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H. Ne faciam, inquis, Omnino versus ?
H. Peream male, si non Optimum erat : @verum nequeo dormire. .
T. Ter uncti Transnanto Tiberim, somno quibus est opus alto; Irriguumve mero sub noctem corpus habento.
Tully, as appears from many of his epistles to Atticus; the gravity and self-importance of whose character is admirably supported throughout this little drama. His answers are short, authoritative, and decisive. “Quiescas,” “aio.” And, as he was known to be a great drinker and swimmer, his two absurd pieces of advice have infinite pleasantry. All these circumstances of humour are dropped in the copy. The lettuce and cowslip-wine are insipid and unmeaning prescriptions, and have nothing to do with Mr. Fortescue's character. The third, fourth, and ninth lines of this Imitation are flat and languid. We must also observe, from the old commentators, that the verbs transnanto and habento are in the very style of the Roman law : “Vide ut directis jurisconsultorum verbis utitur ad Trebatium jurisconsultum.”
There are many excellent remarks in Acro and Porphyrio; from whom, as well as from Cruquius, Dacier has borrowed much, without owning it. Dacier's translation of Horace is not equal to his Aristotle's Poetics. In the former, he is perpetually striving to discover new meanings in his author, which Boileau called, The Revelations of Dacier.
Cicero, as appears from many of his letters, had a great regard for this Trebatius, to whom he says, speaking of his accompanying Cæsar in his expedition to Britain, “I hear there is neither silver nor gold in that island.” On which Middleton finely observes, “ From their railleries of this kind, on the barbarity and misery of our island, one cannot help reflecting on the surprising fate and revolutions of kingdoms : how Rome, once the mistress of the world, the seat of arts, empire, and glory, now lies sunk
F. 'I'd write no more.
P. Not write? but then I think, *And for my soul I cannot sleep a wink.. I nod in company, I wake at night, Fools rush into my head, and so I write. 14
F. You could not do a worse thing for your life. Why, if the nights seem tedious—take a wife : Or rather truly, if your point be rest, Lettuce and cowslip wine; Probatum est. But talk with Celsus, Celsus will advise
19 Hartshorn, or something that shall close your eyes.
in sloth, ignorance, and poverty ; enslaved to the most cruel, as well as to the most contemptible, of tyrants, superstition and religious imposture; while this remote country, anciently the jest and contempt of the polite Romans, is become the happy seat of liberty, plenty, and letters; flourishing in all the arts and refinements of civil life ; yet running, perhaps, the same course which Rome itself had run before it; from virtuous industry to wealth ; from wealth to luxury; from luxury to an impatience of discipline and corruption of morals; till, by a total degeneracy and loss of virtue, being grown ripe for destruction, it falls a prey at last to some hardy oppressor, and, with the loss of liberty losing every thing else that is valuable, sinks gradually again into its original barbarism."
Ver. 11. Not write? &c.] He has omitted the most humorous part of the answer,
Peream male, si non
Optimum erat : and has lost the grace, by not imitating the conciseness, of
dormire. For conciseness, when it is clear (as in this place), gives the highest grace to elegance of expression.-But what follows is as much above the Original, as this falls short of it. W.
Ver. 12. sleep a wink.] The rhyme conceals the vulgarity of the expression, sleep a wink. Rhyme has often this effect. But familiarity was perhaps intended.
