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degree) to its picturesque accounts of lion-trapping, of "the magnificent Manner of the Great Mogul, and other Tartarian Princes... and the History of Gengiskan the Great."1 The author of The Chace was an educated country squire, with little delicacy of taste or of ear; his style is pompous, his verse lacks variety and frequently consists of end-stopped lines with medial cesuras. Yet he has the excellences as well as the defects of his class: his principal work is vigorous, fresh, and readable; it often breathes of the out-of-doors and exhibits a quality all too rare in poetry of the period, gusto. Somervile writes about what he loves, and when at his best, as in the following picture of hunting the hare, succeeds in imparting his enthusiasm to his readers:

They [the horses] strain to lead the Field, top the barr'd Gate,

O'er the deep Ditch exulting Bound, and brush

The thorny-twining Hedge: The Riders bend

O'er their arch'd Necks; with steady Hands, by turns

Indulge their Speed, or moderate their Rage.

Where are their Sorrows, Disappointments, Wrongs,
Vexations, Sickness, Cares? All, all are gone,
And with the panting Winds lag far behind.
Hark! from yon Covert, where those tow'ring Oaks
Above the humble Copse aspiring rise,

What glorious Triumphs burst in ev'ry Gale
Upon our ravish'd Ears! The Hunters shout,


The clanging Horns swell their sweet-winding Notes,
The Pack wide-op'ning load the trembling Air
With various Melody; from Tree to Tree
The propagated Cry, redoubling Bounds.
And ardent we pursue; our lab'ring Steeds
We press, we gore; till once the Summit gain'd,
Painfully panting, there we breath awhile;
Then like a foaming Torrent, pouring down
Precipitant, we smoke along the Vale.
They're check'd, — hold back with Speed
They flourish round - ev'n yet persist 'Tis Right,
Away they Spring; the rustling Stubbles bend
Beneath the driving Storm.2

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As a rule, Somervile's language is more natural than that of Thomson or of other contemporary writers; yet in the lines just before this passage he writes, "Coursers . . . fleet the verdant Carpet skim"; elsewhere he calls an arrow a "feather'd Death," speaks of "the bright scaly Kind” that inhabit "the whelming Element," and has such expressions as "to Arms devote," "submiss attend," "with

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Eyes deject," "th' incumbent Earth." He frequently introduces compound epithets, uses adjectives for adverbs, and constantly inverts the order of his words. That he derived these Miltonisms not alone from Philips and Thomson but in part directly from their fountain-head, is made probable by his many verbal borrowings from Paradise Lost,2 and by his lines,

Majestick Milton stands alone
Inimitably great!

Bow low, ye Bards, at his exalted Throne,
And lay your Labours at his Feet."

Furthermore, he wrote a short piece, Hudibras and Milton Reconciled, and in Hobbinol, or the Rural Games (1740), frankly burlesqued "Milton's Style." 4

1 ii. 160-61; iii. 328; iv. 354 (cf. 436, 463), 447; i. 73; ii. 112 (cf. iii. 350); iii. 394, 288. ? For example, "nor skill'd nor studious" (i. 74, cf. P. L., ix. 42); "fly diverse" (iii. 543, cf. P. L., x. 284); “with oary Feet" (iii. 557, cf. P. L., vii. 440); "Nature boon" (iv. 470, cf. P. L., iv. 242); "veil'd in clouded Majesty" (iv. 522, cf. P. L., iv. 607-8);

Now high in Air, th' Imperial Standard waves,

Emblazon'd rich with Gold, and glitt'ring Gems . . .
Streaming Meteorous (ii. 384-7, cf. P. L., i. 536-8);
From File to File he darts

His sharp experienc'd Eye; their Order marks

(ii. 345–6, cf. P. L., i. 567-9). See also note 4 below.

3 Imitation of Horace, in Occasional Poems (1727), 34; quoted in Good's Studies, 63. Preface, p. iii. This work, which runs to over twelve hundred lines, describes in heavy, mock-heroic style the dancing, wrestling (with a free-for-all fight thrown in), cudgel-playing, and smock-racing of some villagers. Although it is too long and is seldom really amusing, it reached a third printing the year it was published and a ninth by 1813. Some of the following borrowings from Paradise Lost are introduced with humorous effect: "heav'nly Fragrance fills The Circuit wide" (1st ed., p. 11, cf. P. L., v. 286-7); a "Front entrench'd with many a glorious Scar" (p. 13, cf. P. L., i. 601); arms wielded "with huge two handed Sway" (p. 25, cf. P. L., vi. 251); "ever-during Hate" (p. 38, cf. P. L., iii. 45);

Like some grave Orator

In Athens, or free Rome, when Eloquence .

