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How could Devotion 6 touch the country pews,
Our e rural Ancestors, with little blest,
250 But Times corrupt, and & Nature, ill-inclin'd, Produc'd the point that left a fting behind; Till friend with friend, and families at strife, Triumphant Malice rag'd thro' private life. Who felt the wrong, or fear'd it, took th' alarm, 255 Appeal'd to Law, and Justice lent her arm.
NOTES, mired in these Poems, owe less to the liberty of imitating, than to the superior genius of the imitator,
Conditione fuper communi: quin etiam lex
Poenaque lata, malo quae nollet carmine quemquam
Defcribi. vertere modum, formidine fuftis
Ad i bene dicendum, dele&tandumque redacti.
k Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit, et artes
Intulit agresti Latio. fic horridus ille
Defluxit ' numerus Saturnius, et grave virus
Munditiae pepulere: sed in longum tamen aevum
Manferunt, hodieque manent, m veftigia ruris, .
Serus enim Graecis admovit acumina chartis;
Et poft » Punica bella quietus quaerere coepit,
Notes. VER. 259. Most warp'd to Flatt'ry's fide, etc.] These two lines (notwithstanding the reference) are an addition to the Original. They seemed necessary to compleat the History of the rise and progress of Wit; and, if attended to, will be seen to make much for the argument the Poet is upon,
viz. the recommendation of Poetry to the protection of the Magistrate. And is, therefore, what Horace would have chosen to say, had he reflected on it.
Ver. 263. We conquer'd France, etc.] The instance the Poet here gives, to answer that in the Original, is not so happy. However, it might be said with truth, that our
At length, by wholsome h dread of statutes bound,
265 Wit grew polite, and Numbers learn'd to flow. Waller was smooth ; but Dryden taught to join The varying verse, the full-resounding line, The long majestic March, and Energy divine. Tho' still some traces of our m ruftic vein
270 And splay-foot verse, remain'd, and will remain. Late, very late, correctness grew our care, When the tir'd Nation breath'd from civil war.
NOTES. Intrigues on the Continent brought us acquainted with the provincial Poets, and produced Chaucer. Only I wonder, when he had such an example before him, of a Bard who so greatly polished the ruiticity of his age, he did not use it to paraphrase the sense of
Defluxit numerus Saturnius, et grave virus
Munditiae pepulere : Ver. 267. Waller was smooth ;] Mr. Waller, about this time with the Earl of Dorset, Mr. Godolphin, and others, translated the Pompey of Corneille ; and the more correct French Poets began to be in reputation, P.
Quid Sophocles et Thespis et Acschylus utile fer
Tentavit quoque rem, fi digne vertere posset :
Creditur, ex' medio quia res arceffit, habere
Sudoris minimum; fed habet Comoedia tanto
Plus oneris, quanto veniae minus, & afpice, Plautus
Quantus fit Doslennus ' edacibus in parasitis;
Gestit enim ' nummum in loculos demittere; poft hoc
Securus, cadat an recto ftet fabula talo.
Quem tulit ad scenam ' ventoso gloria curru,
Ver. 290. Aftræa,] A Name taken by Mrs. Behn, Authoress of several obscene Plays, etc. P.
Ibid. The fage how loosely does Airæa tread,] The fine.
Exact Racine, and Corneille's noble fire,
Notes. metaphor of non aftri£to, greatly improved by the happy ambiguity of the word loosely
VER. 296, O you! whom Vanity's light bark conveys, 1