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W LEY Itiuction: but gold may be fo concealed in baser marter, that only a chymist can recover it; sense may be fo hidden in unrefined and plebeian words, that none butphilosophers can distinguish it; and both may be fo buried in impurities, as riot to pay the cost of their extraction.

The diction, being the vehicle of the thoughts, first presents itself to the intellectual eye: and if the first appearance offends, a further knowledge is not often fought.' Whatever professes to benefit by pleasing, muft please at once. The pleasures of the mind imply something sudden and unexpected; that whichi elevates must always surprise. What is perceived by flow degrees may gratify us with consciousness of improveinent, but will never strike with the sense of pleasure.

Of all this, Cowley appears to have been without knowledge, or without care. He makes no selection of words, nor seeks any neatness of phrase: he has no elegances either lucky or elaborate; as his endeavours · were rather to impress sentences upon the understanding than images on the fancy, he has few epithers, and those scattered without peculiar propriety of nice adaptation. It seems to follow from the necessity of the subject, rather than the care of the writer, that the diction of his heroick poem is less familiar than that of his flightest writings. He lias given nor the faine nuinbers, but the same diction, to the gentle Anacreon and the tempestuous Pindar.

His vertification seems to have had very little of his care; and if what he thinks be true, that his numbers are unmusical only when they are ill read, the art of reading them is at present lost; for they are commonly VOL. II. F

harsh

harsh to modern ears. He has indeed many noble lines, such as the feeble care of Waller never could produce. The bulk of his thoughts sometimes swelled his verse to unexpected and inevitable grandeur; but his excellence of this kind is merely fortuitous : he finks willingly down to his general carelessness, and avoids with very little care either meanness or afperity. His contractions are often rugged and harsh:

One ilings a mountain, and its rivers too

Torn up with’t. His rhymes are very often made by pronouns or particles, or the like unimportant words, which disappoint the ear, and destroy the energy of the line.

His combination of different measures is sometimes disfonate and unpleasing; he joins verses together, of which the former does not side easily into the latter.

The words do and did, which so much degrade in present estimation the line that admits thein, were in the time of Cowley little censured or avoided; how often he used them, and with how bad an effect, at least to our ears, will appear by a passage, in which every teader will lament to see just and noble thoughts defrauded of their praise by inelegance of language: Where honour or where conscience docs not blind,

No other law shall shackle ine;

Slave to myself I ne'er will be ;
Nor shall my future actions be confin'd

By my own present mind.
Who by resolves and vows engag'd does stand

For days, that yet belong to fate,
Does like an unthrift mortgage his estate,

Before

Before it falls into his hand,

The bondman of the cloister fo;
All that he does receive does always owe.
And still as Time comes in; it goes away,

Not to enjoy, bút debts to pay !
Unhappy Nave, and pupil to a bell!
Which his hours' work as well as hours does tell
Unhappy till the lást, the kind releasing knell.

His heroick lines are often formed of monosyllables ; 203 but yet they are sometimes sweet and sonorous.

21
He says of the Messiah,
Round the whole carth his dreaded name shåll found,
And reach to worlds that must not yet be found.
In another place, of David,

Yet bid him go securely, when he sends ;
'Tis Saul that is his foe, and we his friends,
The man who has his God, no aid
And we who bid him go, will bring him back.

,

. Yet amidst his negligence he sometimes atteinpted an improved and scientifick versification ; of which it will be best to give his own account subjoined to this line,

Nor can the glory contain itself in th' endless space. “I am sorry that it is necessary to admonish the most

part of readers, that it is not by negligence that this “ verse is so loose, long, and, as is were; vast; it is to “paint in the number the nature of the thing which it “ describes, which I would have observed in divers “ other places of this poem, that else will pass for very k carless verses: as before,

And over-runs the neighb'ring fields wiih violent course.

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Down a precipice deep, down he casis them all. 16-And,

And fell a-down his fooulders with 100e care. « In the third,

Brass was his helmet, his boots brass, and o'er

His breast a thick plate of strong brass he wore. * In the fourth,

Like some fair pine-o'er-looking all ih'ignobler wood.

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Some from the rocks cast themselves down beadlong. * And many more: but it is enough to instance in a few. “ The thing is, that the disposition of words and num“bers should be such, as that, out of the order and sound “ of them, the things themselves may be represented. " This the Greeks were not so accurate as to bind them.“ selves to; neither have our English poets observed it, 66 for aught I can find. The Latins (qui mufas colunt

I Severiores) sometimes did it, and their prince, Virgil, " always: in whom the examples are innumerable, and “ taken notice of by all judicious men, so that it is super« fluous to collect them.”

I know not whether he has, in many of these instances, attained the representation or resemblance that he

purposes. Verse can imitate only found and motion. A boundless verse, a headlong verse, and a verse of brass or of firong brass, seem to comprise very incongruous and unfociable ideas. What there is peculiar in the sound of the line expressing loose care, I cannot discover; nor why the pine is taller in an Alexandrine than in ten syllables.

But, But, not to defraud him of his due praise, he has given one example of representative versification, which perhaps no other English line can equal :

Begin, be bold, and venture to be wise,
He who defers this work from day to day,
Does on a river's bank expecting stay
Till the whole stream that stopp'd him shall be gone,

Which runs, and as it runs, for ever shall run on. Cowley was, I believe, the first poet that mingled Alexandrines at pleasure with the common heroick of ten syllables, and from him Dryden borrowed the practice, whether ornamental or licentious. He considered the verse of twelve syllables as elevated and majestick, and has therefore deviated into that measure when he supposes the voice heard of the Supreme Being.

The Author of the Davideis is commended by Dryden for having written it in couplets, because he discovered that any staff was too lyrical for an heroick poem; but this seems to have been known before by May and Sandys, the translators of the Pharsalia and the Metamorphoses.

In the Davideis are some hemistichs, or verses left imperfect by the author, in imitation of Virgil, whom he fuppofes not to have intended to complete them: that this opinion is erroneous, may be probably concluded, because this truncation is imitated by no subsequent Roman poet; because Virgil himself filled up one broken line in the heat of recitation; because in one the fense is now unfinished; and because all that can be done by a broken verse, a line intersecțed by a cæsura and a full stop will equally effect.

Of triplets in his Davideis he makes no use, and perhaps did not at first think them allowable; but he ap

pears

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