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would have been a first-rate poet, if his style had been equal to his conceptions, that the Seasons of Thomson have been very instrumental in diffusing a general* taste for the beauties of nature and landscape ?
24. To build, to plant, whatever you intend,
To rear the column, or the arch to bend,
The best comments that have ever been given on these sensible and striking precepts, are, Painshill, Hagley, the Leasowes, Persefield, Woburn, Stourhead, and Blenheim ; all of them exquisite scenes in different styles, and fine examples of practical poetry.
* It is only within a few years that the picturesque scenes of our own country, our lakes, mountains, cascades, caverns, and castles, have been visited and described.
t Ver. 47.
25. Consult the Genius* of the place in all,
That tells the waters, or to rise or fall;
Would it not give life and vigour to this noble prosopopæia, if we were to venture to alter only one word, and read, in the second line,
He tells the waters
* Dr. Warburton's discoveries of some latent beauties in this passage, seem to be fanciful and groundless, and never thought of by the author. “ First, the Genius of the place (says this commentator) tells the waters, or simply gives directions : then, he helps th' ambitious hill, or a fellow-labourer: then again, he scoops the circling theatre, or works alone, and in chief. Afterwards, rising fast in our idea of dignity, he calls in the country, alluding to the orders of princes in their progress, when accustomed to display all their state and mag. nificence: his character then grows sacred, he joins willing woods, a metaphor taken from one of the offices of the priest. hood; till, at length, he becomes a divinity, and creates and presides over the whole.
Our author is never happier than in his allu. sions to painting, an art he so much admired and understood. So below, at verse 81,
The wood supports the plain, the parts unite,
Indeed, the two arts in question differ only in the materials which they employ. And it is neither exaggeration, or affectation, to call Mr. Brown a great painter; for he has realized
Whate'er LORRAIN light-touch'd with softening hue,
26. Still follow sense, of ev'ry art the soul;
Parts answering parts, shall slide into a whole;
* Castle of Indolence, st. 38.
+ Ver. 65.
I must confess (says the Earl of Peterborough, Letter 34, vol. viii.) that, in going to Lord Cobham's, I was not led by curiosity ; I went thither to see what I had seen, and what I was sure to like. I had the idea of those gardens so fixed in my imagination by many descriptions, that nothing' surprised me; immensity and Vanbrugh appear in the whole, and in every part. Your joining in your letter animal and vegetable beauty, makes me use this expression: “I confess the stately SACHARISSA at Stow, but am content with my little Amoret.” (meaning Bevis Mount, near Southampton.) It is plain, therefore, that Lord P. was not pleased with these gardens ; but they have, since his time, received many capital alterations and additions ; of which the ingenious author of Observations on Modern Gardening has given an accurate account, and a minute analysis, in page 213 of his entertaining work; and he concludes his description in the following words: “Magnificence and splendor are the characteristics of Stow; it is like one of those places celebrated in antiquity, which were devoted to the purposes of religion, and filled with sacred groves, hallowed fountains, and teniples
dedicated to several deities; the resort of distant nations, and the object of veneration to half the heathen world : this pomp is, at Stow, blended with beauty ; and the place is equally distinguished by its amenity and grandeur."
27. And Nero's terraces desert their walls. *
This line is obscure; it is difficult to know what is meant by the terraces deserting their walls. In line 171, below, is another obscurity ;-" his hard heart denies :"-it does not immediately occur whose heart, the word is so far separated from the
; These lines are as ill-placed, and as injudicious as the busto which they were designed to cen
Pope caught an aversion to this excellent man from ' BOLINGBROKE, who hated CLARKE, not only because he had written a book which this declamatory philosopher could not confute,