« ПредишнаНапред »
As like as (if I am not grossly wrong)
Read boldly, and unprejudiced peruse
1 The Alchemist :' Ben Jonson.-3. Messala's praises :' a poem of Tibullus's in hexameter verse; as yawning and insipid as his elegies are tender and natural.
• You grow so squeamish and so devilish dry,
you in Horace no insipid odes ?-
Tasteless, implicit, indolent and tame,
Specious and sage, the sovereign of the flock
1. Carlos :' Don Carlos, a tragedy of Otway's, now long and justly forgotten, went off with great applause; while his Orphan, a somewhat better performance, and what is yet more strange, bis Venice Preserved, according to the theatrical anecdotes of those times, wet wait a very cold reception.
As blindly we our solemn leaders follow,
Pray, on the first throng'd evening of a play That wears the facies hippocratica, Strong lines of death, signs dire of reprobation; Have you not seen the angel of salvation Appear sublime; with wise and solemn rap To teach the doubtful rabble where to clap?The rabble knows not where our dramas shine; But where the cane goes pat— By G- that's fine!
Judge for yourself ; nor wait with timid phlegm 'Till some illustrious pedant hum or hem. The lords who starved old Ben were learn’dly fond 180 Of Chaucer, whom with bungling toil they conn'd. Their sons, whose ears bold Milton could not seize, Would laugh o'er Ben like mad, and snuff and sneeze, And swear, and seem as tickled as you please. Their spawn, the pride of this sublimer age, Feel to the toes and horns
rage. Though lived he now he might appeal with scorn To lords, knights, squires and doctors, yet unborn; Or justly mad, to Moloch's burning fane Devote the choicest children of his brain. Judge for yourself; and as you find, report Of wit as freely as of beef or port. Zounds ! shall a pert or bluff important wight, Whose brain is fanciless, whose blood is white, A mumbling ape of taste, prescribe us laws To try the poets, for no better cause Than that he boasts per ann, ten thousand clear,
1 'Facies hippocratica :' the appearance of the face in the last stage of a consumption, as it is described by Hippocrates.
Yelps in the House, or barely sits a peer?
and often am no doubt, But right or wrong, with friends, with foes 'twill out. Thus 'tis perhaps my fault if I complain Of trite invention and a flimsy vein, Tame characters, uninteresting, jejune, And passions drily copied from Le Brun.' For I would rather never judge, than wrong That friend of all men, generous Fenelon. But in the name of goodness, must I be The dupe of charms I never yet could see? And then to flatter where there's no rewardBetter be any patron-hunting bard, Who half our lords with filthy praise besmears, And sing an anthem to all ministers: Taste th' Attic salt in every peer's poor
rebus, And crown each Gothic idol for a Phoebus.
Alas! so far from free, so far from brave,
1'Le Brun:'first painter to Lewis XIV., who, to speak in fashionable French English, called himself Lewis the Great. Our sovereign lords the passions, Love, Rage, Despair, &c., were graciously pleased to sit to him in their turns for their portraits: which he was generous enough to communicate to the public; to the great improvement, no doubt, of history-painting. It was he who they say poisoned Le Sueur; who, without half his advantages in many other respects, was so unreasonable and provoking as to display a genius with which his own could stand no comparison. It was he and his Gothic disciples, who, with sly scratches, defaced the most masterly of this Le Sueur's performances, as often as their barbarous envy could snugly reach thein. Yet after all these achievements he died in his bed! A catastrophe which could not have happened to him in a country like this, where the fine arts are as zealously and judiciously patronised as they are well understood.
Sad Otway's scenes, great Shakespeare's we defy: 221
They were so tender and so easy moved, Heavens! how the Grecian ladies must have loved! 230 For all the fine sensations still have dwelt, Perhaps, where one was exquisitely felt. Thus he who heavenly Maro truly feels Stands fixed on Raphael, and at Handel thrills. The grosser senses too, the taste, the smell, Are likely truest where the fine prevail: Who doubts that Horace must have catered well? Friend, I'm a shrewd observer, and will guess What books you doat on from your favourite mess. Brown and L'Estrange will surely charm whome'er 240 The frothy pertness strikes of weak small beer Who steeps the calf's fat loin in greasy sauce Will hardly loathe the praise that bastes an ass. Who riots on Scotch collops scorns not any Insipid, fulsome, trashy miscellany; And who devours whate'er the cook can dish up, Will for a classic consecrate each bishop.
But I am sick of pen and ink; and you Will find this letter long enough. Adieu!
1 Sec Felton's Classica