Page images
PDF
EPUB

was expressly to treat only of the state of man liere."

There are not, perhaps, four more finished lines in our author's works, than those above mentioned, relating to Lord Peterborough: particularly the very striking turn of compliment in the last line, which so beautifully and vigorously figures the rapidity of his conquest of Valencia.

15.

tamen me Cum magnis vixisse invita fatebitur usque Invidia*.

Envy must own, I live among the great ;
No pimp of pleasure, and no spy of state.

Pope triumphs and felicitates himself upon having lived with the great, without descending into one of those characters which he thinks it unavoidable to escape in such a situation. From the generosity and openness of Horace's character, , I think he might be pronounced equally free (at least from the last) of these imputations. There

must

* Ver. 75.

+ Ver. 133.

must have been something uncommonly captivating in the temper and manners of Horace, that could have made Augustus so fond of him, though he had been so avowed an enemy, and served under Brutus. I have seen some manuscript Letters of Shaftesbury, in which he has ranged in three different classes, the Ethical writings of Horace, according to the different periods of his life in which he supposes them to have been written. The first, during the time he' professed the Stoic philosophy, and was a friend of Brutus. The second, after he became dissolute and debauched, at the Court of Augustus. The third, when he repented of this abandoned Epicurean life, wished to retire from the city and court, and become a private man and a philosopher.

16.

et fragili quærens illidere dentem, Offendet solido*.

; Pope has omitted this elegant allusion. Horace seems to have been particularly fond of those exquisite morsels of wit and genius, the old U 2

Æsopio

* Ver. 77.

Æsopic * fables. He frequently alludes to them, but always with a brevity, very different from our modern writers of fable: even the natural La Fontaine has added a quaint and witty thought to this very fable. The File says to the Viper,

Fab. 98,

Tu te romprois toutes les dents.
Je ne crains que celles du Temps.

17. Si mala condiderit in quem quis carmina, jus est

Judiciumque. H. Esto si quis mala, sed bona si quis
Judice condiderit laudatus Cæsaret-

To laugh at the solemnity of Trebatius, Horace puts him off with a play upon words : But our important lawyer takes no notice of the jest, and finishes with a gravity suited to his character.

Solventur risû tabulæ, Tu missus abibis.

This

# See the learned Dissertation, De BABRIO, lately published by Mr. Tyrwhit; in which are several of the greatest elegance.

* Ver. 82.

1

This dialogue I heard lately spoken * with so much spirit and propriety, that if our author could have been present, he, perhaps, might have been inclined to alter an opinion, of which he seems very fond, in the fourth book of the Dunciad, “ that WORDS only are learnt at our GREAT Schools."

18. Non meus hic serno;

sed

quæ præcepit Ofellus Rusticus, abnormis sapiens, crassâque Minerva.+

Hear Bethel's sermon; one not vers’d in schools,
But strong in sense, and wise without the rules.

This discourse in praise of Temperance, loses much of its grace and propriety, by being put into the mouth of a person of a much higher rank in life than the honest countryman Ofellus ; whose patrimony had been seized by Augustus, and given to one of his soldiers, pamed Umbrenys; and whom, perhaps, Horace recommended to the emperor, by making him the chief speaker in this very satire. We may imagine that a discourse on temperance from Horace, raised a laugh U 3

among

* At Eton School.

+ Sat. ii. lib. 2. 1. 2.

Ver. 9,

among the courtiers of Augustus; and we see he could not venture to deliver it in his own per

This imitation of Pope is not equal to most of his others.

son.

19.

Leporem sectatus, equove
Lassus ab indomito, vel, (si Romana fatigat
Militia assuetum græcari) seu pila velox,
Molliter austerum studio fallente laborem;
Seu te discus agit, pete cedentem aera disco;
Cum labor extuderit fastidia, siccus, inanis,
Sperne cibum vilem ; nisi * Hymettia mella Falerno
Ne biberis diluta. Foris est promus & atrum
Defendens pisces hiemat mare; cum sale panis
Latrantem stomachum bene leniet. Unde putas aut
Quî partum ? non in caro nidore voluptas
Summa, sed in teipso est. Tu pulmentaria quære
Sudando. Pinguem vitiis albumque neque ostra
Nec scarus, aut poterit peregrina juvate lagois.t

Go hunt, work, exercise! he thus began,
Then scorn a homely dinner, if you can.
Your wine lock'd up, your butler stroll'd abroad,
Or fish deny'd, (the river yet unthaw'd,)
If then plain bread and milk will do the feat,
The pleasure lies in you, and not the meat. I

This

* We are informed by Mr, Stuart, in his Athens, that the honey of Hymettus, even to this time, continues to be in vogue, and that the seraglio of the Grand Seignor is served with a quantity of it yearly.

+ Ver. 9.

Ver. 11.

« PreviousContinue »