En habits de marquis, en robes de comteffes, diffamer fon chef-d-oevre nouveau.

Venoient pour


Superior beings when of late they faw,

A mortal man unfold all nature's law;

Admir'd fuch wisdom in an earthly shape,

And fhew'd a Newton as we fhew an ape. POPE.

Simia coelicolum rifufque jocufque deorum eft,

* Of Moliere.


Tunc homo, quum temerè ingenio confidit, & audet
Abdita naturæ fcrutari, arcanaque divum.

Happily to fteer


From grave to gay, from lively to fevere. POPE.

D'une voix legere

Paffer du grave au doux, du plaifant au fevere.


The conclufion of the epitaph on Gay, where he observes, that his honour confists not in being entombed among kings and heroes,

But that the worthy and the good may fay,
Striking their penfive bofoms, here lies GAY,

is adopted from an old Latin elegy on the death of prince Henry; this conceit of his friend's being enshrined in the hearts of the virtuous, is, by the way, one of the most forced and far-fetched, that POPE has fallen into.†

BEN JOHNSON, as another ingenious critic has remarked, wrote an elegy on the lady

†The Adventurer, No. 63,


Anne Pawlet, Marchionefs of Winton; the beginning of which POPE feems to have thought of, when he wrote his verses, to the Memory of an unfortunate lady. Johnson begins his elegy,

What gentle ghoft, besprent with April dew,
Hayles me fo folemnly to yonder yew?

And beckoning woes me

In which strain POPE beautifully breaks out,

What beck'ning ghost along the moonlight shade,
Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade ?
'Tis fhe !

as Johnson now lies before me, I may perhaps be pardoned for pointing out another paffage in him, which POPE probably remem bered, when he wrote the following:

From shelves to fhelves, fee greedy Vulcan roll,
And lick up all their phyfic of the foul ;†

Thus Johnson speaking of a parcel of books,

*In the underwood

+ Dunciad.


Thefe, hadft thou pleas'd either to dine or fup,
Had made a meale for Vulcan to lick up.

I SHOULD be fenfibly touched at the injurious imputation of so ungenerous, and indeed impotent a defign, as that of attempting to diminish, or fully the reputation of fo valuable a writer as POPE, by the most distant hint, or accufation of his being a plagiary; a writer, to whom the English poefy, and the English language is everlaftingly indebted : but we may fay of his imitations, what his poetical father Dryden faid of another, who deserved not fuch a panegyric so justly as our author: "HE INVADES AUTHORS LIKE A


[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

IN OTHER POETS, IS ONLY VICTORY IN HIM." For indeed he never works on the fame fubject with another, without heightening the piece with more masterly strokes, and a more artful pencil. And, as was observed of Auguftus, what he finds

* See OBSERVATIONS on the FAERY QUEEN of Spenser, by Thomas Warton, Sect. vii. p. 166.

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

merely coarse brick, he leaves magnificent marble. Those who flattered themselves, that they should diminish the reputation of Boileau, by printing, in the manner of a commentary at the bottom of each page of his works, the many lines he has borrowed from Horace and Juvenal, were grofsly deceived. The verses of the ancients, which this poet hath turned into French with fo much addrefs, and which he hath happily made fo homogeneous, and of a piece with the rest of the work, that every thing feems to have been conceived in a continued train of thought, by the very fame perfon, confer as much honour on M. Defpreaux, as the verses which are purely his own. The original turn which he gives to his tranflations, the bold

Il y a du merite a faire un pareil larcin parcequ' 'on ne fçauroit le faire bien fans peine, & fans avoir du moins le talent de l' expreffion. Il faut autant d' industrie pour y reüffir quil en falloit a Lacedemone, pour fair un larcin en galand homme. Ces penfees tranfplanteés d'une langue dans un autre ne peuvent reuffir que entre les mains de ceux qui du moins ont le don de l' invention des termes. Ainfi lorfqu' elles reuffiffent, la moitie de leur beauté appartient a celuy qui les a remises en oeuvre. Du Bos, Reflexions critiques. Section 8. vol. 2.


« EelmineJätka »