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ling, I could never arrive at any excellence; in: swimming, fencing, vaulting, and leaping, to none at all. My hands are so clumsy, that I cannot read what I write myself. I cannot handsomely fold up a letter; nor could I ever make a pen, nor carve at table, nor carry a hawk.”. This is delivered with such an air, says old Pasquier, that it pleases me as much as if it had been spoken of some other person.
What passages in Horace * are more agreeable than
Me pinguem & nitidum bene curatâ cute vises
Above all, the pleasing detail he gives of his way of life, the descriptions of his mule, his
My conversation (says Dryden, very entertainingly, of himself) is slow and dull, my humour saturnine, and resërved. In short, I am none of those who endeavour to break jests in company, or make repartees.'
Preface to his Indian Emperor.
dinner, his supper, his furniture, his amusements, his walks, his time of bathing and sleeping, &c. from the 105th line to the end of the 6th satire of the first book. !
• What 'Addison says in jest, and with his usual huṁour, is true in fact: “ I have observed that a reader seldom peruses a book with pleasure, till he knows whether the writer of it be a black or fair man, of a mild or choleric disposition, married or a bachelor." I will add, at the hazard of its being reckoned a trifling and minute remark, that many of our English poets have been in their persons remarkably handsome; such were SPENSER, MILTON, COWLEY, BUTLER, WALLER, WYCHERLEY, RowE, ADDISON, CONGREVE, GARTH,GAY. VIRGIL and VIDA are said, by LIL GYRALDUS, to have had a plain rustic look; and. Ovid and CARDINAL BEMBO, to be slender and active'; as also was TIBULLUS. The portraits of Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio, are thus given, in the curious and entertaining history of their lives by Jannot. MANETTUS, a celebrated writer of the fifteenth century, but not published till 1746, at Florence. DANTE,
he says, was of a becoming and middle stature, had a long face, very large eyes, an aquiline nose, broad cheeks, an under-lip that projected a little, a dark complexion, a beard and hair long, black, and curling. In the form of PeTRARCH, there was a happy mixture of majesty
He had so much agility and dexterity, that no one could gain the mastery over him. He enjoyed a firm state of health to his •
Of Boccacció he says, he was of a full and large habit of body, of a tall stature, a round-face, an aspect chearful and pleasant; so facetious and well-bred, that a certain elegance and urbanity appeared in every word he uttered. P. 81.
9. Why did I write? What sin, to me unknown,
Dipt me in ink; my parents, or my own?
BOILEAU says, in his fifth epistle, verse 110, that his father left him a decent patrimony, and made him study the law:
* Ver. 125.
Mais bien-tot amoureux d'un plus noble métier,
10. But why then publish ? Granville, the polite,
And knowing Walsh, would tell me I could write';
To the three first names, that encouraged his earliest writings, he has added other friends, whose ac
* He was a great sleeper; got up late, and always was ac customed to sleep after dinner: as also was Pope.
+ Every word and epithet here used, is characteristical, and peculiarly appropriated to the temper and manner of each of the persons here mentioned; the elegance of Lansdown, the open free benevolence of Garth, the warmth of Congrere, the difficulty of pleasing Seift, the very gesture that Atterbury used when he was pleased, and the animated air and spirit of Bolingbroke.
quaintance with him did not commence till he was a poet of established reputation. From the many commendations which Walsh, and Garth, and Granville, bestowed on his Pastorals, it may fairly be concluded, how much the public taste has been improved, and with how many good compositions our language has been enriched since that time. When Gray * published his exquisite Ode on Eton College, his first publication, little notice was taken of it; but I suppose no critic can be found, that will not place it far above POPE's Pastorals.
11. From these the world will judge of men and books;
Not from the Burnets, Oldmirons, and Cooks.
* Sweet BARD! who shun'st the noise of folly ;
Most 'musical, most melancholy!
+ Ver. 145.