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able of conducting so great a design, though his con to the humours of his people, to make himself and duct in his wars since this has discovered a greater his notions more acceptable to them. This, in a genius in him than appeared at that time. He was gorernment that has so much of freedom in it as desirous to understand our doctrine, but he did not ours, was more necessary than he was inclined to beseem disposed to mend matters in Moscovy. He was, lieve. His reservedness grew on him, so that it disindeed, resolved to encourage learning, and to polish gusted most of those who served him ; but he had his people by sending some of them to travel in other observed the errors of too much talking, more than countries, and to draw strangers to come and live those of too cold a silence. He did not like contraamong them. He seemed apprehensive still of his diction, nor to have his actions censured ; but he loved sister's intrigues. There was a mixture both of pas- to employ and favour those who had the arts of comsion and severity in his temper. He is resolute, but placence, yet he did not love flatterers. His genius understands little of war, and seemed not at all in- lay chiefly to war, in which his courage was more quisitive that way. After I had seen him often, and admired than his conduct. Great errors were often had conversed much with him, I could not but adore committed by hirr ; but his heroical courage set things the depth of the providence of God, that had raised right, as it inflamed those who were about him. He up such a furious man to so absolute an authority was too lavish of money on some occasions, both in over so great a part of the world.

his buildings and to his favourites, but too sparing David, considering the great things God had made for in rewarding services, or in encouraging those who the use of man, broke out into the meditation, 'What brought intelligence. He was apt to take ill imis man that thou art so mindful of him? But here pressions of people, and these stuck long with him ; there is an occasion for reversing these words, since but he never carried them to indecent revenges. He mau seems a very contemptible thing in the sight of gave too much way to his own humour, almost in everyGod, while such a person as the Czar has such multi-thing, not excepting that which related to his own tudes put, as it were, under his feet, exposed to his health. He knew all foreign affairs well, and underrestless jealousy and savage temper. He went from stood the state of every court in Europe very particuhence to the court of Vienna, where he purposed to larly. He instructed his own ministers himself, but he have stayed some time; but he was called home, did not apply enough to affairs at home. He tried how sooner than he had intended, upon a discovery or a he could govern us, by balancing the two parties one suspicion of intrigues managed by his sister. The against another ; but he came at last to be persuaded strangers, to whom he trusted most, were so true to that the Tories were irreconcilable to him, and he him, that those designs were crushed before he came was resolved to try and trust thein no more. He beback. But on this occasion he let loose his fury on lieved the truth of the Christian religion very firmly, all whom he suspected. Some hundreds of them and he expressed a horror at atheism and blasphemy; were hanged all round Moscow; and it was said that and though there was much of both in his court, yet he cut off many heads with his own hand. And so far it was always denied to him, and kept out of sight. was he from relenting, or showing any sort of tender- He was most exemplarily decent and devout in the ness, that he seemed delighted with it. How long public exercises of the worship of God ; only on he is to be the scourge of that nation, or of his neigh- week-days he came too seldom to them. He was bours, God only knows. So extraordinary an incident an attentive hearer of sermons, and was constant in will, I hope, justify such a digression.

his private prayers, and in reading the Scriptures ;

and when he spoke of religious matters, which he did [Character of William III.]

not often, it was with a becoming gravity. He was

much possessed with the belief of absolute decrees. (From the same.]