(p. 30, cf. P. L., ix. 670–71);

Gorgonius now with haughty Strides advanc'd

(p. 33, cf. P. L., vi. 109);

Others apart, in the cool Shade retir'd

(p. 48, cf. P. L., ii. 557);

Or to the Height of this great Argument

(p. 49, cf. P. L., i. 24);

Oread, or Dryad, or of Delia's Train...
And Goddess-like Deport

(p. 52, cf. P. L., ix. 387-9);

The Chace can hardly have been responsible for the lascivious treatise on sexual matters which Dr. John Armstrong, a fellowcountryman of Thomson's, published anonymously the following year as The Economy of Love (1736). As such a production could scarcely have helped the reputation of a physician of note who was the friend of ladies like Fanny Burney, Armstrong tried in later editions to excuse it as a "juvenile Performance... chiefly intended as a Parody upon some of the didactic poets"; and "that it might be still the more ludicrous," he added, "the Author in some places affected the stately Language of MILTON." About the language there can be no question; but the burlesque element is dubious, particularly as Armstrong's next work, The Art of Preserving Health (1744), is exactly the sort of piece he professed to parody. This oft-reprinted "prophylactic lay," which Lord Monboddo declared to be "the best didactic poem, without dispute, in our language,"1 reads to-day quite as much like a burlesque of Paradise Lost as does its predecessor. Besides making use of a few Miltonic phrases,2 and of such expressions as "adust," "profuses," "obnoxious" to change, "extravagant" branches of a tree, fogs "involve" a hill, Euphrates "devolves" a flood,3 it is "replete" with words like "glebe," "swains," "meads," "humid," "tumid,' ""tumid," "turgid," "gelid," and with periphrases like "venous tubes" (pores), "recremental fume" (blood), "Pomona's store" (apples), "fleecy race" (sheep), "Muscovy's warm spoils" (furs), “dun fuliginous abyss" (smoky air), "essay Their flexible vibrations" (breathe), and his chefs d'oeuvre-"frequent The gelid cistern" (take cold baths) and "th' attenuated lymph Which, by the surface, from the blood exhales" (perspira; tion). Armstrong, who was sufficiently intimate with his fellow

Know'st thou not me? false Man! not to know me
Argues thyself unknowing...

Thou knew'st me once

(p. 62, cf. P. L., iv. 827-30). Somervile's Field Sports (1742), an unrimed poem of about three hundred lines devoted principally to hawking, is virtually a supplement to The Chace.

1 Origin and Progress of Language (2d ed., 1786), iii. 166. Armstrong's Art contains some two thousand lines divided into four books, which treat of air, diet, exercise, and the passions.

2 For example, "cold and hot, or moist and dry" (i. 26, cf. P. L., ii. 898), "the chearful haunts of men" (iv. 152-3, cf. Comus, 388). The Economy of Love has "and without Thorn the Rose," and

The Sapient King...

Held Dalliance with his fair Egyptian Spouse

(pp. 22-3, cf. P. L., iv. 256, ix. 442–3).

3 i. 182 (also ii. 322); ii. 344, 193, 370; i. 311; ii. 361.

4 i. 93; iii. 254 (cf. 276), 476, 84, 485; i. 86, 171–2; iii. 292–3; i. 168–9. Even the

Scot to have been the subject of one and the author of three stanzas in the Castle of Indolence, was probably not a little influenced in his Miltonisms by Thomson's usage. Such lines as these inevitably recall The Seasons:

I burn to view th' enthusiastic wilds
By mortal else untrod. I hear the din
Of waters thundering o'er the ruin'd cliffs.
With holy rev'rence I approach the rocks

Whence glide the streams renown'd in ancient song.
Here from the desart down the rumbling steep

First springs the Nile; here bursts the sounding Po
In angry waves; Euphrates hence devolves

A mighty flood to water half the East;
And there, in Gothic solitude reclin'd,

The chearless Tanais pours his hoary urn.

