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Pugna eft de paupere regno.--- Very diffesent from the conduct of his master Virgil, who at the entrance of his Poem informs his reader of the greatness of its subject, --Tantà molis erat Romanam condere Gentem. “ [Bofsu on Epic Poetry:] There are innumerable little faults in him, among which I cannot but take notice of one in this book, where speaking of the implacable hatred of the brothers, he says, The whole world wou'd be too small a prize to repay so much impiety.
Quid fi peteretur crimine tanto
This was pretty well, one wou'd think already, but he goes on
Quasque procul terras obliquo fydere tangit
After all this, what cou'd a Poet think of but Heaven itself for the Prize ? but what follows is astonishing.
-Quid fi Tyrie Phrygiæve sub unum Convečtentur Opes?
I do not remember to have met with so great a fall in any antient author what soever. I shou'd not have insisted so much on the faults of this Poet, if I did not hope you wou'd take the same freedom with, and revenge it upon, his Translator. I fhalt be extremely glad if the reading this can be any amusement to you, the rather because I had the dissatisfaction to hear
you have been confin'd to your chamber by an illness, which I fear was as troublefome a companion as I have sometimes been to you in the same place; where if ever you found any pleasure in my company, it must furely have been that which most men take in obferving the faults and follies of ano ther; a pleasure which you see I take care to give you even in
absence. If you will oblige me at your leisure with the confirmation of your recovery, under your own hand, it will be extreme grateful to me ; for next to the pleasure of feeing my friends,
friends, is that I take in hearing from them; and in this particular, I am beyond all acknowledgments oblig'd to our friend Mr. Wycherley, who, as if it were not enough to have excell'd all men in wit, is refoly'd to excel them in good-nature 000. I know I need no apology to you for speaking of Mr. Wycherley, whofe ex. ample as I am proud of following in all
things, fo in nothing more than in profel Sing myfelf, like him,
May 7, 1709. OU had long before this time been
troubled with a Letter from me, but that I deferr'd it till I cou'd send you eithei the * Miscellany, or my continuation of the Version of Statius. The first I imagin'd you might have had before now; but since the contrary has happen'd, you may draw this Moral from it, That Authors in
general are more ready to write nonsense, than Booksellers are to publish it. I had I know not what extraordinary flux of rhyme upon me for three days together, in which time all the Verses you fee added, have been written ; which I tell
which I tell you that you may more freely be severe upon them. 'Tis a mercy I do not assault you with a number of original Sonnets and Epigrams, which our modern Bards put forth in the springtime, in as great abundance, as Trees do
* Jacob Tonson's fixth volume of Poetical Miscellanies, in which Mr. Pope's Pastorals and some Versions of Homer and Chaucer were first printed.
Blossoms, a very few whereof ever come to be Fruit, and please no longer than just in their birth. So that they make no less hafte to bring their flowers of wit to the press, than gardeners to bring their other flowers to the market, which if they can't get off their hands in the morning, are sure to die before night. Thus the same reason that furnishes Covent-Garden with those nosegays you fo delight in, supplies the Mufes Mercury, and British Apollo (not to say Jacob's Miscellanies) with Verses. And it is the happiness of this age, that the modern invention of printing Poems for pence apiece, has brought the Nofegays of Parnassus to bear the same price; whereby the publick-; fpirited Mr. Henry Hills of Black-fryars has been the cause of great ease and singular comfort to all the Learned, who never overa, abounding in transitory coin, should not be discontented (methinks) even tho' Poems were distributed gratis about the streets, like Bunyan's Sernions and other pious treatises, usually publish'd in a like Volume and Character,
The time now drawing nigh, when you use with Sapho to cross the Water in an Ev’ning to Spring-Garden, I hope you will have a fair opportunity of ravishing her:I mean only (as. Oldfox in the Plain-dealer fays) thro' the ear, with your well-penn'd
Verses. I have been told of a very lucky Compliment of an Officer to his Mistress in the very same place, which I cannot büt sec down (and desire you at prefent to take it. in good part inftead of a Latin Quotation) that it
some time or other be improv'd by your pronunciation, while you walk Soa Tüs cum Sola in chofe amorous Thades.
When at Spring-garden Sapho deigns t'appear, The flow'rs march in her van, musk in her rear.
I wish you all the pleasures which the Season and the Nymph can afford; the best Company, the best Coffee, and the beft News you can defire. And what more to wish you than this, I do not know, unlefs it be a great deal of patience to read and examine the Verfes I send you; and I promife you in return a great deal of deference to your judgment, and an extraordinary obedience to your sentiments for the future, (to which you know I have been sometimes a little refractory.) If you will please to begin where you left off last, and mark the margins, as you have done in the pages immediately before, (which you will find corrected to your sense since your last perufal) you
will extremely oblige me, and improve my Translation. Befides those places which may deviate from the fenfe of the Author,