« ПредишнаНапред »
places; not considering that Nature loves Truth so well, that it hardly ever admits of flourishing. Conceit is to Nature, what Paint is to Beauty ; it is not only needless, but impairs what it would improve. There is a certain Majesty in Simplicity, which is far above all the Quaintness of Wit ; infomuch that the Critics have excluded it from the loftiest Poetry, as well as the lowest ; and forbid it to the Epic no less than the Pastoral. I should certainly difplease all those who are charmed with Guarini and Bonarelli ; and imitate Taffo not only in the Simplicity of his Thoughts, but in that of the Fable too. If surprising discoveries shou'd have place in the story of a Pastoral Comedy, I believe it wou'd be more agreeable to Probability to make them the effects of Chance than of Design; Intrigue not being very consistent with that Innocence, which ought to constitute a Shepherd's Character. There is nothing in all the Aminta (as I remember) but happens by meer accident; unless it be the meeting of Aminta with Sylvia at the Fountain, which is the contrivance of Daphne ; and even that is the most fimple in the world. The contrary is observable in Pastor Fido, where Corisca is so perfect a Mistress of Intrigue, that the Plot cou'd not have been brought to pass without her. I am inclined to think the Pastoral Comedy has another disadvantage as to the Manners. Its general design is to make us in love with the Innocence of a rural Life, so that to introduce Shepherds of a vicious Character muft in some measure debase it ; and hence it may come to pass; that even the virtuous Characters will not shine so much, for want of being opposed to their contraries. ----- --- Thefe Thoughts are purely my own, and therefore I have reason to doubt them ; but I hope your Judgment will fet me right.
I wou'd beg your opinion too as to another point : It is how far the liberty of Borrowing may extend? I have defended it fometimes by saying, that it seems not so much the Perfection of Sense; to say things that have never been said before; as to express those beft, that have been said oftenest : and that Writers in the case of borrowing from others, are like Trees which of themselves wou'd produce only one fort of Fruit; but by being grafted upon others, may yield variety. A mutual commerce makes Poetry flourish; but then Poets, like Merchants, shou'd repay with something of their own what they take from others; not like Pyrates, make prize of all they meet. I desire you to tell me sincerely, if I have not stretch'd this Licence too far in these Pastorals ? I hope to become a Critic by your Precepts, and a Poet by your Example. Since I have feen your Eclogues, I cannot be much pleas’d with my own; however you have not taken away all my Vanity, lo long as you give me leave to profess my felf
Mr. Walsh to Mr. Pope.
July 20, 1706. I Had sooner returned you thanks for the favour
of your Letter, but that I was in hopes of giving you an account at the same time of my Journey to Windsor; but I am now forc'd to put that quite off, being engag’d to go to my Corporation of Richmond in 2 or kbire. I think you are perfectly in the right in your Notions of Pastoral ; but I am of opinion, that the redundancy of Wit you mention, thọ' 'tis what pleases the common people, is not whatever pleases the best judges. Pastor Fido indeed has had more admirers than Aminta ; but I will venture to say, there is a great deal of difference between the admirers of one and the other. Corista, which is a Character generally admir'd by the ordinary judges, is intolerable in a Pastoral; and Bonarelli's.fancy of making his Shepherders in love with two men equally, is not to be defended, whatever: pains he has taken to do it. As for what you ask of the Liberty of Borrowing ; 'tis very evident the best Latin Poets have extended this very far; and nonefo far as Virgil, who is the best of them. As for the Greek Poets, if we cannot trace them so plainly,: stis perhaps because we have none before them ; 'tis, evident that moft of them borrowed from Homer,, and Homer has been accused of burning those that wrote before him, that his Thefts might not be discover'd. The best of the modern Poets in all Languages are those, that have the nearest copied the Ancients. Indeed in all the common Subjects of Poetry the Thoughts are so obvious (at least if they are natural) that whoever writes last must write things like what have been said before ; but they may as well applaud the Ancients for the
Arts of eating and drinking, and accuse the Mo. derns of having stol'n those Inventions from them ; it being evident in all such cases, that whoever live firit, must first find them out. 'Tis true indeed, when.
--- unus & alter Ajuitur pannus ;
when there is one or two bright Thoughts stol'n, and all the rest is quite different from it, a Poem makes a very foolith figure ; but when 'uis all · melted down together, and the Gold of the Antients so mixt with that of the Moderns, that none can distinguish the one from the other, I can never find fault with it. · I cannot however buc own to you, that there are others of a different opinion; and that I have shewn your Verses to some, who have made that objection to them. I have so much Company round me while I write this, and
fuch a noise in my ears, that 'tis impossible I should write any thing but Nonsense, so mufti break off abruptly. I am, Sir,
Your most affectionate
and met humble. Servant,
Mr. Walsh to Mr. Pope.
Sept. 9, 1706. AT my return from the North I receiv'd the
favour of your Letter, which had lain there 'till then. Having been absent about six weeks, I read over your Pastorals again, with a great deal of pleasure'; and to judge the better, read Virgil's Eclogues, and Spenser's Calendar, at the same time; and I assure you I continue the same opinion I had always of them. By the little hints you take upon, all occasions to improve them, 'tis probable you will make them yet better against Winter; tho' there is a mean to be kept even in that too, and a Man
may correct his Verses till he takes away the true Spirit of them ; especially if he submits to the correction of fome who pass for great Critics by mechanical Rules, and never enter into the true Design and Genius of an Author.
I have seen some of these that would hardly allow any one good Ode in Horace; who cry Virgil wants fancy, and that Homer is very incorrect. While they talk at this rate, one wou'd think them above the common rate of mortals
; but generally they are great admirers of Ovid and Lucan; and when they write themselves, we find out all the Mystery. They scan their Verses upon their Fingers; run after Conceits and glaring Thoughts; their Poems are all made up of Couplets, of which the first may be laft, or the Jaft first, without any sort of prejudice to their Works; in which there is no Design, or Method, or any thing Natural or Juft. For you are certainly in the right, that in all writings whatsoever (not Poetry only) Nature is to be follow'd; and