Page images

That the Earl of Halifax was one of the first to favour me, of whom it is hard to say whether the advancement of the polite arts is more owing to his generofity or his example *. That fuch a Genius as my Lord Bolingbroke, not more distinguished in the great scenes of business, than in all the useful and entertaining parts of learning, has not refused to be the critic of these fheets, and the patron of their writer. And that the noble author of the Tragedy of Heroic Love, has continued his partiality to me, from my writing Pastorals, to my attempting the Iliad. I cannot deny myself the pride of confeffing, that I have had the advantage, not only of their advice for the conduct in general, but their correction of feveral particulars of this tranflation,

I could

Son livre eft d'agrémens une fertile thréfor,
Tout ce qu'il a touché fe convertit en or,
Tout recoit dans fes mains une nouvelle grace,
Par tout il divertit, & jamais il ne laiffe;
Une heureuse chaleur anime fes difcours.
Il ne s'égare point en de trop longs detours,
Sans garder dans fes vers un ordre methodique
Son fujet de foi-meme & s'arrange & s'explique,
Tout, fans faire d'apprefts, s'y prepare aisément,
Chaque vers, chaque mot, court à l'évènement,
Aimez donc fes écrits, mais d'un amour fincère,
C'eft avoir profité que de fçavoir s'y plaire."

No nation in Europe can boaft of having fuch excellent tranflations of the more eminent Greek Poets, as the Homer of Pope, the Pindar of Weft, the Sophocles of Franklin, the Eschylus and Euripides of Potter. WARTON.

* Yet this is the nobleman whom Pope has fatirized under the name of Bufo.

I could fay a great deal of the pleasure of being distinguished by the Earl of Carnarvon, but it is almost abfurd to particularize any one generous action in a person whofe whole life is a continued feries of them. Mr. Stanhope, the present Secretary of State, will pardon my defire of having it known that he was pleased to promote this affair. The particular zeal of Mr. Harcourt (the son of the late Lord Chancellor) gave me a proof how much I am honoured in a fhare of his friendship. I must attribute to the fame motive that of several others of my friends, to whom all acknowledgments are rendered unneceffary by the privileges of a familiar correfpondence: and I am fatiffied I can no way better oblige men of their turn, than by my filence.

In fhort, I have found more patrons than ever Homer wanted. He would have thought himself happy to have met the fame favour at Athens that has been fhewd me by its learned rival, the Univerfity of Oxford*. And I can hardly envy him those pompous honours he received after death, when I reflect on the enjoyment of fo many agreeable obligations, and easy friendships, which make the fatisfaction


* It is remarkable that in the long lift of his Subscribers prefixed to the first quarto Edition, ten Colleges in Oxford subferibed for their refpective Libraries, and not a fingle College in Cambridge. WARTON.

And equally remarkable, that when Cowper translated the fame, the cafe was exactly reverfed. Many Colleges in Cambridge fubfcribed, and not one, I believe, in Oxford,

of life. This diftinction is the more to be acknowledged, as it is fhewn to one whose pen has never gratified the prejudices of particular parties, or the vanities of particular men. Whatever the fuccefs may prove, I shall never repent of an undertaking in which I have experienced the candour and friendship of fo many persons of merit; and in which I hope to pass some of those years of youth that are generally loft in a circle of follies, after a manner neither wholly unuseful to others, nor difagreeable to myfelf.




« PreviousContinue »