Page images

if not fo pleas'd, at (6) council board rejoice, To fee their judgments hang upon thy voice; From (p) morn to night, at fenate, rolls, and hall, Plead much, read more, dine late, or not at all. But wherefore all this labour, all this ftrife? For (g) fame, for riches, for a noble wife? [fpir'd Shall (r) one whom nature, learning, birth conTo form, not to admire, but be admir'd, Egh, while his Chloe blind to wit and worth Weds the rich dulnefs of some son of earth? Yet (1) time ennobles, or degrades each line; It brighten'd Craggs's, and may darken thine : And what is fame? the meanest have their day, The greatest can but blaze, and pass away. Grac'd as thou art, (t) with all the power of words, So known, fo honour'd, at the House of Lords: Confpicuous fcene another yet is nigh, (More filent far) where kings and poets lie; (*) Where Murray (long enough his country's

[blocks in formation]

Add one round hundred, and (if that's not fair)
Add fifty more, and bring it to a square.
For, mark th' advantage; just so many score,
Will gain a (6) wife with half as many more,
Procure her beauty, make that beauty chafte,
And then fuch (c) friends-as cannot fail to la.
A (d) man of wealth is dubb'd a man of worth,
Venus fhall give him form, and Anftis birth.
(Believe me, many a (e) Gernian prince is worse,
Who, proud of pedigree, is poor of purse)
His wealth brave (ƒ) Timon gloriously confounds;
Alk'd for a groat, he gives a hundred pounds;
Or if three ladies like a lucklefs play.
Takes the whole house upon the poet's day.
(g) Now, in fuch exigencies not to need,
Upon my word, you must be rich indeed;
A noble fuperfluity it craves,

Not for yourself, but for your fools and knaves;
Something, which for your honour they may cheat,
And which it much becomes you to forget.
(b) If wealth alone then make and keep us blest,
Still, ftill be getting, never, never rest,

(i) But if to power and place your passion lie,
If in the pomp of life confist the joy;
Then (4) hire a flave, or (if you will) a lord,
To do the honours, and to give the word;
Tell at your levee, as the crowds approach,
To whom (!) to nod, whom take into your coach,
Whom honour with your hand: to make remarks,
Who (m) rules in Cornwall, or who rules in

"This may be troublesome, is near the chair: "That makes three members, this can choose a mayor."


Inftructed thus, you bow, embrace, protest,
Adopt him, (n) fon, or coufin at the least,
Then turn about, and (●) laugh at your own jest.

Tertia fuccedant, et quae pars quadret acervum. Scilicet (6) uxorem cum dote, fidemque, et (c) a micos,

Et genus, et formam, regina (4) Pecunia donat ;
Ac bene nummatum decorat Suadela, Venufque.
Mancipiis locuples, eget aeris (e) Capadocum Rex:
Ne fueris hic tu. (f) chlamydes Lucullus, ut aiunt,
Si poffet centum fcenae praebere rogatus,
Qui poffum tot? ait: tamen et quaeram, et quot

Mittant: poft paulo fcribit, fibi millia quinque
Effe domi chlamydum: partem, vel tolleret omnes.
(g) Exilis domus eft, ubi non et multa fuperfunt,
Et dominum fallunt, et profunt furibus. (b) ergo,
Si res fola poteft facere et fervare beatum,
Hoc primus repetas opus, hoc poftremus omittas.

(i) Si fortunatum fpecies et gratia praeftat, (4) Mercemur fervum, qui dicet nomina, laevum Qui fodicet latus, et (1) cogat trans pondera dextram Porrigere: (m) Hic multum in Fabia valet, ille Velina :

Cui libet, is fafces dabit; eripietque curule, Cui volet, importunus ebur: (n) Frater, Pater, adde:

Ut cuique et aetas, ita quemque (•) facetus adopta.

Or if your life be one continued treat,
If (p) to live well means nothing but to eat;
Up, up! cries Gluttony, 'tis break of day,
Go drive the deer, and drag the finny prey;
With hounds and horns go hunt an appetite-
So (7) Ruffel did, but could not eat at night;
Can'd happy dog! the beggar at his door,
And envy'd thirst and hunger to the poor.

