Page images
PDF
EPUB

IMITATED.

TO AUGUSTUS.

WHILE you, great Patron of mankind! fustain

The balanc'd world, and open all the main,

Your country, chief in arms, abroad defend,
At home with morals, arts, and laws amend ;
2 How fhall the Mufe, from fuch a monarch, steal 5
An hour, and not defraud the public weal?

3 Edward and Henry, now the boast of fame,
And virtuous Alfred, a more 4 facred name,
After a life of gen'rous toils endur'd,
The Gaul subdu'd, or property fecur'd,
Ambition humbled, mighty cities storm'd,
Or laws establish'd, and the world reform'd,
5 Clos'd their long glories with a figh to find
Th' unwilling gratitude of bafe mankind!
All human virtue, to its latest breath,
6 Finds Envy never conquer'd but by Death.
The great Alcides, ev'ry labour paft,
Had till this monster to fubdue at last:
7 Sure fate of all, beneath whole rising ray
Each star of meaner merit fades away!

HOR. LIB. II. EPIST. I.

AD AUGUSTUM.

UM tot 1 fuftineas et tanta negotia folus,

CUM

Res Italas armis tuteris moribus ornes, Legibus emendes; in2 publica commoda peccem, Si longo fermone morer tua tempora, Cæfar.

[ocr errors]

15

20

3 Romulus, et Liber pater, et cum Caftore Pollux, Poft ingentia facta, 4 Deorum in templa recepti, Dum terras hominumque colunt genus, afpera bella Componunt, agros affignant, oppida condunt; Ploravere fuis non refpondere favorem Speratum meritis. diram qui contudit hydram, Notaque fatali portenta labore fubegit, Comperit invidiam fupremo fine domari.

6

7 Urit enim fulgore fuo, qui prægravat artes

Opprefs'd we feel the beam directly beat;
Thote funs of glory please not till they fet.

To thee the world its prefent homage pays,
The harveft early, but mature the praise :
Great friend of liberty! in kings a name
Above all Greek, above all Roman, fame;*
Whofe word is truth, as facred and rever'd
2 As Heav'n's own oracles from altars heard.
Wonder of kings! like whom, to mortal eyes,
3 None e'er has rifen, and none e'er fhall rife.
Jutt in one inftance; be it yet confest
Your people, Sir, are partial in the reft;
Foes to all living worth, except your own,
And advocates for folly dead and gone.

25

30

Authors, like coins, grow dear as they grow old; 35
It is the ruft we value, not the gold.

4 Chaucer's worst ribaldry is learn'd by rote,
And beaftly Skelton heads of houses quote.
One likes no language but the Faery Queen;
A Scot will fight for Chrift's Kirk o' the Green;
And each true Briton is to Ben. fo civil,

5 He fwears the Mufes met him at the Devil.

6

Tho' juftly Greece her eldest fons admires, Why should not we be wifer than our fires?

Infra fe pofitas: extinctus amabitur idem. 1 Præfenti tibi maturos largimur honores,

2

Jurandafque tuum per nomen ponimus aras, 3 Nil oriturum alias, nil ortum tale fatentes. Sed tuus hic populus, fapiens et juftus in uno. *Te noftris ducibus, te Graiis anteferendo, Cætera nequaquam fimili ratione modoque Eftimat; et, nifi quæ terris femota, fuifque Temporibus defun&ta vedet, faftidit et odit; 4 Sic fautor veterum, ut tabulas peccare vetantes. Quas bis quinque viri fanxerunt, foedera regum, Vel Gabiis vel cum rigidis æquata Sabinis, Pontificum libros, annofa volumina vatum, 5 Dictitet Albano Mufas in monte locutas.

6

Si, quia Græcorum funt antiquiffima quæque. Scripta, vel optima; Romani penfantur eadem

40

In ev'ry public virtue we excel;

We build, we paint, we fing, we dance, as well
And learned Athens to our art must stoop,
Could the behold us tumbling thro' a hoop.

If 3 time improve our wits as well as wine,
Say at what age a poet grows divine?
Shall we, or fhall we not, account him fo
Who dy'd, perhaps, an hundred years ago?
End all difpute; and fix the year precise
When British Bards began t' immortalize!

"Who lafts a 4 century can have no flaw; "I hold that wit a claffic good in law."

45

50

55

Suppose he wants a year, will you compound? And shall we deem him 5 ancient, right, and found, Or damn ;o 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."

