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for he has far outgone other competitors'. Dryden's plan is better chosen ; history will always take stronger hold of the attention than fable: the passions excited by Dryden are the pleasures and pains of real life, the scene of 'Pope is laid in imaginary existence. Pope is read with calm acquiescence?, Dryden with turbulent delight; Pope hangs upon the ear, and Dryden finds the passes of the mind.
Both the odes want the essential constituent of metrical com- 321 positions, the stated recurrence of settled numbers ?. It may be alleged that Pindar is said by Horace to have written numeris lege solutis“, but as no such lax performances have been transmitted to us, the meaning of that expression cannot be fixed; and perhaps the like return might properly be made to a modern Pindarist, as Mr. Cobbs received from Bentley, who, when he found his criticisms upon a Greek exercise, which Cobb had presented, refuted one after another by Pindar's authority, cried out at last, Pindar was a bold fellow, but thou art an impudent one.
If Pope's Ode be particularly inspected it will be found that 322 the first stanza consists of sounds well chosen indeed, but only sounds.
The second consists of hyperbolical common-places, easily to 323
always have reverenced.' POPE, 'Thus song could prevail
O'er death and o'er hell,
her, * We have had in our language no
Yet music and love were victorious," other odes of the sublime kind than Ode for St. Cecilia's Day, 1. 87. that of Dryden on St. Cecilia's Day. On these lines Warton justly re... That of Pope is not worthy of so
marks :- These numbers are of so great a
GRAY, Mitford's burlesque, so low and ridiculous a Gray, i. 36.
kind, and have so much the air of a St. Cecilia's music-book is inter- vulgar drinking song, that one is lined with epigrams; and Alexander's amazed to find them in a serious ode.' Feast smells of gin at second-hand, Warton, i. 203. with true Briton fiddlers full of native Ante, COWLEY, 141; post, GRAY, talent in the orchestra.' LANDOR, 42. Imag. Conver, iv. 275.
HORACE, Odes, iv, 2. 11. 'For Odes for St. Cecilia's Day see
5 In The Gent. Mag. 1753, p. 282, ante, DRYDEN, 150, 279, 318; ADDI- is an Ode Attempted in the Style of SON, 128; HUGHES, 6; CONGREVE, Pindar, by S. Cobb; described by 39. Yalden, in 1693, wrote an Ode Dr. Watts as 'the best and truest which was set to music by Purcell.
Pindaric that ever I read.' Biog. Brit. p. 4379.
be found, and perhaps without much difficulty to be as well
expressed. 324 In the third, however, there are numbers, images, harmony, and
vigour, not unworthy the antagonist of Dryden. Had all been
like this—but every part cannot be the best '. 325 The next stanzas place and detain us in the dark and dismal
regions of mythology ?, where neither hope nor fear, neither joy nor sorrow can be found : the poet however faithfully attends us; we have all that can be performed by elegance of diction or sweetness of versification ; but what can form avail without.
better matter? 326 The last stanza recurs again to common-places 3. The con
clusion is too evidently modelled by that of Dryden; and it may be remarked that both end with the same fault, the comparison
of each is literal on one side, and metaphorical on the other 4. 327 Poets do not always express their own thoughts ; Pope, with
all this labour in the praise of musick, was ignorant of its prin
ciples, and insensible of its effects 5. 328 One of his greatest though of his earliest works is the Essay
on Criticism, which if he had written nothing else would have placed him among the first criticks and the first poets, as it exhibits every mode of excellence that can embellish or dignify didactick composition, selection of matter, novelty of arrange
' Johnson says that the best line in 5 Hawkins gives the Ode as altered the poem is the eighth in this stanza : by Pope at the request of Maurice ‘Transported demi-gods stood round, Greene, who set it to music. HawAnd men grew heroes at the sound.' kins adds :—'Pope once said :—“Dr. Works, vi. 40.
Arbuthnot speaks strongly of the · Ante, BUTLER, 41.
effect that music has on his mind, 3 •Criticism disdains to chase a and I believe him ; but I own myself schoolboy to his common-places.' incapable of any pleasure from it.”' Post, GRAY, 34.
History of Music, v. 328, 414. * Ante, DRYDEN, 280, 320.
'The Duchess of Queensberry told . So when the last and dreadful hour me that Gay could play on the flute, This crumbling pageant shall de- and that this enabled him to adapt vour,
so happily some airs in The Beggar's The trumpet shall be heard on high, Opera. WARTON, Essay, i. 203.
