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tion of our translator's labours has appeared, it must want the many episodes and descriptions, (the latter principally taken from English scenery,) which have been introduced into numerous subsequent impressions of the French work. It was not, indeed, until after several editions of "Les Jardins" had passed through the press, that De Lille ventured to introduce, as he had long wished and promised to do, a description of the gardens of England, and in the impression including these sketches, he thus notices the attempt, beautifully alluding as he does it, to the memory and the rural retreat of the bard of Twickenham: "Cette nouvelle édition a été retardeé par des obstacles imprévus dont le detail est inutile. La foiblesse de mes yeux et de mes moyens m'ayant empéché de visiter, comme je me l'etois promis, les plus beaux jardins d'Angleterre, je n'en ai cité qu'un petit nombre, cèlèbres par leur beauté ou pars les souvenirs qu'ils rappellent. Tels sont Blenheim, Stow, et le jardin de Pope, si heureux d'appartenir à un homme plein de goût, qui, en conservant religeusement la demeure et les jardins de ce grand poëte, rend à sa mémoire l'hommage à la fois le

plus simple et le plus honorable. Les premiers monumens d'un écrivain fameux sont sa maison qu'il a bâtie, les jardins qu'il a plantés, la bibliothèque qu'il a formée. C'est là, si l'on croyoit encore aux ombres, qu'il faudroit chercher la sienne."

It is necessary, in this place, however, to mention, that as all the features which constitute the leading excellencies of the work, and which have secured for it a justly merited popularity, are to be found in the early impressions, the subsequent matter, with but one or two exceptions, adding rather to the bulk than the intrinsic value of the poem, the version of 1789 may be considered, as far as it has succeeded in its attempt, as not being deficient in any part which has truly served to build up the fame of the original author. I say, as far as it has succeeded, not only with reference to the more brilliant passages, but under a conviction that its chief and perhaps only fault, springs from

Les Jardins ;. ou L'Art D'Embellir Les Paysages. Poëme. Par M. L'Abbé De Lille. Nouvelle Edition, Revue, Corrigée, et Augmentée. A Londres: Chez B. Dulau Preface p. ix.

et Co. Soho Square. 1811.

that want of sustained finish already adverted to as one of the characteristics of the French poem; an inequality, however, which has rendered it peculiarly fitted for the process it is about to undergo in this paper, that of separating its gems from the mass of inferior matter in which they are imbedded.

On the merits of the original work of De Lille, which has been naturalised in almost every European language, it would be superfluous, in the present day, to enter into any critical disquisition; but it may be remarked, that "Les Jardins," form a poem which both in manner and matter is built upon a literature and taste almost exclusively extrinsic to the country of its birth; and that whilst its author, with a singular freedom from national prejucice, adopted as his best and purest models the first poets of Britain, he has furnished at the same time, not only the most striking and successful instance of an almost complete emancipation from the pompous frigidity and declamatory affectation, which have so generally debased the poetry of his countrymen, but he has shown also, and in a way so fascinating as to have disarmed all envy

and struck dumb the malevolence of criticism, of what unaffected tenderness and comparative simplicity, of what stores of natural painting and unsophisticated feeling, it might easily and efficiently be rendered the vehicle. Indeed no man appears to have come to the task with talents more fitted to ensure success, or with a higher estimate of what should be achieved, in this department of the art, than De Lille. In his preface, when speaking of the two kinds of interest of which poetry is susceptible, that of the subject and that of the composition, he justly observes, that as the didactic branch, is incapable of exhibiting either the intricacies of fable or the excitement of the stronger passions, it must rest its attractions in a great measure, if not altogether, on this latter species of interest. "Il faut donc suppléer cet intérêt," he proceeds, "par les détails les plus soignés, et par les agrémens du style le plus brillant et le plus pur. C'est la qu'il faut que la justesse des idées, la vivacité du coloris, l'abondance des images, le charme de la variété, l'adresse des contrastes, une harmonie enchanteresse, une élégance soutenue, attachent et réveillent continuellement


le lecteur. Mais ce mérite demande l'organisation la plus heureuse, le goût le plus exquis, le travail le plus opiniâtre. Aussi les chefsd'œuvres en ce genre sont ils rares. L'Europe compte deux cents bonnes tragedies: les Géorgiques et le poëme de Lucrèce, chez les anciens, sont les seuls monumens du second genre ; et tandis que les tragédies d'Ennius, de Pacuvius, la Médée même d'Ovide, ont péri, l'antiquité nous a transmis ces deux poëmes, et il semble que le génie de Rome, ait encore veillé sur sa gloire en nous conservant ces chefs-d'œuvres. Parmi les modernes nous ne connoissons guère que les deux poëmes des Saisons, Anglois et François, l'Art Poétique de Boileau, et l'admirable Essai sur l'Homme de Pope, qui aient obtenu et conservé une place distinguée parmi les ouvrages de ce genre de poésie." *

It is to be regretted that when this preface was written, the Abbé should have forgotten to enumerate among the distinguished didactic poems of the moderns, the "English Garden" of his contemporary Mason; which had been now completed, and in extensive circulation for nearly * Les Jardins. Preface, pp. xi. xii.

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