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Pope übte auf die Geschmacksrichtung seiner Zeit einen ausserordentlichen Einfluss aus; er versuchte sich in fast allen Gattungen der Poesie und stellte hier überall Muster für die äussere Behandlung auf, aber ein wahrer Dichter war er doch nicht. Was sich durch scharfen und hellen Verstand, durch glückliche Combination, durch seltene Herrschaft über Form, Sprache und Klang, durch glänzenden Witz und Correctheit erreichen lässt, das hat er vollkommen erreicht; dagegen war aber arm an Phantasie, wahrem und tiefem Gefühl und an eigentlich poetischer Productionskraft. Seine Leistungen sind Erzeugnisse des Fleisses und des Verstandes, aber fast nie der Begeisterung. Am Glücklichsten ist er daher auch im Lehrgedicht und in der Satyre. Auch als Prosaiker zeichnete er sich durch Klarheit, Correctheit und Wohllaut ebenfalls höchst vortheilhaft aus.
Extract from Pope's Essay on Man. Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust,
if man's unhappy, God's unjust; Heaven from all creatures hides the book of Fate,
If man alone engross not Heaven's high care, All but the page prescrib’d, their present state: From brutes what men, from men what spirits Snatch from his hand the balance and the rod,
Alone made perfect here, immortal there; know:
Re-judge his justice, be the god of God. Or who could suffer being here below?
In Pride, in reasoning Pride, our error lies; The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day,
All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies. Had he thy reason, would he skip and play?
Pride still is aiming at the blest abodes, Pleas'd to the last, he crops the flowery food,
Men would be angels, angels would be gods. And licks the hand just rais'd to shed his blood.
Aspiring to be gods, if angels fell,
And who but wishes to invert the laws
Of order, sins against th' Eternal Cause.
Lady. Man never Is, but always to be blest; The soul, uneasy, and confined from home, What beckoning ghost, along the moon-light Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
shade, Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutor'd mind Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade ? Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind;
'Tis she! - but why that bleeding bosom gor'd, His soul proud Science never taught to stray Why dimly gleams the visionary sword? Far as the solar walk, or milky way;
Oh, ever beauteous, ever friendly! tell, Yet simple Nature to his hope has given, Is it, in heaven, a crime to love too well? Behind the cloud-topt hill, an humbler heaven; To bear too tender, or too firm a heart, Some safer world in depths of woods embrac'd, To act a lover's or a Roman's part? Some happier island in the watery waste, Is there no bright reversion in the sky, Where slaves once more their native land be- For those who greatly think, or bravely die?
Why bade ye else, ye powers! her soul aspire No fiends torment, no Christians thirst for gold. Above the vulgar flight of low desire? To be, contents his natural desire,
Ambition first sprung from your blest abodes; He asks no angel's wing, no seraph's fire; The glorious fault of angels and of gods : But thinks, admitted to that equal sky, Thence to their images on Earth it flows, His faithful dog shall bear him company.
And in the breasts of kings and heroes glows. Go, wiser thou! and in thy scale of sense,
Most souls, 'tis true, but peep out once an age, Weigh thy opinion against Providence;
Dull sullen prisoners in the body's cage: Call imperfeetion what thou fanciešt such; Dim lights of live, that burn a length of years, Say, here he gives too little, there too much; Useless, unseen, as lamps in sepulchres;
Like eastern kings a lazy state they keep, Poets themselves must fall, like those they And, close confin'd to their own palace, sleep.
sung, From these perhaps (ere Nature bade her die) Deaf the prais'd ear, and mute the tuneful tongue. Fate snatch'd her early to the pitying sky. Ev'n he, whose soul now melts in mournful lays, As into air the purer spirits flow,
Shall shortly want the generous tear he pays; And separate from their kindred dregs below; Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part, So flew the soul to its congenial place,
And the last pang shall tear thee form his heart; Nor left one virtue to redeem her race.
