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EXACTLY in the tafte of Lopes de Vega, who, fpeaking of a fhepherdefs weeping near the fea-fide, fays, "The ocean advances to collect her tears, and enclosing them in fhells, converts them into pearls." WARTON.
In Churchill's collection of Voyages, there are fome lines written by one of the poor people who were left to perifh on the coaft of Greenland, in which the idea of their tears being preserved by the froft to the laft day, is introduced. The idea is too fanciful; but fome of the lines are beautiful, and many of the thoughts very natural and affecting.
E. OF ROCHESTER.
THE verses on Silence are a sensible imitation of the Earl of Rochefter's on Nothing; which piece, together with his Satire on Man from the fourth of Boileau, and the tenth Satire of Horace, (which in truth is excellent,) are the only pieces of this profligate Nobleman which modefty or common sense will allow any man to read. Rochefter had much energy in his thoughts and diction; and though the ancient Satirifts often ufe great liberty in their expreffions, yet, as the ingenious Historian* observes, “Their freedom no more resembles the licence of Rochester, than the nakedness of an Indian does that of a common prostitute."
Pope, in this imitation, has difcovered a fund of folid fenfe, and juft obfervation upon vice and folly, that are very remarkable in a perfon fo extremely young as he was at the time of compofing it. I believe, on a fair comparison with Rochester's lines, it will be found, that although the turn of the Satire be copied, yet it is excelled. That Rochefter fhould write a Satire on Man, I am not furprized; it is the bufinefs of the libertine to degrade his fpecies, and debafe the dignity of human nature, and thereby destroy the most efficacious incitements to lovely and laudable actions. But that a writer of Boileau's purity of manners should represent his kind in the dark and disagrecable colours he has done, with all the malignity of a difcontented Hobbift, is a lamentable perversion of fine talents, and is a real injury to fociety. It is a fact worthy the attention of those who study the history of learning, that the grofs licentiousness and applauded debauchery of Charles the Second's court proved almoft as pernicious to the progrefs of polite literature and the fine arts, that began to revive after the Grand Rebellion, as the gloomy fuperftition, the abfurd cant, and formal hypocrify, that difgraced this nation during the ufurpation of Cromwell. WARTON.
Hume's Hiftory of Great Britain, vol. ii. p. 434.
E. OF ROCHESTER.
SILENCE! Coeval with Eternity;
Thou wert, ere Nature's self began to be, 'Twas one vaft Nothing, all, and all flept faft in thee.
Thine was the sway, ere heav'n was form'd, or earth,
Ere fruitful Thought conceiv'd creation's birth,
Or midwife Word gave aid, and spoke the infant
Then various elements, against thee join'd,
And fram'd the clam'rous race of busy Human-kind.
The tongue mov'd gently firft, and speech was low, Till wrangling Science taught it noise and show, And wicked Wit arofe, thy moft abusive foe.
But rebel Wit deferts thee oft' in vain;
Loft in the maze of words he turns again,
And seeks a furer state, and courts thy gentle reign.
Afflicted Senfe thou kindly doft fet free,
And routed Reafon finds a fafe retreat in thee.
With thee in private modest Dulness lies,
Thou varnisher of Fools, and cheat of all the Wife!
Yet thy indulgence is by both confest;
Folly by thee lies fleeping in the breast,
And 'tis in thee at last that Wisdom feeks for reft.
Silence the knave's repute, the whore's good name, The only honour of the wifhing dame;
The very want of tongue makes thee a kind of Fame.
But could't thou feize fome tongues that now are free,
How Church and State fhou'd be oblig'd to thee? At Senate, and at Bar, how welcome would'st thou be? X 2 XI. Yet
Yet speech ev'n there, fubmiffively withdraws, From rights of fubjects, and the poor man's caufe: Then pompous Silence reigns, and ftills the noify
Paft fervices of friends, good deeds of foes, What Fav'rites gain, and what the Nation owes, Fly the forgetful world, and in thy arms repofe.
The country wit, religion of the town,
The courtier's learning, policy o' th' gown, Are best by thee exprefs'd; and fhine in thee alone.
The parfon's cant, the lawyer's sophistry, Lord's quibble, critic's jeft; all end in thee, All rest in peace at laft, and fleep eternally.