Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

and striking dire&ly on the Reader's View. Folly was the proper Quarry of Horace, and not Vice: And, as there are but few notoriously wicked Men, in Comparison with a Shoal of Fools and Fops'; so 'tis a harder thing to make a Man wise, than to make him honest : For the Will is only to be reclaim'd in the one; but the Understanding is to be inform'd in the other. There are Blind-fides and Follies, even in the Professors of Moral Philosophy; and there is not any one Sect of them that Horace has not expos'd. Which, as it was not the Design of Juvenal, who was wholly employ'd in lashing Vices, some of them the most enormous that can be imagin’d; so, perhaps, it was not so much his Talent. Omne vafer vitium ridenti Flaccus amico, tangit, & admisus circun precordia ludit. This was the Commendation which Persius gave hiin : Where by Vitium, he means those little Vices, which we call Follies, the Defects of Human Understanding, or at most the Piccadillo's of Life, rather than the Tragical Vices, to which Men are hurry'd by their unruly Paffions and exorbitant Desires. But in the Word Omne, which is universal, he concludes with me, that the Divine Wit of Horace left nothing untouch'd ; that he enter'd into the inmost Recesses of Nature; found out the Imperfections even of the most Wise and Grave, as well as of the Common People; discovering, even in the great Trebatius, to whom he addresses the first Satyr, his hunting after Business, and following the Court, as well as in the Perfecutor Crispinus, his Impertinence and Importunity. 'Tis true, he exposes Crispinus openly, as a common Nuisance : But he rallies the other as a Friend, more finely. The Exhortations of Persius are confin'd to Noblemen: And

the Stoick Philosophy is that alone which he recommends to them : Juvenal exhorts to particular Virtues, as they are oppos'd to those Vices against which he declaims : But Horace laughs to shame all Follies, and insinuates Virtue, rather by familiar Examples, than by the severity of Precepts.

This last Consideration feems to incline the Balance on the side of Horace, and to give him the Preference to Juvenal, not only in Profit, but in Pleasure. But, after all, I must confess, that the Delight which Horace gives me, is but languishing. Be pleas'd fill to understand, that I speak of my own Taste only: He may ravish other Men; but I am too ftupid and insensible to be tickld. Where he barely grins himself, and, as Scaliger says, only shews his white Teeth, he cannot provoke me to any Laughter. His Urbanity, Ithat is, his Good Manners, are to be commended, but his Wit is faint; and his Salt, if I may dare to say fo, almost insipid. Juvenal is of a more Vigorous and Masculine Wit, he gives me as much Pleasure as I can bear: Hé fully satisfies my Expectation; he treats his Subject home: His Spleen is rais'd, and he raises mine: I have the Plcalure of Concernment in all he says: He drives his Reader along with him ; and when he is at the end of his way, I willingly stop with him. If he went another Stage, it wou'd be too far, it wou'd make a Journey of a Progress, and turo Delight into Fatigue. When he gives over, Pris a sign the Subject is exhausted, and the Wit of Man can carry it no farther. If a Fault can be justly found in him, 'tis that he is sometimes too luxuriant, too redundant; fays more than he needs, like my Friend the Plain-Dealer, but never more than pleases. Add to this, that his Thoughts are as just as those of Horace, and much more eleva

ted,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

1

1

ted. His Expressions are Sonorous and more No-
ble; bis Verse more numerous, and his Words are
suitable to his Thoughts, sublime and lofty. All
these contribute to the Pleasure of the Reader; and
the greater the Soul of him who 'reads, his Tran-
sports are the greater. Horace is always on the
amble, Juvenal on the gallop; but his way is per-
petually on Carpet-ground. He goes with more
impetuosity than Horace, but as securely; and the
Swiftness adds a more lively Agitation to the Spi-
rits. The low Style of Horace is according to his
Subject, that is generally grovely: I question not
but he cou'd have rais'd it : For the First Epistle of
the Second Book, which he writes to Auguftus,
(a molt instructive Satyr concerning Poetry,) is of
so much Dignity in the Words, and of fo much
Elegancy in the Numbers, that the Author plainly
thews, the Sermo Pedestris, in his other Satyrs,
was rather his Choice than his Necefsity. He was
a Rival to Lucilius his Predeeeffor, and was re-
folv'd to surpass him in his own manner. Lucilius,
as we see by his remaining Fragments, minded nei-
ther his Style nor his Numbers, nor his Purity of
Words, nor his Run of Verse. Horace therefore
copes with him in that humble way of Satyr
writes under his own Force, and carries a dead
Weight, that he may match his Competitor in the
Race. This I imagine was the chief Reason, why
he minded only the Clearness of his Satyr,
and the Cleanness of Expression, without af
cending to those Heights, to which his own
Vigour might have carry'd him. But limiting his
Delires only to the Conquest of Lucilius, he had
the Ends of his Rival, who liv'd before him; but
made way for a new Conquest over himself, by
Juvenal his Succeffor. He cou'd not give an equal

