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Quanto cum fastu, quanto molimine circum-
a polite scholar than a profound lawyer; as if law and literature were incompatible; a notion that might easily be confuted by the examples of Lords Somers and Hardwicke, Mr. Yorke and Judge Blackstone, and many others,
Warton. Ver. 135. all poetic merit,] The words of the original alluded to, contain a beautiful metaphor of a work, Cælatum Musis Novem, polished and finished by the hands of the Muses themselves. Bentley has wantonly and tastelessly altered the word to Sacratum; as he has done the word alterius, ver. 176, to alternis, and the word contracta, ver. 80, to non tacta : and in ver. 90, he has changed verat for versat; and in ver. 87, frater for pactus; and would have procul repeated, ver. 199.
Pauperies immunda procul, procul — Warton. Ver. 140. but Stephen,] Mr. Stephen Duck, a modest and worthy man, who had the honour (which many who thought themselves his betters in poetry, had not) of being esteemed by Mr. Pope. Queen Caroline, who moderated in a sovereign between the two great philosophers, Clarke and Leibnitz, in the most sublime points in metaphysics and natural philosophy, chose this man for her favourite Poet.
Warburton. By the interest of Mr. Spence, who had a sincere regard for
Call Tibbald Shakespear, and he'll swear the Nine, Dear Cibber! never match'd onė Ode of thine. Lord! how we strut through Merlin's cave, to see No poets there, but Stephen, you, and me. 140 Walk with respect behind, while we at ease Weave laurel crowns, and take what names we
please. My dear Tibullus !” if that will not do, “ Let me be Horace, and be Oyid you: Or, I'm content, allow me Dryden's strains, 145 And you
shall rise up Otway for your pains.” Much do I suffer, much, to keep in peace This jealous, waspish, wrong-head, rhyming race; And much must flatter, if the whim should bite To court applause by printing what I write : 150 But let the fit pass o'er, I'm wise enough To stop my ears to their confounded stuff.
Stephen Duck, whose life he wrote, and published his poems,
he obtained the living of Byfleet in Surrey. He was unfortunately drowned at Reading, 1756.
Warton. Ver. 145. allow me Dryden's strains,] The older he grew, the þetter Dryden wrote. We may apply to him, what Oppian says of the spirited horses of Cappadocia : κραίπνοτεροι δε πελεσιν όσω μαλά γήρασκεσι. .
Lib. i. Cynegytic, ver. 201. It has been imagined that Horace laughs at Propertius in that line of the original : Quis, nisi Callimachus ?"
Warton. Ver. 147. Much do I suffer,] Multa fero, in the original, has been idly interpreted to mean: “I carry with me a great many compliments, soothing speeches," &c.
¡Varton. VOL. VI.
Obturem patulas impunè legentibus aures.
•Ridentur mala qui componunt carmina: verum Gaudent scribentes ; et se venerantur, et ultro, Si taceas, laudant quidquid scripsere beati. At qui legitimum cupiet fecisse poëma, Cum tabulis animum censoris sumet honesti: Audebit, quæcunque parum splendoris habebunt, Et sine pondere erunt, et honore indigna ferentur. Verba movere loco, quamvis invita recedant, Et versentur adhuc intra penetralia Vestæ : P Obscurata diu populo bonus eruet, atque
Ver. 154. They treat themselves] Literary history scarce affords a more ridiculous example of the vanity and self-applause of authors, than what is related of Cardinal Richlieu, (in the Mélanges d'Histoire of M. de Vigneul Marville,) whose tragedy of Europa having been censured by the French Academy, who did not know the author, the Cardinal, in a fit of indignation, tore the copy into a thousand pieces, scattered it about his chamber, and retired full of rage to his bed. But at midnight, called for light and for his attendant, and with great pains and difficulty gathered up the fragments of his beloved play, and carefully pasted them together.
Warton, Ver. 162. Nay, tho' at Court] Not happily turned from intra penetralia Vestæ.—But he could not forbear a fling at the Court: In ver. 164, why, “ in downright charity ?"
Warton. Ver. 167. Command old words that long have slept, to wake,] The imagery is here very sublime . It turns the poet to a magician, evoking the dead from their sepulchres :
“ Et mugire solum, manesque exire sepulchris." Horace has not the same force: “ Proferet in lucem speciosa vocabula rerum.”
Warburton. Ver. 167. old words] Mr. Harte told me, he had often talked on this subject with his friend Pope, and the following was the
'In vain bad rhymers all mankind reject, They treat themselves with most profound respect; 'Tis to small purpose that you hold your tongue, Each praised within, is happy all day long. But how severely with themselves proceed The men, who write such verse as we can read ? Their own strict judges, not a word they spare That wants or force, or light, or weight, or care Howe'er unwillingly it quits its place, Nay, though at Court, perhaps, it may find grace, Such they'll degrade; and sometimes in its stead, PIn downright charity revive the dead ; Mark where a bold expressive phrase appears, 165 Bright through the rubbish of some hundred years; Command old words that long have slept, to wake, Words that wise Bacon, or brave Raleigh spake;
result of their conversations :." That language of ours may be called classical English, which is to be found in a few chosen writers inclusively from the times of Spenser till the death of Mr. Pope; for false refinements, after a language has arisen to a certain degree of perfection, give reasons to suspect that a language is
upon the decline. The same circumstances have happened for merly, and the event has been almost invariably the same. Come pare Statius and Claudian with Virgil and Horace; and yet the former was, if one may so speak, immediate heir at law to the latter.
“ I have known some of my contemporary poets, (and those not very voluminous writers,) who have coined their one or two hundred words a man ; whereas Dryden and Pope devised only about threescore words between them; many of which were compound-epithets. But most of the words which they introduced into our language, proved in the event to be vigorous and perennial plants, being chosen and raised from excellent offsets. In
Proferet in lucem speciosa vocabulá rerum,
deed, the former author revived also a great number of ancient words and expressions; and this he did (beginning at Chaucer) with so much delicacy of choice, and in a manner so comprehensive, that he left the latter author (who was in that point equally judicious and sagacious) very little to do, or next to nothing.
“ Some few of Dryden's revived words I have presumed to continue; of which take the following instances : as, grideline, filamet, and carmine, (with reference to colours and mixture of colours,) cynar, eygre, trine, EYPHKA, paruclete, panoply, rood, dorp, eglantine, orisons, aspirations, &c. I mention this lest any one should be angry with me, or pleased with me in particular places, where I discover neither boldness nor invention. I owe also to Fenton the participle meandered; and to Sir W. Davenant the Latinism of funeral ILICET.
“ As to compound-epithets, those ambitiosa ornamenta of modern poetry, Dryden has devised a few of them, with equal diffidence and caution; but those few are exquisitely beautiful. Mr. Pope seized on them as family diamonds, and added thereto an equal number, dug from his own mines, and heightened by his own polishing
Compound-epithets first came into their great vogue about the year 1598. Shakespear and Ben Jonson both ridiculed the ostentatious and immoderate use of them, in their Prologues to Troilus and Cressida, and to Every Man in his Humour. By the above named Prologues it appears that bombast grew
fashionable about the same æra. Now in both instances an affected taste is the same as a false taste. The author of Hieronimo (who, I may venture to assure the reader, was one John Smith*) first led up the dance. Then came the bold and self-sufficient translator of Du Bartas,t who broke down all the flood-gates of the true
* John Smith writ also the Hector of Germany.