He said to me he adhered to these, because he did Thus lived and died William III., King of Great not see how the belief of Providence could be mainBritain, and Prince of Orange. He had a thin and tained upon any other supposition. His indifference weak body, was brown-haired, and of a clear and deli as to the forms of church-government, and his being cate constitution. He had a Roman eagle nose, bright zealous for toleration, together with his cold behaviour and sparkling eyes, a large front, and a countenance towards the clergy, gave them generally very ill imcomposed to gravity and authority. All his senses pressions of him. In his deportment towards all about were critical and exquisite. He was always asthma- him, he seemed to make little distinction between tical; and the dregs of the small-pox falling on his the good and the bad, and those who served well, or lungs, he had a constant deep cough. His behaviour those who served him ill. He loved the Dutch, and was solemn and serious, seldom cheerful, and but with was much beloved among them ; but the ill returns a few. He spoke little and very slowly, and most he met from the English nation, their jealousies of commonly with a disgusting dryness, which was his him, and their perverseness towards him, had too character at all times, except in a day of battle ; for much soured his mind, and had in a great measure then he was all fire, though without passion; he was alienated him from them; which he did not take care then everywhere, and looked to everything. He had no enough to conceal, though he saw the ill effects this great advantage from his education. De Witt's dis- had upon his business. He grew, in his last years, courses were of great use to him; and he, being appre- too reniss and careless as to all affairs, till the hensive of the observation of those who were looking treacheries of France awakened him, and the drcadnarrowly into everything he said or did, had brought ful conjunction of the monarchies gave so loud an himself under a habitual caution, that he could never alarm to all Europe ; for a watching over that court, shake off ; though in another scene it proved as hurt- and a bestirring himself against their practices, was ful as it was then necessary to his affairs. He spoke the prevailing passion of his whole life. Few men Dutch, French, English, and German equally well; had the art of concealing and governing passion more and he understood the Latin, Spanish, and Italian, than he had ; yet few men had stronger passions, so that he was well fitted to command armies com- which were seldom felt but by inferior servants, to posed of several nations. He had a memory that whom he usually made such recompenses for any amazed all about him, for it never failed him. He sudden or indecent vents he might give his anger, was an exact observer of men and things. His strength that they were glad at every time that it broke upon lay rather in a true discerning and a sound judgment, them. He was too easy to the faults of those about than in imagination or invention. His designs were him, when they did not lie in his own way, or cross always great and good. But it was thought he trusted any of his designs ; and he was so apt to think that too much to that, and that he did not descend enough his ministers might grow insolent, if they should find

that they had much credit with him, that he seemed among the specimens which can be furnished of to have made it a maxim to let them often feel how vigorous and genuine idiomatic English. In addition little power they had even in small matters. His to the qualities just enumerated, it possesses those of favourites had a more entire power, but he accustomed equability and freedom from mannerism. Speaking thern only to inform him of things, but to be sparing of this attribute of Dryden's style, Dr Johnson in offering advice, except when it was asked. It was observes, “He who writes much, will not easily not easy to account for the reasons of the favour that escape a manner-such a recurrence of particular he showed, in the highest instances, to two persons modes as may be easily noted. Dryden is always beyond all others, the Earls of Portland and Albe- another and the same; he does not exhibit a second marle, they being in all respects men not only of time the same elegances in the same form, nor different, but of opposite characters. Secrecy and appears to have any art other than that of expressing fidelity were the only qualities in which it could be with clearness what he thinks with vigour. His said that they did in any sort agree. I have now run style could not easily be imitated, either seriously or through the chief branches of his character. I had ludicrously; for, being always equable and always occasion to know him well, having observed him very varied, it has no prominent or discriminative characcarefully in a course of sixteen years. I had a large ters. The beauty who is totally free from dispromeasure of his favour, and a free access to him all the portion of parts and features, cannot be ridiculed by while, though not at all times to the same degree. an overcharged resemblance.** The freedom that I used with him was not always

Dryden has left no extensive work in prose; the acceptable; but he saw that I served him faithfully; I pieces which he wrote were merely accompaniments so, after some intervals of coldness, he always returned to his poems and plays, and consist of prefaces, to a good measure of confidence in me. I was, in dedications, and critical essays. His dedications are many great instances, much obliged by him; but that noted for the fulsome and unprincipled flattery in was not my chief bias to him ; I considered him as a

which he seems to have thought himself authorised person raised up by God to resist the power of France, by his poverty to indulge. The critical essays, and the progress of tyranny and persecution. The series of the five Princes of Orange that was now ended than would now be tolerated in similar produc

though written with more haste and carelessness in him, was the noblest succession of heroes that we tions, embody many sound and vigorously-expressed find in any history. And the thirty years, from the thoughts on subjects connected with polite liteyear 1672 to his death, in which he acted so great a part, carry in them so many amazing steps of a glo- have not the formality of a settled style, in which

rature. Of his prefaces Dr Johnson remarks, "Ther rious and distinguishing Providence, that, in the words the first half of the sentence betrays the other. The of David, he may be called The man of God's right clauses are never balanced, nor the periods modelled: hand, whom he made strong for himself. After all the abatements that may be allowed for his errors and every word seems to drop by chance, though it falls faults, he ought still to be reckoned among the greatest the whole is airy, animated, and vigorous ; what is

