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Nor' once to Chancery, nor to Hale apply;
BOOK I. EPISTLE VI.
TO MR. MURRAY.
Tais piece is the most finished of all his imitations, and executed in the high manner the Italian painters call con amore. By which they mean, the exertion of that principle, which puts the faculties on the stretch, and produces the supreme degree of excellence. For the poet had all the warmth of affection for the great lawyer to whom it is addressed; and, indeed, no man ever more deserved to have a poet for his friend. In the obtaining of which, as neither vanity, party, nor fear, had any share, so he supported his title to it by all the offices of true friendship.
So take it in the very words of Creech.)
"This vault of air, this congregated ball, Self-center'd Sun, and stars that rise and fall, There are, my friend! whose philosophic eyes Look through and trust the Ruler with his skies, To him commit the hour, the day, the year, And view 12 this dreadful all without a fear.
Admire we then what "Earth's low entrails hold, Arabian shores, or Indian seas infold; All the mad trade of 1 fools and slaves for gold?
"Nor to admire, is all the art I know,
(Plain truth, dear Murray, needs no flowers 10 of Will any mortal let himself alone?
Nec medici credis, nec curatoris egere
Ad summam, sapiens uno minor est Jove, *Liber, honoratus, pulcher, rex denique regum; Præcipue sanus, nisi cum pituita molesta est.
NL admirari, prope res est una, Numici, Solaque quæ pussit facere et servare beatum,10
11 Hunc solem, et stellas, et decedentia certis Tempora momentis, sunt qui 12 formidine nulla, Imbuti spectent 13 quid conses, munera terræ ? Quid, maris extremos Arabas ditantis it lados?
Or popularity? or stars and strings?
If weak the pleasure that from these can spring,
If not so pleas'd, at 'council-board rejoice
15 Rack'd with sciatics, martyr'd with the stone,
See Ward by batter'd beaux invited over,
Would ye be blest? despise low joys, low gains;
2 But art thou one, whom new opinions sway,
Takes the whole house upon the poet's day.
Not for yourself, but for your fools and knaves;
12 But if to power and place your passion lie,
Quare fugam morbi. 1vis recte vivere? quis non?
2 virtutem verba putes, et Lucum ligna? 3 cave ne portus occupet alter; Ne Cibyratica, ne Bithyna negotia perdas : 4 Mille talenta rotundentur, totidem altera, porro et Tertia succedant, et quæ pars quadret acervum. Scilicet 5 uxorem cuin dote, fidemque, et amicos, Et genus, et formam, regina Pecunia donat; Ac bene nummatum decorat Suadela, Venusque. Mancipiis locuples, eget æris 3 Capadocum rex: Ne fueris hic tu. 9 chlamydes Lucullus, ut aiunt, Si posset centum scenæ præbere rogatus, [habebo Qui possum tot? ait: tamen et quaram, et quot Mittam: post paulo scribit, sibi millia quinque Esse domi chlamydum: partem, vel tolleret omnes. 10 Exilis domus est, ubi non et multa supersunt, Et dominum fallunt, et prosunt furibus. " ergo, Si res sola potest facere et servare beatum, Hoc primus repetas opus, hoc postremus omittas. 12 Si fortunatum species et gratia præstat, 13 Mercemur servum, qui dictet nomina, lævum Qui fodicet latus, et 14 cogat trans pondera dex
Whom honour with your hand: to make remarks,
Or shall we 6 every decency confound; Through taverns, stews, and bagnio's take our round; Go dine with Chartres, in each vice outdo 'K--I's lewd cargo, or Ty-y's crew; From Latian syrens, French Circæan feasts, Return well travell'd, and transform'd to beasts; Or for a titled punk, or foreign flame, Renounce our country and degrade our name? If, after all, we must with Wilmot own, The cordial drop of life is love alone,
And Swift cry wisely, “ Vive la bagatelle !"
E'en take the counsel which I gave you first:
THE reflections of Horace, and the judgments past in his epistle to Augustus, seemed so seasonable to the present times, that I could not help applying them to the use of my own country. The author thought them considerable enough to address them to his prince; whom he paints with all the great and good qualities of a monarch, upon whom the Romans depended for the increase of an absolute empire. But to make the poem entirely English, I was willing to add one or two of those which con
Porrigere: Hic multum in Fabia valet ille Velina:
9 Si, Mimnermus uti censet, sine amore jocisque Nil est jucundum; vivas in amore jocisque.
10 Vive, vale. si quid novisti rectius istis, Candidus imperti; si non, his utere mecum.
tribute to the happiness of a free people, and are more consistent with the welfare of our neighbours.
This epistle will show the learned world to have fallen into two mistakes: one, that Augustus was the patron of poets in general; whereas he not only prohibited all but the best writers to name him, but recommended that care ev'n to the civil magistrate: Admonebat prætores, ne paterentur nomen suum obsolefieri, &c. The other, that this piece was only a general discourse of poetry; whereas it was an apology for the poets, in order to render Augustus more their patron. Horace here pleads the cause of his contemporaries, first against the taste of the town, whose humour it was to magnify the authors of the preceding age; secondly against the court and nobility, who encouraged only the writers for the theatre; and lastly against the emperor himself, who had conceived them of little use to the government. He shows (by a view of the progress of learning, and the change of taste among the Romars) that the introduction of the polite arts of Greece had given the writers of his time great advantages over their predecessors; that their merals were much improved, and the licence of those ancient poets restrained; that satire and comedy were become more just and useful; that whatever extravagances were left on the stage, were owing to the ill taste of the nobility; 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 farther learn from this epistle, that Horace made his court to this great prince, by writing with a decent freedom towards him, with a just contempt of his low flatterers, and with a manly regard to his own character.
1 Clos'd their long glories with a sigh, to find Th' unwilling gratitude of base mankind! All human virtue to its latest breath
2 Finds Envy never conquer'd but by Death.
To thee the world its present homage pays, The harvest early, but mature the praise: Great friend of liberty! in kings a name Above all Greek, above all Roman fame *: Whose word is truth, as sacred and rever'd, As Heavens own oracles from altars heard. Wonder of kings! like whom, to mortal eyes "None e'er has risen, and none e'er shall rise.
Just in one instance, be it yet confest Your people, sir, are partial in the rest: Foes to all living worth except your own, And advocates for folly dead and gone. Authors, like coins, grow dear as they grow old; It is the rust we value, not the gold. 'Chaucer's worst ribaldry is learn'd by rote, And beastly Skelton heads of houses quote: One likes no language but the Faery Queen; A Scot will fight for Christ's Kirk o' the Green; And each true Briton is to Ben so civil,
He swears the Muses meet him at the Devil.
We build, we paint, 10 we sing, we dance as well;
If 12 time improve our wits as well as wine,
1 Ploravere suis non respondere favorem Speratum meritis. diram qui contudit Hydram, Notaque fatali portenta labore subegit, Comperit 2 invidiam supremo fine domari, 3 Urit enim fulgore suo, qui prægravat artes Infra se positas: extinctus amabitur idem.
4 Præsenti tibi maturos largimur honores, Jurandasque tuum per numen ponimus aras, "Nil oriturum alias, nil ortum tale fatentes. Sed tuus hoc populus sapiens et justus in uno, * Te nostris ducibus, te Graiis anteferendo Cætera nequaquam simili ratione modoque Estimat; et, nisi quæ terris semota suisque Temporibus defuncta videt, fastidit et odit: ' Sic fautor veterum, ut tabulas peccare vetantes Quas bis quinque viri sanxerunt, fœdera regum, Vel Gabiis vel cum rigidis æquata Sabinis, Pontificum libros annosa volumina Vatum, Dictitet Albano Musas in monte locutas.
Si, quia Graiorum sunt antiquissima quæque Scripta vel optima, Romani pensantur eadem Scriptores trutina; non est quod multa loquamur: Nil intra est oleam, nil extra est in nuce duri. Venimus ad summum fortune: pingimus, atque 10 Psallimus, et "luctamur Achivis doctius unctis. Si 12 meliora dies, ut vina, poemata reddit; Scire velim, chartis pretium quotus arroget annus.
"Who lasts a' century can have no flaw; I hold that wit a classic, good in law."
Suppose he wants a year, will you compound? And shall we deem him2 ancient right and sound, Or damn to all eternity at once, At ninety-nine, a modern aud a dunce?
"We shall not quarrel for a year or two; By courtesy of England, he may do."
Then, by the rule that made the horse-tail bare, I pluck out year by year as hair by hair, And melt down ancients like a heap of snow: While you, to measure merits, look in Stowe, And, estimating authors by the year, Bestow a garland only on a 'bier.
Shakespeare (whom you and every playhouse Style the divine, the matchless, what you will) For gain, not glory, wing'd his roving flight, And grew immortal in his own despite. Ben, old and poor, as little scem'd to heed "The life to come in every poet's creed. Who now reads 10 Cowley? if he pleases yet, His moral pleases, not his pointed wit; Forgot his epic, nay pindaric art, But still "I love the language of his heart.
"Yet surely, 12 surely, these were fainous men ! What boy but hears the saying of old Ben? In all 3 debates where critics bear a part, Not one but nods, and talks of Jonson's art, Of Shakespeare's nature, and of Cowley's wit; How Beaumont's judgment check'd what Fletcher writ;
How Shadwell hasty, Wycherley was slow;
All this may be; "the peoples voice is odd, It is, and it is not, the voice of God. To 16 Gammer Gurton if it give the bays, And yet deny the Careless Husband praise,
Or say our fathers never broke a rule;
Not that I'd lop the beauties from his book,
Like slashing Bently with his desperate hook, Or dann all Shakespeare, like th' affected fool At court, who hates whate'er he read at school.
