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Did'ft wake the hollow-whifp'ring breeze
O thou, with whom in cheerless cell,
What felt the Gallic Traveller,
Seem'd to uprear the mystic head,
And trace the gloom with ghoftly tread;
The author was himself a descriptive poet of the first class. Mr. William Collins thought himself aimed at by this piece of ridicule. His odes had been just published; and the last lines seemed to refer to a particular paffage in them. WARTON.
The author was Thomas Warton; and it is a curious fact, that it was ridicule which at firft led him to the very studies, in which he afterwards fo eminently fhone. He began by ridiculing Hearne*, and afterwards became an antiquarian of the most accurate, as well as elegant character; and from laughing at Collins, he wrote odes of the fame defcription. The humour of this ode (which I had doubts whether I should preferve) is not half so obvious as the humour of Pope's ballad. It might pass for a ferious DeSeriptive Ode of the eighteenth century, with a certain class of poetical readers.
The famous antiquarian
ON A CERTAIN LADY AT COURT.
I KNOW the thing that's most uncommon;
(Envy be filent, and attend!)
I know a reasonable Woman,
Handsome and witty, yet a Friend.
Not warp'd by Paffion, aw'd by Rumour,
And fenfible foft Melancholy.
"Has fhe no faults then, (Envy fays,) Sir?"
When all the World confpires to praise her,
LADY AT COURT.] HENRIETTA, fifter of John, the first Earl of Buckinghamshire, was eldest daughter of Sir Henry Hobart, of Blickling in Norfolk, and espoused Charles Howard, younger fon of Henry, fifth Earl of Suffolk, whom fhe accompanied to Hanover, before the death of Queen Ann. She came to England with Caroline, then Electoral Princess, and became her bed-chamber woman. Mr. Coxe remarks, that "if we were to draw an estimate of the understanding and character of Mrs. Howard, from the reprefentations of Pope, Swift, and Gay, during the time of her favour, we might fuppofe fhe poffeffed every accomplishment and good quality," &c.
"The real truth is," he adds, "that she was more remarkable for beauty than for understanding, and the paffion which the King en
tertained for her was rather derived from chance," &c. "He was firft enamoured of another Lady, who was more cruel to the Royal Lover than Mrs. Howard. This Lady was the beautiful and lively Mary Bellenden," &c. "The Prince having communicated his paffion for Mifs Bellenden to Mrs. Howard, and being rejected,
became enamoured of his confidante."
Coxe's Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 14.
VER. 1. I know the thing] Equal in elegance to any compli ment that Waller has paid to Sacchariffa, especially the last stanza, and the answer to Envy. The Lady addreft was Mrs. Howard, of Marble-hill, bed-chamber woman to Queen Caroline, and afterwards Countess of Suffolk. WARTON.
ON HIS GROTTO AT TWICKENHAM.
MARBLES, SPARS, GEMS, ORES, AND MINERALS.
HOU who fhalt ftop, where Thames' translucent THOU
Shines a broad Mirror through the fhadowy Cave;
Approach. Great NATURE ftudiously behold!
After VER. 6. in the MS.
You fee that Ifland's wealth, where, only free,
i. e. Britain is the only place in the globe which feels not tyranny even to its very entrails.
On his Grotto] The improving and finishing his Grot was the favourite amufement of his declining years; and the beauty of his poetic genius, in the difpofition and ornaments of this romantic recefs, appears to as much advantage as in his best contrived Poems. WARBURTON.
There is much truth in Warburton's obfervation, although it may not convey the fenfe he intended. Pope's Garden certainly refembled his polished and embellished strain, but of neither are romantic" beauty or "great nature" the characteristics.
Approach: But awful! Lo! the Aegerian Grot, 9 Where, nobly-pensive, ST. JOHN fate and thought; Where
VER. 11. Where British fighs from dying Wyndham flole,] In his MS. it was thus:
To Wyudham's breaft the patriot paffions ftole,
which made the whole allude to a certain Anecdote of not much confequence to any but the parties concerned.
VER. 8. eye the Mine]
"Aurum irrepertum, et fic melius fitum
HORAT. 1. 3. od. 3.
Cum terra celet." VER. 9. Aegerian Grot,] Thefe are two charming lines; but are blemished by two bad rhymes, Grot to Thought; scarce excufable in fo fhort a poem, in which every fyllable ought to be correct.
It is remarkable that Juvenal having mentioned this celebrated cave, takes occafion to inveigh against artificial grotto-work, and adulterating the fimple beauties of nature, in lines uncommonly poetical:
"In vallem Egeriæ defcendimus, et Speluncas
Diffimiles veris; quanto præftantius effet
Numen aquæ, viridi fi margine clauderit undas
Sat. iii. v. 17.
Milton, in an exquifite Latin poem, addreffed to Salfillus, vol. ii. p. 532. has beautifully feigned that Numa is ftill living in this dark grove and grotto, in the perpetual enjoyment of his Ægeria.
VER. 10. Where, nobly pensive, Sr. JOHN] Lord Boling. broke's account of the converfations, and manner of Pope's friends paffing their time, in his Garden, is not uninterefting:
"All I dare promise you is, that my thoughts, in what order foever they flow, fhall be communicated to you, juft as they pafs through my mind, juft as they used to be when we converfed together on thefe or any other fubject, when we fauntered alone, or, as we have often done, with good Arbuthnot, and the jocofe Dean of St. Patrick, among the multiplied fcenes of your little Garden.”
Letter to Sir William Wyndham.