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he altered without adding clearness, elegance, or vigour. Pope had perhaps the judgement of Dryden; but Dryden certainly wanted the diligence of Pope 2.

In acquired knowledge the superiority must be allowed to Dryden, whose education was more scholastick, and who before he became an author had been allowed more time for study, with better means of information 3. His mind has a larger range, and he collects his images and illustrations from a more extensive circumference of science. Dryden knew more of man in his general nature, and Pope in his local manners. The notions of Dryden were formed by comprehensive speculation, and those of Pope by minute attention. There is more dignity in the knowledge of Dryden, and more certainty in that of Pope.

Poetry was not the sole praise of either, for both excelled likewise in prose*; but Pope did not borrow his prose from his predecessor. The style of Dryden is capricious and varied, that of Pope is cautious and uniform; Dryden obeys the motions of his own mind, Pope constrains his mind to his own rules of composition. Dryden is sometimes vehement and rapid; Pope is always smooth. uniform, and gentle. Dryden's page is a natural field, rising into inequalities, and diversified by the varied exuberance of abundant vegetation; Pope's is a velvet lawn, shaven by the scythe, and levelled by the roller ".

Of genius, that power which constitutes a poet; that quality without which judgement is cold and knowledge is inert; that energy which collects, combines, amplifies, and animates-the superiority must, with some hesitation, be allowed to Dryden.

Sir Walter Scott said of Campbell:-'He is a great corrector, which succeeds as ill in composition as in education.' Lockhart's Scott, viii. 376.

2 Landor places Pope 'among our best critics on poetry, while Dryden is knee-deep below John Dennis.' Imag. Conv. ed. Crump, iv. 275. See ante, DRYDEN. 193.

3 Ante, DRYDEN, 208, 321.
4 Ante, DRYDEN, 214.

54 'Reading the Iliad is like travelling through a country uninhabited, where the fancy is entertained with a thousand savage prospects of vast deserts, wide uncultivated marshes,

huge forests, misshapen rocks and precipices. On the contrary, the Aeneid is like a well-ordered garden,' &c. ADDISON, The Spectator. No.417.

6 Ante, DRYDEN, 321. Johnson observed that in Dryden's poetry there were passages drawn from a profundity which Pope could never reach.' Boswell's Johnson, ii. 85.

'Si Pope n'avait pas, sur la fin de sa vie, fait son Essai sur l'homme, il ne serait pas comparable à Dryden.' VOLTAIRE, Euvres, xviii. 273.

'Dryden's faults are those of a great man, and his beauties are such (at least sometimes) as Pope, with all

It is not to be inferred that of his poetical vigour Pope had only a little, because Dryden had more, for every other writer since Milton must give place to Pope; and even of Dryden it must be said that if he has brighter paragraphs, he has not better poems. Dryden's performances were always hasty, either excited by some external occasion, or extorted by domestick necessity; he composed without consideration, and published without correction. What his mind could supply at call, or gather in one excursion, was all that he sought, and all that he gave. The dilatory caution of Pope enabled him to condense his sentiments, to multiply his images, and to accumulate all that study might produce, or chance might supply. If the flights of Dryden therefore are higher, Pope continues longer on the wing. If of Dryden's fire the blaze is brighter, of Pope's the heat is more regular and constant. Dryden often surpasses expectation, and Pope never falls below it. Dryden is read with frequent astonishment, and Pope with perpetual delight'.

This parallel will, I hope, when it is well considered, be found 311 just; and if the reader should suspect me, as I suspect myself, of some partial fondness for the memory of Dryden, let him not too hastily condemn me; for meditation and enquiry may, perhaps, shew him the reasonableness of my determination.

his touching and retouching, could never equal.' COWPER, Southey's Cowper, iv. 169.

'Wordsworth held Pope to be a greater poet than Dryden; but Dryden to have most talent and the strongest understanding.' H. C. Robinson's Diary, iii. 194.

