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neque enim quivis horrentia pilis* Agmina, nec fractâ pereuntes cuspide Gallos, Aut labentis
describat vulnera Parthi.t
What! like Sir Richard, rumbling, rough, and fierce,
Pope has turned the compliment to Augustus into a severe sarcasm. All the wits seem to have leagued against Sir Richard Blackmore. In a letter now lying before me, from ELIJAH Fenton to my father, dated Jan. 24, 1707, he says,
" I ain
* Of these verses, says Porphyrio, Eleganter in hâc ipsa
excusatione, posse se scribere ostendit.
f Ver. 13.
Swift never could forgive Blackmore the following strictures on a Tale of a Tub, in his Essays, London, 1717. “ Had this writing been published in a Pagan or Popishi nation, who are justly impatient of all indignity offered to the established religion of their country, no doubt but the author would have received the punishment he deserved. But the fate of this impious buffoon is very different; for in a Protestant kingdom, zealous of their civil and religious immunities, he has not only escaped affronts, and the effects of public resentment, but he has been caressed and patronized by persons of great figure, and of all denominations."
“I am glad to hear Mr. Phillips will publish his POMONA. Who prints it? I should be mightily obliged to you, if you could get me a copy of his verses against Blackmore." As the letter contains one or two literary particulars, I will transcribe the rest. “ As to what you write about making a collection, I can only advise you to buy what poems you can, that Tonson has printed, except the Ode to the Sun; unless you will take it in because I writ it; which I am the freer to own, that Mat. Prior may not suffer in his reputation, by having it ascribed to him. My humble service to Mr. Sacheverell, and tell him I will never imitate Milton more, till the author of Blenheim is forgotten.” In vain was Blackmore extolled by Molyneux and Locke: but Locke, to his other superior talents, did not add a good
He affected to despise poetry, and he depreciated the ancients;* which circumstance, as
* Another, and a better philosopher, thought very differently on this subject; and has given so high an encomium on the utility of the ancient classics, that the passage deserves a particular notice. Annon ideo fit, ut scriptorum priscorum præstantissimi libri & sermones, (quibus ad virtutem homines efficacissimè invitati sunt, tam augustam ejus majestatem om
I am informed, from undoubted authority, was the source of perpetual discontent and dispute betwixt him and his pupil, Lord Shaftesbury, who, in many parts of the Characteristics, has ridiculed Locke's philosophy, and endeavoured to represent him as a disciple of Hobbes ;* from which writer, however, it is certain, that Locke borrowed frequently and largely.
nisi dextro tempore, Flacci Verba per attentam non ibunt Cæsaris aurem. Cui male si palpere recalcitrat undique tutus.t
nium oculis representando, quam opiniones populares, in virtutis ignominiam, tanquam habitû parasitorum indutas, derisui propinando) tam parum prosint, ad vitæ honestatem, & mores pravos corrigendos, quia perlegi & revolvi non consueverunt, a viris ætate & judicio maturis, sed Pueris tantum & Tyronibus relinquuntur. Bacon de Augmentis. Scient. Lib. 7. c. 3.
“ No author in that age (says Hume) was more celebrated, both abroad and at home, than Hobbes. In our times he is much neglected: a lively instance, how precarious are all reputations founded on reasoning and philosophy! A pleasant comedy, which paints the manners of the age, and exposes a faithful picture of nature, is a durable work, and is transmitted to the latest posterity. But a system, whether physical or metaphysical, owes commonly its success to its novelty; and is no sooner canvassed with impartiality, than its weakness is discovered. Hist. vol. vi. p. 127.
+ Ver. 18.
Alas! few verses touch their nicer ear;
Superior to the original, on account of the mention of the Laureate ; and the sudden unexpected turn in the last line, which is uncommonly sly and severe.
5. Quid faciam? saltat Milonius, &c.+
Each mortal has his pleasure.
These words, indeed, open the sense of Horace ; but the quid faciam is better, as it leaves it to the reader to discover what is one of Horace's greatest beauties, his secret and delicate transitions and connexions, to which they who do not carefully attend, lose half the pleasure of reading him.
LYTTELTON, in his Dialogues of the Dead, has introduced Darteneuf, in a pleasant discourse betwist him and Apicius, bitterly lamenting his ill-fortune, in having lived before turtle-feasts* were known in England.
Alas!” “ how imperfect is human felicity! I lived in an age when the pleasure of eating was thought to be carried to its highest perfection in England and France. And yet a turtle-feast is a novelty to me! Would it be impossible, do you think, to obtain leave from Pluto, of going back for one day, just to taste of that food ? I would promise to kill myself by the quantity I would eat before the next morning.”
6. Castor gaudet equis ; ovo prognatus eodem,
F. loves the senate, Hockley-hole his brother;
This parallel is not happy and exact: to shew the variety of human passions and pursuits,
* He might have said the same of the Chinese Bird's Nest, a piece of oriental luxury lately imported.
+ Ver. 26.