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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,
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
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,
To thee, the World its present homage pays,
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
Caetera nequaquam fimili ratione modoque
terris femota fuisque Temporibus defuncta videt, fastidit et odit:
Sic fautor veterum, ut tabulas peccare vetantes
Quas bis quinque viri fanxerunt, foedera regum,
Si, quia» Graiorum sunt antiquiffima quaeque
Nil intra est oleam, nil extra eft in nuce duri. ;
Venimus ad summum fortunae: pingimus, atque
° Psallimus, et ' luctamur Achivis doctius unctis.
Ver. 38. And beastly Skelton, etc.] Skelton, Poet Laureat to
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.
Si meliora dies, ut vina, poemata reddit;
referendus erit? s veteresne poetas,
Utor permiffo, caudaeque pilos ut " equinae
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