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and is stately without ambition, which is the vice of Lucan. I drew my definition of poetical wit from my particular consideration of him: for):7 priety of thoughts and words are only to be found in him ; and, where they are proper, they will be delightful. Pleasure follows of necessity, as the effect does the cause ; and therefore is not to be put into the definition. This exact propriety of Virgil I particularly regarded, as a great part of his character ; but must confess, to my shame, that I have not been able to translate any part of him so well, as to make him appear wholly like himself. For where the original is close, no version can reach it in the same compass. Hannibal Caro's, in the Italian, is the nearest, the molt poetical, and the moft fonorous of


translation of the Æneid : yet, though he takes the advantage of blank verse, he commonly allows two lines for one of Virgil, and does not always hit his sense. Taffo tells us, in his letters, that Sperone Speroni, á great italian wit, who was his contemporary, observed of Virgil and Tully, that the Latin Orator endeavoured to imitate the copiousness of Homer, the Greek Poet; and that the Latin Poet made it his bufiness to reach the conciseness of Demosthenes, the Greek Orator. Virgil therefore, being so very sparing of his words, and leaving fo

uch to be imagined by the reader, can never be translated as he ought, in any modern tongue. To make him copious is to alter his character ; and to translate him line for line is impoffible, because the Latin is naturally a more succinct language than either the Italian, Spanish, French, or even than the English, which, by reason of its monofyllables, is far the most compendious of them. Virgil is much the closest of any Roman Poet, and the Latin hexameter has more feet than the English heroic,



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Besides all this, an author has the choice of his own thoughts and words, which a translator has not ; he is.confined by the sense of the inventor to those expreslions which are the nearest to it: so that Virgil ftudying brevity, and having the command of his own language, could bring those words into a narrow compass, which a translator cannot render without circumlocutions. In short, they who have called him the torture of grammarians, might also have called him the plague of translators ; for he feems to have studied not to be translated. I own that, endeavouring to turn his Nifus and Euryalus as close as I was able, I have performed that Episode too literally ; that, giving more scope to Mezentius and Laulus, that version, which has more of the majesty of Virgil, has less of his conciseness; and all that I can promise for myself, is only, that I have done both better than Ogilby, and perhaps as well as Caro. By considering him so carefully as I 'did before my attempi, I have made some faint resemblance of him; and, had I taken more time, might possibly have succeeded better ; but never so well as to have satisfied myself.

He who excels all other Poets in his o'n language, were it posible to do him right, must appear above them in our tongue, which, as my Lord Rorcommon jutily observes, approaches neareit to the Roman in its majefty : nearest indeed, but with a vaft interval betwixt them. There is an inimitable grace in Virgil's words, and in them principally consists that beauty, which gives so inexpressible a pleasure to him who best understands their force. This diction of his (I must once again say) is never to be copied ; and, since it cannot, he will appear but lame in the best translation. The turns of his verse, his breakings, his propriety, his numbers,


and his gravity, I have as far imitated, as the po. verty of our language, and the hastiness of my pero formance, would allow. I may seem sometimes to have varied from his sense ; but I think the greatest variations may be fairly deduced from him; and where I leave his commentators, it may be I understand him better : at least I writ without consulting them in many places. But two particular lines in Mezentius and Lausus I cannot so easily excuse: they are indeed remotely allied to Virgil's fenfe; but they are too like the tenderness of Ovid, and were printed before I had considered them enough to alter them. The first of them I have forgotten, and cannot easily retrieve, because the copy is at the press; the second is this ;

When Lausus died, I was already Nain. This appears pretty enough at first fight; but I am convinced for many reasons, that the expresion is too bold ; that Virgil would not have said it, though Ovid would. The reader may pardon it, if he please, for the freeness of the confession ; and instead of that, and the former, admit these two lines, which are more according to the author :

Nor ask I life, nor fought with that design; As I had us'd my forcune, use thou thine. Having with much ado got clear of Virgil, I have in the next place to consider the genius of Lucretius, whom I have translated more happily in those parts of him which I undertook. If he was not of the best

age of Roman Poetry, he was at least of that which preceded it; and he himself refined it to that degree of perfection, both in the language and the thoughts, that he left an easy task to Virgil ; who as he succeeded him in time, so he copied his excel3


lencies : for the method of the Georgies is plainly derived from him. Lucretius had chosen a subject naturally crabbed; he therefore adorned it with poetical descriptions, and precepts of morality, in the beginning and ending of his books, which you see Virgil has imitated with great success, in those four books, which in my opinion are more perfect in their kind than even his divine Æneid. The turn of his verses he has likewise followed in those places which Lucretius has moft laboured, and some of his very lines he has transplanted into his own works, without much variation. If I am not mistaken, the diftinguishing character of Lucretius (I mean of his soul and genius) is a certain kind of noble pride, and positive assertion of his opinions. He is every where confident of his own reason, and assuming an abfolute command, not only over his vulgar readers, but even his patron Memmius. For he is always bidding him attend, as if he had the rod over him ; and using a magisterial authority, while he inttructs him. From his time to ours, I know none fo like him, as our Poet and Philosopher of Malmsbury. This is that perpetual dictatorship, which is exercised by Lucretius; who, though often in the wrong, yet seems to deal bonâ fide with his reader, and tells him nothing but what he thinks: in which plain fin. cerity, I believe, he differs from our Hobbs, who could not but be convinced, or at least doubt of some eternal truths, which he has opposed. But for Lucretius, he seems to disdain all manner of replies, and is so confident of his cause, that he is before. hand with his antagonists ; urging for them whatever he imagined they could say, and leaving them, as he supposes, without an objection for the future : all this too with so much scorn and indignation, as if he were assured of tke triumph, before he entered the lifts. From this sublime and daring genius of his it most of neceffity come to pass, that his thoughts must be masculine, full of argumentation, and that fufficiently warm. From the fame fiery temper proceeds the loftiness of his expressions, and the perpetual torrent of his verse, where the barrenness of his subject does not too much constrain the quickness of his fancy. For there is no doubt to be made, but that he could have been every where as poetical, as he is in his descriptions, and in the moral part of his Philosophy, if he had not aimed more to instruct in his system of nature, than to delight. But he was bent upon making Memmius a materialist, and teaching him to defy an invisible power. In short, he was so much an atheist, that he forgot sometimes to be a Poet. These are the considerations, which I had of that author, before I attempted to translate fome parts of him. And accordingly I laid by my natural difidence and scepticism for a while, to take up that dogmatical way of his, which, as I said, is so much his character, as to make him that individual Poet. As for his opinions.concerning the mortality of the fuul, they are so absurd, that I cannot, if I would, believe them. I think a future state demonftrable even by natural arguments; at least, to take away rewards and punishments is only a pleasing prospect to a man, who resolves before-hand not to live morally. But on the other side, the thought of

. being nothing after death is a burthen insupportable to a virtuous man, even though a heathen. We naturally aim at happiness, and cannot bear to have it confined to the Mortness of our present being, efpecially when we consider, that virtue is generally unhappy in this world, and vice fortunate. So that it is hope of futurity alone, that makes this life tolerable, in expeciation of a bet:er. Who would not

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