Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

Scope to my Invention: Or that of Edward the Black Prince in subduing Spain, and restoring it to the Lawful Prince, tho' a great Tyrant, Don Pedro the Cruel : Which for the compass of Time, including only the Expedition of one Year; for the Greatness of the A&tion, and its answerable Event; for the Magnanimity oi the Englih Heroe, oppos'd to the Ingratitude of the Person whom he restor’d; and for the many beautiful Episodes, which I had interwoven with the principal Design, together with the Characters of the chiefest English Persons; wherein, after Virgil and Spencer, I wou'd have taken occasion to represent my living Friends and Patrons of the noblest Families, and also shadow'd the Events of future Ages, in the Succession of our Imperial Line: With these Helps, and those of the Machines, which I have mention'd; I might perhaps have done as well as some of my Predeceffors; or at least chalk'd out a way for others to amend my Errors in a like Design. But being encourag'd only with fair Words by King Charles II, my little Salary ill paid, and no prospect of a future Subsistence, I was then discourag'd in the Beginning of my Attempt; and now Age has overtaken me; and Want, a more insufferable Evil, through the Change of the Times, has wholly disenablid me. Tho' I must ever acknowledge, to the Honour of your Lordship, and the eternal Memory of your Charity, that since this Revolution, wherein I have patiently suffer'd the Ruin of my small Fortune, and the loss of that poor Subsistence which I had from Two Kings, whom I had serv'd more faithfully than profitably to myself; then your Lordship was pleas'd, out of no other Motive but your own Nobleness, with. out any Desert of mine, or the least Sollicitation from me, to make me a moft bountiful Present, which at that time, when I was most in want of it, came most seasonably and unexpectedly to my Relief. That Fa.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

vour, my Lord, is of itself sufficient to bind any 'Grate. ful Man, to a perpetual Acknowledgment, and to all the future Service, which one of my mean Condition can ever be able to perform. May the Almighty God return it for me, both in Blessing you here, and Rewarding you hereafter. I must not presume to defend the Cause for which I now suffer, because

your Lordship is engag'd against it : But the more you are so, the greater is my Obligation to you : For your laying aside all the Confiderations of Factions and Parties, to do an Action of pure disinterested Charity. This is one amongst many of your shining Qualities, which diftinguish you from others of your Rank : But let nie add a farther Truth, That without these Ties of Gratitude, and abstracting from them all, I have a most particular Inclination to Honour you; and, if it were bold an Expression, say, I love you.

"Tis no Shame to be a Poet, tho' 'tis to be a bad one. Auguftus Cæfar of old, and Cardinal Richlieu of late, woud willingly have been such ; and David and Solomon were such. You, who without Flattery, are the beit of the present Age in England, and wou'd have been só, had you been born in any other Country, will receive more Honour in future Ages, by chat one Excellency, than by all those Honours to which your Birth has intitl'd you, or your Merits have acquir’d you.

not

Ne, forte, pudori
Sit Tibi Musa Lyra folers, & Cantor Apoll).

I have formerly said in this Epistle, that I cou'd diftinguish your Writings from those of any others: "Tis now time to clear myself from any Imputation of Selfconceit on that Subject. I assume not to myself any particular Lights in this Discovery; they are such only

as are obvious to every Man of Sense and Judgment, who loves Poetry, and understands it. Your Thoughts are always so remote from the common way of Thinking, that they are, as I may say, of another Species, than the Conceptions of other Poets ; yet you go not out of Nature for any of them :. Gold is never bred upon the Surface of the Ground ; but lies.so hidden, and so deep, that the Mines of it are seldom found; but the force of Waters casts it out from the Bowels of Mountains, and exposes it amongst the Sands of Rivers : giving us of her Bounty, what we cou'd not hope for by our Search. This Success attends your Lordship’s Thoughts, which wou'd look like Chance, if it were, not perpetual, and always of the same Tenor.

If I grant that there is Care in it, 'tis such a Care as wou'd be ineffectual and fruitless in other Men. 'Tis the Curiosa felicitas which Petronius ascribes to Horace in his Odes. We have not wherewithal to imagine fo ftrongly, fo juftly, and so plea fantly: In short, if we have the same Knowledge, we cannot draw out of it the fame Quintessence; we cannot give it such a Term, such a Propriety, and such a Beauty : Something is deficient in the Manner, or the Words, but more in the Nobleness of our Conception. Yet when you have finish'd all, and it appears in its full Lustre, when the Diamond is not only found, but the Roughness smooth'd, when it is cut into a Form, and fet in Gold, then we cannot but acknowledge, that it is the perfect Work of Art and Nature: And every one will be fo vain, to think he himself cou'd have perform'd the like, 'till he attempts it. 'Tis just the Defcription that Horace makes of such a finish'd Piece: It appears so easy, Ut fibi quivis fperet idem ; fudet multum, fruftraque laboret, aufus idem. And besides all this, 'tis your Lordship’s particular Talent to lay your Thoughts so close together, that were they closer they

wou'd

[ocr errors]

/

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

wou'd be crouded, and even a due Connexion wou'd be
wanting. We are not kept in expectation of Two
good Lines, which are to come after a long Parenthe
fis of Twenty bad ; which is the April-Poetry of other ,
Writer's ; a Mixture of Rain and Sun-fhine by Fits :
You are always bright, even almost to a Fault, by
reason of the Excess. There is continual Abundance,
a Magazine of Thought, and yet a perpetual Variery
of Entertainment; which creates such an Appetite in
your Reader, that he is not cloy'd with any thing,
but satisfy'd with all. 'Tis that which the Romans
call Cæna dubia; where there is such Plenty, yet with
al so much Diversity, and so good Order, that the
Choice is difficult betwixt one Excellency and another ;
and yet the Conclusion, by a due Climax, is evermore
the best ; that is, as a Conclusion ought to be, ever the
molt proper for Place. See, my Lord, whether I
have not study'd your Lordship with some Application :
And since You are so modest, that you will not be judge
and Party, I appeal to the whole World, if I have nợi
drawn your Picture to a great degree of Likeness, tho'
'tis but in Miniature: And that some of the best Fea.
tures are yet wanting. Yet what I 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 Perfius, appearing in this new English Dress, cannot so properly be infcrib'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 parti. cularly 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 Commilian'd me, to perform in their behalf this

Office

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

B 3

Office of a Dedication to you; and will acknowledge with all possible 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, defire 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 Epistle, 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 Şorts of it. To compare the Excellencies of Horace, Perfius and Juvenal, and shew 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 Ariflotle is Tragedy. His Reason is, because 'tis the most united ; being more feverely confin'd within the Rules of Action, Time, and Place, The Action is en tire, 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 Poem is certainly the greatest Work of Human Nature. The Beauties and Perfections of the other are but Mechanical; those of the Epique are more Noble. Tho' Ho

mer

« FöregåendeFortsätt »