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There Kings shall sue, and suppliant States be seen
“Thy trees, fair Windsor! now shall leave their woods, And half thy forests rush into thy floods.
386 Bear Britain's thunder, and her Cross display, To the bright regions of the rising day; Tempt icy seas, where scarce the waters roll, Where clearer flames glow round the frozen Pole; 390 Or under southern skies exalt their sails, Led by new stars, and borne by spicy gales ! For me the balm shall bleed, and amber flow, The coral redden, and the ruby glow, The pearly shell its lucid globe infold,
395 And Phæbus warm the rip’ning ore to gold. The time shall come, when free as seas or wind Unbounded Thames shall flow for all mankind, Whole nations enter with each swelling tide, And seas but join the regions they divide;
400 Earth's distant ends our glory shall behold, And the new world launch forth to seek the old. Then ships of uncouth form shall stem the tide, And feather'd people croud my wealthy side,
Ver. 385. Thy trees, fair Windsor !) This return to the trees of Windsor Forest, his original subject, is masterly and judicious; and the whole speech of Thames is highly animated and poetical, forcible and rich in diction, as it is copious and noble in imagery.--Bowles.
Ver. 391.] Here is almost a prophecy of those discoveries of new islands and continents which this country of late years has had the honour to make.--Warton.
Ver. 398. Unbounded Thames, &c.] A wish that London may be made a FREE PORT.-P.
Ver. 385, &c. were originally thus,
Now shall our fleets the bloody Cross display
Tempt icy seas, &c.—P. The original lines were rejected, probably as too nearly resembling a passage in Comus,
“ And the gilded car of day
His glowing axle doth allay
And naked youths and painted chiefs admire 405
420 There Faction roar, Rebellion bite her chain, And gasping Furies thirst for blood in vain.”
Here cease thy flight, nor with unhallow'd lays Touch the fair fame of Albion's golden days:
To hear the savage youth repeat
Their feather-cinctured chiefs, and dusky loves, says Mr. Gray, most beautifully, in his ode ; dusky loves is more accurate than sable ; they are not negroes.--Warton.
Ver. 422. in vain.] This conclusion both of Horace and of Pope is feeble and flat: The whole should have ended with this speech of Thames at this line, 422.
Pope, it seems, was of opinion, that descriptive poetry is a composition as absurd as a feast made up of sauces: and Î know many other persons that think meanly of it. I will not presume to say it is equal, either in dignity or utility, to those compositions that lay open the internal constitution of man, and that imitate characters, manners, and sentiments. I may however remind such contemners of it, that, in a sister art, landscapepainting claims the very next rank to history-painting, being ever preferred to single portraits, to pieces of still-life, to droll figures, to fruit and flowerpieces ; that Titian thought it no diminution of his genius, to spend much
Quo, Musa, tendis ? desine pervicax
Magna modis tenuare parvis.”
The thoughts of Gods let GRANVILLE's verse recite,
of his time in works of the former species ; and that, if their principles lead them to condemn Thomson, they must also condemn the Georgics of Virgil, and the greatest part of the noblest descriptive poem extant ; I mean that of Lucretius.- Warton.
Ver. 434. It is observable that our author finishes this poem with the first line of his Pastorals, as Virgil closed his Georgics with the first line of his Eclogues.-Wakefield.
A Poem purely descriptive has certainly no claim to excellence. But a poem which is at once moral, historical, and picturesque ; or, in other words, where description is made subservient to the delighted fancy, the cultivated understanding, and the improved heart, surely no real judge of Poetry would condemn. What beautiful and interesting pieces would such a decision exclude! How many animating or tender sentiments, how many affecting incidents, how much interesting information, are often connected with local scenery! The genuine Poet surveys every prospect with the eye and enthusiasm of a painter ; but does he only paint ?' He connects with the scenery he describes, morality, antiquity, history, the wildest traditions in fancy, or the sweetest feelings of tenderness, or patriotism. If we feel interested by the picture of an Arcadian landscape, which conveys its moral by the introduction of a shepherd's tomb, and the inscription Et ego in Arcadia ;” in like manner should we regard a descriptive poem, connected at the same time with wider information, and diversified with more pointed morality.
Pope in his Windsor Forest has description, incident, and history. The descriptive part, however, is too general and unappropriate : the incident, or story-part, is such as only would have been adopted by a young man, who had just read Ovid ; but the historical part is very judi. ciously and skilfully blended, and the conclusion highly animated and poetical ; nor can we be insensible to its more lofty tone of versification.Bowles.