« VorigeDoorgaan »
NEWTON's Works, new Edition, 28 ral Philosophy, concluded, 163
Sermon on the Divine In.
258 Aluence on the Human Mind, 397
- on “ A Short History R Reflections on the Doctrine
OSSORY, Bishop of, his Harmony of the
of Cares. See Brown.
REYNOLDS's Discourse to the Royal
ROBINSON, Lewis, his Evers Patient his
, Robert, his Translation of
- his Plan of Ledures on
PETRSFACTIONS. Sep WALCOTT. ROCHESTER, Bishop of, his Sermons,
397 SCOTLAND. See PROPOSAL.
by Bishop Pearce,
CONTENTS of the FOREIGN ARTICLES
in the APPENDIX to this Volume.
ANQUETIL DU PERRON on Oriental ORAZI, Profeffor, his Treatise on the
555 Changes and Revolutions of the Globe,
DPARA's Course of Metaphyfics, 484 SCIENZA della Natura,
SENNEBIER's descriptive Catalogue of
the MSS, in the Library of Geneva;
GENEVA, Library of. See SENNEBIER. TIRABOSCHI's Hiftory of Italian Lite
557 TORRE, J. M. Della, his Science of Na-
ZECHINT, M. his Treatise on the viral
Τ Η Ε ::
For J U L Y, . 1779.
A&t. I. The Works of the Englis Poets, with Prefaces Biographical
and Critical. By Samuel Johnson. "The Heads engraved by Bar. tolozzi, &c. Small vo. 60 Vols. 71. 10 s. half bound. :
Bathurst, &c. 1779.
bas at length made its appearance, Promises that are delayed too frequently, end in disappointment; but to this remark the present publication is an exception. We must ingenuously confess, that, from the first of its being advertised, we considered Dr. Johnson's name merely as a lure which the proprietors of the work had obtained, to draw in the unwary in purchaser ; taking.it for granted that he would have just allotted, as he owns he originally intended, to every poet, an advertisement, like those which are found in the French miscel. Janies, containing a few dates, and a general character; an una dertaking, as he observes, not very tedious or difficult; and, we may add, an undertaking also that would have conferred not much reputation upon the Writer, nor have communicated much information to his readers. Happily for both, the honeft defire of giving useful pleasure, to borrow his own expression, has led him beyond his first intention. This honest desire is very amply gratified. In the walk of biography and criticism, Dr. Johnson has long been without a rival. It is barely justice to acknowledge that he still maintains his superiority. The present work is no way inferior to the best of his very celebrated productions of the same class.
Of the four volumes of his Prefaces already published (more lives being promised), the first is allotted to Cowley and Waller, the second to Milton and Butler, the third is appropriated entirely to Dryden, and the fourth is divided between poets of inferior name, Denham, Sprat, Roscommon, Rochester, Yalden, OtVOL, LXI,
way, Duke, Dorset, Hätiesx, Stepney, Walth, Garth, King, J. Philips, Smith, Poin fret, and Hughes.
In the narrative.of Cowley's life there is little, except the manner in which it is told, that is new; but this deficiency, which was not in the Biographer's power to remedy, is fully compensated for in the review of his writings, which abounds in original colteism. Cowley's poetical character is introduced with an account of a race of writers who appeared about the beginning.pl.che seventeenth century, whom Dr. Johnson terms the Metaphysical Poets.
The metaphysical poets, says he, were men of learning, and to thew.theit learning was their whole endeavour; but, unluckily resolving to thew it in rhyme, instead of writing poetry, they only Aturote verses, and very often such verses as stood the trial of the fingår better than of the ear; for the modulation was so imperfect, that shey were only found to be verses by counting the syllables. . . If the father of criticism has rightly denominated poetry rhyun peripheralo xer, an imitative art, there writers will, without great wrong, lose their right to the name of poets ; for they cannot be said to have imitated any thing: they neither copied nature nor life ; neither painted the forms of matter, nor represented the operations of in. tellect.
· Those however who deny them to be poets, allow them to be wits. Dryden confeffes of himself and his contemporaries, that they fall below Donne in wit, but maintains that they surpass him in poetry.
• If Wit be well described by Pope, as being " that which has been often thought, but was never before so well expressed,” they certainly never attained, nor ever lought it; for they endeavoured to be ângular in their thoughts, and were careless of their diction. But Pope's account of wit is undoubtedly erroneous : he depresies it below its natural dignity, and reduces it from itrength of thought to happiness of language,
• If by a more noble and more adequate conception that be confidered as Wit, which is at once natural and new, that which, though not obvious, is, upon its first production, acknowledged to be juit ; if it be that, which he that never found it, wonders how he mifred; to wit of this kind the metaphysical poets have seldom rifen, Their thoughts are often new, but feldom natural; they are not obvious, but neither are they just; and the reader, far from woodering that he miff:d them, wonders more frequently by what perverfeness of industry they were ever foond.
• But Wit, abtracted froin its effects upon the bearer, may be more rigorously and philosophicaily condidered as a kind of discordia concers : a combination of disimilar images, or discovery of occult resemblances ia thiogs apparently unlike. Or wit, thus detined, they have more than enough. The most heterogeascus ideas are yoked by violence together; pasure and art are ransacked for il. luftrations, comparisoas, and allusions; their learning instructs, and their subtilty surprites; but the reader commonly thinks his improve