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NOTE LVII. VERSE 772. Whence Art, by practice, to perfection soars, After this the Poet says, that he passes over in silence many things which will be more amply treated in his Commentary.
"Multa supersileo quæ Commentaria dicent." But as he never lived to write that Commentary, his translator has taken the liberty to pass over this line in silence also. M.
NOTE LVIII. VERSE 775
What time the pride of Bourbon urg'd his way, &c.
Du Piles, and after him Dryden, call this Hero Louis XIII, but the later French Editor, whom I have before quoted, will needs have him to be the XIV. His note is as follows: "At the accession of Louis XIV. Du Fresnoy had been ten years at Rome, therefore the epoch, marked by the Poet, falls probably upon the first years of that Prince; that is to say, upon the years 1643 or 1644. The thunders which he darts on the Alps, allude to the successes of our arms in the Milanese, and in Piedmont; and the
Alcides, who is born again in France for the defence of his country, is the conqueror of Rocroy, the young Duke of Anguien, afterwards called Le Grand Condé." I am apt to suspect that all this fine criticism is false, though I do not think it worth while to controvert it. Whether the Poet meant to compliment Louis XIII. or the little boy that succeeded him, (for he was only six years old in the year 1644,) he was guilty of gross flattery. It is impossible, however, from the construction of the sentence, that Lodovicus Borbonidum Decus, & Gallicus Alcides, could mean any more than one identical person; person; and consequently the Editor's notion concerning the Grand Condé is indisputably false. I have, therefore, taken the whole passage in the same sense that Du Piles did; and have also, like him, used the Poet's phrase of the Spanish Lion in the concluding line, rather than that of the Spanish Geryon, to which Mr. Dryden has transformed him: His reason, I suppose, for doing this was, that the monster Geryon was of Spanish extraction, and the Nemean Lion, which Hercules killed, was of Pelo
ponnesus; but we are told by Martial,* that there was a fountain in Spain called Nemea, which, perhaps, led Fresnoy astray in this passage. However this be, Hercules killed so many lions, besides that which constituted the first of his twelve labours, that either he, or at least some one of his namesakes, may well be supposed to have killed one in Spain. Geryon is described by all the Poets as a man with three heads, and therefore could not well have been called a Lion by Fresnoy; neither does the plural Ora mean any more than the Jaws of a single beast. So Lucan, lib. iv. ver. 739.
Quippe ubi non sonipes motus clangore tubarum Saxa quatit pulsu, rigidos vexantia frænos
NOTE LIX. VERSE 785
But mark the Proteus Policy of State.
If this translation should live as many years as the original has done already, which,
* Avidam rigens Dircenna placabit sitim
Mart. lib. i. Epig. 50. de Hipso. loc. M
by its being printed with that original, and illustrated by such a Commentator, is a thing not impossible, it may not be amiss, in order to prevent an hallucination of some future critick, similar to that of the French Editor mentioned in the last note, to conclude with a memorandum that the translation was finished, and these occasional verses added, in the year 1781; leaving, however, the political sentiments, which they express, to be approved or condemned by him, as the annals of the time (written at a period distant enough for history to become impartial) may determine his judgment.