""What a difference." Tennyson would add, "between Pope's little poisonous barbs and Dryden's strong invective! And how much more real poetic force there is in Dryden! Look at Pope :

'He said, observant of the blue-ey'd maid,

Then in the sheath return'd the shining blade.' [Iliad, i. 291.] Then at Dryden :

'He said with surly faith observ'd

[believ'd] her word,

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And in the sheath reluctant plung'd the sword.' [Iliad, i. 328.] Tennyson's Life, ii. 287.

''I told Dr. Johnson that Voltaire, in a conversation with me, had distinguished Pope and Dryden thus:"Pope drives a handsome chariot, with a couple of neat trim nags; Dryden a coach, and six stately horses." JOHNSON. Why, Sir, the truth is, they both drive coaches and six; but Dryden's horses are either galloping or stumbling: Pope's go at a steady even trot.' Boswell's Johnson, ii. 5.

Ovid, with all his sweetness, has as little variety of numbers and sound as Claudian; he is always, as it were, upon the hand-gallop, and his verse runs upon carpet-ground.' DRYDEN, Works, xii. 286.

'Dryden's genius was of that sort which catches fire by its own motion; his chariot wheels get hot by driving fast.' COLERIDGE, Table Talk, 1884, P. 245.

312

THE Works of Pope are now to be distinctly examined, not so much with attention to slight faults or petty beauties, as to the general character and effect of each performance. 313 It seems natural for a young poet to initiate himself by Pastorals, which, not professing to imitate real life, require no experience, and, exhibiting only the simple operation of unmingled passions, admit no subtle reasoning or deep enquiry1. Pope's Pastorals are not however composed but with close thought; they have reference to the times of the day, the seasons of the year, and the periods of human life. The last, that which turns the attention upon age and death, was the author's favourite 3. To tell of disappointment and misery, to thicken the darkness of futurity, and perplex the labyrinth of uncertainty, has been always a delicious employment of the poets. His preference was probably just. I wish, however, that his fondness had not overlooked a line in which the 'Zephyrs' are made to lament in silence"!!

314

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To charge these Pastorals with want of invention is to require what never was intended. The imitations are so ambitiously frequent that the writer evidently means rather to shew his literature than his wit. It is surely sufficient for an author of sixteen not only to be able to copy the poems of antiquity with judicious selection, but to have obtained sufficient power

I

Ante, COWLEY, 7; MILTON, 182; post, LYTTELTON, 3.

There is scarce any work of
mine in which the versification was
more laboured than in my Pastorals!
POPE, Spence's Anec. p. 312.

3 Warburton, i. 30.
''The balmy Zephyrs, silent since
her death,

Lament the ceasing of a sweeter
breath.' Pastorals, iv. 49.

It admits perhaps of the same kind
of defence as that made by Johnson of
Dryden's line (ante, DRYDEN, 10) :-
'An horrid stillness first invades the
ear.'

5 The charge was Warton's (Essay
on Pope, i. 2):-'It is somewhat
strange that in the pastorals of a
young poet there should not be found
a single rural image that is new.'

Johnson, in a review of this Essay, says:-'He remarks, I am afraid

with too much justice, that there is not a single new thought in the Pastorals; and with equal reason declares that their chief beauty consists in their correct and musical versification, which has so influenced the English ear as to render every moderate rhymer harmonious.' Works, vi. 38. See also post, A. PHILIPS, 18.

6

Ante, POPE, 24, 33. There is no evidence, except the poet's own assertion, to prove that they were composed at sixteen. They appeared on May 2, 1709 [when Pope was nearly twenty-one]. Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), i. 240-1. Tonson had seen one of them (in whatever form it was) before Pope was quite eighteen. Ante, POPE, 33 n. So also had Lord Lansdowne. Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), v. 27.

of language and skill in metre to exhibit a series of versification, which had in English poetry no precedent, nor has since had an imitation 1.

