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"chance. The coxcomb bird, fo grave' "and fo talkative, that cries whore, “knave, and cuckold, from his cage, "tho' he rightly call many a passenger, hold him no philofopher. And yet, fuch is the fate of all extremes, men may be read too much, as well as "books. We grow more partial, for the fake of the obferver, to obfervations "which we ourselves make; lefs fo to "written wisdom, because another's. "Maxims are drawn from notions, " and thofe from guess." What fhall we fay of this paffage ?---Why, that it is most excellent fenfe, but just as poetical as the " Qui fit Mæcenas" of the author who recommends this method of trial. Take ten lines of the Iliad, Paradife Loft, or even of the
Georgics of Virgil, and fee whether by
any process of critical chymistry, you can lower and reduce them to the tameness of profe. You will find that they will appear like Ulyffes in his difguife of rags, ftill a hero, tho' lodged in the cottage of the herdfman Eumæus.
THE Sublime and the Pathetic are the two chief nerves of all genuine poefy. What is there tranfcendently Sublime or Pathetic in POPE? In his works there is indeed, " nihil inane, « nihil arceffitum ;---puro tamen fonti quam magno Alumini proprior;" as the excellent Quintilian remarks of Lyfias. And because I am perhaps unwilling to fpeak out in plain English, I will adopt the following paffage of Voltaire, which, in my opinion, as exactly characterizes POPE as it does his model
model Boileau, for whom it was originally defigned. "INCAPABLE PRUTETRE DU SUBLIME QUI ELEVE L'AME, ET DU SENTIMENT QUI L'ATTENDRIT, MAIS FAIT POUR ECLAIRER CEUX A QUI LA NATURE ACCORDA L'UN ET L'AUTRE, LABORIEUX, SEVERE, PRECIS, PUR, HARMONIEUX, IL DEVINT, ENFIN, LE PORTE DE LA RAISON."
OUR English poets may, I think, be difpofed in four different claffes and degrees. In the firft clafs, I would place, our only three fublime and pathetic poets; SPENSER, SHAKESPEARE, MILTON. In the fecond clafs fhould be ranked, fuch as poffeffed the true poetical genius, in a more moderate degree, but who had noble talents for moral, ethical, and panegyrical poefy.
At the head of thefe are DRYDEN, PRIOR, ADDISON, COWLEY, WALLER, GARTH, FENTON, GAY, Denham, PARNELL. In the third Clafs may be placed, men of wit, of elegant tafte, and lively fancy in describing familiar life, tho' not the higher fcenes of poetry. Here may be numbered, Butler, SWIFT, ROCHESTER, DONNE, Dorset, OLDHAM. In the fourth class, the mere verfifiers, however fmooth and mellifluous fome of them may be thought, fhould be difpofed. Such as PITT, SANDYS, FAIRFAX, BROOME, BUCKINGHAM, LANSDOWN. This enumeration is not intended as a complete catalogue of writers, and in their proper order, but only to mark out briefly the different fpecies of our celebrated authors