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stitute him one of the first of our prose-writers. The Pleasures of Imagination, the Essay on the Georgics, and his last papers in the Spectator and Guardian, are models of language. And some late writers, who seem to have mistaken stiffness for strength, and are grown popular by a pompous rotundity of phrase, make one wish that the rising generation may abandon this unnatural, false, inflated, and florid style, and form themselves on the chaster model of Addison. The chief imperfection of his Treatise on Medals, is, that the persons introduced as speakers, in direct contradiction to the practice of the ancients, are fictitious, not real : for CynthI0,* PHILANDER, PALÆMON, EUGENIO, and THEOCLES, cannot equally excite and engage the attention of the reader with SOCRATES and ALCIBIADES, ATti. cus and Brutus, Cowley and SPRATT, MarNARD and SOMERS. It is somewhat singular,
in his translations from the French, &c. in that book, there are many inaccurate, and almost ungrammatical, expressions : these were the very first publications of Swift.
* How ill the forms, and ceremonies, and compliments of modern good-breeding would bear to be exactly represented, see Characteristics, vol. i. p. 209.
that so many modern dialogue-writers should have failed in this particular, when so many of the most celebrated wits of modern Italy had given them eminent examples of the contrary proceeding, and, closely following the steps of the ancients, constantly introduced living and real persons in their numerous compositions of this sort, in which they were so fond of delivering their sentiments both on moral and critical subjects ; witness the Il Cortegiano of B. CasTIGLIONE, the Asolani of P. BEMBO, Dialoghi del S. SPERONE, the Naugerius of FRACASTORIUS, and LIL. GYRALDUS de Poetis, and many others : in all which pieces, the famous and live ing geniuses of Italy are introduced discussing the several different topics before them.
37. Huge theatres, that now unpeopled woods,*
is not so poetical as what ADDISON says of an amphitheatre,
That on its public shews unpeopled Rome,
* Ver. 7.
+ Letter from Italy.
But the beginning of the nineteenth line is eminently beautiful;
AMBITION sigh’d *.
38. And scarce are seen the prostrate Nile or Rhine ;
A small EUPHRATBS thro' the piece is rollid,
The two first-mentioned rivers having been personified, the Euphrates should not have been spoken of as a mere river. The circumstance in the last line is puerile and little.
39. To gain Pescennius one employs his schemes,
One grasps a Cecrops in ecstatic dreams. I
How his eyes languish! how his thoughts adore
* Such short personifications have a great effect : Silence was pleas'd, says Milton; which personification is taken, though it happens not to be observed by any of his commentators, from the Hero and Leander of Musæus, v. 280.
+ Ver. 28.
§ Young, Satire iv.
A great deal of wit has been wasted on antiqua. rians, whose studies are not only pleasing to the imagination, but attended with many advantages to society, especially since they have been improved, as they lately have been, in elucidating the most important part of all history, the History of Manners.
40. Oh when shall Britain, conscious of her claim,
Stand emulous of Greek and Roman fame?
Addison, in the ninety-sixth paper of the Guardian, has given us a proposal, here alluded to, which he drew up and delivered to the Lord Treasurer. The paper ends thus : “ It is
proposed, 1. That the English farthings and halfpence be recoined upon the union of the two nations. 2. That they bear devices and inscriptions alluding to all the most remarkable parts of her Majesty's reign. 3. That there be a society established for the finding out of proper subjects, inscriptions, and devices. 4. That no subject, inscription, or device, be stamped without the
* Ver. 53.
approbation of this society, nor, if it be thought proper, without the authority of the privy-council. By this means, medals, that are at present only a dead treasure, or mere curiosities, will be of use in the ordinary commerce of life, and, at the same time, perpetuate the glories of her Majesty's reign, reward the labours of her greatest subjects, keep alive in the people a gratitude for public services, and excite the emulation of posterity. To these generous purposes nothing can so much contribute as medals of this kind, which are of undoubted authority, of necessary use and observation; not perishable by time, nor confined to any certain place; properties not to be found in books, statues, pictures, buildings, or any other monuments of illustrious actions."
41. Then shall thy CRAGGS (and let me call him mine)
On the cast ore another Pollio shine.*
TICKELL,t in his preface to the Works of Addison, concludes a copy of highly elegant, po
* Ver. 63.
+ In the few things that Tickell wrote, there appear to
be a peculiar terseness and neatness.