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النشر الإلكتروني

Virtuous and wise he was, but not severe ;
He still remember'd that he once was young ;.
His easy presence check'd no decent joy.
Him e'en the diffolute admir'd ;. for he
A graceful looseness, when he pleas'd, put on,
And laughing could instruct. Much had he read,
Much more had seen ; he studied from the life,
And in th' original perus'd mankind.

In the parts that follow are contain'd some lessons for the conduct of life, from which we shall insert a few inaxims.

Vers'd in the woes and vanities of life,
He pity'd man :- and much he pity'd those
Whom fallly-smiling, fate has curs'd with means
To dissipate their days in quest of joy.

With respect to indolence and luxury we have this lel. fon, which concludes with a definition of virtue and fenfe, and their good effects.

Let nature rest: be busy for yourself,
And for your friend ; be busy even in vain,
Rather than teize her sated appetites.
Who never fasts, no banquet e’er enjoys ;.
Who never toils nor watches, never sleeps.
Let nature rest: and when the taste of joy
Grows keen, indulge ; but fhun satiety.
'Tis not for mortals always to be blest.
But him the least the dull or painful hours
Of life oppress, whom sober sense conducts,
And virtue, thro’this labyrinth we tread.
Virtue and sense I mean not to disjoin ;
Virtue and sense are one : and, trust
Who has not virtue, is not truly wise.
Virtue (for mere good nature is a fool)
Is sense and spirit, with humanity;
"Tis sometimes angry, and its frown confounds;
'Tis even vindictive, but in vengeance just.
This is the folid pomp of prosperous days;
The peace and thelter of adversity,

me, he

The gawdy glors of fortune only strikes
'The vulgar eye: the suffrage of the wise,
The praise that's worth ambition, is attain'd
By sense alone, and dignity of mind.

But from this disgression (or episode) the poet naturally returns to his subject.

Thus, in his graver vein, the friendly fage
Sometimes declaim'd. Of right and wrong he taught
Truths as refin'd as ever Athens heard ;
And (ft....ge to tell!) he practis'd what he preach'd.
Skill'd in the passions, how to check their sway
He knew, as far as reason can controul
The lawless powers.

But other cares are mine :
Form'd in the school of Pæon, I relate
What passions hurt the body, what improve :
Avoid them, or invite them, as you may.

Know then, whatever chearful and serene
Supports the mind, supports the body too.
Hence the most vital movement mortals feel
Is hope ; the balm and life-blood of the soul.
It pleases, and it lasts. Indulgent heaven
Sent down the kind delusion, thro’ the paths
Of rugged life to lead us patient on ;
And make our happiest state no tedious thing.

He then speaks of the good and bad effects of love, and with regard to consummation, he says ;

Is health your care, or luxury your aim,
Be temperate ftill; when nature bids, obey ;
Her wild impatient sallies bear no curb :
But when the prurient habit of delight,
Or loose imagination, spurs you on
'To deeds above your strength, impute it not
To nature : nature all compulsion hates.

The poet then proceeds to other paflons, and the de. scription he has given us of anger and its dreadful cffe&is, is very beautiful and very juft,

But there's a passion, whose tempestuous sway Tears up each virtue planted in the brealt, And takes to ruins proud philofophy. For pale and trembling anger rushes in, With fault'ring speech, and eyes that wildly stare ; Fierce as the tyger, madder than the feas, Desperate, and arm'd with more than human strength. How soon the calm, humane, and polish'd man Forgets compunction, and starts up a fiend! Who pines in love, or wastes with silent cares, Envy, or ignominy, or tender grief, Slowly descends, and ling'ring, to the shades ; But he whom anger flings, drops, if he dies, At once, and rushes apoplectic down ; Or a fierce fever hurries him away. Such fates attend the rafh alarm of fear, And sudden grief, and rage, and sudden joy.

But there are constitutions to which these boisterous fits, these violent sallies of passion, may be sometimes serviceable.

For where the mind a torpid winter leads,
Wrapt in a body corpulent and cold,
And each clogg'd function lazily moves on ;
A generous sally spurns th' incumbent load,
Unlocks the breast, and gives a cordial glow.

