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Parque novum Fortuna videt concurrere, bellum
As if on Knightly Terms in Lifts they ran. Pray can you trace Chivalry up higher than Pharamond ? will you . allow it an Anachronism? Tickell, in his Version of the Phoenix from Claudian, : When Nature ceases, thou shalt still remain,
Nor second Chaos bound thy endless Reign. Claudian thus,
Et clades te nulla rapit, folufque fuperftes,
Edomita Tellure maneswhich plainly refers to the Deluge of Deucalion, and the Conflagration of Phaeton ; not to the final Dissolution. Your Thought of the Priests Lottery is very fine ; you play the Wit, and not the Critic, upon the Errors of your
Brother. Your Observations are all very juft: Virgil is eminent for adjusting his Diction to his Sentiments ; and among the Moderns, I find your Practice the Prosodia of your Rules. Your * Poem hews you to be, what you fay of Voiture, with Books wellbred: The state of the Fair, tho satirical, is touch'd with that Delicacy and Gallantry, that not the Court of Augustus, norBut hold, I shall lose what I lately recover'd, your Opinion of my Sincerity ; yet I must say, 'tis as faultless as the Fair to whom 'tis address'd be the never fo perfect. The M. G. (who it seems had no right Notion of you, as you of him) transcrib'd it by Lucubration: From some Discourse of your's, he thought your Inclination led you to (what the Men of Fashion
To a Lady, with the Works of Voiturlo
call Learning) Pedantry ; but now he says he has no less, I assure you, than a Veneration for you.
Mr POPE to Mr C....
Decemb. 17, 1710. IT
T seems that my late mention of Crashaw, and
my Quotation from him, has mov'd your Curiosity. I therefore send you the whole Author, who has held a Place among my other Books of this Nature for 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 a Gentleman, that is, at leisure Hours, and more to keep out of Idlenefs, than to establish a Reputation : fo that nothing regular or just can be expected from him. Al that regards Design, Form, Fable, (which is the Soul of Poetry) all that concerns exactness, or consent of Parts, (which is the Body) will probably be wanting ; only pretty Conceptions, fine Metaphors, glitering Expressions, and fomething of a neat Cart of Verse, (which are properly the Dress, Gems, or loose Ornaments of Poetry) may be found in thefe 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 should be consider'd as Verfifiers, and witty Men, rather than as Poets; and under this Head will only fall the Thoughts, the Expreffion, and the Numbers. These are only the pleasing parts of Poetry, which may be judg'd of at a View, and comprehended all
And (to exprefs myself like a Painter) their Colouring entertains the Sight, but the Lines and Life of the Picture are not to be inspected 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 ftrainid and stiffned to make them appear the greater. For Men are never lo apt to think a Thing great, as when it is odd or wonderful, and inconsiderate Authors wou'd rather be admir'd than understood. This ambition of fur. prising a Reader, is the true natural Caufe of all Fustian, or Bombast in Poetry. To confirm what I have said, you need 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 Ex. preffion. The remaining Thoughts in that Poem might have been spared, being either 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 suitable Expressions, of forc'd and inextricable Cone ceits, 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 underneath ; 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 beft.
To speak of his Numbers is a little difficult, they are fo various and irregular, and mostly Pindaric: 'tis evident his heroic Verse (the best Ex, ample of which is his Music's Duel) is carelelly made up; but one may imagine from what it now is, that had he taken more Care,
had been mus fical and pleasing enough, not extremely majestic,
but sweet : And the Time consider'd of his Writing, he was (ev'n as uncorrect as he is): none of the worst Versificators.
I will just obferve, that the best Pieces of this Author, are, á Paraphrase on Pfal. 23. On Lellius, Epitaph on Mr Afton, Wishes to his suppos’d Mix stress, and the Dies Iræ.
I am, &C.
Mr POPE to Mr C....
Decemb. 30, 1710. I
upon Paper to you, and making what Thoughts float uppermost in my Head, the Subject of a Letter.
They are at present upon Laughter, which (for ought I know) may be the Cause you might sometimes think me too remiss a Friend, when I was most intirely fo: for I am never so inclin'd to mirth as when I am most pleas'd and most eafy, which is in the Company of a Friend like your felf.
As the fooling and toying with a Mistress is a Proof of fondness not disrespect, so is 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 Idol-worshipper, tho'a Papist. If I were to ada dress Jupiter himself in a heathen Way, I fancy
I thou'd be apt to take hold of his Knee in a familiar Manner, if not of his Beard like Dionyfius; I was just going to say 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 Subnected with a Fibula). I know some Philosophers define Laughter, Å recommending ourselves to our own favour, by comparison with the TV eakness. of another > but I am sure I very rarely laugh with that View, nor do I believe Children have any such Considera
tion in their Heads, when they express their Plezfure this Way: I laugh full as innocently as they, for the most part, and as fillily. . 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 Caluistical Distinction provok'd to folly at the fight or observation of fome Circumstance of a Thing, when the Thing itself appears folemn and auguft to the superior Man, that is, our Judgment and Reason. Let an Ambassador speak the best Sense in the World, and deport himfelf in the most graceful manner before a Prince, yet if the Tail of bis Shirt happen (as I have known it happen to a very wife Man) to hang out behind, more People fhall laugh at that than attend to the other; till they recollect themselves, and then they will not have a jot the less Respect for the Minister. I must confess the Iniquity of my Countenance before you; several Muscles of my Face sometimes take an impertinent Liberty with my Judgment, but then my Judgment foon rises, and sets all right again about my Mouth: And I find I value no Man so much, as he in whose Sight I have been playing the Fool. I cannot be Sub-Perfona before a Man I love; and not to laugh with Honesty, when Nature prompts, or Folly (which is more a second Nature than any thing I know) is but a knavish hypocritical way of making a Mask of one's own Face-To conclude, those that are my Friends I laugh with, and those that are not I laugh at; fo am merry in Company, and if ever I am wife, it is all by myself. You take just another Course, and to those that are not your Friends, are very civil, and to those that are, very endearing and complaisant: Thus when you and I meet, there will be the Rifus & Blanditiæ united together in Conversation, as they commonly are in. Verfe :