Page images








HE Reflections of Horace, and the Judgments


past in his Epistle to Auguftus, feem'd so seasonable 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 addrefs 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 Abfolute 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 fhew 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 Magiftrate: 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, first against the Taste 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 Ufe to the Government. He fhews (by a View of the Progrefs of Learning, and the Change of

[ocr errors]

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 those ancient Poets restrained: 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 farther 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.




UM tota fuftineas et tanta negotia folus,


Res Italas armis tuteris, moribus ornes, Legibus emendes; in b publica commoda peccem,

Si longo fermone morer tua tempora, Caefar.


• Romulus, et Liber pater, et cum Caftore Pollux, Poft ingentia facta, Deorum in templa recepti, Dum terras hominumque colunt genus, afpera bella Componunt, agros adfignant, oppida condunt;


* Ploravere fuis non refpondere favorem

Speratum meritis. diram qui contudit Hydram,
Notaque fatali portenta labore fubegit,
Comperit finvidiam fupremo fine domari.


Book ii. Epift. 1.] The Poet always rises with his original; and very often, without. This whole Imitation is extremely noble and fublime.

VER. 7. Edward and Henry, etc.] Romulus, et Liber Pater,etc. Horace very judiciously praises Auguftus for the colonies he founded, not for the victories he had won; and therefore com



W The Yolage World, and open

Hile you, great Patron of Mankind! a fuftain

The balanc'd World, and open all the Main; Your Country, chief, in Arms abroad defend, At home, with Morals, Arts, and Laws amend b How fhall the Mufe, from fuch a Monarch, steal An hour, and not defraud the Public Weal?




Edward and Henry, now the Boaft 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 storm'd,


Or Laws establish'd, and the world reform'd;

Clos'd their long Glories with a figh, to find

Th' unwilling Gratitude of base mankind!

All human Virtue, to its latest breath,

f Finds Envy never conquer'd, but by Death.




pares him, not to thofe who defolated, but to thofe who civiÎized mankind. The imitation wants this grace: and, for a very obvious reason, 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, etc.] It hath been the VOL. IV.


« EelmineJätka »