But for the wits of either Charles's days, The mob of gentlemen who wrote with ease; Sprat, Carew, Sedley, and a hundred more, (Like twinkling stars the miscellanies o'er) One simile, that solitary shines
In the dry desert of a thousand lines,
Or lengthen'd thought that gleams through many
10 On Avon's bank, where flowers eternal blow,
Ut nihil anteferat, nihil illis comparet; errat:
sed emendata videri Pulchraque, et exactis minimum distantia, miror: Inter quæ verbum emicuit si forte decorum, Si versus paulo concinnior unus et alter; Injuste totum ducit venditque poema.
Indignor quidquam reprehendi, non quia crasse Compositum, illepideve putetur, sed quia nuper ; Nec veniam antiquis, sed honorem et præmia posci.
10 Recte neene crocum floresque perambulet Attæ Fabula, si dubitem; clamant periisse pudorem Cuncti pene patres: ea cun reprehendere coner, Quæ gravis Esopus, quæ doctus Roscius egit. Vel quia nil rectum, nisi quod placuit sibi, ducunt;
Vel quia turpe putant parere minoribus, et quæ Imberbi didicere, senes perdenda fateri. | Jam “Saliare Nunæ carmen qui laudat, et illud, Quod mecum ignorat, solus vult scire videri; Ingeniis non ille favet plauditque sepultis, Nostra sed impugnat, nos nostraque lividus odit.
Had ancient times conspir'd to disallow What then was new, what had been ancient now? Or what remain'd, so worthy to be read By learned critics, of the mighty dead?
In days of ease, when now the weary sword Was sheath'd, and luxury with Charles restor❜d; In every taste of foreign courts improv'd,
All, by the king's example, liv'd and lov'd.” Then peers grew proud 'in horsemanship t' excel, Newmarket's glory rose, as Britain's fell; The soldier breath'd the gallantries of France, And every flowery courtier writ romance. Then marble, soften'd into life, grew warm, And yielding metal flow'd to human form: Lely on animated canvas stole
The sleepy eye, that spoke the melting soul.
But Britain, changeful as a child at play, Now calls in princes, and now turns away. Now Whig, now Tory, what we lov'd we hate; Now all for pleasure, now for church or state; Now for prerogative, and now for laws; Effects unhappy! from a noble cause.
Time was, a sober Englishman would knock His servants up, and rise by five o'clock, Instruct his family in every rule, And send his wife to church, his son to school. To worship like his fathers, was his care; To teach their frugal virtues to his heir; To prove that luxury could never hold; And place, on good 10 security, his gold. Now times are chang'd, and one " poetic itch Has seiz'd the court and city, poor and rich: Sons, sires, and grandsires, all will wear the bays,
Our wives read Milton, and our daughters plays,
Hoc paces habuere bonæ, ventique secundi. Rome dulce diu fuit et solemne, reclusa Mane domo vigilare, clienti promere jura ; Scriptos nominibus rectis expendere nummos; Majores audire, minori dicere, per quæ Crescere res posset minui damnosa libido. Mutavit mentem populus levis, " et calet uno Scribendi studio: puerique patresque severi Fronde comas vincti cœnant, et carmina dictant. Ipse ego, qui nullos me affirmo scribere versus, Invenior Parthis mendacior; et prius orto Sole vigil, calamum et chartas et scrinia posco. VOL. XII.
When sick of Muse, our follies we deplore,
1 He serv'd a 'prenticeship, who sets up shop; Ward try'd on puppies, and the poor, his drop; Ev'n Radcliffe's doctors travel first to France, Nor dare to practise till they've learn'd to dance. Who builds a bridge that never drove a pile? (Should Ripley venture, all the world would smile) But those who cannot write, and those who can, All rhyme, and scrawl, and scribble, to a man.
Yet, sir, reflect, the mischief is not great; These madmen never hurt the church or state: Sometimes the folly benefits mankind; .
And rarely avarice taints the tuneful mind,
7 Flight of cashiers, or mobs, he'll never mind,
To cheat a friend, or ward, he leaves to Peter;
Of little use the man you may suppose,
The rights a court attack'd, a poet sav'd." Behold the hand that wrought a nation's cure, Stretch'd to relieve the idiot and the poor,
Navem agere ignarus navis timet: abrotonum
Non audet, nisi qui didicit, dare: quod medicorum Promittunt medici: tractant fabrilia fabri: [est, 'Scribimus indocti doctique poemata passim.
Hic error tamen et levis hæc insania, quantas Virtutes habeat, sic collige: vatisavarus Non temere est animus: versus amat, hoc studet