into its proper place. Nothing is cold or languid; princes that our history, or indeed that any other, little is gay; what is great is splendid. He may can afford. He died in a critical time for his own glory, since he had formed a great alliance, and had be thought to mention himself too frequently; but projected the whole scheine of the war; so that if it while he forces himself upon our esteem, we can

not refuse him to stand high in his own. Everygucceeds, a great part of the honour of it will be ascribed to him ; and if otherwise, it will be said he thing is excused by the play of images and the was the soul of the alliance, that did both animate sprightliness of expression. Though all is easy, anıl knit it together, and that it was natural for that nothing is feeble; though all seems careless, there is body to die and fall asunder, when he who gave it nothing harsh; and though, since his earlier works, life was withdrawn. Upon his death, some moved

more than a century has passed, they have nothing for a magnificent funeral ; but it seemed not decent yet uncouth or obsolete.' to run into unnecessary expense, when we were enter

According to the same critic, Dryden's Essay on ing on a war that must be maintained at a vast charge. Dramatic Poesy 'was the first regular and valuable So a private funeral was resolved on. But for the treatise on the art of writing. He who, having honour of his memory, a noble monument and an

formed his opinions in the present age of English equestrian statue were ordered. Some years must literature, turns back to peruse this dialogue, will show whether these things were really intended, or if not perhaps find much increase of knowledge, or they were only spoke of to excuse the privacy of his much novelty of instruction; but he is to remember funeral, which was scarce decent, so far was it from that critical principles were then in the hands of a being magnificent.

few, who had gathered them partly from the ancients, and partly from the Italians and French. The structure of dramatic poenis was then not generally

understood. Audiences applauded by instinct, and DRYDEN, who contributed more than any other poets, perhaps, often pleased by chance. English writer to improve the poetical diction of his A writer who obtains his full purpose, loses native tongue, performed also essential service of himself in his own lustre. Of an opinion which is no the same kind with respect to the quality of our longer doubted, the evidence ceases to be examined. prose. Throwing off, still more than Cowley had Of an art universally practised, the first teacher is ione, those inversions and other forms of Latin forgotten. Learning, once made popular, is no longer Idiom which abound in the pages of his most dis-learning; it has the appearance of something which tinguished predecessors, Dryden speaks in the lan- we have bestowed upon ourselves, as the dew appears guage of one addressing, in easy yet dignified con to rise from the field which it refreshes. versational phraseology, an assemblage of polite and To judge rightly of an author, we must transport well-educated men. Strength, ease, copiousness, ourselves to his time, and examine what were the variety, and animation, are the predominant qualities wants of his cotemporaries, and what were his means of his style; but the haste with which he composed, of supplying them. That which was easy at one and his inherent dislike to the labour of correction, time was difficult at another. Dryden, at least, are sometimes betrayed by the negligence and rough imported his science, and gave his country what it ness of his sentences. On the whole, however, to the prose of Dryden may be assigned the foremost place

* Johnson's Life of Dryden.

JOHN DRYDEN.

wanted before; or rather he imported only the say he ever had a fit subject for his wit, and did not materials, and manufactured them by his own then raise himself as high above the rest of poets, skill.

Quantum lenta solent inter viburna cupressi. The Dialogue on the Drama was one of his first

The consideration of this made Mr Hales of Eton essays of criticism, written when he was yet a timorous candidate for reputation, and therefore say, that there was no subject of which any poet ever laboured with that diligence, which he might allow writ, but he would produce it much better done in himself somewhat to remit, when his name gave Shakspeare; and however others are now generally sanction to his positions, and his awe of the public which had contemporaries with him Fletcher and

preferred before him, yet the age wherein he lived, was abated, partly by custom and partly by success. Jonson, never equalled them to him in their esteem. It will not be easy to find, in all the opulence of our And in the last king's court, when Ben's reputation language, a treatise so artfully variegated with successive representations of opposite probabilities, so

was at highest, Sir John Suckling, and with him the enlivened with imagery, so brightened with illus- greater part of the courtiers, set our Shakspeare far

above him. trations. His portraits of the English dramatists are wrought with great spirit and diligence. The

