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Ah! fair one, will it not suffice,
That I should once your victim lie; Unless you multiply your eyes,
And strive to make me doubly die?
THE LIFE OF ZOILUS.
AND HIS REMARKS ON HOMER'S BATTLE OF THE FROGS AND MICE.
Vide quam iniqui sunt divinorum munerum æstimatores, etiam quidam professi sapientiam.-SENECA.
HAVING Some time ago heard, that the translation of Homer's Iliad would be attempted, I resolved to confer with the gentleman who undertook it. I found him of a tall presence and thoughtful countenance, with his hands folded, his eyes fixed, and his beard untrimmed. This I took to be a good omen, because he thus resembled the Constantinopolitan statue of Homer, which Cedrenus describes; and surely nothing could have been liker, had he but arrived at the character of age and blindness. As my business was to be my introduction, I told him how much I was acquainted with the secret history of Homer; that no one better knows his own horse, than I do the camel of Bactria, in which his soul resided at the time of the Trojan wars; that my acquaintance continued with him, as he appeared in the person of the Grecian poet; that I knew him in his next transmigration into a peacock; was pleased with his return to manhood, under the name of Ennius at Rome; and more pleased to hear he would soon revive under another name, with all his full lustre, in England. This particular knowledge, added I, which sprung from the love I bear him, has made me fond of a conversation with you in order to the success of your translation.
The civil manner in which he received my proposal encouraging me to proceed, I told him, there were arts of success, as well as merits to obtain it; and that he, who now dealt in Greek, should not only satisfy himself with being a good Grecian, but also contrive to hasten into the repute of it. He might therefore write in the title-page, translated from the original Greek, and select a motto for his purpose out of the same language. He might obtain a copy of verses written in it to prefix to the work; and not call the titles of each book, the first and second, but Iliad Alpha, and Beta. He might retain some names which the world is least acquainted with, as his old translator Chapman uses Ephaistus instead of Vulcan, Baratrum for Hell; and if the notes were filled with Greek verses, it would more increase the wonder of many readers. Thus I went on; when he told me smiling, I had shown him indeed a set of arts very different from merit, for which reason, he thought, he ought not to depend upon them. success, says he, founded on the ignorance of others, may bring a temporary advantage, but neither a conscious satisfaction, nor future fame to the author. Men of sense despise the affectation which they easily see through, and even they who were dazzled with it at first, are no sooner informed of its being an affectation, but they imagine it also a veil to cover imperfection.
The next point I ventured to speak on, was the sort of poetry he intended to use; how some may