Puslapio vaizdai

As a poet, Pope stands the first in what has been called the second class of poetry, that which consists in the description of artificial life and manners. Invention and fancy are exhibited in the Rape of the Lock, beauty of natural description in Windsor Forest, and a tender pathos of feeling in some of his other productions. He possessed likewise, great powers of satire, and often exhibits an admirable felicity, acuteness, and delicacy of discrimination in the delineation of character. Elegance, elaborate ease, and the utmost refinement of taste characterise all his compositions ; and his style and versification are polished, smooth, and harmonious, almost to a fault of monotony.

Together with the extreme smoothness and polish of his style, good sense is likewise a quality which peculiarly distinguishes his writings. He has been called, indeed, “ the most sensible of poets.

There is great wisdom and shrewdness of observation in many of his didactic essays, in his Moral Epistles, and generally in his remarks on the characters and manners of the gay world in which he had mingled so much.

The moral character of his poetry is often pure, but not uniformly so, and seldom elevated to the highest degree. He has embalmed in his singular beauty of style and language many false and corrupt principles, and some of his productions contain much, which no man of true piety, benevolence and purity of feeling would have ever written. He sometimes writes in what is merely a strain of refined epicureanism; and his Elegy to the memory of an unfortunate lady, which has been so long admired and so often quoted, exhibits sentiments in extenuation and even in praise of the crime of suicide, equally unworthy of the Christian and the man.


SEE! from the brake the whirring pheasant springs,
And mounts exulting on triumphant wings:
Short is his joy ; he feels the fiery wound,
Flutters in blood, and panting beats the ground.
Ah! what avail his glossy, varying dyes,
His purple crest, and scarlet-circled eyes,
The vivid green his shining plumes unfold,
His painted wings, and breast that flames with gold ?

Nor yet, when moist Arcturus clouds the sky,
The woods and fields their pleasing toils deny.
To plains with well-breath'd beagles we repair,
And trace the mazes of the circling hare:
(Beasts, urg'd by us, their fellow-beasts pursue,
And learn of man each other to undo.)
With slaughtering guns the unwearied fowler roves,

When frosts have whitend all the naked groves,
Where doves in flocks the leafless trees o'ershade,
And lonely woodcocks haunt the watery glade.
He lifts the tube, and levels with his eye;
Straight a short thunder breaks the frozen sky:
Oft as in airy rings they skim the heath,
The clamorous lapwings feel the leaden death :
Oft as the mounting larks their notes prepare,
They fall, and leave their little lives in air.

In genial spring, beneath the quivering shade,
Where cooling vapours breathe along the mead,
The patient fisher takes his silent stand,
Intent, his angle trembling in his hand :
With looks unmov'd, he hopes the scaly breed,
And eyes the dancing cork and bending reed.
Our plenteous streams a various race supply,
The bright-ey'd perch with fins of Tyrian dye,
The silver eel, in shining volumes roll'd,
The yellow carp, in scales bedropp'd with gold,
Swift trouts, diversified with crimson stains,
And pikes, the tyrants of the watery plains.


But now secure the painted vessel glides, The sun-beams trembling on the floating tides: While melting music steals upon the sky, And soften’d sounds along the waters die : Smooth flow the waves, the zephyrs gently play, Belinda smil'd and all the world was gay. All but the sylph-with careful thoughts oppressed, The' impending woe sat heavy on his breast. He summons straight his denizens of air ; The lucid squadrons round the sails repair : Soft o'er the shrouds aerial whispers breathe, That seem'd but zephyrs to the train beneath. Some to the sun their insect-wings unfold, Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold; Transparent forms too fine for mortal sight, Their fluid bodies half dissolv'd in light. Loose to the wind their airy garments flew, Thin glittering textures of the filmy dew, Dipt in the richest tincture of the skies, Where light disports in ever-mingling dyes, While every beam new transient colours flings, Colours that change whene'er they wave their wings. Amid the circle, on the gilded mast, Superior by the head, was Ariel plac'd; His purple pinions opening to the sun, He rais'd hiz azure wand, and thus begun;

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“ Ye sylphs and sylphids, to your chief give ear,
Fays, fairies, genii, elves, and demons, hear!
Ye know the spheres, and various tasks assign'd
By laws eternal to th' aerial kind.
Some in the fields of purest ether play,
And bask and whiten in the blaze of day:
Some guide the course of wandering orbs on high,
Or roll the planets through the boundless sky:
Some less refin'd, beneath the moon's pale light
Pursue the stars that shoot athwart the night,
Or suck the mists in grosser air below,
Or dip their pinions in the painted bow,
Or brew fierce tempests on the wintry main,
Or o'er the glebe distil the kindly rain.
Others, on earth, o'er human race preside,
Watch all their ways, and all their actions guide;
Of these the chief the care of nations own,
And guard with arms divine the British throne.