[Beaumont and Fletcher.] account of Shakspeare may stand as a perpetual model of encomiastic criticism; being lofty with Beaumont and Fletcher, of whom I am next to out exaggeration. The praise lavished by Longinus speak, had, with the advantage of Shakspeare's wit, on the attestation of the heroes of Marathon by which was their precedent, great natural gifts, imDemosthenes, fades away before it. In a few lines proved by study; Beaumont especially, being so acis exhibited a character so extensive in its compre- curate a judge of plays, that Ben Jonson, while he hension, and so curious in its limitations, that lived, submitted all his writings to his censure, and, nothing can be added, diminished, or reformed; nor 'tis thought, used his judgment in correcting, if not can the editors and admirers of Shakspeare, in all contriving, all his plots. What value he had for him, their emulation of reverence, boast of much more appears by the verses he writ to him, and therefore than of having diffused and paraphrased this epitome I need speak no farther of it. The first play that of excellence-of having changed Dryden's gold for brought Fletcher and him in esteem was their Phibaser metal, of lower value though of greater bulk. laster ;' for before that they had written two or three

In this, and in all his other essays on the same very unsuccessfully : as the like is reported of Ben subject, the criticism of Dryden is the criticism of a Jonson, before he writ ' Every Man in his Humour.' poet, not a dull collection of theorems, not a rude Their plots were generally more regular than Shakdetection of faults which, perhaps, the censor was not speare's, especially those which were made before able to have committed, but a gay and vigorous Beaumont's death; and they understood and imidissertation, where delight is mingled with instruc-tated the conversation of gentlemen much better; tion, and where the author proves his right of judg. whose wild debaucheries, and quickness of wit in rement by his power of performance.'

partees, no poet before them could paint as they have *The prose of Dryden,' says Sir Walter Scott, done. Humour, which Ben Jonson derived from parmay rank with the best in the English language. ticular persons, they made it not their business to deIt is no less of his own formation than his ver

scribe : they represented all the passions very lively, sification; is equally spirited, and equally har- but above all, love. I am apt to believe the English monious. Without the lengthened and pedantic language in them arrived to its highest perfection : sentences of Clarendon, it is dignified when dignity what words have since been taken in, are rather superis becoming, and is lively without the accumulation fluous than ornamental. Their plays are now the of strained and absurd allusions and metaphors, most pleasant and frequent entertainments of the which were unfortunately mistaken for wit by many stage; two of theirs being acted through the year, for of the author's contemporaries.'

one of Shakspeare's or Jonson's: the reason is, beIt is recorded by Malone, that Dryden's miscel cause there is a certain gaiety in their comedies, and laneous prose writings were held in high estimation pathos in their more serious plays, which suits geneby Edmund Burke, who carefully studied them on

rally with all men's humours. Shakspeare's lanaccount equally of their style and matter, and is guage is likewise a little obsolete, and Ben Jonson's thought to have in some degree taken them as the wit comes short of theirs. model of his own diction. As specimens of Dryden's prose composition, we

[Ben Jonson.] here present, in the first place, his characters of

As for Jonson, to whose character I am now arrived, some of the most eminent English dramatists.

if we look upon him while he was himself (for his

last plays were but his dotages), I think him the most [Shakspeare.]

learned and judicious writer which any theatre ever

had. He was a most severe judge of himself, as well To begin, then, with Shakspeare. He was the man, as others. One cannot say he wanted wit, but rather who, of all modern, and perhaps ancient poets, had that he was frugal of it. "In his works you find little the largest and most comprehensive soul. All the to retrench or alter. Wit, and language, and humour images of nature were still present to him, and he also in some measure, we had before him; but somedrew them not laboriously, but luckily. When he thing of art was wanting to the drama, till he came. describes anything, you more than see it-you feel it He managed his strength to more advantage than any too. Those who accuse him to have wanted learning, who preceded him. You seldom find him making give him the greater commendation. He was natu- love in any of his scenes, or endeavouring to move the rally learned; he needed not the spectacles of books passions ; his genius was too sullen and satumine to to read nature ; he looked inwards, and found her do it gracefully, especially when he knew he came there. I cannot say he is everywhere alike; were he after those who had performed both to such a height. so, I should do him injury to compare him with the Humour was his proper sphere; and in that he degreatest of mankind. He is many times flat, insipid; lighted most to represent mechanic' people. He was his comic wit degenerating into clenches, his serious deeply conversant in the ancients, both Greek and swelling into bombast. But he is always great when some great occasion is presented to him ; no man can 1 As the cypress is above surrounding shrubs.

