Page images

& Urit enim fulgore fuo, qui praegravat artes

Infra fe pofitas: extinctus amabitur idem.

Praefenti tibi maturos largimur honores,

Jurandafque tuum per numen ponimus aras, k Nil oriturum alias, nil ortum tale fatentes.

Sed tuus hoc populus fapiens et juftus 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 fo bad a cause as envy. But furely without reafon; for we find our Countrymen of the fame candid difpofition with the Athenians, as Socrates describes it, in the Euthyphro of Plato, They are well content (fays he) to allow the Pretenfions of reputed eminence; it is only when a man will write, and prefume 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 modefty has made them decline giving us a specimen of it. A temper, furely very diftant from envy. We ought not then to ascribe that violent ferment good men are apt to work themfelves into, and the ftruggle they make to fupprefs 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 Álcides, ev'ry Labour past,

· 20

Had ftill this Monfter to fubdue at laft.
Sure fate of all, beneath whose rising ray
Each ftar of meaner merit fades away!
Opprefs'd we feel the beam directly beat,
Thofe Suns of Glory please not till they set.
To thee, the World its prefent homage pays,
The Harvest 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


* None e'er ha rifen, and none e'er shall rife.



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

VER. 17. The great Alcides,] This inftance has not the fame 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 fake 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 ❝et jaloux (fays an ingenious French Writer with becoming "indignation) ne pardonnent pas ceux qui prétend à leur admi"ration: de la mériter ils en font un crime, qu'ils puniffent par "des calomnies, des critiques ameres, et des mépris affectez. La "Poftérité le vengera de fes oppreffeurs, en le comblant de lou

Caetera nequaquam fimili ratione modoque

Aestimat; et, nifi quae terris femota fuifque
Temporibus defuncta videt, faftidit et odit:

1Sic fautor veterum, ut tabulas peccare vetantes
Quas bis quinque viri fanxerunt, foedera


Vel Gabiis vel cum rigidis aequata Sabinis, Pontificum libros, annofa volumina Vatum, m Dictitet Albano Mufas in monte locutas.

Si, quia" Graiorum funt antiquiffima quaeque Scripta vel optima, Romani penfantur eadem Scriptores trutina; non eft quod multa loquamur : Nil intra eft oleam, nil extra eft in nuce duri.

Venimus ad fummum fortunae: pingimus, atque

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

(c anges, tandis que fes imbécilles detracteurs, ces hommes "vils, qui pour être oubliez, n'ont pas befoin de ceffer d'être, "refteront pour jamais plongez dans l'oubli."

VER. 38. And beaftly Skelton, etc.] Skelton, Poet Laureat to Hen. VIII. a volume of whofe verfes has been lately reprinted, confifting almost wholly of ribaldry, obfcenity, and fcurrilous anguage.



Juft in one inftance, be it yet confest Your People, Sir, are partial in the reft; Foes to all living worth except your own,

And Advocates for folly dead and gone.


Authors, like coins, grow dear as they grow old;
It is the ruft 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 Chrift's Kirk o' the Green ;
And each true Briton is to Ben fo civil,

m He fwears the Mufes met him at the Devil.

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

[ocr errors]


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


VER. 40. Chrift's Kirk o' the Green;] A Ballad made by a King of Scotland.


VER. 42. The Mufes met him] This inftance of the People's ill tafte was both well chofen and happily expreffed. 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;

Scire velim, chartis pretium quotus arroget annus.
Scriptor ab hinc annos centum qui decidit, inter

Perfectos veterefque referri debet, an inter
Viles atque novos? excludat jurgia finis.

Eft vetus atque probus, centum qui perficit annos.
Quid? qui deperiit minor uno menfe vel anno,
Inter quos referendus erit? veterefne poetas,
An quos et praefens et poftera refpuat aetas?
Iste quidem veteres inter ponetur bonefte,
Qui vel menfe brevi, vel toto eft junior anno.

Utor permiffo, caudaeque pilos ut " equinae Paulatim vello: et demo unum, demo et item unum; Dum cadat elufus ratione "ruentis acervi,

Qui redit in * faftos, et virtutem aeftimat annis, Miraturque nihil, nifi quod' Libitina facravit.


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

« EelmineJätka »