. The dead shall live, the living die, Wyndham said that four of the And music shall untune the sky.' greatest men he knew had no relish
DRYDEN. for music—Burke, Fox, Johnson and "Of Orpheus now no more let Poets Pitt. To these we may add Pope, tell,
and in our own time Southey and To bright Cecilia greater power is O'Connell.' Corres. of Southey and giv'n ;
C. Bowles, p. 245 n.
See also John.
Misc. ii. 103 n.
6 Ante, POPE, 34.
DE 26 ment, justness of precept, splendour of illustration, and propriety
of digression'. I know not whether it be pleasing to consider
To mention the particular beauties of the Essay would be 829
* Addison wrote of it :- As for In fearless youth we tempt the
science rise !
So pleas'd at first the tow'ring
tread the sky,
Works, vi. 41. 'At And the first clouds and mountains
o'er hills, and Alps on
Essay on Criticism, Il. 219–32.
sometimes addeck which, having no parallels, served only to fill the imagination, und produced what Perrault ludicrously called 'comparisons with a long tail 1In their similes the greatest writers have sometimes failed: the ship-race, compared with the chariot-race, is neither illustrated nor aggrandised ?; land and water make all the difference: when Apollo running after Daphne is likened to a greyhound chasing a hare, there is nothing gained; the ideas of pursuit and flight are too plain to be made plainer, and a god and the daughter of a god are not represented much to their advantage by a hare and dog 3. The simile of the Alps has no useless parts, yet affords a striking picture by itself: it makes the foregoing position better understood, and enables it to take faster hold on the attention ; it
assists the apprehension, and elevates the fancy. 330 Let me likewise dwell a little on the celebrated paragraph, in
which it is directed that 'the sound should seem an echo to the sense *'; a precept which Pope is allowed to have observed
beyond any other English poet. 331 This notion of representative metre, and the desire of dis
covering frequent adaptations of the sound to the sense, have produced, in my opinion, many wild conceits and imaginary beauties 5. All that can furnish this representation are the sounds of the words considered singly, and the time in which they are pronounced. Every language has some words framed
• Addison censures Perrault as a them to the sense, much more even man of vitiated relish,' who 'for that than Dryden.' POPE, Spence's Anec. very reason has endeavoured to turn into ridicule several of Homer's simi- In his Iliad, xiji. 1005, on the litudes, which he calls“ comparaisons line: à longue queue," long-tailed com- Wide-rolling, foaming high, and parisons. The Spectator, No. 303. tumbling to the shore,' See Réflexions critiques, vi, Euvres Pope says in a note :-"I have ende Boileau, 1748, ii. 288.
deavoured to imitate the confusion VIRGIL, Aeneid, v. 144.
and broken sound of the original OVID, Meta. i. 533.
[11. 798-9), which images the tumult " ''Tis not enough no harshness and roaring of many waters.' gives offence,
In his lliad, xxiii. 18, he says of The sound must seem an echo to 11. 13-16 in the original :- Every the sense.'
word has a melancholy cadence, and Essay on Criticism, l. 364. the Poet has not only made the Roscommon had said in his Essay sands and the arms, but even his on Translated Verse :
very verse to lament with Achilles.' • The sound is still a comment to the See also ante, COWLEY, 194.
sense.' Eng. Poets, xv. 90. 5 Much of the criticism that follows 'I have followed the significance is found in The Rambler, Nos. 92, of the numbers, and the adapting 94.
to exhibit the noises which they express, as timp, rattle, growl, hiss" These, however, are but few, and the pet cannot make them more, nor can they be of any use but when sound is to be mentioned. The time of pronunciation was in the dactylick measures of the learned languages capable of considerable variety; but that variety could be accommodated only to motion or duration, and different degrees of motion were perhaps expressed by verses rapid or slow, without much attention of the writer, when the image had full possession of his fancy: but our language having little flexibility our verses can differ very little in their cadence. The fancied resemblances, I fear, arise sometimes merely from the ambiguity of words; there is supposed to be some relation between a soft line and a soft couch, or between hard syllables and hard fortune.
Motion, however, may be in some sort exemplified; and yet 332 it may be suspected that even in such resemblances the mind often governs the ear, and the sounds are estimated by their meaning. One of the most successful attempts has been to describe the labour of Sisyphus: • With many a weary step, and many a groan,
Up a [the] high hill he heaves a huge round stone ;
The rough road then, returning in a round,
s 'Such are stridor, balo, and beatus in Latin; and in English to growl, to buzz, to hiss, and to jar. The Rambler, No. 94.
? These lines come in a book translated by Broome. Ante, BROOME, 5. It would be interesting to see his version, before Pope (to use his own words) loaded the second verse with monosyllables.' Odyssey, xi. 736 n.
Addison, in The Spectator, No. 253, quoting the Greek, continues :
This double motion of the stone is admirably described in the numbers