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Near the full bowl he draws the fancied line,
And beg again to hear the dreadful tale.
The next, "On the death of Mr. Addison," is by the same. Johnson, speaking of this poem says, there is not "a more sublime or more elegant funeral poem to be found in the whole compass of English literature."The sublimity it would be difficult to discover; the elegance is apparent throughout. Johnson's praises and censures have not often heen ratified by the judgment of the public. He attempted to depreciate the lyrical poems of Gray: but who is there that does not continue to read and admire them? He calls Dryden's Ode on the death of Mrs. Killigrew" the noblest ode that our language ever has produced." But who now remembers it, of those who have read it, except as they may chance to recollect that there is such a poem in Dryden's works? It is a frigid tissue of bombast, without one touch of nature or passion.
Among the "elegant" common-places of Tickell's poem on the death of Addison, are four lines, that will find an echo in every bosom.
What mourner ever felt poetic fires!
Slow comes the verse that real woe inspires:
Or flowing numbers with a bleeding heart.
The first two lines would be improved by transposition, making that a question which is now an exclamation.
Slow comes the grief that real woe inspires;
What mourner ever felt poetic fires?
The allusion to Addison's death-bed is happily introduced, and forcibly expressed. It is known, that when dying, Addison sent for the young Earl of Warwick (whose mother he had married) a nobleman of irregular life and of religious principles, (if principles they might be called,) not far removed from infidelity, and told him, when he came, "I have sent for you, that you may see how a Christian can die." This circumstance is thus alluded to by There patient show'd us the wise course to steer, A candid censor, and a friend sincere :
There taught us how to live, and, (oh! too high
Passing over several other poems by Tickell, (among them, the still popular, and deservedly so, ballad of "Colin and Lucy,") none of which, except the last, offers a flower worth gathering, and a lumbering Ode, by one Mr. Cobb, ycleped "The Female Reign," in praise of Queen Anne, her generals and statesmen, we come to six spritely "Town Eclogues," from the witty but sometimes licentious pen of Lady Mary Wortley Montague, whom Pope has so cynically and coarsely pourtrayed in his "Characters of Women." There is a sort of airy, well-bred, fashionable flutter in these eclogues, such as any Lady Mary of the present day, uniting to a knack for versifying, a talent for observation, might be expected to exhibit. But they are all, except the last, so purely occasional in their allusions to persons, and in their descriptions of the then prevailing fashionable follies in the higher circles, that they have lost whatever attractions they may have once possessed. It cannot be denied, too, that they are disfigured by images which the purer taste of the present age would not tolerate; and least of all in the productions of a female pen.The last of the six, entitled “The Small Pox," describing the miseries of a beauty whose face had been deformed by that loathsome disease, is lively and agreeable.
The wretched FLAVIA on her couch reclined,
"How am I changed alas! how am I grown to
Her Ladyship was so well pleased with the last four lines, that she introduced them into an epilogue to Mary Queen of Scots, designed to be spoken by Mrs. Oldfield.
The eclogue thus concludes:
Adieu ye parks! in some obscure recess
Where gentle streams will weep at my distress,
Plays, operas, circles, I no more must view!
My toilet, patches, all the world, adieu !"
The eclogues are followed by several other pieces from the same pen, of
With courtship pleased, of silly toasters proud,
Let this great maxim be my virtue's guide;
The "great maxim" is a theft-a "petty larceny in wit"-committed by her Ladyship upon an author of the preceding century, Sir Thomas Overbury, in whose poem of "The Wife," are these lines :
"In part to blame is she
Which hath without consent been only tried;
He comes too near that comes to be denied."
We next come to some poetical pieces by " Matthew Green of the Custom House," ("The Spleen" among them,) "Pre-existence, a poem, in imitation of Milton," (the imitator would never have been found out, if he had kept his own secret), Hildebrand Jacob's "Chiron and Achilles," Dr. Arbuthnot's "Know yourself," (which contains some vigorous lines,) Johnson's "London," and his celebrated Prologue, spoken by Garrick, on the opening of Drury-Lane Theatre, in 1747; but it is not the object of this paper to select from productions so well known, while from the others there is nothing to select. These are followed by a poetical epistle on "Active and Retired Life," by William Melmoth, (author of Fitz-Osborne's Letters) written in lays "correctly cold and regularly low;" Dyer's "Grongar Hill," familiar to every school boy; his "Ruins of Rome," familiar to nobody, because nobody ever did or could read it through; and Shenstone's "School-mistress," written in imitation of Spenser, and like all imitations (except Thomson's "Castle of Indolence," and Phillips' "Splendid Shilling" the worse for being one; yet containing some stanzas eminently happy.
To these succeed a clever satirical poem, by the Rev. Mr. Bramston ;— "The Art of Politics," in imitation of Horace's Art of Poetry. From this we shall gather a few flowers. The classical reader will be pleased with the sometimes felicitous adaptation of the sentiments and illustrations of the great Roman bard, to a theme so dissimilar as the contentions and crooked policies of whigs and tories. The Humano capiti cervicem pictor equinam, &c. is thus travestied:
If to a human face Sir James should draw
Who could help laughing at a sight so odd?
Than Low Church politics and High Church schemes.
The sumite materiam vestris, qui scribitis, and the multa renascentur qua jam cecidere, take the following humorous forms. The first might be addressed to the living race of hebdomadal scribes.
Ye weekly writers of seditious news,
Take care your subjects artfully to choose:
Wrap up your poison well, nor fear to say
Saving some double meaning in reserve.
"What's not destroyed by Time's devouring hand?
Where's Troy? and where's the may-pole in the Strand?
Such piles of buildings now rise up and down,
General Ogelthorpe, who died at an advanced age towards the close of the last century, used to say he had often shot snipes, where New Bond-street was afterwards built.
London itself seems going out of town.
To things themselves if time such change affords,
We entirely concur in the wisdom of the following advice, and wish our modern senators would follow it:
On tender subjects with discretion touch,
And never say too little or too much.
On trivial matters flourishes are wrong;
Or if you move, in case of sudden rain,
To shut the windows, speak distinct and plain.
We equally concur in the wholesome counsel, though satirically given, of this passage and most emphatically do we say with the author, that in politics, the middle way is no way at all:
Who'er you are that have a seat secure,
A trimmer's what both parties turn to sport,
Can it be difficult our minds to show,
Most of our readers have heard of, and probably read, the famous pamphlet of Colonel Titus, entitled, "Killing no Murder," published in 1657, under the fictitious name of William Allen. Cromwell was exceedingly terrified at the publication of this piece, which gave him more sleepless nights than all the plots of cavaliers and fifth monarchy-men. There is a whole-length portrait of the Protector, still to be met with, in the collections of the curious, representing him surrounded by his guards, in evident alarm, and with Titus' pamphlet in his hand. Anthony Wood says, with inimitable gravity and simplicity, that Titus " offers Oliver many convincing and satisfying reasons why he should kill himself; and very fairly gives him the choice of hanging, drowning, or pistolling himself; shows him the absolute necessity of it; the honour he would gain by it; and, in a word, uses such arguments as would have prevailed upon any body but a hardened rebel." Titus never expected to drive Cromwell to suicide; but he certainly employed no common rhetoric to persuade others to assassinate him. He was not knowu as the writer of this extraordinary work till after the Restoration, when Charles II. gave him a colonel's commission, and made him one of the grooms of his bed chamber. He died in 1704, at the age of 82. It was Colonel Titus who, during the debates on the bill for excluding the Duke of York, (afterwards James II.) from the succession to the throne, on account of his religion, and who pleaded strongly for carrying the measure, employed the memorable simile of the lion in the lobby. "To accept of expedients," said he, "for securing the protestant religion, after such a King mounted the throne, was as strange as if there were a lion in the lobby, and they should vote that they would rather secure themselves by letting him in and chaining him, than by keeping him out."
The names of celebrated dealers in the articles which were called after them, according to the fashion of that day. Tompion was a noted watchmaker in the reign of William III.
We have written the above, for the sake of mentioning what perhaps is not so generally known as the fact of "Killing no Murder" being the production of Colonel Titus, that the following lines, versifying his simile, and which are more commonly quoted than the simile itself, because more pointed, are to be found in the Rev. Mr. Bramston's poem of the "Art of Politics." With art and modesty your part maintain,
And talk like Colonel Titus, not like Lane.
The trading knight with rants his speech begins,
Sun, moon, and stars, and dragons, saints, and kings.
When the exclusion bill was in suspence,
I hear a lion in the lobby roar;
Say, Mr. Speaker, shall we shut the door,
The "Art of Politics" is followed by another poem from the pen of Mr. Bramston ;-" The Man of Taste." This is an admirable production, full of the searching satire, keen wit, and powerful ridicule which distinguish the rough, masculine writings of Churchill. But we must reserve our selections from it for another paper, and conclude this. with one or two flowers gathered by anticipation from the volumes that lie before us.
Imitated from the Spanish of Lopez de Vega. Menagiana. tom IV. p. 176. Capricious W- a sonnet needs must have:
I ne'er was so put to't before:-a sonnet!
Why, fourteen verses must be spent upon it:
'Tis good, however, t'have conquered the first stave.
Yet I shall ne'er find rhymes enough by half,
Said I, and found myself i' th' midst of the second.
I should turn back on th' hardest part and laugh.
Thus far with good success I think I've scribbled,
Courage! another 'll finish the first triplet.
Thanks to the muse, my work begins to shorten!
'Tis done! count how you will, I warrant there's fourteen.
THE BREWER'S COACHMAN.
Honest William, an easy and good natured fellow,
Body coachman was he to an eminent brewer
No better e'er sat on a box to be sure.
His coach was kept clean, and no mothers or nurses
Took that care of their babes that he took of his horses.
He had these-ay, and fifty good qualities more,
They're soakers, like me, whom you load with reproaches,
Printed for the Proprietors of the Kentish Observer, at their Office, (by C. W. Banks) 20, St. George's Street, Canterbury.