Aut, si tantus amor scribendi te rapit, aude
H. Cupidum, pater optime, vires
T. "Attamen et justum poteras et scribere fortem, Scipiadam ut sapiens Lucilius.
H. Haud mihi deero, Cum res ipsa feret: 'nisi dextro tempore, Flacci
Ver. 23. What? like Sir Richard, &c.] Mr. Molyneux, a great Mathematician and Philosopher, had a high opinion of Sir Richard Blackmore's poetic vein. All our English poets, except Milton (says he, in a Letter to Mr. Locke), have been mere balladmakers in comparison of him. And Mr. Locke, in answer to this observation, replies, I find, with pleasure, a strange harmony throughout, between your thoughts and mine. Just so, a Roman Lawyer, and a Greek Historian, thought of the poetry of Cicero. But these being judgments made by men out of their own profession, are little regarded. And Pope and Juvenal will make Blackmore and Tully pass for Poetasters to the world's end. W. Pope has turned the compliment to Augustus into a severe sar
All the wits seem to have leagued against Sir Richard Blackmore. In a letter now lying before me from Elijah Fenton to my father, dated Jan. 24, 1707, he says, “ I am glad to hear Mr. Philips will publish his Pomona: Who prints it? I shall be mightily obliged to you
get me a copy of his verses against Blackmore.” As the letter contains one or two literary particulars, I will transcribe the rest. As “to what you write about making a collection, I can only advise you to buy what poems you can, that Tonson has printed, except the Ode to the
unless you will take it in, because I writ it; which I am freer to own, that Mat. Prior may not suffer in his reputation by having it ascribed to him. My humble service to Mr. Sacheverell,
Or, if you needs must write, write Cæsar's Praise, "You'll gain at least a Knighthood, or the Bays. P. What? like Sir Richard, rumbling, rough,
and fierce, With Arms, and GEORGE, and BRUNSWICK, crowd
Rend with tremendous sound your ears asunder, 25
F. “Then all your Muse's softer art display,
30 Lull with AMELIA's liquid name the Nine, And sweetly flow through all the Royal Line.
P. 'Alas! few verses touch their nicer ear; They scarce can bear their Laureat twice a year;
and tell him I will never imitate Milton more, till the author of Blenheim is forgotten." In vain was Blackmore extolled by Molyneux and Locke: but Locke, to his other superior talents, did not add good taste. He affected to despise poetry, and he depreciated the ancients : which circumstance, as I was informed by the late Mr. James Harris, his relation, was the source of perpetual discontent and dispute betwixt him and his pupil Lord Shaftesbury; who, in many parts of his Characteristics, and Letters to a Clergyman, has ridiculed Locke's selfish philosophy, and has represented him as a disciple of Hobbes ; from which writer it must in truth be confessed that Locke borrowed frequently and largely. Locke had not the fine taste of a greater philosopher, I mean Galileo, who wrote a comment on Ariosto full of just criticism, and whose letter to Fr. Rinuccini on this subject may be seen in Martinelli's Letters, p. 255. London; 1758.
Ver. 28. falling Horse ?] The horse on which his Majesty charged at the battle of Oudenard ; when the Pretender, and the Princes of the blood of France, fled before him. W.
Verba per attentam non ibunt Cæsaris aurem :
Ver. 39. Abuse the City's best good men in metre,] The best good Man, a City phrase for the richest. Metre—not used here purely to help the verse, but to shew what it is a Citizen esteems the greatest aggravation of the offence. W.
Ver. 41. What should ail 'em?] Horace hints at one reason, that each fears his own turn may be next; his imitator gives another, and with more art, a reason which insinuates, that his very levity, in using feigned names, increases the number of his Enemies, who suspect they may be included under that cover. W.
Ver. 45. Each mortal] These words, indeed, open the sense of Horacę ; but the quid faciam is better, as it leaves it to the reader to discover, what is one of Horace's greatest beauties, his secret and delicate transitions and connexions, to which those who do not carefully attend, lose half the pleasure of read
Ver. 46. Darty his Ham-pie ;] This lover of Ham-pie owned the fidelity of the Poet's pencil; and said, he had done justice to his taste; but that if, instead of Ham-pie, he had given him Sweet-pie, he never could have pardoned him. W.
Lyttleton, in his Dialogues of the Dead, has introduced Darteneuf, in a pleasant discourse betwixt him and Apicius, bitterly lamenting his ill-fortune in having lived before turtle-feasts were known in England. The story of the Ham-pie was confirmed by Mr. Dodsley, who knew Darteneuf, and, as he candidly owned, had waited on him at dinner.
Ver. 50. Like in all else,] This parallel is not happy and exact: To shew the variety of human passions and pursuits, Castor and