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The M. G. (who it seems had no right rid^ :-L tion of you, as you of him) transcrib'd it bylucubration: From some discourse of yours, he thought your inclination led you to' (what the men of fashion call Learning) Pedantry ; but now he fays he has no less, I allure you, than a Veneration for you.
Mr. Pope/o Mr. C v.».',v
Dccemb. 1.7, 1710. ..
IT seems that my late mention of CraJhdw, and my quotation from him, has mov'd your curiosity. I therefore fend you the whole Author, who has held a place among my other books of this nature fdr some years; in which time having read him twice or thrice, I find him one of those whose works may just deserve reading. I take this Poet to have writ like 9Gentleman, that is, at leisure hours, and more to keep out of idleness, than to establish a reputation: so that nothing regular or just can be expected from him. All that regards Design, Form, Fable, (which is the Soul of Poetry) all that concerns exactness, or consent of parts, (which is the .vi't' Body)
Body) will probably be-wanting; only prct-; ^ ty conceptions, fine metaphors, gsitt'ring expressions, and something of a neat cast of Verse, (which are properly the dress, gems, or loose ornaments of Poetry) maybe found in these verses. This is indeed the cafe of most other Poetical Writers of Miscellanies; nor can it well be otherwise, since no man can be a true Poet, who writes for diversion only. These Authors shou'd be consider'd as Versifiers and witty Men, rather than as Poets; and under this head will only fall the Thoughts, the Expression, and the Numbers. These are only the pleasing parts of Poetry, which may be judg'd of ac a view, and comprehended all at once. And (to express myself like a Painter) their Colouring entertains the sight, but the Lines and Life of the Picture are not to be inr spected too narrowly.
This Author form'd himself upon Petrarch, or rather upon Marino. His thoughts one may observe, in the main, are pretty; but' oftentimes far fetch'd, and too often strain'd and stiffned to make them appear the greater. For men are never so apt to think a thing great, as when it is odd or wonderful; and inconsiderate Authors wou'd rather bs admir'd than understood* This ambition of surprising a reader, is the true natural cause of all Fustian, or Bombast in X 3 Poetry. . 304 "X. 'ETT'^'B E R S 0/
Poetry. To confirm what F have iaid you reed but look into his first Poem of the Weeper, where the 2d, 4th, 6th, 14th, 21st.stanza's are as sublimely dull, as the 7th, 8th, 9th, 16th, 17th, 20th and 23d stanza's of the fame copy, are soft and pleasing: And if these last want any thing, it is an easier and more unaffected expression. The remaining thoughts in that Poem might have been spared, being eihter but repetitions, or very trivial and mean. And by this example in the first one may guess at all the rest, to be like this; a mixture of tender gentle thoughts and sutiable expressions, of fore'd and inextricable conceits, and of needless fillers-up to the rest. From all which it is plain, this Author writ fast, and set down what came uppermost. A reader may skim off the froth, and use the clear underneathf"but if he goes too deep will meet with a mouthful of dregs: either the Top or bottom of him are good for little, but what he did in his own, natural, middle-way, is best. > ;i ;w,iti
- To speak of his Numbers is a little difficult, they are so various and irregular, and mostly Pindarick* 'tis evident his heroic Verse (the best example of which -is his Mujck's Duel) is carelesty made up; but ope may imagine from what it now is,
As ihe fooling and toying Vvith a mistress is a proof of fondness, not disrespect, so i& raillery with a friend. I know there are Prudes in friendship, who expect distance, awe and adoration, but I know you are not of them; and I for my part am no Idolworstiipper, tho' a Papist. If I were to address "Jupiter himself in a heathen way, I fancy I sliou'd be apt to take hold of his knee in a familiar manner, if not of his beard like Dionyftus j I was just going to fay of his buttons, but I think Jupiter wore none (however I won't be positive to so nice a Critic as you, but his robe might be Subnetled with a Fibula.) I know some Philosophers define Laughter, A recommending ourselves to our own favour, by comparison ivith the weakness os'another: but I am sure I very rarely laugh with that view, nor do I believe Children have any such consideration in their heads, when they express their pleasure this way : I laugh full as innocently as they, for the most part, and as sillily. There is a difference too betwixt laughing about a thing and laughing at a thing : One may find the inferior Man (to make a kind of casuistical distinction) provok'd to folly at the sight or observation of some circumstance of a things when the thing itself appears solemn and august to the superior Man, that is, our