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HE Reflections of Horace, and the Judgments past in his Epistle to Auguftus, feemed fo feafonable to the present Times, that I could not help applying them to the use of my own Country. The Author thought them confiderable enough to address them to his Prince; whom he paints with all the great and good qualities of a Monarch, upon whom the Romans depended for the Encrease of an Absolute Empire. But to make the Poem entirely English, I was willing to add one or two of those which contribute to the Happinefs of a Free People, and are more confiftent with the Welfare of our Neighbours.
This Epiftle will show the learned World to have fallen into Two mistakes: one, that Auguftus was a Patron of Poets in general; whereas he not only prohibited all but the Best Writers to name him, but recommended that Care even to the Civil Magistrate: Admonebat Praetores, ne paterentur Nomen fuum obfolefieri, etc. The other, that this Piece was only a general Difcourfe of Poetry; whereas it was an Apology for the Poets, in order to render Auguftus more their Patron. Horace here pleads the Cause of his Cotemporaries, firft against the Tafte of the Town, whofe humour it was to magnify the Authors of the preceding Age; fecondly against the Court and Nobility, who encouraged only the Writers for the Theatre; and laftly against
the Emperor himself, who had conceived them of little Use to the Government. He fhews (by a View of the Progrefs of Learning, and the Change of Taste among the Romans) that the Introduction of the Polite Arts of Greece had given the Writers of his Time great advantages over their Predeceffors; that their Morals were much improved, and the Licence of thofe ancient Poets reftrained: that Satire and Comedy were become more juft and useful; that whatever extravagancies were left on the Stage, were owing to the Ill Taste of the Nobility; that Poets, under due Regulations, were in many respects useful to the State; and concludes, that it was upon them the Emperor himself must depend, for his Fame with Pofterity.
We may further learn from this Epiftle, that Horace made his Court to this Great Prince by writing with a decent Freedom toward him, with a juft Contempt of his low Flatterers, and with a manly Regard to his own Character. P.
EPISTOLA A I.
Ad AUGUST U M.
UM tot fuftineas et tanta negotia folus, Rex Italas armis tuteris, moribus ornes, Legibus emendes; in 'publica commoda peccem, Si longo fermone morer tua tempora, Caefar.
Romulus, et Liber pater, et cum Castore
Post ingentia facta, 'Deorum in templa recepti, Dum terras hominumque colunt genus, afpera bella
Componunt, agros adfignant, oppida condunt;
Book ii. Ep. 1.] The Poet always rifes with his Original; and very often, without it. This whole Imitation is fupremely noble and fublime.
VER. 7. Edward and Henry, &c.] Romulus, et Liber Pater, &c. Horace very judiciously praises Auguftus for the colonies he founded, not for the victories he had won; and therefore compares him, not to those who defolated, but to those who civilized mankind. The Imitation wants this
HILE you, great Patron of Mankind!
The balanc'd World, and open all the Main; Your Country, chief, in Arms abroad defend, At home, with Morals, Arts, and Laws amend; 'How fhall the Muse, from fuch a Monarch, fteal
An hour, and not defraud the Public Weal? 'Edward and Henry, now the Boast of Fame, And virtuous Alfred, a more facred Name, After a Life of gen'rous Toils endur'd, The Gaul fubdu'd, or Property fecur'd, Ambition humbled, mighty Cities ftorm'd, Or Laws establish'd, and the world reform'd; 'Clos'd their long Glories, with a sigh, to find Th' unwilling Gratitude of base mankind! All human Virtue, to its latest breath, 'Finds Envy never conquer'd, but by Death.
grace and, for a very obvious reafon, our Poet fhould not have aimed at it; as he has done in the mention of Alfred.
VER. 13. Clos'd their long Glories, with a figh,] The expreffion is extremely beautiful; and the ploravere judiciously placed. VER. 16. Finds Envy never conquer'd, &c.] It hath been