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JONABLE CRITICISM,” is, in general, equally abhorrent from the principles of every upright man ;-and, distinguished as are some of the masterly and eloquent articles in the Quarterly Review, as far as poetry and works of taste are concerned, the writers have at least evinced their sincerity in one respect, that is, to have “NO PRINCIPLES” at all! either in poetry or criticism.
Having thus replied to what appears most essential in the criticism of the Quarterly, I would willingly part with my Reviewer; but a few words more may be added on his concluding observations respecting the poetical character of him whose life and writings have caused these animadversions.
It is said, “ In vain would our populace of poets estrange themselves from Pope, because
“ He stoop'd to truth, and moralized his song.", Answer. Where he stoop'd to truth, and moralized his song, his province is no longer that of imagination and PASSION ; it is, and it must be,“ truth and morals," and not“ imagination and passion," the highest sources of the terrible, sublime, pathetic, and beautiful in poetry. But who, “ among the populace of poets,” would · 09trange” themselves from POPE I know not. He has attained an
” unquestioned, an unrivalled place, in his own line of poetry, from which I should pity any one who could wish or attempt to remove him. His excellence in his art is unrivalled, and I, for one, have admitted that he stands before every poet in his line of art, ancient or modern.
Is Horace no great poet? Is Juvenal no great poet? Are OVD, TIBULLUS, CATULLUS, no great poets? I have already said, and I must repeat, his Eloisa stands as much above the elegies of CATULLUS, TIBULLUS, and Ovid), as his satires are above those of JUVENAL and Horace. Will the reader believe I have said this distinctly and unreservedly before?
If, in looking over what is remarked specifically of the Satires, I have dwelt too much on his bitter tone of personal invective, it was not for want of feeling his beauties that I did not say more, but because I thought, on these points, it was excellence that all admitted. I have endeavoured to show upon what principles his line of poetry could not be pronounced the most excellent, whilst HOMER and SAAKSPEARE, and SOPHOCLES, and EURIPIDES, live; and to prevent that confusion which often arises when we pronounce that this poet, or that painter, is at the head of his art ! But, I should think that not only the “populace of poets,” but all who have any discriminating sense and taste; who, whilst they know what distinguishes MILTON and DANTE, know also what distinguishes Pope; who read him, and recur to him, as much as they do who think he is "disparaged,” have admitted, and cheerfully admit, that he carried his art
to the highest point of excellence, as far as his own excellence, in his own line, was concerned ; that all who went before, in ibis line, never reached, and all who come after probably never will reach, this excellence; that he will still remain unrivalled for the correctness and delicacy of his taste, as well as the vigor of his judgment;" that in “poetical expression” and versification, (with some abatements in the latter,) he will be superior, as long as poetical expression and exquisite versification distinguish his species of excellence; but that, nevertheless, “nature," not manners-passics and imagination, not “truth” or morals—will afford the highest specimens of the works of a great poet, provided the execution equals the subject, in spite of Quarterly Reviewers and all the FAMILY of GILCHRISTS, or D'ISRAELIS, in the world!
END OF NO XL.