« 上一页继续 »
262 AN ESSAY ON THE
are scientisically choked with the culture of exoticks. Thus much sor metaphor; it is contrary to the
3 This passage of Ben jonson, so often quoted, is given us in the admirable preface to the late edition, with a various reading. " small Latin and no Greek," which hath been held up to the publick for a modern sophisiication: yet whether an error or not, it was adopted above a century ago by W. Towers, in a panegyrick on Cartwright. His eulogy,
with more than fifty others, on this now forgotten poet, was prefixed to the edit..165l. '
others any qualities, but those upon which they highly value themselves." Yes, where there is ba competition, and the competitor formidable: but, I think, this critick himself hath scarcely set in opposition the learning of Shakspeare and ]onson. X-'Vhen a fuperiority is univerfally granted, it by no means appears a man's literary intereli to depress the reputation of his antagonili.
In truth the received opinion of the pride and malignity of Jonfon, at least in the earlier part of life, is absolutely groundless : at this time scarce a. play or a poem appeared without Ben's encomium, from the original Shakspeare to the tranllator of Du Bartas. , p
But jonsontis by no means o'u'r only authority. Drayton the countryman and acquaintance of Shakspeare, determines his excellence to -the naturall braine' only. Digges, awit ofthe town before our poet left the Rage, is ver-y Pcrong to the purpose,
as --- Nature only helpt him, for looke thorow
at This whole book, thou shalt lind he doth not borow, at O-ne phrafe from Greekes, not Latines imitate,
ac Nor once from vulgar languagcs tranflate. " 5 ' .