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Brutus, and the hafty choler and repentance of Caffius, with their reconciliation, is nobly expreffed; Brutus fays,

O Caffius, I am fick of many griefs.

Caffius. Of your philofophy you make no use,

If you give place to accidental evils.

Brutus. No man bears forrow better-Portia's dead,
Caffius. Ha! Portia !

Brutus. She is dead.

Caffius. How 'fcap'd I killing when I croft you fo?

Here the grief in Brutus, and the furprife in Caffius, is better expreffed than it could have been in a multitude of fine fpeeches; fince indeed both are inexpreffible in any other manner.

The paffions of anger, grief and joy, as we have already obferved, are not to be loaded with ftudied metaphors, fimiles and defcriptions, as they too frequently are in our English tragedies; for here they are highly improper, and therefore inelegant and unaffecting. Nature, in a tumultuous ftate, has not time to look round her for expreflions that are delicate and pretty, but thunders out fuch as the paffion has excited, and thofe often in broken and interrupted fentences. Thefe paffions therefore are, in general, better expreffed by fudden ftarts, fuppreffions, apoftrophes, exclamations, and broken and unconnected fentences, than by a forced and ftudied dignity. Nor in these need the writer be afraid of expreffing himself improperly, if he feels, as he ought to do, the paffion he would excite in others; for, as we have elsewhere obferved, the mind is extremely ready in culling such phrases as are immediately for her purpose; and this is the reason why the common ignorant people, and even children, when under violent emotions of mind, fo often exprefs themselves with force, propriety, and elegance.

The rules and cautions we have here laid down, will at all times be found useful; but none are fufficient to teach this art without daily practice, and a conftant perufal of the beft authors: to which let me add, that a fertile imaginanation, a clear conception, and a good ear, are indifpenfably neceffary.- Fancy is the foundation of poctry.Without a good imagination nothing can be new, and therefore not valuable; without a clear conception nothing can be clearly or elegantly expreffed; for where there is confufion in the head, perfpicuity can never flow from the

pen; and with regard to compofition and verfification, a good ear is beyond all the rules in the world.

We are now to fpeak of the laws and rules of the feveal kinds of poetry, as laid down by the beft critics, and to give fpecimens of fuch as will fall within the compass of our defign.


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HE writers on the art of poetry have ufually claffed the feveral forts of poems under the following heads, 2. the Epigram, the Elegy, the Paftoral, the Ode, the Satire, Comedy, Tragedy, and the Epic poem. This dif tribution, however, feems infufficient, and therefore we hope a deviation from the learned in this respect will not appear arrogant or difagreeable; efpecially if the altera tions we propofe fhould be found to have their basis in truth and right reafon.

Every thing in nature, that is diftin&t and different from all others, fhould have a name, whereby it may be diftinguished without a tedious enumeration of its properties and adjuncts; fince a method of that kind would occafion infinite perplexity and confufion, which is ever to be avoided, and efpecially in matters of fcience; and, if on mature examination it be found, that there are poems of confiderable character which are effentially different from those we have already mentioned, and are not to be refolved into any of them, another diftribution may be juftified.

The Epitaph, on account, perhaps, of the epigrammatic point with which thofe little pieces are often closed, has been usually claffed with the epigram; but as there are numberless epitaphs whofe excellency does not confift in thining thoughts and points of wit, (the characteristics of our modern epigrams) we shall take the freedom to affign them a diftin&t place.

Epifles, defcriptive and preceptive poems, tales, fables, and allegorical poetry, deferve the fame diftinction; for as thefe methods of writing have obtained much of late, they are of too great confequence to be paffed over, and it feems impoffible

to treat of them under any other article without manifeft incongruity. It may be faid, indeed, that many of our epiitles (especially thofe of Horace and Mr. Pope) partake of the fatire; but that is no reason why others that are of a quite different nature fhould be placed under that head. The defcriptive poems of Milton, I mean his L'Allegro and Il Penferofo, as well as Denham's Cooper's Hill, Pope's Windfor Foreft, and others in our language, cannot be claffed under any of the ufual divifions of poetry; nor indeed can the preceptive poems with any degree of accuracy or fhew of reafon. Virgil's Georgics, Horace's Art of Poetry, the duke of Buckinghamshire's Efay, Roscommon on tranflated Verfe, Pope's Effay on Man, and his Efay on Criticism, are fo effentially different and diftinct from any of the ufual claffes, that the critics, with all their art, will never be able to discover any real agreement between them; nor will they deny, I fuppofe, but that Virgil's Georgics, and Pope's Efay on Man, deferve as much efteem at leaft as their paftorals, though they have been thus neglected in their divifion of this art. If it be faid, that the other fpecies of poetry often partake of all thefe different kinds, I answer, that is no objection; for this they occafionally do of each other even the epic poem, with all its dignity, has fometimes the plaintive strain of the elegy, and the farcafm and afperity of fatire.

