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These, were my breast inspir'd with equal flame,
VER. 9. inspir'd with equal flame,] That is (as I understand it), if the Poet were inspired with Milton's poetical flame, then these groves, which resemble the groves of Eden, and which, though vanisb’d, revive in his song--these groves (of Windsor) should be like in fame, as in beauty. Dr. Warton thinks there is an inconsistency, but I must confess I do not perceive it; at least, I think there is no expression here used but such as is fairly allowable in Poetry VER. 10. Like them in beauty, should be like in fame] 66 Like him in birth thou should it be like in fame.
As thine his fate, if mine had been his fame.” DENHAM.
fore must evidently' fail, as he could not describe what his phy. fical infirmities prevented his obferving. For the same reason, Johnson, as a critic, was not a proper judge of this sort of Poetry,
Before this descriptive poem on Windsor-Forett, I do not recollect any other professed compofition on local scenery, except the Poems of the Authors already mentioned. For Milton's Allegro, though in part perhaps taken from real scenery, cannot be claffed with poems written professedly on particular spots. Denham's is certainly the best, prior to Pope's: his description of London at a distance, is sublime :
“ Under his proud survey the City lies,
And like a mist beneath a hill doth rise,
Where order in variety we see,
15 And where, tho' all things differ, all agree. Here waving groves a chequer'd scene display, And part admit, and part exclude the day; As some coy nymph her lover's warm address Nor quite indulges, nor can quite repress. There, interspers’d in lawns and op’ning glades, Thin trees arise that shun each other's shades. Here in full light the russet plains extend: There wrapt in clouds the blueish hills afcend.
REMARKS. Ver. 17. Here waving groves, &c.] This descriptive passage is not touched with the hand of a great Painter ; the distances, the objects, the light, and shade, are not sufficiently marked :-all is in light, except where it is said,
“ There wrapt in clouds the blueish hills ascend;" which is well contrasted with the line before,
“ Here in full light the ruffet plains extend." An old oak, or foine particular tree, more circumstantially de. fcribed, might have been brought into the fore ground ; --- but a candid Critic is only to examine what is done, not what might be done. Let me be however excused for saying this, as I am convinced that, in all poetical delineations of rural scenery, the great principles of painting should be kept in mind ; and it is fingular, that in a Poem on a Forest, the majestic oak, the deer, and many other interesting and characteristic circumstances, should be all thrown in the distant ground, whilst objects much less appropriate, the fiber, the fowler, &c. are brought forward.
NOTES. Ver. 15.] Evidently from Cooper's Hill: « Such was the discord which did first disperse
Form, order, beauty, thro' the universe,” WARTON. Ver. 19.] It is a falfe thought, and gives, as it were, fentiment to the groves.
Ev’n the wild heath displays her purple dyes, 23
Why should I fing our better suns or air,
NOTES. VER. 33. Not proud Olympus, &c.] Sir J. Denham, in his Cooper's Hill, had faid,
“ Than which a nobler weight no mountain bears,
But Atlas only, which supports the spheres." The comparison is childish, as the taking it from fabulous history destroys the compliment. Our Poet has shewn more judgment; he has made a manly ufe of as fabulous a circumstance by the artful application of the mythology,
“ Where, in their blessings, all those Gods appear," &c. Making the nobility of the hills of Windsor-Forest to confift in fupporting the inhabitants in plenty.
WARBURTON, This appears an idle play on the word “supporting.” Warton.
The whole passage is indeed puerile, and the making the hills nobler than Olympus with all its Gods, because the Gods appear'd in their blessings on the humbler mountains of Windsor, is a thought only to be excused in a very young writer.- This, howe ever, Warburton calls a “ beautiful turn of wil !!!
Than what more humble mountains offer here, 35
Not thus the land appear'a in ages past,
VER. 49. Originally thus in the MS.
From towns laid waste, to dens and caves they ran
NOTES. Ver. 37.] The word crown'd is exceptionable; it makes Pan erowned with flocks.
WARTON.' VER. 45. savage luws] The Forest Laws. See the account of them in Blackstone's excellent Lectures; the killing a deer, boar, or kare, was punished with the loss of the delinquent's eyes. Wartox.
The swain with tears his frustrate labour yields, 55
No wonder savages or subjects fain
But subjects ftarv'd, while savages were fed. It was originally thus, but the word “ savages” is not properly applied to beasts, but to men ; which occafioned the alteration.
Pore. NOTES. VER. 65. The fields are ravib'd, &c.] Alluding to the deAtruction made in the New Forest, and the tyrannies exercised there by William I.
PoPE. I have the authority of three or four of our best antiquarians to fay, that the common tradition of villages and parishes, within the
compass IMITATIONS. Ver. 65. The fields are ravisb'd from th’ induftrious frains,
From men their cities, and from Gods their fanes:] Translated from
“ Templa adimit divis, fora civibus, arva colonis," an, old monkish writer, I forget who.
Pope. In Camden's Britannia, first edition, in the account of Somersetshire it is said of Edgar, “ Templa Deo, Templis Monachos, Monachis dedit agros."