Famous Reviews eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 678 pages of information about Famous Reviews.

North. Come, come, Timothy, you know you were sorely cut an hour or two ago—­so do not attempt characteristics.  But, after all, Bowles does not say that Pope was unamiable.

Tickler. Yes, he does—­that is to say, no man can read, even now, all that he has written about Pope, without thinking on the whole, somewhat indifferently of the man Pope.  It is for this I abuse our friend Bowles.

Shepherd. Ay, ay—­I recollect now some of the havers o’ Boll’s about the Blounts,—­Martha and Theresa, I think you call them.  Puir wee bit hunched-backed, windle-strae-legged, gleg-eed, clever, acute, ingenious, sateerical, weel-informed, warm-hearted, real philosophical, and maist poetical creature, wi’ his sounding translation o’ a’ Homer’s works, that reads just like an original War-Yepic,—­His Yessay on Man that, in spite o’ what a set o’ ignoramuses o’ theological critics say about Bolingbroke and Croussass, and heterodoxy and atheism, and like haven, is just-ane o’ the best moral discourses that ever I heard in or out o’ the poupit,—­His yepistles about the Passions, and sic like, in the whilk he goes baith deep and high, far deeper and higher baith than mony a modern poet, who must needs be either in a diving-bell or a balloon,—­ His Rape o’ the Lock o’ Hair, wi’ a’ these Sylphs floating about in the machinery o’ the Rosicrucian Philosophism, just perfectly yelegant and gracefu’, and as gude, in their way, as onything o’ my ain about fairies, either in the Queen’s Wake or Queen Hynde,—­His Louisa to Abelard is, as I said before, coorse in the subject-matter, but, O sirs! powerfu’ and pathetic in execution—­and sic a perfect spate o’ versification!  His unfortunate lady, who sticked hersel for love wi’ a drawn sword, and was afterwards seen as a ghost, dim-beckoning through the shade—­a verra poetical thocht surely, and full both of terror and pity....

North. Pope’s poetry is full of nature, at least of what I have been in the constant habit of accounting nature for the last threescore and ten years.  But (thank you, James, that snuff is really delicious) leaving nature and art, and all that sort of thing, I wish to ask a single question:  what poet of this age, with the exception, perhaps, of Byron, can be justly said, when put in comparison with Pope, to have written the English language at all....

Tickler. What would become of Bowles himself, with all his elegance, pathos, and true feeling?  Oh! dear me, James, what a dull, dozing, disjointed, dawdling, dowdy of a drawe would be his muse, in her very best voice and tune, when called upon to get up and sing a solo after the sweet and strong singer of Twickenham!

North. Or Wordsworth—­with his eternal—­Here we go up, and up, and up, and here we go down, down, and here we go roundabout, roundabout!—­Look at the nerveless laxity of his Excursion!—­What interminable prosing!—­ The language is out of condition:—­fat and fozy, thick-winded, purfled and plethoric.  Can he be compared with Pope?—­Fie on’t! no, no, no!—­ Pugh, pugh!

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