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Dictitet Albano Mufas in monte locutas.
Si, quia" Graiorum funt antiquiffima quaeque
Scripta vel optima, Romani penfantur eadem
Scriptores trutina; non eft quod multa loquamur:
Nil intra eft oleam, nil extra est in nuce duri.
Venimus ad fummum fortunae : pingimus, atque
Pfallimus, et luctamur Achivis doctius unctis.
Si meliora dies, ut vina, poemata reddit;
Scire velim, chartis pretium quótus arroget annus.
Scriptor ab hinc annos centum qui decidit, inter
Perfectos veterefque referri debet, an inter
Viles atque novos? excludat jurgia finis.

Eft vetus atque probus, 'centum qui perficit annos.
Quid? qui deperiit minor uno menfe vel anno,
Inter quos referendus erit? veterefne poetas,
An quos et praefens et poftera réfpuat aetas ?
Ifte quidem veteres inter ponetur honeste,


Qui vel menfe brevi, vel toto eft junior anno.
Utor permiffo, caudaeque pilos ut " equinae
Paulatim vello: et demo unum, demo et item unum
Dum cadat elufus ratione "ruentis acervi,


Qui redit in faftos, et virtutem aeftimat annis,

Mi aturque nihil, nifi quod" Libitina facravit.

VER. 42. met him at the Devil] The Devil Tavern, where Ben Johnson held his ioetical Club.

And each true Briton is to Ben fo civil,

m He fwears the Mufes met him at the Devil.

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Tho' justly Greece her eldest fons 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 the 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 fhall we not, account him fo,
Who dy'd, perhaps, and hundred years ago?
End all difpute; and fix the year précise
When British bards begin t' immortalize?

"Who lafts a century can have no flaw,




"I hold that Wit a Claffic, good in law.

Suppose he wants a year, will you compound? And shall we deem him Ancient, right and found, Or damn to all eternity at once,

At ninety nine, a Modern and a Dunce?

"We shall not quarrel for a year or two;

"By courtesy of England, he may do.


Then, by the rule that made the " Horfe-tail bare, I pluck out year by year, as hair by hair,

And meltdown Ancients like a heap of fnow: 65 While you, to measure merits, look in * Stowe, And estimating authors by the year,

Bestow a Garland only on a


* Ennius et fapiens, et fortis, et alter Homerus, Ut critici dicunt, leviter curare videtur Quo promiffa cadant, et fomnia Pythagorea.

Naevius in manibus non est: at mentibus haeret Pene recens: adeo fanctum eft vetus cmne poema, Ambigitur quoties, uter utro fit prior; aufert


Pacuvius docti famam fenis, Accius alti:

Dicitur Afranî toga conveniffe Menandro ;
Plautus ad exemplar Siculi properare Epicharmi
Vincere Caecilius gravitate, Terentius arte:
Hos edifcit, et hos arcto stipata theatro

Spectat Roma potens; habet hos numeratque poetas
Ad noftrum tempus, Livî fcriptoris ab aevo.

* Interdum vulgus rectum videt: est ubi


VIR..69. Shakespear.] Shakespear and Ben. Johnfon may truly be faid not much to have thought of this Immortality; the one in many pieces compofed in hafte for the Stage; the other in his latter works in general, which Dryden called his Dotages. VIR. 74. The life to come, in ev'ry Poet's Creed.]

Quo promiffa cadant, et somnia Pythagorea.

The beauty of this arifes from a circumftance in Ennius's ftory. But as this could not be imitated, our Poet endeavoured to equal it; and has fucceeded.

VIR. 77, Pindaric Art, Which has much more merit than his Epic, but very unlike the Character, as well as Numbers, of Pindar.

VER. 81. In all debates etc.] The Poet has here put the bald cant of women and boys into extreme fine verfe. This is in strict imitation of his Original, where the fame. impertinent and gratuitous criticism is admirably ridiculed.

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Shakespear (whom you and ev'ry Play-house bill Style the divine, the matchlefs, what you will) For gain, not glory, wing'd his roving flight, And grew Immortal in his own despight. Ben, old and poor, as little feem'd to heed • The Life to come, în ev'ry Poet's Creed, Who now reads b Cowley? if he pleafes yet, His Moral pleases, not his pointed wit; Forgot his Epic, nay Pindaric Art,

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But ftill I love the language of his heart.



"Yet furely, furely, thefe were famous men! "What boy but hears the fayings of old Ben? Se "In all debates where Critics bear a part. "Not one but nods, and talks of Johnson's Art, "Of Shakespear's Nature, and of Cowley's Wit; "How Beaumont's judgment check'd what Fletcher " writ;

"How Shadwell hafty, Wycherly was flow; "But, for the Paffions, Southern sure and Rowe. "Thefe, only thefe, fupport the crouded stage, "From eldest Heywood down to Cibber's age.



VER. 85. Shadwell hafty, Wycherly was flow.] Nothing was lefs true than this particular: But the whole paragraph has a mixture of Irony, and muft not altogether be taken for Horace's own Judgment, only the common Chat of the pretenders to Criticism; in fome things right, in others, wrong; as he tells us in his answer.

Interdum vulgus restum videt: est ubi peccat.

Sih veteres ita miratur laudatque poetas,

Ut nihil anteferat, nihil illis comparet ; errat:

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Dicere cedit eos, ignave multa fatetur;

Et fapit, et mecum facit, et Jove judicat aequo. Non equidem infector, delendaque carmina Livî Effe reor, memini quae" plagofum mihi parvo

Orbilium dictare;

fed emendata videri

Pulchraque, et exactis minimum diftantia, miror:

Inter quae verbum emicuit fi forte decorum,

Si verfus paulo concinnior unus et alter;

Injufte totum ducit venitque poema.

VER. 91. Gammer Gurton ] A piece of very low humour, one of the first printed Plays in English, and therefore much valued by fome Antiquaries.

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