6

Then by the rule that made the 7 horse-tail bare,
I pluck out year by year, as hair by hair,
And meltdown Ancients like a heap of fnow,
While you, to measure merits, look in Stowe,

Scriptores trutina; non eft quod muita loquamur :
Nil intra eft oleam, nil extra eft in nuce duri.
Venimus ad fummum fortunæ: pingimus atque
Pfallimus, et 2 luctamur Achivis doctius unctis.
Si 3 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 4 centum qui perficit annos.
Quid? qui deperiit minor uno mense, vel anno;
Inter quos referendus erit? 5 veterefne poetas,
An quos et præfens et poftera refpuet ætas ?
Ifte quidem veteres enter ponetur 6 honefte,
Qui vel menfe brevi, vel toto eft junior anno.
Utor permiffo, caudæque pilos ut 7 equinæ,
Paulatim vello, et demo unum, demo etiam unum:
Dum cadat elufus ratione 8 ruentis acervi,

60

65

And eftimating authors by the year,
Beftow a garland only on a bier.

70

2 Shakespeare (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 defpight. Ben. old and poor, as little feem'd to heed 3 The life to come in ev'ry poet's creed. Who now reads 4 Cowley? if he pleafes yet, His moral pleafes, not his pointed wit: Forgot his Epic, nay, Pindaric art; But till 5 I love the language of his heart.

75

80

"Yet furely, furely, thefe were famous men ! "What boy but hears the fayings of old Ben.? "In all 7 debates, where critics bear a part, "Not one but nods, and talks of Jonfon's art, "Of Shakespeare's nature, and of Cowley's wit; "How Beaumont's judgment check'd what Fletcher "How Shadwell hafty, Wycherley was flow; [writ; "But for the paffion, Southern, fure, and Rowe ! 86 "Thefe, 8 only thefe, fupport the crowded ttage, "From eldest Heywood down to Cibber's age."

.

All this may be ; 9 the people's voice is odd;

It is, and it is not, the voice of God.

Qui redit ad faftos, et virtutem æltimat annis,
Miraturque nihil, nifi quod Libitina facravit.

2 Ennius et fapiens, et fortis, et alter Homerus,
Ut critici dicunt, leviter, curare videtur,
Quo 3 promiffa cadant, et fomnia Pythagorea.
4 Nævius in manibus non eft, et 5 mentibus hæret
Pene recens : 6 adeo fanctum eft vetus omne poema.
Ambigitur 7 quoties, uter utro fit prior; aufert
Pacuvius docti famam fenis, Accius alti:
Dicitur Afranâ toga conveniffe Menandro;
Plautus ad exemplar Siculi properare Epicharmi;
Vincere Cæcilius gravitate, Terentius arte.
Hos edifcit, et hos arcto ftipata theatro

90

Spectat Roma potens ; 8 habet hos numeratque poetas Ad noftrum tempus, Livî fcriptoris ab ævo, 9 Interdum vulgus rectum videt: est ubi peccat.

To Gammer Gurton if it give the bays,
And yet deny the Careless Husband praise,
Or fay our fathers never broke a rule,
Why then, I fay, the public is a fool.

But let them own that greater faults than we 95 They had, and greater virtues I'll agree.

Spenfer himself affects the 2 obfolete,

And Sydney's verfe halts ill on 3 Roman feet; Milton's ftrong pinion now not heav'n can bound, Now, ferpent-like, in 4 profe he sweeps the ground; In quibbles angel and archangel join,

And God the Father turns a fchool-divine.

6

5 Not that I'd lop the beauties from his book,
Like flashing Bentley with his defp'rate hook ;
Or damn all Shakespeare, like the affected fool
At court, who hates whate'er he 7 read at school.
But for the wits of either Charles's days,
The mob of gentlemen, who wrote with ease;
Sprat, Carew, Sedley, and a hundred more,
(Like twinkling stars the mifcellanies o'er ;)
One fimile that 8 folitary fhines

In the dry defert of a thousand lines,

101

105

110

Or 9 lengthen'd thought, that gleams thro' many a Has fanctify'd whole poems for an age.

[page,

10 I lose my patience, and I own it too,
When works are cenfur'd, not as bad, but new;

Si
Ut nihil anteferat, nihil illis comparet; errat:
Si quædam nimis 2 antique, fi pleraque 3 dure
Dicere credit eos, 4 ignave multa fatetur;

veteres ita miratur laudat que poetas,

Et fapit, et mecum facit, et Jove judicat æquo.
5 Non equidem infector, dalendaque carmina Livî
Effe reor, memini quæ 6 plagofsum 7 mihi parvo
Orbilium dare;

fed emendata videri,
Pulchraque, et exactis minimum diftantia, miror:
Inter quæ verbum emicuit fi forte decorum, et
Si 9 verfus paulo concinnior unus et alter;

8

Injufte totum ducit venditque poema.

* Indignor quidquam reprehendi, non quia craffe

115

« PreviousContinue »