Latin, and he borrowed boldly from them; there is spirits of the English from their natural reservedness ; scarce a poet or historian among the Roman authors loosened them from their stiff forms of conversation, of those times whom he has not translated in ‘Sejanus' and made them easy and pliant to each other in disand 'Catiline.' But he has done his robberies so openly, course. Thus, insensibly, our way of living became that one may see he fears not to be taxed by any law. more free; and the fire of the English wit, which was He invades authors like a monarch ; and what would before stified under a constrained melancholy way of be theft in other poets is only victory in him. With breeding, began first to display its force by mixing the spoils of these writers he so represented Rome to the solidity of our nation with the air and gaiety of us, in its rites, ceremonies, and customs, that if one our neighbours. This being granted to be true, it of their poets had written either of his tragedies, we would be a wonder if the poets, whose work is imitahad seen less of it than in him. If there was any tion, should be the only persons in three kingdoms fault in his language, 'twas that he weaved it too who should not receive advantage by it; or if they closely and laboriously, in his comedies especially: should not more easily imitate the wit and conversaperhaps, too, he did a little too much Romanise tion of the present age than of the past. our tongue, leaving the words which he translated almost as much Latin as he found them; wherein,

[Translations of the Ancient Poets.] though he learnedly followed their language, he did not enough comply with the idiom of ours. If I would Translation is a kind of drawing after the life; compare him with Shakspeare, I must acknowledge where every one will acknowledge there is a double him the more correct poet, but Shakspeare the greater sort of likeness, a good one and a bad. It is one thing wit. Shakspeare was the Homer, or father of our to draw the outlines true, the features like, the prodramatic poets : Jonson was the Virgil, the pattern of portions exact, the colouring itself perhaps tolerable : elaborate writing; I admire him, but I love Shaks- and another thing to make all these graceful, by tlie peare. To conclude of him: as he has given us the posture, the shadowings, and chiefly by the spirit most correct plays, so, in the precepts which he has which animates the whole. I cannot, without some laid down in his · Discoveries,' we have as many and indignation, look on an ill copy of an excellent oriprofitable rules for perfecting the stage, as any where- ginal: much less can I behold with patience Virgil, with the French can furnish us.

Homer, and some others, whose beauties I hare been

endeavouring all my life to imitate, so abused, as I [Improved Style of Dramatic Dialogue after the

may say, to their faces by a botching interpreter. Restoration.]

What English readers, unacquainted with Greek or

Latin, will believe me or any other man, when we I have always acknowledged the wit of our prede- commend these authors, and confess we derive all that cessors with all the veneration which becomes me; is pardonable in us from their fountains, if they take but, I am sure, their wit was not that of gentlemen ; those to be the same poets whom our Oglebies have there was ever somewhat that was ill-bred and translated? But I dare assure them, that a good poet clownish in it, and which confessed the conversation is no more like himself in a dull translation, than his of the authors.

carcass would be to his living body. There are many And this leads me to the last and greatest advantage who understand Greek and Latin, and yet are ignoof our writing, which proceeds from conversation. In rant of their mother-tongue. The proprieties and dethe age wherein those poetsd lived, there was less of licacies of the English are known to few: it is imposallantry than in ours; neither did they keep the best sible eren for a good wit to understand and practise company of theirs. Their fortune has been much like them without the help of a liberal education, long that of Epicurus in the retirement of his gardens; to reading, and digesting of those few good authors we live almost unknown, and to be celebrated after their hare amongst us; the knowledge of men and manners, decease. I cannot find that any of them had been the freedom of habitudes and conversation with the conversant in courts, except Ben Jonson; and his best company of both sexes; and, in short, without genius lay not so much that way, as to make an im- wearing off the rust which he contracted while he was provement by it. Greatness was not then so easy of laying in a stock of learning. Thus difficult it is to un. access, nor conversation so free, as it now is. I cannot, derstand the purity of English, and critically to discern therefore, conceive it any insolence to affirm, that by not only good writers from bad, and a proper style froin the knowledge and pattern of their wit who writ before a corrupt, but also to distinguish that which is pure us, and by the advantage of our own conversation, the in a good author, from that which is vicious and cordiscourse and raillery of our comedies excel what has rupt in him. And for want of all these requisites, or been written by them. And this will be denied by the greatest part of them, most of our ingenious young none, but some few old fellows who value themselves men take up some cried-up English poet for their on their acquaintance with the Black Friars ; who, model ; adore him, and imitate him, as they think, because they saw their plays, would pretend a right to without knowing wherein he is defective, where he is judge ours.

