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He had even attained so much character both as a poet and a philosopher, that the Essay on Man was at first attributed to him. It may not be impertinent to introduce here an anecdote, related by Dr. Warton, who was very intimate with Harte. Pope told Mr. Harte, that in order to disguise his being the author of the Second Epistle of the Essay on Man, he matle, in the first edition, the following bad rhyme :
A cheat! a whore! that starts not at the name,
In all the inns of court, or Drury-Lane. And Harte remembered to have often heard it urged, in inquiries about the author, whilst he was unknown, that it was impossible it could be Pope's, on account of this very passage."- Warton, it may be added, always spoke with respect of Ilarte's abilities.
evidence, he appears to have been a man of extensive learning, and acquainted not only with the best authors of his time, but with the classics, the fathers of the church, and other eminent writers of antiquity, which Dr. Maty, rather inconsiderately, calls “ Gothic erudition.” It is true that he often dis. covers that kind of reading which is seldom read, but the illustrations he has ap. pended to the poems in the Amaranth from the fathers, &c. are generally apt and judicious. Towards the close of life, he cheered his painful and solitary hours by devotional reading.
Ile died unmarried, and at one time' seems to have considered the married state as unfavourable to the cxertions of genius. In his Essay on Painting, he very ungallantly recommends that the artist should be
“Untouch'd by cares, uncumber'd with a wife.” Notwithstanding the unfortunate reception of his history, he projected ano. ther undertaking of the same kind. This we learn from the concluding passage of his Gustavus: in which he says his intention was to carry the history of Germany dowo to the peace of Munster, but that he was deterred by the magnitude of the undertaking. He adds, however, in a note, that he had completed the history of the thirty years war, from the breaking out of the troubles in Bohemia in 1618 to the death of Gustavus in 1632. These papers, with whatever else he left, are supposed to have fallen into the hands of his servant Edward Dore, who after. wards kept an inn in Bath.
Dore and his family are no more, and the manu. scripts are probably irrecoverably lost. We have his own authority also, that he intended to have written a criticism on the poetry of Dryden, which he seems to hare appreciated with just taste. The Advertisement to Religious Melancholy, from which this information is taken, is inserted almost entire, by Dr. Warton in his edition of Pope, as the result of a conference between Pope and Harte.
Harte's poems in general are entitled to considerable praise, although it may probably be thought that he was a better critic than a poet, and exhibited more taste than genius. His attachnient to Pope led him to an imitation of that writer's manner, particularly in the Essay on Reason and that on Satire, which are now added to his other works. His Essay on Reason has been somewhere called a fine philosophical poem. It might with more propriety be called a fine Christian
a poem, as it has more of religion than philosophy, and might have been aptly entitled An Essay on Revelation. The Essay on Satire has some elegant passages, but is desultory, and appears to have been written as a compliment to the Dun.
ciad of Pope, whose opinions he followed as far as they respected the merits of the dunces whom Pope labelled.
For his Essay on Painting, he pleads that it was written at intervals, upon such remarks as casually occurred in his reading, and is therefore deficient in connection. He adds that he had finished the whole before he saw Du Fresnoy, which may readily be believed. He discovers, however, a very correct notion of an art which was not at that time much studied in this country, and has laid dowo many precepts which, if insufficient to form a good painter, will at least prevent his falling into gross improprieties. So much krowledge of the art, and acquaintance with the works of the most eminent painters, argues a taste sur. prising at his early age. He had some turn for drawing, and made several sketches when abroad, which were afterwards engraved as head pieces for the poems in the Amaranth. In this Essay, he delights in images, which although in general pleasing and just, are perhaps too frequently, and as it were periodically introduced. With all his admiration of Pope, he was not lesz attached to Dryden as a model, and if he has less harmony than Pope, has at the same time less monotony.
His translations are faithful and not inelegant. His acquaintance with the classick was very intimate, and he has decorated his Essays on Husbandry with a profusion of apt illustrations.
The Soliloquy occasioned by the chirping of a Grasshopper is tender and playful, but his other small pieces are not entitled to particular notice.
The Amaranth was written, as he informs us - for his private consolation under a lingering and dangerous state of health.” There is something so amiable, and we may add so heroic in this, that it is impossible not to make every allowance for defects; but this collection of poems does not upon the whole stand so much in need of indulgence as may be expected. Some of them were sketched when he was abroad, and now were revised and prepared, but others may perhaps be the effusions of a man in sickness and pain. Yet there are more animated passages of genuine poetry scattered over this volume than we find in his former works.
