« ZurückWeiter »
Foes to all living worth except your own,
Chaucer's worst ribaldry is learn’d by rote,
Tho' juftly Greece her eldest sons admires,
If 4 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?
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 Tavern, where Ben Johnson held his Poetical Club. P.
Eft vetus atque probus, ' centum qui perficit annos.
Utor permisso, caudaeque pilos ut' equinae Paulatim vello: et demo unum, demo et item unum;
Dum cadat elusus ratione " ruentis acervi,
Qui redit in * fajtos, et virtutem aeftimat annis,
Ennius et sapiens, et fortis, et alter Homerus,
NOTES. VER. 69. Sbakespear.] Shakespear and Ben Johnson may truly be said not much to have thought of this Im-' mortality, 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 faw,
Suppose he wants a year, will you compound?
“ We shall not quarrel for a year or two;
Then, by the rule that made the ' Horse-tail bare,
Shakespear (whom you and ev'ry Play-house bill
dared to do justice, either to their taste or their consci-
74: The life to come, in ev'ry Poet's Creed.]
Quo promija cadant, et fomnia Pythagorea. The beauty of this arises from a circumstance in Ennius's. fory. But as this could not be imitated, our Poet endeavoured to equal it; and has succeeded,
b Naevius in manibus non est ; at mentibus haeret
Pene recens :
adeo fanétum est vetus omne poema.
Ambigitur quoties, uter utro fit prior; aufert
Si veteres ita miratur laudatque poetas,
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 Poer has here put the bald cant of women and boys into extreme fine verse. This is in strict imitation of his Original, where the same impertinent and gratuitous criticism is admirably ridiculed.
VER. 85. Shadwell hasty, Wycherly was 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 dgment, only the com
Who now reads 6 Cowley ? if he pleases yet, 75
“ Yet surely, “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 flow; 85 “ But, for the Paffions, Southern fure and Rowe. “ These, f only these, support the crouded stage, " From eldest Heywood down to Cibber's age.
All this may be; the People's Voice is odd, It is, and it is not, the voice of God.
go To Gammer Gurton if it give the bays, And yet deny the Careless Husband praise,
Notes. mon Chat of the pretenders to Criticism ; in some things right, in others, wrong ; as he tells us in his answer,
Interdum vulgus re&tum videt : eft ubi peccat. P. - hafty Shadwell and Now Wycherley, is a line of Wil. mot, 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. 91. Gammer Gurton) A piece of very low hu.