Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors]

TO THE

EADER.

OETA nafcitur non ft, is a
great Truth as Antiquity
tin, that all the acquire Lea

alle is infuficient to comp
atural Genius and Prope

lime an Art. And we may won erve, that many very learned Ve ambitious to be thought Pots, se on

rad themfelves obnoxious to that

tion, our Author wittily invokes :

Which made them, tho' it were in Sy
Of Nature and their Stars, to write

On the other Side, fome who have had my leg
an Learning, but were ended win a ye
natural Wit and Parts, have be
celebrated Poets of the Age the
a thefe laft are, Rara aves inter, i wen
Mufes have not difdained the A
er Arts and Sciences, we are then

de lafting Monuments of Wit and Lay
justly claim a kind of Eternity
our Author, had his Modeity per
t with HORACE have faid,

• Shakespear, D' Avenant, ki

B

-a,

Exegi monumentum ære perennius ;

Or with OVID,

Jamque opus exegi, quod nec Jovis ira, nec ignis,
Nec poterit ferrum, nec edax abolere vetuftas.

The Author of this celebrated Poem was of this laft Compofition; for although he had not the Happinefs of an Academical Education, as fome affirm, it may be perceived, throughout his whole Poem, that he had read much, and was very well accomplished in the most useful Parts of human Learning.

RAPIN (in his Reflections) fpeaking of the neceffary Qualities belonging to a Poet, tells us, he must have a Genius extraordinary; great natural Gifts; a Wit juft, fruitful, piercing, folid and univerfal; an Understanding clear and diftinct; an Imagination neat and pleafant; an Elevation of Soul, that depends not only on Art or Study, but is purely the Gift of Heaven, which must be fuftained by a lively Senfe and Vivacity; Judgment to confider wifely of Things, and Vivacity for the beautiful Expreffion of them, &c.

Now, how justly this Character is due to our Author, I leave to the impartial Reader, and thofe of nicer Judgments, who had the Happiness to be more intimately acquainted with him.

The Reputation of this incomparable Poem is for thoroughly eftablished in the World, that it would be fuperfluous, if not impertinent, to endeavour any Panegyrick upon it. King CHARLES II, whom the judicious Part of Mankind will readily acknowledge to be a fovereign Judge of Wit, was fo great an Admirer of it, that he would often pleasantly quote it in

his Conversation: However, fince moft Men have a Curiofity to have fome Account of fuch anonymous Authors, whofe Compofitions have been eminent for Wit or Learning; I have been defired to oblige them with fuch Informations, as I could receive from those who had the Happinefs to be acquainted with him, and alfo to rectify the Miftakes of the Oxford Antiquary, in his Athenæ Oxonienfes, concerning him.

[blocks in formation]

THE

AUTHOR'S

S

LIFE.

(AMUEL BUTLER, the Author of this excellent Poem, was born in the Parish of Strenfham, in the County of Worcester, and baptized there the 13th of Feb. 1612. His Father, who was of the fame Name, was an honeft Country Farmer, who had fome fmall Eftate of his own, but rented a much greater of the Lord of the Manor where he lived. However, perceiving in this Son an early Inclination to Learning, he made a fhift to have him educated in the FreeSchool at Worcester, under Mr. HENRY BRIGHT; where having paffed the ufual Time, and being become an excellent School-Scholar, he went for fome little Time to Cambridge, but was never matriculated into that Univerfity, his Father's Abilities not being fufficient to be at the Charge of an Academical Education; fo that our Author returned foon into his native Country, and became Clerk to one Mr. JEFFERYS of Earls-Croom, an eminent Juftice of the Peace for that County, with whom he lived fome Years, in an easy and no contemptible Service. Here, by the Indulgence of a kind Mafter, he had fufficient Leifure to apply himself to whatever Learning his Inclinations

I

« EelmineJätka »