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Urit enim fulgore fuo, qui praegravat artes
Infra fe pofitas: extinctus amabitur idem.
Praefenti tibi maturos largimur honores,
Jurandafque tuum per numen ponimus aras,
K * Nil oriturum alias, nil ortum tale fatentes.
Sed tuus hoc populus fapiens et juftus in uno,
* Te noftris ducibus, te Graiis anteferendo,
the common practice of thofe amongst us, who have diftinguished themfelves in the learned world, to afcribe the ill treatment they have met with, from thofe they endeavoured to oblige, to fo bad a cause as envy. But furely without reafon, for we find our Countrymen of the fame candid difpofition with the Athenians, as Socrates defcribes them in the Euthyphro of Plato; They are well content (says he) to allow the Pretenfions of reputed eminence; it is only when a man will write and prefume to give a proof of it, that they grow angry. We, too, are as ready to allow the reputation of eminence, to those whofe Modefty has made them decline giving us a fpecimen of their parts. A temper furely very diftant from Envy. We should not then afcribe that violent ferment which good men are apt to work themselves into, while they truggle to fupprefs the reputation of him who pretends to give a proof of what they are fo willing to take for granted, to any thing but an eager concern for the public welfare. Which, nothing better fecures than the fpeedy damping of
The great Alcides, ev'ry Labour past,
To thee, the World its present homage pays, The Harvest early, but mature the praise : Great Friend of LIBERTY! in Kings a Name 25 Above all Greek, above all Roman Fame*: Whofe Word is Truth, as facred and rever'd, 'As Heav'n's own Oracles from Altars heard. Wonder of Kings! like whom, to mortal eyes
* None e'er has rifen, and none e'er fhall rife. 30
Popularity; fo dangerous to the community, when joined to great Talents. SCRIBL.
VER. 17. The great Alcides,] This inftance has not the fame grace here as in the Original, where it comes in well after thofe of Romulus, Bacchus, Caftor, and Pollux; though aukwardly after Edward and Henry. But it was for the fake of the beautiful thought in the next line; which yet does not equal the force of his Original.
VER. 21. Oppress'd we feel, &c.] "Les hommes, nez IN"GRATS et JALOUX" (fays an ingenious French Writer, with becoming indignation) ne pardonnent pas ceux qui pré"tend à leur admiration: de la mériter ils en font un crime,
qu'ils puniffent par des calomnies, des critiques ameres, et des "mépris aff Elez. La Poftérité le vengera de fes oppreffeurs, "en le comblant de louanges, tandis que fes imbécilles de"tracteurs, ces hommes vils, qui pour être oubliez, n'ont
Caetera nequaquam fimili ratione modoque
Si, quia" Graiorum funt antiquiffima quaeque Scripta vel optima, Romani penfantur eadem Scriptores trutina; non eft quod multa loquamur: Nil intra eft oleam, nil extra eft in nuce duri. Venimus ad fummum fortunae: pingimus, atque • Pfallimus, et luctamur Achivis doctius unctis. Si meliora dies, ut vina, poemata reddit;
pas befoin de ceffer d'être, refteront pour jamais plongez "dans l'oubli."
VER. 38. And beaftly Skelton, &c.] Skelton, Poet Laureat to Henry VIII. a volume of whofe verfes has been lately re printed, confifting almoft wholly of ribaldry, obfcenity, and feurrilous language.
VER. 40. Chrift's kirk of the Green; A Ballad made by a King of Scotland. P.
Just in one instance, be it yet confest Your People, Sir, are partial in the rest: Foes to all living worth except your own, And Advocates for folly dead and gone. Authors, like coins, grow dear as they grow old; 35 It is the Ruft we value, not the Gold. 'Chaucer's worst ribaldry is learn'd by rote, And beastly Skelton Heads of Houses quote: One likes no language but the Faery Queen; A Scot will fight for Chrift's Kirk of the Green; 40 And each true Briton is to Ben fo civil,
He fwears the Mufes met him at the Devil. Tho' justly "Greece her eldest fons admires, Why should not We be wiser than our fires? In ev'ry Public Virtue we excell; We build, we paint, we fing, we dance as well, And learned Athens to our art must stoop,
Could she behold us tumbling thro' a hoop.
If Time improve our Wit as well as Wine, Say at what age a Poet grows divine?
VER. 42. the Mufes met him] This inftance of the People's ill taste was both well chofen, and happily expreffed. Johnfon's talents were learning, judgment, and industry, rather than wit, or natural genius.
VER. 42. met him at the Devil] The Devil Tavern, where Ben Johnson held his Poetical Club.
Scire velim, chartis pretium quotus arroget annus.
An quos et praefens et poftera refpuat aetas?
Utor permiffo, caudaeque pilos ut" equinae Paulatim vello: et demo unum, demo et item
Dum cadat elufus ratione" ruentis acervi,
2 Ennius et fapiens, et fortis, et alter Homerus,
VER. 68. Below a Garland only on a Bier.] The thought is beautiful, and alludes to the old practice of our Ancestors, of covering the Bier (on which the dead were carried to their interment) with Garlands. A manly and pious custom, which arofe from the antient practice of rewarding Victors; and from thence was brought into the Church, and applied to thofe who had fought the good fight of the Apoftle.
VER. 69. Shakespear] Shakespear and Ben Johnson may truly be fail not much to have thought of this Immortality; the one, in many pieces compofed in hafte for the Stage; the other in his latter works in general, which Dryden called his Dotages. P. Dryden does, indeed, call them fo, but very