"Our humbler province is to tend the fair,
Not a less pleasing, though less glorious care,
To save the powder from too rude a gale,
Nor let the’ imprison'd essences exhale ;
To draw fresh colours from the vernal flow'rs;
To steal from rainbows, ere they drop in show'rs,
A brighter wash; to curl their waving hairs,
Assist their blushes, and inspire their airs ;
Nay oft, in dreams, invention we bestow,
To change a flounce, or add a furbelow."

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Be thou the first true mcrit to befriend;
His praise is lost who stays till all commend.
Short is the date, alas! of modern rhymes,
And ’tis but just to let them live betimes.
No longer now that golden age appears,
When patriarch-wits surviv'd a thousand years:
Now length of fame (our second life) is lost,
And bare threescore is all ev’n that can boast:
Our sons their father's failing language see,
And su

as Chaucer is shall Dryden be.
So when the faithful pencil has design'd
Some bright idea of the master's mind,
Where a new world leaps out at his command,
And ready nature waits upon his hand;
When the ripe colours soften and unite,
And sweetly melt into just shade and light;
When mellowing years their full perfection give,

And each bold figure just begins to live,
The treach'rous colours the fair art betray,
And all the bright creation fades away!


Heaven forming each on other to depend, A master, or a servant, or a friend, Bids each on other for assistance call, Till one man's weakness grows the strength of all. Wants, frailties, passions, closer still ally The common interest, or endear the tie. To these we owe true friendship, love sincere, Each home-felt joy that life inherits here; Yet from the same we learn, in its decline, Those joys, those loves, those interests, to resign ; Taught, half by reason, haif by mere decay, To welcome death, and calmly pass away. Whate'er the passion, knowledge, fame, or pelf, Not one will change his neighbour with himself. The learn’d is happy, nature to explore, The fool is happy, that he knows no more; The rich is happy, in the plenty giv'n, The poor contents him with the care of heav'n. See the blind beggar dance, the cripple sing, The sot a hero, lunatic a king; The starving chemist in his golden views Supremely bless'd, the poet in his muse.

See some strange comfort every state attend, And pride bestow'd on all, a common friend : See some fit passion every age supply ; Hope travels through, nor quits us when we die.

Behold the child, by nature's kindly law, Pleas'd with a rattle, tickled with a straw; Some livelier playthiny gives his youth delight, A little louder, but as empty quite: Scarfs, garters, gold, amuse his riper stage, And beads and prayer-books are the toys of age: Pleas'd with this bauble still, as that before, Till tir'd he sleeps, and life's poor play is o'er.

Meanwhile, opinion gilds with varying rays
Those painted clouds that beautify our days ;
Each want of happiness by hope supplied,
And each vacuity of sense by pride:
These build as fast as knɔwledge can destroy ;
In folly's cup still laughs the bubble joy;

One prospect lost, another still we gain,
And not a vanity is given in vain :
Ev'n mean self-love becomes, by force divine,
The scale to measure others' wants by thine.
See! and confess one cornfort still must rise ;
'Tis this --Though man’s a fool, yet God is wise.


Born 1699-Died 1747.

BLAIR's father was one of the ministers of Edinburgh, and chaplain to King Charles I. The poet, after the usual preparatory studies, was ordained the minister of Athelstaneford, in the county of East Lothian, and resided there till his death. He is said to have been assiduous and zealous in the performance of his pastoral duties, and distinguished for his fervid eloquence. Among his friends, by whom he was warmly beloved, he numbered Colonel Gardiner, Dr. Watts, and Dr. Doddridye.

“The eighteenth century,” says Campbell, "has produced few specimens of blank verse of so powerful and simple a character as that of the Grave. It is a popular poem, not merely because it is religous, but because its language and imagery are free, natural, and picturesque. Blair may be a homely and even a gloomy poet in the eye of fastidious criticism; but there is a masculine and pronounced character even in his gloom and homeliness, that keeps it most distinctly apart from either dulness or vulgarity. His style pleases us like the powerful expression of a countenance without regular beauty."


SEE yonder hallow'd fane ;-the pious work Of names once fam'd, now dubious or forgot, And buried midst the wreck of things which were ; There lie interr'd the more illustrious dead. The wind is up: hark! how it howls! Methinks Till now I never heard a sound so dreary : Doors creak, and windows clap, and night's foul bird, Rook'd in the spire, screams loud: the gloomy aisles, Black-plaster'd, and hung round with shreds of 'scutcheons And tatter'd coats of arms, send back the sound, Laden with heavier airs, from the low vaults, The mansions of the dead.-Rous'd from their slumb ers, In grim array the grisly spectres rise, Grin horribly, and obstinately sullen, Pass and repass, hush'd as the foot of night.

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