Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

20

The great Alcides, ev'ry Labour past,
Had still this Monster to subdue at laft.
& Sure fate of all, beneath whose rising ray
Each star of meaner merit fades away!
Oppress’d we feel the beam directly beat,

Those Suns of Glory please not till they fet.
: 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, i As Heav'n's own Oracles from Altars heard. Wonder of Kings ! like whom, to mortal eyes. k None e'er has risen, and none' e'er shall rise. 30

Juft in one instance, be it yet confest Your People, Sir, are partial in the rest :

; NOTES. of him who pretends to give a proof of what they are so willing to take for granted, to any thing but an eager concern for the public welfare. This, ‘nothing better secures than the early damping that dangerous thing, Po. pularity ; which when joined to what is as easily abused, great Talents, may be productive of, one does not know what, mischief. 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, Caftor, 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.

Aestimat; et, nifi quae terris femota fuifque Temporibus defuncta videt, faftidit 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, annofa volumina Vatum, * Di&titet Albano Musas in monte locutaş.

Şi, quia " Graecorum funt antiquiffima quaeque Scripta vel optima, Romani pensantur eadem Scriptores trutina ; non eft quod multa loquamur: Nil intra est oleam, nil extra eft in nuce duri. Venimus ad fummum fortunae: pingimus, atque Pfallimus, et p lu&tamur Achivis doctius unstis. Si 9 meliora dies, ut vina, poemata reddit; we 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,

Notes. VER. 38. And beastly Skelton, etc.) Skelton, Poet Lay. reat to Hen. vill. a volume of whose vertes has been lately reprinted, consisting almoft wholly of ribaldry, obscenity, and scurrilous language. P.

Foes to all living worth except your own,
And Advocates for folly dead and gone.
Authors, like coins, grow dear as they grow old; 35
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; ,
A Scot will fight for Christ's Kirk o' the Green ;. 40
And each true Briton is to Ben so civil,
m He swears the Muses met him at the Devil,

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

If ? Time improve our Wit as well as Wine,
Say at what age a Poet grows divine ?
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?

45

divine

50

[ocr errors]

Notes. · VÆR. 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. Quid? qui deperiit minor uno, mense vel anno,

Inter quos referendus erit ? s veteresne poetas,

An quos et praesens et poftera refpuat aetas ?
Iste quidem veteres inter ponetur + honefte,
Qui vel mense brevi, vel toto est junior anno.

Utor permisso, caudaeque pilos ut' equinae
Paulatim vello: et demo unum, demo et item unum;
Dum cadat elusus ratione ruentis acervi,
Qui redit in * fastos, et virtutem aestimat annis,
Miraturque nihil, nifi quod » Libitina facravit.

? Ennius et sapiens, et fortis, et alter Homerus, Ut critici dicunt, leviter curare videtur Quo a promisa cadant, et fomnia Pythagorea.

NOTES. Ver. 69. Shakespear.] Shakespear and Ben Johnson may truly be said not much to have thought of this Immortality, the one in many pieces composed in hafte for the Stage ; 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

or Who lasts a s century can have no flaw, “ 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 y Bier. 1 2 Shakespear (whom you and ev'ry Play-house bill Style the divine, the matchless, what you will) 70 For gain, not glory, wing'd his roving flight, And grew Immortal in his own despight. Ben, old and poor, as little seem'd to heed • The Life to come, in ev'ry Poet's Creed.

Notes. dared to do justice, either to their taste or their conscience, would own they liked Durfey better. Ver. 74. The life to come, in ev'ry Poet's Creed.]

Quo promiffa cadant, et fomnia Pythagorea. The beauty of this arises from a circumstance in Ennius's ftory. But as this could not be imitated, our Poet endeavoured to equal it; and has succeeded.

« ZurückWeiter »