Page images

Oh! could I mount on the Mæonian wing,



Your Arms, your Actions, your Repose to fing! What ' feas you travers'd, and what fields you fought! Your Country's Peace, how oft, how dearly bought! How barb'rous rage fubfided at your word,


And Nations wonder'd while they dropp'd the fword! How, when you nodded, o'er the land and deep, 400 'Peace stole her wing, and wrapt the world in fleep; Till earth's extremes your mediation own,


And Afia's Tyrants tremble at your Throne—


But Verfe, alas! your Majefty difdains;

And I'm not us'd to Panegyric ftrains:


The Zeal of ' Fools offends at any time,

But most of all, the Zeal of Fools in rhyme.
Befides, a fate attends on all I write,

That when I aim at praise, they say " I bite.
A vile Encomium doubly ridicules:


There's nothing blackens like the ink of fools.

[ocr errors]

If true, a woful likeness; and if lies,
"Praise undeferv'd is fcandal in disguise :"

may he blufh, who gives it, or receives;
And when I flatter, let my dirty leaves


(Like Journals, Odes, and fuch forgotten things
As Eufden, Philips, Settle, writ of Kings)
Cloath spice, line trunks, or flutt'ring in a row,
Befringe the rails of Bedlam and Soho.



POPE, in his celebrated letter to Lord Hervey, has the hardi. bood to boat himfelf "a man who never wrote a line in which "the religion or government of his country, the RoYAL FAMILY, "or their ministry, were difrefpectfully mentioned." The cafe was very much altered, when he wrote this Imitation, the drift of which cannot be mistaken. I have before taken notice of the circumftances of the times when it was published, which the reader should keep in mind, as they are the best comment on fome paffages of particular severity.

No one, however, can be infenfible of the great powers of language, and confummate dexterity of fatire, which this Epistle






FLORE, bono claroque fidelis amice Neroni,

Si quis forte velit puerum tibi vendere natum Tibure vel Gabiis, et tecum fic agat: "Hic et "Candidus, et talos a vertice pulcher ad imos, "Fiet eritque tuus nummorum millibus octo; « Verna ministeriis ad nutus aptus heriles; "Literulis Græcis imbutus, idoneus arti "Cuilibet: argilla quidvis imitaberis uda :

66 Quin etiam canet indoctum, fed dulce bibenti. "Multa fidem promiffa levant, ubi plenius æquo "Laudat venales, qui vult extrudere, merces. "Res urget me nulla: meo fum pauper in ære "Nemo hoc mangonum faceret tibi: non temere a me

[ocr errors]

Quivis ferret idem: femel hic ceffavit, et (ut fit) "In fcalis latuit metuens pendentis habenæ :

"Des nummos, excepta nihil te fi fuga lædit."



VER. 1. Dear Col'nel,] Addreffed to Colonel Cotterell of Roufham near Oxford, the defcendant of Sir Charles Cotterell, who, at the defire of Charles the First, translated Davila into Englifh. The fecond line of this Imitation, "You love," &c. is feeble and useless. Horace, without preface, enters at once in his fecond line on the ftory, "Si quis forte," &c. And the fifteenth line, "But, Sir, to you," is uncommonly languid and profaic. WARTON

VER. 4. "This Lad, Sir, is of Blois :] A Town in Beauce, where the French tongue is fpoken in great purity.

VER 20. it is, to feal.] The fault of the Slave-feller's Boy is only his having run away; but the young Frenchman has been




DEAR Col'nel, COBHAM's and your country's


You love a Verse, take fuch as I can fend.

'A Frenchman comes, presents you with his Boy, Bows and begins" This Lad, Sir, is of Blois : "Observe his shape how clean! his locks how curl'd! My only fon, I'd have him fee the world: 6 "His French is pure; his Voice too—you shall hear. "Sir, he's your flave, for twenty pound a year. "Mere wax as yet, you fashion him with ease, "Your Barber, Cook, Upholst'rer, what you please: "A perfect genius at an Op'ra-fong


"To fay too much, might do honour wrong.
"Take him with all his virtues, on my word;
"His whole ambition was to ferve a Lord;


"But, Sir, to you, with what would I not part? 15 "Tho' faith, I fear, 'twill break his Mother's heart. "Once (and but once) I caught him in a lie, "And then, unwhipp'd, he had the grace to cry: "The fault he has I fairly fhall reveal,


(Could you o'erlook but that,) it is, to steal." 20



guilty of ftealing; this makes his behaviour more unpardonable, and lefs likely to be overlooked by the purchafer: a circumstance that alters the nature of the allufion, and the probability of the bargain. WARTON.

[merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »