Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

The great Alcides, ev'ry Labour past,
Had still this Monster to subdue at last.
8 Sure fate of all, beneath whose rising ray
Each star of meaner merit fades away! 20
Oppress’d we feel the beam directly beat,
Those Suns of Glory please not till they set.

To thee, the World its present homage pays,
The Harvest early, - but mature the praise :
Great Friend of Liberty! in Kings a Name 25
Above all Greek, above all Roman Fame *:
Whose Word is Truth, as facred and rever'd,
As Heav'n's own Oracles from Altars heard.
Wonder of King! like whom, to mortal eyes
k None e'er has risen, and none e'er shall rise. 30

NOTES. for the public welfare. Which, nothing better secures than the speedy damping Popularity; so dangerous to the community when joined to great Talents.

SCRIBL. Ver. 17. The great Alcides,] This instance has not the same grace here as in the original, where it comes in well after those of Romulus, Bacchus, Castor, and Pollux, tho' aukwardly after Edward and Henry. But it was for the sake of the beautiful thought in the next line; which, yet, does not equal the force of his original.

Ver. 21. Oppressd we feel, etc.] “ Les hommes, nez ingrats 66 et jaloux (says an ingenious French Writer with becoming « indignation) ne pardonnent pas ceux qui prétend à leur admio “ ration: de la mériter ils en font un crime, qu'ils punissent par “ des calomnies, des critiques ameres, et des mépris affectez. La “ Postérité le vengera de ses oppresseurs, en le comblant de lou

IDIS

Caetera nequaquam fimili ratione modoque
Aestimat; et, nisi quae terris femota suisque
Temporibus defuncta videt, fastidit et odit:
"Sic fautor veterum, ut tabulas peccare vetantes
Quas bis quinque viri fanxerunt, foedera regum,
Vel Gabiis vel cum rigidis aequata Sabinis,
Pontificum libros, annosa volumina Vatum,
Dictitet Albano Mufas in monte locutas.

Si, quia" Graiorum sunt antiquissima quaeque Scripta vel optima, Romani pensantur eadem Scriptores trutina ; non est quod multa loquamur : Nil intra est oleam, nil extra est in nuce duri. Venimus ad fummum fortunae: pingimus, atque Pfallimus, et ? luelamur Achivis doctius unétis.

IUS

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

NOTE s. · “ anges, tandis que les imbécilles detracteurs, ces hommes

vils, qui pour être oubliez, n'ont pas besoin de cesser d'être, “ resteront pour jamais plongez dans l'oubli.”

VER. 38. And beastly Škelion, etc.] Skelton, Poet Laureat to Hen. viii. a volume of whose verses has been lately reprinted, consisting almost wholly of ribaldry, obscenity, and scurrilous anguage.

P.

3

Just in one instance, be it yet confest
Your People, Sir, are partial in the rest:
Foes to all living worth except your own,
And Advocates for folly dead and gone. 34
Authors, like coins, grow dear as they grow old;
It is the rust we value, not the gold.

Chaucer's worst ribaldry is learn’d by rote,
And beastly Skelton Heads of houses quote:
One likes no language but the Faery Queen ; 39
A Scot will fight for Christ's Kirk o'the Green ;
And each true Briton is to Ben so civil,
m He swears the Muses met him at the Devil.

Tho' justly · Greece her eldest fons admires,
Why should not We be wiser than our fires?
In ev'ry Public virtue we excell;
We build, we paint, owe fing, we dance as well,
And P learned Athens to our art must stoop,
Could she behold us tumbling thro’a hoop.

45

Notes.
Ver. 40. Christ's Kirk o'the Green;] A Ballad made by a
King of Scotland.

P. Ver. 42. The Muses met him] This instance of the People's ill taste was both well chosen and happily expressed. Johnson's talents were learning, judgment, and industry, rather than wit, or natural genius.

Ver. 42. met him at the Devil] The Devil Tavernt, where Ben Johnson held his Poetical Club.

P.

[ocr errors]

Si a meliora dies, ut vina, poemata reddit;
Scire velim, chartis pretium quotus arroget annus.
Scriptor ab hinc annos centum qui decidit, inter
Perfectos veteresque referri debet, an inter
Viles atque novos? excludat jurgia finis.
Est vetus atque probus, ' centum qui perficit annos.
Quid? qui deperiit minor uno mense vel anno,
Inter quos referendus erit? veteresne poetas,
An quos et praesens et postera respuat aetas ?
Iste quidem veteres inter ponetur * honeste,
Qui vel mense brevi, vel toto est junior anno.

Utor permiffo, caudaeque pilos ut "equinae
Paulatim vello: et demo unum, demo et item unum;
Dum cadat elusus ratione "ruentis acervi,
Qui redit in a fastos, et virtutem aestimat annis,
Miraturque nihil, nisi quod Libitina facravit.

Note 8. VER. 68. Beforu a Garland only on a Bier.] The thought is beautiful, and alludes to the old practice of our Ancestors, of covering the Bier (on which the dead were carried to their in

[ocr errors]

If 9 Time improve our Wit as well as Wine,
Say at what age a Poet grows divine? 50
Shall we, or shall we not, account him so,
Who dy'd; perhaps, an hundred years ago ?
End all dispute; and fix the year precise
When British bards begin t' immortalize ?

“ Who lasts a "century can have no flaw, 55 “ 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 ' Bier.

Lance

Notes. terment) with Garlands. A manly and pious custom, which arose from the ancient practice of rewarding victors; and from thence was brought into the Church, and applied to those who had fought the good fight of the Apostle.

« ZurückWeiter »