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* Nil oriturum alias, nil ortum tale fatentes.

Sed tuus hoc populus sapiens et justus in uno,

Te noftris ducibus, te Graiis anteferendo,

NOTES.

a

common practice of those amongst us, who have distinguished themselves in the learned world, to ascribe the ill treatment they have met with, from those they endeavoured to oblige, to so bad a cause as envy. But surely without reason; for we find our Countrymen of the same candid disposition with the Athenians, as Socrates describes it, in the Euthyphro of Plato, They are well content (says he) to allow the Pretensions of reputed emi

nence;

it is only when a man will write, and presume to give a proof of it, that they begin to grow angry. We, too, are as ready to allow the reputation of eminence, to those whose modesty has made them decline giving us a specimen of it. A temper surely very distant from envy. We ought not then to ascribe that violent ferment good men are apt to work themfelves into, and the struggle they make to suppress 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

The great Alcides, ev'ry Labour past,
Had still this Monster to subdue at last.
& Sure fate of all, beneath whose rising ray
Each star of meáner merit fades away! 20
Oppress’d we feel the beam directly beat,
Those Suns of Glory please not till they set.

To thee, the World its present homage pays,
The Harveft 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 King! like whom, to mortal eyes
k None e'er hu risen, and none e'er shall rise. 30

NOTES. for the public welfare. Which, nothing better secures than the speedy damping Popularity; so dangerous to the community when joined to great Talents.

SCRIBL.. VER. 17. The great Alcides,] This inftance has not the same grace here as in the original, where it comes in well after those of Romulus, Bacchus, Caftor, and Pollux, tho' aukwardly after Edward and Henry. But it was for the sake of the beautiful thought in the next line; which, yet, does not equal the force of his original.

VER. 21. Oppress'd we feel, etc.]“ Les hommes, nez ingrats 6 et jaloux (fays an ingenious French Writer with becoming « indignation) né' pardonnent pas ceux qui prétend à leur admia " ration: de la meriter ils en font'un crime, qu'ils punissent par " des calomnies, des critiques ameres, et des mépris affectez. La « Poftérité le vengera de ses oppresseurs, en le comblant de lou

1

Caetera nequaquam fimili ratione modoque
Aestimat; et, nifi

quae

terris femota fuisque Temporibus defuncta videt, fastidit et odit:

Sic fautor veterum, ut tabulas peccare vetantes

Quas bis quinque viri fanxerunt, foedera regum,
Vel Gabiis vel cum rigidis aequata Sabinis,

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Si, quia» Graiorum sunt antiquiffima quaeque
Scripta vel optima, Romani pensantur eadem
Scriptores trutina; non est quod multa loquamur :

Nil intra est oleam, nil extra eft in nuce duri. ;

Venimus ad summum fortunae: pingimus, atque

.

° Psallimus, et ' luctamur Achivis doctius unctis.

Р

NOTES.
“ anges, tandis que ses imbécilles detracteurs, ces hommes
vils, qui pour être oubliez, n'ont pas besoin de cesser d'être,
“ resteront pour jamais plongez dans l'oubli.”

Ver. 38. And beastly Skelton, etc.] Skelton, Poet Laureat to
Hen. Vill. a volume of whose verses has been lately reprinted,
consisting almost wholly of ribaldry, obscenity, and scurrilous
anguage.
3

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. 34 Authors, like coins, grow dear as they grow old; It is the rust 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 ; 39 A Scot will fight for Christ's Kirk o'the Green ; And each true Briton is to Ben so civil, mHe swears the Muses met him at the Devil.

Tho' justly · Greece her eldest sons admires, Why should not We be wiser than our fires? In ev'ry Public virtue we excell ;

45 We build, we paint, owe sing, we dance as well, And P learned Athens to our art must stoop, Could she behold us tumbling thro'a hoop.

NOTES Ver. 40. Christ's Kirk o' the Green;] A Ballad made by a King of Scotland.

P. Ver. 42. The Mufes met him] This instance of the People's ill taste was both well chosen and happily expressed. Johnson'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.

P.

Si meliora dies, ut vina, poemata reddit;
Scire velim, chartis pretium quotus arroget annus.
Scriptor ab hinc annos centum qui decidit, inter
Perfectos veteresque referri debet, an inter
Viles atque novos? excludat jurgia finiş.
Eft vetus atque probus," centum qui perficit annos.
Quid? qui deperiit minor uno mense vel anno,
Inter
quos

referendus erit? s veteresne poetas,
An quos et praesens et postera refpuat aetas ?
Iste quidem veteres inter ponetur * boneste,
Qui vel mense brevi, vel toto est junior anno.

Utor permiffo, caudaeque pilos ut " equinae
Paulatim vello: et demo unum, demo et item unum;
Dum cadat elusus ratione w ruentis acervi,
Qui redit in* faftos, et virtutem aestimat annis,
Miraturque nihil, nisi quod' Libitina facravit.

W

NOTE s.

Ver. 68. Bestoru a Garland only on a Bier.] The thought is beautiful, and alludęs to the old practice of our Ancestors, of covering the Bier (on which the dead were carried to their in

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