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virtuous at the commencement of their career, despicable and abandoned at the close of it! Others, on the contrary, who have begun their course with crimes, have concluded it with virtues. Sylla, returning, at the head of his victorious army, to deliver Rome from the cruel yoke of Marius, is a great man; Sylla, when dictator, is a tyrant; the same Sylla abdicating the sovereign power, and returning to a private condition, is a philosopher and a sage. Death alone puts the seal on all our actions, and determines the reputation of those men who have acted a conspicuous part on the theatre of the world. Thus, when I displayed the conduct of M. de Maurepas, cardinal de Loménie, and the duke d'Orleans, I thought myself at liberty likewise to draw their characters; their features, now fixed in the public mind, are henceforth not to be effaced. May the hideous spectre of the latter present itself to the view of those men who, placed by their birth, dignities, and riches, in the first rank of a state, instead of being its supporters, join in the factions by which it is distracted, hoping to make them the instruments of their own ambitious designs! Let them imagine they see the ghost of the par⚫ricide Orleans, and hear the monster thus announce himself: "I am that duke d'Orleans who conspired against the life of my sovereign and the head of my family. I possessed by birth all the blessings nature and fortune could bestow; yet, blinded by ambition, and impelled by a desire of revenge, I became the tool of men, as bad, but more artful than myself, and embrued my hands in the blood of him I ought to have served and protected. I then wished to place the crown upon my own head; but after having overturned the throne, after having deluged my country with crimes and blood, I fell myself ignominiously, by the hands of those very wretches who had been the instruments, and now turned the avengers of my misdeeds: to my children I have left nothing but a name they will be ashamed to bear; a name which will be execrated by future generations, and will serve only to express the combination of every vice. Such was my fate, and such will be the fate of all those who, like me, shall employ the mask of patriotism to attempt the destruction of their sovereign and their country."
M. de Bouille's memoirs are not calculated to please either the haughty aristocrat or the violent democrat.-He must prepare to encounter the severest animadversions of both. In the posterity of Frenchmen, however, he may expect to meet with a more impartial audience; and his love of truth will, meanwhile, console a mind like his, for the unjust reproaches of malice and party spirit.
ART. IV. The Satires, Epistles, and Art of Poetry, of Horace; translated into English Verse, by W. Boscawen, Esq. pp. 580. 8s. 6d. Boards. Stockdale. 1797.
WHEN we offered our remarks on the first volume of Mr. Boscawen's translation of this charming bard, although we applauded some particular passages which, in our opinion, were executed
executed with spirit, yet on the whole we did not think him completely qualified for the task which he had undertaken ; i. e. that of giving an English version of such a poet as Horace; whose excellencies are of a nature not to be easily transfused' into any other language. In hazarding this opinion, however, it is but just to notice the candid terms in which the translator himself states his own similar conviction :
After all, I feel more than ever the impossibility that any attempts of mine should do justice to such a writer as Horace. But the approbation conferred on the translation of the Odes by persons whose judgment I revere, and indeed by the literary world in general, induces me to hope this part of the work may also have some little merit and utility. It may amuse the admirers of our Poet, by shewing them an intire version somewhat more resembling his manner than those which they have hitherto seen. It may gratify, and possibly inform the English reader, by giving him a nearer view of perhaps the most elegant and certainly the most instructive Poet of the Augustan agc.'
It is not seldom that we hear those persons, whose knowlege of Horace is chiefly derived from Mr. Francis's translation, express their astonishment at the raptures with which scholars who can read his works in the original never fail to speak of him but the magic power of words on the human mind may be greater than every one may choose to acknowlege. Of this truth, our readers may satisfy themselves by comparing Pope's translation of Homer with that of Hobbes. It cannot be denied that both those writers have expressed the sense of the great original: but the one has every decoration which our language can afford, while the other is disgraced by mean verse, and by a vulgarity of diction which is scarcely to be paralleled. The one, therefore, will ever be read with pleasure, and the other will be forgotten, or remembered only with disgust.
