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of beasts amiable, he is compelled to give human characters to his beasts, and beastly characters to his men; so that we are to admire the beasts, not for being beasts, but amiable men; and to detest the men, not for being men, but detestable beasts.
“ Whoever has been reading this unnatural FILTH, let him turn for a moment to a Spectator of Addison, and observe the PHILANTHROPY of that classical writer ; I may add, the superior purity of his diction, and his wit."*
63. Cum tot sustineas & tanta negotia solus,
Res Italas armis tuteris, moribus ornes,
While you, great patron of mankind, sustain
* Philological Inquiries, in three parts, by JAMES HARRIS, Esq. London, 1781. Part iii. page 537,
+ Ep. 1. Lib. ii. v. 1. If an interrogation point is placed after Cæsar ? in the original, it would remove a difficulty complained of by tbe commentators,
How shall the Muse from such a monarch steal
All those nauseous and outrageous f compliments, which Horace, in a strain of abject adulation, degraded himself by paying to Augustus, Pope has converted into bitter and pointed sarcasms, conveyed under the form of the most artful irony. Of this irony the following specimens
+ " Horace (says Pope) in the advertisement to this piece, made his court to this great prince (or rather this cool and subtle tyrant) by writing with a decent freedom towards him, with a just contempt of his low flatterers, and with a manly regard to his own character.” Surely he forgot,
Jurandasque tibi per Numen ponimus aras,
We sometimes speak incorrectly of what are called the writers of the Augustun age. Terence, Lucretius, Catullus, Tully, J. Cæsar, and Sallust, wrote before the time of Augustus; and Livy, Virgil, Horace, Tibullus, and Propertius, were not made good writers by his patronage and encouragement. Virgil had the courage to represent his hero assisting the Etruscans in punishing their tyrannical king, Lib. 8. v. 495. One of the most unaccountable prejudices that ever obtained, seems to be that of celebrating Augustus for clemency.
shall be placed together, in one view, added to the preceding lines, which are of the same cast.
Wonder of kings ! like whom, to mortal eyes,
It may be observed, in generai, that the imitations of these two epistles of the second book of Horace, are finished with so much accuracy and care, and abound in so many applications and allusions most nicely and luckily adapted to the original passages,* that a minute comparison would be useless. In a very few instances, how
may be thought to fall short of his model. This appears in the account of the rise of poetry among the Romans, v. 139–because he cou'd not possibly find a parallel for the sacrifices paid to Tellus, and Silvanus, and the Genius ; nor to the licentiousness of the Fescennine verses, which were restrained by a law of the Twelve Tables.
! Pope has also failed in ascribing that introduction of our polite literature to France, which Horace attributes to Greece among the Romans, (v. 156. orig.) It was to Italy, among the moderns, that we owed our true taste in poetry. Spenser and Milton imitated the Italians, and not Z 4
* Particularly in Ep. i. v. 65. 80. 92. 181. 215. 315. 340. 390. In Ep. ii. v.90, 105. 158. 203. 230. 270.
the French. And if he had correctness in his view, let us remember, that, in point of regularity and correctness, the French * had no dramatic piece equal to the Silent Woman of Ben Jonson, performed 1609; at which time Cors neille was but three years old. The rules of the drama are as much violated in the f Cid, 1637, beautiful as it is, as in the Macbeth, Lear, and Othello, all written before Corneille was born;
* The very first French play in which the rules were observed, was the Sophonisba of Mairet, 1633.
+ Father Tournemine used to relate, that M. de Chalons, who had been secretary to Mary de Medicis, and had retired to Rouen, was the person who advised Corneille to study the Spanish language; and read to him some passages of Guillon de Castro, which struck Corneille so much, that he determined to imitate his Cid. The artifices used by Richlieu, and the engines he set to work to crush this fine play, are well known. Not one of the Cardinal's tools was so vehement as the Abbé d'Aubignac, who attacked Corneille on account of his family, his person, his gesture, his voice, and even the conduct of his domestic affairs. When the Cid first appeared, (says Fontenelle,) the Cardinal was as much alarmed as if he had seen the Spaniards at the gates of Paris. In the year 1635, Richlicu, in the midst of the important political concerns that occupied his mighty genius, wrote the greatest part of a play, called, La Comedie des Tuilleries, in which Corneille proposed some alterations to be made in the third act; which honest freedom the Cardinal never forgave.