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On a FAN of the Author's defign, in which was painted the ftory of CEPHALUS and PROCRIS, with the Motto, AURA VENI.
COME, gentle Air! th' Æolian shepherd said,
Lo the glad gales o'er all her beauties stray,
Nor could that fabled dart more surely wound:
Alike both lovers fall by those they love.
At random wounds, nor knows the wound she gives: She views the story with attentive eyes,
And pities Procris, while her lover dies.
IN the following love-verfes is a ftrain of fenfibility which the reader will be pleased, I suppose, to fee, being now first published from a manuscript of Mr. Gray:
"With beauty, with pleasure, furrounded, to languish,
To weep without knowing the cause of my anguish;
IN the imitation of Cowley, in two pieces, on a Garden, and on Weeping, Pope has properly enough, in conformity to his original, extorted fome moral, or darted forth fome witticism on every object he mentions. It is not enough to fay, that the laurels sheltered the fountain from the heat of the day; but this idea must be accompanied with a conceit :
- Daphne, now a tree, as once a maid,
Still from Apollo vindicates her fhade."
The flowers that grow on the water-fide could not be fufficiently defcribed without faying, that
"The pale Narciffus on the bank, in vain
Transformed, gazes on himself again."
In the lines on a Lady Weeping, you might expect a touching picture of beauty in diftrefs; you will be disappointed. Wit, ou the prefent occafion, is to be preferred to tenderness; the babe in her eye is faid to refemble Phaeton fo much,
"That heav'n the threat'ned world to spare,
Thought fit to drown him in her tears;
Let not this ftrained affectation of striving to be witty upon all occafions be thought exaggerated, or a caricature of Cowley. It is painful to cenfure a writer of fo amiable a mind, fuch integrity of manners, and fuch a sweetness of temper. His fancy was brilliant, ftrong, and fprightly; but his tafte falfe and unclaffical, even though he had much learning. In his Latin compofitions, his fix books on plants, where the fubject might have led him to a contrary practice, he imitates Martial rather than Virgil, and has given us more epigrams than descriptions. I do not remember to
have seen it enough observed, that Cowley had a most happy talent of imitating the easy manner of Horace's epiftolary writings; I must therefore insert a specimen of this his excellence :
"Ergo iterum verfus? dices. O Vane! quid ergo
Parcius hæc, fodes, neve inclementibus urge
Magna reluctantem, et nequicquam in vincla minacem.
Purgatus morbi ; fed Luna potentior herbis
Infanire iterum jubet, et fibi vendicat ægrum."
There is another epiftle also, well worthy perufal, to his friend, Mat. Clifford, at the end of the fame volume. Pope, in one of his imitations of Horace, has exhibited the real character of Cowley with delicacy and candour:
"Who now reads Cowley? If he pleases yet,
His moral pleafes, not his pointed wit;
Forgot his epic, nay Pindaric art,
But ftill I love the language of his heart."
His profe works give us the most amiable idea both of his abilities and his heart. His Pindaric odes cannot be perused with common patience by a lover of antiquity. He that would fee Pindar's manner truly imitated, may read Masters's noble and pathetic Ode on the Crucifixion; and he that wants to be convinced that these reflections on Cowley are not too fevere, may read also his epigrammatic version of it :
66 Η εκ οραας ὁλοπορφυρον
Στιλβοντ' 8 φλογό
Σιδονίης αλος, αλ
-λ αίματι ςαζομενω
"Doft thou not fee thy prince in purple clad all o'er,
Not purple brought from the Sidonian fhore;
But made at home with richer gore?"
• Avory' acrosye
Και πηγας βλεφαρων
Λυσαί, ψεκαζε, δενε γαίαν.”
"Open, oh! open wide the fountains of thine eyes,
Their ftock of moisture forth where-c'er it lies,
'Twould all, alas! too little be,
Though thy falt tears came from a fea."
Cowley being early difgufted with the perplexities and vanities of a court life, had a ftrong defire to enjoy the milder pleasures of folitude and retirement; he therefore cfcaped from the tumults of London to a little houfe at Wandfworth; but finding that place too near the metropolis, he left it for Richmond, and at laft fettled at Chertfey. He feems to have thought that the fwains of Surry had the innocence of those of Sydney's Arcadia; but the perverfenefs and debauchery of his own workmen foon undeceived him, with whom, it is said, he was fometimes fo provoked, as even to be betrayed into an oath. His income was about three hundred pounds a year. Towards the latter part of his life he shewed an averfion to the company of women, and would often leave the room if any happened to enter it whilft he was prefent, but still retained a fincere affection for Leonora. His death was occafioned by a fingular accident; he paid a vitit on foot with his friend Sprat to a gentleman in the neighbourhood of Chertsey, which they prolonged, and feafted too much, till midnight. On their return home they miltook their way, and were obliged to pafs the whole night expofed under a hedge, where Cowley caught a fevere cold, attended with a fever, that terminated in his death. All these particulars were communicated to me by Mr. Spence from his Anecdotes, who affured me he received them from Mr. Pope's own mouth. WARTON.
AIN Would my Muse the flow'ry Treasures fing,
Surveys its beauties, whence its beauties grow;