What solemn twilight! What stupendous shades
Enwarp these infant floods! Thro' every nerve
A sacred horror thrills, a pleasing fear

Glides o'er my frame. The forest deepens round;
And more gigantic still th' impending trees

Stretch their extravagant arms athwart the gloom.1

The prosody of this passage is not typical of the Art of Preserving Health, fully a third of which is made up of single lines that have clearly been "passed through the strainer of the heroic couplet." A number of these are somewhat sententious and quotable, and occasionally there is one as good as

While the soft evening saddens into night; 2

but such verses, like the passage previously quoted, give too favorable an impression of their author's work.

If Armstrong's productions are not exactly what he would have termed "Pegasean flights," they seem such in comparison with the heavy cavorting and lumbering tread of the cobs with which Christopher Smart and Luke Booker cultivated their Hop-Gardens. The poems on the Eternity, Immensity, Omniscience, Power, and Goodness of the Supreme Being, with which Smart five times won the Seatonian prize,3 are turgid and absurd enough; but his georgic, which was probably written earlier, is much worse and renders still short passage which describes the scenes of his boyhood (iii. 75-96) has “love-sick swains,” “meads,” “the fleecy race," "painted meadows,” “blooming sons,” “vernal clouds,” “I lav'd” instead of "I swam,” and “sollicite to the shore The . . . prey" instead of "catch fish." Such diction is the harder to understand in view of Armstrong's own vigorous attacks upon it in his essays "Of Language" and "Of Turgid Writing" (Sketches or Essays on Various Subjects, 1758), which are themselves admirably simple and natural.


1 ii. 354-70.

2 iii. 380.

See below, p. 404.

more inexplicable the lyric power that sweeps through his Song to David. The defects of the Hop-Garden (1752) arise partly from Smart's imitation of Cyder, the "graceful ease," "art," and "fire" of which impressed him far more than they do us. Instead of invoking the muses, he summons Philips to his aid:

Thou, O Hesiod! Virgil of our land,

Or hear'st thou rather, Milton, bard divine,

Whose greatness who shall imitate, save thee?

As a result, we read of "Vulcanian fires," of "meads Enrich'd by Flora's daedal hand," of "egregious shepherds" who

plough Tunbridgia's salutiferous hills

Industrious, and with draughts chalybiate heal'd,
Confess divine Hygeia's blissful seat,

and are told that, after "Eurus comes"


To hyemate, and monarchize o'er all,

"Tellus' facile bosom" may be "meliorated with warm compost." 2 On his title-page Smart printed an extract from Vanière's Praedium Rusticum; at the beginning of the second book he quotes from Virgil's Georgics, from which, as his notes indicate, a number of his lines are taken; while his frank declaration, "I teach in verse Miltonian,' "4 makes clear his imitation of Paradise Lost even to those who overlook his verbal borrowings,5 the character of his other work in blank verse, and his three imitations of the octosyllabics, which he thought 'the finest pieces of lyric poetry in any language.'"

The Hop-Garden won no prizes; in fact, it did not even prevent an indefatigable versifier and imitator of Milton, Luke Booker,' from publishing another poem on the same subject and with the same title forty-seven years later. As a practical treatise Booker's georgic may conceivably have had some value; at least it sticks to its subject, which is more than can be said in Smart's favor. But it is no less dull, and in the matter of simple, natural expression, though

1 i. 278-80.

3 i. 32-3, 156-68, 329; ii. 106-27, 209. 4 i. 7.

2 i. 269-71, 133, 104-5, 36, 41-3, 72, 74, 284, 87. Compare, for example, i. 99–129 with P. L., iv. 641–56, and i. 270–76 with P. L., ii. 1–2, iii. 7–8; "smiling June in jocund dance leads on Long days (i. 331–2) recalls P. L., iv. 267-8; "bright emblazonry" (i. 364) is from P. L., ii. 513, "the vast abrupt" (i. 397) from P. L., ii. 409, “panoply divine” (i. 416) from P. L., vi. 760–61, “hold dalliance" (ii. 266) from P. L., ix. 443.

• See above, p. 10; below, p. 404, and Bibl. II, 1752; and Poems on Several Occasions (1752), 179–93, where his Latin translation of Allegro is given.

7 See above, p. 254; below, Bibls. I, 1785, 1787, 1789 n., 1798, 1799, 1805, and III C, 1785.

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