Page images

Amendments are seldom made without some token of a rent lofty does not suit Tasso so well as Milton.

One celebrated line seems to be borrowed. The Essay calls a perfect character

A faultless monster which the world ne'er saw. Scaliger, in his poems, terms Virgil sine labe mon. strum. Sheffield can scarcely be supposed to have read Scaliger's poetry; perhaps he found the words in a quotation.

Of this Essay, which Dryden has exalted so highly, it may be justly said that the precepts are judicious, sometimes new, and often happily expressed; but there are, after all the emendations, many weak lines, and some strange appearances of negligence; as, when he gives the laws of elegy, he insists upon connexion and coherence; without which, says he,

'Tis epigram, 'tis point, 'tis what you will:
But not an elegy, nor writ with skill,
No Panegyric, nor a Cooper's Hill.

Who would not suppose that Waller's "Panegyric" and Denham's "Cooper's Hill" were elegies?

His verses are often insipid, but his memoirs are lively and agreeable; he had the perspicuity and elegance of an historian, but not the fire and fancy of a poet.


Printed by J. F. DOVE, St. John's Square.

[ocr errors][merged small]

« PreviousContinue »