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Terrarumque ‘situs et flumina dicere, et arces
Ver. 397. how dearly bought !] All this is in the spirit of the most contemptuous irony !-Bowles.
Ver. 409. they say I bite.] If any key had been wanting to the artful irony contained in this imitation, especially in the last sixteen lines, this one verse would have been sufficient to fix the poet's intention. Neither Dr. Warburton nor Dr. Hurd take the least notice of any irony being intended in this imitation. To what motive shall we ascribe this cautious silence ?-Warton.
Undoubtedly to their supposing it to be impossible for any person to misunderstand it.
The Satire, however, is not directed so much against the monarch, who frequently cannot avoid the ridiculous praises and gross flatteries which are so abundantly poured out upon him, as against those writers who sacrifice their conscience and debase their talents in commending a sovereign for qualifications which he does not possess, and to which perhaps he does not even pretend.
What 'seas you traversed, and what fields you fought !
your Majesty disdains, And I'm not used to panegyric strains :
405 The zeal of' fools offends at any time, But most of all the zeal of fools in rhyme. Besides, a fate attends on all I write, That when I aim at praise, they say " I bite. . A vile "encomium doubly ridicules:
410 There's nothing blackens like the ink of fools. If true, a woful likeness; and if lies, “ Praise undeserved is scandal in disguise :" Well may he ' blush, who gives it, or receives; And when I flatter, let my dirty leaves
415 (Like 9 Journals, Odes, and such forgotten things As Eusden, Philips, Settle, writ of kings) Clothe spice, line trunks, or fluttering in a row, Befringe the rails of Bedlam and Soho.
THE SECOND EPISTLE
SECOND BOOK OF HORACE. .
Ludentis speciem dabit, et torquebitur.
In this piece, which was first published by Dodsley in 1737, Pope, az in several of the preceding Imitations, has frequently referred to the circumstances of his early life, in a manner well calculated to conciliate the favour of the reader, and indirectly to elucidate some parts of his own history. His self-taught acquirements, and the disadvantages he had to sustain on account of his religious tenets, are noticed at ver. 52, &c. His distaste to a town life, at ver. 88, &c. The philosophic indifference with which he regards superlative wealth and extensive possessions, at ver. 212, &c. The firmness and resignation with which he looks forwards towards the close of life, are finely expressed at the conclusion, where he has modified, and chastened, and perhaps excelled, his original.
FLORE, bono claroque fidelis * amice Neroni,
Ille ferat pretium, pænæ securus, opinor.
Ver. 1. Dear Colonel,] Addressed to Colonel Cotterell, of Rousham, near Oxford, the descendant of Sir Charles Cotterell, who at the desire of Charles the First, translated Davila into English. The second line of this Imitation, “ You love,” &c. is feeble and useless. Horace, without preface, enters at once, in his second line, on the story, “Si quis forte,” &c. And the fifteenth line, But, Sir, to you," is uncommonly languid and prosaic.—Warton.
Ver. 4. “ This lad, Sir, is of Blois :) A town in Beauce, where the French tongue is spoken in great purity.-Warburton.
Ver. 20. it is—to steal.”] The fault of the slave-seller's boy is only his having run away ; but the young Frenchman has been guilty of stealing ; this makes his behaviour more unpardonable, and less likely to be overlooked by the purchaser : a circumstance that alters the nature of the allusion, and the probability of the bargain.-Warton.