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Language, than hope an advancement of it in the present Age.
I am still speaking to you, my Lord: tho' in all probability, you are already out of hearing. Nothing, which my Meanness can produce, is worthy of this long attention. But I ain come to the latt Petition of Abraham; If there be Ten Righteous Lines, in this valt Preface, spare it for their fake; and also spare the next City, because it is but a little one.
I wou'd excuse the Performance of this Tranflation, if it were all my own; but the better, tho' not the greater part being the Work of fome Gentlemen, who have succeeded very happily in their Undertaking; let their Excellencies atone for my Imperfections, and those of my Sons. I have perus'd some of the Satyrs, which are done by other Hands; and they seem to me as perfect in their kind, as any thing I have seen in English Verse. The common way which we have taken, is not a literal Translation, but a kind of Paraphrase; or somewhat which is yet more loose, betwixt a Paraphrase and Imitation. It was not possible for us, or any Men, to have made it pleasant any other way. If rendring the exa& Sense of these Authors, almost Line for Line, had been our Business, Barten Holiday had done it already to our hands: And, by the help of his Learned Notes and Illustrations, not only Juvenal and Persius, but what yet is more obscure, his own Verses, might be understood.
But he wrote for Fame, and wrote to Scholars: We write only for the Pleasure and Entertainment of those Gentlemen and Ladies, who tho' they are not Scholars, are not Ignorant: Persons of UnderItanding and good Sense; who not having been conversant in the Original, or at least not having
made Latin Verse so much their Business, as to be Critiques in it, wou'd be glad to find, if the Wit of our two great Authors be answerable to their Fame and Reputation in the World. We have therefore endeavour'd to give the Publick all the Satisfaction we are able in this kind.
And if we are not altogether fo faithful to our Author, as our Predecessors Holiday and Stapylton; yet we may challenge to our felves this Praise, That we shall be far more pleasing to our Readers. We have follow'd our Authors at greater Distance, tho' not Step by Step, as they have done. For oftentimes they have gone so close, that they have trod on the Heels of Juvenal and Perlius, and hurt them by their too near Approach. A noble Author wou'd not be pursu'd too close by a Translator. We lose his Spirit, when we think to take his Body. The groffer Part remains with us, but the Soui is flown away, in fome Noble Expression, or fome delicate Turn of Words, or Thought. Thus Holiday, who made this way his Choice, seiz'd the Meaning of Juvenal; but the Poetry has always [cap'd him.
They who will not grant me, that Pleasure is one of the Ends of Poetry, but that it is only a Means of compassing the only End, which is InItruction; must yet allow, that without the Means of Pleasure, the Instruction is but a bare and dry Philosophy; a crude Preparation of Morals, which we may have from Aristotle and Epictetus, with more Profit than from any Poet. Neither Holiday nor Stapylton have imitated Yuvenal, in the Poetical Part of him, his Di&tion and his Elocution. Nor had they been Poets, as neither of them were; yet in the way they took, it was impossible for them to have succeeded in the Poetique Part.
The English Verse, which we call Heroique, confifts of no more than Ten Syllables; the Latin Hexameter sometimes rises to Seventeen; as for Example, this Verse in Virgil: Pulverulenta putrem fonitu quatit ungula Campum. Here is the difference of no less than Seven Syllables in a Line, betwixt the English and the Latin. Now the Medium of these, is about Fourteen Syllables; because the Dactyle is a more frequent Foot in Hexameters than the Spondee.
But Holiday, without considering that he writ with the disadvantage of Four Syllables less in every Verse, endeavours to make one of his Lines to comprehend the Sense of one of Juvenal's. According to the Fallity of the Propofition, was the Success. He was forc'd to crowd his. Verse with illsounding Monofyllables, of which our barbarous Language affords him a wild Plenty : And by that means he arriv'd at his pedantick End, which was to make a literal Translation: His Verses have nothing of Verse in them, but only the worst part of it the Rhime; and that, into the Bargain, is far from good. But, which is more intolerable, by Cramming his ill-chofen, and worse-founding Mo nofyllables fo close together; the very Sense which he endeavours to explain, is become more obscure than that of his Author. So that Holiday himself cannot be understood, without as large a Commentary, as that which he makes on his iwo Authors. For my own Part, I can make a shift to find the Meaning of Juvenal without his Notes: But his Tranflation is more difficult than this. Author. And I find Beauties in the Latin to recompence my Pains, but in Holiday and Stapylton, my
Ears, in the first place, are mortally offended ; and then their Senfe is so perplex'd, that I return to the Original, as the more pleasing Task, as well as the more easie.
This must be said for our Translation, that if we give not the whole Sense of Juvenal, yet we give the most considerable Part of it: We give it, in General, fo clearly, that few Notes are fufficient to make us Intelligible. We make our Author at least appear in a Poetique Dress. We have actually made him more Sounding, and more Elegant, than he was before in English: And have endeavour'd to make him speak that kind of English, which he wou'd have spoken had he livid in England, and had written to this Age. If sometimes any of us (and’tis but seldom) make him express the Customs and Manners of our Native Country, rather than of Rome; 'tis, either when there was some kind of Analogy, betwixt their Customs and ours; or when, to make him more easie to Vulgar UnderAtandings, we give him those Manners which are familiar to us. But I defend not this Innovation, 'tis enough if I can excuse it. For to speak fincerely, the Manners of Nations and Ages are not to be confounded : We shou'd either make them English, or leave them Roman. If this can neither be defended, nor excus’d, let it be pardon'd, at least, because it is acknowledg'd; and fo much the more easily, as being a Fault which is never committed without some Pleasure to the Reader.
Thus, my Lord, having troubled you with a tedious Visit, the best Manners will be thewn in the leaft Ceremony. I will flip away while your Back is turn’d, and while you are otherwise employ'd: With great Confufion, for having entertain'd you so long with this Discourse; and for having no 7