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tropes and figures is to magnify by a concave mirror the sidereal hemisphere.

As much of Waller's reputation was owing to the softness and 142 smoothness of his numbers, it is proper to consider those minute particulars to which a versifier must attend.

He certainly very much excelled in smoothness most of the 143 writers who were living when his poetry commenced. The Poets of Elizabeth had attained an art of modulation, which was afterwards neglected or forgotten. Fairfax was acknowledged by him as his model; and he might have studied with advantage the poem of Davis 3, which, though merely philosophical, yet seldom leaves the ear ungratified.

But he was rather smooth than strong; of 'the full resounding 144 line,' which Pope attributes to Dryden, he has given very few examples. The critical decision has given the praise of strength to Denham, and of sweetness to Waller ".

His excellence of versification has some abatements. He uses 145 the expletive do very frequently'; and though he lived to see it

''But now, my Muse, a softer strain


Turn every line with art, and smooth thy verse;

The courtly Waller next commands
thy lays;

Muse, tune thy verse with art to
Waller's praise.'

ADDISON, Works, i. 25. The editor of Waller's Poems, 1690, wrote:-'He was indeed the parent of English verse, and the first that showed us our tongue had beauty and numbers in it.' Fenton's Waller, p. 287.

'Waller was the first refiner of English poetry, at least of English rhyme; but his performances still abound with many faults, and, what is more material, they contain but feeble and superficial beauties.' HUME, History, vii. 345. See ante, COWLEY, 63; DENHAM, 21, 35; WALLER, 5; post, DRYDEN, 342; PRIOR, 74n.


Ante, WALLER, 5.

3 Nosce Teipsum by Sir John Davies, 1599. 'Davies carried abstract reasoning into verse with an acuteness and felicity which have seldom been equalled.' CAMPBELL, Brit. Poets, Pref. p. 70. See p. 100

for specimens of his poetry.

Cowley has indeed many noble lines such as the feeble care of Waller never could produce.' Ante, CowLEY, 185.

5 Imit. Hor., Epis. ii. 1. 267; post,
DRYDEN, 342; POPE, 333.
6 Ante, DENHAM, 34.
placing of words for the sweetness of
pronunciation was not known till
Mr. Waller introduced it.' DRYDEN,
Works, iv. 233. They [the older
writers] can produce nothing so even,
sweet and flowing as Mr. Waller;
nothing so majestic, so correct as Sir
John Denham.' Ib. xv. 291. 'If I
should instruct some of my fellow-
poets to make well-running verses,
they want genius to give them
strength as well as sweetness.' Ib.
xiv. 208.

'And praise the easy vigour of a

Where Denham's strength and
Waller's sweetness join.'


POPE, Essay on Criticism, 1. 360.
Ante, COWLEY, 189.

8 Used, which is found in both the
first and third editions, must be a
misprint for lived.



almost universally ejected, was not more careful to avoid it in his last compositions than in his first. Praise had given him confidence, and, finding the world satisfied, he satisfied himself.

His rhymes are sometimes weak words: so is found to make the rhyme twice in ten lines', and occurs often as a rhyme through his book.

His double rhymes in heroick verse have been censured by Mrs. Phillips, who was his rival in the translation of Corneille's Pompey; and more faults might be found, were not the enquiry below attention.

148 He sometimes uses the obsolete termination of verbs, as waxeth, affecteth3; and sometimes retains the final syllable of the preterite, as amazed“, supposed3, of which I know not whether it is not to the detriment of our language that we have totally rejected them.



Of triplets he is sparing, but he did not wholly forbear them; of an Alexandrine' he has given no example.

The general character of his poetry is elegance and gaiety. He is never pathetick, and very rarely sublime. He seems neither to have had a mind much elevated by nature, nor amplified by learning. His thoughts are such as a liberal conversation and large acquaintance with life would easily supply. They had however then, perhaps, that grace of novelty, which they are now often supposed to want by those who, having already found them in later books, do not know or enquire who produced them first.