The design of Windsor Forest is evidently derived from 315 Cooper's Hill, with some attention to Waller's poem on The Park; but Pope cannot be denied to excel his masters in variety and elegance, and the art of interchanging description, narrative, and morality. The objection made by Dennis is the want of plan, of a regular subordination of parts terminating in the principal and original design 5. There is this want in most descriptive poems, because as the scenes, which they must exhibit successively, are all subsisting at the same time, the order in which they are shewn must by necessity be arbitrary, and more is not to be expected from the last part than from the first. The attention, therefore, which cannot be detained by suspense, must be excited by diversity, such as his poem offers to its reader 6.

But the desire of diversity may be too much indulged: the 316 parts of Windsor Forest which deserve least praise are those which were added to enliven the stillness of the scene, the appearance of Father Thames and the transformation of Lodona. Addison had in his Campaign derided the 'Rivers' that 'rise from their oozy weds' to tell stories of heroes', and it is therefore strange that Pope should adopt a fiction not only unnatural but lately censured. The story of Lodona is told with sweetness; but a new metamorphosis is a ready and puerile expedient nothing is easier than to tell how a flower was once a blooming virgin, or a rock an obdurate tyrant.

8

The Temple of Fame has, as Steele warmly declared, 'a thousand 317

''The Pastorals,' writes Mr. Courthope, 'are to be regarded as primarily experiments in versification. Pope's imitation of the ideas of the ancients ended in the merest mechanism, but his imitation of their melody led him to something of real invention.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), v. 32. 2 Ante, POPE, 65.

3 Ante, DENHAM, 27.

On St. James's Park, Eng. Poets, xvi. 152.

5 Remarks on Pope's Homer, &c.,

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7 'When actions unadorn'd are faint
and weak,

Cities and countries must be taught
to speak.

Gods may descend in factions
from the skies,

And rivers from their oozy beds

arise.' Addison's Works, i. 54. 'In that blest moment, from his oozy bed

Old Father Thames advanc'd his rev'rend head.'

8 Ib. 1. 171.

Windsor Forest, 1. 329.

318

beauties. Every part is splendid; there is great luxuriance of ornaments; the original vision of Chaucer was never denied to be much improved2; the allegory is very skilfully continued, the imagery is properly selected and learnedly displayed: yet, with all this comprehension of excellence, as its scene is laid in remote ages, and its sentiments, if the concluding paragraph be excepted, have little relation to general manners or common life, it never obtained much notice, but is turned silently over, and seldom quoted or mentioned with either praise or blame.

That The Messiah excels the Pollio is no great praise, if it be considered from what original the improvements are derived 3. 319 The Verses on the unfortunate Lady have drawn much attention by the illaudable singularity of treating suicide with respect, and they must be allowed to be written in some parts with vigorous animation, and in others with gentle tenderness; nor has Pope produced any poem in which the sense predominates more over the diction. But the tale is not skilfully told : it is not easy to discover the character of either the lady or her guardian. History relates that she was about to disparage herself by a marriage with an inferior; Pope praises her for the dignity of ambition, and yet condemns the unkle to detestation for his pride: the ambitious love of a niece may be opposed by the interest, malice, or envy of an unkle, but never by his pride. On such an occasion a poet may be allowed to be obscure, but inconsistency never can be right.

320

The Ode for St. Cecilia's Day was undertaken at the desire of Steele in this the author is generally confessed to have miscarried, yet he has miscarried only as compared with Dryden';

:

'A thousand thousand beauties.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), vi. 395. Ante, POPE, 61.

When I read Pope's elegant imitation of this piece [Chaucer's House of Fame], I think I am walking among the modern monuments unsuitably placed in Westminster Abbey.' T. WARTON, Hist. Eng. Poetry, 1774, i. 396.

3 Ante, POPE, 46. The 'original' was Isaiah. Steele wrote to Pope in 1712:-'Your poem is already better than the Pollio! Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), vi. 390.

For Johnson's Latin version of The

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