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the pencil of Rubens or Julio Romano : it may, perhaps, however, be wished that the epithets barbarous, (discord,) mad, (ambition) hateful, (envy,) * had been particular and picturesque, instead of general and indiscriminating; though it may possibly be urged, that, in describing the dreadful inhabitants of the portal of hell, Virgil has not always used such adjuncts and epithets as a painter or statuary might work after; he says only ultrices CURÆ, mortiferum BELLUM, mala Mentis GAUDIA; particularly, malesuada is only applied to FAMES, instead of a word that might represent the meagre and ghastly figure intended. I make no scruple of adding, that in this famous passage, Virgil has exhibited no images so lively and distinct, as these living figures painted by Pope, each of them with their proper insignia and attributes :
-Envy her own snakes shall feel,
* Ver. 411. et seq.
+ Ver. 419. et seq.
A person of no small rank has informed me, that Mr. Addison was inexpressibly chagrined at this noble conclusion of WINDSORFOREST, both as a politician and as a poet. As a politician, because it so highly celebrated that treaty of peace which he deemed so
pernicious to the liberties of Europe; and as a poet, because he was deeply conscious that his own CAMPAIGN, that gazette in rhyme, contained no strokes of such genuine and sublime poetry as the conclusion before us.
It is one of the greatest and most pleasing arts of descriptive poetry, to introduce moral sentences and instructions in an oblique and indirect manner, in places where one naturally expects only painting and amusement.
We have virtue, as Pope remarks,* put upon us by surprize, and are pleased to find a thing where we should never have looked to meet with it. I must do a pleasing English poet the justice to observe, that it is this particular art that is the very distinguishing excellence of COOPER'S-HILL; throughout which, the descriptions of places, and images raised by the poet, are still tending to some hint, or leading into some reflection, upon moral life, or political institution; much in the same manner as the real sight of such scenes and prospects is apt to give the mind a composed turn, and incline it to thoughts and contemplations that have a relation to the object. This is the
* Iliad. B. 16. in the notes : Ver. 465.
great charm of the incomparable ELEGY written in a Country Church-Yard. Having mentioned the rustic monuments and simple epitaphs of the swains, the amiable poet falls into a very natural reflection :
For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
Of this art Pope has exhibited some specimens in the poem we are examining, but not so many as might be expected from a mind so strongly inclined to a moral way of writ
ing. After speaking of hunting the hare, he immediately subjoins, much in the spirit of Denham,
Beasts urg'd by us their fellow-beasts pursue,
Where he is describing the tyrannies formerly exercised in this kingdom,
Cities laid waste, they storm'd the dens and caves,
He instantly adds, with an indignation becoming a true lover of liberty,
For wiser brutes were backward to be slaves.t
But I am afraid our author, in the following passage, has fallen into a fault rather uncommon in his writings, a reflection that is very far-fetched and forced ;
Here waving groves a chequer'd scene display,
* Ver. 123. But a critic of taste objected to me the use of the word undo; and of the word backward in a subsequent line.
+ Ver. 50.
As some coy nymph her lover's warm address
Bohours would rank this comparison among false thoughts and Italian conceits ; such particularly as abound in the works of Marino. The fallacy consists in giving design and artifice to the wood, as well as to the coquette ; and in putting the light of the sun and the warmth of a lover on a level.
A pathetic reflection, properly introduced into a descriptive poem, will have greater force and beauty, and more deeply interest a reader, than a moral one. When Pope, therefore, has described a pheasant shot, he breaks out into a very masterly exclamation ;
Ah! what avail his glossy varying dyes,
This exquisite picture heightens the distress, and powerfully excites the commiseration of
* Ver. 17.
+ Ver. 115.