« PreviousContinue »
of this fort may be useful; since, if compiled with
any share of judgement, it may at once unite precept and example, thew them what is beautiful, and inform them why it is fo: I therefore offer this, to the best of my judgement, as the best collection that has yet appeared: though, as tastes are various, numbers will be of a very different opinion. Many perhaps may:wild to see in it: the poems of their favourite. Authors,: others may wish that I had selected ftoin works lefs generally read, and others:ft:tay wish, that I had felected from their own. But my design was to give a useful, unaffected compilation ; one that might tend to advance the reader's taste, and not impress him with exalted ideas of mine. Nothing so common, and yet fo absurd, as affectation in criticismı. The desire of being thought to
have a more discerning taste than others, has often led writers to labour after error, and to be foremost in promoting deformity. In this compilation I run but few risques of that kind; every poem here is well known, and possessed, or the public has been long mistaken, of peculiar merit: every poem has, as Aristotle exprefies it, as beginning, a middle, and an end, in which, however : triding the rule inay feem, most of the poetry in our language is deficient: I claim no merit in the choice, as it was obvious, forir all languages the best productions are most easily found. As to the short introductory criticisms to each poem, they are rather designed for boys than men; for it will be seen that I declined all refinement, fatisfied with being obvious and sincere. In short, if this work be useful in schools, or amusing in
the closet, the merit alt belongs to others; I have nothing to boast, and, at best, can: expect, not applause, but pardon..
This seems to be Mr. Pope's most
, finished production, and is, perhaps, itié mon perfect in our language. It exhibits stronger powers of imaginatian, more harmony of numbers, and a greater knowledge of the world, than any other of this poet's works: and it is probable, if our country were called upon to fhew a specimen of their
genius to foreigners, this would be the work here
THAT dire offence from am'rous causes springs,
What mighty contests rise from trivial things,
Say Say what ftrange motive, Goddess! could compel A well-bred Lord t'assault a gentle Belle ? O say what stranger cause, yet unexplor'd, Could make a gentle Belle reject a Lord ? In tasks fo bold, can little men engage, And in soft bosoms dwells such mighty rage? Sol thro' white curtains shot a tim'rous ray, And opé'd those eyes that must eclipse the day: Now lap-dogs gave themselves the rouzing fbake, And fleepless lovers, just at twelve, awake: Thrice rung the bell, ihe flipper knock'd the ground, And the press'd watch return’d a silver found, Belinda still her downy pillow preft; Hariguardián seba pridoogd the balmy reft: "I was He had sümmonů is her filent bed The morring dream that hover'd o'er her head. A youth. more gliftsing than a birth-night beau,
, (Thai eminin funibet caus'd her cheek to glow). Seem'd to her ear his winning lips to lay, And thus in whispers said, or seem'd to say. Fairest of mortals, thou distinguish'd care Of thousand bright inhabitants of air ! If e'er one Vision touch thy infant thought, Of all the Nurse and all the Priest have taught; Of airy Elves by moonlight Madows seen, The silver token, and the circled green, Or virgins visited by Angel-pow'rs, With golden crowns and wreaths of heav'nly flow'rs; Hear and believe! thy own importance know, Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.