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over their Predecessors; that their JMorals were much improved, and the license of those ancient Poets restrained: that Satire and Comedy were become more just and useful; that whatever extravagancies were left on the Stage, were owing to the Ill Taste of the JNobility; that Poets, under due Regulations, were in many respects useful to the State; and concludes, that it was upon them the Emperor himself must depend, for his Fame with Posterity.
We may further learn from this Epistle, that Horace made his Court to this Great Prince by writing with a decent Freedom toward him, with a just Contempt of his low Flatterers, and with a manly regard to his own Character.
While you, great Patron of Mankind sustain
CUM tot "sustineas et tanta negotia solus,
Book ii. Epist. 1.]. The Poet always rises with his Original; and o often without. This whole imitation is extremely noble and Sublime.
Wer 7. Edward and Henry, etc.] Romulus, et Liber pater, etc.
orace very judiciously praises Augustus for the colonies he founded, not for the victories he had won; and therefore compares him, not to those who desolated, but to those who civilized mankind. The imitation wants this grace; and, for the very obvious reason, should not have aimed at it, as he has dope in the mention of Alfred.
Ambition humbled, mighty Cities storm’d,
Dum terras hominumque colunt genus, aspera bella
Componunt, agros adsignant, oppida condunt;
Ver, 17. The great Alcides,) This instance has not the same grate here as in the Original, where it comes in well after those of Romulus, Bacchus, Castor, and Pollux, though awkwardly after Edward and Henry. But it was for the sake of the beautiful thought in the next
line; which, yet, does not equal the force of his Original.
Wonder of Kings: like whom, to mortal eyes
kJWil oriturum alias, nil ortum tale fatentes.
Ver:_38. And beastly Skelton, etc.] Skelton, Poet Laureat to Henry VIII. a volume of whose verses has been lately reprinted, consist
ing almost wholly of ribaldry, obscenity, and scurrilous language.
Ver. 40. Christ's Kirk o’ the Green.] A Ballad made by a King of
Wer. 42 met him at the Devil..] The Devil Tavern, where Ben
Johnson held his Poetical Club.
Tho' justly "Greece her eldest sons admires, Why should not We be wiser than our sires? In ev'ry Public Virtue we excel; 45 We build, we paint, "we sing, we dance as well, And Plearned Athens to our arts must stoop, Could she behold us tumbling thro' a hoop. If Time improve our Wit as well as Wine, Say at what age a Poet grows divine? 50 Shall we, or shall we not, account him so, Who dy’d, perhaps, an hundred years ago? End all dispute; and fix the year precise When British Bards begin to immortalize P “Who lasts arcentury can have no flaw, 55 “I hold that Wit a Classic, good in law.” Suppose he wants a year, will you compound * And shall we deem him "Ancient, right and sound, Or damn to all eternity at once, At ninety-nine, a Modern and a Dunce P 60
Si, quia "Graiorum sunt antiquissima quaeque