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Read Homer once, and you can read no more ;
That the Earl of Halifax was one of the first to favour me, of whom it is hard to say whether the advancement of the polite arts is more owing to his generosity or his example. · That such a Genius as my Lord Bolingbroke, not more distinguished in the great scenes of business, than in all the useful and entertaining parts of learning, has not refused to be the critic of these sheets, and the patron of their writer. And that the noble author of the Tragedy of Heroic Love, has continued his partiality to me, from my writing Pastorals, to my attempting the Iliad. I cannot deny myself the pride of confessing, that I have had the advantage, not only of their advice for the conduct in general, but their correction of several particulars of this translation.
Son livre est d'agrémens un fertile trésor,
C'est avoir profité que de sçavoir s'y plaire.” No nation in Europe can boast of having such excellent translations of the more eminent Greek Poets, as the Homer of Pope, the Pindar of West, the Sophocles of Franklin, the Æschylus and Euripides of Potter.
I could say a great deal of the pleasure of being distinguished by the Earl of Carnarvon, but it is almost absurd to particularize any one generous action in a person whose whole life is a continued series of them. Mr. Stanhope, the present Secretary of State, will pardon my desire of having it known that he was pleased to promote this affair. The particular zeal of Mr. Harcourt (the son of the late Lord Chancellor) gave me a proof how much I am honoured in a share of his friendship. I must attribute to the same motive that of several others of my friends, to whom all acknowledgments are rendered unnecessary by the privileges of a familiar correspondence: and I am satisfied I can no way better oblige men of their turn, than by my silence.
In short, I have found more patrons than ever Homer wanted. He would have thought himself happy to have met the same favour at Athens that has been shewed me by its learned rival, the University of Oxfordo. And I can hardly envy him those pompous honours he received after death, when I reflect on the enjoyment of so many agreeable obligations, and easy friendships, which make the satisfaction of life. This distinction is the more to be acknowleged, as it is shewn to one whose pen has never gratified the prejudices of particular parties, or the vanities of particular men. Whatever the success may prove, I shall never repent of an undertaking in
• It is remarkable that in the long list of his Subscribers prefixed to the first quarto Edition, ten Colleges in Oxford subscribed for their respective Libraries, and not a single College in Cambridge.
which I have experienced the candour and friendship of so many persons of merit; and in which I hope to pass some of those years of youth that are generally lost in a circle of follies, after a manner neither wholly unuseful to others, nor disagreeable to myself.
It was thought improper to omit this Postscript to the Odyssey, as it is apparently one of our Author's most elegant and finished compositions in prose. It were to be wished he had enlarged on the subject; for a Critical Treatise on the Nature and Conduct of the Odyssey, is as yet wanting in our language; the Discourse prefixed to Pope's Translation, by Broome, being but a meagre and defective Extract from Bossu. More than forty years ago, three Essays were printed in the third volume of the Adventurer, on the excellence of the Odyssey. They were designed to shew this excellence in the manner of conducting the fable, which is of the complex kind; in the extensive utility of its moral; in the vast and entertaining variety of scenes, objects, and events, which it contains; in the strokes of nature, and pathos ; in the true and accurate delineation of ancient manners, customs, and habits; and the lively pictures of civil and domestic life, more calculated to keep our attention alive and active, than the martial uniformity of the Iliad ; and in its exhibiting the most perfect pattern of a legitimate Epopée. But the Author of these Essays confined himself to too short a compass for a subject of such utility and importance; and may perhaps, in some future day, lengthen them into a more formal Treatise.