Those however whose blood is apt to boil, and who are easily moved to wrath he wou'd have,

Keep lent for ever ; and forswear the bowl,

And then offers something to the consideration of those whose turbulent tempers move them to seek revenge.

While choler works, good friend, you may be wrong; Distrust yourself, and sleep before you fight. "Tis not too late to-inorrow to be brave; If honour bids, to-morrow kill or die. The

poet then seeks a remedy for these evils, sets the contrary passions in opposition, so that they may counteract each other; and at last recommends musick as the most effectual.

He then concludes the whole with an encomium on the power of poetry and of music united, which is enrich'd with allusions to ancient fables and historical facts; materials that we have often recommended as proper ornaments for these sort of poems.

But he the muse's laurel justly Nares,
A poet he, and touch'd with heaven's own fire ;
Who, with bold rage or solemn pomp of sounds,
Inflames, exalts, and ravishes the soul;
Now tender, plaintive, sweet almost to pain,
In love diffolves you ; now in sprightly itrains
Breathes a gay rapture thro' your thrilling breast ;
Or melts the heart with airs divinely sad ;
Or wakes to horror the tremendous strings.
Such was the bard, whose heavenly strains of old
Appeas'd the fiend of melancholy Saul.
Such was, if old and heathen fame say true,
The man who bade the Theban domes ascend,
And tam'd the favage nations with his fong;
And such the Thracian, whose harmonious lyre,
Tun'd to soft woe, made all the mountains weep ;
Sooth'd even th’inexorable powers of hell,
And ha!f. redeem'd his loft Eurydice.
Music exalts each joy, allays each grief,
Expels diseases, softens every pain,
Subdues the rage of poison, and the plague ;
And hence the wise of ancient days ador'd
One power of physic, melody, and song.

We have dwelt long enough, perhaps too long, on this subject ; but as these poems are of such use, that what is taught in this agreeable manner will remain for ever fix'd on the memory, it seem'd the more necessary to be very particular and explicit in the rules, and to give variety of examples. We have only to add to what has been already faid, that the great art in the conduct of these poems is so to adorn and enliven the precepts that they may agreeably strike the imaginations and to de. liver them in such an indirect manner, that, the form of

instruction being concealed, the reader may grow wiser without perceiving he is taught, and that while the most useful lessons are inculcated, the whole may appear only as an amusement. For this reason it is necessary often to digress from the subject, and to introduce episodes of such a nature that at the end they may lead you naturally to your subject again, and then seem of a piece with it. Many in tances of these kinds of digressions may be seen in the authors we have mention'd, but especially in Vire gil, who, after he has been wandering, and to all appearance forgot his husband men and their concerns, is by some happy rural incident, arising naturally out of his subject, brought back to his business again, and connects and makes every thing he has met with conducive to his main design.

In these digressions and episodes it is also of the utmost consequence to introduce the pathetic, and agitate the affections ; for it is ever to be observed, in works of this nature, that a digreffion properly introduced, and so as to awaken the passions, and strike the heart, is of more importance than a multitude of ornamental defcriptions, and will be read again and again with plea. sure ; while, to other passages that are merely inftru&ive, the mind can hardly attend a second time, tho? ever so well decorated. The understanding feels no pleasure in being instructed often in the same thing ; but the heart is ever open to an affecting tale, and receives a pleasure every time it is repeated.

With regard to the style or dress of these poems, it hould be so rich as to hide the nakedness of the subject, and the barrenness of the precepts should be lost in the luftre of the language. • It ought (fays Mr. W'arton *) to abound in the most bold and forcible metaphors, the most glowing and picturesque epithets ; it ought to be elevated and enliven’d by pomp of numbers and majesty of words, and by every figure that can lift a language above the vulgar and current expressions,' One may add, that in.no kind of poetry (not even in the sublime ode) is beauty of expression so much to be regarded as in this. For the epic writer should be very cautious of in

* See his Dissertation on Didactic Poetry.

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