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No gentle breathing breeze prepares the spring, No birds within the defert region fing: The fhips, unmov'd, the boift'rous winds defy, While rattling chariots o'er the ocean fly. The vaft Leviathan wants room to play, And fpout his waters in the face of day; The ftarving wolves along the main fea prowl, And to the moon in icy valleys howl. O'er many a fhining league the level main Here fpreads itself into a glaffy plain : There folid billows of enormous fize, Alps of green ice, in wild diforder rife.
And yet but lately have I feen, ev'n here, The winter in a lovely drefs appear. 'E're yet the clouds let fall the treafur'd fnow, Or winds began through hazy skies to blow, At ev'ning a keen eaftern breeze arofe, And the defcending rain unfully'd froze. Soon as the filent fhades of night withdrew, The ruddy morn difclos❜d at once to view The face of nature in a rich difguife, And brighten'd ev'ry object to my eyes: For ev'ry fhrub, and ev'ry blade of grafs, And ev'ry pointed thorn, feem'd wrought in glass; In pearls and rubies rich the hawthorns fhow, While through the ice the crimson berries glow. The thick-fprung reeds, which watry marshes yield, Seem'd polish'd lances in a hoftile field. The flag in limpid currents, with surprise, Sees chrystal branches on his forehead rife: The spreading oak, the beech, and tow'ring pine, Glaz'd over, in the freezing æther shine. The frighted birds the rattling branches fhun, Which wave and glitter in the distant fun. When if a fudden guft of wind arise, The brittle foreft into atoms flies,
The crackling woods beneath the tempeft bends,
Like fome deluded peafant, Merlin leads
We have already obferved that the effential, and indeed the true characteristic of epiftolary writing is eafe; and on this account, as well as others, the following letter from Mr Pope to Mifs Blount is to be admired.
As fome fond virgin, whom her mother's care
She went, to plain-work, and to purling brooks,
From Mr. POPE to Mifs BLOUNT, on her leaving the Torin after the Coronation.
Who vifits with a gun, prefents you birds,
In fome fair ev'ning, on your elbow laid,
Of lords, and earls, and dukes, and garter'd knights,
it when his fancy points your fprightly eyes,
CHA P. XIII.
Of Defcriptive POETRY.
Defcripfive Poetry is of univerfal ufe, fince there is
nothing in nature but what may
poems of this kind, however, are intended more to delight, than inftruct, great care should be taken to make them agreeable. The error which young people are most likely to run into is that of dwelling too long on minute circumftances; which not only renders the piece tedious, and trifling, but deprives the reader of the pleasure he would have in making little discoveries of his own; for in defcriptions that are intended as ornamental, the poet should never
fay fo much but that the reader may perceive he was capable of faying more, and left fome things unobserved in compliment to his fagacity. Milton's L'Allegro and Il Penferofo are to be admir'd on this account, as well as others, for in these every thing paffes as it were in a review before you, and one thought ftarts a hundred. Defcriptive Poems are made beautiful by fimilies properly introduced, images of feigned perfons, and allufions to ancient fables, or historical facts; as will appear by a perusal of the best of these poems, especially thofe of Milton abovemention'd, Denham's Cooper's Hill, and Pope's Windfor Foreft. The L'Allegro and Il Penferofo we shall introduce as examples, but the others are too long for our purpose.
L'ALLEGRO Or the lively Pleafures of Mirth.
Hence loathed melancholy,
Of Cerberus and blackeft midnight born,
'Mongft horrid shapes, and fhrieks and fights unholy,
Where brooding darkness fpreads his jealous wings,
There under ebon fhades, and low brow'd rocks,
In dark Cimmerian defert ever dwell:
But come thou goddess fair and free,
As he met her once a maying,
Fill'd her with thee a daughter fair,
Quips and cranks, and wanton wiles,
Such as hang on Hebe's cheek, And love to live in dimple fleek; Sport that wrinkled care derides, And Laughter holding both his fides. Come, and trip it as you go On the light fantastic toe, And in thy right hand lead with thee, The mountain nymph sweet Liberty; And if I give thee honour due, -Mirth, admit me of thy crew To live with her, and live with thee, In unreproved pleasures free; To hear the lark begin his flight, And fingling ftartle the dull Night, From his watch tow'r in the skies, Till the dapple Dawn doth rise; Then to come in fpite of forrow, And at my window bid good morrow, Through the sweet-briar, or the vine, Or the twisted eglantine: While the cock with lively din Scatters the rear of Darkness thin, And to the ftack, or the barn-door, Stoutly ftruts his dames before: Oft lift'ning how the hounds and horn Chearly roufe the flumb'ring Morn, From the fide of fome hoar hill, Through the high wood echoing fhrill: Sometime walking not unfeen By hedge-row elms, or hillocks green, Right againft the eaftern gate, Where the great Sun begins his ftate, Rob'd in flames and amber light, 'The clouds in thousand liveries dight, While the plow-man near at hand Whiftles o'er the furrow'd land, And the milk-maid fingeth blithe, And the mower whets his fcythe, And every fhepherd tells his tale Under the hawthorn in the dale. Strait mine eye hath caught new pleasures Whilft the landskip round it measures,