Or fhall we (r) every decency confound;
Through taverns, ftews, and bagnios take our round;
Go dine with Chartres, in each vice outdo,
(1) K-l's lewd cargo, or Ty-y's crew;
From Latian fyrens, French Circæan feasts,
Return well travell'd, and transform'd to beafts;
Or for a titled punk, or foreign flame,
Renounce our () country, and degrade our name?
If, after all, we must with (2) Wilmot own,
The cordial drop of life is love alone,
And Swift cry wifely," Vive la Bagatelle!"
The man that loves and laughs, muft fure do well.
(v) Adieu-if this advice appear the worst,
L'en take the counfel which I gave you first:
Or better precepts, if you can impart,
Why do, I'll follow them with all my heart.


[blocks in formation]

not only prohibited all but the Left writers to name him, but recommended that care even to the civil magiftrate: "Admonebat praetores, ne pate"rentur nomen fuum obfole fieri," &c. The other, that this piece was only a general discourse of poetry; whereas it was an apology for the poets, in order to render Auguftus more their patron. Horace here pleads the caufe of his contemporaries, firft against the taste of the town, whofe humour it was to magnify the authors of the preceding age; fecondly, against the court and nobility, who encouraged only the writers for the theatre; and lastly, against the emperor himself, who had conceived them of little ufe to the government. He fhows by a view of the progrefs of learning, and the change of taste among the Romans) that the introduction of the polite arts of Greece had given the writers of his time great advantages over their predeceffors; that their morals were much improved, and the licence of those ancient poets reftrained; that fatire and comedy were become more juft and useful; that whatever extravagances were left on the stage, were owing to the ill tafte of the nobility; that poets, under due regulations, were, in many respects, useful to the state; and concludes, that it was upon them the emperor himfelf muft depend, for his fame with posterity.

We may farther learn from this epiftle, that Horace made his court to this great prince, by writing with a decent freedom towards him, with a jult contempt of his low flatterers, and with a manly regard to his own character.


THE reflections of Horace, and the judgments paft in his epifle to Augaflus, feemed fo feafonable to the prefent times, that I could not help applying them to the use of my own country. The author thought them confiderable enough to addrefs them to his prince; whom he paints with all the great and good qualities of a monarch, upon whom the Romans depended for the increase of an abfolute empire. But to make the poem entirely English, I was willing to add one or two of thofe which contribute to the happiness of a free people, and are more confiftent with the welfare of our neigh


This epiftle will show the learned world to have fallen into have two mistakes; one, that Auguftus was a patron of poets in general; whereas he


[blocks in formation]

All human virtue to its latest breath,
Finds envy never conquer'd but by death.
The great Alcides, every labour past,
Had fill this monfter to fubdue at last.
(Sure fate of all, beneath whofe rifing ray,
Each tar of meaner merit fades away!
Opprefs'd we feel the beam directly beat,
Thole funs of glory please not till they set.
To thee, the world its prefent homage pays,
The harvest early, () but mature the praise:
Great friend of liberty! in kings a name :
Above all Greek, above all Roman fame* :
Whole word is truth, as facred and rever'd,
() As heaven's own oracles from altars heard.
Wonder of kings! like whom, to mortal eyes
(None e'er has rifen, and none e'er shall rife.

[blocks in formation]

Notaque fatali portenta lahore fubegit,
Comperit (f) invidiam fupremo fine domari,

Urit enim fulgore fuo, qui praegravat artes lafra fe pofitas: extinctus amabitur idem.

(4) Praefenti tibi maturos largimur honores, Jurandafque tuum per numen ponimus aras, (4) Nil oriturum alias, nil ortum tale fatentes. Sed tuus hoc populus fapiens et juftus in uno, Te noftris ducibus, te Graiis anteferendo, Caetera nequaquam fimili ratione modoque Acftimat; et, nifi quae terris femota fuifque Temporibus defuncta videt, fastidit et odit : (1) Sic fautor veterum, ut tabulas peccare vetantes Quas bis quinque viri fanxerunt, foedera regum, Vel Gabiis vel cum rigidis aequata Sabinis, Pontificum libros, annofa volumnia Vatum, () Dieitet Albano Mufas in monte locutas.

Si, quia () Graiorum funt antiquiffima quaeque Seripta vel optima, Romani penfantur eadem Scriptures trutina; non eft quod multa loquamur: Nil intra cft oleam, nil extra eft in nuce duri. Venimus ad fummum fortunae : pingimus, atque (Plallimus,et (p) luctamur Achivis doctius unctis. Si (g) meliora dies, ut vina, poemata reddit; Scire velim, chattis pretium quotus arroget annus. Scriptor ab hinc annos centum qui decidit, inte Perfectos veterefque referri debet, an inter Viles atque novos? excludat jurgia finis.

