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ambition after the ornaments and machinery of poetry. His craving after foreign help perhaps shows the want of the internal impulse. His Elegy in a Country Churchyard, which is the most simple, is the best of his productions.
CHURCHILL is a fine rough satirist. He had sense, wit, eloquence, and honesty.
GOLDSMITH, both in verse and prose, was one of the most delightful writers in the language. His verse flows like a limpid stream. His ease is quite unconscious. Every thing in him is spontaneous, unstudied, unaffected, yet elegant, harmonious, graceful, nearly faultless. Without the point or refinement of Pope, he has more natural tenderness, a greater suavity of manner, a more genial spirit. Goldsmith never rises into sublimity, and seldom sinks into insipidity, or stumbles upon coarseness. His Traveller contains masterly national sketches. The Deserted Village is sometimes spun out into a mawkish sentimentality; but the characters of the Village Schoolmaster, and the Village Clergyman, redeem a hundred faults. His Retaliation is a poem of exquisite spirit, humour, and freedom of style.
ARMSTRONG'S Art of Preserving Health displays a fine natural vein of sense and poetry on a most unpromising subject.
CHATTERTON'S Remains show great premature power, but are chiefly interesting from his fate. He discovered great boldness of spirit and versatility of talent; yet probably, if he had lived, would not have increased his reputation for genius.
THOMAS WARTON was a man of taste and genius. His SONNETS I cannot help preferring to any in the language.
COWPER is the last of the English poets in the first division of this collection, but though last, not least. He is, after Thomson, the best of our descriptive poetsmore minute and graphical, but with less warmth of feeling and natural enthusiasm than the author of THE SEASONS. He has also fine manly sense, a pensive and interesting turn of thought, tenderness occasionally running into the most touching pathos, and a patriotic or religious zeal mounting almost into sublimity. He had great simplicity with terseness of style: his versification is neither strikingly faulty nor excellent. His occasional copies of verses have great elegance; and his John Gilpin is one of the most humorous pieces in the language.
BURNS concludes the series of the ILLUSTRIOUS DEAD; and one might be tempted to write an elegy rather than a criticism on him. In naïveté, in spirit, in characteristic humour, in vivid description of natural objects and of the natural feelings of the heart, he has left behind him no superior.
Some additions have been made in the Miscellaneous part of the volume, from the Lyrical effusions of the elder Dramatists, whose beauty, it is presumed, can never decay, whose sweetness can never cloy!