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IL PENSEROSO.

I have heard a very judicious critic say, that he had a higher idea of Milton's style in poetry, from the two following poems, than from his Paradise Lost. It is certain, the imagination shown in them is correct and strong. The introduction to both in irregular measure is borrowed from the Italians, and hurts an English ear.

AN ELEGY,

WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCH-YARD.

This is a very fine poem, but overloaded with epithet. The heroic measure, with alternate rhyme, is very properly adapted to the solemnity of the subject, as it is the slowest movement that our language admits of. The latter part of the poem is pathetic and interesting.

LONDON,

IN IMITATION OF THE THIRD SATIRE OF JUVENAL.

This poem of Mr Johnson's is the best imitation of the original that has appeared in our language, being possessed of all the force and satirical resentment of Juvenal. Imitation gives us a much truer idea of the ancients than even translation could do.

THE SCHOOL-MISTRESS,

IN IMITATION OF SPENSER.

This poem is one of those happinesses in which a poet excels himself, as there is nothing in all Shenstone which any way approaches it in merit; and, though I dislike the imitations of our old English poets in general, yet, on this

minute subject, the antiquity of the style produces a very ludicrous solemnity.

COOPER'S HILL.

This poem by Denham, though it may have been exceeded by later attempts in description, yet deserves the highest applause, as it far surpasses all that went before it: the concluding part, though a little too much crowded, is very masterly.

ELOISA TO ABELARD.

The harmony of numbers in this poem is very fine. It is rather drawn out to too tedious a length, although the passions vary with great judgment. It may be considered as superiour to any thing in the epistolary way; and the many translations which have been made of it into the modern languages, are in some measure a proof of this.

AN EPISTLE FROM MR PHILIPS

TO THE

EARL OF DORSET.

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The opening of this poem is incomparably fine. The latter part is tedious and trifling.

A LETTER FROM ITALY

TO THE

RIGHT HONOURABLE CHARLES LORD HALIFAX, 1701.

Few poems have done more honour to English genius than this. There is in it a strain of political thinking that was, at that time, new in our poetry. Had the harmony

of this been equal to that of Pope's versification, it would be incontestably the finest poem in our language; but there is a dryness in the numbers, which greatly lessens the pleasure excited both by the poet's judgment and imagination.

ALEXANDER'S FEAST; OR, THE POWER OF MUSIC.

AN ODE IN HONOUR OF ST CECILIA'S DAY,

This ode has been more applauded, perhaps, than it has been felt; however, it is a very fine one, and gives its beauties rather at a third or fourth than at a first perusal.

ODE FOR MUSIC ON ST CECILIA'S DAY.

This ode has by many been thought equal to the former. As it is a repetition of Dryden's manner, it is so far inferior to him. The whole hint of Orpheus, with many of the lines, has been taken from an obscure Ode upon Music, published in Tate's Miscellanies.

THE SHEPHERD'S WEEK,

IN SIX PASTORALS.

These are Mr Gay's principal performance. They were originally intended, I suppose, as a burlesque on those of Philips; but perhaps, without designing it, he has hit the true spirit of pastoral poetry. In fact, he more resembles Theocritus than any other English pastoral writer whatsoever. There runs through the whole a strain of rustic pleasantry, which should ever distinguish this species of composition; but how far the antiquated expressions used

here may contribute to the humour, I will not determine; for my own part, I could wish the simplicity were preserved, without recurring to such obsolete antiquity for the manner of expressing it.

MAC FLECKNOE.

The severity of this satire, and the excellence of its versification, give it a distinguished rank in this species of composition. At present, an ordinary reader would scarcely suppose that Shadwell, who is here meant by Mac Flecknoe, was worth being chastised; and that Dryden, descending to such game, was like an eagle stooping to catch flies.

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Here follows one of the best versified poems in our language, and the most masterly production of its author. The severity with which Walpole is here treated, was in consequence of that minister's having of that minister's having refused to provide for Swift in England, when applied to for that purpose, in the year 1725 (if I remember right). The severity of a poet, however, gave Walpole very little uneasiness. A man whose schemes, like this minister's, seldom extended beyond the exigency of the year, but little regarded the contempt of posterity.

OF THE USE OF RICHES.

This poem, as Mr Pope tells us himself, cost much attention and labour; and from the easiness that appears in it, one would be apt to think as much.

FROM THE DISPENSARY.-CANTO VI.

This sixth canto of the Dispensary, by Dr Garth, has more merit than the whole preceding part of the poem, and, as I am told, in the first edition of this work, it is more correct than as here exhibited; but that edition I have not been able to find. The praises bestowed on this poem are more than have been given to any other; but our approbation at present is cooler, for it owed part of its fame to party.

SELIM; OR, THE SHEPHERD'S MORAL.

The following eclogues, written by Mr Collins, are very pretty; the images, it must be owned, are not very local; for the pastoral subject could not well admit of it. The description of Asiatic magnificence and manners is a subject as yet unattempted amongst us, and, I believe, capable of furnishing a great variety of poetical imagery.

THE SPLENDID SHILLING.

This is reckoned the best parody of Milton in our language: it has been a hundred times imitated without success. The truth is, the first thing in this way must preclude all future attempts; for nothing is so easy as to burlesque any man's manner, when we are once showed the

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