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of versification, and in that part of poetry is greatly his superior. But though this must he acknowledged, perhaps it will not necessarily follow, that his genius was therefore superior.

The grand characteristic of a poet is his invention, the surest distinction of a great genius. In Mr. Pope nothing is so truly original as his Rape of the Lock, nor discovers so much invention. In this kind of mock-heroic he is without a rival in our language, for Dryden has written nothing of the kind. His other work which discovers invention, fine designing, and admirable execution, is his Dunciad: which, though built on Dryden's Mac Flecknoc, is yet so much superior, that, in satiric writing, the palm must justly be yielded to him. In Mr. Dryden's Absalom and Achitophel there are, indeed, the most poignant strokes of satire, and characters drawn with the most masterly touches; but this poem, with all its excellences, is much inferior to the Dunciad, though Dryden had advantages which Mr. Pope had not; for Dryden's characters are men of great eminence and figure in the state, while Pope has to expose men of obscure birth and unimportant lives, only distinguished from the herd of inankind by a gliminering of genius, which rendered the greatest part of them more emphatically contemptible. Pope's was the hardest task, and he has executed it with the greatest success. As Mr. Dryden must undoubtedly have yielded to Pope in satiric writing, it is incumbent on the partizans of Dryden to name another species of composition, in which the former excels, so as to throw the balance again upon the side of Dryden. This species is the Lyric, in which the warmest votaries of Pope must certainly acknowledge that he is as much inferior: as an irresistible proof of this we need only compare Mr. Dryden's Ode on St. Cecilia's Day with Mr. Pope's, in which the disparity is very apparent.

It hath been generally acknowledged, that the

Lyric is a more excellent kind of writing than the Satiric, and, consequently, he who excels in the most excellent species must undoubtedly be esteemed the greatest poet. Mr. Pope has very happily sueceeded in many of his occasional pieces, such as Eloisa to Abelard, his Elegy on an unfortunate young Lady, and a variety of other performances deservedly celebrated. To these may be opposed Mr. Dryden's Fables, which, though written in a very advanced age, are yet the most perfect of his works. In these Fables there is, perhaps, a greater variety than in Mr. Pope's occasional pieces: many of them, indeed, are translations, but such as are original show a great extent of invention, and a large compass of genius.

There are not in Pope's works such poignant discoveries of wit, or such a general knowledge of the humours and characters of men, as in the Prologues and Epilogues of Dryden, which are the best records of the whims and capricious oddities of the times in which they are written.

When these two great geniuses are considered in the light of translators, it will indeed be difficult to determine into whose scale the balance should be thrown. That Mr. Pope had a more arduous province in doing justice to Homer, than Dryden with regard to Virgil, is certainly true, as Homer is a more various and diffuse poet than Virgil; and it is likewise true, that Pope has even exceeded Dryden in the execution, and none wil! deny that Pope's Homer's Iliad is a finer poem than Dryden's Encid of Virgil, making a proper allowance for the disproportion of the original authors. But then a candid critic should reflect, that as Dryden was prior in the great attempt of rendering Virgil into English, so did he perform the task under many disadvantages which Pope, by a happier situation in life, was enabled to avoid, and could not but improve upon Dryden's errors, though the authors translated were not the same and it is much to be doubted, if

Dryden were to translate the Æneid now, with that attention which the correctness of the present age would force upon him, whether the preference would be due to Pope's Homer.

But supposing it to be yielded (as it certainly must) that the latter bard was the greatest translator, we are now to throw into Mr. Dryden's scale all his dramatic works; which, though not the most excellent of his writings, yet, as nothing of Mr. Pope's can be opposed to them, they have an undoubted right to turn the balance greatly in favour of Mr. Dryden. When the two poets are considered as critics, the comparison will very imperfectly hold. Dryden's Dedications and Prefaces, besides that they are more numerous, and are the best models for courtly panegyric, shew that he understood poetry as an art beyond any man that ever lived; and he explained this art so well, that he taught his antagonists to turn the tables against himself: for he so illuminated the mind by his clear and perspicuous reasoning, that dullness itself became capable of discerning; and when at any time his performances fell short of his own ideas of excellence, his enemies tried him by rules of his own establishing; and though they owed to him the ability of judging, they seldom had candour enough to spare him.