In both

1 Eng. Poets, xvi. 120. cases it rhymes with know. In the same short poem it had been made also to rhyme with allow.

2 Fenton's Waller: Observations, p. 163. She adds:-'The rule that I understood of translation, till these gentlemen informed me better, was to write so Corneille's sense as it is to be supposed Corneille would have done if he had been an Englishman; not confined to his lines, nor his numbers (unless we can do it happily), but always to his meaning.' Butler's double rhymes see ante, BUTLER, 50 n., and for Pope's post, POPE, 377. For Mrs. Philips see ante, ROSCOMMON, 38, and WALLER,

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3 So little care of what is done be


Hath the bright dame whom
Heav'n affecteth so.'

Eng. Poets, xvi. 54. 4 'The water consecrate for sacrifice Appears all black to her amazed eyes.' lb. p. 131.


"Yet, that his piece might not exceed

He cast a veil upon supposed grief.'
Ib. p. 24.
He has, I think, but four-ib.
PP; 71, 74, 179, 183.
1 Ante, COWLEY, 196; post, DRY-
DEN, 344; POPE, 376.

8 Hume says of Waller's poems :— 'They aspire not to the sublime; still less to the pathetic. They treat of love, without making us feel any tenderness, and abound in panegyric, without exciting admiration.' History, vii. 345.

This treatment is unjust. Let not the original author lose by his imitators 1.


Praise however should be due before it is given. The author 151 of Waller's Life ascribes to him the first practice, of what Erythræus and some late critics call Alliteration, of using in the same verse many words beginning with the same letter 3. But this knack, whatever be its value, was so frequent among early writers, that Gascoign, a writer of the sixteenth century, warns the young poet against affecting it; Shakespeare, in the Midsummer Night's Dream, is supposed to ridicule it; and in another play the sonnet of Holofernes fully displays it".

He borrows too many of his sentiments and illustrations from 152 the old mythology', for which it is vain to plead the example of ancient poets: the deities which they introduced so frequently were considered as realities, so far as to be received by the imagination, whatever sober reason might even then determine. But of these images time has tarnished the splendor. A fiction, not only detected but despised, can never afford a solid basis to any position, though sometimes it may furnish a transient allusion, or slight illustration. No modern monarch can be much exalted by hearing that, as Hercules had had his club, he has his navy3.

Post, DRYDEN, 196.

2 ‘Latiniste vénitien, né à Venise, vivait en 1559'' Nouv. Biog. gén. xvi. 327.

3 That way of using the same initial letters in a line, which throws the verse off more easily, was first introduced by him, as in this verse :"Oh! how I long my careless limbs

to lay." [Eng. Poets, xvi. 72.] Mr. Dryden imitated it to affectation, as many others since him have also done.' Life, p. 79.

Atterbury, writing to Pope about his couplet :

'Virtue unmoved can hear the call, And face the flash that melts the ball'

[Epitaph on John Hughes and Sarah Drew, end], says :-Waller, for the sake of the F and the B (of which he was remarkably fond), would have chosen to say :

"And face the flash that burns the

ball." Atterbury Corres. ii. 75. Alliteration is not in Johnson's Dictionary. Eight years after its

publication Churchill wrote:-
'Apt alliteration's artful aid.'
Poems, 1766, i. 101.
The word was in print as early as
1656. New Eng. Dict.

'That figure which is expressed
in repetition of sundry words begin-
ning all with one letter, being modestly
used, lendeth good grace to a verse;
but they do so hunt a letter to death
that they make it crambé, and Crambe
bis posita mors est. Certayne
Notes of Introduction in English
Verse, 1575, Arber's Reprints, 1868,
P. 36.

5 Act i. sc. 2.

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But of the praise of Waller, though much may be taken away, much will remain, for it cannot be denied that he added something to our elegance of diction, and something to our propriety of thought; and to him may be applied what Tasso said, with equal spirit and justice, of himself and Guarini, when, having perused the Pastor Fido, he cried out,' If he had not read Aminta, he had not excelled it '.'