Shall we, or shall we not, account him fo, Who dy'd, perhaps, an hundred years ago? End all difpute; and fix the year precile When British bards begin t' immortalize?

"Who lafts a (r) century can have no flaw; "I hold that wit a claffic, good in law."

Suppose he wants a year, will you compound? And fhall we deem him (s) ancient,right and found, Or damn to all eternity at once,

At ninety-nine, a modern and a dunce?
"We fhall not quarrel for a year or two;


By (1) courtesy of England, he may do." Then, by the rule that made the (4) horfe-tail bare,

I pluck out year by year, as hair by hair,

And melt (~) down ancients like a heap of snow : While you, to measure merits, look in (a) Stowe, And, eftimating authors by the year,

Beftow a garland only on a (y) bier.

(z) Shakspeare (whom you and every play

houfe bill

Style the divine, the matchlefs, what you will)
For gain, not glory, wing'd his roving flight,
And grew immortal in his own defpite.
Ben, old and poor, as little feem'd to heed
(a) The life to come, in every poet's creed.
Who now reads (6) Cowley? if he pleafes yet,
His moral pleafes, not his pointed wit;
Forgot his epic, nay Pindaric art.
But ftill (c) I love the language of his heart.

"Yet furely, (d) surely, these were famous men! "What boy but hears the faying of old Ben? "In all (e) debates where critics bear a part, "Not one but nods, and talks of Jonson's art, "Of Shakspeare's nature, and of Cowley's wit; "How Beaumont's judgment check'd what Fletch. 66 er writ;

"How Shadwell hafty, Wycherly was flow;

But, for the paffions, Southerne fure and Rowe.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

unum ;

Dum cadat elufus ratione (v) ruentis acervi,
Qui redit in (x) faftos, et virtutem aeftimat annis,
Miraturque nihil, nifi quod (y) Libitina facravit.

(z) Ennius et fapiens, et fortis, et alter Homerus, Ut critici dicunt, leviter curare videtur Quo (a) promiffa cadant, et fomnia Pythagorea. (b) Naevius in manibus non eft; at (4) mentibus haeret [poema. Pene recens: (d) adeo fanctum eft vetus omne Ambigitur (e) quoties, uter utro fit prior; aufert Pacuvius docti famam fenis, Accius alti : Dicitur Afrani toga conveniffe Menandro: Plautus ad exemplar Siculi properare Epicharmi Vincere Caecilius gravitate, Terentius arte:

[ocr errors]


"Thefe, (ƒ) only thefe, fupport the crowded stage,
"From eldest Heywood down to Cibber's age.
All this may be; (g) the people's voice is odd,
It is, and it is not, the voice of God.
To (b) Gammer Gurton if it give the bays,
And yet deny the Careless Husband praise,
Or fay our fathers never broke a rule;
Why then, I fay, the public is a fool.

But let them own, that greater faults than we
They had, and greater virtues, I'll agree.
Spenter himself affects the (i) obfolete,
And Sydney's verfe halts ill on (4) Roman feet :
Milton's ftrong pinion now not heaven can bound,
Now ferpent-like, in () profe he fweeps the

In quibbles, angel and archangel join,
And God the Father turns a school-divine.
() Not that I'd lop the beauties from his book,
Like (n) flashing Bentley with his defperate hook,
Or damn all Shakspeare, like th' affected fool
At court, who hates whate'er he (o) read at school.
But for the wits of either Charles's days,
The mob of gentlemen who wrote with ease;
Sprat, Carew, Sedley, and a hundred more,
(Like twinkling flars the mifcellanies o'er)
One fimile, that (p) solitary shines
In the dry defert of a thousand lines,
Or (q) lengthen'd thought that gleams through

many a page,

Has fanctify'd whole poems for an age.
(r) I lofe my patience, and I own it too,
When works are cenfur'd, not as bad, but new;
While, if our elders break all reafon's laws,
Thefe fools demand not pardon, but applause.
(s) On Avon's bank, where flowers eternal blow,
If I but afk if any weed can grow;
One tragic fentence if I dare deride,