The whole of the Amaranth is of the serious cast, such as became the situa. tion of the author. We have, indeed, heard of authors who have sported with unusual glee in their moments of debility and decay, and seemed resolved to meet death with an air of good humour and levity. Such a state of mind, where it does really occur, and is not affectation, is rather to be wondered at, than envied. It is not the feeling of a rational, and an immortal creature.
In these poems he adopts various measures, according to his subject. The transition from the ode to the heroic, in the Ascetic, he justifies by the example of Cowley, and from the nature of the precepts, which are most suitable to the solemnity of heroic verse.
The Ode to Contentment has many splendid passages and the recurrence of 16 All, all from Thee, &c.” is particularly graceful. The ex. clamation of “ Bless me,” is, however, a puerility unworthy of the general strain
of this poem.
In the Vision of Death, he professes to imitate Dryden by the introduction of more triplets and alexandrines than " he might otherwise have done.” But if by this he avoids the perpetual restraint of the couplet, there is too much of visible artifice in the method he takes to relieve himself. This, however, is one of the most ingenious fables of which immortality is the subject; the figure and habitation of Death, are poetically conceived and expressed, and the address of Death is energe. tic and striking.
The Courtier and Prince is one of the most instructive and interesting fables in our language. Its length will perhaps be objected, but not by those who at. tend to the many scattered beautics of sentiment and imagination, and wbatever opinion may be entertained on the merit of this and his other poems, it ought not to be forgot that in all be prefers no higher claims than
• The soupds of verse, and reice of Truth.
Μιμητική [Ποιήσεως) τέχνη και δύναμις έσιν άν. I PANCr the public will be much surprised, ίσροφος τη ζωίραφία ζωήραφίαν μεν λέγεσιν ειναι when I say your Iordship was the first person | ΦΘΕΓΓΟΜΕΝΗΝ την Ποίησιν, ΓΠοίησιν δε who was pleased to take notice of me. How ΣΙΓΩΣΑΝ την ζωγραφίαν. little I deserve so much partiality, I leare the
Plutarch. de audiend. Poet. world to judge. Yet thus much I can affirm; I only wish that these poems may live to posterity, to be a memorial of the gratitude rather than
-Poema the genius
Est pictura loquens, mutum pictura poema. Of your lordship's most humble, most obliged, and most dutiful servant,
WHATEVER yet in poetry held true,
The means may vary, but the same their end.
Alike from Heav'n, congenial first they came,
The same their labours, and their praise the It will be necessary to inform the reader, that
the author was under nineteen when all these Alike by turns they touch the conscious heart, poems were written.
And each on each reflects the lights of art. lought here to say a word or two of my Es- You nobler youths who listen to my lays, say on Painting. This performance is by no And scorn by yulgar arts to merit praise : means correct in all its parts ; 1 bad neither Look cautious round, your genius nicely know, health, leisure, nor abilities equal to my de- And mark how far its utmost stretch will go; sign. 'Twas written at intervals, upon such Pride, envy, hatred, labour to conceal, remarks as casually occurred in my reading. And sullen prejudice, and party-zeal; Of course no exact connexion must be expect- Approve, examine, and then last believeed: though I might allege, that Horace uses For friends mislead, and critics still deccive. as little in his Art of Poetry. I had finished who takes his censure, or his praise on trust, the whole, before ever I saw Du Fresnoy; as is kind, 'tis true, but never can be just. will appear by comparison,
But where's the man with gen'rous zeal in
Blest with a genius strong, 'but unconfin'd, Each painful stroke disgusts the lively mind;
So nice reformers their own faith betray,
And school-divines distinguish sense away. And health, and ease, and undisturb'd desires. To err is mortal, do whate'er we can, Who spares no pains his own defects to know, Some faulty trifles will confess the man. Who not forgives, but ev'n admires a foe; Dim spots suffuse the lamp that gilds the sky, By mamers sway'd, which stealing on the heart, If nicely trac'd through Galileo's eye. Charm inore through ease, and happiness, than Wisest are they, who each mad whim repress, art.
And shur. gross errours, by committing less. Such Titian was, by nature form'd to please, Still let due decencies prescrve your fame, Blest in his fortunes, born to live at ease : Nor must the pencil speak the master's shame. Who felt the poet's, or the painter's fire,
Each nobler soul in ev'ry age was giv’n Now dipp' the pencil, and now tun'd the lyre : To bless mankind, for arts descend from Hear's Of gentlest manners in a court refin'd,
Gods! shall we then their pious use profane, A friend to all, belord of all inankind;
l" oblige the young, the noble, or the vain! The Muse's glory, as a monarch's care, ?
