Page images

Maul-it with meek prefumption dares to own
Bute barely fecond to the King alone.

There each mechanic foars on Learning's wings,
And those who work for bread, are fprung from Kings:
Kings all themselves, they beg with haughty eye,
And curfe the hand, that gives them charity.

Again, our Author is not only a professed Imitator of Juvenal, but hath condefcended even to imitate a rival and contemporary Satirift. Of this we have an instance in the third Satire before us; where, after a few more fuch feeble strokes as the above, we have the following lines, evidently mifcopied from Mr. Churchill's Prophecy of Famine.

Such ftrut from self conceit the first of earth,
Tho' fhiv'ring bare-foot from their earliest birth;
Around whofe coafts no verdure cheers the eye,
Blefs'd with no flightest glimpse of jollity;
Unless when, aping human founds, they bawl
"Some bo-nie A pifode fra' fene Fingal ;"
While, gazing on his jaw's dittended charms,
Each mother clafps her warbler in her arms.

But we must here take leave of this performance; prefuming it needlefs to give our Readers any farther proofs of its mediocrity.


The Alps, a Poem. By George Keate, Esq;

[blocks in formation]


HIS is a fubject proper for the dignity and grandeur of fublime poetry. Scenes of awful magnificence, where nature, fecure in her original majeftic wildness, derides the subjection of art, infpire the mind with a congenial fublimity, and elevate the imagination by a kind of fympathetic power.

[ocr errors]

This is known, by experience, to those whom nature has honoured with the faculty of genius or the genuine principles of tafte. Poets and painters have frequently caught the true fublime from contemplating rude and uncultivated profpects. Virgil was never greater than when he described those scenes that bore no veftiges of human cultivation,

Non raftris hominum, non ulli obnoxia curæ.

And the fublimeft ftrokes of Pouffin and Saluator were caught from

-the lone majesty of untam❜d nature.

[ocr errors]

Their pencils alone were capable of doing juftice to fuch a landfkip as is formed by that tremendous range of mountains, which goes under the denomination of the Alps; but what poet would be equal to the defcription of fuch a fcene? It is more difficult to exprefs by language that fublimity of fentiment which is infpired by the contemplation of magnificent objects, than by a happy management of the chiaro ofcuro, and the variety and boldness of relief, to exhibit the natural form and majesty of thofe objects.


Let this apology plead in favour of Mr. Keate, if his mufe be thought inferior to the subject attempted.


The poem opens with an address to Fancy, and a description of that pleafing idol of the mufe, not unnatural; nor improper for the fcene :


Bright Goddess, I obey! with rapture hear
Thy fummoning voice, O Fancy, parent fiveet
Of every mufe, and faireft of the train,
Who on the Aonian hill with ceaseless fong
Infpire true harmony.- -Lo! where the comes
Adown your floping cliff with graceful kép
Winding a devious path. across her neck
Her lyre loofe-hung, and her difhevel'd hair,
And robe refulgent with unnumbered hues,"
Light floating on the wind.-Immortal nymph,
Thefe fcenes are oft thy haunt, o'er nature's works
For ever ranging, various as themfelves.
Now TEMPE charms, and now the balmy gales
Of fertile Baie foon thy fated eye

Tir'd with their flowery beauties feeks the heath
Barren and pathlefs, where with guilt appall'd
Stalks the lone murderer: Then thou rid't the ftorm,
And midft the crash of elements wakeful fit'ft
On fome rude rock 'gainft which the foaming deep
Bresks fearful, liftening to the fruitless fhrieks
Of fhipwreck'd mariners; or, if the paft
Delight thee more, wing'ft thy excurfive foul
To hover o'er his tomb whofe lofs thou mourn'ft,
That favour'd child who fleeps on Avon's banks,
Crown'd with eternal fame.-O should my feet
Not too unhallow'd feem, gladly I'd trace
Thy fteps o'er hill and vale, with thee afcend
The craggy fummits of yon mountains clad
In ever-during ice, or from it's foarce
Purfue the torrent to the opening lake.

The description commences in a natural and agreeable manner with a collective view of these ftupendous mountains;

Rev. May, 1763.

C c


In this wild fcene of nature's true fublime
What profpects rife! Rocks above rocks appear,
Mix with th' incumbent clouds, and laugh to fcorn
All the proud boasts of art. In purest snow
Some m ntled, others their enormous backs
Heave high with foretts crown'd; nor midft the view
Are wanting those who their infulting heads
Uprear, barren and bleak, as in contempt
Of vegetative laws.