boyish and trifling, wherein either his thoughts are Now, if they ask me whence it is that our conver- improper to his subject, or his expressions unworthy sation is so much refined, I must freely, and without of his thoughts, or the turn of both is unharmonious. Aattery, ascribe it to the court; and in it, particularly Thus it appears necessary that a man should be a to the king, whose example gives a law to it. His own

nice critic in his mother-tongue before he attempts to misfortunes, and the nation's, afforded him an oppor- translate in a foreign language. Neither is it suffitunity which is rarely allowed to sovereign princes, cient that he be able to judge of words and style, but I mean of travelling, and being conversant in the he must be a master of them too: he must perfectly most polished courts of Europe ; and thereby of cul- understand his author's tongue, and absolutely comtivating a spirit which was formed by nature to re- mand his own : so that to be a thorough translator, ceive the impressions of a gallant and generous edu- he must be a thorough poet. Neither is it enough to cation. At his return, he found a nation lost as much give his author's sense, in good English, in poetical in barbarism as in rebellion : And, as the excellency expressions, and in musical numbers; for, though all of his nature forgave the one, so the excellency of his these are exceeding difficult to perform, yet there remanners reformed the other. The desire of imitating mains a harder task; and it is a secret of which few B0 great a pattern first awakened the dull and heavy translators have sufficiently thought. I have already

hinted a word or two concerning it; that is, the main1 Shakspearo, Jonson, &c. taining the character of an author, which distinguishes

