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the noblest which Mr. Gray ever attempted; and also, as far as he carried it into execution, the most exquisitely finished. That he carried it no further is, and must ever be, a most sensible loss to the republic of letters. Mason.
STANZAS TO MR. BENTLEY.
[See Mason’s Memoirs, vol. iii. p. 148.]
These were in compliment to Bentley, who drew a set of
IN silent gaze the tuneful choir among,
While Bentley leads her sister-art along,
See, in their course, each transitory thought 5 Fix’d by his touch a lasting essence take;
Each dream, in fancy's airy colouring wrought, To local symmetry and life awake!
W. 3. So Pope. Epist. to Jervas, 13:
W. Dryden to Kneller, “Our arts are sisters,” “Long time the sister-arts in iron sleep.”
W. 7. “Thence endless streams of fair ideas flow,
Strike on the sketch, or in the picture glow.”
W. 8. “When life awakes and dawns at every line.” Pope. Ep. to Jervas, v. 4. See also Kidd's note to Hor. A. P. v. 66, from Plato.
The tardy rhymes that us’d to linger on,
In swifter measures animated run,
Ah! could they catch his strength, his easy grace, His quick creation, his unerring line;
The energy of Pope they might efface, 15 And Dryden's harmony submit to mine.
But not to one in this benighted age
That burns in Shakespeare's or in Milton's page,
As when conspiring in the diamond's blaze,
Together dart their intermingled rays,
Enough for me, if to some feeling breast 25
W. 20. “Heaven, that but once was prodigal before, To Shakspear gave as much, she could not give him more.” Dryden to Congreve. Luke.
# The words within the inverted commas were supplied by Mason, a corner of the old manuscript copy being torn: with all due respect to his memory, I do not consider that he has been successful in the selection of the few words which he has added SKETCH OF HIS OWN CHARACTER,
written IN 1761, AND Foux D IN on E of HIs PocKETBOOKS,
Too poor for a bribe, and too proud to importune, He had not the method of making a fortune: Could love, and could hate, so was thought some
what odd; No very great wit, he believed in a God: A post or a pension he did not desire, 5 But left church and state to Charles Townshend and Squire.
to supply the imperfect lines: my own opinion is, that Gray had in his mind Dryden’s Epistle to Kneller, from which he partly took his expressions: under the shelter of that supposition, I shall venture to give another reading:
“Enough for me, if to some feeling breast
W. 1. This is similar to a passage in one of Swift's letters to Gay, speaking of poets: “I have been considering why poets have such ill success in making their court. They are too libertine to haunt ante-chambers, too poor to bribe porters, and too proud to cringe to second-hand favourites in a great family.” See Pope. Works, xi. 36. ed. Warton.
W. 4. “I pay my debts, believe, and say my prayers.” Pope. Prol. to Satires, ver. 268.
W. 6. Squire] At that time Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, and afterwards Bishop of St. David's. Dr. S. Squire died 1766, see Nicholl. Poems, vol. vii. p. 231. Bishop Warburton one day met Dean Tucker, who said that he hoped his Lordship liked his situation at Gloucester; on which the sarcastic Bishop replied, that never bishopric was so bedeaned, for that his predecessor Dr. Squire had made religion his trade, AMATORY I,INES.
The following lines by Gray first appeared in Warton’s” edition of Pope, vol. i. p. 285.
WITH beauty, with pleasure surrounded, to languish— To weep without knowing the cause of my anguish : To start from short slumbers, and wish for the morning— To close my dull eyes when I see it returning;
Sighs sudden and frequent, looks ever dejected— Words that steal from my tongue, by no meaning connected Ah! say, fellow-swains, how these symptoms befell me? They smile, but reply not—Sure Delia will tell me !
and that he Dr. Tucker had made trade his religion. See Cradock. Mem. iv. 335. Perhaps these lines of Gray gave a hint to Goldsmith for his character of Burke in the “Retaliation : ” “Tho' equal to all things, for all things unfit, Too nice for a statesman, too proud for a wit; For a patriot too cool, for a drudge disobedient, And too fond of the right to pursue the expedient.” * As Dr. Warton has here favoured us with some manuscript lines by Gray, it will be a species of poetical justice to give the reader some lines from a manuscript of Dr. Warton, which he intended to insert in his Ode to Fancy, and which are placed within the inverted commas: In converse while methinks Irove With Spenser through a fairy grove, “Or seem by powerful Dante led To the dark chambers of the dead,
THYRSIs, when we parted, swore Ere the spring he would return— Ah! what means yon violet flower, And the bud that decks the thorn ? ‘Twas the lark that upward sprung ! 5 'Twas the nightingale that sung! War. W. 1. Thyrsis, when we parted] In Mr. Park’s edition, for “when we parted,” it is printed “when he left me.” And, for “Ere the spring,” “In the spring.” War. W. 3. Yon violet flower] In Mr. Park’s edition, “the opening flower.”
V. 5. 'Twas the lark] In Mr. Park’s edition, this and the following line are transposed.
Or to the "" towers where pine
gloom The sons of famish’d Ugoline; Or by the Tuscan wizard’s power Am wafted to Alcina’s bower” Till suddenly, &c. And after the couplet — - On which thou lov’st to sit at eve, Musing o'er thy darling’s grave — Add, from the MS. — “To whom came trooping at thy call Thy spirits from their airy hall, From sea and earth, from heaven and hell, Stern Hecate, and sweet Ariel.” * Written at the request of Miss Speed, to an old air of Geminiani: – the thought from the French. This and the preceding Poem were presented by Miss Speed, then Countess de Wiry, to the Rev. Mr. Leman of Suffolk, while on a visit at her castle in Savoy, where she died in 1783. Admiral Sir T. Duckworth, whose father was vicar of Stoke from 1756 to 1794, remembers Gray and Miss Speed at that place. Gray left Stoke about the year 1758, on the death of his aunt Mrs. Rogers: when his acquaintance with Miss Speed probably closed.