« PreviousContinue »
Come, let me taste thee, une rcis’d by kings !
45. Olim quod vulpes ægroto cauta leoni
Respondit, referam : Quia me vestigia terrent,
Faith, I shall give the answer Reynard gave :
goes in, but none comes out. t
* Ver. 73.
+ Ver. 114.
Conciseness was the quality, for which Babrius, if we may judge from the fragments, seems to have been so excellent. See Dissertat. de Babrio, Fab. 97, 50, 242; and, above all, the exquisite fable of the Swallow and Nightingale, Fable 149, and the last in this curious and elegant dissertation. In the Fabulurum Æsopicarum Delectus, a book not sufficiently known, and now out of print, published at Oxford, 1698, are sixty fables exquisitely written, versibus senariis, by Ant. Alsop. The best life of Æsop is by M. Mezeriac, the learned editor of Diophantus : a book so scarce, that Bentley complained he could never get a sight of it; and Bayle had never seen it, when he first published his Dictionary. It was reprinted in the Memoires de Litterature of M. de Sallengre, 1717, tom. i. p. 87. This was the author, whom Malherbe asked, when he shewed him the edition of Diophantus," if it would lessen the price of bread"
Both poets have told the fable with an elegant brevity. Why did Pope omit ægroto? Dread Sir, and Royal cuve, are good additions. Plato was also fond of this fable. He has put it into the mouth of Socrates, in the first Alcibiades.*
46. Excipiantque senes quos in vivaria mittant.f
Some with fat bucks on childless dotards fawn.
The legacy-hunters, the Hæredipetæ, were a more common character among the ancients than
The ridicule, therefore, is not now so striking. Lucian has five pleasant Dialogues on the
* Αλλ' ατεχνως, κατα τον Αίσωπε μυθον, ον η Αλοπηξ προς τον Λεοντα ειπε, και τα εις Λαικεδαιμονα νομισματος εισιoντος μεν τα ιχνη τα εκεισε τετραμμενα δηλα, εξιοντος δε, αδαμη αν τις ιδοι. Τom. ii. p. 122. Serrani. Ed. H. Steph. 1578. Pope has connected the passage that immediately follows in a forced and quaint manner, which Horace never thought of;
Well, if a king's a lion, at the least
as if the word bellua had any relation to the lion before-mentioned.
+ Ver. 79.
subject, from page 343 to 363, in the 4to edition of Hemsterhusius. Horace himself appears to have failed more in exposing this folly, than in any other of his satires; and principally so, by mixing ancient with modern manners, and making Tiresias instruct Ulysses in petty frauds, and artifices too subtle for the old prophet and hero to dictate and to practise. Sat. 5. lib. 2.
47. Multis occulto crescit res fænore,*
is far excelled in force and spirit by,
While with the silent growth of ten per cent.
48. Nullus in orbe sinus Daiis prælucet amenis,
Si dixit dives; lacus & mare sentit amorem
Sir Job & sail'd forth, the evening bright and still ;
my Ver. 80. + Ver. 132.
Ver. 83. & More lively than the general word, dives.
! Ver. 138.
Superior to the original : a pleasing little landscape is added to the satire. But Greenwich-hill is not an exact parallel for Baiæ ; where the Romans of the best taste and fashion built their villas. Pope's is the villa of a citizen. The absurd and awkward magnificence of opulent citizens has, of late, been frequently exposed; but no where with more humour than in the Connoisseur, and in the characters of Sterling and Mrs. Heidelberg, in the Clandestine Marriage.
Cui si vitiosa * libido
Now let some whimsey, or that dev'l within,
HORACE says, he will carry his buildings from so proper and pleasant a situation as Baiæ, to
• Scaliger observes, that Horace is fond of adjectives that end in osus.
+ Ver. 85.
Teanum; a situation unhealthy and disagreeable. Pope says, he will not build at all, he will again retire to town. He has, I think, destroyed the connexion by this alteration. Mutability of temper is indeed equally exhibited in both instances, but Horace keeps closer to his subject.
50. Quo teneam vultus mutantem Protea nudo?
Quid pauper? ride; mutat cænacula, lectos,
Did ever Proteus, Merlin, any witch,
This imitation is in truth admirable. It is, perhaps, one of his finest passages. All the pa
parallels are fortunate, and exactly hit the original : and the images drawn from modern life are minutely applicable to the purpose.
* Ver. 90.
of Ver. 152.