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Strokes of this Nature into a very fine Poem, I mean The
Art of Criticism, which was publish'd some Months since, and is a Master-piece in its kind. The Observations follow one another like those in Horace's Art of Poetry, without that methodical Regularity which would have been requisite in a Prose Author. They are some of them un. common, but such as the Reader must aflent to, when he fees them explained with that Elegance and Perspicuity in which they are delivered. As for those which are the most known, and the most received, they are placed in so beautiful a Light, and illustrated with such apt Allufions, that they have in them all the Graces of Novelty, and make the Reader, who was before acquainted with them, still more convinced of their Truth and Solidity. And here give me Leave to mention what Monsieur Boileau has so very well enlarged upon in the Preface to his Works, that Wit and fine Writing do not consist so much in advancing Things that are new, as in giving
Things that are known an agreeable Turn. It is impoffible for us, who live in the latter Ages of the World, to make Observations in Criticism, Morality, or in any Art or Science, which have not been touched upon by others. We have little else left us, but to represent the common Sense of Mankind in more strong, more beautiful, or more uncommon Lights. If a Reader examines Horace's Art of Poetry, he will find but very few Precepts in it, which he may not meet with in Aristotle, and which were not commonly known by all the Poets of the AuGultan Age. His Way of Expressing and applying them, not his Invention of them, is what we are chiefly to admire.
FOR this Reason I think there is nothing in the World so tiresome as the Works of those Criticks who write in a positive Dogmatick Way, without either Language, Genius, or Imagination. If the Reader would see how the best of the Latin Criticks writ, he may find their Manner very beautifully described in the Characters of Horace, Petronius, Quintilian, and Longinus, as they are drawn in the Effay of which I am now speaking.
SINCE I have mentioned Longinus, who in his Reflexions has given us the same kind of Sublime, which he observes in the several passages that occasioned them ; I cannot but take Notice, that our Englise Author has after the same manner exemplified several of his Precepts in the very Precepts themselves. I shall produce two or three Instances of this Kind. Speaking of the infipid Smoothness which some Readers are so much in Love with, he has the following Verses.
Thefe Equal Syllables alone require,
And ten low Words oft creep in one dull Line. THE gaping of the Vowels in the second Line, the Expletive do in the third, and the ten Monofyllables in the fourth, give such a Beauty to this Passage, as would have been very much admired in an Ancient Poet. The Reader may observe the following Lines in the fame View.
A needless Alexandrine ends the song,
THE beautiful Distich upon Ajax in the foregoing Lines, puts me in mind of a Description in Homer's Odyssey, which none of the Criticks have taken notice of. It is where Sisyphus is represented lifting his Stone up the Hill, which is no fooner carried to the Top of it, but it immediately tumbles to the Bottom. This double Metion of the Stone is admirably described in the Numbers of these Verses. As in the four first it is heaved up by several Spondees intermixed with proper Breathingplaces, and at lait trundles down in a continual Line of Dactyls.
Kai · Koi plus Elouçov erti dov, regrégéngé exorld,
Λάαν βασάζον/α πελώριον αμφοτέρησιν. "H101 uby oxnentó ulu o xepolu 78 Too iv te Adv diva üleone Torinópol, ena' o te jeados . *Ακρgν υπερβαλέειν, τότ' οςρέψασκε Κραταϊς, Αίτις έπειτα πίδονδs κυλίνδετο λάας αναιδής.
IT would be endless to quote Verses out of Virgil which have this particular Kind of Beauty in the Numbers ; but I'may take an Occasion in a future Paper to shew several of them which have escaped the Observation of others.
I cannot conclude this paper without taking notice that we have three Poems in our Tongue, which are of the same Nature, and each of them a Mafter-piece in its kind; the Efsay on tranilated Verse, the. Essay on the Art of Poetry, and the Essay upon Criticism.
N° 254. Friday, December 21..
Equvès épas dépszñs, ó öt nureid ixo opender. TITHEN I consider the false Impressions which are W received by the Generality of the World, I am
troubled at none more than a certain Levity of Thought, which many young Women of Quality have entertained, to the Hazard of their Characters, and the certain Misfortune of their Lives. The first of the following Letters may best reprefent the Faults I would now point at, and the Answer to it the Temper of Mind in a contrary Character.
My Dear Harriot, STF thou art the, but oh how fallen, how changed,
what an Apostate ! how lost to all that's gay and agreeable! To be married I find is to be buried alive; I • can't conceive it more dismal to be shut up in a Vault
' to converse with the Shades of my Ancestors, than to • be carried down to an old Manor-House in the Country, • and confined to the Conversation of a sober Husband ' and an aukward Chamber-Maid. For Variety I suppose s you may entertain your self with Madam in her Gro• gram Gown, the Spouse of your Parish Vicar, who has • by this Time I am sure well furnished you with Receipts • for making Salves and Poffets, distilling Cordial Wa
ters, making Syrups, and applying Poultices.
" BLEST Solitude ! I wish thee Joy, my Dear, of • thy loved Retirement, which indeed you would per• suade me is very agreeable, and different enough from • what I have here described : But, Child, I am afraid thy • Brains are a little disordered with Romances and No
vels : After fix Months Marriage to hear thee talk of
Love, and paint the Country Scenes fo foftly, is a little • extravagant ; one would think you lived the Lives of • Sylvan Deities, or roved among the Walks of Paradise,
like the first happy Pair. But pr’ythee leave these Whim• fies, and come to Town in order to live and talk like • other Mortals. However, as I am extremely interested • in your Reputation, I would willingly give you a little • good Advice at your first Appearance under the Chara• Čter of a married Woman: 'Tis a little Infolence in me " perhaps, to advise a Matron ; but I am so afraid you'll • make fo filly a Figure as a fond Wife, that I cannot help • warning you not to appear in any publick Places with • your Husband, and never to faunter about St. James's • Park together: If you presume to enter the Ring at Hide• Park together, you are ruined for ever; nor must you
take the least Notice of one another at the Play-house or
Opera, unless you would be laughed at for a very loving • Couple most happily paired in the Yoke of Wedlock. I I would recommend the Example of an Acquaintance of ours to your Imitation; she is the most negligent and
falhionable Wife in the World; she is hardly ever seen in o the fame Place with her Husband, and if they happen to • meet, you would think them perfect Strangers : She ne• ver was heard to name him in his Absence, and takes • Care he shall never be the Subject of any Discourse that • she has a Share in. I hope you'll propose this Lady as a Pattern, tho' I am very much afraid you'll be so filly to 6 think Portia, &c. Sabine and Roman Wives much brigh• ter Examples. I wish it may never come into your Head
to imitate those antiquated Creatures so far, as to come • into Publick in the Habit as well as Air of a Roman Ma. • tron. You make already the Entertainment at Mrs. Mo• dist's Tea-Table ; she says, she always thought you a • discreet Person, and qualified to manage a Family with . admirable Prudence : she dies to see what demure and • serious Airs Wedlock has given you, but the says fhe " shall never forgive your choice of fo galant a Man as " Bellamour to transform him to a meer sober Husband ; • 'twas unpardonable: You see, my Dear, we all envy your Happiness, and no Person more than
Your Humble Servant,
E not in pain, good Madam, for my Appearance in
any Visits where the Character of a modeft Wife ' is ridiculous, As for your wild Rallery on Matrimony, * 'tis all Hypocrify ; you, and all the handsom young 6 Women of your Acquaintance, shew your selves to no • other Purpose than to gain a Conquelt over fome Man S of Worth, in order to beitow your Charms and Fortune • on him. There's no Indecency in the Confeffion, the • Design is modest and honourable, and all your Affectas • tion can't disguise it.
Iam married, and have no other Concern but to please • the Man I Love ; he's the End of every care I have ; if . I dress 'tis for him, if I read a Poem or a Play, 'tis to • qualify my self for a Conversation agreeable to hisTaste: • He's almost the end of my Devotions ; half my Prayers • are for his Happiness---- I love to talk of him, and ne
ver hear him named but with Pleasure and Emotion. I am your Friend, and wish you Happiness, but am sorry to see by the Air of your Letter that there are a Set of Women who are got into the Common-Place Rallery
of every Thing that is fober, decent, and proper : Ma'trimony and the Clergy are the Topicks of People of
little Wit and no Understanding. I own to you, I have - learned of the Vicar's Wife all you tax me with : She is a