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combat, which is told at length, in the middle of the third book, is marvellously spirited; and so lively, as to make us spectators of that interesting and magnificent tournament. Even the absurdity of feigning ancient heroes, such as Theseus and Lycurgus, present at the lists and a modern combat, is overwhelmed and obliterated amidst the blaze, the pomp, and the profufion of such animated poetry. Frigid and phlegmatic must be the critic, who could have leisure dully and soberly to attend to the anachronism on so striking an occasion. The mind is whirled away by a torrent of rapid imagery, and propriety is forgot.

The tale of Sigismonda and Guiscardo is heightened with many new and affecting touches by Dryden. I fhall felect only the following picture of Sigismonda, as it has the same attitude in which she appears in a famous piece of CORREGGIO.

Mute, soleinn forrow, free from female noise,
Such as the Majesty of grief destroys :
Vol. II.



For bending o'er the cup, the tears she shed
Secm'd by the posture to discharge her hcad,
O'erfill'd before ; and oft (her mouth apply'd
To the cold heart) she kiss'd at once and cry'd.

There is an incomparable wildness in the vision of Theodore and Honoria *, that represents the furious spectre of

spectre of “ the horseman ghost that came thundering for his prey,” and of the gaunt mastiffs that tore the sides of the shrieking damsel he pursued; which is a subject worthy the pencil of Spagnoletti, as it partakes of that savageness which is so striking to the imagination. I shall confine myself to point out only two passages, which relate the two appearances of this formidable figure :

* This is one of Boccace's most serious stories.

" It is a curious thing to see at the head of an edition of Boccace's tales, printed at Florence in 1573, a privilege of Gregory XIII. who says, that in this he follows the steps of Pius V. his predecessor, of blessed memory, and which threatens with levere punishments all those, who shall dare to give any disturbance to those booksellers to whom this privilege is granted. There is also a decree of the inquisition in favour of this edition, in which the holy father caused some alterations to be made.” LONGUER UANA, Tom. II. p.

62. a Berlin, 1754



and I place them last, as I think them the most lofty of any part of Dryden's works.

Whilst list’ning to the murm'ring leaves he stood,
More than a mile immers'd within the wood,
At once the wind was laid-the whisp'ring found
Was dumb-a rising earthquake rock'd the ground:
With deeper brown the grove was overfprcad,
And his ears tingled, and his colour Aed.

The sensations of a man upon the approach of some strange and supernatural danger, can scarcely be represented more feelingly. All nature is thus said to sympathize at the fecond appearance of

The felon on his fable stee Arm'd with his naked sword that urg'd his dogs to speed.

Thus it runsa

The fiend's alarm began ; the hollow found
Sung in the leaves, the forest shook around,
Air blacken'd, rolld the thunder, groan'd the ground.

But to conclude this digression on Dryden. It must be owned, that his ode on the power of music, which is the chief ornament of this volume, is the most un



rivalled of his compositions.

By that strange fatality which seems to disqualify authors from judging of their own works, he does not appear to have valued this piece, , because he totally omits it in the enumeration and criticism he has given, of the rest, in his preface to the volume. I shall add nothing to what I have already said on this subject *; but only relate the occasion and manner of his writing it.

Mr. St. John, afterwards Lord Bolingbroke, happening to pay a morning visit to Dryden, whom he always respected t, found him in an unusual agitation of spirits, even to a trembling. On enquiring the cause, “I have been up all night, replied the old bard; my musical friends, made me promise to write them an ode for their feast of St. Cæcilia : I have been so struck with the

* Vol. I. pag. 51.

+ See his verses to Dryden, prefixed to the translation of Virgil. Lord Boling broke assured Pope, that Dryden often declared to him, that he got more from the Spanish critics alone, than from the Italian, French, and all other critics put together; which appears strange. This from Mr. Spence.

subject subject which occurred to me, that I could not leave it till I had completed it; here it is, finished at one sitting.” And immediately he Thewed him this ode, which places the British lyric poetry above that of any other nation. This anecdote, as true as it is curious, was imparted by Lord Bolingbroke to Pope, by Pope to Mr. Gilbert West, by him to the ingenious friend who communicated it to me *. The rapidity, and yet the perspicuity of the thoughts, the glow and the expressiveness of the images, those certain marks of the first sketch of a malter, conspire to corroborate the truth of the fact.

THE TRANSLATION of the first book of Statius, is the next piece that belongs to this Section. It was in his childhood only, that he could make choice of so injudicious a writer. It were to be wished that no youth of genius were suffered ever to look

• Richard Berenger, Erg,

C 3


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