« ZurückWeiter »
are serious; and, if substantiated by evidence, leave us nothing to plead in bar of sentence but, “ that last infirmity of noble minds,” jealousy of a rival's fame. Let the great writer who has not felt this pour down alone his censure upon Ad. DISON. But from whom does the sarcasm proceed ?-From Pope!-- from him who provoked the memorable severity of HILL? who,
Poorly accepted FAME he ne'er repaid;
Is it not something more than problematic, that this conduct, of which Hill so keenly complains, he alone might not have felt, and that the coolness of Addison might have sprung from the petulance of Pope? Let any man, after impartially scanning either the lives or writings of these writers, pronounce from whom he conceives the offensive conduct originally sprung. The beauty of Pope's COMPOSITIONS have in no trifling degreee decorated his LIFE with a beauty which it wanted. He who lives in a state of inadequate enmity, who, in the language of ShakSPERE spurns enviously at straws, was more likely to be irritated by the successful Sage he revered than the degraded Dunce he delighted to deride.
Is one of those pieces upon which the public opinion has been ratified by the critic. It is read, quoted, and admired by every lover of the drama; and it has the singular fortune of conciliating the favour of such as speak with unreasonable contempt of productions more truly dramatic. The moral, the prudent, the religious of our teachers banish not the scenes of Cato from our youth, though the basis of the play is faulty and the practice of suicide is exhibited among the splendors of philosophic pomp, its infamy to us “ invisible or dimly seen” struggling through the misty magic of Platonic rapsody.
It is read, it is quoted-but it is now never acted. The sentiments of patriotism inculcated are so far good, that they implant in our hearts the love of our country—but the Author was mistaken if he conceived the exemplification of this virtue perfect in Cato. A true patriot would have spared his country the miseries of hopless contention, and have abased his haughtiness of pride before the weightier consequences of recovered peace and returning concord.
With regard to the splendor of its sentences; they, it must be confessed, frequently dazzle us with a
false fire-their sentiments are above nature, and superior to humanity. We are happy to see our complacency restored, when the Stoic sinks at last into the man, sorrows upon the bier of a beloved son, and thus claims again the condition he had laboured to renounce.
PARTY carried this play up to a height where to have sustained itself was impossible. Time has pronounced it to be a sensible poem, which in representation interests now no more, and must be judged alone in the closet. Criticism there has demonstrated, that as a dramatic structure it is highly beautiful ; exquisite in its ornaments, graceful, and elegantly fitted up; but unhappily insecure from certain palpable defects ascertainable by a survey of its founda. tions.
WRITTEN BY MR. POPE.
To wake the soul by tender strokes of art,
While Cato gives his little senate laws,
Britons attend : Be worth like this approxid, And shew you have the virtue to be mov'd. With honest scorn the first fam'd Cato view'd Rome learning arts from Greece, whom she subdu'd; Our scenes precariously subsist too long On French translation, and Italian song : Dare to have sense yourselves; assert the stage ; Be justly warm’d with your own native rage: Such plays alone should please a British ear, As Cato's self had not disdain'd to hear.