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* Di&titet Albano Musas in monte locutas.
Si, quia" Graiorum sunt antiquissima quaeque
Scripla vel optima, Romani pensantur eadem
Scriptores trutina; non eft quod multa loquamur:
Nil intra est oleam, nil extra eft in nuce duri.
Venimus ad fummum fortunae : pingimus, atque
O-Pfallimus, et luetamur Achivis doétius unetis.
Si o meliora dies, ut vina, poemata reddit;
Scire velim, chartis pretium quotas arroget annus.
Scriptor ab hinc annos centum qui decidit, inter-
Perfectos veteresque referri debet, án inter
Viles atque novos ? excludat jurgia finis.
Eft vetus atque probus, 'centum qui perficit annos.
Quid? qui deperiit minor uno mense vel anno,
Inter quos referendus erit ? 'veteresne poetas,
An quos et praesens et postera réfpuat aetas ?
afte quidem veteres inter ponetur "boneste,
Qui vel menfe brevi, vel toto.eft junior anno.

Utor permiffo, caudaeque pilos ut "equinae
Paulatim vello: 'et demo unum, demo et item unum;
Dum cadat elusuş ratione "ruentis acervi,
Qui redit in * faftos, et virtutem aestimat annis,
Miiaturque nihil, nifi quod ' Libitina facravit.

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Ver. 42. met bim at tbe Devil] The Devil Tavern, where Bon Johnson held his i'octical Club,


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age a Poet


And each true Briton is to Ben so civil,
m He swears the Muses met him at the Devil.

Tho' juftly" Greece her eldest sons admires,
Why should not We be wiser than our fires ?
In ev'ry Public Virtue we excell:

We build, we paint, o we fing, we dance as well,
And P learned Athens to our art must stoop,
Could she behold us tumbling thro' a hoop.

If ” Time improve our Wit as well as Wine, Say at what


divine ?
Shall we, or shall we not, account him so,
Who dy'd, perhaps, and hundred years ago?
End all dispute; and fix the year precise
When British bards begin t' immortalize?

Who lasts a' century can have no flaw, 55 “ I hold that Wit á Classic, good in law.

Suppose he wants a year, will you compound ? And shall we deem him. Ancient, right and sound, Or damn to all eternity at once, At ninety nine, a Modern and a Dunce ? 60

We shall not quarrel for a year or two; “ By i courtesy of England, he may do. “

Then, by the rule that made the "Horse-tail bare, I pluck out year by year, as hair by hair, And melt w down Ancients like a heap of snow: 65 While you, to measure merits, look in * Stowe, And estimating authors by the year, , Beltow a Garland only on a




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y Bier.

* Ennius et sapiens, et fortis, et alter Homerus, Ut critici dicunt, leviter curare videtur Quo * promiffa cadant, et fomnia Pythagorea. Naevius in manibus non eft: at mentibus haeret Pene recens: d adeo sanctum eft vetus cmne poema, Ambigitur quoties, uter utro fit prior ; aufert Pacuvius docti famam senis, Accius alti : Dicitur Afranî toga conveniffe Menandro ; Plautus ad exemplar Siculi properare Epicharmi Vincere Caecilius gravitate, Terentius arte: Hos ediscit, et hos arcto ftipata theatro Spectat Roma potens; habet hos numeratque poetas Ad noftrum tempus, Livi fcriptoris ab aevo. * Interdum vulgus rectum videt: eft ubi peccat,

VIR..69. Shakespear.] Shakespear and Ben, Johnson may traly be said not much to have thought of this Immortality; the one i'n many pieces composed in hafte for the Stage; the other in his latter works in general, which Dryden called his Dotages. VIR. 74. The life to come, in ev'ry Poet's Creed.]

Quo promissa cadant, et fomnia Pythagorca. The beauty of this arises from a circumstance in Ennius's ftory. But as this could not be imitated, our Poet endeavoured to equal it ; and has succeeded.

VIR, 77, Pindaric Art,] Which has much more merit than his Epic, but very unlike the Character, as well as Numbers, of ! Pindar.

Vn. 87. In all debates etc.) The Poet has here put the bald cant of women and boys into extreme fine verse. This is in strict imitation of his Original, where the same. impertinent and gratuitous criticism is admirably ridiculed.

* Shakespear (whom you and ev'ry Play-house bill Style the divine, the matchless, what you will) 70 For gain, nos glory, wing'd his roving fight, And grew Immortal in his own despight. Ben, old and poor, as ligde leem'd to heed • The Life to come, in ev'ry Poet's Creed, Who now reads 6 Cowley? if he pleafes yet, b

75 His Moral pleases, not his pointed wit; Forgot his Epic, nay Pindarič Art, But still ° I love the language of his heart.

“ Yet surely, furely, these were famous men! “ What boy but hears the fayings of old Ben? « In all e debates where Critics bcar a part, “ Not one but nods, and talks of Johnson's Art, " Of Shakespear's Nature, and of Cowley's Wit; How Beaumont's judgment check'd what Fletcher

66 writ;

« How Shadwell hasty, Wycherly was flow; 84 “ But, for the Passions, Southern sure and Rowe. “ These, only thefe, fupport the crouded stage, “ From eldeft Heywood down to Cibber's age.

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VER. 85. Sbadwell bajly, Wysberly was foro.] Nothing was lefs true than this particular : But the whoke paragraph has a mixture of Irony, and muf not altogether be taken for Horace's own Judgment, only the common Chat of the pretenders to Criticism; in some things sight, in others, wrong; as he tells us in his answer. Interdum vulgus reftum videt : eft ubi peccat.

Si veteres ita miratur laudatque poetas,

Ut nihil anteferat, nihil illis comparet ; errat:

Și quaedam nimis i antique, fi pleraque * dure

Dicere cedit eos, 'ignave multa fatetur ;

Et fapit, et mecum facit, et Jove judicat aequo.

* Non equidem insector, delendaque carmina Livi

Effe reor, memini quae" plagosum mihi parvo

Orbilium dictare;

fed emendata videri

Pulchraque, et exactis minimum diftantia, miror:

Inter quae

P verbum emicuit fi forte decorum,

Si è versus paulo concinnior unus et alter ;
Injufte totum ducit venitque poema.

VIR. 91. Gammer Gurton ] A piece of very low humour, one of the first printed Plays in English, and therefore much valued by some Antiquarics.

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