Betterton's grave action dignify'd,

Hos edifcit, et hos arcto ftipata theatro [poetas
Spectat Roma potens; (ƒ) habet hos numeratque
Ad noftrum tempus, Livî fcriptoris ab aevo.
(g) Interdum vulgus rectem videt: est ubi peccat.
Si (b) veteres ita miratur laudatque poetas,
Ut nihil anteferat, nihil illis comparet; errat:
Si quaedam nimis (i) antique, si pleraque (4) dure
Dicere credit cos, (1) ignave multa fatetur;
Et fapit, et mecum facit, et Jove judicat acquo.
(m) Non equidem infector, delendaque carmina Livi
Efle reor, memini quae (~) plagofum (●) mihi parvo
Orbilium di&tare;

fed emendata videri Pulchraque, et exactis minimum diftantia, miror: Inter quae (p) verbum emicuit fi forte decorum, Si (q) verfus paulo concinnior unus et alter; Injuste totum ducit venditque poema.


(r) Indignor quidquam reprehendi, non quia Compofitum, illepideve putetur, fed quia nuper; Nec veniam antiquis, fed honorem et praemia pofci. (s) Rede necne crocum florefque perambulet


Fabula, fi dubitem; clamant periiffe pudorem Cuncti pene patres: ea cum reprehendere coner, Quae () gravis Acfopus, quae do&tus Roscius egit.

Or well-mouth'd Booth with emphasis proclainy,
(Though but, perhaps, a mufter-roll of names)
How will our fathers rife up in a rage,
And swear, all fhame is loft in George's age!
You'd think (a) no fools difgrac'd the former

Did not fome grave examples yet remain,
Who fcorn a lad fhould teach his father skill,
And, having once been wrong, will be fo ftill.
He, who to feem more deep than you or 1,
Extols old bards, (v) or Merlin's prophecy,
Miftake him not; he envies, not admires,
And, to debafe the fons, exalts the fires.
(x) Had ancient times confpir'd to difallow
What then was new, what had been ancient now?
Or what remain'd, fo worthy to be read
By learned critics, of the mighty dead?

(y) In days of cafe, when now the weary fword Was fheath'd, and luxury with Charles reftor'd; in every taste of foreign courts improv'd,


All, by the king's example, liv'd and lov'd.”

Then peers grew proud (z) in horfemanship t


Newmarket's glory rofe, as Britain's fell;
The foldier breath'd the gallantries of France,
And every flowery courtier writ romance.
Then (4) marble, soften'd into life, grew warm,
And yielding metal flow'd to human form :
Lely on (6) animated canvas ftole

The fleepy eye, that spoke the melting foul.
No wonder then, when all was love and sport,
The willing mufes were debauch'd at court:
On (6) each enervate ftring they taught the note
To pant, or tremble through an eunuch's throat.

But (d) Britain, changeful as a child at play,
Now calls in princes, and now turns away.
Now Whig, now Tory, what we lov'd we hate;
Now all for pleasure, now for church or state;
Now for prerogative, and now for laws;
Effects unhappy! from a noble cause.

[blocks in formation]

Time was, a fober Englishman would knock Hy fervants up, and rife by five o'clock, Intruct his family in every rule,

And lend his wife to church, his fon to school. To (f) worship like his fathers, was his care; To teach their frugal virtues to his heir; To prove that luxury could never hold; And place, on good (g) fecurity, his gold. Now times are chang'd, and one (b) poetic itch Has feiz'd the court and city, poor and rich: Sons, fires, and grandfires, all will wear the bays, Our wives read Milton, and our daughters plays, To theatres and to rehearsals throng, And all our grace at table is a fong. I, who fo oft renounce the muses, (i) lie, Not's felf e'er tells more fibs than I; When fick of mufe, our follies we deplore, And promife our best friends to rhyme no more We wake next morning in a raging fit, And call for pen and ink to fhow our wit.

(4) He ferv'd a 'prenticeship, who fets up fhop; Ward try'd on puppies, and the poor, his drop; Ev'a (!) Radcliffe's doctors travel fiift to France, Nor dare to practise till they've learn'd to dance. Who builds a bridge that never drove a pile ? (Should Ripley venture, all the world would fmile) But ()thole who cannot write, and those who can, All rhyme, and fcrawl, and fcribble, to a man.

Yet, Sir, (*) reflect, the mischief is not great;
Thefe madmen never hurt the church or state:
Sometimes the folly benefits mankind;

And rarely (0) avarice taints the tuneful mind.
Allow him but his (#) plaything of a pen,
He ne'er rebels, or plots, like other men:
(9, Flight of cashiers, or mobs, he'll never mind;
And knows no loffes while the mufe is kind.
To(r) cheat a friend, or Ward, he leaves to Peter;
The good man heaps up nothing but mere mètre,
Enjoys his garden and his book in quiet;
And then-a perfect hermit in his () diet.

