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did I assume, by turns, the various rules of excellence, with
which the generosity of criticks has so plentifully furnished us.
In vain did I endeavour, after the manner of Procrustes, to erect
a bed of torture, on which to stretch and measure the objects of
my consideration. On bringing my most favourite authors to
the ordeal, 1 perceived, that, notwithstanding all the pleasure
derived from their perusal, they must be condemned together,
if judged by critical rules. The style of one was too exuber-
ant; yet, from this very exuberance, did the glowing fervour of
his descriptions evidently proceed, and I felt that I admired him
for his fault. Another was too laconick and sententious; but
the strength and simplicity of his expressions constituted his
beauty. One wanted invention; but he painted nature in the
colours of truth, and had he been more inventive, I should have
liked him less. Another boldly broke through all rules, and
soared into regions, purely the creation of fancy; but he intro-
duced me to a world of magical wonders, and I could not regret
the cold realities of the world, that I had left. In short, I
thought I discovered, that rules could not be made for genius;
that art destroyed its force and brilliancy, as we lead the light-
ning of the heavens inert and invisible, when we controul it by
our inventions. That, by binding and taming the eagle, we de-
stroyed the terrour of his beak, and lightning of his eye."
Tired at length with my disquisitions, and half dissatisfied with
my conclusions, 1 insensibly yielded to the influence of that be-
nevolent God, whose benignity, (to use the sage words of the
wise governour of Barritaria,) "covers a man all over like a
cloak." Though under the dominion of sleep, my thoughts
were still directed to the same subjects; but they were no long-
er under the steady guidance of the matron reason, but the sport
of fancy, that frolicksome madcap of a wanton, whose rogueries
are perpetually teazing, and yet constitute a large proportion of
the happiness of life. Under her guidance I soon found myself
on a vast plain, crossed and divided by numerous intersecting
paths. By my side stood the genius of Instruction. On one
side lay the vast temple of Interest, to which most of the paths
finally conducted. In another direction, I beheld the paths lead-

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ing to the fane of Virtue, with only "here and there a traveller;" and before my eyes was a mountain, lofty, precipitous and craggy, on whose summit was a dome, hiding its lofty turrets in the clouds. This temple was sacred to POETICK Fame. To this my attention was particularly directed; as I understood from my guide, that I should there have an opportunity of observing the paths and progress of my favourite authors. I could not, however, but observe, that in the middle of the plain there was a vast multitude, wandering carelesly about, without attempting a progress in either of the paths; but seemingly contented with their present situation, and deriding the painful exertions of the persevering travellers in their view. These, I learned, were the subjects of Indolence, whose "listless length" was stretched on a couch of roses, and of Ignorance, ever busy without an object, anu ever industrious without atchieving any thing. Passing this crowd, I approached the mountain, to take a nearer view of the few who were toiling towards its summit. So steep were the sides, and so craggy, that to reach the top, by a direct ascent, was impossible; but there were various paths winding in different directions, which I was informed, led to the temple on its summit, though few possessed vigour and perseverance paramount to the difficulties of the way. A little way up the mountain, I observed certain persons who appeared to have resigned every idea of farther progress, and were employing themselves in throwing dirt and stones at those who were in earnest endeavouring to reach the temple, with a diligence and perseverance of exertion, which must have surmounted every obstruction, had they been employed in ascending. These I understood to be criticks, and on closer observation, I easily knew Jeffries and Gifford, their leaders, who were standing by themselves, a little farther up the side. The latter of these, my guide informed me, had once nearly attained the summit; but from a paltry ambition of shewing that he could throw stones as well as the former, had voluntarily descended, and now employed himself in pelting those whom Jeffries suffered to pass unassailed. I could not but observe that a most virulent animosity existed between these two troublesome characters, and that when

a poet, in his escent, chanced to come between them, they very often took advantage of the circumstance, to pelt each other most heartily.

"Much learned dust involved the combatants,

Each claiming truth, and truth disclaiming both.

