Page images

these letters. Another little piece, written also in his early youth, does him much honour; the Observations on the Life of Tully, in which, perhaps, a more dispassionate and impartial character of Tully is exhibited, than in the panegyrical volumes of Middleton.

38. Nunc in Aristippi furtim præcepta relabor.*

Sometimes with Aristippus, or St. Paul,
Indulge my candor, and grow all to all.+

There is an impropriety, and indecorum, in joining the name of the most profligate parasite of the court of Dionysius with that of an apostle. In a few lines before, the name of Montaigne is not sufficiently contrasted by the name of Locke ; the place required that two philosophers, holding very different tenets, should have been introduced. Hobbes might have been opposed to Hucheson. I know not why he omitted a strong sentiment that follows immediately,

Et mihi res, non me rebus subjungere ccnor.


* Ver. 19.

+ Ver. 31.

Ver. 20.

Which line Corneille took for his motto.

39. Non tamen idcirco contemnas lippus inungi.*

I'll do what Mead and Cheselden advise. +

MEAD, a judge of pure Latinity, having disputed with Pope on the impropriety of the expression, Amor publicus, on Shakespear's monument, ended the controversy by giving up his opinion, and saying to him,

Omnia vincit amor & nos cedamus amori.

I mention this circumstance, because it may be amusing to the lovers of anecdotes, just to add, that, in a public inscription at Rheims, in France, Racine, who drew it up, used the words Amor publicus, in the very same sense. I believe both these great poets were wrong.

40. Invidus, iracundus, iners, vinosus, amator.


Ver. 29.

+ Ver. 51.

Ver. 38.

Be furious, envious, slothful, mad, or drunk,
Slave to a wife, or vassal to a punk. *

I cannot forbear thinking that Horace glanced at his † own frailties and imperfections, as he frequently does, in the four last epithets of this verse, in the original. As to envy, he had not a grain of it in his nature.

41. Virtus est vitium fugere.

'Tis the first virtue, vices to abhor,
And the first wisdom, to be fool no more.


* Ver. 61.

+ As he does at his passion for building, in verse 100, below,

Diruit, ædificat, mutat quadrata rotundis.

So also, Sat. iii. lib. ii. v. 308.

Accipe, primum
Ædificas; hoc est longos imitaris, ab imo
Ad summum totus moduli bipedalis-

Ver. 41.

$ Ver. 65.

Dr. King informed me, that these were two of the rhymes to which Swift, who was scrupulously exact in this respect, used to object, as he did to some others in Pope; particularly to two in the Essay on Criticism, v. 237, where delight is made to rhyme to wit.

42. Per mare pauperiem fugiens, per saxa, per ignes.*

Scar'd at the spectre of pale Poverty!t

POPE has given life to the image, and added terror to the simple expression pauperiem.

43. At pueri ludentes, Rex eris, aiunt,

Si recte facies. I

Yet ev'ry child another song will sing,
Virtue, brave boys! 'tis virtue makes a king:

Some commentators think Horace alluded to an old Greek play among children, called, Bæordorda. But Lambinus observes, that the sport alluded to


* Ver. 46.

+ Ver. 70.

* Ver. 59.

§ Ver. 91.

is mentioned in the Thectetus of Plato; where Socrates says, he that fails in his pursuit will be reckoned an ass, as the children say of him who cannot catch the ball ; and he that catches it is called their king

44. Ut propius spectes lacrymosa* poemata Pupi! +


For what? to have a box when eunuchs sing,
And foremost in the circle eye a king. I

Our author is so perpetually expressing an affected contempt for kings, that it becomes almost a nauseous cant;

[ocr errors][merged small]

HAWKINS BROWNE laughed at him for this affectation, in the pleasant Imitations of English poets, on Tobacco.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »