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Many Latin poets of later ages have imitated him, Casimir, a Polish poet of the last century, is of this number ; and discovers a considerable degree of original genius and poetic fire. He is however far inferior to the Roman in graceful expression. Buchanan in some of his lyric compositions is very elegant and claf. fical.
In our own language Dryden's ode on St. Cecilia is well known. Mr. Gray in some of his odes is cele. brated for tenderness and sublimity; and in Dodsley's Miscellanies are several very beautiful lyric poems, Profeffedly Pindaric odes are seldom intelligible. Cowley is doubly harsh in his Pindaric compositions. His Anacreontic odes are happier ; and perhaps the most agreeable and perfect in their kind of all his poems,
U F didactic poetry it is the express intention to con vey instruction and knowledge. "It may be executed in different ways. The poet may treat some instructive subject in a regular form; or without intending a great or regular work he may inveigh againk particular vices, or make some moral observations on human life and characters.
· The highest species of didactic poetry is a regular treatise on some philosophical, grave, or useful subject, i Such are the books of Lucretius de Rerum Natura, the Georgics of Virgil, Pope's Essay on Criticism, Akenfide's Pleasures of the Imagination, Armstrong on Health, and the Art of Poetry by Horace, Vida, and Boileau.
/ In all such works, as instruction is the professed ob. ject, the chief merit consists in found thought, just principles, and apt illustrations. ! It is necessary how. ever that the poet enliven his lessons by figures, inci. dents, and poetical painting. Virgil in his Georgics embellishes the most trivial circumstances in rural life. When he teaches that the labor of the farmer must bem gin in spring, he expresses himself thus ;
Vere novo gelidus canis cum montibus humor
In all didactic works such method is requisite, as will clearly exhibit a connected train of instruction. With regard to episodes and embellishments writers of didactic poetry are indulged great liberties. For in a poetical performance a continued series of instruction without embellishment foon fatigues. The digressions in the Georgics of Virgil are his principal beauties. The happiness of a country life, the fable of Aristeus, and the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice, cannot be praila ed too much.
A didactic poet ought also to connect his episodes with his subject. In this Virgil is eminent. Among modern didactic poets Akenfide and Armstrong are distinguished. The former is rich and poetical; but the latter maintains greater equality, and more chalte and correct elegance.
Of didactic poetry satires and epistles run into the most familiar style. Satire seems to have been at first a relic of antient comedy, the grofsness of which was corrected by Ennius and Lucilius. At length Horace brought it into its present form. Reformation of mana ners is its professed end ; and vice and vicious charac. ters are the objects of its censure. There are three dif, ferent modes, in which it has been conducted by the three great antient satirists, Horace, Juvenal, and Persius,
The fatires of Horace have not much elevation. They exhibit a measured prose. Ease and grace characterize his manner ; and he glances rather at the follies and weaknesses of mankind, than at their vices. He smiles, while he reproves. He moralizes, like a found philosopher, but with the politeness of a courtier. Juvenal is more declamatory and ferious ; and has great. er strength and fire. Persius has distinguished himself by a noble and fublime morality,
Poetical epistles, when employed on moral or critical subjects, feldom rise into a higher strain of poetry, than
fatires. But in the epistolary form many other subjects may be treated; as love, poetry, or elegiac. The ethical epistles of Pope are a model; and in them he shows the strength of his genius. Here he had a full opportunity for displaying his judgment and wit, his concise and happy expression, together with the harmony of his numbers. His imitations of Horace are fo happy, that it is difficult to say, whether the original or the copy ought to be most admired.
and happy. His imitar wheth
Among moral and didactic writers Dr. Young ought not to be passed over in filence, Genius appears in all his works ; but his Universal Paffion may be consider. ed, as possessing the full merit of that animated concise. ness, particularly requifite in fatirical and didactic compositions. At the fame time it is to be observed, that his wit is often too sparkling, and his sentences too pointed. In his Night Thoughts there is great energy of expression, several pathetic passages, many happy images, and many pious reflections. But the sentiments are frequently overstrained and turgid, and the Atyle harsh and obscure.
IN descriptive poetry the highest exertions of genius. may be displayed. In general indeed description is introduced, as an embellishment, not as the fubject of a. regular work. It is the test of a poet's imagination, and always distinguishes an original from a second rate genius. A writer of an inferior class sees nothing new or peculiar in the object, he would paint; his conceptions are loose and vague; and his expressions feeble and general. A true poet places an object before our eyes. He gives it the coloring of life ; a painter might copy from him.
The great art of picturesque description lies in the selection of circumstances. These ought never to be vulgar or common. They should mark strongly the object. No general description is good; all distinct ideas are formed upon particulars. There should also be uniformity in the circumstances selected. In describing a great object every circumstance brought forward should tend to aggrandize ; and in describing a gay objeet all the circumstances should tend to beautify it. Lastly, the circumstances in description should be expressed with conciseness and fimplicity. "
The largest and fullest descriptive performance in perhaps any language is Thomson's Seasons ; a work, which possesses very uncommon merit. The style is splendid and strong, but sometimes harsh and indistinct. He is an animated and beautiful deseribers for he had a feeling heart and a warm imagination. He studied nature with care ; was enamoured of her beauties; and had the happy talent of painting them, like a master, To show the power of a single well chosen circum,