(e) Romae dulce diu fuit et folemne, recltifa Mane domo vigilare, clienti promere jura; Scriptos) nominibus rectis expendere nummos; () Majores audire, minori dicere, per quae Crefcere res poffet, minui damnofá libido. Mutavit mentem populus levis, (b) et calet úno Scribendi ftudio: puerique patrefque feveri Fronde comas vinci coenant, et carmina dictant. Ipfe ego, qui nullos me affirmo fcribere versus, Invenior () Parthis mendacior; et prius orto Sole vigil, calamum et chartas et fcrinia pofco. (4) Navem agere ignarus uavis tintet: abrotonum aegro [eft, Non audet, nifi qui didicet, dare: quod medicorum Promittunt (1) medici: tractant fabrilia fabri: (m) Scribimus indocti doctique poemata paffim.

(4) Hic error tamen et levis haec infania, quantas Virtures habeat, fic collige: vatis (6) avarus Non temere eft animus: (p) verfus amat, hoc fta

det unum;

Detrimenta, (9) fugas fér vorum, incendia ridet; Non fraudem focio, puerove incogitat ullam Fu, ille! vivit filiquis, et pane fecundo (4) ;

Of little use the man you may fuppofe, Who fays in verfe what others fay in profe: Yet let me fhow, a poet's of fome weight, And (1) though no foldier) ufeful to the state. () What will a child learn fooner than a fong? What better teach a foreigner the tongue? What's long or fhort, each accent where to place, And speak in public with fome fort of grace.

fcarce can think him fuch a worthlefs thing, Unless he praife fome monfter of a king: Or virtue, or religion turn to fport, To please a lewd, or unbelieving court. Unhappy Dryden-In all Charles's days, Rofcommon only boafts unfpotted bays; And in our own (excufe fome courtly stains) No whiter page than Addifon remains; He, (w) from the taste obfcene reclaims our youth; And fets the paffions on the fide of truth, Forms the foft bofom with the gentlest art, And pours each human virtue in the heart. Let Ireland tell, how wit upheld her caufe, Her trade fupported, and fupplied her laws; And leave on Swift this grateful verse engrav'd, "The rights a court attack'd, a poet fav'd." Behold the hand that wrought a nation's cure, Wretch'd to () relieve the idiot and the poor, Proud vice to brand, or injur'd worth adorn, And ()ftretch the ray to ages yet unborn. Not but there are, who merit other palms; Hopkins and Sternhold glad the heart with pfalms: The () boys and girls whom charity maintains, Implore your help in thefe pathetic frains: How could devotion (6) touch the country pews, Unless the gods beftow'd a proper muse? Verse cheers their leifure, verfe affills their work, Verfè prays for peace, or fings down () Pope and Turk.

The' filenc'd preacher yields to potent strain,
And feels that grace his prayer befought in vain ;
The bleffing thrills through all the labouring throng.
And (d) heaven is won by violence of fong.

Our (e) rural ancestors, with little bleft, Patient of labour when the end was reft, Indulg'd the day that hous'd their annual grain, With feasts, and offerings, and a thankful strain ?

(1) Militiae quanquam piger et malus, utilis urbi; Si das hoc, parvis quoque rebus magna juvari; (a) Os tenerum pueri balbumque poeta figurat : Torquet (w) ab obfcoenis jam nunc fermonibus

aurem ;

Mox etiam pectus praeceptis format amicis,
Afperitatis, et invidiae corrector, et irae ;
Recte facta refert; (y) orientia tempora notis
Inftruit exemplis ; (x) inopem folatur et aegrum.
Caftis cum (x) pueris ignara puella mariti
Difceret unde (6) preces, vatem ni Mufa dediffet?
Pofcit opem chorus, et praefentia nomina fentit;
Coeleftes implorat aquas, docta proce blandus;
Avertit morbos, (6) metuenda pericula pellit;
Impetrat et pacem, et locupletem frugibus annum.
(4) Carmine Dî superi placantur, carmine Manes.
(e) Agricolae prifci, fortes, parvoque beat!,
Condita poft frumenta, levantes tempore fakto

« PreviousContinue »