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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:
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.
END OF VOL. I.
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