« ПредишнаНапред »
about 'in-door nature' and 'artificial images, Pope was the principal inventor of that boast of the English, Modern Gardening. He divides this honour with Milton. Hear Warton :-It hence appears that this enchanting art of modern gardening, in which this kingdom claims a preference over every nation in Europe, chiefly owes its origin and its improvements to two great poets, Milton and Pope.
«Walpole (no friend to Pope asserts that Pope formed Kent's taste, and that Kent was the artist to whom the English are chiefly indebted for diffusing a taste in laying out grounds." The design of the Prince of Wales's garden was copied from Pope's at Twickenham. Warton applauds“ his singular effort of art and taste, in impressing so much variety and scenery on a spot of five acres.' Pope was the first who ridiculed the “formal, French, Dutch, false and unnatural taste in gardening,' both in prose and verse. (See, for the former, the Guardian.)
« 'Pope has given not only some of our first but best rules and observations on Architecture and Gardening.' (See Warton's Essay, vol. ii, p. 237, etc. etc.)
« Now, is it not a shame, after this, to hear our Lakers in ‘Kendal green,' and our Bucolical Cockneys, crying out (the latter in a wilderness of bricks and more tar) about "Nature,' and Pope's artificial in-door habits ?' Pope had seen all of nature that England alone can supply. He was bred in Windsor Forest, and amidst the beautiful scenery of Eton; he lived familiarly and frequently at the country-seats of Bathurst, Cobham, Burlington, Peterborough, Digby, and Bolingbroke; amongst whose seats was to be numbered Stowe. He made his own little 'five acres' a model 10
Princes, and to the first of our artists who imitated nature. Warton thinks that the most engaging of Kent's works was also planned on the model of Pope's, -at least in the opening and retiring shades of Venus's Vale.'
« It is true that Pope was infirm and deformed; but he could walk, and he could ride (he rode to Oxford from London at a stretch), and he was famous for an exquisite eye. On a tree at Lord Bathurst's is carved,
Here Pope sang,'—he composed beneath it. Bolingbroke, in one of his letters, represents them both writing in the bay-field. No poet ever admired Nature more, or used her better, than Pope has done, as I will undertake to prove from his works, prose and verse, if not anticipated in so easy and agreeable a labour. I remember a passage in Walpole, somewhere, of a gentleman who wished to give directions about some willows to a man who had long served Pope in his grounds: 'I understand, sir,' he replied: “you would have them hang down, sir, somewhat poetical. Now if nothing existed but this little anecdote, it would suffice to prove Pope's taste for Nature, and the impression which he had made on a common-minded man. But I have already quoted Warton and Walpole (both his enemies), and, were it necessary, I could amply quote Pope himself for such tributes to Nature as no poet of the present day has even approached.
« His various excellence is really wonderful: architecture, painting, gardening, all are alike subject to his genius. Be it remembered, that English gardening is the purposed perfectioning of niggard Nature, and that without it England is but a hedge-and-ditch, doublepost-and-rail, Hounslow-heath and Clapham-common
sort of country, since the principal forests have been felled. It is, in general, far from a picturesque country. The case is different with Scotland, Wales, and Ireland; and I except also the lake counties and Derbyshire, together with Eton, Windsor, and my own dear Harrow on the Hill, and some spots near the coast. In the present rank fertility of "great poets of the age,' and schools of poetry'- a word which, like 'schools of eloquence' and of “philosophy,' is never introduced till the decay of the art has increased with the number of its professors—in the present day, then, there have sprung up two sorts of Naturals;—the Lakers, who whine about nature because they live in Cumberland; and their under-sect (which some one has maliciously called the 'Cockney School), who are enthusiastical for the country because they live in London. It is to be observed, that the rustical founders are rather anxious to disclaim any connexion with their metropolitan followers, whom they ungraciously review and call coekneys, atheists, foolish fellows, bad writers, and other hard names not less ungrateful than unjust. I can understand the pretensions of the aquatic gentleman of Windermere to what Mr B * * terms entusumusy,' for lakes and mountains, and daffodils, and buttercups; but I should be glad to be apprized of the foundation of the London propensities of their imitative brethren to the same 'high argument.' Southey, Wordsworth and Coleridge have rambled over half Europe, and seen nature in most of her varieties (although I think that they have occasionally not used her very well); but what on earth-of earth, and sea, and Naturehave the others seen? Not a half, nor a tenth part so much as Pope. While they sneer at his Windsor Forest, have they ever seen any thing of Windsor except its brick?
«When they have really seen life-when they have felt it- when they have travelled beyond the far distant boundaries of the wilds of Middlesex—when they have overpassed the Alps of Highgate, and traced to its sources the Nile of the New River - then, and not till then, can it properly be permitted to them to despise Pope; who had, if not in Wales, been near it, when he described so beautifully the artificial works of the Benefactor of nature and mankind, the 'Man of Ross,' whose picture, still suspended in the parlour of the inn, I have so often contemplated with reverence for his memory, and admiration of the poet, without whom even his own still existing good works could hardly have preserved his honest renown.
« If they had said nothing of Pope, they might have remained alone with their glory,' for aught I should have said or thought about them or their nonsense. But if they interfere with the little ‘Nightingale' of Twickenham, they may find others who will bear itI won't. Neither time, nor distance, nor grief, nor age, diminish
my veneration for him, who is the great moral poet of all times, of all climes, of all feelings, and of all stages of existence. The delight of my boyhood, the study of my manhood, perhaps (if allowed to me to attain it) he may be the consolation of my age. His poetry
is the Book of Life. Without canting, and yet without neglecting religion, he has assembled all that a good and great man can gather together of moral wisdom clothed in consummate beauty. Sir William Temple observes, “That of all the members of mankind that live within the compass
of a thousand years, one man that is born capable of making a great poet, there may be a thousand born capable of making as great generals and ministers of state as any in story.'
Here is a statesman's opinion of poetry: it is honourable to him and to the art. Such a 'poet of a thousand years' was Pope. A thousand years will roll away before such another can be hoped for in our literature. But it can want them- he himself is a literature.
« One word upon his so brutally abused translation of Homer. “Dr Clarke, whose critical exactness is well known, has not been able to point out above three or four mistakes in the sense through the whole Iliad. The real faults of the translation are of a different kind.' So says Warton, himself a scholar. It appears by this, then, that he avoided the chief fault of a translator. As to its other faults, they consist in his having made a beautiful English poem
of a sublime Greek one. It will always hold. Cowper and all the rest of the blank pretenders may do their best and their worst: they will never wrench Pope from the hands of a single reader of sense and feeling.
« The grand distinction of the under forms of the new school of poets is their vulgarity. By this I do not inean that they are coarse, but shabby-genteel,' as it is termed. A man may be coarse and yet not vulgar, and the reverse.
Burns is often coarse, but never vulgar. Chatterton is never vulgar, nor Wordsworth, nor the higher of the Lake school, though they treat of low life in all its branches. It is in their finery that the new under school are most vulgar, and they may be known by this at once; as what we called at Harrow 6a Sunday blood' might be easily distinguished from a gentleman, although his clothes might be the better cut, and his boots the best blackened, of the two ;-probably because he made the one or cleaned the other with his own hands.
«In the present case, I speak of writing, not of