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it wou'd be very kind in you to observe any deficiencies in the Diction or Nume bers. The Hiatus in particular I wou'd avoid as much as possible, to which you are cercainly in the right to be a profess’d enemy; tho' I confefs I cou'd not think it pofsible at all times to be avoided by any writer, till I found by reading Malherbe lately, that there is scarce any chroughout his poems. I thought your observation true enough to be pass'd into a Rule, but not a rule without exceptions, nor that ever it had been reduc'd to practise : But this example of one of the most correct and best of their Poets has undeceiv'd me, and confirms your opinion yery Itrongly, and much more than Mr. Dryden's Authority, who tho he made it a rule, seldom observ'd it.
June 10, 1709. Have received part of the Version of
Statius, and return you my thanks for your remarks which I think to be juft, exo: cept where you cry out (like one in Horace's Art of Poetry) Pulchrè, benè, rectè ! - There I have fome fears, you are often, if nor always, in the wrong
. One of your objections, namely on that passage,
The rest, revolving years fl-all ripen into Fate,
may be well grounded, in relation to its not being the exact sense of the words * Catera reliquo ordine ducam. But the duration of the Action of Statius's poem may as well be excepted against, as many things besides in him: (which I wonder Bosju has not observ'd) For instead of confining his narration to one year, it is manifestly exceeded in the very first two books: The Narration begins with Oedipus's prayer to the Fury to promote discord betwixt his Sons; afterward the Poet exprefly describes their entring into the agreement of reigning a year by turns; and Polynices takes his flight for Thebes on his brother's refusal to resign the throne. All this is in the first book; in next, Tydeus is sent Ambassador to Etheocles, and demands his resignation in these terms,
-Aftriferum velox jam circulus orbem Torfit, & amisjæ redierunt montibus umbræ, Ex quo frater inops, ignota per oppida tristes Exul agit casus
* See the firA book of Statius, Verse 302.
But Bolu himself is mistaken in one particular, relating to the commencement of the Action; saying in Book 2. Cap. 8. that Statius opens it with Europa's Rape, whereas the Poet at most only deliberates whether he shou'd or not:
Unde jubetis Ire, Deæ ? Gentisne canam primordia, dira, Sidonios raptus ? &c.
but then exprelly passes all this with a Longa retro series and fays,
-Limes mihi carminis efto Oedipodæ confufa domus Indeed, there are numberless particulars blame-worthy in our Author, which I have try'd to soften in the version :
-Dubiamq; jugo fragor impulit Oeten In latus,& geminis vix fluctibus obstitit Isthmus, is most extravagantly hyperbolical : Nor did Fever read a greater piece of Tautology chan
Vacua cum folus in Aula Respiceres jus omne tuum, cunctosq; Minores, Et nufquam par stare caput.
In the Journey of Palynices is fome géographical error,
In mediis audit duo litora campis
could hardly be; for the ijthmus of Corintb is full five miles over: And Caligantes abrupto fole Mycænas, is not consistent with what he tells us, in Lib.
" that “ those of Mycænæ came not to the war at “ this time, because they were then in con& fusion by the divisions of the Brothers, “ Atreus and Tbyestes:" Now from the railing the Greek army against The es, back to the time of this journey of Polynices, is (according to Statius's own account) three years.
July 17, 1709. HE Morning after I parted from you,
I found myself (as I had prophecy'd) all alone in an uneasy Stage-Coach; a doleful change from that agreeable company i enjoy'd the night before! without the leaft hope of entertainment but from my last recourse in such cases, a Book. I then began to enter into acquaintance with the Moralists, and had just receiv'd from them
? Mr. POPE to H. C. Esq; 253 fone cold consolacion for the inconvenien. cies of this life, and the incertainty of human affairs; when I perceiv'd 'my Vehicle to stop, and heard from the side of it the dreadful news of a sick Woman preparing to enter ir.' 'Tis nor easy to guess at my mortification, but being so well fortify'd Scoical constancy to endure the worst of evils, a sick Woman. I was indeed a little comforted to find, by her voice and dress, that she was Young and a Gentlewoman but no sooner was her hood remov'd, but I faw one of the finest faces I ever beheld, and to increase my surprize, heard her salute me by my name. I never had more reason to accufe Nature for making me short-figheed than now, when I could not recollect I had ever seen those fair eyes which knew me so well, and was utterly at a loss how to address myself; till with a great deal of fimplicity and innocence she let me know (even before I discover'd my ignorance) that The was the daughter of one in our Neighbourhood, lately marry'd, who having been consulting her Physicians in Town, was returning into the Country, to try what good Air and a new Husband cou'd do to recover her. My Father, you must know, has sometimes recommended the Study of Phyfick to me, but I never had any ambition