« PreviousContinue »
PRIMA dicte mihi, fumma dicende camena,
Spectatum fatis, et donatum jam rude, quæris, Macenas, iterum antiquo me includere ludo,
Non eadem eft ætas, non mens.
Herculis ad poftem fixis, latet abditus agro; Ne populum extrema toties exoret arena.
VER. 1. whofe love] Equal to the affection which Horace in the original profeffes for Mecænas. It has been fufpected that his affection to his friend was fo ftrong, as to make him refolve not to outlive him; and that he actually put into execution his promise of ibimus, ibimus. Od. xvii lib. 3. Both died in the end of the year 745; Horace only three weeks after Mecænas, November 27. Nothing can be fo different as the plain and manly style of the former, in comparison of what Quintilian calls the calamistros of the latter, for which Sanctorius and Macrobius, cap. 86. say Auguftus frequently ridiculed him, though Auguftus himself was guilty of the fame fault: as when he faid, vapidè fe habere for malè. WARTON. VER. 3. Sabbath of my days?] i. e The 45th year, the age of WARBURTON.
VER. 8. Hang their old Trophies o'er the Garden gates,] An occafional ftroke of Satire on ill-placed ornaments. He has more openly ridiculed them in his Epifile on Tafle;
"Load fome vain Church with old theatric ftate,
Turn Arcs of Triumph to a Garden gate.”
He is faid to have alluded to the entrance of Lord Peterborough's Lawn at Bevifmount, near Southampton.
TO LORD BOLINGBROKE.
ST. JOHN, whofe love indulg'd my labours past,
Nor fond of bleeding, ev'n in BRUNSWICK'S cause.
There is more pleafantry and humour in Horace's comparing himfelf to an old gladiator, worn out in the fervice of the public, from which he had often begged his life, and has now at last been difmiffed with the ufual ceremonies, than for Pope to compare himself to an old actor or retired general. Pope was in his fortyninth year, and Horace probably in his forty feventh, when he wrote this Epistle. Bentley has arranged the writings of Horace in the following order He compofed the first book of his Sa. tires between the twenty-fixth and twenty eighth year of his age; the fecond book, from the year thirty-one to thirty-three; next, the Epodes, in his thirty-fourth and fifth year; next, the first book of his Odes, in three years, from his thirty-fixth to his thirty eighth year; the second book in the two next years; then the first book of the Epiftles, in his forty-fixth and feventh year; next to that, the fourth book ofis Odes, in his forty-ninth year: laftly, the Art of Poetry, and fecond book of the Epift es, to which an exact date cannot be affigned. WARTON.
VER. 10. ev'n in BRUNSWICK's caufe.] In the former Editions it was Britain's caufe. But the terms are fynonimous. WARBURTON.
Eft mihi purgatam crebro qui perfonat aurem ; Solve fenefcentem mature fanus equum, ne Peccet ad extremum ridendus, et ilia ducat. Nunc itaque et verfus, et catera ludicra pono: Quid verum atque decens, curo et rogo, et amnis in hcc fum:
*Condo, et compono, quæ mox depromere poffim. Ac ne forte roges,' quo me duce, quo Lare tuter: Nullius addictus jurare in verba magiftri,
* Quo me cunque rapit tempeftas, deferor hofpes.
VER. 15. Left fif] He has excelled Boileau's imitation of these verses, Ep. 10. v. 44. And indeed Boileau himself is excelled by an old French Poet, whom he has frequently imitated, that is, Le Frefnaie Vauquelin, whofe Poems were published 16:2. Vauquelin fays, that he profited much by reading the Satires of Ariofto; he also wrote an Art of Poetry; one of his best pieces is an imitation of Horace's Trebatius, being a dialogue between himf.lf and the Chancellor of France. WARTON.
VER. 16. You limp, like Blackmore on a Lord Mayor's borse.] The fame of this heavy Poet, however problematical elsewhere, was univerfally received in the City of London. His versification is here exactly described: ftiff, and not ftrong; ftately, and yet dull, like the fober and flow-paced Animal generally employed to mount the Lord Mayor: and therefore here humorously oppofed to Pegafus.
VER. 26. And boufe with Montagne now, or now with Locke.] i. e. Chufe either an active or a contemplative life, as is most fitted to the feafon and circumftances. For he regarded thefe Writers
f A Voice there is, that whispers in my ear, II ('Tis Reason's voice, which sometimes one can hear,) "Friend Pope! be prudent, let your Mufe take "breath,
"And never gallop Pegafus to death; "Left stiff, and stately, void of fire or force, "You limp, like Blackmore on a Lord Mayor's
Farewell then Verfe, and Love, and ev'ry Toy, The Rhymes and Rattles of the Man or Boy; What right, what true, what fit we justly call, Let this be all my care-for this is All: To lay this harvest up, and hoard with haste What ev'ry day will want, and most, the last. But ask not, to what ' Doctors I apply? Sworn to no Mafter, of no Sect am I: As drives the ftorm, at any door I knock:
And house with Montagne now, or now with Locke.
Mix with the World, and battle for the State,
as the best Schools to form a man for the world; or to give him a knowledge of himself: Montagne excelling in his observations on focial and civil life; and Locke, in developing the faculties, and explaining the operations of the human mind. WARBURTON.
VER. 29. Free as young Lyttelton,] A juft, and not overcharged encomium, on an excellent man, who had always ferved his friends with warmth, (witnefs his kindnefs to Thomfon,) and his country with activity and zeal. His Poems and Dialogues of the Dead are
Nunc in Ariftippi furtim præcepta relabor,
Ut nox longa, quibus mentitur amica; diefque Lenta videtur opus debentibus: ut piger annus Pupillis, quos dura premit cuftodia matrum: Sic mihi tarda fluunt ingrataque tempora, quæ fpem Confiliumque morantur agendi gnaviter id, quod que pauperibus prodeft, locupletibus æque, que neglectum pueris, fenibufque nocebit. Reftat, ut his ego me ipfe regam " folerque ele
Non poffis oculo quantum contendere Lynceus;
* Omnis Aristippum decuit color, et ftatus, et res.
written with elegance and eafe; his obfervations on the Converfion of St. Paul, with clearness and clofenefs of reasoning; and his Hiftory of Henry II. with accuracy and knowledge of thofe early times and of the English Conftitution; and which was compiled from a laborious search into authentic documents, and the records lodged in the Tower and at the Rolls. A little before he died, he told me, that he had determined to throw out of the collection of all his works, which was then to be published, his firft juvenile performance, the Perfian Letters, written 1735, in imitation of thofe of his friend Montefquieu, whom he had known and admired in England, in which he faid there were principles and remarks that he wished to retract and alter. I told him, that notwithstanding his caution, the bookfellers, as in fact they have done, would preferve and infert thefe letters. Another little piece, written alfo in his early youth, does him much honour: the Obfervations on the Life of Tully, in which, perhaps, a more dispaffionate and impartial character of Tully is exhibited than in the panegyrical volumes of Middelton.