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In that bless'd moment, from his
oozy bed Old father Thames advanced his reverend head; His tresses dropp'd with dews, and o'er the
His shining horns diffused a golden gleam;
The figured streams in waves of silver roll'd, 335
And chalky Wey, that rolls a milky wave:
High in the midst, upon his urn reclined, His sea-green mantle waving with the wind, 350 The god appear'd: he turn'd his azure eyes Where Windsor-domes and pompous turrets rise; Then bow'd and spoke; the winds forget to roar, And the hush'd waves glide softly to the shore :
Hail, sacred Peace! hail, long-expected days, That Thames's glory to the stars shall raise! Though Tiber's streams immortal Rome behold," Though foaming Hermus swells with tides of
From heaven itself though seven-fold Nilus flows,
Their ample bow, a new Whitehall ascend! 380
378 And temples rise. The fifty new churches.-Pope.
380 A new Whitehall. The splendid fragment of Whitehallpalace, which exists as the banqueting-room, has excited perpetual lamentations that the design was not completed: yet Walpole, an incomparable critic on all writings, characters, and buildings, but his own, throws strong doubt on its probable excellence. 'Several plates of the intended new palace of Whitehall,' says he, have been given, but I believe from no finished design of Inigo Jones. ***** The strange kind of cherubims on the towers at the end are preposterous ornaments; and, whether of Inigo or not, bear no relation to the rest. The great towers in the front are too near, and evidently borrowed from what he had seen in Gothic, not in
There mighty nations shall inquire their doom,
Once more to bend before a British queen.
Thy trees, fair Windsor! now shall leave their
And half thy forests rush into thy floods ;
The pearly shell its lucid globe infold,
Roman buildings. The circular court is a picturesque thought, but without meaning or utility.'
It is true that he equally doubts the published design to be the final one. The four great sheets are evidently made up from general hints; nor could such a source of invention and taste, as the mind of Inigo, ever produce such sameness.' But whether the design were regal or not, the situation showed a regal sense. The position of the palace on the Thames was fit for the sea-king: its command of the rising country in front gave it the brightness and beauty of the English landscape, before that fine space was overrun with graceless building. The king of England has now a new palace near the Thames, but without communication; and near the country, but without prospect. Yet the architecture has been needlessly criticised: with some striking errors, it has many beauties. Blackened by smoke and buried in fog, what architecture can struggle against its location? A happier site would discover in it details of elegance, novelty, and grandeur.
The time shall come, when free as seas or wind,
Till conquest cease, and slavery be no more;
Here cease thy flight, nor with unhallow'd lays
Touch the fair fame of Albion's golden days:
My humble Muse, in unambitious strains, Paints the green forests and the flowery plains, Where Peace descending bids her olive spring, And scatters blessings from her dove-like wing. Ev'n I more sweetly pass my careless days, Pleased in the silent shade with empty praise: Enough for me, that to the listening swains First in these fields I sung the sylvan strains.
428 Paints the green forests. Pope, 'it seems, was of opinion that descriptive poetry is a composition as absurd as a feast made up of sauces.' So says Warton: but Pope expresses nothing of the kind; and Warton's illustration is idle, unless the crime of descriptive poetry were in its piquancy. Its failure is in the want of sauces: it wearies by its insipidity. He attempts a renewal of the panegyric by reminding its contemners, that, in a sister art, landscape painting claims the very next rank to history painting, being ever preferred to single portraits, to pieces of still life,' &c. Even this is not always true; but if it were, the critic overlooks the palpable distinction between the pencil and the pen. The natural province of the pencil is to represent things fixed; its difficulty is to represent things in motion: the natural province of the pen is to represent things in motion, changes of action, character, and thought; its natural difficulty is to represent things fixed, scenery, &c. Thus, in the natural employment of the pencil, landscape painting, it may rise to great power: on the other hand, the pen, in the unnatural province of description, always encounters a difficulty, and always has a tendency to fail.