Whoever meditates some great design, Dear to the gay, the witty, and the fair! Where strength and nature dawn at ev'ry line, But ah! how long will nature ask to give
Where art and fancy full perfection give, A soul like his, and bid a wonder live?
And each bold figure glows, and seems to live: Rarely a Titian, or a rope appears,
Where lights and shades in sweet disunion play, The forming glory of a thousand years !
Rise by degrees, or by degrees decay; A proper taste we all derive from Heav'n, Far let him shun the busy noise of life, Wou'd all but bless, and manage what is giv'n. Untouch'd by cares, uncumber'd with a wife. Some secret impulse moves in ev'ry heart, Bear him, ye Mrises ! to sequesterd woods, And nature's pleas'd with gentle strokes of art; To bow'ry grottoes, and to silver floods! (reign, Most souls, 'tis true, this blessing faintly charms; Where Peace, and Friendship hold their gentle A distant flame, that rather shines, than warms :
And Love unarm’d sits sipiling on the plain. Like rays, through wintry streams reflected, Where Nature's beauties variously unite, falls
And in a landscape open on the sight.
Like Maso first with trembling hand design And lost in vision travels o'er the sky.
Calm as his thoughts the gentle waters flow: The blusling cherry, or the bending flow'r. Hush'd are his cares, extinct are Cupid's fires, Painful, and slow to noble arts we rise,
And restless hopes, and impotent desires. And long long labours wait the glorious prize;
But Nature s first must be your darling care; Yet by degrees your steadier hand shall give l'nerring Nature, without labour fair. A bolder grace, and bid each object live.
Art from this source derives her true designs, So in the depths of some sequester'd vale, And sober judgment cautiously refines. The weary peasant's heart begins to fail : No look, no posture must inishap'd appear: Slowly he mounts the huge high cliff with pain, Bold be the work, but boldly regular. Anil prays in thought he might return again: When mercy pleads, let softness melt the eyes; 'lill opening all at once beneath his eyes,
When anger storins, the swelling muscles rise. The verdant trees, apd glittering turrets rise : A soft emotion breathes in simple love, He springs, lie triumphs, and like lightning flies. The heart just seems to beat, the eye to more. Erin Raphael's self from rude essays began,
Gently, ah! gently, Languur seems to die, And sbadow'd with a coal bis shapeless man. Now drops a tear, and now steals out a sigh. Tiine was, when Pope for rhymes would knit his Let awful Jove bis lifted thunders wield; brow,
Place azure Neptune in the watry field. And write as tasteless lines--as I do now. Round smiling Venus draw the faithless boy,
'Tis hard a sprightly fancy to command, Surmise, vain hopes, and short-enduring joy. And give a respite to the lab'ring hand; But should you dress a nyinph in monstrous ruff, Hard as our eager passions to restrain,
Or saintly nun profane with modish snuff: When priests, and self-denial plead in rain : Each fool will cry, O horridly amiss! When pleasures tempt, and inclinations draw, The painters mad, mend that, and alter this. When vice is nature, and our will the law. From Heav'n descending, beauteous Nature As vain we strive each trivial fault to hide,
carne, That shows but little judgment, and more pride. One clear perfection, one eternal fame, Like some nice prude, otfensive to ihe sight,
accersita, & simplicibus ab ipsa veritate prú. Exactness gives at best a cold delight; 3
fectis siinilia. Quintil. Lib. 8. Cap. 3. in Proem. 1 Sit vir talis, qualis verè sapiens appellari * Aptissima sunt in hoc nentora, sylvæque; possit, nec moribus mo:lo perfectus, sed etiam quòd illa cæli libertas, locorumque; amænitas scientia, & omni facultate dicendi, qualis for- sublimem animum, & beauorein spiritum parent. tasse adhuc nemo fuerit. Quintilian.
Quintilian. 2 'Titian was created count Palatine by Charles s Videantur omnia ex Naturâ rerum homiV. and most intimately acquainted with Ariosto, numque fluere-Hoc opus, hic labor est; sine Aretine, &c.
quo, cætera nuda, jejunga, infirma, ingrata. 3 Odiosa cura est--Optima enim sunt minimè Quintil. Lib. 6. cap. 2.