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réconciling commentators; and to the old diversions of a losing game at Picquet with the ladies, and half a play, or a quarter of a play; at the theatre; where you are none of the malicious Audience, but the chief of amorous Spectators; and for the infirmity of one * Sense which there for the most
part could only serve to disgust you, enjoy the vigour of another which ravishes
you. You know when one Sense is fuppreft, It but retires into the rest.
(According to the poetical, not the learn, ed, Dodwell; who has done one thing worthy of eternal memory; wrote two lines in his life that are not nonsense!) So you have the advantage of being entertain'd with all the beauty of the Boxes, without being trouhled with any of the duiness of the Stage. . You are so good a critic, that 'tis the greatest happiness of the modern Poets that you do not hear their works; and next, that you are not so arrant a critic, as to damn them (like the rest) without hearing. But now I talk of those critics, I have good news to tell you concerning myself, for which I expect you
ou'd congratulate with me : It is, that beyond all my expectations, and
far above my demerits, I have been most mercifully repriev'd by the fovereign power of Jacob Tonjon, from being brought forth to publick punishment; and respited from time to time from the hands of those barþarous executioners of the Muses, whom I was just now speaking of. It often happens, that guilty Poets, like other guilty criminals, when once they are known and proclaim'd, deliver themselves into the hands of Justice, only to prevent others from doing it more to their disadvantage; and not out of any Ambition to spread their fame, by being executed in the face of the world, which is a fame but of short continuance. That Poet were a happy man who cou'd but obtain a grant to preserve his for ninety-nine years; for those names very rarely last so many days, which are planted either in Facob Tonson's, or the Ordinary of Newgate's Miscellanies.
I have an hundred things to say to you, which shall be deferr'd till I have the hapa piness of seeing you in town; for the feaTon now draws on, that invites every body thither. Some of them I had communicated to you by Letters before this, if I had not been uncertain were you passid your
time the last season : so much fine weather, I doubt not, has given you all the pleasure you cou'd desire from the coun
try, and your own thoughts the best company in it. But nothing cou'd allure Mr. Wycherley to our Foreft; he continu'd (as you told me long since he wou'd) an obItinate lover of the town, in spite of friendship and fair weather. Therefore henceforward, to all those considerable qualities I know you pofseft of, I shall add that'of Prophecy. But I still believe Mr. Wycherley's intentions were good, and am fatisfy'd that he promises nothing but with a real design to perform it: how much soever his other excellent qualities are above my imitation, his sincerity, I hope, is not ; and it is with the utmost that I
Jan. 22, 1708-9. Had fent
the inclos'd * Papers before this time, but that I intended to have brought them myself, and afterwards cou'd find no opportunity of sending them
* This was a Transation of the first Book of Statius, done when the Author was but 14 Years old, as appears by an Actvertisement before the first Elition of it in a Miscellany publilled by B. Lintot, 8° !711,
without fufpicion of their miscarrying; not that they are of the least value, but for fear somebody might be foolish enough to imagine them fo, and inquisitive enough to discover those faults which I (by your help) ?.wou'd correct. I therefore beg the favour of you to let them go no farther than your chamber, and to be very free of your remarks in the margins, not only in regard to the accuracy, but to the fidelity of the tranflation ; which I have not had time of late to compare with its original. . And I desire you to be the more severe, as it is much more criminal for me to make another speak nonsense, than to do it in my own proper person. For your better help in comparing, it may be fit to tell you, that this is not an entire version of the first book. There is an omission from the '168th line-7am miırmıra Jerpunt plebis agenoreze to the 312th Interea patriis olim vagus exul ab oris -(betwecri these * two · Statius has a description of the council of the Gods, and a speech of 715piter ; which contain a peculiar beauty and majesty, and were left out for no other reason, but because the consequence
* Thee he face tranlated, and they are extant in the printed Versica.
of this machine appears not till the second book.) The translation goes on from thence to the words Hic vero ambobus rabien fortuna cruentan, where there is an odd account of a battle at fifty-cuffs, between the two Princes on a very flight occasion, and at a time when one wou'd think the fatigue of their Journey in fo tempestuous a night, might have render'd them very unfit for such a scuffle. This I had actually translated, but was very ill satisfied with it, even in my own words, to which an author cannot but be partial enough of conscience; it was therefore omitted in this copy, which goes on above eighty lines farther, at the words---Hic primum luftrare oculis, &c.-to the end of the book.
You will find, I doubt not, that Statius was none of the discreetest Poets, tho' he was the best versifier next Virgil : In the very beginning he unluckily betrays bis ignorance in the rules of Poetry, (which Horace had already taught the Romans) when he asks his Muse, where to begin his Thebaid, and seems to doubt whether it should not be ab ovo Ledeo? When he comes to the scene of his Poem, and the prize in dispute between the Brothers, he gives us a very mean opinion of it