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by the way, one of the most forced, and farfetched, that POPE has fallen into. *
Jonson, as another critic has remarked, wrote an Elegy on the Lady Anne Pawlet, Marchioness of Winton; the beginning of which POPE seems to have thought of, when he wrote his Verses to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady. Jonson begins his elegy,
What gentle ghost, besprent with April dew,
In which strain Pope beautifully breaks out,
What beck’ning ghost along the moonlight shade;
As Jonson now lies before me, ,
may, perhaps, be pardoned for pointing out another passage in
* See the Adventurer, No. 63, where other borrowed passages are pointed out, particularly from Pascal, Charron, and Wollaston.
+ In the underwood.
him, which POPE probably remembered when he wrote the following:
From shelves to shelves, see greedy Vulcan roll,
Thus Jonson, speaking of a parcel of books,
These, 'hadst thou pleas'd either to dine or sup,
I should be sensibly touched at the injurious imputation of so ungenerous, and, indeed, impotent a design, as that of attempting to diminish or sully the reputation of so valuable a writer as POPE, by the most distant hint, or accusation of his being a plagiary; a writer to whom the English poesy, and the English language, is everlastingly indebted. But we may say of his imitations, what his poetical father, Dryden, said of another, who deserved not such a panegyric so justly as our author: " HE INVADES AU
THORS LIKE A MONARCH; AND WHAT WOULD
of See OBSERVATIONS on the Faerie QUEENE of SPENSER,
by Thomas Warton, sect. vii. p. 166.
BE THEFT IN OTHER POETS, IS ONLY. VICTORY. IN HIM."* For, indeed, he never works on the same subject with another, without heightening the piece with more masterly strokes, and a; more artful pencil. Those who flattered themselves, that they should diminish the reputation of Boileau, by printing, in the manner of a commentary at the bottom of each page of his works, the many lines he
lines he has borrowed from Horace and Juvenal, were grossly deceived. The verses of the ancients, which this poet hath turned into French with so much address, and which he hath happily made so homogeneous, and of a piece with the rest of the work, that every thing seems to have been conceived in a continued train of thought by the very same person, confer as much honor on M. Despreaux as the verses which are purely his own. The original turn which he gives to his translations, the boldness of his expressions, so little forced and unnatural, that they seem to be born, as it were, with his thoughts, display almost as much invention as the first production of a thought entirely new.
* On Dram. Poesy, p. 61.
This induced La Bruyere to say, “Que Despreaux paroissoit creer les pensees d'autrui.” Both he and POPE might have answered their* accusers, in the words with which Virgil is said to have replied to those who accused him of borrowing all that was valuable in his Æneid from Homer, " CUR NON ILLI QUOQUE EADEM FURTA TENTARENT? VERUM INTELLECTUROS, FACILIUS ESSE HERCULI CLAVUM, QUAM HOMERO VERSUM, SURRIPERE.”+
* The Jesuits, that wrote the journals of Trevoux, strongly
object plagiarism to Boileau.
OF THE ESSAY ON CRITICISM.
We are now arrived at a poem of that species, for which our author's genius was particularly turned, the DIDACTIC and the MORAL; it is, therefore, as might be expected, a master-piece in its kind. I have been sometimes inclined to think, that the praises Addison has bestowed on it, were a little partial and invidious. “ The observations (says he) follow one another like those in Horace's Art of Poetry, without that methodical regularity which would have been requisite in a prose writer. "*
It is, however, certain, that the poem
before us is by no means destitute of a just integrity, and a lucid order : each of the precepts and remarks naturally introduce the suc
* Spectator, No. 253.