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“We shall not quarrel for a year or two; "By tcourtesy of England, he may do.”
Then, by the rule that made the whorse-tail bare, I pluck out year by year, as hair by hair, And melt wagwa Ancients like a heap of snow: 65 While you, to measure merits, look in “Stowe,
And estimating authors by the year,
Bestow a Garland only on a y Bier.
*Shakespear (whom you and ev'ry Playhouse bill
Style the divine, the matchless, what you will) 70
For gain, not glory, wing’d his roving flight,
And grew Immortal in his own despite.
Ben, old and poor, as little seem'd to heed
*The life to come, in ev’ry Poet's Creed.
Who now reads bcowley? if he pleases yet, 75
His Moral pleases, not his pointed Wit;
Iste quidem veteres inter ponetur thomeste,
Quivel mense brevi, vel toto est junior anno.
Utor permisso, caudaeque pilos utuequinae
Paulatim vello: et demo unum, demo et item unum;
Dum cadat elusus ratione wruentis acervi,
Qui redit in fastos, et virtutem aestimat annis,
Miraturque nihil, nisi quody Libitina sacravit.
*Ennius et sapiens, et fortis, et alter Homerus,
Ut critici dicunt, leviter curare videtur
Quo "promissa cadant, et somnia Pythagorea.
"Naevius in manibus non est; at ementibus haeret
Forgot his Epic, nay Pindaric Art,
But still eI love the language of his heart.
“Yet surely, a surely, these were famous men
“What boy but hears the sayings of old Ben P 80
“In all edebates where Critics bear a part,
“Not one but nods, and talks of Johnson’s Art,
“Of Shakespear's Nature, and of Cowley's Wit;
“How Beaumont's judgment check’d what Fletcher writ; “How Shadwell hasty, Wycherly was slow; 85
“But, for the Passions, Southern sure and Rowe.
“These, fonly these, support the crowded stage,
“From eldest Heywood down to Cibber's age.”
Pene recens: ladeo sanctum est vetus omne poema.
Ambigitur equoties, uter utro sit prior; aufert
Pacuvius docti famam senis, Accius alti:
Dicitur Afrani toga convenisse Menandro;
Plautus ad exemplar Siculi properare Epicharmi
Vincere Caecilius gravitate, Terentius arte:
Hos ediscit, et hos arcto stipata theatro
Spectat Roma potens; shabet hos numeratgue poetas
Ad nostrum tempus, Livi scriptoris ab aevo.
The beauty of this arises from a circumstance in Ennius's story. But as this could not be imitated, our Poet endeavoured to equal it, and has succeeded.
Ver. 77. Pindaric Art, J Which has much more merit than his Epic, but very unlike the Character, as well as Numbers, of Pindar.
Ver. 81. In all debates, etc.] The Poet has here put the bald cant of women and boys into extreme fine verse. This is in strict imitation of his original, where the same impertinent and gratuitous criticism is admirably ridiculed.
Ver. 85. Shadwell hasty, Wycherly was slow;]. Nothing was less true than this particular: But the whole paragraph has a mixture of Irony; and must not altogether be taken for Horace's own Judgment, only the common Chat of the pretenders to Criticism; in some things right, in others wrong; as he tells us in his answer,
Interdum vulgus rectum videt: est ubi peccat.
All this may be ; g the People's Voice is odd, It is, and it is not, the voice of God. 90 To h Gammer Gurton if it give the bays, And yet deny the Careless Husband praise,’ Or say our Fathers never broke a rule; Why then, I say, the Public is a fool. But let them own, that greater faults than we 95 They had, and greater Virtues, I’ll agree. Spenser himself affects the iObsolete, And Sydney's verse halts ill on k Roman feet: Milton’s strong pinion now not Heav'n can bound, Now serpent like, in prose he sweeps the ground, 100 In Quibbles, Angel and Archangel join, And God the Father turns a School-divine. mNot that I’d lop the beauties from his book, Like n slashing Bentley with his desp'rate hook, Or damn all Shakespear, like th’ affected Fool 105 At court, who hates whate’er he 8 read at school.
