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But to return. The story of † Lodona is prettily Ovidian; but there is scarcely a single incident in it, but what is borrowed from some transformation of Ovid. The picture of a virtuous and learned man in retirement is highly finished, as the poet was here in his proper element, recommending integrity and science. He has no where discovered more poetic enthusiasm, than where, speaking of the poets who lived or died near this spot, he
I seem through consecrated walks to rove,
The enumeration of the princes who were either born or interred at Windsor is judiciously introduced. Yet I have frequently wondered that C 4
* Novel Abregé Chronologique de l'Histoire de France, tom. i. page 126. To this useful and entertaining work Voltaire has often been deeply indebted, without confessing his obligation. The last edition 4to. of this work was improved with many important circumstances. Paris, 1752. Dedin cated to the Queen of France.
+ Ver. 171. Ver. 233. ! Ver. 267,
he should have omitted the opportunity of describing at length its venerable ancient castle, and the fruitful and extensive prospects * which it commands. He slides with dexterity and address from speaking of the miseries of the civil war to the blessings of peace.t OLD FATHER Thames is raised, and acts, and speaks, with becoming dignity. And though the trite and obvious insignia of a river god are attributed, yet there is one circumstance in his appearance highly picturesque,
sea-green mantle waving with the wind.
The relievo upon his urn is also finely ima. gined :
The figur'd streams in waves of silver rolld,
* The great improvements lately made near WindsorLodge, by the Duke of Cumberland, particularly the magnificent lake and cascade, highly deserve to be celebrated by some future Pope; and would have contributed not a little to the beauty of the poem now before us.
+ Ver. 324.
# Ver. 335.
He has with exquisite skill selected only those rivers as attendants of Thames, who are his subjects, his tributaries, or neighbours. I cannot resist the pleasure of transcribing the passage :
First the fam'd authors of his ancient name,
As I before produced a passage of Milton which I thought superior to a similar one of POPE, I shall, in order to preserve impartiality, produce another from Milton, in which I think bim inferior to the last quoted passage ; except, perhaps, in the third line; first remarking, that both authors are much indebted to Spenser, f and perhaps to Drayton.
Rivers, arise! whether thou be the son
* Ver. 339.
Fairy Queen, B. iv. C. 11.
Or Trent, who, like some earth-born giant, spreads
The poets, both ancient and modern, are obliged to the rivers for some of their most striking descriptions. The Tiber and the Nile of Virgil, the Aufidus of Horace, the Sabrina of Milton, and the Scamander of Homer, are among their capital figures.
The influences and effects of peace, and its consequence, a diffusive commerce, are expressed by selecting such circumstances as are best adapted to strike the imagination by lively pictures ; the selection of which chiefly constitutes true poetry.
An historian, or prosewriter, might say,
66 Then shall the most distant nations croud into my port :” a poet sets
* At a vacation exercise, &c. Ver. 91. Milton was now aged but nineteen.
before your eyes
“ the ships of uncouth form,” that shall arrive in the Thames. *
And feather'd people croud my wealthy side ;
And the benevolence and poetry of the succeeding wish are worthy admiration.
Till the freed Indians, in their native groves,
The two epithets, native and sable, have peculiar elegance and force; and as Peru was particularly famous for its long succession of Incas, and Mexico for many magnificent works of massy gold, there is great propriety in fixing the restoration of the grandeur of each to that object for which each was markable.
once so re
The group of allegorical personages that succeeds the last mentioned lines, are worthy
* Ver. 400. et seq.
+ Ver. 409.