Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

May the omen of Longævity prove fortunate to her successor!) You shall have it in verse.

ARGUS.

When wise Ulysses from his native coast
Long kept by wars, and long by tempefts tost,
Arriv' at last, poor, old, disguis'd, alone,
To all his friends, and ev’n his Queen, unknown,
Chang'd as he was, with age, and toils, and cares,
Furrow'd his rev'rend face, and white his hairs,
In his own Palace fori'd to ask his bread,
Scorn’d by those saves his former bounty fed,
Forgot of all his own domestick crew;
The faithful Dog alone his rightful Master knew!
Unféd, unhous’d, negleEted, on the clay,
Like an old servant now cashier'd, he lay
Touch'd with resentment of ungrateful man,
And longing to behold his antient Lord again.
Him when he saw---he rose, and crawld to meet,
('Twas all he cou'd) and fawn’d, and kiss'd his feet,
Seiz'd with dumb joy---then falling by his side,
Own'd his returning Lord, look'd up, and dy'd!

Plutarch relating how the Athenians were oblig'd to abandon Athens in the time of Themistocles, steps back again out of the way of his History, purely to describe the lamentable cries and howlings of the poor Dogs they left behind. He makes mention of one, that follow'd his Master across the Sea to Salamis where he dy'd and was honour'd with a Tomb by the Athenians, who gave the name of the Dog's Grave to that part of the Island where he was buried : this respect to a dog in the most polite people of the world, is very observable. A modern instance of gratitude to a Dog (tho' we have but few such) is, that the chief Order of

Denmark

[ocr errors]

Denmark (now injuriously calld the Order of the Elephant) was instituted in memory of the fidelity of a dog nam’d Wild-brat, to one of their Kings who had been deferted by his fubjects: He gave his Order this motto, or to this effect, (which

ftill remains) Wild-brat was faithful.

Sir William Trumbull has told me a ftory which he heard from one that was present: King Charles I. being with some of his Court during his troubles, a discourse arose what sort of dogs deserv'd pre-eminence, and it being on all hands agreed to belong either to the Spaniel or Greyhound, the King gave his Opinion on the part of the Greyhound, because (faid he) it has all the Good-nature of the other, without the Fawning. A good piece of satire upon his Courtiers, withi which I will conclude my Discourse of Dogs. Call me a Cynic, or what you please, in revenge for all this impertinence, I will be contented; provided you will but believe me when I say a bold word for a Christian, that, of all dogs, you will find none more faithful than,

Your, &c.

April 10, 1710. - I

Had written to you sooner, but that I made some

scruple of sending prophane things to you in Holy Week. Besides, our Family wou'd have been scandaliz'd to see me write, who take it for granted I write nothing but ungodly Verses. I assure you I am look”d upon in the Neighbourhood for a very well-dispos’d person, no great Hunter indeed, but a great Admirer of the noble sport, and only unhappy in my want of constitution for that, and Drinking. They all say 'tis pity I am so fickly, and I think 'tis pity they are so healthy. But I

say

fay nothing that may destroy their good Opinion of me :. I have not quoted one Latin Author since I came down, but have learn’d without Book a Song of Mr Thomas Durfey's, who is your only Poet of tolerable Reputation in this Country. He niakes all the Merriment in our Entertainments, and but for him, there would be so miserable a dearth of Catches, that I fear they would put either the Parson or me upon making some for 'em. Any Man, of any Quality, is heartily welcome to the best Toping Table of our Gentry, who can roar out some Rhapsodies of his Works : so that in the same manner as it was said of Homer to his Detractors, What? Dares any Man speak against him who has given so many Men to Eat ? (Meaning the Rhapsodists who live by repeating his Verses) thus may it be said of Mr Durfey to his Detractors ; Dares any one despise him, who has made fo many Men Drink? Alas, Sir! this is a Glory which neither you nor I must ever pretend to. Neither

you
with
your Ovid, nor I with

my Statius, can amuse a whole Board of Justices and extraordinary 'Squires, or gain one hum of Approbation, or laugh of Admiration! These things (they wou'd say) are too studious, they may do well enough with such as love Reading, but give us your antient Poet Mr Durfey! 'Tis mortifying enough, it must be confess’d; but however, let us proceed in the way that Nature has directed usMulti multa fciunt, fed nemo omnia, as it is said in the Almanack. Let us communicate our Works for our mutual Comfort; send me Elegies, and you shall not want Heroics. At present, I have only these Arguments in Prose to the Thebaid, which you claim by Promise, as I do lation of Pars me Sulmo tenet- and the Ring : the rest I hope for as soon as you can conveniently

3

transcribe

your Transa transcribe 'em, and whatsoever Orders you are pleas’d to give me lhall be punctually obey'd by

Your, &c.

[ocr errors]

May 10, 1710, I Had not.fo long omitted to express my Acknow. Friendship as you lately show'd me; but that I am but just return’d to my own Hermitage, from Mr Caryl's, who has done me so many Favours, that I am almost inclin'd to think

my

Friends infect one another, and that your Conversation with him has made him as obliging to me as yourself. I can assure you he has a fincere Respect for you, and this I believe he has partly contracted from me, who am too full of you not to overflow upon those I conversewith. But I must now be contented to converse only with the Dead of this World, that is to say, the dull and obscure, every way.obscure, in their Intellects as well their Perfons : Or else have recourse to the living Dead, the old Authors with whom you are so well acquainted, even from Virgil down to Aulus Gellius, whom I do not think a Critic by any means to be compar'd to Mr. Dennis : And I must declare positively to you, that I will persist in this Opinion, till you become a little more civil to Atticus. Who cou'd have imagin’d, that he who had escaped all the Misfortunes of his Time, unhurt even by the Profcriptions of Anthony and Augustus ; shou'd in these Days find an Enemy more severe and barbarous than those Tyrants ? and that Enemy the gentleft too, the best-natur'd of Mortals, Mr. C? Whom I must in this compare once inore to Augustus; who seem'd not more un-, like himself, in the Severity of one part of his Life, and the Clemency of the other, than you. I leave you to reflect on this, and hope that Time (which mollifies Rocks, and of stiff Things makes limber) will turn a resolute Critic to a gentle Reader; and instead of this pofitive, tremendous, new-fashion’d Mr. C, restore unto us our old Acquaintance, the soft, beneficent, and courteous Mr C

I expect much, towards the civilizing of you in your critical Capacity, from the innocent Air and Tranquillity of our Forest, when you do me the Favour to visit it. In the mean time, it wou'd do well by way of Preparative, if you wou'd duly and constantly every Morning read over a Pastoral of Theocritus or Virgil; and let the Lady Isabella put your Macrobius and Aulus Gellius somewhere out of your way, for a Month or so. Who knows but travelling and long airing in an open Field, may contribute more successfully to the cooling a Critic's Severity, than it did to the affwaging of Mr Cheek's Anger of old? In these Fields you will be secure of finding no Enemy, but the most faithful and affectionate of your Friends, &c.

May 17, 1710. AFT FTER I had recover'd from a dangerous Ill

ness which was first contracted in Town, about a Fortnight after my coming hither I troubled you with a Letter, and a Paper inclos’d, which you had been so obliging as to desire a Sight of when last I saw you, promising me, in return, fome Translations of your's from Ovid. Since when, I have not had a Syllable from your Hands, so that 'tis to be fear'd that tho' I have escaped Death, I

« ПредишнаНапред »