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he could not procure a printed copy of that tragedy either in Britain or Holland, and had only a transcript of it from Abraham Gronovius, keeper of the public library at Leyden: and I could assure him, that an extract of those passages was sent over to a gentleman in Holland, who was employed to enquire of Gronovius whether they were genuine or not; and therefore he might as well confess the truth himself, wbich would be known in a little time without his confession. He acknowledged that he had himself composed several verses, which he had quoted as from Grotius. I enquired particularly after those verses so nearly resembling that passage in Milton,
Better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven: and he confessed that he had made those very verses, and indeed all which had any particular likeness to any thing in Milton. I expressed my suspicions likewise about Masenius, especially as he had lost the book so long ago, and as Mr. Douglass had proved that one of his quotations from Masenius, consisting of eight lines, was taken literally from the Latin translation of the Paradise Lost by Hogæus; and it was not probable that the same eight lines should be in Hogæus, and Masenius too. He owned honestly that they were not, nor several things which he had ascribed to Mase nius. I asked particularly whether the word Pandæmonium was in Masenius, for I had all along suspected that it was not, Concilium inferorum sive Pandæmonium : and be acknowledged that it was an interpolation of his own. I questioned whether Masenius had enumerated the four blind poets,
Tiresias, Phineus, Thamyrisque, et magnus Homerus:
and he answered that there was some foundation for that; Masenius had reckoned up three of them, and he had inserted the fourth : and commonly I found, that when he had caused
any thing to be printed in capital letters or Italic characters, as worthy of the peculiar notice and observation of his readers, that was interpolated and forged by himself. Well might Mr. Lauder select this verse for the motto to his book,
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme; for though there have been frequent forgeries in the literary world, yet such as these I believe not only were never practised before, but were never attempted : but
aliter non fit, Avite, liber;
he had recourse to these artifices, as he himself confesses, because he plainly perceived that he could not otherwise have proved his point to the satisfaction of any body. But I forbear to aggravate matters. I would not inflame the reader's indignation. The man has already been sufficiently exposed, and expresses sorrow for his offence, and promises to make a public recantation, acknowledging his crimes, and begging pardon of the world: and though he has entirely ruined his character as a man of probity; yet it must be said for him, that he has given some proofs of his abilities as a man of learning
THOMAS NEWTON. December 5, 1750.
N. B. Mr. Lauder has since publicly confessed the following forgeries and interpolations among others of lesser consequence.
The word Pandemonium interpolated in Masenius.
See with what heat these dogs of hell advance
Fronte truci, torvosque oculos jaculantur in illam. Quoted as from Masenius, but really taken from Hog's translation of Paradise Losi, x. 710, &c.
Vatibus antiquis numerantur lumine cassis,
And Tiresias and Phineus prophets old. iii. 35.
Tiresias cæcus, Thamyrisque, et Daphnis, Homerus.
Persimilis turri præcelsæ, aut montibus altis
Antiquæ cedro, nudatæ frondis honore: interpolated in Masenius, to answer these passages in Milton; Stood like a tow'r. i. 591, and 612.
-as when heaven's fire
-Orcus et pedibus tremit interpolated in Grotius, to answer Milton's
-Hell trembled as he strode. ii, 676.
Nam, me judice,
quam in ipsis servi obire munia. Milton, i. 261.
and in my choice
An interpolation in Grotius,
Innominata quæque nominibus suis,
Cæli solique soboles !
Carbunculorum luce certantes rubra :
interpolated in Grotius to answer
-carbuncle his eyes.
Rationis etenim omnino paritas exigit,
Ex homine qualis ante, te fieri Deam.
That shall be as gods, since I as man,
Tibi nam relicta, quo petam, aut ævum exigam?
Milton, x. 921.
forlorn of thee,
Interpolation in Grotius,
soli numini contrarius,
Deumque læsi scelere, teque, Vir, simul. Milton; X. 927.
-On me exercise not &c: