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There Faction roar, Rebellion bite her chain,
Here cease thy flight, nor with unhallow'd lays
forests and the flow'ry plains, Where Peace descending bids her olive spring, And scatters blessings from her dove-like wing.
Quo, Musa, tendis ? define pervicax
Magna modis tenuare parvis."
NOTES. VER. 422. in vain.] This conclusion both of Horace and of Pope is feeble and flat, 'The whole should have ended with this speech of Thames at this line, 422.
Pope, it seems, was of opinion, that descriptive poetry is a composition as abfurd as a feast made up of sauces : and I know many other persons that think meanly of it. I will not presume to say it is equal, either in dignity or utility, to those compositions that lay open the internal constitution of man, and that imitate charac. ters, manners, and sentiments. I may however remind sucłı contemners of it, that, in a filter art, landscape-painting claims the very next rank to history-painting, being ever preferred to single portraits, to pieces of fill-life, to droll figures, to fruit and flower pieces; that Titian thought it no diminution of his genius, to spend much of his time in works of the former species ; and that, if their principles lead them to condemn Thomson, they must also condemn the Georgies of Virgil, and the greatest part of the noblest descriptive poem extant; I mean that of Lucretius.
Ev'n I more sweetly pass my careless days,
A Poem purely descriptive has certainly no claim to excellence.
a poem which is at once moral, historical, and picturesque ; or, in other words, where description is made fubfervient to the de. lighted fancy, the cultivated understanding, and the improved heart, surely no real judge of Poetry would condemn. What beautiful and interesting pieces would such a decision exclude ! How many animating or tender sentiments, how many affecting incidents, how much interesting information, are often connected with local scenery! The genuine Poet surveys every prospect with the and enthufiasm of a Painter ; but does he only paint? He connects with the scenery he describes, morality, antiquity, hiftory, the wildest traditions in fancy, or the sweetest feelings of tenderness, or patriotism. If we feel interested by the picture of an Arcadian landscape, which conveys its moral by the introduction of a shepherd's tomb, and the infcription “ Et ego in Arcadia ;” in like manner should we regard a descriptive poem, connected at the same time with wider information, and diversified with more pointed morality.
Pope in his Windsor Forest has description, incident, and history. The descriptive part, however, is too general and unappropriate: the incident, or fory-part, is such as only would have been adopted by a young man, who had just read Ovid; but the historical part is very judiciously and skilfully blended, and the conclufion highly animated and poetical; nor can we be insensible to its more lofty tone of versification.
ON ST. CECILIA'S DAY,
AND OTHER PIECES FOR MUSIC
• There are few Odes completely adapted to Music in our language. Milton, though a musician, has written nothing; I believe, entirely with this view ; but happily his divine Penseroso and l'Allegro have found in Handel a composer worthy of the Poetry. His music of “ Let the bright Seraphim in burning row,” is inadequate to the splendor of the expressions, and sublimity of the subject. In general, all epithets that paint, such as “ bright Seraphim”-“ burning row," -are not so proper for music; as such words, while they animate Poetry, impede and delay the fentiment intended to be conveyed by music. Dr. Morell, who wrote the words for Handel's Oratorios, has much greater merit than is generally imagined. -How affecting, and yet how excellently adapted to inufical expression, are his words : “ In sweetest harmony they liv'd!
Nor death their union could divide;
Who also is there who can hear or read, without tears, the mure and words,
" Tears fuch as tender Fathers shed,
Warm from my aged eyes descend,
My fon shall have mankind his friend ?"
“ When Jubal struck the chorded shell,” has found, like Milton, a musician worthy of those exalted strains. Collins' Ode to the Paffions ought not to be omitted, as highly calculated for mufical effect ; but perhaps there is no compofition, where the music and the words so much affift each other, as the fine Song of Purcell,
“ Let the dreadful engines, &c."
Where zephyr's fragrant breath did play,
The fair Lucinda fleeping lay.
Around us all was sweet and gay,
And nothing fear'd but short'ning day."
ODE FOR MUSIC
ON ST. CECILIA'S DAY*.
The breathing instruments inspire,
In a sadly-pleasing strain
* Our Author, as Mr. Harte told me, frequently and earnestly declared, that if Dryden had finished a translation of the Iliad, he would not have attempted one, after so great a matter : he might have said, with even more propriety, I will not write a music ode after Alexander's Feaft; which the variety and harmony of its numbers, and the beauty, force, and energy of its images, have confpired to place at the head of modern Lyric compofitions. The subject of Dryden's ode is superior to this of Pope's, because the former is historical, and the latter merely mythological. Dryden's is also more perfect in the unity of the action ; for Pope's is not the recital of one great action, but a description of many of the adventures of Orpheus.
The name and the genius of Cowley gave, for many years, a currency and vogue to irregular odes, called Pindaric. One of the best of which species is that of Cobb, called, the Female Reign ; and two of the worst, Sprat's Plague of Athens, and Bolingbroke's Almahide. Congreve is thought to be the first writer that gave a specimen of a legitimate Pindaric ode, with strophe, antistrophe, and epode, clucidated with a fenfible and judicious preface on the