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THE

A RT OF POETRY

OF

HORACE

WITH

TRANSLATIONS IN PROSE AND VERSE

BY THE

VERY REV. DANIEL BAGOT, B.D.

DFAN OF PROMORE, VICAR-GENERAL OF NEWRY AND MORNE, AND CHAPLAIN TO THE

LORD-LIEUTENANT OF IRELAND

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THE

ART

OF

POETRY ARS POETICA.

HUMANO capiti cervicem pictor equinam
Jungere si velit, et varias inducere plumas
Undique collatis membris, ut turpiter atrum
Desinat in piscem mulier formosa superne ;
Spectatum admissi risum teneatis, amici?
Credite, Pisones, isti tabulæ fore librum
Persimilem, cujus, velut ægri somnia, vanæ
Fingentur species ; ut nec pes nec caput uni
Reddatur formæ. Pictoribus atque poetis

5

If a painter should take a fancy to join a horse's neck to a human head, and to spread the plumage of variously coloured birds over limbs collected from animals of every country, so that a comely woman above should disgustingly terminate in a horrible-looking fish ; if admitted to see the sight, could you, my friends, refrain from laughter ? Believe me, Pisos, that a book would be very similar to a painting like that, of which the constituent ideas shall be formed so fanciful and absurd, like a sick man's dreams, as that neither foot nor head, neither end nor beginning, can be reduced to an agreement with one uniform and consistent model. To painters and to poets, you will say, there

THE ART OF POETRY.

a

If some mad painter, by his fancy led,
Should join a horse's neck and human head,
And upon limbs from various beasts should bring
Plumage from birds of every coloured wing,
So that a handsome female face should grow
Down to a fish of hideous form below,
Could you, this picture if allowed to see,

,
Gaze on the sight from boisterous laughter free?
Yet, trust me, Pisos, such a sketch as this
Supplies the emblem of a book that is

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Filled with absurd fantastic thoughts that seem

Like the vain spectres of a sick man's dream,
So that the critic cannot judge nor scan
A work like this as one consistent plan.

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