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thor has not succeeded, but falls back, as was natural, from the familiar, into his own more high and pompous manner; as in the following lines, v. 125, Perditur hæc inter, &c.
Thus in a sea of folly tost,
And again at line 189; in the fable of the Mice;
Tell how the moon-beam trembling falls,
The difference of styles is more perceivable, from the circumstance of their being immediately sub
iniquum ; in orationibus fere brevem, simplicem, nec nimis frequentem. Neque absunt dogmata e quibus eruditus lector prudentiam tam moralem quam civilem haurire poterit.”Swift, in his discourse on the Contests, &c. appears to be well acquainted with Thucydides, Polybius, and Dionys. Halicar. and to have had a considerable knowledge of ancient history. Of all our poets, perhaps, Akenside was the best Greek scholar since Milton.
joined to the lighter and less ornamental verses of Swift.
The first ode of the fourth book of Horace, is an elegant compliment to Mr. Murray, now Lord. Mansfield. And it may be worth observing, that the measure Pope has chosen, is precisely the same that Ben Jonson used in a translation of this very ode, in which are some lines smoother than our old bard's usual strains; p. 268.
Then twice a day, in sacred lays,
And in the Salian manner meet
I cannot forbear adding, that there is much harmony, and ease of versification, in Ben Jonson's ten lyric pieces addressed to Charis, in page 165 of his works.
The second stanza of the imitation of part of the ninth ode of Horace, book iv. is well expressed;
Tho' daring Milton sits sublime,
In Spenser native Muses play ;
Nor pensive Cowley's moral lay.
Pope seems to speak of Spenser with particular complacency. How much this author was his favourite, will appear from what he said to Mr. Spence; from whose anecdotes this passage is transcribed : “ There is something in Spenser that pleases one as strongly in one's old-age, as it did in one's youth : I read the Faery Queen when I was about twelve with a vast deal of delight; and I think it gave me as much when I read it over about a year or two ago."
Out of the fourth and following stanza, misled by his love of antithesis, he has formed a trifling epigram :
Vixere fortes ante Agamemnona
Vain was the Chief's, the Sage's pride!
But he has made ample amends, by the Epistle addressed to the Earl of Oxford, when he presented to that nobleman the Poems of his old friend Parnell ;* in which epistle there is a weight of sentiment, and majesty of diction, which our author has no where surpassed. His † genius seems to have been invigorated, and exalted, by the high opinion he had justly conceived of the person to whom he was writing; who must be confessed, now that party-prejudices are worn
• He was a writer that improved gradually. Very wide is the difference betwixt his poems on the Peace, and on Unnalural Flights in Poetry; and betwixt his Hymn to Contentment, his Fairy Tale, his Rise of Woman, his Night-piece on Death, and his Hermit. All five of them delicious morsels.
+ I am well informed that Lord Bolingbroke was greatly mortified at Pope's bestowing such praises on his old antagonist, whom he mortally hated. Yet I have seen two original letters of Lord Bolingbroke to Lord Oxford, full of the most fulsome flattery, and profane applications of scripture.
* At the time when the Secret Committee was held to examine the conduct of Sir Robert Walpole, who was the person
away, to have had great genius, learning, and honesty. Strength of mind appears to have been his predominant characteristic; of which he
gave the most striking proofs, when he was stabbed, displaced, imprisoned. These circumstances are alluded to in those noble and nervous verses :
And sure, if aught below the seats divine,
And of which fortitude and firmness, another striking proof still remains, in a letter which the Earl wrote from the Tower to a friend who advised him to meditate an escape, and which is worthy of the greatest hero of antiquity. This extraordinary letter I had the pleasure of reading, by the favour of his excellent grand-daughter,
that impeached the Earl of Oxford, Mr. Harley made an admirable speech in the House of Commons, declaring, that he would not treat Walpole as he had treated his relation, and immediately left the House without giving his vote against him. Sir Robert seemed much affected with this generous behaviour of Mr. Harley.