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mits of our world, as in the Paradise Lost; all these circumstances are of no consequence : the poem will be for ever an Epic poem, an Heroic poem; at least, till another new title be found proportioned to its merit.
“ If you scruple (says Addison) to give the title of an Epic poem to the Paradise Lost of Milton, call it, if you choose, a DIVINE poem : give it whatever name you please, provided you confess, that it is a work as admirable in its kind as the Iliad."
8. Hear how learn'd Greece her useful rules indites,
When to repress and when indulge our flights *
In the second part of Shaftesbury's Advice to an Author, is a judicious and elegant account of the rise and progress of arts and sciences in ancient Greece; to subjects of which sort, it were to be wished this author had always confined himself, as he indisputably understood them well, rather than have blemished and belied his patriotism, by writing against the religion of his country. I shall give the reader a passage that relates to the origin of criticism, which is curious
* Ver. 92.
Sicilian, a cotemporary of Pindar, and a subject of Hiero, to whom Pindar wrote, had adopted in his beautiful poem. Homer, and the Greek tragedians, have been likewise censured: the former for protracting the Iliad after the death of Hector; and the latter, for continuing the AJAX and PHOENISS Æ, after the deaths of their respective heroes. But the censurers did not consider the importance of burial among the ancients ; and that the action of the Iliad would have been imperfect without a description of the funeral rites of Hector and Patroclus; as the two tragedies, without those of Polynices and Eteocles : for the ancients esteemed a deprivation of sepulture to be a more severe calamity than death itself. It is observable, that this circumstance did not occur to POPE,* when he endeavoured to justify this conduct of Homer, by only saying, that, as the anger of Achilles does not die with Hector, but persecutes his very remains, the poet still keeps up to his subject, by describing the many effects of his anger, 'till it is fully satisfied; and that for this reason, the two last books of the Iliad may be thought not to be excrescences, but essential to the poem. I will only add, that I do not know an author whose capital excellence suffers more from the reader's not regarding his climate and country, than the incomparable Cervantes.
* Iliad xxiii. Note 1.
There is a striking propriety in the madness of Don Quixote, not frequently taken notice of; for Thuanus informs us, that MADNESS is a common disorder among the Spaniards at the latter part of life, about the age of which the knight is represented. la fin de ses jours Mendozza devint furieux, comme sont d' ordinaire les Espagnols."*
10. Still with itself compar'd, his text peruse,
And let your comment be the Mantuan Muse.t
Although, perhaps, it may seem impossible ta produce any new observations on Homer and Virgil, after so many volumes of criticisin as have been spent upon them, yet the following remarks have a novelty and penetration in them
* Perroniana et Thuana, a Cologne, 1695, pag. 431.
+ Ver. 128.
that may entertain ; especially, as the little treatise from which they are taken is extremely scarce. “ Quæ variæ inter se notæ atque imagines animorum, a principibus utriusque populi poetis, Homero et Virgilio, mirificè exprimuntur. Siquidem Homeri duces et reges rapacitate, libidine, atque anilibus questibus, lacrymisque puerilibus, Græcam levitatem et inconstantiam referunt. Virgiliani vero principes, ab eximio poeta, qui Romanæ severitatis fastidium, et Latinum supercilium verebatur, et ad heroum populum loquebatur, ita componuntur ad majestatem consularem, ut quamvis ab Asiatica mollitie luxuque venerint, inter Furios atque Claudios nati educatique videantur. Neque suam, ullo actu, Æneas originem prodidisset, nisi, a præfactiore aliquanto pietate, fudisset crebro copiam lacrymarum.-Qua meliorem expressione morum hac ætate, non modo Virgilius Latinorum poetarum princeps, sed quivis inflatissimus vernaculorum, Homero præfertur: cum hic animos proceribus indurit suos, ille vero alienos. —Quamobrem varietas morum, qui carmine reddebantur, et hominum ad quos ea dirigebantur, inter Latinam Græcamque poesin, non inventionis tantum attulit, sed et elocu
tionis discrimen illud, quod præcipue inter Homerum et Virgilium deprehenditur; cum sententias et ornamenta quæ Homerus sparserat, Virgilius, Romanorum arium causa, contraxerit; atque ad mores et ingenia retulerit eorum, qui a poesi non petebant publicam aut privatam institutionem, quam ipsi Marte suo invenerant ; sed tantum delectationem."* Blackwell, in his excellent Enquiry into the Life and Writings of Homer, has taken many observations from this valuable book, particularly in his twelfth Section.
11. Some beauties yet no precepts can declare,
For there's a happiness, as well as care.
Pope in this passage seems to have remembered one of the essays of Bacon, of which he is known to have been remarkably fond.
" There is no excellent beauty, that hath not some strange
* J. Vincentii Gravinæ de Poesi, ad S. Maffeium Epist. Added to his treatise entitled, Della Ragion Poetica. In Na. poli. 1716. pag. 239, 250.
t Ver. 141.