Tales and fables, indeed, when they are of any value, are in general either didactic or fatirical, and may therefore be refolved into the preceptive poem or the fatire; but as there is something peculiar in their compofition, we shall affign them a diftinct chapter, and deliver what we have farther to fay on this art under the following heads, viz. the Epigram, the Epitaph, the Elegy, the Pastoral, the Epiftle, the Defcriptive Poem, the Preceptive Poem, Tales and Fables, the Allegorical Poem, the Ode, the Satire, Comedy, Tragedy, and the Heroic poem, of which the Epic is the most exalted part, and requires the utmost extent of human genius.

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HE Epigram is a little poem, or compofition in verse, treating of one thing only, and whofe diftinguishing characters are Brevity, Beauty, and Point.

The word Epigram fignifies Infcription; for epigrams derive their origin from those infcriptions placed by the antients on their ftatues, temples, pillars, triumphal arches,. and the like; which, at firft, were very fhort, being fome-times no more than a fingle word, but afterwards, increas ing their length, they made them in verfe, to be the better retained by the memory. This fhort way of writing came. at laft to be used upon any occafion or subject; and hence the name of Epigram has been given to any little copy of. veries, without regard to the original application of fuch


Its ufual limits are from two to twenty verfes, though fometimes it extends to fifty; but the fhorter the better it. is, and the more perfect, as it partakes more of the nature and character of this kind of poem: Befides, the epigram, being only a fingle thought, ought to be expreffed in a little compass, or else it lofes its force and strength.

The Beauty required in an Epigram is an harmony and apt agreement of all its parts, a fweet fimplicity, and polite language.

The Point is a fharp, lively, unexpected turn of wit, with which an epigram ought to be concluded. There are fome critics, indeed, who will not admit the Point in an Epigram, but require the thought to be equally diffused through the whole poem, which is ufually the practice of Catullus, as the former is that of Martial. It is allow'd there is more delicacy in the manner of Catullus, but the Point is more agreeable to the general tafte, and feems to be the chief characteristic of the Epigrom.

This fort of poem admits of all manner of fubjects, provided that Brevity, Beauty, and Point are preferved; but it is generally employed either in Praife or Satire.

Tho' the beft Epigrams are faid to be fuch as are comprized in two or four verses, we are not to understand it as if none can be perfect which exceed those limits. Neither the antients nor moderns have been fo fcrupulous with refpect to the length of their Epigrams; but however, Brevity in general is always to be ftudied in thefe compofi


For examples of good Epigrams in the English language, we shall make choice of feveral in the different taftes we have mention'd; fome remarkable for their delicate turn and fimplicity of expreffion, and others for their falt and sharpnefs, their equivocating pun, or pleasant allufion. In the first place, take that of Mr. Pope, faid to be written on a glafs with the earl of Chesterfield's diamond pencil :

Accept a miracle, inftead of wit;

See two dull lines by Stanhope's pencil writ.

The Beauty of this Epigram is more eafily feen than defcribed. For my part I am at a lofs to determine whether it does more honour to the poet who wrote it, or to the nobleman for whom the compliment is defigned.-The following Epigram of Mr. Prior is written in the fame. tafte, being a fine encomium on the performance of an excellent painter.

On a Flower, painted by VARELST.

When fam'd Varelft this little wonder drew,
Flora vouchfaf'd the growing work to view :
Finding the painter's science at a stand,
The Goddess fnatch'd the pencil from his hand,
And, finishing the piece, fhe fmiling said,
Behold one work of mine which ne'er shall fade.

Another compliment of this delicate kind he has made Mr. Howard in the following Epigram.

VENUS miftaken.

When CHLOE's picture was to VENUS fhown;
Surpriz'd, the Goddefs took it for her own.
And what, faid fhe, does this bold painter mean?
When was I bathing thus, and naked feen ?

Pleas'd CUPID heard, and check'd his mother's pride:
And who's blind now, mamma ? the urchin cry'd,

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