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attention remiss, by a previous account of the end of it.
The next thing which employed my thoughts was the heroes' names. It might perhaps take off somewhat from the majesty of the poem, had I cast away such noble sounds as, Physignathus, Lychopinax, and Crambophagus, to substitute Bluffcheek, Lick-dish, and Cabbage-eater, in their places. It is for this reason I have retained them untranslated: however, I place them in English before the poem, and sometimes give a short character extracted out of their names; as in Polyphonus, Pternophagus, &c., that the reader may not want some light of their humour in the original.
But what gave me a greater difficulty was, to know how I should follow the poet, when he inserted pieces of lines from his Iliad, and struck out a sprightliness by their new application. To supply this in my translation, I have added one or two of Homer's particularities; and used two or three allusions to some of our English poets who most resemble him, to keep up some image of this spirit of the original with an equivalent beauty. To use more, might make my performance seem a cento rather than a translation, to those who know not the necessity I lay under.
I am not ignorant, after all my care, how the world receives the best compositions of this nature. A man need only go to a painter's, and apply what he hears said of a picture to a translation, to find
how he shall be used upon his own, or his author's account. There one spectator tells you, a piece is extremely fine, but he sets no value on what is not like the face it was drawn for; while a second informs you, such another is extremely like, but he cares not for a piece of deformity, though its likeness be never so exact.
Yet notwithstanding all which happens to the best, when I translate, I have a desire to be reckoned amongst them; and I shall obtain this, if the world will be so good natured as to believe writers that give their own characters: upon which presumption, I answer to all objections beforehand, as follows :
When I am literal, I regard my author's words; when I am not, I translate in his spirit. If I am low, I choose the narrative style; if high, the subject required it. When I am enervate, I give an instance of ancient simplicity; when affected, I show a point of modern delicacy. As for beauties, there never can be one found in me which was not really intended; and for any faults, they proceeded from too unbounded fancy, or too nice judgment, but by no means from any defect in either of those faculties.
THE LIFE OF ZOILUS.
Pendentem volo Zoilum videre.-MARTIAL,
THEY who have discoursed concerning the nature and extent of criticism, take notice, that editions of authors, the interpretations of them, and the judgment which is passed upon each, are the three branches into which the art divides itself. But the last of these, that directs in the choice of books, and takes care to prepare us for reading them, is by the learned Bacon called the chair of the critics. In this chair (to carry on the figure) have sate Aristotle, Demetrius Phalereus, Dionysius Halicarnassensis, Cicero, Horace, Quintilian, and Longinus; all great names of antiquity, the censors of those ages which went before, and the directors of those that come after them, with respect to the natural and perspicuous manners of thought and expression, by which a correct and judicious genius may be able to write for the pleasure and profit of mankind.
But whatever has been advanced by men really great in themselves, has been also attempted by others of capacities either unequal to the undertaking, or which have been corrupted by their passions, and drawn away into partial violences: so that we have sometimes seen the province of criticism usurped, by such who judge with an
obscure diligence, and a certain dryness of understanding, incapable of comprehending a figurative style, or being moved by the beauties of imagination; and at other times by such, whose natural moroseness in general, or particular designs of envy, has rendered them indefatigable against the reputation of others.
In this last manner is Zoilus represented to us by antiquity, and with a character so abandoned, that his name has been since made use of to brand all succeeding critics of his complexion. He has a load of infamy thrown upon him, great, in proportion to the fame of Homer, against whom he opposed himself: if the one was esteemed as the very residence of wit, the other is described as a profligate, who would destroy the temple of Apollo and the Muses, in order to have his memory preserved by the envious action. I imagine it may be no ungrateful undertaking to write some account of this celebrated person, from whom so many derive their character; and I think the life of a critic is not unseasonably put before the works of his poet, especially when his censures If what he advances be just, he stands here as a censor; if otherwise, he appears as an addition to the poet's fame, and is placed before him with the justice of antiquity in its sacrifices, when, because such a beast had offended such a deity, he was brought annually to his altar to be slain upon it.
Zoilus was born at Amphipolis, a city of Thrace,
during the time in which the Macedonian empire flourished. Who his parents were, is not certainly known; but if the appellation of Thracian Sla e, which the world applied to him, be not merely an expression of contempt, it proves him of mear extraction. He was a disciple of one Polycrates a sophist, who had distinguished himself by writing against the great names of the ages before him; and who, when he is mentioned as his master, is said to be particularly famous for a bitter accusation or invective against the memory of Socrates In this manner is Zoilus set out to posterity, like a plant naturally baneful, and having its poison rendered more acute and subtle by a preparation.
In his person he was tall and meagre, his complexion was pale, and all the motions of his face were sharp. He is represented by Ælian, with a beard nourished to a prodigious length, and his head kept close shaved, to give him a magisterial appearance: his coat hung over his knees, in a slovenly fashion; his manners were formed upon an aversion to the customs of the world. He was fond of speaking ill, diligent to sow dissensio and from the constant bent of his thought, had obtained that sort of readiness for slander or reproach, which is esteemed wit by the light opinion of some, who take the remarks of ill-nature, for an understanding of mankind, and the abrupt lashes of rudeness for the spirit of expression. This, at last, grew to such a heighth in him, that he became careless of concealing it; he threw off