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tribute to the happiness of a free people, and are Clos'd their long glories with a sigh, to find more consistent with the welfare of our neigh-Th' unwilling gratitude of base mankind! bours.
All human virtue to its latest breath This epistle will show the learned world to have 2 Finds Envy never conquer'd but by Death. fallen into two mistakes : one, that Augustus was
The great Alcides, every labour past, the patron of poets in general ; whereas he not Had still this monster to subdue at last. only prohibited all but the best writers to name
· Sure fate of all beneath whose rising ray him, but recommended that care ev'n to the civil Each star of meaner merit fades away! magistrate : Admonebat prætores, ne pateren- Oppress'd we feel the beam directly beat, tur nomen suum obsoletieri, &c. The other, Those suns of glory please not till they set. that this piece was only a general discourse To thee the world its present homage pays, of poetry; whereas it was an apology for the The harvest early, * but mature the praise : poets, in order to render Augustus more their Great friend of liberty! in kings a name patron. Horace here pleads the cause of his con- Above all Greek, above all Roman fame * : temporaries, first against the taste of the town, Whose word is truth, as sacred and rever'd, whose humour it was to magnify the authors of the • As Heavens own oracles from altars heard. prereding age; secondly against the court and no- Wonder of kings! like whom, to mortal eyes bility, who encouraged only the writers for the • None e'er has risen, and none e'er shall rise. theatre; and lastly against the emperor himself, Just in one instance, be it yet confest who had conceived them little use to the govern Your people, sir, are partial in the rest : ment. He shows (by a view of the progress of Foes to all living worth except your own, learning, and the change of taste among the Ro- And advocates for folly dead and gone. mans) that the introduction of the polite arts of Authors, like coins, grow dear as they grow old; Greece had given the writers of his time great ad- It is the rust we value, not the gold. vantages over their predecessors; that their morals Chaucer's worst ribaldry is learn'd by rote, were much improved, and the licence of those an- And beastly Skelton heads of houses quote : cient poets restrained; that satire and comedy One likes no language but the Faery Queen; were become more just and useful; that whatever | A Scot will fight for Christ's Kirk o' the Green ; extravagances were left on the stage, were owing And each true Briton is to Ben so civil, to the ill taste of the nobility; that poets, under 8 He swears the Muses meet him at the Devil. due regulations, were in many respects useful to Though justly 'Greece her eldest sons admires, the state; and concludes, that it was upon them Why should not we be wiser than our sires ? the
emperor himself must depend, for his fame In every public virtue we excel; with posterity.
We build, we paint, 10 we sing, we dance as well ; We may farther learn from this epistle, that And " learned Athens to our art must stoop, Horace made his court to this great prince, by writ- Could she behold us tumbling through a hoop. ing with a decent freedom towards him, with a If 12 time improve our wits as well as wine, just contempt of his low Natterers, and with a manly Say at what age a poet grows divine ? regard to his own character.
Shall we, or shall we not, account him so,
When British bards begin t' immortalize?
* Ploravere suis non respondere favorem
Speratum meritis. diram qui contudit Hydram, Wuue you, great patron of mankind ! ! sustain Notaque fatali portenta labore subegit, The balanc'd world, and open all the main ; Comperit ? invidiam supremo fine domari, Your country, chief, in arms abroad defend; 3 Crit enim fulgore suo, qui prægravat artes At home, with morals, arts, and laws arnend; Infra se positas: extinctus amabitur idem. ? How shall the muse, from such a monarch, steal * Fræsenti tibi maturos largimur honores, An hour and not defraud the public weal?
Jurandasque tuum per numen ponimus aras, 3 Edward and Henry, now the boast of fame, 6 Nil oriturum alias, nil ortuin tale fatentes. And virtuous Alfred, a more * sacred name, Sed tuus hoc populus sapiens et justus in uno, After a life of generous toils endur'd,
* Te nostris ducibus, te Graiis anteferendo The Gaul subdued, or property secur’d,
Cætera nequaquam simili ratione modoque Ambition humbled, mighty cities storin'd,
Estimat; et, nisi quæ terris semota suisque Or laws establish’d, and the world reform'd; Terporibus defuncta videt, fastidit et odit :
? Sic fautor veterum, ut tabulas peccare vetantes
Quas bis quinque viri sanxerunt, fædera regum,
Vel Gabiis vel cum rigidis æquata Sabinis,
3 Dictitet Albano Musas in monte locutas. Cum tot 'sustineas et tanta negotia solus,
Si, quia 'Graiorum sunt antiquissima quæque Res Italas armis tuteris, moribus ornes,
Scripta vel optima, Romani pensantur eadem Lrgibus emendes; in 'publica commoda peccem, Scriptores triitina; non est quod inulta loquamur: Si longo sermone inorer tua tempora, Cæsar. Nil intra est olem, nil extra est in muce duri.