Perhaps it may be true, that Pope's works are read with more appetite, as there is a greater evenness and correctness in them; but in perusing the works of Dryden, the mind will take a wider range, and be more fraught with poetical ideas. We admire Dryden as the greater genius, and Pope as the most pleasing versifier.

VOL. I.

ON MR. POPE AND HIS POEMS.

By John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham.

WITH
age decay'd, with courts and bus'ness tir'd,
Caring for nothing but what ease requir'd;
Too dully serious for the Muse's sport,
And from the critics safe arriv'd in port;
I little thought of launching forth again,
Amidst advent'rous rovers of the pen;
And after so much undeserv'd success,
Thus hazarding at last to make it less.

Encomiums suit not this censorious time,
Itself a subject for satiric rhyme;
Ignorance honour'd, wit and worth defam❜d,
Folly triumphant, and e'en Homer blam'd!
But to this genius, join'd with so much art,
Such various learning mix'd in ev'rv part,
Poets are bound a loud applause to pay;
Apollo bids it, and they must obey.

And yet so wonderful, sublime a thing,
As the great Iliad, scarce could make me sing;
Except I justly could at once cominend
A good companion, and as firm a friend.
One moral, or a mere well-natur'd deed,
Can all desert in sciences exceed.

'Tis great delight to laugh at some mens' ways,
But a much greater to give merit praise.

TO MR. Pope.

By Dr. Parnell.

To praise, and still with just respect to praise
A bard triumphant in immortal bays,
The learn'd to shew, the sensible commend,
Yet still preserve the province of the friend;
What life, what vigour, must the lines require!
What music tune them, what affection fire!

O might thy genius in my bosom shine,
Thou shouldst not fail of numbers worthy thine;
The brightest Ancients might at once agree
To sing within my lays, and sing of thee.

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Horace himself would own thou dost excel
In candid arts to play the critic well.
Ovid himself might wish to sing the dame
Whom Windsor Forest sees a gliding stream;
On silver feet, with annual osier crown'd,
She runs for ever through poetic ground.

How flame the glories of Belinda's hair,
Made by thy Muse the envy of the fair!
Less shone the tresses Egypt's princess wore,
Which sweet Callimachus so sung before.
Here courtly trifles set the world at odds;

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Belles war with beaus, and whims descend for gods.
The new machines, in names of ridicule,
Mock the grave frenzy of the chemic fool.
But know, ye Fair, a point conceal'd with art,
The sylphs and gnomes are but a woman's heart.
The graces stand in sight: a satyr-train
Peeps o'er their head, and laughs behind the scene.
In Fame's fair temple, o'er the boldest wits,
Inshrin'd on high, the sacred Virgil sits;
And sits in measures such as Virgil's muse,
To place thee near him might be fond to chuse:
How might he tuue th' alternate reed with thee!
Perhaps a Strephon thou, a Daphnis he;
While some old Damon, o'er the vulgar wise,
Thinks he deserves, and thou deserv'st the prize!
Rapt with the thought, my fancy seeks the plains,
And turns me shepherd while I hear the strains.
Indulgent nurse of ev'ry tender gale,
Parent of flow'rets, old Arcadia, hail!
Here in the cool my limbs at ease I spread,
Here let thy poplars whisper o'er my head:
Still slide thy waters, soft among the trees
Thy aspins quiver in a breathing breeze!
Smile, all ye vallies, in eternal spring,
Be hush'd ye winds, while Pope and Virgil sing.
In English lays, and all sublimely great,
Thy Homer warms with all his ancient heat;
He shines in council, thunders in the fight,
And flames with ev'ry sense of great delight.

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