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OVID feems to have had the merit," Dr. Warton ́observes, "of inventing this beautiful fpecies of writing Epiftles under feigned names, although Propertius has one compofition of the fame fort, an Epistle of Arethufa to Lycotas " In fact, Ovid's Heroic Epistles were prior to that of Propertius, as it evidently appears from the notes in the quarto edition of Propertius; where it is faid exprefsly-Epiítola, &c. fcripta ad imitationem Heroidum Ovidianarum, ut recte obfervavit Nic. Heinfius, neque enim dubitari poteft quin incidat in idem tempus, quo Nafo artes fuas elucubrabat, teste hoc loco, Ex. L. 1.

Ecce parat Cæfar domito quod deficit orbi,

Addere, nunc oriens ultime noster eris.

Tunc vero jam evulgatæ erant et libri Amorum, et Heroidum Epiftola, fic enim ipfe, lib. 3. art. Aman.

Deve tribus libris titulus quos fignat amorum,
Elige, quod docili molliter ore legas,

Vel tibi compofitâ cantetur epiftola voce,
Ignotum hoc alias ille novavit opus!

The merit of the invention, therefore, of this fpecies of writing, appears folely to belong to Ovid-it is, as Warton obferves, a high improvement on the Greek Elegy, on account of its dramatic form. He adds, "The judgment of the writer must appear, by opening the complaint of the perfon introduced, juft at fuch a period of time as will give occafion for the most tender sentiments, and the most violent and fudden turns of paffion to be difplayed." How beautifully is this displayed in Pope's Epistle to Abelard! a poem that has another moft interefting circumftance, which Ovid appears, as well as our Drayton, to have neglected; I mean the introduction of appropriate and descriptive imagery, which relieves and recreates the fancy by the pictures and by the land. fcapes which accompany the characters. Ovid, in this Epiftle, feems not infenfible to the effect of the introduction of fuch scenes

and "the Leucadian Rock," the "Antra, nemufque," "the aquatic Lotus," the "facred pellucid Fountain," and parti



cularly the Genius of the Place, "the Naiad," addreffing the defpairing Sappho, (which circumftance Pope has beautifully imitated and improved in Eloife,) are in the genuine fpirit of poetical taste. Drayton, though praised by Warton, has hardly ever attended to this fpecies of beauty-and his Epiftles are in general vapid and tame. There are, however, here and there interfperfed, fome traits of poetic feeling; and I infert as a fpecimen, a defcription which has great merit both in painting and verfification : As in September, when our year refigns The glorious Sun to the cold watery signs,

(Which thro' the clouds, looks on the Earth in fcorn)

The little Bird, yet to falute the Morn,
Upon the naked branches fets her foot,
The leaves then lying on the moffy root,
And there a filly chiripping doth keep,

As tho' fhe fain would fing, yet fain would weep,
Praifing fair Summer, that too foon is gone,

Or fad for Winter, too faft coming on.

Lord Hervey's Epiftles are fcarcely worth mentioning. The Italians have a Writer of Heroical Epiftles, according to Warton, Antonio Bruni. I have not feen them-they were printed at Venice 1636, with prints from defigns of Guido and Domi


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