? Ronulus, et Liber pater, et cum Castore Pollux, Venimus ad sunimum fort næ: pingimus, atque Post ingentia farta, * Deorun in templa recepti, 10 Psallimus, et 11 luctamur Achivis doctius unctis. Dum terras hominumque colunt genus, aspera bella si " meliora dies, ut vina, poemata reddit; Componunt, agros adsignant, oppida condunt; Scire velim, chartis pretium quotus arroget annus.
“ Who lasts a' century can have no flaw; Or say our fathers never broke a rule; I hold that wit a classic, good in law.”
Why then, I say, the public is a fool. Suppose he wants a year, will you compound? But let them own, that greater faults than we. And shall we deem him? ancient right and sound, They had, and greater virtues, I'll agree. Or damn to all eternity at once,
Spenser himself affects the 'obsolete, At ninety-nine, a modern and a dunce?
And Sydney's verse halts ill on · Roman feet: “ We shall not quarrel for a year or two; Milton's strong pinion now not Heaven can bound, By courtesy of England, he may do."
Now serpent-like, in ' prose he sweeps the ground, Then, by the rule that made the horse-tail bare, In quibbles, angel and archangel join, I pluck out year by year as hair by hair,
And God the father turns a school-civine. And melt' down ancients like a heap of snow : * Not that I'd lop the beauties from his book, While you, to measure merits, look in Stowe, Like " slashing Bently with his desperate hook, And, estimating authors by the year,
Or damn all Shakespeare, like th' affected fool Bestow a garland only on a' bier.
[bill | At court, who hates whatrer he bread at school. 8 Shakespeare (whom you and every playhouse But for the wits of either Charles's days, Style the divine, the matchless, what you will) The mob of gentlemen who wrote with ease; For gain, not glory, wing'd his roving tlight, Sprat, Carew, Sedley, and a hundred more, And grew immortal in his own despite.
(Like twinkling stars the miscellanics o'er) Ben, old and poor, as little scem'd to heed One siinile, that 'solitary shines · The life to come in every poet's creed.
In the dry desert of a thousand lines, Who now reads 1° Cowley? if he pleases yet, Or % lengthen'd thought that gleams through many His moral pleases, not his pointed wit ;
Has sanctify'd whole poems for an age. (a page, Forgot his epic, nay pindaric art,
9 I lose my patience, and I own it too, But still " I love the language of his heart.
When works are censur'd, not as bad, but new ; “ Yet surely,
surely, these were famous men! While, if our elders break all reason's laws, What hoy but hears the saying of old Ben? These fouls demand not pardon, but applause. In all 13 debates where critics bear a part,
10 On Avon's bank, where flowers eternal blow, Not one but nods, and talks of Jonson's art, If I but ask if any weed can grow; Of Shakespeare's nature, and of Cowley's wit; One tragic sentence if I dare deride, How Beaumont's judgment check'd what Fletcher Which " Betterton's grave action dignify'd,
Or well-mouth'd Booth with emphasis proclaims, How Shadwell hasty, Wycherley was slow; ('Though but, perhaps, a muster-roll of names) But, for the passions, Southerne, sure, and Rowe.
How will our fathers rise up in a rage, These, only these, support the crowded stage, And swear, all shame is lost in George's age! From eldest Heywood down to Cibber's age." You'd think 12 no fools disgrac'd the former reign,
All this may be; 15 the peoples voice is odd, Did not some grave examples yet remain, It is, and it is not, the roice of God.