This short sketch of the magnificent fcenery is followed by the natural hiftory of the Alps:

deep within their bowels lies

The marble various-vein'd; and the rich ore

Winds it's flow growth: nor here unfrequent found
The cryftal, catching from it's mineral bed
A changeful tinge, yellow, or red, or green,
Azure, or violet, wanting ftrength alone
To be the gem it mimics.-On thefe heights
Blooms many a modest flowret scarcely known
E'en to the vale beneath, tho' sweet as those,
That, when proud Rome was mistress of the world,
Adorn'd the fhrines of FLORA. Many a fhrub
Of fovereign ufe, and medicinal herb
Spread humbly forth their leaves, by careless foot
Of thepherd trampled, 'till fome chance difclofe
Their latent virtues.

the trickling rill prefents
Slow bubbling out a falutary draught,
With ore impregnated, it's mazy path
Tinging like goid ;-

Here the fleet roebuck darts, as thro' the woods
The hunter's horn re-echoes; here the wolf
Prowls favage, fhunning, fave by want compell'd,
The haunts of men; tardy and cautious moves
The clumsy bear; the timorous leveret too
In his white hue confiding, on the Inow
Rests fearless and unmark'd; while o'er the cliffs
Most rude, and.cas'd by Winter's icy hand,
Wild as the scene he loves, the ibex * bounds.

Thus the Poet, by difcharging the offices of the Hiftorian and the Philofopher, exalts the capacity and the dignity of his art. In his defcription of the famous fall of the Rhine he had a large fcope for imitative harmony, but he feems to have contented himself with precifion of imagery:

A fpecies of wild Goats inhabiting the coldeft parts of the Alps.

Here the double Rhine

Blends it's twin-ftreams yet flender, and from COIRE
In circuit fweeps to CONSTANCE, then adown
The rugged cliffs of LAUFFEN furious pours
The boiling cataract, with thundering roar
Far-echoed in it's dafhing fall the foam
Snatch'd by the eddying winds, difperfes round
A mifty fhower-

After having enumerated fome rivers of inferior note, which have their fource in the Alps, the Poet ftrikes out the following beautiful image :

Thefe as they glide along furvey their banks
Circled with mountains that
Beneath the woods they bear-

appear to bend

Of these mountains one in particular is defcribed with great precifion and a peculiar air:

-the mournful larch

It's drooping foliage hangs: the ftately pines,
Their boughs together mix'd, in close array
(Wedg'd like the ancient Phalanx) from the axe
Rear their tall heads fecure, on craggy cliffs
Rooted, or over precipices dread
Waving their umbrage broad-

But though fome of thefe ftupendous hills are altogether inacceffable, there are others which have fubmitted to human industry :

-other hills

Tho' painful their afcent, fpread their steep fides
Rich in the gifts of CERES, where the plow.
Might feem a ftranger; yet the barren rock,
That but a quarry fhews, on it's wide top
Expands fair paftures, where the villager.
What time the fnow beneath the vernal fun
Diffolves, leads up his flocks, to pass the heats
In rural cares, 'till the dark shortening day,
And the rough blaft, which herald-like precedes
Th' approach of wir ter, warns him to the vale.

From the fummit of the Saleve, a high mountain about four or five miles diftant from Geneva, rifing perpendicularly above the Arve, and commanding a delightful view of the lake, and the different countries that lie round it, our Author prefents us with a very agreeable prospect :

On thy brow, SALEVE,

(Thy well-known brow that hath so often woo'd

Cc 2


My penfive mind) I catch with greedy eye
Th' inchanting landkape, beyond fiction fair;
Where towns and caftles lie difpers'd, and woods,
And ruddy vineyards, where, it's proudest boat,
Geneva's turrets rife, and yon blue lake

A far-ftretch'd mirror fpreads: it's bofom fhews
Th' inverted profpect circled in with hills
And cliffs, a theatre immenfe!

When we behold Alp piled above Alp in horrible magnificence, we even tremble for the hardy Traveller

who dares attempt

The GLACIER's flippery tract, or climbs the fteeps
Of ToURNE, or St. GOTHARD, or hath join'd
The toiling paffengers o'er CENIS' mount,
Or great ST. BERNARD: fcarce the aching fight
Suftains the view, rocks beyond rocks arise
In ever-varying fhapes. There piles of fnow
And dashing cataracts chill; here a thick mist
Steals on us while we gaze, and all below

Like one wide ocean fhews! it breaks,-it fleets!
A new creation burfts upon our fight,

Clear and more clear emerging; now distinct

In the fair plain behold the lab'ring ox,
The bufied husbandman, and thepherd boys
Tending their fleecy fold

The progreffion of imagery in the above quotation is extremely beautiful. This is the peculiar excellence of poetry, and gives it the fuperiority over painting.

But the poet himself feems not more delighted with the grand fcenery of thefe wild mountains, nor does he entertain his Readers more agreeably with that, than with the liberty and fecurity which the inhabitants of thefe regions enjoyed while the circumjacent countries were involved in war. The defcription here is extremely poetical and animated:

Thrice happy regions! could we mount the winds,
And poft around the globe, where should we find
A calmer dwelling? while deftructive war
With difcord leagu'd, rings her infernal peal
Maddening men's brains, thy vallies only hear
The founds of peace; the fwain fecurely fows
-His fertile fields, nor fears a hoftile hand
Shall reap the harvest.Italy may boast
It's ripening fun, it's azure fkies; how fweet
Are Arno's fruitful banks! how proudly fmile
Thy hills, imperial Florence! nor to me
Unknown thy myrtle fhades, thy orange groves,


« PreviousContinue »