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He that is valiant, and dares fight,
Tho' drubb'd, can lofe no Honour by't.
Honour's a leafe for lives to come,
And cannot be extended from
The legal tenant; 'tis a chattel
Not to be forfeited in battle.
If he that is in battle flain
Be in the bed of Honour lain,
He that is beaten may be faid
To lie in Honour's truckle-bed.

-Honour in the breech is lodg'd,

As wife philofophers have judg'd,
Because a kick in that part more
Hurts Honour, than deep wounds before.


She too might have poifon'd the joys of my life,
With nurses, and babies, and fqualling, and ftrife;
But my wine neither nurfes nor babies can bring,
And a big-bellied bottle's a mighty good thing.

But as humour is the offfpring of nature only, and not to be taught, or perhaps cultivated, by any rules, it does not fall within our compafs; for to attempt any directions for obtaining that which nature alone can bestow, would be abfurd and ridiculous.

Befides the thoughts we have already mentioned, there are others called brilliant thoughts, whofe excellency confifts in a fhort and lively expreffion, and which are made pleafing by a point of wit that ftrikes us by its boldness and novelty, and charms us with its ingenious and uncommon turn. Thefe thoughts may be admitted into most of the fpecies of poetry, when introduced cautiously and with propriety; but their peculiar provinces feem to be the fatire and the epigram; of which laft they are the very ef fence and indeed most of thofe fhining and ftriking thoughts which we find in our beft fatires, have, when abftractedly and separately confidered, all the effential properties of the epigram, viz. brevity, beauty, and point of wit. We fhall give a few inftances in confirmation of what we have advanced from the fatires of Dr. Young, and more may be found in the fubfequent part of this volume, in the fatires of Mr. Dryden, Mr. Pope, and others.

Let high birth triumph! what can be more great?
Nothing-but merit in a low eftate:

To virtue's humbleft fon let none prefer

Vice, tho' defcended from the

Shall men like figures pafs for high, or bafe,
Slight, or important, only by their place?
Titles are marks of honeft men and wife;
The fool, or knave, that wears a title, lies.

The man who builds and wants wherewith to pay,
Provides a home from which to run away.
In Britain what is many a lordly feat,
But a discharge in full for an eftate?

Is thy ambition fweating for a rhyme,
Thou unambitious fool, at this late time?
While I a moment name, a moment's past,
I'm nearer death in this verse than the last;
What then is to be done? be wife with speed:
A fool at forty is a fool indeed.

Nothing exceeds in ridicule no doubt
A fool in fashion but a fool that's out;
His paffion for abfurdity's so strong,
He cannot bear a rival in the wrong.

The fylvan race our active nymphs pursue ;
Man is not all the game they have in view:
In woods and fields their glory they complete,
There mafter Betty leaps a five-barr'd gate;
While fair mifs Charles to toilets is confin'd,
Nor rafhly tempts the bar'brous fun and wind.

But these thoughts, however pleafing, should never be introduced where the paffions are concerned; nor indeed are defcriptions and fimilies there to be admitted, unless they are extremely fhort, and fuch as may be naturally thrown out by the conflicts of the foul, and help to exprefs its paffion and furprife: for to put points of wit, luxuriant defcriptions, and beautiful fimilies into the mouths of perfons agitated by paffion, or labouring under the agonies of death, as is too frequently done in our trage dies, is offering violence to nature. Joy, grief, and anger are most naturally expreffed by exclamations, fudden starts,

and broken fentences; and even when nature is thus difturbed and agitated, a feeming incoherence may be pardonable; but ftudied decorations can never be admitted.

There is another fault which young people are mighty apt to give into, and that is what may be called, running down a thought. When they have started a thought which is in itfelf beautiful, and would dignify their work, they never know when to part with it, but keep tricking it up till they have turned the fine gentleman into a fop, and rendered that which was ineftimable, of no manner of value.- Seafonable filence has its emphafis.

'Tis not in thefe works of genius prudent to be over explicit; for it not only borders on vanity, and carries with it a fuppofition, that nobody can difcern a beauty except yourself, but deprives the reader alfo of the pleasure he would otherwife have of employing his own fagacity. In fhort, the writer fhould never fay fo much, but that the reader may perceive he was capable of faying more; for the hunting down a thought, and tiring the reader with a repetition of tedious particulars, is ever the mark of a little trifling genius.

