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Dictitet Albano Mufas in monte locutas. Si, quia" Graiorum funt antiquiffima quaequé Scripta vel optima, Romani penfantur eadem Scriptores trutina; non eft quod multa loquamur: Nil intra eft oleam, nil extra eft in nuce duri. Venimus ad fummum fortunae : pingimus, atque •Pfallimus, et luctamur Achiviš doctius unctis. Si meliora dies, ut vina, poemata reddit; Scire velim, chartis pretium quotus 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 mense vel anno, Inter quos referendus erit? veterefne poetas, An quos et praefens et postera réspuat aetas ? Ifte quidem veteres inter ponetur bonefte, 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.
5 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.
Tho' juftly Greece her eldeft fons admires,
We build, we paint, we fing, we dance as well, And learned Athens to our art muft ftoop, Could the behold us tumbling thro' a hoop.
If Time improve our Wit as well as Wine,
Bestow a Garland only on a
Suppofe 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 fhall 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 eftimating authors by the year,
* 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 sanctum eft vetus omne 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 ar&to stipata theatro Spectat Roma potens; habet hos numeratque poetas Ad noftrum tempus, Livî fcriptoris ab aevo. *Interdum vulgus rectum videt: est ubi peccat,
VIR..69. Shakespear.] Shakespear and Ben. Johnson 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.]
The beauty of this arises from a circumftance in Ennius's ftory. But as this could not be imitated, our Poet endeavoured to equal it; and has fucceeded.
VER, 77, Pindaric Art,] Which has much more merit than his Epic, but very unlike the Character, as well as Numbers, of
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 ftrict imitation of his Original, where the fame gratuitous criticism is admirably ridiculed.
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 pleases yet, His Moral pleases, not his pointed wit; Forgot his Epic, nay Pindaric Art,
But still I love the language of his heart. "Yet furely, furely, these were famous men! "What boy but hears the fayings of old Ben? "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; 84 "But, for the Paffions, Southern fure and Rowe. "Thefe, only thefe, fupport the crouded stage, "From eldest Heywood down to Cibber's age.
Interdum vulgus restum videt: eft ubi peccat.
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.
Sih veteres ita miratur laudatque poetas,
Ut nihil anteferat, nihil illis comparet; errat:
Si quaedam nimis i antique, fi pleraque dure
Dicere cedit eos, ignave multa fatetur;
Et fapit, et mecum facit, et Jove judicat aequo. m Non equidem infector, delendaque carmina Livî Effe reor, memini quae "plagofum mihi parvo
fed emendata videri
Pulchraque, et exactis minimum diftantia, miror: verbum emicuit fi forte decorum,
Si1 verfus paulo concinnior unus et alter;
Injufte totam 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.