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posed to have been of Chaucer's own contrivance : as is also the elegant Vision of the flower and the leaf, which has received new graces from the spirited and harmonious Dryden.

It is to his fables, though wrote in his old age *, that Dryden will owe his immortality, and among them, particularly, to Palamon and Arcite, Sigismunda and Guiscardo, Theodore and Honoria ; and above all, to his exquisite music ode. The warmth and melody of these pieces, has never been excelled in our language, I mean in rhyme. As general and unexemplified criticism is always useless and absurd, I must beg leave to select a few passages from these three poems; and the reader must not think any observations on the character of Dryden, the constant pat

• The falling off of his hair, faid a man of wit, had ng other consequence, than to make his laurels to be seen the more. A person who translated some pieces after Dryden used to say,

Experto credite, quantus
In clypeum assurgat, quo turbine torqueat hastam.

Crebillon was ninety when he brought his Catiline on the stage,


tern of POPE, unconnected with the main subject of this work. The picture of Arcite in the absence of Emilia, is highly expressive of the deepest distress, and a compleat image of anguish.

He rav'd with all the madness of despair,
He roar'd, he beat his breaft, he tore his hair.
Dry forrow in his stupid eyes appears,
For wanting nourishment, he wanted tears :
His eye-balls in their hollow fockets sink,
Bereft of Deep he loaths his meat and drink;
He withers at his heart, and looks as wan,
As the pale spectre of a murder'd man

The image of the Suicide is equally picturesque and pathetic.

The Player of himself yet saw I there
The gore congeal'd was clotted in his hair :

half-clos'd and gaping mouth he lay, And grim, as when he breath'd his sullen soul away.

This reminds me of that forcible description in a writer whose fancy was eminently strong. “ Catilina vero, longe a suis, inter hoftium cadavera repertus est, paululum

• Palamon and Arcite, Book I.

ctiam fpirans ; ferociamque animi, quam habuerat vivus, in vultu retinens." Nor must I omit that affecting image in Spenser, who ever excels in the pathetic,

And him besides there lay upon the grass
A dreary corse, whose life away did pass,
All wallow'd in his own, yet lukewarm, blood,
That from his wound yet welled fresh, alas;
In which a rusty knife fast fixed stood,
And made an open passage for the gushing flood *.

When Palamon perceived his rival had escaped,

- He stares, he stamps the ground; The hollow tow'r with clamour rings around : With briny tears he bath'd his fetter'd feet, And dropp'd all o'er with agony of fweat.

Nor are the feelings of Palamon less strongly impressed on the reader, where he says,

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The rage of Jealousy then fir’d his soul,
And his face kindled like a burning coal:


• Fairy Queen, Book I. Canto g. Stanza 36.


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Now cold despair succeeding in her stead,
To livid palenefs turn'd the glowing red *.

If we pass on from descriptions of perfons to those of things, we shall find this poem equally excellent. The temple of Mars, is situated with propriety, in a country desolate and joyless; all around it,

The landscape was a foreft wide and bare;
Where neither beast nor human kind repair ;
The fowl, that scent afar, the borders fly,
And fun the bitter blast, and wheel about the sky.
A cake of Icurf lies baking on the ground,
And prickly stubs instead of trees are found.

The temple itself is nobly and magnificently studied; and, at the same time, adapted to the furious nature of the God to whom it belonged ; and carries with it a barbarous and tremendous idea,


• These passages are chiefly of the pathetic fort; for which Dryden in his tragedies is far from being remarkable. But it is not unusual for the same person to succeed in defcribing externally a diftressful character, who may miferably fail in putting proper words in the mouth of such a character. In a word, so much more difficult is DRAMATIC than DESCRIPTIVE poetry!


The frame of burnilh'd steel that cast a glare
From far, and seem'd to thaw the freezing air.
A strait long entry to the temple led,
Blind with high walls and horror over-head:
Thence issued such a blast and hollow roar,
As threaten'd from the hinge to heave the door ;
In through the door a northern light there shone,
'Twas all it had, for windows there were none.
The gate of adamant, eternal frame,
Which hew'd by Mars himself from Indian quarries


This scène of terror is judiciously contrasted by the pleasing and joyous imagery of the teinples of Venus and Diana. The figure of the last goddess, is a design fit for GUIDO to execute.

The graceful Goddess was array'd in green;
Abour her feet were little beagles seen,
That watch'd with UPWARD eyes the motions of

their queen.

But above all, the whole description of the entering the lists *, and of the ensuing

* The reader is desired all along to remember, that the first delineation of all these images is in Chaucer, or Boccace, and it might be worth examining how much Dryden has added purely from his own stock.


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