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descriptions of scenery are general and without individuality.
On account of their excessive ornament, antitheses, epigrammatic flourishes, and the quantity of superfluous words thrust into them for the sake of rhyme, Pope's versions of the Iliad and Odyssey can afford no gratification to those readers who thoroughly relish the severe and simple genius of antiquity.
Pope formed his style on that of Dryden. He has less enthusiasm, less majesty, less force of thought, than his great model, but he has more delicacy of feeling, more refinement, and more correctness. If he never soars to the height which Dryden reached when “the full burst of inspiration came," he never sinks so low as his master ofttimes fell. While soothed by the exquisitely sweet, but somewhat monotonous couplets of Pope, we occasionally long for the bolder and more varied music of Dryden's lines.
1 Cowper says justly of our author,
"But he (his musical finesse was such,
PLAN OF AN EPIC POEM, ETC.
FROM RUFFHEAD'S LIFE OF POPE, P. 410, ET SEQ.
"THE poem was to have been entitled Brutus. As Æneas was famed for his piety, so his grandson's characteristic was benevolence; the first predominant principle of his character, which prompted his endeavours to redeem the remains of his countrymen, the descendants from Troy, then captives in Greece, and to establish their freedom and felicity in a just form of government.
"He goes to Epirus; from thence he travels all over Greece; collects all the scattered Trojans ; and redeems them with the treasures he brought from Italy.
"Having collected his scattered countrymen, he consults the oracle of Dodona, and is promised a settlement in an island, which, from the descrip tion, appears to have been Britain. He then puts to sea, and enters the Atlantic Ocean.
"The first book was intended to open with the appearance of Brutus at the Straits of Calpe, in sight of the Pillars of Hercules (the ne plus ultra). He was to have been introduced debating in council with his captains, whether it was advisable to launch into the great ocean, on an enterprise bold and hazardous as that of the great Columbus
"One reason, among others, assigned by Brutus, for attempting the great ocean in search of a new country was, that he entertained no prospect of introducing pure manners in any part of the then known world; but that he might do it among a people uncorrupt in their manners, worthy to be made happy, and wanting only arts and laws to that purpose.
"A debate ensues. Pisander, an old Trojan, is rather for settling in Betica, a rich country near the Straits, within the Mediterranean, of whose wealth they heard great fame at Carthage.
"Brutus apprehends that the softness of the climate, and the gold found there, would corrupt their manners; besides, that the Tyrians, who had established great commerce there, had introduced their superstitions among the natives, and made them unapt to receive the instructions he was desirous to give.
"Cloanthes, one of his captains, out of avarice and effeminacy, nevertheless desires to settle in a rich and fertile country, rather than to tempt the dangers of the ocean, out of a romantic notion of heroism.
"This has such an effect, that the whole council, being dismayed, are unwilling to pass the Straits, and venture into the great ocean; plead ing the example of Hercules for not advancing farther, and urging the presumption of going beyond a god. To which Brutus, rising with emotion, answers, that Hercules was but a mortal