Reference > Cambridge History > From Steele and Addison to Pope and Swift > Lesser Verse Writers > His lyrical verse: Henry and Emma
  His last years Alma and Solomon  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IX. From Steele and Addison to Pope and Swift.

VI. Lesser Verse Writers.

§ 6. His lyrical verse: Henry and Emma.


Henry and Emma, a Poem, Upon the Model of The Nut-brown Maid is dedicated To Cloe in some lines of the ordinary humorous type, and concludes with a sort of envoi by Venus, in approved rococo style. The pagan deities and their associates, indeed, disport themselves through the dialogue between the lovers which forms the substance of the poem, and which, as has been well said, 14  is “a futile attempt to apply the external classical style to what is in its essence romantic.” With the style of the beautiful early sixteenth century ballad The Nut-brown Maid its charm disappears; but, though not professing oneself, with Cowper, “bewitched” by “this enchanting piece,” one may allow that it paraphrases its original with an extra-ordinary profusion of elegant expressions. 15  Of course, a point in the argument is reached where elegance itself can no longer hold out; but, artificial as the treatment is, a vein of pathos, of the Griselda sort, runs through it to the last—so powerful is the effect of the main motive of the old ballad.   10

Note 14. Courthope, History of English Poetry, vol. V., p. 117. [ back ]
Note 15. The usually misquoted line
       
Fine by Degrees and beautifully less

occurs in this poem, as a compliment paid by Henry to Emma’s figure! [ back ]


CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  His last years Alma and Solomon  
 
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