Plea

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

C4

Pleasure to his Reader, because he us'd not equal Instruments. The Fault was in the Tools, and not in the Workman. But Verfification and Numbers, are the greatest Pleasures of Poetry: Virgil knew it, and practis'd both so happily, that for ought I know, his greatest Excellency is in his Diction. In all other Parts of Poetry, is faultless; but in this he plac'd his chief Perfection. And give me leave, my Lord, since I have here an apt Occalion, to say, that Virgil cou'd have written farper Satyrs, than either Horace or Juvenal, if he wou'd have employ'd his Talent that way. I will produce a Verle and half of his, in one of his Eclogues, to justify my Opinion; and with Comma's after every Word, to sew, that he has given almost as many Lashes, as he has written Syllables; 'cis against a bad Poet, whose ill Verses he describes : Non tu, in triviis, indocte, solebas, fridenti, miserum, ftipula, difperdere carmen? But to return to my Purpose, when there is any thing deficient in Numbers, and Sound, the Reader is uneasy, and unfatisfy'd; he wants something of his Complement, desires somewhat which he finds not: And this being the manifest Defeet of Horace, 'tis no wonder, that finding it fupply'd in Juvenal, We are more delighted with him. And besides this, the Sauce of Juvenal is more poignant, to create in us an Appetite of reading him. The Meat of Horace is more nourishing ; but the Cookery of Juvenal more exquisite ; so that granting Horace to be the more general Philosopher, we cannot deny that Juvenal was the greater Poet, I mean in Satyr. His Thoughts are sharper, his Indignation against Vice is more vehement; his Spirit has more of the Common-wealth Genius; he treats Tyranny, and all the Vices attending it, as they deserve,

with the utmost Rigour: and consequently a Noble Soul is better pleas’d with a zealous Vindicator of Roman Liberty, than with a temporizing Poet, a Well-manner'd Court-slave, and a Man who is often afraid of laughing in the right Place; who is ever decent, because he is naturally servile. After all, Horace had the Disadvantage of the Times in which he liv'd; they were better for the Man, but worse for the Satyrist. 'Tis generally said, that those enormous Vices which were practis’d under the Reign of Domitian, were not known in the time of Augustus Cæfar: That therefore Juvenal had a larger Field than Horace. Little Follies were out of doors, when Oppression was to be scourg'd instead of Avarice; it was no longer time to turn into Ridicule the false Opinions of Philosophers, when the Roman Liberty was to be allerted. There was more need of a Brutus in Domitian's Days, to redeem or mend, than of a Horace, if he had then been living, to laugh at a FlyCatcher. This Keflection at the same time excuses Horace, but exalts Juvenal. I have ended, before I was aware, the Comparison of Horace and Juvenal, upon the Topicks of Pleasure and Delight; and indeed, I may safely here conclude that Common-place : for if we make Horace our Minister of State in Satyr, and Juvenal of our private Pleasures; I think the latter has no ill Bargain of it. Let Profit have the Preheminence of Honour, in the End of Poetry. Pleasure, tho' but the second in Degree, is the first in Favour. And who wou'd not chuse to be lov'd better, rather than to be more esteem'd ?. But I am enter'd already upon another Topique; which concerns the particular Merits of these two Satyrists. However, I will pursue my Business where I left it; and carry it far

C. 5

ther

« FöregåendeFortsätt »