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YHRISTOPHER PITT, of
whom whatever I shall relate, more than has been already published, I owe to the kind communication of Dr. War. ton, was born in 1699 at Blandford, the fon of a physician much esteemed.
He was, in 1714, received as a scholar into Winchester College, where he was distinguished by exercises of uncommon elegance; and, at his removal to New College in 1719, presented to the electors, as the product of his private and
voluntary studies, a compleat version of Lucan's poem, which he did not then know to have been translated by Rowe.
This is an instance of early diligence which well deserves to be recorded. The suppression of such a work, recommended by such uncommon circumstances, is to be regretted. It is indeed culpable, to load libraries with superfluous books; but incitements to early excellence are never superfluous, and from this example the danger is not great of many imitations.
When he had resided at his College three years, he was presented to the rectory of Pimpern in Dorsetshire (1722), by his relation, Mr. Pitt of Stratfeildsea in Hampshire; and, refigning his fellowship,
continued at Oxford two years longer, till he became Master of Arts (1724).
He probably about this time translated Vida's Art of Poetry, which Triftram's elegant edition had then made popular. In this translation he distinguished himself, both by its general elegance, and by the skilful adaptation of his numbers to the images expressed; a beauty which Vida has with great ardour enforced and exemplified.
He then retired to his living, a place very pleasing by its situation, and therefore likely to excite the imagination of a poet; where he passed the rest of his life, reverenced for his virtue, and beloved for the softness of his temper and the easiness of his manners. Before
strangers he had something of the scholar's timidity or distrust; but when he became familiar he was in a very high degree chearful and entertaining. His general benevolence procured general respect; and he passed a life placid and honourable, neither too great for the kindness of the low, nor too low for the notice of the great.
At what time he composed his Mifcellany, published in 1727, it is rot easy nor necessary to know: those which have dates appear to have been very early productions, and I have not observed that any rise above mediocrity.
The success of his Vida animated him to a higher undertaking; and in his thirtieth year he published a ver
fion of the first book of the Æneid. This being, I suppose, commended by his friends, he some time afterwards added three or four more; with an advertisement in which he represents him. self as translating with great indifference, and with a progress of which himself was hardly conscious.
At last, without any further contention with his modesty, or any awe of the name of Dryden, he gave us a complete Engliíh Eneid, which I am forry to see excluded from this collection. It would have been pleasing to have an opportunity of comparing the two best translations that perhaps were ever produced by one nation of the same author,