But for the Wits of either Charles's days, The Mob of Gentlemen who wrote with Ease;
s Interdum vulgus rectum videt: est ubi peccat.
Sih veteres ita miratur laudataue poetas,
Ut nihil anteferat, nihil illis comparet; errat:
Si quaedam nimisi antique, si pleraque k dure
Dicere cedit eos, lignave multa fatetur;
Et sapit, et mecum facit, et Jove judicat aequo.
* Non equidem insector, delendaque carmina Livi
Esse reor, memini quae "plagosum 8 mihi parvo
Sprat, Carew, Sedley, and a hundred more,
(Like twinkling stars the Miscellanies o'er) 110
One Simile, that P solitary shines
In the dry desert of a thousand lines,
Or a lengthen’d Thought that gleams through many a
Has sanctify’d whole poems for an age.
r I lose my patience, and I own it too, 115
When works are censur’d, not as bad but new ;
While if our Elders break all reason’s laws,
These fools demand not pardon, but Applause.
• On Avon's bank, where flowers eternal blow,
If I but ask, if any weed can grow P 120
One Tragic sentence if I dare deride,
Which t Betterton's grave action dignify’d,
Or well-mouth'd Booth with emphasis proclaims,
(Tho’ but, perhaps, a muster-roll of Names)
Pulchraque, et exactis minimum distantia, miror:
Inter quae P verbum emicuit si forte decorum,
Siq versus paulo concinnior unus et alter;
Injuste totum ducit venitaue poema.
* Indignor quidquam reprehendi, non quia crasse
Compositum, illepideveputetur, sed quia nuper;
Nec veniam antiquis, sed honorem et praemia posci.
* Recte necne crocum floresque perambulet Attae
Fabula, si dubitem; clamant periisse pudorem
Cuncti pene patres ; ea cum reprehendere coner,
Quae gravis desopus, quae doctus Roscius egit.
NOTES. Ver. 119. On-Avon's bank, At Stratford, in Warwickshire, where Shakespear had his birth. The thought of the original is here infinitely o Perambulet is a low allusion to the name and imperfections O a.
Actors, of JWames] An absurd custom of several
* Pronounce with emphasis the mere Proper Jwames of Greeks
How will our Fathers rise up in a rage, 125
And swear, all shame is lost in George's Age |
You'd think u no Fools disgrac'd the former reign,
Did not some grave Examples yet remain,
Who scorn a Lad should teach his father skill,
And, having once been wrong, will be so still. 130
He, who to seem more deep than you or I,
Extols old Bards, w or Merlin’s Prophecy,
Mistake him not; he envies, not admires,
And to debase the Sons, exalts the Sires.
*Had ancient times conspir'd to disallow 135
What then was new, what had been ancient now P
Or what remain'd, so worthy to be read
By learned Critics, of the mighty Dead P
y In Days of Ease, when now the weary Sword
Was sheath'd, and Luacury with Charles restor’d; 140
In ev'ry taste of foreign Courts improv’d,
“All, by the King's Example, liv'd and lov’d.”
Vel quia nil wrectum, nisi quod placuit sibi, ducunt;
Vel quia turpe putant parere minoribus, et, quae
Imberbi didicere, senes perdenda fateri.
Jam w Saliare JW’umae carmen qui laudat, et illud,
Quod mecum ignorat, solus vult scire videri;
Ingeniis non ille favet plauditolue sepultis,
Nostra sed impugnat, nos nostraque lividus odit.
* Quod sitam Graecis movitas invisa fuisset,
Quam nobis; quid nunc esset vetus? aut quid haberet,
Quod legeret tereretolue viritim publicus usus?
y Ut primum positis nugari Graecia bellis
Coepit, et in vitium fortuna labier aequa;
o: or Romans, which (as they call it) fill the mouth of the ayer.
Ver. 129–130.] Inferior to the original: as Ver, 133–4, excel it. Ver, 142. A verse of Lord Lansdown,