Who scorn a lad should teach his father skill, To 16 Gammer Gurton is it give the havs,
And having once been wrong, will be so-still. And yet deny the Careless Husband praise, He, who to seem more deep than you or I,
Extols old bards, 13 or Merlin's prophecy, Scriptor ab hinc annos centum qui decidit, inter Mistake him not; he envies, not auinires, Perfectos veteresque referri debet, an inter And to debase the sons, exalts the sires, Viles atque novos? excludat jurgia finis. Est vetus atque probus, 'centum qui perficit annos. Ut nihil anteferat, nihil illis comparet ; errat : Quid? qui deperiit minor uno mense vel anno, Si quædam nimis 'antique, si pleraque 2 dur Inter quos referendus erit ?. ? veteresne poetas,
Dicere credit eos, 'ignave multa fatetur ; An quos et præsens et postera respuat ætas ? Et sapit, et mecum facit, et Jove judicat aquo. Iste quidem veteres inter ponetur ? honeste, * Non equidem insector, delendaque carmina Livi Qui vel mense brevi, vel toto est junior anno. Fsse reor, memiui quæ ' plagosum mihi parvo Utor permisso, caudæque pilos ut * «quina
Orbilium dictare; Paulatim vello: etid mo unum, deino et item
sed emendata videri Dum cadat elusus ratione 5 ruentis acervi, (unun; Pulchraque, et exactis minimum distantia, miror : Qui redit in "fastos, et virtutem æstimat annis, Inv. qua: 'verbum emicuit si forte decorum, Miraturque nihil, nisi quod ' Libitina sarravit. Si * versus paulo concinnjor unus et alter;
Ennius et sapiens, et fortis, et alter Homerus, Injusto totum vlucit venditquc poema. Ut critici dicunt, leviter curare videtur
Indignor qui'quam reprehendi, non quia crasse Quo' promissa cadant, et somoia Pythagorea. Consitun, illepideve putetur, sed quia naper; 10 Nævius in manibus non est ; at "mentibus hæret Nec veniam antiquis, sed honorem et præmia posci. Pene recens: 12 adeo sanctum est vetus omne 1° Recte necne crocum doresque perambulet Attæ poema.
Fabula, si dubitem; clamant periisse pudorem Ambigitur ' quoties, uter utro sit prior; aufert Cuncti pene patres: ea cum reprehendere coner, Pacuvius docii famam senis Accios alti :
Quæ gravis Fcopus, quæ doctus Roscius egit. Dicitur Afrani toga convenisse Menandro :
vel quia nil?? rectum, nisi quod placuit sibi, Plautus ad exemplar siculi properare Epicharmi
ducunt; Vincere Cæcilius gravitate, Terentius arte : Vel quia turpe putant parere minoribus, et quae Hos ediscit, et hos arcto stipata theatro (poetas imberbi cilicere, senes perdenda fateri. Spectat Poma potens ; 1* babet hos numeratque Jam 13 Saliare Numæ carmen qui laudat, et illud, Ad nostrum tempus, Iivi scriptoris ab a.ro. Quod mecuin ignorat, solus vult scire videri ; ss Interdum vulgus rectam videt : est ubi peccat. Ingeniis non ille favet plauditque sepultis, Si veteres ita miratur landatque poetas,
Nostra sed imupugnat, nos nostraque lividus odit
IMITATIONS OF HORACE.
257 Had ancient times conspir'd to disallow
When sick of Muse, our follies we deplore,
We wake next morning in a raging fit,
And call for pen and ink to show our wit.
Ev'n ? Radcliffe's doctors travel first to France,
(Should Ripley venture, all the world would smile) The soldier breath'd the gallantries of France, But 3 those who cannot write, and those who can, And every flowery courtier writ romance.
All rhyme, and scrawl, and scribble, to a man.
These madmen never hurt the church or state :
Sometimes the folly benefits mankind;:
Allow hiin but his plaything of a pen,
But ' Britain, changeful as a child at play, To 8 cheat a friend, or ward, he leaves to Peter;
Of little use the man you may suppose,
Who says in verse what others say in prose:
And (10 though no soldier) useful to the state.
11 What will a child learn sooner than a song?
What's long or short, each accent where to place,
And speak in public with some sort of grace.
I scarce can think him such a worthless thing,
l'nless he praise some monster of a king:
Roscommon only boasts unspotied bays;
No whiter page than Addison remains;
He !2 from the taste obscene reclaims our youth,
And sets the passins on the side of Truth,
Forms the soft bosom with the gentlest art,
And pours each human virtue in the lieart.
And leave on Swift this grateful verse engrav'd,
" The rights
a cout attack'd, a poet sar'd.”
Stretch'd to "3 relieve the idiot and the poor,
* Marmoris aut eboris fabros aut æris amavit ; Navem agere ignarus navis timet: abrotonum Suspendit' picta vultum mentemque tabella;
ægro Nunc tibicinibus, nunc est gavisa tragadis: Non audet, nisi qui didicit, dare: quod medicorum
'Sub nutrice puella velut si luderet infans, Promittunt- medici: tractant fabrilia fabri: [est, Quod cupide petiit, mature plena reliquit. 3 Scribimus indocti doctiqne poemata passim. Quid placet, aut odio est, quod non mutabile cre- 4 Hic error tamen et levis Pc insana, quantas das?
Virtutes habeat, sic collige : vatis 'avarus Hoc paces habuere bonæ, ventique secundi. Non temere est animus :
versus ainat, hoc studet
Pupillo? vivit siliquis, ' et pane secundo;
10 Militiæ quanquam piger et malus, utilis urbi;
Proud Vice to brand, or injurd Worth adorn, Waller was smooth ; but Dryden taught to join And · stretch the ray to ages yet unborn.
The varying verse, the full resounding line, Not but there are, who merit other palms; The long majestic march, and energy divine. Hopkins and Sternhold glad the heart with psalms: Though still some traces of our · rustic vein The 2 boys and girls whom charity maintains And splayfoot verse remain’d, and will remain. Implore your help in these pathetic strains: Late, very late, correctness grew our care, How could Devotion 3 touch the country pews,
When the tir'd nation breath'd from civil war. Unless the gods bestow'd a proper Muse?
Exact Racine, and Corneille's noble fire, Verse cheers their leisure, Verse assists their work, Show'd ns that France had something to admire. Verse prays for peace, or sings down * pope and Turk. Not but the tragie spirit was our own, The silenc'd preacher yields to potent strain, And full in Shakespeare, fair in Otway shone: And feels that grace his prayer besought in vain ; But Otway fail'd to polish or refine, The blessing thrills through all the labouring throng, And "fluent Shakespeare scarce effac'd a line. And Heaven is won by violence of song.
Ev'n copious Dryden wanted, or forgot, Our rural ancestors, with little blest,
The last and greatest art, the art to blot. Patient of labour when the end was rest,
Some doubt, if equal pains, or equal fire, Indulg'd the day that bous'd their annual grajn, The humbler Muse of comedy require. With feasts, and oflerings, and a thankful strain: But in known images of life, I guess The joy their wives, their sons, and servants share, The labour greater, as th' indulgence less.? Ease of their toil, and partners of their care : Observe how seldom evin the best succeed : The laugh, the jest, attendants on the bowl, Tell me if & Congreve's fools are fools indeed? Smooth'd every brow, and open'd every soul: What pert low dialogue has Farquhar writ! With growing years tbe pleasing licence grew, How Van wants grace, who never wanted wit! And ' taunts alternate innocently few.
The stage how loosely' does Astræa tread, But times corrupt, anıNature ill-inclin'd, Who fairly puts all characters to bed! Produc'd the point that left a sting behind ;
And idle Cibber, how he breaks the laws, Till, friend with friend, and families at strife, To make poor Pinkey 1o eat with vast applause ! Triumphant Malice rag'd through private life. But fill their purse, our poets' work is done, Who felt the wrong, or fear'd it, took th' alarm, Alike to them, by pathos or by pun. Appeal'd to law, and Justice lent her arm.
O you ! whom " Vanity's light bark conveys At length by wholesome 4 dread of statutes bound, On Fame's mad voyage by the wind of praise, The poets learn'd to please, and not to wound: With what a shifting gale your course you ply, Most warp'd to 10 flattery's side; but some, more nice, For ever sunk too low, or borne too high; Preserv'd the freedom, and forbore the vice. Who pants for glory finds but short repose, Hence satire rose, that just the medium hit, A breath revives him, or a breath o'erthrows. And heals with morals what it hurts with wit. 13 Farewell the stage! if, just as thrives the play, is We conquer'd France, but felt our captive's The silly bard grows fat, or falls away. charms;
1* There still remains, to mortify a wit, Her arts victorious triumph'd o'er our arms; The many-headed monster of the pit; Britain to soft refinements less a foe,
A senseless, worthless, and unhonour'd crow'd : Wit grew polite, and "? numbers learn'd to flow. Who, 15 to disturb their betters mighty proud, Tostruit excmplis; 'inopem solatur et ægrum. Munditiæ pepalere: sed in longum tamen ævum ('astis cum pucris iguara puella mariti
Manserunt, hodieque manent, 'vestigia ruris. Diseeret unde’ preces, vatem ni Musa dedisset? Serus enim Grecis admovit acumina chartis; Poscit opem chorus, et præsentia munina sentit; Et post ? Punica bella quietus quærere cæpit, (alestes implorat aquas, docta prece blandus ; Quid 'Sophocles et Thespis et Aischylus utile ferAvertit morbos, 4 metuenda pericula pellit; Impetrat et pacem, et locupletem frugibus annum. Tentavit quoque rem, si digne vertere posset : • Carmine Di stiperi placantur, carmine Manes. Et placuit sibi, natura sublimis et acer: 6 Agricolæ princi, fortes parvoque beati,
Nam * spirat tragicum satis, et feliciter audet : Condita post frumenta, levantes tempore festo Sed 'turpem putat inseite metuitque lituram. Corpus et ipsum aninium spe finis dara ferentem, Creditar, ex medio quia res arcessit, habere Cum sociis operum pueris et conjuge tida,
Sudoris minimum; sed habet comedia tanto Teilurem porco, Silvanum lacte piabant,
Plus oneris, quanto venit minus.' aspice, Plautus Floribus, et vino Genium memorem brevis ævi, Quo pacto partes tutetur amantis ephebi, Fescennina per hunc inventa licentia morem. Ut patris attenti, lenonis ut insidiosi :
Versibus alternis opprobria rustica fudit; Quantus sit Dossennus edacibus in parasitis; Libertasque recurrentes accepta per atinos
Quam non 10 astricto percurrat pulpita socco. Lusit amabiliter: 8 donec jam sævus apertam Gestit enim "nummum in loculos dernittere : post In rabiem cæpit verti jocus, et per honestas Securus, cadat an recto stet fabula talo. Thoc Ire domos impune minax. doluere cruento
Quem tulit ad scenam 12 ventoso gloria curru, Dente lacessiti: fuit intactis quoque cura
Exanimat lentus spectator, sedalus inflat: Conditione super communi: quin etiain lex Sic leve, sic parvum est, animum quod laudis avaPænaque lata, malo quæ nollet carmine queinquam Describi. vertere moduin, formidine fustis Subruit, ac reficit : 13 valeat res ludicra, si me Ad 10 bene dicendum, delectandumque redacti. Palma negata macrum, donata reducit opimam.
11 Græcia capta ferum victorem cepit, et artes * Sape etiam audacem fugat hoc terretque poetam Intulit agresti Latio. sic horridus ille
Quod numero plures, virtute et honore minores betiuxit " numerus Saturnius, tt grave virus Inducti, stolidique, et ' depugnare parati
IMITATIONS OF HORACE.
Or who shali wander where the Muses sing?
My liege! why writers little claim your thought,
To sing, or cease to sing, we never know;
And if we will recite nine hours in ter,
You lose your pati nce just like other men.
Repeat unask'd ; ?lament, the wit's too fine
For vulgar eyes, and point out every line;
T enroll your triumphs o'er the seas and land,
Be call'd to court to plan some work divine,
As once for Louis, Boilean and Racine.
Or chuse at least some minister of grace,
Fit to bestow the " laureat's weighty place.
Assign'd his figure to Bernini's care;
Ut magus; et modo me Thebis, modo ponit Athenig.
(luptas Curam impende brevem: si ? munus Apolline dignum Verum ? equitis quoque jam migravit ab aure vo- Vis complere libris ; et vatibus addere calcar, Omnis, ad incertos oculos, et gaudia vana.
Ut studio majore petant Helicona virentem. Quatuor aut plures aulæa premuntur in horas;
3 Multa quidem nobis facimus mala sæpe poetæ, Dum fugiunt 3 equitum turmæ, peditumque ca- (l't vineta egomet cædam mea) cum tibi librum tervæ :
* Solicito damus, aut fesso : cum lædimur, 'unum Mox traditur manibus regum fortuna retortis; Si quis amicorum est ausus reprendere versum : Esseda festinant, pilenta, petorrita, naves ;
Cum loca jam recitata revolvimus irrevocati :
Cum speramus eo rem venturam, ut, simul atque
Carmina rescieris nos fingere, commodus altro
Arcessas, et egere vetes, et scribere cogas.
Ædituos habeat belli spectata domique
Virtus, indigno non committenda poetie,
Qui tam ridiculum tam care prodigus emit,
Edicto vetuit, ne quis se preter Apellem Cum recte tractent alji, laudare inaligne :
Pingeret, aut alius Lysippo duceret æraju15 Ille per extentum funem mihi posse videtur Fortis "2 Alexandri vultum simulantia. quod si Ire poeta ; !? meum qui pectus inaniter aogit, Judicium subtile videndis artibus illud