« FöregåendeFortsätt »
have done, is enough to distinguish You from any other, which is the Proposition that I took upon me to demonstrate.
And now, my Lord, to apply what I have said to my present Business; the Satyrs of Juvenal and Persius, appearing in this new English Dress, cannot so properly be inscrib’d to any Man as to your Lordship, who are the First of the Age in that way of Writing. Your Lordship, amongst many other Favours, has given me your Permission for this Address; and you have particularly encourag'd me by your Perusal and Approbation of the Sixth and Tenth Satyrs
. of Juvenal, as I have Translated them. My Fellow-Labourers have likewise Commission'd me, to perform in their behalf this Office of a Dedication to you; and will acknowledge with all poflible Respect and Gratitude, your ACceptance of their Work. Some of them have the Honour to be known to your Lordship already; and they who have not yet that Happiness, delire it now. Be pleas’d to receive our common Endeavours with your wonted Candour, without Intitling you to the Protection of our common Failings, in so difficult an Undertaking. And allow me your Patience, if it be not already tir'd with this long Epiftle, to give you from the best Authors, the Origin, the Antiquity, the Growth, the Change, and the Compleatment of Satyr among the Romans. To describe, if not define, the Nature of that Poem, with its several Qualifications and Virtues, together with the several sorts of it. To compare the Excellencies of Horace, Perfius and Juvenal, and few the particular. Manners of their Satyrs. And lastly, to give an Account of this new way of Version which is attempted in our Performance. All which, according to the Weakness of my
Ability, and the best Lights which I can get from others, shall be the Subject of my following Discourse.
The most perfect Work of Poetry, says our Master Aristotle, is Tragedy. His Reafon is, because 'tis the most united; being more severely confin'd within the Rules of Action, Time, and Place. The Action is entire of a Piece, and One, without Episodes: The Time limited to a Natural Day; and the Place circumscrib'd at least within the compass of one Town, or City. Being exactly proportion'd thus, and uniform in all its Parts, the Mind is more capable of comprehending the whole Beauty of it without Distraction.
But after all these Advantages, an Heroique Poemn is certainly the greatest Work of Human Nature. The Beauties and Perfections of the other are bút Mechanical; those of the Epique are more Noble. Tho' Homer has limited his place to Troy, and the Fields about it; his - Actions to Forty Eight Natural Days, whereof Twelve are Holy-days, or Cessation from Business, during the Funerals of Patroclus. To proceed, the A&tion of the Epique is greater : The Extention of Time enlarges the *Pleasure of the Reader, and the Episodes give it more Ornament, and more Variety. The InstruAion is equal; but the first is only Inftru&ive, the latter forms a Hero, and a Prince.
If it fignifies any thing which of them is of the more Ancient Family, the best and most absolute Heroique Poem was written by Homer long before Tragedy was invented: But, if we consider the Datural Endowments, and acquir'd Parts which are necessary to make an accomplish'd Writer in either kind, Tragedy requires a less and more confin'd Knowledge: Moderate Learning, and Ob.
fervation of the Rules is sufficient, if a Genius be not wanting. But in an Epique Poet, one who is worthy of that Name, besides an universal Genius, is requir’d universal Learning, together with all those Qualities and Acquisitions which I have nam'd above, and as many more as I have through Halte or Negligence omitted. And after all, he must have exa&ly study'd Homer and Virgil, as his Patterns, Aristotle and Horace as his Guides, and Vida and Bofu, as their Commentators, with many others both Italian and French Critiques, which I want Leilure here to recommend.
In a word, What I have to say, in relation to This Subject, which does not particularly concern Satyr, is, That the Greatnefs of an Heroique Poem, beyond that of a Tragedy, may easily be difcover'd by observing how few have attempted that Work, in Comparison of those who have written Drama's; and of those few, how sinall a Number have succeeded. But leaving the Critiques on either side, to contend about the Preference due to this or that fort of Poetry; I will hasten to my present Business, which is the Antiquity and Origin of Satyr, according to those Informations which I have receiv'd from the learned Casaubon, Heinsius, Rigaltius, Dacier, and the Dauphin's Juvenal; to which I shall add some Observations of my own.
There has been a long Dispute among the Modern Critiques, whether the Romans deriv'd their Satyr from the Grecians, or first invented it themselves. Hulius Scaliger and Heinfus, are of the first Opinion; Casaubon, Rigaltius, Dacier, and the Publisher of the Dauphin's Juvenal, maintain the latter. If we take Satyr in the general Signification of the Word, as it is us'd in all modern
Languages for an Invective, 'tis certain that 'tis almost as old as Verse; and tho' Hyinns, which are Praises of God, may be allow'd to have been before it, yet the Defamation of others was not long after it. After God had curs'd Adam and Eve in Paradise, the Husband and Wife excus'd themselves; by laying the blame on one another; and gave a Beginning to those conjugal Dialogues in Profe, which the Poets have perfected in Verfe. The Third Chapter of Job is one of the first lastances of this poem in Holy Scripture: Unless we will take it higher, from the latter end of the Second; where his. Wife advises him to curse his Maker.
This Original, I confess, is not much to the Honour of Satyr; but here it was Nature, and that depravid: When it became an Art, it bore" better Fruit. Only we have learnt thus much already, that Scoffs and Revilings are of the Growth of all Nations; and consequently that neither the Greek Poets borrow'd from other People their Art of Railing, neither needed the Romans to take it from them. But considering Satyr as a Species of Poctry; here the War begins amongst the Critiques. Scaliger the Father will have it descend from Greece to Rome; and derives the Word Satyr, from Satyrus, that mixt kind of Animal, or, as the Ancients thought him, Rural God, made up betwixt a Man and a Goat; with a Human Head, hook'd Nose, powting Lips, a Banch or Struma under the Chin, prick'd
Ears, and upright Horns; the Body shagg’d with Hair, especially from the Waste, and ending in a Goat, with the Legs and Feet of that Creature. But Casaubon, and his Followers, with Reafon, condemn this Derivation; and prove that from Satyrus, the word Satira, as it signifies a
Poem, cannot possibly descend. For Satira is no properly a Substantive, but an Adjective ; to which the word Lanx, in English a Charger, or large Platter, is understood: °So that the Greek Poem made according to the Manner of a Satyr, and exprefsing his Qualities, must properly bé call'd Satyrical, and not Satyr. And thus far 'tis allow'd that the Grecians had such Poems; but that they were wholly different in Specie, from that to which the Romans gave the Name of Satyr
Aristotle divides all Poetry, in relation to the Progress of it, into Nature without Art, Art begun, and Art compleated. Mankind, even the inost Barbarous, have the Seeds of Poetry implanted in them. The first Specimen of it was certainly shewn in the Praises of the DEITY, and Prayers to Him: And as they are of Natural Obligation, so they are likewise of Divine Institution. Which Milton observing, introduces Adam and Eve every Morning adoring GOD in Hymns and Prayers. The first Poetry was thus begun, in the wild Notes of Natural Poetry, before the Invention of Feet, and Meafures. The Grecians and Romans had no other Original of their Poetry. Festivals and Holy-days foon fucceeded to Private Worship, and we need not doubt but they were enjoin'd by the True GOD to His own People; as they were afterwards imitated by the Heathens; who by the Light of Reason knew they were to invoke some Superiour Being in their Necessities, and to thank Him for his Benefits. Thus the Grecian Holy-days were celebrated with Offerings to Bacchus and Ceres, and other Deities, to whose Bounty they suppos'd they were owing for their Corn and Wine, and other Helps of Life. And the ancient Romans, Horace tells us, paid their 5