154 AS Waller professed himself to have learned the art of versification from Fairfax it has been thought proper to subjoin a specimen of his work, which, after Mr. Hoole's translation, will perhaps not be soon reprinted 3. By knowing the state in which Waller found our poetry, the reader may judge how much he improved it.

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'Erminiaes steed (this while) his mistresse bore
Through forrests thicke among the shadie treene,
Her feeble hand the bridle raines forlore,
Halfe in a swoune she was for feare I weene;
But her flit courser spared nere the more,

To beare her through the desart woods vnseene
Of her strong foes, that chas'd her through the plaine,
And still pursu'd, but still pursu'd in vaine.

'It is said that Tasso, on seeing the Pastor Fido represented, looked vexed and said: "If Guarini had not seen my Amintas he had not excelled it." BARETTI, The Italian Library, 1757, p. 120.

'Tasso's Aminta infinitely transcends Guarini's Pastor Fido, as having more of nature in it, and being almost wholly clear from the wretched affectation of learning.' DRYDEN, Works, xiii, 324.

Chesterfield (Letters, ii. 341) thus described the Pastor Fido:-'A parcel of shepherds and shepherdesses, with the true pastoral simplicity, talk metaphysics, epigrams, concetti and quibbles by the hour to each other.' See also post, GAY, 32; A. PHILIPS, 16.

'I am desirous of laying hold on Mr. Waller's memory on all occasions and thereby acknowledging to the world that, unless he had written, none of us could write.' DRYDEN, Works, xviii. 6.

? Ante, WALLER, 5, 143.

3 Boswell's Johnson, i. 383. Charles Lamb wrote on Jan. 5, 1797:-' Fairfax I have been in quest of a long time. Johnson, in his Life of Waller, gives a most delicious specimen of him, and adds, in the true manner of that delicate critic, as well as amiable man, "It may be presumed that this old version will not be much read after the elegant translation of my friend, Mr. Hoole." I endeavoured-I wished to gain some idea of Tasso from this Mr. Hoole, the great boast and ornament of the India House, but soon desisted. I found him more vapid than smallest small beer "sun-vinegared."' Letters of Lamb, i. 59.

For somewhat similar praise of Cowley and Denham see ante, CowLEY, 202; Denham, 42.

5 [Book vii of Godfrey of Bulloigne or the Recouerie of Ierusalem, done into English heroicall Verse by Edw. Fairfax, Gent. 1600.]


'Like as the wearie hounds at last retire,
Windlesse, displeased, from the fruitlesse chace,
When the slie beast Tapisht in bush and brire,
No art nor paines can rowse out of his place:
The Christian knights so full of shame and ire
Returned backe, with faint and wearie pace:

Yet still the fearefull Dame fled, swift as winde,
Nor euer staid, nor euer lookt behinde.


'Through thicke and thinne, all night, all day, she driued, Withouten comfort, companie or guide,

Her plaints and teares with euery thought reuiued,
She heard and saw her greefes, but nought beside.
But when the sunne his burning chariot diued

In Thetis waue, and wearie teame vntide,

On Iordans sandie banks her course she staid

At last, there downe she light, and downe she laid.


'Her teares, her drinke; her food, her sorrowings,
This was her diet that vnhappie night:
But sleepe (that sweet repose and quiet brings)
To ease the greefes of discontented wight,
Spred foorth his tender, soft, and nimble wings,
In his dull armes foulding the virgin bright;

And loue, his mother, and the graces kept

Strong watch and warde, while this faire Ladie slept.


'The birds awakte her with their morning song,
Their warbling musicke pearst her tender eare,
The murmuring brookes and whistling windes among
The ratling boughes, and leaues, their parts did beare;
Her eies vnclos'd beheld the groues along

Of swaines and shepherd groomes, that dwellings weare;
And that sweet noise, birds, winds, and waters sent,
Prouokte againe the virgin to lament.


'Her plaints were interrupted with a sound,
That seem'd from thickest bushes to proceed,
Some iolly shepherd sung a lustie round,
And to his voice had tun'd his oaten reed;
Thither she went, an old man there she found
(At whose right hand his little flock did feed),

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