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Edward the Black Prince in Cypress.
the green sickness, but of full growth.
blighted, to be disposed of a pennyworth.
forgot a week in rainy weather. A Lavender Pig, with Sage growing in his belly. A pair of Maidenheads in Firr, in great forwardness.
He also cutteth family pieces of men, women, and children, fo that any gentleman may have his lady's effigies in Myrtle, or his own in Horn-beam.
Thy Wife shall be as the fruitful Vine, and thy Chil. dren as Olive-branches round thy table.
P R E F A C E
TTOMER is universally allowed to have had
the greatest Invention of any writer whatever. The praise of Judgment Virgil has justly contested with him, and others may have their pretensions as to particular excellencies; but his Invention remains yet unrivall’d. Nor is it a wonder if he has ever been acknowledged the greatest of poets, who most excelled in that which is the very foundation of poetry. It is the invention that in different degrees distinguishes all great Genius's: The utmost firetch of human study, learning, and industry, which master, every thing besides, can never attain to this. It furnishes Art with all her materials, and without it, Judgment itself çan at beit but steal wisely : For Art is only like a prudent steward that lives on manag. ing the riches of Nature. Whatever praises may be given to works of Judgment, there is not even a fin
gle beauty in them, to which the Invention must not contribute. As in the most regular gardens, Art can only reduce the beauties of Natare to more regularity, and such a figure, which the common eye may better take in, and is therefore more entertained with. And perhaps the reason why common Critics are inclined to prefer a judicious and methodical genius to a great and fruitful one, is, because they find it easier for themselves to pursue their observations through an uniform and bounded walk of Art, than to comprehend the vast and various extent of Nature.
Our author's work is a wild paradife, where if we cannot see all the beauties fo diftin&tly as in an ordered garden. it is only becaufe the number of them is infinitely greater. 'Tis like a copious nurfery which contains the seeds and firit productions of every kind, out of which those who followed him have but felected some particular plants, each according to his fancy, to cultivate and beautify. If some things are too luxuriant, it is owing to the richness of the soil; and if others are not arrived to perfection or maturity, it is only because they are overrun and opprest by those of a stronger nature.
It is to the strength of this amazing invention we are to attribute that unequall'd fire and rapture, which is so forcible in Homer, that no man of a true poetical spirit is master of himself wiiile he reads him.
What he writes, is of the most animated nature image ginable; every thing moves, every thing lives, and is put in action. If a council be called, or a battle fought, you are not coldly informed of what was said or done as from a third person; the reader is hurried out of himself by the force of the Poet's imagination, and turns in one place to a hearer, in another to a spectator. The course of his verses resembles that of the army he describes,
They pour along like a fire that sweeps the whole earth before it. 'Tis however remarkable that his fancy, which is every where vigorous, is not discovered immediately at the beginning of his poem in its fullest fplendor : It grows in the progress both upon himself and others, and becomes on fire like a chariotwheel, by its own rapidity. Exact disposition, juft thought, correct elocution, polished numbers, may have been found in a thousand; but this poetical fire, this Vivida vis animi, in a very few. Even in works where all those are imperfect or neglected, this can over-power criticism, and make us admire even while we disapprove. Nay, where this appears, though attended with absurdities, it brightens all the rubbish about it, till we see nothing but its own fplendor. This Fire is discerned in Virgil, but dil
cerned as through a glass, reflected from Homer, more shining than fierce, but every where equal and conftant: In Lucan and Statius, it bursts out in sudden, short, and interrupted flashes : In Milton it glows like a furnace kept up to an uncommon ardor by the force of art: In Shakespear, it strikes before we are aware, like an accidental fire from heaven : But in Homer and in him only, it burns every where clearly, and every where irresistibly.
I shall here endeavour to show, how this vast Invention exerts itself in a manner superior to that of any poet, through all the main constituent parts of his work, as it is the great and peculiar characteristic which distinguishes him from all other authors.
This strong and ruling faculty was like a power. ful star, which in the violence of its course, drew all things within its vortex. It seemed not enough to have taken in the whole circle of arts, and the whole compass of nature to supply his maxims and reflections; all the inward passions and affections of mankind, to furnish his characters; and all the outward forms and images of things for his descriptions ; but wanting yet an ampler sphere to expatiate in, he opened a new and boundless walk for his imagination, and created a world for himself in the invention of Fatle. That which Aristotle calls the Soul of poetry, was first breathed into it by Homer. I fhall begin with considering him in this part, as it is naturally