Life's idle business at one gasp be o'er, But thou , false guardian of a charge too good, The Muse forgot, and thou belov'd no more! Thou, mean deserter of thy brother's blood! See on these ruby lips the trembling breath, These cheeks now fading at the blast of death; Cold is that breast which warm'd the world
before, And those love-darting eyes must roll no more. Thus, if eternal Justice rules the ball, Thus shall your wives, and thus your children Prologue to Mr. Addison's Tragedy of fall:
Cato. On all the line a sudden vengeance waits, And frequent hearses shall besiege your gates; To wake the soul by tender strokes of art, There passengers shall stand, and pointing say, To raise the genius, and to mend the heart; (While the long funerals blacken all the way,) To make mankind in conscious virtue bold, “Lo! these were they, whose souls the Furies Live o'er each scene, and be what they behold:
For this the Tragic Muse first trod the stage, And curst with hearts unknowing how to yield.” | Commanding tears to stream through every age; Thus unlamented pass the proud away,
Tyrants no more their savage nature kept, The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day! And foes to Virtue wonder'd how they wept. So perish all, whose breast ne'er learn'd to glow Our author shuns by vulgar springs to move For others' good, or melt at others' woe. The hero's glory, or the virgin's love; What can atone, oh, ever-injur'd shade! In pitying Love, we but our weakness show, Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites unpaid ? And wild ambition well deserves its woe. No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear Here tears shall flow from a more generous Pleas'd thy pale ghost, or grac'd thy mournful
Such tears as patriots shed for dying laws: By foreign hands thy flying eyes were clos'd, He bids your breasts with ancient ardour rise, By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn'd, And calls forth Roman drops from British eyes. By strangers honour'd, and by strangers mourn'd! Virtue confess'd in human shape he draws, What though no friends in sable weeds appear, What Plato thought, and godlike Cato was: Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year, No common object to your sight displays And bear about the mockery of woe
But what with pleasure Heaven itself surveys, To midnight dances, and the public show? A brave man struggling in the storins of fate, What though no weeping Loves thy ashes grace, And greatly falling with a falling state. Nor polish'd marble emulate thy face?
While Cato gives his little senate laws, What though no sacred earth allow thee room, What bosom beats not in his country's cause? Nor hallow'd dirge be muttered o'er thy tomb? Who sees him act, but envies every deed? Yet shall thy grave with rising flowers be dress’d, Who hears him groan, and does not wish to And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast:
bleed? There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow, Ev'n when proud Caesar 'midst triumphal cars, There the first roses of the year shall blow; The spoils of nations, and the pomp of wars, While angels with their silver wings o'ershade Ignobly vain, and impotently great, The ground now sacred by thy reliques made. Show'd Rome her Cato's figure drawn in state;
So, peaceful rests, without a stone, a name, As her dead father's reverend image past, What once had beauty, titles, wealth, and fame, The pomp was darken'd and the day o'ercast, How lov’d, how honour'd once, avails thee not, The triumph ceas'd, tears gush'd from ev'ry eye; To whom related, or by whom begot;
The world's great victor pass'd unheeded by; A heap of dust alone remains of thee,
Her last good man dejected Rome ador'd, 'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be! And honour'd Caesar's less than Cato's sword
Britons, attend: be worth like this approv'd, On French translation, and Italian song. And show, you have the virtue to be mov’d. Dare to have sense yourselves, assert the With honest scorn the first fam'd Cato view'd
stage, Rome learning arts from Greece, whom she sub- Be justly warm’d with your own native rage;
Such plays alone should win a British ear, Your scene precariously subsists too long As Cato's self had not disdain'd to hear.
