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resemblance that he purposes. Verse can imitate only sound and motion. A boundless verse, a headlong verse, and a verse of brass or of strong brass, seem to comprise very incongruous and unfociable ideas.
and unfociable ideas. What there is peculiar in the sound of the line expressing loose care, I cannot discover ; nor why the pine is taller in an Alexandrine than in ten Syllables.
But, not to defraud him of his due praise, he has given one example of representative versification, which perhaps no other English line can equal :
Begin, be bold, and venture to be wise :
gone, Which runs, and, as it runs, for ever shall run or..
Cowley was, I believe, the first poet that mingled Alexandrines at pleasure with the common heroick of ten syllables; and from him Dryden borrowed the practice, whether ornamental or licentious. He considered the verse of twelve syllables as elevated and ma
jestick, and has therefore deviated into that nitafure when he fupposes the voice heard of the Supreme Being.
The Author of the Davideis is commended by Dryden for having written it in couplets, because he discovered that any staff was too lyrical for an heroick pocm; but this seems to have been known before by Alay and S.?nt?":5, the translators of the Pharialia and the kicti1orphol s.
In the Davidiis are fome hemistichs, or veriis left imperfect by the author, in imitation of Virgil, when he fuppofis not to have intended to com; lett thean : that this opinion is erronrous, may be probably concluded, beçauie this truncation is imitated by no fubfequent Ronan poct; becaule Virg:1 bimfelf filled up one b:okio line is the heat of recitatin; because in one the toute is now unfinibh di and because all that can be done by a biokimire, a line intuitected by a cæjura, and a fuil d'op, will equally effect.
Of triplets in his Davideis he makes no use, and perhaps did not at first think them
allowable; but he appears afterwards to have changed his mind, for in the verses on the government of Cromwell he inserts them liberally with great happiness.
After so much criticism on his Poems, the Essays which accompany them must not be forgotten. What is said by Sprat of his conversation, that no man could draw from it any suspicion of his excellence in poetry, may be applied to these compositions. No author ever kept his verse and his prose at a greater distance from each other. His thoughts are natural, and his style has a smooth and placid equability, which has never yet obtained its due commendation. Nothing is far-sought, or hard-laboured; but all is easy without feebleness, and familiar without grossness.
It has been observed by Felton, in his Eflay on the Classicks, that Cowley was beloved by every Muse that he courted; and that he has rivalled the Ancients in
every kind of poetry
It may be affirmed, without any encomiastick fervour, that he brought to his poetick labours a mind replete with learning, and that his pages are embellished with all the ornaments which books could supply; that he was the first who imparted to Englith numbers the enthusialin of the greater ode, and the gaiety of the less; that he was equally qualified for spritely fallies, and for lofty flights; that he was among those who freed translation from servility, and, instead of following his author at a distance, walked by his side; and that, if he left versification yet improveable, he left likewise from tiine to time such specimens of excellence as enabled fucceeding poets to improve it.
D Ε Ν Η Α
F Sir JOHN DENHAM very little
is known but what is related of him by Wood, or by himself.
He was born at Dublin in 1615; the only son of Sir John Denham, of Little Horfely in Effex, then chief baron of the Exchequer in Ireland, and of Eleanor, daughter of Sir Garret More, baron of Mellefont.
Two years afterwards, his father, being made one of the barons of the Exchequer in England, brought him away from his native country, and educated him in London.