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PREFACE.

MY

Y translation of Vida's Art of Poetry having been more favourably received than I had reafon to expect, has encouraged me to publish this little Mifcellany of Poems and felect Tranflations. I fhall neither embarrass myself nor my reader with apologies concerning this collection; for whether it is a good or a bad one, all excufes are unneceffary in one cafe, and offered in vain in the other.

An author of a Mifcellany has a better chance of pleafing the world, than he who writes on a fingle subject; and I have fometimes known a bad, or (which is till worfe) an indifferent Poet, meet with tolerable fuccefs; which has been owing more to the variety of fubjects, than his happinefs in treating them.

I am fenfible the men of wit and pleafure will be difgufted to find fo great a part of this collection confist of facred poetry; but I affure these gentlemen, whatever they shall be pleased to object, that I fhall never be ashamed of employing my talents (such as they are) in the service of my Maker; That it would look indecent in one of my profession, not to spend as much time on the pfalms of David, as the hymns of Callimachus; and farther, that if those beautiful pieces of divine poetry had been written by Callimachus, or any heathen author, they might have possibly vouchfafed them a reading even in my tranflation.,

But

But I will not trefpafs further on my reader's patience in profe, fince I fhall have occafion enough for it, as well as for his good-nature, in the following verses; concerning which I must acquaint him, that fome of them were written feveral years fince, and that I have precifely obferved the rule of our great mafter HoraceNonumque prematur in annum. But I may fay more justly than Mr. Prior faid of himself in the like cafe, that I have obferved the Letter, more than the Spirit of the precept.

1727.

Ta

To Mr. CHRISTOPHER PITT, on his Poems and Tranflations.

F

ORGIVE th' ambitious fondness of a friend,
For fuch thy worth, 'tis glory to commend ;
To thee, from judgment, such applause is due,
I praise myself while I am praising you;
As he who bears the lighted torch, receives
Himself affiftance from the light he gives.

So much you please, fo vaft is my delight,
Thy, ev'n thy fancy cannot reach its height.
In vain I ftrive to make the transport known,
No language can defcribe it but thy own.
Could't thou thy genius pour into my heart,
Thy copious fancy, thy engaging art,
Thy vigorous thoughts, thy manly flow of fenfe,.
Thy ftrong and glowing paint of eloquence;
Then fhould't thou well conceive that happiness,.
Which I alone can feel, and you exprefs.

In fcenes which thy invention fets to view,
Forgive me, friend, if I lose fight of you;
I fee with how much spirit Homer thought,
With how much judgment cooler Virgil wrote;.
In every line, in every word you speak,

I read the Roman, and confefs the Greek;
Forgetting thee, my foul with rapture fwell'd,

Cries out, "how much the ancient bards excell'd !”
But when thy juft tranflations introduce

To nearer converse any Látian Muse,

The feveral beauties you fo well exprefs,
I lose the Roman in the British drefs!
Sweetly deceiv'd, the ancients I contemn,
And with mistaken zeal to thee exclaim,
(By fo much nature, fo much art betray'd)
"What vaft improvements have our moderns made!"
How vain and unfuccefsful feems the toil,
To raife fuch precious fruits in foreign foil:
They mourn, transplanted to another coast,
Their beauties languid, and their flavour loft!
But fuch thy art, the ripening colours glow
As pure as thofe their native funs bestow;
Not an infipid beauty only yield,

But breathe the odours of Aufonia's field.
Such is the genuine flavour, it belies
Their ftranger foil, and unacquainted fkies.
Vida no more the long oblivion fears,
Which hid his virtues through a length of years;
Ally'd to thee, he lives again; thy rhymes
Shall friendly hand him down to latest times;
Shall do his injur'd reputation right,

While in thy work with fuch fuccefs unite
His ftrength of judgment, and his charms of fpeech,,
That precepts pleafe, and mufic feems to teach.
Left unimprov'd I feem to read thee o'er,
Th' unhallow'd rapture I indulge no more;
By thee inftructed, I the task forfake,
Nor for chafte love, the luft of verse mistake;
Thy works that rais'd this frenzy in my foul,
Shall teach the giddy tumult to control:

Warm'd

Warm'd as I am with every Muse's charms,
Since the coy virgins fly my eager arms,

I'll quit the work, throw by my strong defire,
And from thy praife, reluctantly retire.

See Mr. Pitt's tranflation of Vida.

G. RIDLEY.

OEMS

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