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the improvements in virtue, he meditated to introduce. They are represented worshippers of the Sun and Fire, but of good and gentle difpofitions, having no bloody facrifices among them. Here he meets the Druids, at an altar of turf, in an open place, offering fruits and flowers to Heaven.
Then follows a picture of the haven, which is fucceeded by an account of the northern parts, fupposed to be infefted by tyrants, of whom the Britons tell strange stories, representing them as giants, whom he undertakes to affift them in conquering.
Among these islands, our Poet takes notice of the island Mona, groaning under the lash of superstition, being governed by priests.
Likewife of another, diftracted by difmal anarchy, the neighbours eating their captives, and carrying away virgins; which affords room for a beautiful episode, defcribing the feelings of a paffionate lover, who prevailed on Brutus to fly to the rescue of a favourite fair-one, whom, by his aid, he recovered from the arms of her brutal ravifher.
Our Poet alfo fpeaks of a third, under the dominion of Tyranny, which was ftronger than the rest, and defended by giants living in castles, high rocks, &c. Some of these giants our Poet names, as Corinaus, Gogmagog, &c. Here he propofed to moralize the old fables concerning Brutus, Gogmagog, &c.
Brutus, however, is opposed in his attempt by the priefts, conjurers, and magicians; and the priests are
fuppofed to have had fecrets, which paffed for fupernatural, fuch as the ufe of gunpowder, &c. He meets with many difficulties likewife from his own people, which interrupt his designs; particularly from one of his kinfmen, who is fierce, young, and ambitious. He is earneft for conquering all by force, and treating the people who fubmitted to him as flaves.
But Brutus gives it as his opinion, not to conquer and destroy the natives of the new-difcovered land, but to polish and refine them, by introducing true religion, void of fuperftition and all falfe notions of the Deity, which only leads to vice and mifery, among people who are uncorrupted in their manners, and only want the introduction of useful arts, under the fanction of a good government, to establish and enfure their felicity.
This turbulent kinfman likewife endangers a revolt, by taking away a woman betrothed to a Briton,
Some of Brutus's followers take part with him, and raife a faction, which, by his wisdom and firmness, he. fuppreffes, and brings the difcontented back to their duty; who at length unite with him against the giants their common enemy. It must not be omitted, that the kinfman is reprefented as repenting of his feceffion, and much afhamed that Brutus, having left him a victim to female blandishments, went to the war without him.
Brutus, in the end, fucceeded in his enterprize against the giants, and enchantment vanished before him; having reduced the fortreffes of fuperftition, anarchy, and tyranny, the whole Ifland fubmits to good government, and with this the Poem was intended to close.
Such was the outline of this Poem, which, if he had finished, it would not, perhaps, have added much to his reputation.
He had likewise planned two Odes, or Moral Poems, on the Mischiefs of Arbitrary Power, and the Folly of Ambition. The firft was to open with a view and description of Mount Etna or Vefuvius, after a long intermiffion from eruptions; in which was given a picture of all rural felicity, in the most enchanting scenes of vine-yards and olive-yards in one place; the products of Ceres in another; and flowery pastures, overspread with flocks and herds, in a third; while the shepherds were indulging themselves in their rural dances, fongs, and music; and the husbandmen in feats of activity. In the heat of these amusements, is heard the rumbling in the bowels of the mountain, the day is overcast, and after other dreadful fymp. toms of approaching defolation, a torrent of liquid fire breaks out from the mouth, and running down the declivity, carries away every thing in its paffage; and as Milton fays
"All the flourishing works of Peace destroys."
That on the Folly of Ambition and a Name, was to open with the view of a large champaign defart country; in the midst of which was a large heap of fhapeless and deformed ruins, under the fhadow of which was seen a fhepherd's fhed, who at his door was tending a few sheep and goats. The ruins attract the eye of a traveller paffing by, who, curious to be informed of what he faw, addreffes himself to the shepherd, to know to what fuperb structures these ruins belonged. The fhepherd entertains him with an abfurd and fabulous account of ancient times, in which there were such traces of true history, that the traveller at length difcovers, by the aid of the fabulous narrator, joined to certain marks in the ruins themselves, that this was the famous Blenheim, built, at the public expence, by a warlike nation, for the Deliverer of Europe, &c.
I CANNOT but wish that Pope had purfued his attempt of an Epic; it would have decided clearly his real poetic fame, and his ufage of blank verfe would have proved, whether he was as capable of producing the folemn and harmonious flow of the Miltonic periods, as he was of compreffing fenfe in rhyme, and giving precision and correctness to the couplet. The main point of the poetic character would also have been ascertained, fancy.
I rather think, however, that Pope's good fense prevented the attempt, and that he was afraid of lofing the high ground he had already gained as a Poet.
Brutus, in the end, fucceeded in his
against the giants, and enchantment va
Such was the outline of had finished, it would not, to his reputation.
AN EPIC FOLL
midft of which was a r
Folly of Ama
herd's fhed, who at is for
and goats. The race a
cient times, in
ry, that the
He had likewife pl Poems, on the Mif the Folly of Ambi a view and defcri after a long ir was given a enchanting place; the