« VorigeDoorgaan »
whole compass of our literature exhibit any thing more original, or more impressive, than the conclusion of this poem.
The lighter poems of Cowper are various. Many of these are effusions of tenderness and melancholy, some are exclusively humorous, and one or two present an odd combination of pathos and pleasantry. Of this latter species, is the poem supposed to be written by Alexander Selkirk; in which six of the stanzas are purely plantive,-but, who can listen to the introductory stanza without experiencing emotions bordering on risibility?
I am monarch of all surrcy,
Dy right there is none to dispute;
I am lord of the foul and the brute.
That sagrs liave seen in thy face?
Than reign in this horrible place.
The fourth stanza of Selkirk's supposed soliloquy is, F believe, new, and has considerable beauty.
* A more culpable instance of this kind of misplaced-wit occurs in the poem of • Expostulation' (V. 1. p. 105) where the bard exclaims
- Persecuting zeal made royal sport
Religion! what treasure antold
Resides in that heavenly word!
Or all that this earth can afford.
These rallies and rocks never heard,
Or smild when a salbath appear’d.
It were needless to detail the • Diverting History of John Gilpin,' which displays such original wit as might alone have immortalized the author.
Mr. Cowper translated the lliad and Odyssey of Homer into English blank-verse. As this was professedly a close version of the original, it received but little encouragement; and was utterly neglected by those who were accustomed to the glittering periods of Pope. He, however, who is incapable of consulting the Greek, will find it a valuable acquisition.
The style of Cowper’s rhyme is conversational, as in the «Table Talk, with which he opened his poetical career, and of which he never lost sight through the whole of his first volume. His blank-verse is truly original, and is in many instances highly dramatic; exhibiting a structure of versification admirably calculated for the theatre. As to what are considered plagiarisms, the pages of this poet contain numerous passages of that description. Generally, however, so far from his incurring the guilt of Gypseyism,-stealing and then deforming what had been stolen,-he improves those images or thoughts which, it is conjectured, he had borrowed, perhaps unconsciously, from others.
The writer of this article, has already traced a number of Mr. Cowper's imitations; he may be hereafter induced to pursue this investigation, and submit the result of his inquiry to the public.