« ZurückWeiter »
T HE Occasion of publishing these Imitations was
1 the Clamour rais’d on some of my Epistles. An Answer from Horace was both more full, and of more Dignity, than any I could have made in my own person; and the Example of much greater Freedom in so eminent a Divine as Dr. Donne, seem'd a proof with what indignation and contempt a Christian may treat Vice or Folly, in ever so low, or ever so high a Station. Both these Authors were acceptable to the Princes and Ministers under whom they lived. The Satires of Dr. Donne I versified, at the desire of the Earl of Oxford while he was Lord Treasurer, and of the Duke of Shrewsbury, who had been Secretary of State; neither of whom look'd upon a Satire on Vicious Courts as any Reflection on those they serv'd in. And indeed there is not in the world a greater error, than that which Fools are so apt to fall into, and Knaves with good reason to encourage, the mistaking a Satirist for a Libeller; whereas to a true Satirist nothing is so odious as a Libeller, for the same reason as to a man truly virtuous no. thing is so hateful as a Hypocrite.
Uni aequus Virtuti atque ejus Amicis, P,
SATIRA PRIM A. , HORATIUS. TREBATIUS.
DUNT quibus in Satira videar nimis acer, et ultra Legem tendere opus ; bfine nervis altera, quidquid Composui, pars esse putat, fimilesque meorum Mille die versus deduci posse. “Trebati, Quid faciam? praescribe.
H. Ne faciam, inquisa Omnino versus ?
H. Peream male, fi non Optimum erat: 'verum nequeo dormire.
Notes. Ver. 3. Scarce to wise Peter-Chartres] It has been commonly observed of the English, that a Rogue never goes to the Gallows without the pity of the Spectators, and their parting curses on the rigour of the Laws that brought him thither: and this has been as commonly ascribed to the good nature of the people. But it is a mistake. The true cause is their hatred and envy of power. Their compassion for Dunces and Scoundrels (when exposed by great writers to public contempt, either in justice to the age, or in vindication of their own Characters) has the same source. They cover their envy to a fuperior genius, in lamenting the severity of his Pen.
First Satire of the Second Book
I MIT A T E D.
WHOEVER expects a Paraphrafe of Horace, or a faithful Copy of his genius, or manner of writing, in these IMITATIONS, will be much disappointed. Our Author uses the Roman Poet for little more than his canvas: And if the old design or colouring chance to suit his purpose, it is well: if not, he employs his own, without scruple or ceremony. Hence it is, he is so frequently ferious where Horace is in jest; and at ease where Horace is disturbed. In a word, he regulates his movements no further on his Original, than was necessary for his concurrence, in promoting their common plan of Reformation of manners.
Had it been his purpose merely to paraphrase an ancient Satirist he had hardly made choice of Horace ; with whom, as a Poet, he held little in common, besides a comprehensive knowledge of life and manners, and a certain curious felicity of expression, which consists in using the simplest language with dignity, and the most ornamented, with ease. For the rest, his harmony and strength of numbers, his force and splendor of colouring, his gravity and sublime of sentiment, would have rather led him to another model. Nor was his temper less unlike that of Horace, than his talents. What Horace would only smile at, Mr. Pope would treat with the grave severity of Persius : And what Mr. Pope would strike with the caustic lightning of Juvenal, Horace would content himself in turning into ridicule.
If it be asked then, why he took any body at all to imitate, he has informed us in his Advertisement. To which we may add, that this sort of Imitations, which are of the nature of Parodies, adds reflected grace and splendor on original wit. Besides, he deem'd it more modest to give the name of Imitations to his Satires, than, like Despreaux, to give the name of Sady tires to Imitations,
SATIRA PRIM A. · HORATIUS. TREBATIUS.
D UNT quibus in Satira videar nimis acer, et ultra
H. Ne faciam, inquisa Omnino versus?
H. Peream male, fi non Optimum erat: * verum nequeo dormire.
Notes. Ver. 3. Scarce to wife Peter-Chartres] It has been commonly observed of the English, that a Rogue never goes to the Gallows without the pity of the Spectators, and their parting curses on the rigour of the Laws that brought him thither: and this has been as commonly ascribed to the good nature of the people. But it is a mistake. The true cause is their hatred and envy of power. Their compassion for Dunces and Scoundrels (when exposed by great writers to public contempt, either in justice to the age, or in vindication of their own Characters) has the same fource. They cover their envy to a fuperior genius, in lamenting the severity of his Pen.
SA T I R E I.
To Mr. FORTESCUE. P. T HERE are (I scarce can think it, but am
I told) a There are, to whom my Satire seems too bold: Scarce to wise Peter complaisant enough, And something faid of Chartres much too rough. b The lines are weak, another's pleas'd to say, 5 Lord Fanny spins a thousand such a day. Tim'rous by nature, of the Rich in awe, 'I come to Council learned in the Law: You'll give me, like a friend both fage and free, Advice; and (as you use) without a Fee. 10 F. I'd write no more.
P. Not write ? but then I think, * And for my soul I cannot seep a wink.
NOTES. Ver.7. Tim'rous by nature, of the Rich in awe,] The delicacy of this does not so much lie in the ironical application of it to himself, as in its seriously characterising the Person for whose advice he applies.
VER, 12. Not write? &c.] He has omitted the moft' humourous part of the answer,
Peream male, fi non Optimum erat, and has lost the grace, by not imitating the conciseness, of verum nequeo dormire.