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troops. It is this very harmony, particularly in Pope, which has raised the vulgar and atrocious cant against him: - because his versification is perfect, it is assumed that it is his only perfection; because his truths are so clear, it is asserted that he has no invention; and because he is always intelligible, it is taken for granted that he has no genius. We are sneeringly told that he is the Poet of Reason,' as if this was a reason for his being no poet. Taking passage for passage, I will undertake to cite more lines teeming with imagination from Pope than from any two living poets, be they who they may. To take an instance at random from a species of composition not very favourable to imagination- Satire · set down the character of Sporus, with all the wonderful play of fancy which is scattered over it, and place by its side an equal number of verses, from any two existing poets, of the same power and the same variety — where will you find them?

"I merely mention one instance of many in reply to the injustice done to the memory of him who harmonised our poetical language. The attorneys' clerks, and other self-educated genii, found it easier to distort themselves to the new models than to toil after the symmetry of him who had enchanted their fathers. They were besides smitten by being told that the new school were to revive the language of Queen Elizabeth, the true English; as every body in the reign of Queen Anne wrote no better than French, by a species of literary treason.

"Blank verse, which, unless in the drama, no one except Milton ever wrote who could rhyme, became

the order of the day,- or else such rhyme as looked still blanker than the verse without it. I am aware that Johnson has said, after some hesitation, that he could not 'prevail upon himself to wish that Milton had been a rhymer.' The opinions of that truly great man, whom it is also the present fashion to decry, will ever be received by me with that deference which time will restore to him from all; but, with all humility, I am not persuaded that the Paradise Lost would not have been more nobly conveyed to posterity, not perhaps in heroic couplets, although even they could sustain the subject if well balanced, but in the stanza of Spenser, or of Tasso, or in the terza rima of Dante, which the powers of Milton could easily have grafted on our language. The Seasons of Thomson would have been better in rhyme, although still inferior to his Castle of Indolence; and Mr. Southey's Joan of Arc no worse, although it might have taken up six months instead of weeks in the composition. I recommend also to the lovers of lyrics the perusal of the present laureate's odes by the side of Dryden's on Saint Cecilia, but let him be sure to read first those of Mr. Southey.


"To the heaven-born genii and inspired young scriveners of the day much of this will appear paradox; it will appear so even to the higher order of our critics; but it was a truism twenty years ago, and it will be a re-acknowledged truth in ten more. In the mean time, I will conclude with two quotations, both intended for some of my old classical friends who have still enough of Cambridge about them to think themselves honoured by having had

John Dryden as a predecessor in their college, and to recollect that their earliest English poetical pleasures were drawn from the little nightingale' of Twickenham.


"The first is from the notes to a Poem of the Friends,' pages 181, 182.

"It is only within the last twenty or thirty years that those notable discoveries in criticism have been made which have taught our recent versifiers to undervalue this energetic, melodious, and moral poet. The consequences of this want of due esteem for a writer whom the good sense of our predecessors had raised to his proper station have been NUMEROUS AND DEGRADING enough. This is not the place to enter into the subject, even as far as it affects our poetical numbers alone, and there is matter of more importance that requires present reflection.'

"The second is from the volume of a young person learning to write poetry, and beginning by teaching the art. Hear him† :

*Written by Lord Byron's early friend, the Rev. Francis Hodgson.

+ The strange verses that follow are from a poem by Keats. -In a manuscript note on this passage of the pamphlet, dated November 12. 1821, Lord Byron says, "Mr. Keats died at Rome about a year after this was written, of a decline produced by his having burst a blood-vessel on reading the article on his Endymion' in the Quarterly Review. have read the article before and since; and, although it is bitter, I do not think that a man should permit himself to be killed by it. But a young man little dreams what he must inevitably encounter in the course of a life ambitious of public


"But ye were dead

To things ye knew not of—were closely wed
To musty laws lined out with wretched rule
And compass vile; so that ye taught a school
Of dolts to smooth, inlay, and chip, and fit,
Till, like the certain wands of Jacob's wit,
Their verses tallied. Easy was the task:
A thousand handicraftsmen wore the mask
Of poesy. Ill-fated, impious race,

That blasphemed the bright lyrist to his face,
And did not know it; no, they went about
Holding a poor decrepit standard out

Mark'd with most flimsy mottos, and in large
The name of one Boileau.'

"A little before the manner of Pope is termed

"A scism†,

Nurtured by foppery and barbarism,

Made great Apollo blush for this his land.'

"I thought foppery' was a consequence of refinement; but n'importe.

"The above will suffice to show the notions entertained by the new performers on the English

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notice. My indignation at Mr. Keats's depreciation of Pope has hardly permitted me to do justice to his own genius, which, malgrè all the fantastic fopperies of his style, was undoubtedly of great promise. His fragment of Hyperion' seems actually inspired by the Titans, and is as sublime as Eschylus. He is a loss to our literature; and the more so, as he himself, before his death, is said to have been persuaded that he had not taken the right line, and was reforming his style upon the more classical models of the language."


"It was at least a grammar school.'"

+ "So spelt by the author."

lyre of him who made it most tunable, and the great improvements of their own variazioni.


“The writer of this is a tadpole of the Lakes, a young disciple of the six or seven new schools, in which he has learnt to write such lines and such sentiments as the above. He says, easy was the task' of imitating Pope, or it may be of equalling him, I presume. I recommend him to try before he is so positive on the subject, and then compare what he will have then written and what he has now written with the humblest and earliest compositions of Pope, produced in years still more youthful than those of Mr. K. when he invented his new Essay on Criticism,' entitled Sleep and Poetry' (an ominous title), from whence the above canons are taken. Pope's was written at nineteen, and published at twenty-two.

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"Such are the triumphs of the new schools, and such their scholars. The disciples of Pope were Johnson, Goldsmith, Rogers, Campbell, Crabbe. Gifford, Matthias, Hayley, and the author of the Paradise of Coquettes; to whom may be added Richards, Heber, Wrangham, Bland, Hodgson, Merivale, and others who have not had their full fame, because the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong,' and because there is a fortune in fame as in all other things. Now of all the new schools-I say all, for, like Legion, they are many'—has there appeared a single scholar who has not made his master ashamed of him? unless it be **, who has imitated every body, and occasionally surpassed his models. Scott found peculiar

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