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V E. Of his miscellaneous poetry, I cannot say any thing very favourable. The
of Congrëve seem to desert him when he leaves the stage, as Antæus was no longer strong than he could touch the ground. It cannot be obseryed without wonder, that a mind fa vigorous and fertile in dramatick compositions fhould on any other occasion discover nothing but impotence and poverty. He has in these little pieces neither elevation of fancy, selection of language, nor skill in versification: yet, if I were required to select from the whole mass of English poetry the most poetical paragraph, I know not what I could prefer to an exclamation in The Mourning Bride:
He who reads those lines enjoys for a moment the
powers of a poet; he feels what he remembers to have felt before, but he feels it with great increase of sensibility; he recognizes a fainiliar image, but meets it again amplified and expanded, embellished with beauty, and enlarged with majesty.
Yet could the author, who appears
here to have enjoyed the confidence of Nature, lament the death of queen Mary' in lines like
The rocks are cleft, and new-defcending rills Furrow the brows of all th’impending hills. The water-gods to foods their rivulets turn, And each, with streaming eyes, supplies his
wanting urn. The Fauns forsake the woods, the Nymphs the
grove, And round the plain in fad distractions rove: In prickly brakes their tender limbs they tear, And leave on thorns theit locks of golden hair. With their sharp nails, theinselves the Satyrs
their shaggy beards, and bite with grief
the ground. Lo Pan himself, beneath a blasted oak, Dejected lies, his pipe in pieces broke. See Pales weeping too, in wild despair, And to the piercing winds her bosom barė. And see yon fading myrtle, where appears The Queen of Love, all bath'd in flowing tears; See how she wrings her hands, and beats her breast, And tears her useless girdle from her waist: Hear the sad murmurs of her sighing doves! For grief they figh, forgetful of their loves.
And many years after he gave no proof that time had improved his wisdom or his wit; 3 for on the death of the marquis of Blandford this was his song:
And now the winds, which had so long been still,
In both these funeral poems, when he has yelled out many syllables of senseless dolour, he dismisses his reader with senseless consolation: from the grave of Pastora rises a light that forms a star; and where Amaryllis wept for Amyntas, from every tear sprung up a violet.
But William is his hero, and of William
he will sing;
The hovering winds on downy wings shall wait
around, And catch, and waft to foreign lands, the flying
found, VOL. III.
It cannot but be proper to thew what they shall have to catch and carry:
'Twas now, when flowery lawns the prospect
The Birth of the Mufe is a miserable fiction. One good line it has, which was borrowed from Dryden. The concluding verses
This said, no more remain'd. Th’etherial host