And here we are alfo to obferve, that the too frequent ufe of wit, or, in other words, the filling any discourse or poem with too many of thofe thoughts we have been defcribing, is not to be tolerated.

Another fault which often does befall,
Is when the wit of fome great poet shall
So overflow that it be none at all *.

A poem, like a dinner or a defert, may be made too rich, and, instead of gratifying, difguft. Poetry indeed admits of more ornament than profe; but true taste and right reafon abhors luxury in both. Befides, there are other thoughts to be introduced into every work which neither ftrike us with their grandeur, beauty, delicacy, or pointed wit, but which are fraught with good fenfe and folidity; that carry weight in their meaning, and fink deep in the understanding: thefe, therefore, and common thoughts, are to be confidered as the bafis and fuperftructure, and the other as the ornamental parts of the work; which should not be forced in to difplay wit and finery, but introduced

Duke of Puckingham's Fay on Poetry.

reader every


to conftitute beauty, variety, and order; and arife naturally out of the fubject treated of, and feem fo infeparable from it, that think he should have so expreffed it himself in short, though the thoughts were not obvious to the reader before, they should appear fo now; which, as Mr. Addifon obferves, is the true character of all fine writing. We come now to


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FTER dwelling fo long on thoughts in poetry, little need be faid of the poetic ftyle; for the paffages we have felected to illuftrate the thoughts, may ferve as fo many examples of ftyle alfo.

The beauty of ftyle in general confifts in a proper choice of words, fo connected that they may exprefs the conceptions of the mind clearly, and with a becoming dignity; for the ftyle is to be efteemed in proportion as it is expreffive of the thoughts it is defigned to convey.

As words are intended to express our thoughts, they ought to grow out of them. Since the moft natural are the beft, and proper expreffions are generally connected with the ideas themselves, and follow them as the shadow does the fubftance. Those who think clearly, therefore, will always write fo, provided they are mafters of the language, and have obtained for the memory a good stock of expreffions, by a conftant perufal of the best and most elegant anthors.

We are to obferve, however, that poetry has a language peculiar to itself, which is in many refpects very different from that of profe.-For as the poet's defign is principally to please, to move the paffions, and to infpire the foul with noble and fublime fentiments, he is allowed great latitude of language, and may use such bold expreffions and uncommon modes of fpeech, fuch frequent repetitions, free epithets, and extenfive and adorned descriptions, as are not to be admitted in profe. Thus, for inftance, in defcribing a lawn near to a grotto in a wood, the profe writer fays, Clofe to her grotto, which is shaded by a grove, there is a beautiful

lawn edged round with mojs. Which the poet would probably have described in this manner.

Clofe to her grott within the grove,
A carpet's laid that nature wove;
Which time extended on the ground,

And tuff'd with moss the selvage round.

Poetry endeavours to exprefs things paraphraftically, or in fhort descriptions, rather than in fimple terms; and in thofe defcriptions, the profopopoeia is often ufed. Thus Milton, when defcribing the finging of the nightingale, fays, Silence was pleased; and that at the rifing of the fun, the hours unbarr'd the gates of light. Which office Homer affigns to the morning.

Soon as the Morn, in orient purple dreft,

Unbarr'd the portals of the roseate east.

The royal Pfalmift tells us, the clouds drop fatnefs, and the hills rejoice, that the fruitful fields fmile, and the vallies laugh and fing. And these fhort allegories and ima. ges, which convey particular circumstances to the reader after an unusual and entertaining manner, have a fine effect in poetry, that delights in imitation, and endeavours to give to almost every thing, life, motion, and found; but these would in profe appear very ridiculous and pedantic. In poetry likewife, we often put particulars for generals, and frequently diftinguifh and allude to men, places, rivers, mountains, &c. by various names taken from any of their adjuncts, which profe will rarely admit of. In fhort, poetry is a fort of painting in words; the thoughts are the figures, and the words are the colours, the lights and shades with which they are cloathed and prefented to the imagination of the reader. The verfe therefore (though poetry delights in harmony, which excites a pleasure that makes its way directly to the foul) is not to be always harmonious, but should be fo contrived, as Mr. Pope obferves, that the found may echo to the sense, and be rough or fmooth, fwift or flow, according to the idea or thought it is intended to elucidate. The following paffage from his Effay on Criticifm (fome allowances being made for the fecond line and for the laft) is in this cafe both a precept and an example.

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