« ZurückWeiter »
Foes to all living worth except your own,
Chaucer's worst ribaldry is learn'd by rote,
Tho' justly " Greece her eldest fons admires,
If 9 Time improve our Wit as well as Wine,
VER. 40. Christ's Kirk o'the Green ;] A Ballad made by a King of Scotland. P. VER.
42. met him at the Devil] The Devil Taver, where Ben Johnson held his Poetical Club. P.
Eft vetus atque probus, 'centum qui perficit annos. .. Quid? qui deperiit minor uno mense vel anno,
referendus erit ? s veteresne poetas,
Utor permisso, caudaeque pilos ut ' equinae Paulatim vello: et demo unum, demo et item unum;
Dum cadat elufus ratione ruentis acervi,
Qui redit in * faftos, et virtutem aestimat annis,
2 Ennius et sapiens, et fortis, et alter Homerus, Ut critici dicunt, leviter curare videtur
Quo * promisa cadant, et fomnia Pythagorea.
Ver. 69. Shakespear.] Shakespear and Ben Johnson may truly be said not much to have thought of this Immortality, the one in many pieces composed in hafte for the Stages the other in his latter works in general, which Dryden call'd his Dotages. P.
Ibid. and ev'ry Playhouse bill] A ridicule on those who talk of Shakespear, because he is in fashion ; who, if they
« Who lasts a' century can have no flaw, " I hold that Wit a Classic, good in law.
Suppose he wants a year, will you compound? And shall we deem him Ancient, right and sound, Or damn to all eternity at once, At ninety nine, a Modern and a Dunce? 60
“ We shall not quarrel for a year or two; “ By courtesy of England, he may do. .
Then, by the rule that made the Horse-tail bare, I pluck out year by year, as hair by hair, And melt w down Ancients like a heap of snow: 65 While you, to measure merits, look in * Stowe, And estimating authors by the year, Bestow a Garland only on a y Bier.
z Shakespear (whom you and ev'ry Play-house bill Style the divine, the matchless, what you will)
70 For gain, not glory, wing'd his roving flight, And grew Immortal in his own despight. Ben, old and poor, as little seem'd to heed * The Life to come, in ev'ry Poet's Creed.
dared to do justice, either to their talte or their conscience, would own they liked Durfey better. VER. 74. The life to come, in ev'ry Poet's Creed.]
Quo promila cadant, et fomnia Pythagorea. The beauty of this arises from a circumstance in Ennius's Rory. But as this could not be imitated, our Poet endea. voured to equal it; and has succeeded.
• Naevius in manibus non eft ; ato mentibus haeret
adeo fanctum est vetus omne poema.
Ambigitur quoties, uter utro sit prior; aufert
Dicitur Afranî toga conveniffe Menandro;
Ver. 77. Pindaric Art,) which has much more merit than his Epic, but very unlike the Character, as well as Numbers, of Pindar. P.
VER. 81. In all debates etc.] The Poet has here put the bald cant of women and boys into extreme fine verse. This is in strict imitation of his Original, where the farme impertinent and gratuitous criticism is admirably ridiculcd.
VER. 85. Shadwell hasty, Wycherly «vas flow.] Nothing was less true than this particular : But the whole paragraph has a mixture of Irony, and must not altogether be taken for Horace's own Judgment, only the com.
Who now reads b Cowley ? if he pleases yet, 75
" Yet surely, d surely, these were famous men! " What boy but hears the sayings of old Ben? 80 « In alle debates where Critics bear a part, " Not one but nods, and talks of Johnson's Art, " Of Shakespear's Nature, and of Cowley's Wit; " How Beaumont's judgment check'd what Fletcher
« How Shadwell hasty, Wycherly was slow;
All this may be; the People's Voice is odd,
Notes. inon Chat of the pretenders to Criticism ; in some things right, in others, wrong ; as he tells us in his answer,
Interdum vulgus reftum videt : est ubi peccat. P.
hafty Shadwell and how Wycherkey, is a line of Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, the sense of which seems to have been generally mistaken. It gives to each his epithet, not to design the difference of their talents, but the number of their productions. Ver.g1. Gammer Gurton] A piece of very low hu