G a y
Aus einer alten aber verarmten Familie stammend, ward John Gay 1638 in einem Flecken von Devonshire geboren, erhielt seine erste Bildung auf einer Schule in Barnstaple und musste dann bei einem Seidenhändler zu London in die Lehre treten. Diese Beschäftigung missfiel ihm aber durchaus, er kaufte sich los und ward nun Secretair der Herzogin von Monmouth, was ihn befähigte, poetischen Arbeiten zu leben. 1714 begleitete er den Grafen von Clarendon als Secretair auf einer Gesandtschaft nach Hannover, von wo er nach dem Tode der Königin Anna zurückkehrte, aber seine Hoffnung, weiter im Staatsdienste befördert zu werden, vereitelt sah. Von nun an lebte er ganz als Privatinann und erfreute sich ausserordentlichen Erfolges für seine dramatischen Arbeiten, besonders für seine Bettleroper (Beggar's Opera), die ihm jedoch die Verfolgung des Hofes zuzog, trotz dem dass er seine berühmten Fabeln für den jungen Herzog von Cumberland auf ausdrückliches Verlangen der Prinzessin von Wales geschrieben hatte. Dagegen fand er andere hohe Gönner und der Herzog und die Herzogin von Queensbury gaben sogar seinetwegen ihre Aemter bei Hofe auf und nahmen ihn zu sich in ihr Haus, wo er am 4. December 1732 starb. Er ward in der Westminster-Abtei begraben.
Warmes Gefühl, Naivetät, Phantasie, Witz und Wahrheit der Darstellung charakterisiren Gay als Dichter. Am Glücklichsten ist er in seinen Fabeln, den ersten wirklich gelungenen, welche die Engländer besitzen. Ausser den bereits genannten Leistunger schrieb er Rural Sports, ein grösseres descriptives, Trivia or the Art of walking in the streets of London, ein grösseres satyrisches Gedicht, the Shepherd's week, komische Idyllen, einige Trauerspiele, Opern, treffliche Balladen u. A. m. Seine Werke erschienen gesammelt London 1793, 3 Bde in 12. und öfterer; auch finden sie sich im 41–42. Bande der Johnson'schen, im 80-82. Bande der Bell'schen und im 8. Bande der Anderson'schen Sammlung.
From Gay's Rural Sports. The labourer with a bending scythe is seen,
Shaving the surface of the waving green, 'Tis not that rural sports alone invite, Of all her native pride disrobes the land, But all the grateful country breathes delight; And meads lays waste before his sweeping hand; Here blooming Health exerts her gentle reign, While with the mounting sun the meadow glows, And strings the sinews of th’ industrious swain. The fading herbage round he loosely throws: Soon as the morning lark salutes the day, But, if some sign portend a lasting shower, Through dewy fields I take my frequent way, Th' experienc'd swain foresees the coming hour; Where I behold the farmer's early care
His sun-burnt hands the scattering fork forsake, In the revolving labours of the year.
And ruddy damsels ply the saving rake; When the fresh Spring in all her state is crown’d In rising hills the fragrant harvest grows, And high luxuriant grass o'erspreads the ground, And spreads along the field in equal rows.
Or when the ploughman leaves the task of day, 'Lashes the wave, and beats the foamy lake; And trudying homeward, whistles on the way; With sudden rage he now aloft appears, When the big-udder'd cows with patience stand, And in his eye convulsive anguish bears; Waiting the strokings of the damsel's hand; And now again, impatient of the wound, No warbling cheers the woods; the feather'd He rolls and wreathes his shining body round;
Then headlong shoots beneath the dashing tide, To court kind slumbers, to the sprays retire: The trembling fins the boiling wave divide. When no rude gale disturbs the sleeping trees, Now hope exults the fisher's beating heart, Nor aspen leaves confess the gentlest breeze; Now he turns pale, and fears his dubious art; Engay'd in thought, to Neptune's bounds I stray, Ile views the tumbling fish with longing eyes, To take my farewell of the parting day; While the line stretches with th' unwieldy prize; For in the deep the Sun liis glory hides; Each motion humours with his steady hands, A streak of gold the sea and sky divides: And one slight lair the mighty bulk commands; The purple clouds their amber linings show, Till, tir'd at last, despoil'd of all his strength, And, edg'd with flame, rolls every wave below: The game athwart the stream unfolds his length. llere pensive I behold the fading light,
He now, with pleasure, views the gasping prize And o’er the distant billow lose my sight. Gnash his sharp teeth, and roll his blood-shot Now let the fisherman his toils prepare,
eyes; And arm himself with every watery snare; Then draws him to the shore, with artful care, His hooks, his lines, peruse with careful eye, And lifts his nostrils in the sickening air: Increase his tackle, and his rod re-tye.
