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And yet, believe me, good as well as ill, Woman's at best a Contradiction still.
270 Heav'n, when it strives to polish all it can Its last best work, but forms a softer Man; Picks from each sex, to make the Fav’rite blest, Your love of Pleasure, our desire of Rest: Blends, in exception to all gen’ral rules, 275 Your Taste of Follies, with our Scorn of Fools : Reserve with Frankness, Art with Truth ally’d, Courage with Softness, Modesty with Pride; Fix'd Principles, with Fancy ever new; Shakes all together, and produces--You. 280
Be this a Woman's Fame: with this unblest, Toasts live a scorn, and Queens may die a jest. This Phoebus promis'd (I forget the year) When those blue eyes first open'd on the sphere; Ascendant Phoebus watch'd that hour with care, Averted half your Parents' simple Pray’r; 286
NOTES. Ver. 269. The picture of an estimable woman, with the best kind of contrarieties created out of the Poet's imagination; who therefore feigned those circumstances of a husband, a daughter, and love for a sister, to prevent her being mistaken for any of his acquaintance. And having thus made his Woman, he did, as the ancient Poets were wont, when they had made their Muse, invoke and address his poem to her. W.
Ver. 270. a Contradiction still.] So also has he shewn Man to be in the Essay.
Ver. 280. And produces— You.] The turn of these lines is exactly the same with those of Mrs. Biddy Floyd : Swift's Miscellanies, vol. iv. p. 142.
“ Jove mix'd up all, and his best clay employ’d,
Then call’d the happy composition.-Floyd.” Mrs. Patty Blount was always, at first, supposed to be the lady here addressed—"produces You."
And gave you Beauty, but deny’d the Pelfi
NOTES. Ver. 291. The world shall know it.] This is an unmeaning expression, and a poor expletive, into which our Poet was unfortunately forced by the rhyme.
“ Maudit soit le premier, dont la verve insensée. .
Boileau, Sat. ii. v. 53. Rhyme also could alone be the occasion of the following faulty expressions; taken, too, from some of his most finished pieces :
:- Not Cæsar's empress would I deign to prove”-
- “can no wants endure”
can have no flaw”–
_" take scandal at a spark”----“do the knack, and—do the feat” — And more instances might be added, if it were not disagreeable to observe these straws in amber. But if rhyme occasions such inconveniences and improprieties in so exact a writer as our Author, what can be expected from inferior versifiers? It is not my intention to enter in a trite and tedious discussion of the several merits of rhyme and blank verse. Perhaps rhyme may be properest for shorter pieces; for: lyric,' elegiac, and satiric, poems; for pieces where closeness of expression and smartness of style are expected; but for subjects of a higher order, where any enthusiasm or emotion is to be expressed, or for poems of a greater length, blank verse is undoubtedly preferable. An epic poem in rhyme appears to be such a sort of thing as the Æneid would have been if it had been written like Ovid's Fasti, in hexameter and pentaneter verses; and the reading it would have been as tedious as the travelling through the one long, strait avenue of firs that leads from Moscow to Petersburgh. I will give the reader Mr. Pope's own opinion on this subject, and in his own words, as delivered to Mr. Spence : “I have nothing to say for rhyme; but that I doubt if a poem can support itself without it in our language, unless it be stiffened with such strange words as are likely to destroy our language itself. The high style that is affected so much in blank verse would not have been supported even in Milton, had not his subject turned so much on such strange and out-of-the-world things as it does.” May we not, however, venture to observe, that more of that true harmony, which will best support a poem, will result from a variety of pauses, and from an intermixture of those different feet (iambic and trochaïc particularly) into which our language naturally falls, than from the uniformity of similar terminations. “There can be no music,” says Cowley, “with only one note.” See Mr. Webb's excellent Observations on Rhyme and Blank Verse, in his Beauties of Poetry
Dr. Adam Smith, as well as Fontenelle, thought that much of the pleasure we receive from the imitative arts arose from the difficulty of imitation. Voltaire also, in the preface to his Edipus, talks of the pleasure arising from the difficulté surmontée with respect to rhyme. But Smith, with whom I lived many years in a state of intimacy, was always a lover of French poetry, as was his friend David Hume. After all, we cannot subscribe to the authoritative decision of a certain noted critic, “that our epic compositions are found most pleasing when clothed in rhyme: And that the generality of readers, if left to themselves, and were not prejudiced by their admiration of the Greek and Latin languages, would be more delighted with Milton, if, besides his various pause and measured quantity, he had enriched his numbers with rhyme.” This may remind us of the opinion of another learned prelate, who says, “that Paradise Lost was much admired, though the author affected to write it in blank verse." Burnet's Hist. vol. i.
ALLEN LORD BATHURST.
Of the Use of RICHES.
THAT it is known to few, most falling into one of the extremes
Avarice or Profusion, Ver. 1, &c. The Point discussed, whether the invention of Money has been more commodious or pernicious to Mankind, Ver. 21 to 77. That Riches either to the Avaricious or the Prodigal, cannot afford Happiness, scarcely necessaries, Ver. 89 to 160. That Avarice is an absolute Frenzy, without an End or Purpose, Ver. 113, &c. 152. Conjectures about the Motives of Avaricious Men, Ver. 121 to 153.
That the conduct of Men, with respect to Riches, can only be accounted for by the ORDER OF PROVIDENCE, which works the general Good out of Extremes, and brings all to its great End by perpetual Revolutions, Ver. 161 to 178. How a Miser acts upon Principles which appear to him reasonable, Ver. 179. How a Prodigal does the same, Ver. 199. The due Medium and true Use of Riches, Ver. 219. The Man of Ross, Ver. 250.
The fate of the Profuse and the Covetous, in two examples; both miserable in Life and in Death, Ver. 300, &c. The Story of Sir Balaam, Ver. 339 to the End.