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are now closed by the hand of death. It has been objected to her, and perhaps not without some foundation, that she has not paid so much attention to morality and religion in her various publications, as she might have done; that she has not assisted her readers to draw the proper inferences from her characters, and the situations in which she has placed them; and therefore that the enjoyment of harmless pleasure and some improvement of our mental faculties, are the only advantages to be derived from the perusal of her works. Admitting the fact,

be said in her excuse; disappointed in, and made wretched by, the tenderest connection of human life, she was left to struggle for herself and family, against every species of treachery and oppression, that the chicanery of law, directed by bad hands, could exercise against her:

much may

The world was not her friend, nor the world's law.”

She found no helping hand to rescue her from the grasp of poverty, and bid her freely exercise the powers of her genius without being dependant on them for bread. Ill educated (that is, with respect to the most important point of education) and worse married; neglected by this world, and never taught to look up with earnest, though “trembling hope" to another, it is no wonder that she did not incul. cate more strongly principles of which she knew not the value. It is no smali merit that neither in her language nor her sentiments she has strengthened bad ones; and in the only work which may be deemed of a contrary tendency, the errors both moral and political seem to have proceeded from the head rather than from the heart.

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Feb. 2, 1807.

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N° III.

On the different Taste of Virgil and Horace with

respect to Rural Scenery.

It has been observed long since, that no man can be a poet without being sensible of the charms of the country.

Scriptorum chorus omnis amat nemus, et fugit urbes;” that is, in theory: for in fact it is not absolutely the case. And the reason of this supposed preference is not so much on account of the undisturbed quiet of rural retirement, (for that may be had, as to all the purposes of writing and reflection, in Fleet Street, as well as in Johnny Grote's house) but because the sublime and beautiful of nature so much assists, invigorates, and inspires a poetic imagination. To the moral and didactic muse indeed - crowded cities" and “the busy hum of men” may be useful in furnishing materials; and for that reason, perhaps, among others, Johnson, Goldsmith, and many more, have preferred London to any retirement, however beautiful; but in the higher walks of poetry the tumult of a crowded city can only serve to confuse and derange the ideas. Amidst the “ fumum et opes

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strepitumque Romæ," on what objects can the “ fine frenzy" of a “poet's eye" delight to glance; with what views of nature can he assist his fancy d

Hence we find, that however poets may in other respects differ from each other, they all agree in celebrating the praises of the country. Even those who as men could hardly exist out of the atmosphere of Rome or London, as poets have not dared to avow a predilection so disgraceful and almost unnatural--almost impious indeed, if the strong and nervous expression of Cowper, in his truly original style,

“ God made the country, but man made the town,"e

could be understood in its literal sense.

But however poets may agree in this general principle, they vary greatly in the application of it, and in their preference of particular scenery are by no means guided by the same taste.

A remarkable instance of this (which as far as I know has not been noticed before) appears in the two most celebrated poets of the Augustan age, Virgil and Horace. Though born in different parts of Italy, Rome was their common centre, and though both of them speak in raptures of rural

d“ Hac rabiosa ruit canis, hac lutulenta ruit sus.

I nunc, et versus tecum meditare canoros. Hor. e This however is the remark, and I believe the language, of Cowley

scenery and the magnificence of nature, they place the greatest perfection of it in countries very different from each other as well as distant. It is worthy of notice also, that each of them had travelled through the same parts, that is, all over Italy, Greece, and the intervening country, and neither of them fixes on his own natal soil. Virgil indeed was so partial to his, that he wishes there to enjoy his fame, and end his days. He was born near Mantua, and he promises to build a temple on the lake through which the slow and reedy Mincius takes its wandering course. He praises the fertility of the soil, and asserts that Italy is superior to the richest parts of Asia. But this assertion is made, not with regard to the beauties of its scenery, but the usefulness of its productions, and its freedom from noxious animals.

Not however that the elegant poet was insensible to the charms of Nature ; for, in perhaps the most highly finished and admirable

passage

which all antiquity can furnish, he has given the reins to his fancy in the praise of the country and of a

f See Georg. II. v. 136, &c. and Georg. III. 13. The exactness of the poet's description is admirable. 'The Mincius slowly winding through a flat rich country forms a lake at Mane tua; there he promises to build his temple, propter aquam, which ought to be rendered near the lake; a nicety passed over, I believe, by his commentators and translators.

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