Upon the burthen'd stream he floating lies, When floating clouds their spongy fleeces drain Stretches his quivering fins, and gasping dies. Troubling the streams with swift descending
The Farmer's Wife and the Raven. Whose rapid surface purls unknown to weeds:
A Fable. Upon a rising border of the brook He sits him down, and ties the treacherous "Why are those tears? why droops your head?
Is then your other husband dead?
"Alas! you know the cause too well; Where every guest applauds his skilful hand. The salt is spilt, to me it fell;
Far up the stream the twisted hair he throws, Then, to contribute to my loss, Which down the murmuring current gently flows; My knife and fork were laid across; When, if or chance or hunger's powerful sway On Friday too; the day I dread! Directs the roving trout this fatal way,
Would I were safe at home in bed!
Last night (I vow to Heaven 'tis true)
“Unhappy widow, cease thy tears,
Eat now, and weep when dinner's ended;
For thy desert I'll read my Fable.”
Betwixt her swagging panniers' load
A farmer's wife to market rode,
“That raven on yon left-hand oak
"Dame," quoth the raven, “spare your oaths, (Curse on his ill-betiding croak!)
Unclench your tist, and wipe your clothes.
For, had you laid this brittle ware
Though all the ravens of the hundred Rail'd, swore, and curs'd: “Thou croaking toad With croaking had your tongue out-thundered, A murrain take thy whoreson throat!
Sure-footed Dun had kept her legs, I knew misfortune in the note.”
And you, good woman, sav'd your eggs.”
Som er ville.
William Somerville ward 1692 zu Edston in Warwickshire geboren, studirte in Winchester und Oxford und lebte dann von seinem Vermögen, das er jedoch gegen das Ende seines Lebens verschwendete, als Friedensrichter auf dem von seinem Vater ererbten Landgute. Er starb 1742 und ward in Wotton begraben. Ausser mehreren kleineren Poesieen schrieb er ein grösseres didactisch-descriptives Gedicht über die Jagd, das ein grosser Liebling der englischen Jagdfreunde geblieben ist, und das Verdienst hat, gefällig, malerisch, naturgetreu und einfach zu sein. Seine Poesieen erschienen gesammelt London 1776 u. ö.
From Somerville's Chase.
The subtle spoiler of the beaver kind,
Far off perhaps, where ancient alders shade Where rages not Oppression? Where, alas ! The deep still pool, within some hollow trunk Is Innocence secure? Rapine and Spoil
Contrives his wicker couch: whence he surveys Haunt ev’n the lowest deeps; seas have their His long purlieu , lord of the stream, and all
The finny shoals his own. But you, brave Rivers and ponds enclose the ravenous pike;
youths, He in his turn becomes a prey ; on him Dispute the felon's claim; try every root, Th' amphibious otter feasts. Just is his fate And every reedy bank; encourage all Deserv’d: but tyrants know no bounds; nor The busy spreading pack, that fearless plunge
Into the flood, and cross the rapid stream. That bristle on his back, defend the perch Bid rocks and caves, and each resounding shore, From his wide greedy jaws; nor burnish'd mail Proclaim your bold defiance; loudly raise The yellow carp; nor all his arts can save Each cheering voice, till distant hills repeat Th’ insinuating eel, that hides his head The triumphs of the vale. On the soft sand Beneath the slimy mud; nor yet escapes
See there his seal impress’d! and on that bank The crimson-spotted trout, the river's pride, Behold the glittering spoils, half-eaten fish, And beauty of the stream. Without remorse, Scales, fins, and bones, the leavings of his feast. This midnight pillager, ranging around Ah! on that yielding sag-bed, see, once more Insatiate swallows all. The owner mourns His seal I view. O'er yon dank rushy marsh Th' unpeopled rivulet, and gladly hears The sly goose-footed prowler bends his course, The huntsman's early call, and sees with joy And seeks the distant shallows. Huntsman The jovial crew, that march upon its banks
bring In gay parade, with bearded lances arm'd. Thy eager pack, and trail him to his couch.