him from all others, and makes him appear that in- verse, he commonly allows two lines for one of Virgil, dividual poet whom you would interpret. For ex- and does not always hit his sense. Tasso tells us in ample, not only the thoughts but the style and versi- his letters that Sperone Speroni, a great Italian wit, fication of Virgil and Ovid are very different; yet I who was his contemporary, observed of Virgil and see, even in our best poets, who have translated some | Tully, that the Latin orator endeavoured to imitate parts of them, that they have confounded their the copiousness of Homer, the Greek poet; and that several talents; and by endeavouring only at the the Latin poet made it his business to reach the consweetness and harmony of numbers, have made them ciseness of Demosthenes, the Greek orator. Virgil, both so much alike, that if I did not know the ori- therefore, being so very sparing of his words, and ginals, I should never be able to judge by the copies | leaving so much to be imagined by the reader, can which was Virgil and which was Ovid. It was ob- never be translated as he ought, in any modern tongue. jected against a late noble painter, that he drew To make him copious, is to alter his character; and many graceful pictures, but few of them were like to translate him line for line, is impossible; because And this happened to him, because he always studied the Latin is naturally a more succinct language than himself more than those who sat to him. In such either the Italian, Spanish, French, or even than the translators I can easily distinguish the hand which English, which, by reason of its monosyllables, is far performed the work, but I cannot distinguish their the most compendious of them. Virgil is much the poet from another. Suppose two authors are equally closest of any Roman poet, and the Latin hexameter sweet ; yet there is as great distinction to be made in has more feet than the English heroic. sweetness, as in that of sugar, and that of honey. I Besides all this, an author has the choice of his own can make the difference more plain, by giving you (if thoughts and words, which a translator has not; he it be worth knowing) my own method of proceeding, is confined by the sense of the inventor to those exin my translations out of four several poets in this pressions which are the nearest to it; so that Virgil, volume-Virgil, Theocritus, Lucretius, and orace. studying brevity, and having the command of his own In each of these, before I undertook them, I considered language, could bring those words into a narrow comthe genius and distinguishing character of my author. pass, which a translator cannot render without cirI looked on Virgil as a succinct and grave majestic cumlocutions. In short, they who have called him writer ; one who weighed not only every thought, but the torture of the grammarians, might also have called every word and syllabie; who was still aiming to him the plague of translators; for he seems to have crowd his sense into as narrow a compass as possibly studied not to be translated. I own that, endeavourhe could ; for which reason he is so very figurative, ing to turn his 'Nisus and Euryalus' as close as I was that he requires (1 may almost say) a grammar apart able, I have performed that episode too literally to construe him. His verse is everywhere sounding that giving more scope to Mezentius and Lausus, the very thing in your ears, whose sense it bears; yet that version, which has more of the majesty of Virgil, the numbers are perpetually varied, to increase the has less of his conciseness; and all that I can prodelight of the reader, so that the same sounds are mise for myself, is only that I have done both better never repeated twice together. On the contrary, Ovid than Ogleby, and perhaps as well as Caro; so that, and Claudian, though they write in styles differing methinks, I coine like a malefactor, to make a from each other, yet have each of them but one sort speech upon the gallows, and to warn all other poets, of music in their verses. All the versification and by my sad example, from the sacrilege of translating little variety of Claudian is included within the com- Virgil. Yet, by considering him so carefully as I did pass of four or five lines, and then he begins again in before my attempt, I have made some faint seseinthe same tenor, perpetually closing his sense at the blance of him; and, had I taken more time, might end of a verse, and that verse commonly which they possibly have succeeded better, but never so well as call golden, or two substantives and two adjectives, to have satisfied myself. with a verb betwixt them to keep the peace. Ovid, He who excels all other poets in his own language, with all his sweetness, has as little variety of numbers were it possible to do him right, must aj pear abole and sound as he ; he is always, as it were, upon the them in our tongue, which, as my Lord Rosconimon hand-gallop, and his verse runs upon carpet-ground. justly observes, approaches nearest to the Roman in He avoids, like the other, all synalæphas, or cutting its majesty ; nearest, indeed, but with a vast interval off one vowel when it comes before another in the betwixt them. There is an inimitable grace in Virfollowing word ; so that, minding only smoothness, gil's words, and in them principally consists that he wants both variety and majesty. But to return to beauty which gives so inexpressible a pleasure to him Virgil : though he is smooth where smoothness is re- who best understands their force. This diction of his quired, yet he is so far from affecting it, that he seems (I must once again say) is never to be copied; and, rather to disdain it; frequently nakes use of syna- since it cannot, he will appear but lame in the best læphas, and concludes his sense in the middle of his translation. The turns of his verse, his breakings, his

He is everywhere above conceits of epigram- propriety, his numbers, and his gravity, I have a3 matic wit and gross hyperboles ; he maintains majesty far imitated as the poverty of our language and the in the midst of plainness; he shines, but glares not; hastiness of my performance would allow. I may and is stately without ambition, which is the vice of seem sometimes to have varied from his sense ; but I Lucan. I drew my definition of poetical wit from my think the greatest variations may be fairly deducel particular consideration of him; for propriety of from him; and where I leave his commentators, it may thoughts and words are only to be found in him; and, be I underetand him better; at least I writ without where they are proper, they will be delightful. Plea- consulting them in many places. But two particular sure follows of necessity, as the effect does the cause, lines in Mezentius and Lausus’ I cannot so easily exand therefore is not to be put into the definition. cuse. They are, indeed, remotely allied to Virgil's This exact propriety of Virgil I particularly regarded sense; but they are too like the trifling tenderness of as a great part of his character; but must confess, to Ovid, and were printed before I had considered them iny shame, that I have not been able to translate any enough to alter them. The first of them I have forpart of him so well, as to make him appear wholly gotten, and cannot easily retrieve, because the copy is like himself; for, where the original is close, no ver at the pro

The second is thission can reach it in the same compass. Hannibal

When Lausus died, I was already slain. Caro's, in the Italian, is the nearest, the most poetical, and the inost sonorous, of any translation of the This appears pretty enough at first sight; but I ain Æneids ; yet, though he takes the advantage of blank convinced, for many reasons, that the expression is too

verse,

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