The Beauties of Horace are of a nature peculiarly volatile. In his Odes, we have frequently noble effusions of moral sentiment, applicable to man at all times and in all ages; and though the subjects of many of them are at present little interesting, yet he contrives to fascinate us by the beautiful turn of his thoughts, the melodious flow of his verse, and the irresistible charms of his language. His almost constant allusions to the Greek mythological fables may not always suit a mere English reader; yet, as Mr. Pope somewhere says, those fables, however they may be condemned by a rigid philosophy, must, perhaps, always be the religion of poetry. In his Epistles and Satires, Horace displays great knowlege of human life and manners; and his Art of Poetry and Epistle to Augustus have ever been regarded, by good judges, as master-pieces of sound
- and liberal criticism.
Folly, affectation, and vice, have abounded in all ages; and, though subject to some modifications from the different state of society, and from national peculiarity of manners, the human character may admit of less variety than is generally imagined. Satirists of different ages, therefore, may fall into the same way of thinking, on the contemplation of similar vices and follies; and thus Pope and Swift have been very successful in their judicious applications of the poignant ridicule of the Roman poet to the reigning manners of their times but this they could never have done, had they not found something in their own minds that was congenial to the great author whom they imitated.
A translation of the Satires and Epistles of Horace is attended with peculiar difficulty;-if executed in the best possible manner, it would not be so pleasing to an English reader as Pope's or Swift's imitations; and if any great errors were discoverable on a comparison with the works of those masters, they must appear more glaring and conspicuous.
In his preface, Mr. Boscawen gives an account of the origin of satire among the Romans; and he traces it to the rude and licentious verses called Fescennine, which were recited by the antient Romans at the festivals of Bacchus and Ceres. Ennius and Pacuvius formed, from these low farces, a miscellaneous composition, of a moral tendency, containing animadversions on human life and manners. Lucilius gave to his satires a more regular form; and this species of poetry is said to have received farther improvements from the learned Terentius Varro. In the opinion of many, however, it was brought to its highest state of perfection by Horace; and it must be confessed that, for the poignancy and delicacy of his wit,-his quick discern ment of those improprieties and incongruities which, perhaps, are the only proper objects of ridicule,-his artful and concealed irony, and, above all, for the ease, politeness, and elegance of his manner, he will not probably ever be excelled, perhaps never be equalled :-but, on the other hand, his warmest admirers must acknowlege that there are a carelessness and negligence in the versification of the satires and epistles, which are unpardonable in a man whose soul was tuned to harmony, and who had so comprehensive a knowlege of the powers of his native language. It might also be questioned whether there be not a want of order and arrangement in the thoughts, since so much learning has been employed to discover their connection.
We shall now make some extracts from Mr. Boscawen's ver He begins the first satire of the 1st book in the follow
Mæcenas, whence the restless mind?
"How blest are they who shine in arms!"
If the reader will take the trouble of comparing this passage with the version by Francis, he will perhaps think, with us, that the latter is nearest to the original, and of the two the most poetical. We deem Mr. Boscawen singularly unfortunate in the kind of verse which he has chosen, and which he calls the shorter Iambic, consisting of eight syllables. He indeed justifies his choice by the example of Swift and Prior: but he might have considered that those great men could animate any metre by their genius and irresistible vivacity. It is, we believe, generally allowed that verses of eight syllables are unfit for the expression of noble and elevated sentiments; and that they are not a proper vehicle for those precepts of morality, with which every species of satirical composition ought to
The following passage, from the fourth satire, has been frequently quoted on account of the fine moral instruction which
it contains, expressed in language strong, grave, and appropriate:
"Absentem qui rodit amicum,
Qui non defendit, alio culpante; solutos
Qui captat risus hominum, famamque dicacis,
In Mr. B.'s translation, it has the appearance of burlesque :
The character of Tigellius has ever been admired as a masterpiece of moral painting, and is the model from which our two great poets, Dryden and Pope, took their characters of the Dukes of Buckingham and Wharton. How does it appear in the language of Mr. Boscawen?
That man, 'tis true, was from his birth
But give to this contented Sage,
Ten thousand pounds; 'twould scarcely last
"Are you then (Critics may exclaim)
In the famous epistle to Augustus, Mr. B. makes use of the English heroic verse of ten syllables. The following lines are