I confess it was with much astonishment, that I observed that those who received their uncivil salutations, generally bore them with much meekness and apparent good nature, and very seldom indulged in any retaliative measures. On expressing my wonder at this circumstance, my guide informed me, that few were ever injured by their malice; and no one, unless he stood far below them-and that those who had ascended higher up the mountain, usually diverted themselves, when thrown at, by laughing to behold their impotent weapons recoil upon their own heads. Once indeed, he said there had been some considerable disturbance on that side the mountain-that one lord By. ron, (whom I now observed far up, and approaching the temple with rapid step) when he first began to ascend, had brought with him a favourite "Childe," whom Jeffries had pelted without mercy-and that his lordship, resenting this usage, had taken advantage of a higher station, and so peited and bespattered Jeffries and all his friends, that they had exhibited a more modest demeanor ever since. Among the lower criticks, I took notice of several strange fellows, designated by the name of Parodists, whose whim and business seemed to be, to frisk about in a Harlequin dress, with a fools cap and bells, and to burlesque the elegant movements of those who were passing up the steep. Among these, it is almost unnecessary to say, that I remarked George Coleman the younger, distinguished from his companions, by his "BROAD GRINS," and by bearing on his shoulder, in place of an epaulet, a small volume, on which was inscribed, "THE LADY OF THE WRECK," and which, I understood, entitled him to the rank and title of Ribaldrist General. But my attention was here called off by my attendant Genius, (with a gentle reproach for paying so much attention to objects so far below deserving it,) to observe the progress of those who were in ear

nest endeavourng to arrive at the hallowed fane of Fame. Before me lay a smooth and easy way, composed of steps of equal length. Around this path no verdure appeared-no flower bloomed on its borders-and the dull monotony of the Cuckoo's song, was the only sound that broke on the traveller's ear. By this passage it was, that Pope, (half buoying himself on pinions, which he had formed from the stolen plumage of a Grecian eagle,) had with a kind of ostrich progression, reached the top, but all his servile followers had attempted the ascent in vain.

At the foot of this path, I beheld one whom I instantly knew to be Montgomery, the "Muse of sorrow's child." He had once ascended up some little way, but was now at the bottom; his progress having been for some time, what an Irishman would call "advancing backwards." Parallel to this way, was the walk of Dryden-but it was wilder and more various-spangled with flowers, and refreshed by gales of fragrance. Farther North, were the different paths by which Scott and Southey had arrived at the summit. Though unlike each other in many respects, they were both wild and luxuriant, now passing through groves of mountain pine, now winding around precipices, half concealed by overhanging woodbine and heathbell-now lost to the sight behind "thunder splintered" craggs, and now passing on with gently waving ascent, through fields of roses and "gaudy broom." I looked in vain to find my favourites in their paths, and on enquiring the reason, was informed by the genius, that they had long since arrived at the Temple of Fame, and were now singing around her altar. Here my attention was directed to a pathway, which, from its uncommon wildness, appeared absolutely impassable; as its course often lay over rocks, precipitous and broken, and sometimes descended into chasms, never

• The excellence of Pope, as a melodious versifier, and a faithful translator cannot be doubted; yet he certainly did not possess "the poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling." With a very few exceptions, he may be said to have left nothing behind him which can lay claim to the character of originality. It is his translations and paraphrases of other authors which have given him eminence. His style, though musical and correct, is certainly disagreeably mo


illumined, but by the orgies of Hecate; and was constantly infested with "horrid shapes, and sights, and shrieks unholy"not but that the richest flowrets dressed and perfumed its wilde est recesses, and

"Such sights, as youthful poets dream
On summer eve, by haunted stream,"

were often presenting themselves to the traveller's eye. This path, I learned from my conductor, had been trod by one alone, whose more than mortal vigour enabled him to "scale with steady step," its wild abruptness, and revisit safe the light of heaven, "From caverns deep, dug by no mortal hand." I need not say it was the wild bard of Avon. Curiosity inducing me to inquire in what manner the blind Milton had ascended, I was informed, that he had never travelled up the mountain at all. but had been borne on the pinions of angels to a higher abode-that though his name was inscribed, on everduring marble, in the Temple of Fame, yet that the poet had never been her worshipper-and that he now received the reward of his piety, in being admitted to join in the musick around the throne of God, and mingle his songs with the harmony of heaven. After this, it was impossible to feel any interest in observing the stragglers at the foot of the mountain; and the disgust, which I could not but feel, at beholding Coleridge endeavouring to ascend on the back of a "young ass," and Haley, perpetually celebrating "triumphs" without triumphing over one foot of his way, at length awoke me, and "Lo, it was a dream, but the thing was certain and the interpretation sure,"

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