« AnteriorContinuar »
and inconstancy, with the common places of artificial courtship. They are commonly smooth and easy; but have little nature, and little sentiment.
His imitation of Horace on Lucilius is not inelegant or unhappy. In the reign of Charles the Second began that adaptation, which has since been yery frequent, of antient poetry to present times; and perhaps few will be found where the parallelism is better preserved than in this. The versification is indeed sometimes careless, but it is sometimes vigorous and weighty.
The strongest effort of his Muse is his poem upon Nothing. He is not the first who has chosen this barren topick for the boast of his fertility. There is a poem called Nibil in Latin by Pallerat, a poet and critick of the sixteenth century in France; who, in his own epitaph, expresses his zeal for good poctry thus:
--Molliter offa quiescent
His works are not conimon, and therefore I shall subjoin his verses.
In examining this performance, Nothing must be considered as having not only a negative but a kind of positive signification; as I need not fear thieves, I have nothing, and nothing is a very powerful protector. In the first part of the sentence it is taken negatively; in the second it is taken positively, as an agent. In one of Boileau's lines it was a question, whether he should use à rien faire, or à ne rien faire ; and the first was preferred because it gave rien a sense in some fort positive. Nothing can be a subject
only only in its positive sense, and such a sense is given it in the first line:
Nothing, thou elder brother ev'n to fhade.
In this line. I know not whether he does not allude to a curious book De Umbra, by Wowerus, which, having told the qualities of Shade, concludes with a poem in which are these lines:
Jam primun terrain validis circumspice claustris
• The positive sense is generally preserved with great skill through the whole poem; though sometimes, in a subordinate sense, the negative nothing is injudiciously mingled. Pafferat confounds the two senses.
Another of his inost vigorous pieces is his Lampoon on Sir Car Scroop, who, in a poeni called The Praise of Satire, had some lines like these * :
He who can push into a midnight fray
This was meant of Rochester, whose buffoon cona ceit was, I suppose, a saying often inentioned, that fuery Alan would be a Coward if he durst; and drew
* I quote from memory. Dr. J.
from him those furious verses; to which Scroop made in reply an epigram, ending with these lines:
Thou can'lt hurt no man's fame with thy ill word;
Of the satire against Man, Rochester can only claim what reinains when all Boileau's part is taken away.
In all his works there is spriteliness and vigour, and every where may be found tokens of a mind which study might have carried to excellence. What more can be expected from a life spent in ostentatious contempt of regularity, and ended before the abilities of many other men begin to be displayed?
Poema Cl. V. JOANNIS PASSERATII,
Regii in Academia Parisiensi Profefforis,
Ad ornatissimum virum ERRICUM MEMMIUM.
Janus adest, feste poscunt sua dona Kalendæ,
Ecce autem partes dum sese versat in omnes
E cælo quacunque Ceres sua prospicit arva,
Socraticique gregis fuit ifta scientia quondain, Scire NIHIL, ftudio cui nunc incumbitur uni. Nec quicquam in ludo mavult didicisse juventus, Ad magnas quia ducit opes, & culmen honorum. Nosce NIHIL, nofces fertur quod Pythagorede Grano hærere fabæ, cui vox adjuncta negantis. Multi Mercurio freti duce viscera terræ Pura liquefaciunt fimul, & patrimonia miscent, Arcano instantes operi. & carbonibus atris, Qui tandem exhausti damnis, fractique labore, Inveniunt atque inventum nihil usque requirunt. Hoc dimetiri non ulla decempeda poflit: Nec numeret Libycæ numerum qui callet arenæ : Et Phæbo ignotum Nihil eft, NIHIL altius aftris. Túque, tibi licet eximium sit mentis acumen, Omnem in naturam penetrans, et in abdita rerum, Pace tua, Memmi, NIHIL ignorare vidêris. Sole tamen nihil eft, & puro clarius igne. Tange NIHIL, dicesque nihil sine corpore tangi. Cerne NIHIL, cerni dices nihil absque colore. Surdum audit loquitúrque NIHIL fine voce, volátque Absque ope pennarům, & graditur sine cruribus ullis. Absque loco motuque NIHIL per inane vagatur. Humano generi utilius NIHIL arte medendi. Ne rhombos igitur, neu Thefala mumura tentet Idalia vacuum traje&tus arundine pectus, Neu legat Idæo Dietæum in vertice gramen. Vulneribus fævi Nihil auxiliatur amoris. Vexerit & quemvis trans mæstas portitor undas, Ad superos imo nihil hunc revocabit ab orco. Inferni nihil inflectit præcordia regis, Parcarúmque colos, & inexorabile pensum. Obruta Phlegræis campis Titania pubes Fulmineo sensit nihil esse potentius icłu: Porrigitur magni Nihil extra mænia mundi: Vol. IX.