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and lovely. With the charming image of this ideal excellence in their minds, the poets of Greece and Rome selected every pleasing object from the whole compass of nature, and carefully separated them from every thing disgustful and incongruous. From a croud of surrounding images they knew how to choose such as were not only intrinsically beautiful, but suitable to their subject; and they knew when to drop all ornament, and recur to simple nature. They distinguished with the nicest judgment between the purposes of elevating the fancy, and interesting the heart, and could give full force to each, without confounding and mixing their effects.
In the species of Lyric poetry which we are now to consider, both these designs have their place. The poetical description of a fair form requires the comparison of every kindred object of delight, and the
richest colouring that art can bestow. The expression of emotions, on the other hand, must be conducted upon a simple plan ; the feelings of the soul must declare themselves in artless touches of nature and the real fymptoms of passion; and the poet's hand must only appear in the delicacy of his strokes, and the softness and harmony of his versification.
SAPPHO, the genuine favourite of Venus, has given us a perfect model of the pafonate fong. She poured forth her whole foul in those amorous odes, of which time has indeed left us very scanty remains, but such as will ever be the finest examples of elegance and sensibility. The joy, ous Anacreon succeeded, but with a different turn of sentiment. His lyre was tuned rather to gaiety than tenderness, and his Venus was rather the easy companion of a bacchanalian, than the object of delicate
and refined emotions. In Horace, the passionate warmth of Sappho, the easy gaiety of Anacreon, and a superior strain of fancy and poetical enthusiasm proper to himself, are united; but on the whole, he is less frequently tender, than gay, or sublime. Among the Romans, the elegiac poets chiefly excelled in the natural and simple pathetic, and Tibullus is the purest example of this kind of writing. His flowing, elegant, and unadorned style, sweetly corresponds with the tender sentiments of complaining love, and some of the most affecting touches of nature that ever were expressed, have dropt from his pen. Ovid, though thoroughly acquainted with the passion of love, and abounding with warm and natural descriptions of it, was in general too much under the dominion of a lively fancy, and too fond of brilliant expression, to be long a pathetic writer. If he had composed in the Lyric
form, his pieces would have resembled our next class of witty and ingenious songs, more nearly than those of any antient Lyric poet.
The following songs of the passionate and descriptive kind, resemble in various degrees the antient masters above-mentioned.
There are many imitations of the Sapphic ode, in its warm descriptions of the external symptoms of love. Besides that piece of Dr. Smollet’s, which is only a variation of Sappho's famous ode, I would particularly point out
HORACE, a poet the most familiar to a scholar of all the antients, has been imi
tated in several songs. These are such as in common language would be peculiarly entitled odes, from their high ftrain, of fancy and poetical diction. That of Prior,
“ If wine and music have the power”
may be marked as truly Horatian.
The simple pathetic of Tibullus and the writers of elegy, is most sweetly manifested in that charming song of Dr. Percy's,
“O Nancy wilt thou go
which has scarcely its equal for real tenderness in this or any other language.
Other resemblances might be pointed out, but I imagine it is unnecessary to go farther. What has been already observed may serve to put a reader of taste upon remarking those niceties of composition,