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chufe rather to account for Ovid's falling into fo blameable a fpecies of writing, in the words of a fenfible critic *; who after he

Francifci Vavafforis de Epigrammate Liber. Parifiis 1672. Pag. 47, edit. 8vo.

About this time it became fashionable among the wits at Button's, the mob of gentlemen that wrote with ease, to tranflate Ovid. Their united performances were published in form by Garth, with a preface written in a flowing and lively style, but full of ftrange opinions. He declares, that none of the claffic poets had the talent of expreffing himself with more force and perfpicuity than Ovid; that the Fiat of the Hebrew law-giver is not more fublime than the Juffit et extendi campos, of the latin poet; that he excels in the propriety of his fimiles and epithets, the perfpicuity of his allegories, and the inftructive excellence of his morals. Above all, he commends him for his unforced tranfitions, and for the ease with which he slides into some new circumftance, without any violation of the unity of the ftory; the texture, fays he, is so artful that it may be compared to the work of his own Arachne, where the shade dies fo gradually, and the light revives so imperceptibly, that it is hard to tell where the one ceases and the other begins. But it is remarkable that Quintilian thought very differently on this fubject of the transitions, and the admirers of Ovid would do well to confider his opinion. "Illa vero frigida et puerilis eft in fcholis affectatio, ut ipfe tranfitus efficiat aliquam utique fententiam, et hujus velut præstigiæ plausum petat: ut Ovidius lafcivire in Metamorphofi folet, quem tamen excufare neceffitas poteft, res diverfiffimas in fpeciem unius corporis colligentem." Garth was a moft amiable, and benevolent man. It was said of him, that “ no Phyfician knew his Art more, nor his Trade lefs." Pope told Mr, Richardfon," that there was hardly an alteration,


he has cenfured, what he calls, the pigmenta, the lafcivias, and aucupia fermonum of PATERCULUS, of VALERIUS MAXIMUS, of PLINY the naturalift, and PLINY the conful, of FLORUS, and TACITUS,


proceeds as follows: Apud Ovidium, cum in Heroidum epiftolis, tum vero præcipue in libris Metamorphofeon, deprehendunt qui ifta curant, multa folerter et acute dicta. Sed advertit nemo, quod fciam, unde exorta hæc ei prætor cætoros libido, et quæ caufa festivitatis novæ, et prioribus inufitatæ poetis, effe potuerit. Natus Ovidius eodem, quo Cicero mortuus, anno, in hæc incidit tempora, ut ita dicam, declamatoria, hoc eft, ea, quibus inaućtus primum eft, et valere cæpit, et in honore effe, ftrictior is habitus et comptior scripturæ; ubi color fententiarum, plurimi ac denfi fenfus, et qui cum quodam lumine terminarentur, non tarda nec inerti ftruc

of the innumerable, that were made throughout every edition of the Difpenfary, that was not for the better." The vivacity of his converfation made Garth an univerfal fa vourite both with Whigs and Tories, when party-rage ran high.


tura. Sic enim nove loqui cæptum eft de novo genere loquendi. Itaque ejus adolefcentia iis maxime ftudiis ac difciplinis declamitandi traducta, exercitaque tunc, cum Portio Latroni et Arellio Fufco rhetoribus daret operam, cumque sese non ad forum, a quo laboris fuga abhorrebat, fed ad poeticam, in quam erat natura propenfior, contuliffet: detulit una fecum figuram hanc et formam fermonis, cui affueverat aliquandiu, et inftitutum jam oratione soHata morem retinuit in verfibus."

We are now advanced, through many digreffions, that I would hope are not wholly impertinent, to POPE'S IMITATIONS of Seven English Poets, fome of which were done at fourteen or fifteen years old. His early bent to poetry has been already taken notice of in the first volume, to which the following anecdote must be added, which I lately received from one of his intimate friends. ".. I wrote things, faid POPE, I am ashamed to

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fay how foon; part of my epic poem ArCANDER, when about twelve. The fcene of it lay at Rhodes, and fome of the neighbouring islands ; and the poem opened under the water, with a description of the court of Neptune. That couplet on the circulation of the blood, which I afterwards inferted in the Dunciad,

"As man's meanders, to the vital spring

Roll all their tides, then back their circles bring,

was originally in this poem, word for word.”

THE first of these Imitations is of Chaucer; as it paints neither characters nor manners like his original, as it is the only piece of our author's works that is loofe and indecent, and as therefore I wish it had been omitted in the prefent edition, I shall speak no more of it.

THE Imitation of Spenfer is the seconds it is a description of an alley of fishwomen. He that was unacquainted with Spenfer, and was to form his ideas of the turn and manner of his genius from this piece, would

would undoubtedly fuppofe that he abounded in filthy images, and excelled in defcribing the lower fcenes of life. But the characteristics of this sweet and amiable allegorical poet, are, not only ftrong and circumftantial imagery, but tender and pathetic feeling, a most melodious flow of versification, and a certain pleafing melancholy in his fentiments, the conftant companion of an elegant tafte, that cafts a delicacy and grace over all his compofitions. To imitate Spenser on a subject that does not partake of the pathos, is not giving a true reprefentation of him, for he seems to be more awake and alive to all the foftneffes of nature, than almost any writer I can recollect. There is an affemblage of difgufting and disagreeable founds, in the following stanza of POPE, which one is almost tempted to think, if it were poffible, had been contrived as a contraft, or rather burlesque, of a most exquisite stanza in the FAERY QUEEN.

The fnappish car, (the paffengers annoy)'
Close at my heel with yelping treble flies;


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