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OF JANUARY AND MAY, THE WIFE OF BATH,

AND TRANSLATIONS OF STATIUS AND

OVID, AND THE IMITATIONS OF

SOME ENGLISH POETS.

THE first dawnings of polite literature in Italy, appeared in tale-writing and fables. Boccace gave a currency and vogue to this species of composition. He collected many of the common

B

tales

VOL. II.

sical foundation, may at first sight appear paradoxical ; but if the subject were examined to the bottom, I am inclined to think, that the wildest chimeras in those books of chivalry with which Don Quixote's library was furnished, would be found to have a close connection with ancient mythology.

We of this nation have been remarkably barren in our inventions of facts; we have been chiefly borrowers in this species of composition ; as the plots of our most applauded plays, both in tragedy and comedy, may witness, which have generally been taken from the novels of the Italians and Spaniards.

The story of JANUARY and May, now before us, is of the comic kind, and the character of a fond old dotard betrayed into disgrace by an unsuitable match, is supported in a lively manner. POPE has endeavoured suitably to familiarize the stateliness of our heroic measure in this ludicrous narrative; but, after all his pains, this measure is not adapted to such subjects, so well as the

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