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both significations. Thus, “ observing the cold re«gard of his mistress's eyes, and at the same time ss their power of producing love in him, he confiders ss them as burning-glasses made of ice. Finding him<< self able to live in the greatest extremities of love, c'he concludes the torrid zone to be habitable. sUpon the dying of a tree on which he had cut << his loves, he observes that his flames had burnt « up and withered the tree.”
These conceits Addison calls mixed wit; that is, wit which consists of thoughts true in one sense of the expression, and false in the other. Addison's representation is sufficiently indulgent: that confufion of images may entertain for a moment; but, being unnatural, it foon grows wearisome. Cowley delighted in it, as much as if he had invented it; but, not to mention the antients, he might have found it full-blown in modern Italy. Thus Sannazaro: Aspice quam variis dittringar Leíbia curis !
Uror, & heu! nostro manat ab igne liquor:
O lacrimæ, aut lacrimas ebibe fiamma meas. One of the severe theologians of that time censured him as having published a book of profane and lascivia ous Verses. Froin the charge of profaneness, the conftant tenour of his life, which seems to have been eminently virtuous, and the general teadency of his opinions which discover no irreverence of religion, must defend him; but that the accusation of lasciviousness is unjust, the perusal of his work will sufficiently evince.
Cowley's Mistress has no power of seduction : The ..", plays round the head, but reaches not the heart."
Her beauty and absence, her kindness and cruelty, her disdain and inconstancy, produce no correspondence of emotion. His poetical account of the virtues of plants, and colours of flowers, is not perused with more sluggish frigidity. The compofitions are such as might have been written for penance by 'a hermit, or for hire by a philosophical rhymer who had only heard of another sex; for they turn the mind only on the writer, whom, without thinking on a woman but as the subject for his task, we sometimes esteem as learned, and sometimes despise as trifling, always admire as ingenious, and always condemn as unnatural.
The Pindarique Odes are now to be considered; a species of composition, which Cowley thinks Pancirolus might have counted in his list of the lost inven. tions of antiquity, and which he has made a bold and vigorous attempt to recover.
The purpose with which he has paraphrased an Olympick and Nemæan Ode is by himself sufficiently explained. His endeavour was, not to thew precisely what Pindar spoke, but his manner of Speaking. He was therefore not at all restrained to his expressions, nor much to his sentiments; nothing was required of him, but not to write as Pindar would not have written.
Of the Olympick Ode, the beginning is, I think, above the original in elegance, and the conclusion below it in strength. The connection is supplied with great perfpicuity; and the thoughts, which to a reader of less 1kill seem thrown together by chance, are concatenated without any abruption. Though
the English ode cannot be called a translation, it may be very properly consulted as a commentary.
The spirit of Pindar is indeed not every where equally preserved. The following pretty lines are not such as his deep mouth was used to pour :
Great Rhea's son,
In the Nemæan ode the reader must, in mere juftice to Pindar, observe, that whatever is said of the original new mioon, her tender fore-head and her borns, is superadded by his paraphrast, who has many other plays of words and fancy unsuitable to the original,
The table, free for ev'ry guest,
No doubt will thee admit,
He sometimes extends his author's thoughts without improving them. In the Olympionick an oath is mentioned in a single word, and Cowley spends three lines in swearing by the Castalian Stream. We are told of Theron's bounty, with a hint that he had enemies, which Cowley thus enlarges in rhyming prose:
But in this thankless world the giver
'Tis now the cheap and frugal fashion
It is hard to conceive that a man of the first rank in learning and wit, when he was dealing out such minute morality in such feeble diction, could imagine, either waking or dreaming, that he imitated Pinidar.
In the following odes, where Cowley chooses his own subjects, he sometimes rises to dignity truly Pindarick; and, if some deficiencies of language be forgiven, his strains are such as those of the Theban Bard were to his contemporaries :
Begin the song, and strike the living lyre:
Till all gentle notes be drown'd
After such enthusiasın, who will not lament to find the poet conclude with lines like these :
But stop, my Muse-
Which does to rage begin
'T will no unikilful touch endure,
The fault of Cowley, and perhaps of all the writers of the metaphysical race, is that of pursuing his thoughts to the last ramifications, by which he loses the grandeur of generality; for of the greatest things the parts are little ; what is little can be but pretty, and by claiming dignity becomes ridiculous. Thus all the power of description is destroyed by a scrupulous enumeration, and the force of metaphors is lost, when the mind by the mention of particulars is turned more upon the original than the secondary sense, more upon that from which the illustration is drawn than that to which it is applied.
Of this we have a very eminent example in the ode intituled The Muse, who goes to take the air in an intellectual chariot, to which he harnesses Fancy and Judgement, Wit and Eloquence, Memory and Invention: how he distinguished Wit from Fancy, or how Memory could properly contribute to Motion, he has not explained: we are however content to suppole that he could have justified his own fiction, and with to see the Muse begin her career'; but there is yet more to be done.
Let the pastillion Nature mount, and let