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fingle beauty in them, to which the Invention must not contribute. As in the most regular gardens, Art can only reduce the beauties of Nature to more regularity, and such a figure, which the common eye may better take in, and is therefore more entertained with. And perhaps the reason why common Critics are inclined to prefer a judicious and methodical genius to a great and fruitful one, is, because they find it easier for themfelves to pursue their observations through an uniform and bounded walk of Art, than to comprehend the vaft and various extent of Nature.
Our Author's work is a wild paradife *, where if we cannot fee all the beauties fo diftinctly as in an ordered garden, it is only because the number of them is infinitely greater. 'Tis like a copious nurfery which contains the feeds and first productions of every kind, out of which thofe who followed him have but felected fome particular plants, each according to his fancy, to cultivate and beautify. If fome
* Thefe words feem to imply that the Iliad is deficient in point of regularity and conduct of the Fable. Whereas one of its most tranfcendent and unparalleled excellencies is the coherence, the confiftency, the fimplicity, and the perfpicuity of its plan; all which qualities are the refult of judgment as well as of invention; and all which the best critics, from Ariftotle to Clarke, have joined in admiring and applauding. Let Quintilian speak for all the reft; in difpofitione totius operis nonne humani generis modum exceffit? And he excels Virgil as much in judgment as invention; and in exact dispofition, just thought, correct elocution, and polished numbers, as in poetical fire. Mad Dacier was vehemently angry at Mr. Pope for this paragraph. In fact, we do fee the beauties of this wellordered garden; which is not a mere nursery; its plants are not toờ luxuriant, and are arrived to perfection and maturity. WARTON.
fome things are too luxuriant, it is owing to the richness of the foil; and if others are not arrived to perfection or maturity, it is only because they are over-run and oppreffed by thofe of a stronger nature.
It is to the ftrength of this amazing Invention we are to attribute that unequalled fire and rapture, which is fo forcible in Homer, that no man of a true poetical fpirit is mafter of himself while he reads him. What he writes, is of the moft animated nature imaginable; every thing moves, every thing lives, and is put in action. If a council be called, or a battle fought, you are not coldly informed of what was faid or done as from a third perfon; the reader is hurried out of himself by the force of the Poet's imagination, and turns in one place to a hearer, in another to a spectator. The course of his verfes resembles that of the army he describes,
εἰ δ ̓ ἀρ ἴσαν, ὡσεί τε πυρὶ χθών πᾶσα νέμοιτο.
They pour along like a fire that fweeps the whole earth before it. 'Tis however remarkable, that his fancy, which is every where vigorous, is not difcovered immediately at the beginning of his poem in its fullest fplendor: it grows in the progrefs both upon himfelf and others, and becomes on fire like a chariotwheel, by its own rapidity. Exact difpofition, just thought, correct elocution, polifhed numbers, may have been found in a thoufand; but this poetical fire, this Vivida vis animi, in a very few. Even in works
fingle beauty in them, to which the Inven
not contribute. As in the moft regular
are too luxuriant
effed by thofe of a trenger mana
unequalled fire and raptert,
the most animated namoves, every thing
Council be call,
My informed of
orce of the
ordered garden, them is infinite'
every have but cording
..om the prefs,
and, replied, “It was ..er written in any language,
burton, with his ufual love of bringing em, “found Homer poffeffed of the province Virgil of Politics; and nothing left for him, but eligion. This he feized, as afpiring to fhare with them in „vernment of the poetic world; and by means of the fuperior gnity of his fubject, hath gotten to the head of that triumvirate, which took fo many ages in forming. Thefe are the three fpecies of the Epic Poem; for its largeft fphere is human action, which can be confidered but in a MORAL, POLITICAL, OF RELIGIOUS View; aud these the three makers; for each of their poems was ftruck at a heat, and came to perfection from its firft effay. Here then the grand feene was closed, and all farther improvements of the Epie at an end.” A cruel fentence indeed, and a very severe flatute of
t up to an uncommon ardor by the force of akespeare, it strikes before we are aware, ental fire from heaven: but in Homer, v, it burns every where clearly, and tibly.
our to fhow, how this vaft Invenanner fuperior to that of any n conftituent parts of his
too luxuriant, it is owing to the it is only becaule they are and if others are not arrived ba ofe of a fronger natury. azing Invention wa
›n of a true
"e and rapture,
undation, to destroy every at might arife. But, in. d chimerical. Each of re affigned to them. politics; Virgil of Itrong proof that hu-pic Poetry. But of all Dr. aterpretations, next to his ex
ae Sixth Book of the Æneid, is the by the episode of Nifus and Euryalus, d the Grecian institution of the Band of ends that fought at each other's fides: and, alfo, behaviour and death of Amata, and her celebration - Bacchic Rites in the Seventh Book, Virgil meant to proribe and expose the abominable abufes that had crept into the myfteries. I lament that Mr. Gibbon, in his able confutation of the notion of Auguftus's Initiation, has not touched on this topic.
* Convinced that this Tranflation is the moft fpirited and the best ever given of any ancient Poet, and most fuited to modern times and readers; yet I have always been of opinion, that Pope would have made it ftill more excellent, and would have profited much, if he could have seen Blackwell's Enquiry into the Life and Writings of Homer; a work, though written indeed with some affectation of ftyle, that abounds in curious researches and observations, and places Homer in a new light; by endeavouring to fhew how it has happened that no poet has ever equalled him for upwards of two thousand years; namely, by the united influence of the happiest climate; the most natural manners to paint; the boldeft lan
where all thofe are imperfect or neglected, this can over-power criticism, and make us admire even while we difapprove. Nay, where this appears, though attended with abfurdities, it brightens all the rubbish about it, till we fee nothing but its own fplendor. This Fire is difcerned in Virgil, but difcerned as through a glass, reflected from Homer, more fhining than fierce, but every where equal and conftant: in Lucan and Statius, it burfts out in fudden, fhort, and interrupted flashes in Milton* it glows like a fur
Of all paffages in our Author's Works, I moft with he had never written this taftelefs and unjuft comparifon. But indeed he never speaks of our divine Bard, con amore. This has lately been done by Mr. Hayley, in his curious and animated Life of Milton. I do not honour Sir John Denham fo much for his writing Cooper's Hill, as I do for being the very first person that spoke highly of Paradife Loft; who coming one day into the House of Commons with a proof sheet of this Poem, wet from the prefs, and being asked what paper he held in his hand, replied, “It was part of the nobleft poem that was ever written in any language, or in any age."
"Milton," fays Warburton, with his ufual love of bringing every thing into fyftem, found Homer poffeffed of the province of Morality; Virgil of Politics; and nothing left for him, but that of Religion. This he seized, as aspiring to fhare with them in the government of the poetic world; and by means of the superior dignity of his fubject, hath gotten to the head of that triumvirate, which took fo many ages in forming. These are the three species of the Epic Poem; for its largest sphere is human action, which can be confidered but in a MORAL, POLITICAL, or RELIGIOUS View; and these the three makers; for each of their poems was ftruck at a heat, and came to perfection from its first effay. Here then the grand scene was closed, and all farther improvements of the Epie at an end.” A cruel sentence indeed, and a very severe statute of