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CHORUS OF YOUTHS AND VIRGINS.
The prudent, learn'd, and virtuous breast?
Which Nature has imprest,
* Some of Dryden's short lyrical odes-and fongs are wonderfully harmonious; and not fufficiently noticed ; 'particularly in King Arthur, Act,111.
" O Sight! the mother of Desire," &c. The song alfo of the Syrens in Aa IV; and the Incantations in the Third Act of Edipus, put in the mouth of Tiresias ;
'Chufe the darkest part o'th' grove,
Such as ghosts at noon-day love," &c. Nor must his first ode for St. Cecilia's Day be forgotten, in which are paffages almoft equal to any of the second : especially its opening, and the second stanza that describes Jubal and his brethren.
Love's purer flames the Gods approve ;
Brutus for absent Portia fighs,
What is loose love? a transient gust,
And burn for ever one;
Productive as the Sun,
Oh source of ev'ry social tye,
What various joys on one attend,
Whether his hoary fire he spies,
What NOTES, Ver. 31. Or meets] Recalling to our minds that pathetic stroke in Lucretius;
“ dulces occurrunt ofcula nati Præripere, et tacità pectus dulcedine tangunt."
Lib. iii. 909.
What tender passions take their turns,
What home-felt raptures move?
With rev'rence, hope, and Tove.
Hence guilty joys, distastes, surmises,
Fires that fcorch, yet dare not shine:
Sacred Hymen! these are thine *.
a These two Chorus's are enough to shew us his great talents for this species of Poetry, and to make us lament he did not pro. fecute his purpose in executing some plans he had chalked out ; but the Character of the Managers of Playhouses at that time, was whiat (he faid) foon determined him to lay afide all thoughts of that nature.
WAR BURTON. Perhaps there were other reasons which determined Pope to lay afide all thoughts of the Drama.
ODE ON SOLITUDE:
APPY the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound, Content to breathe his native air,
In his own ground.
Whole herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks fupply him with attirey Whose trees in summer yield him fhade,
In winter fire.
a This was a very early production of our Author, written at about twelve
Pope. Ver. 1. Happy the man, &c.] Might not Pope have seen, when very young, Cotton's pleasing lines on Contentation ?
That man is happy in his share
Who is warm clad and cleanly fed,
And honeit labour makes his bed.
Can think the longest day well-spent ;
And finds that all was innocent. Dr. Warton says, " These stanzas on Solitude are characteristic of the Author's contemplative and moral turn of mind;" but more probably such ideas, those of rural life, innocence, content, &c. as they are the easiest expressed, so are they generally the most obvious, and, as such, would be natural to all young writers.
Blest, who can unconcern’dly find
Hours, days, and years slide soft away, In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day,
Sound sleep by night; study and ease,
Together mixt; sweet recreation : And innocence, which most does please .
Thus let me live, unseen, unknown,
Thus unlamented let me die,
Tell where I lie.
SCALIGER, Voltaire, and Grotius, were but eighteen years old when they produced, the two first their dipuses, and the last his Adamus Exul. But the most extraordinary instance of early excellence is The Old Batchelor of Congreve, written at nineteen only; as comedy implies and requires a knowledge of life and characters, which are here displayed with accuracy and truth, Mr. Spence informed me that Pope once said to him, “ I wrote things, I am ashamed to say how soon ; part of
epic poem Alcander when about twelve. The scene of it lay in Rhodes, and some of the neighbouring islands; and the poem opened under the water, with a defcription of the court of Neptune; that couplet on the circulation of the blood, which I afterwards inserted in the Dunciad,
As man's mæanders, to the vital spring
Roll all their tides, then back their circles bring, was originally in this poem, word for word.” After he had burnt this very early composition, Atterbury told him, he much wished some parts of it, as a specimen, had been more carefully preserved. N 4