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It is true, there is something, and that of fome moment, to be objected against my englishing the Nature of Love, from the fourth book of Lucretius: and I can lefs eafily anfwer why I tranflated it, than why I thus tranflated it. The objection arifes from the obscenity of the fubject; which is aggravated by the too lively and alluring delicacy of the verfes. In the first place, without the leaft formality of an excuse, I own it pleafed me: and let my enemies make the worft they can of this confeffion; I am not yet so secure from that paffion, but that I want my author's antidotes against it. He has given the trueft and moft philofophical account both of the disease and remedy, which I ever found in any author: for which reasons I tranflated him. But it will be asked why I turned him into this luscious English? (for I will not give it a worse word.) Inftead of an answer, I would afk again of my fupercilious adverfaries, whether I am not bound, when I tranflate an author, to do him all the right I can, and to tranflate him to the best advantage? If to mince his meaning, which I am fatisfied was honeft and inftructive, I had either omitted fome part of what he said, or taken from the ftrength of his expreffion, I certainly had wronged him; and that freeness of thought and words being thus cafhiered in my hands, he had no longer been Lucretius. If nothing of this kind be to be read, physicians must not ftudy nature, anatomies must not be seen, and fomewhat I could fay of particular paffages in books, which, to avoid prophanenefs, I do not name. But the intention qualifies the act; and both mine and my author's were to inftruct as well as please. It is moft certain that bare-faced bawdery is the poorest pretence to wit imaginable. If I fhould fay otherwife, I fhould have two great authorities against me. The one is the Effay on


Poetry, which I publicly valued before I knew the author of it, and with the commendation of which my Lord Rofcommon fo happily begins his Effay on Tranflated Verfe: the other is no lefs than our admired Cowley, who fays the fame thing in other words: for in his Ode concerning Wit, he writes, thus of it:

Much less can that have any place,

At which a virgin hides her face:

Such drofs the fire muft purge away; 'tis juft
The author blufh, there where the reader must.

Here indeed Mr. Cowley goes farther than the Effay; for he afferts plainly, that obfcenity has no place in wit: the other only fays, 'tis a poor pretence to it, or an ill fort of wit, which has nothing more to fupport it than bare-faced ribaldry; which is both unmannerly in itself, and fulfome to the reader. But neither of these will reach my cafe: for in the first place, I am only the tranflator, not the inventor; fo that the heaviest part of the cenfure falls upon Lucretius, before it reaches me: in the next place, neither he nor I have used the groffeft words, but the cleaneft metaphors we could find, to palliate the broadness of the meaning; and, to conclude, have carried the poetical part no farther, than the philofophical exacted.

This puts me in mind of what I owe to the ingenious and learned tranflator of Lucretius. I have not here defigned to rob him of any part of that commendation which he has fo juftly acquired by the whole author, whofe fragments only fall to my portion. What I have now performed is no more than I intended above twenty years ago. The ways of our tranflations are very different. He follows him VOL. II.



more closely than I have done, which became an interpreter of the whole Poem: I take more liberty, because it beft fuited with my defign, which was to make him as pleafing as I could. He had been too voluminous, had he used my method in fo long a work; and I had certainly taken his, had I made it my business to tranflate the whole. The preference then is juftly his; and I join with Mr. Evelyn in the confeffion of it, with this additional advantage to him, that his reputation is already established in this Poet, mine is to make its fortune in the world. If I have been any where obfcure, in following our common author, or if Lucretius himself is to be condemned, I refer myself to his excellent annotations, which I have often read, and always with fome new pleafure.

My preface begins already to fwell upon me, and looks as if I were afraid of my reader, by fo tedious a befpeaking of him: and yet I have Horace and Theocritus upon my hands; but the Greek gentleman fhall quickly be dispatched, because I have more bufinefs with the Roman.

That which distinguishes Theocritus from all other Poets, both Greek and Latin, and which raises him even above Virgil in his Eclogues, is the inimitable tenderness of his paffions, and the natural expression of them in words fo becoming of a paftoral. A fimplicity fhines through all he writes. He fhews his art and learning by difguifing both. His fhepherds never rise above their country education in their complaints of love. There is the fame difference betwixt him and Virgil, as there is between Taffo's Aminta and the Paftor Fido of Guarini. Virgil's fhepherds are too well read in the Philofophy of Epicurus and of Plato; and Guarini's feem to have been bred in courts. But Theocritus and Taffo have taken theirs


from cottages and plains. It was faid of Taffo, in relation to his fimilitudes, that he never departed from the woods, that is, all his comparisons were taken from the country. The fame may be faid of bur Theocritus. He is fofter than Ovid; he touches the paffions more delicately, and performs all this out of his own fund, without diving into the arts and sciences for a fupply. Even his Doric dialect has an incomparable fweetnefs in its clownifhness, like a fair fhepherdefs in her country ruffet, talking in a Yorkshire tone. This was impoffible for Virgil to imitate; because the severity of the Roman Language denied him that advantage. Spencer has endeavoured it in his Shepherd's Kalendar; but neither will it fucceed in English; for which reason I have forbore to attempt it. For Theocritus writ to Sicilians, who spoke that dialect; and I direct this part of my tranflations to our ladies, who neither understand, nor will take pleasure in fuch homely expreffions. I proceed to Horace.

Take him in parts, and he is chiefly to be confidered in his three different talents, as he was a Critic, a Satirist, and a Writer of Odes. His morals are uniform, and run through all of them; for let his Dutch commentators fay what they will, his philofophy was Epicurean; and he made use of Gods and Providence only to serve a turn in Poetry. But fince neither his Criticisms, which are the most inftructive of any that are written in this art, nor his Satires, which are incomparably beyond Juvenal's, if to laugh and rally is to be preferred to railing and declaiming, are no part of my present undertaking, I confine myself wholly to his Odes. These are also of feveral forts: fome of them are panegyrical, others moral, the reft jovial, or (if I may fo call them) Bacchanalian. As difficult as he makes it, and as indeed

it is, to imitate Pindar, yet, in his moft elevated flights, and in the fudden changes of his fubject with almost imperceptible connexions, that Theban Poet is his mafter. But Horace is of the more bounded fancy, and confines himself ftrictly to one fort of verse, or stanza, in every Ode. That which will diftinguish his style from all other Poets, is the elegance of his words, and the numerousness of his verse. There is nothing fo delicately turned in all the Roman language. There appears in every part of his diction, or (to speak English) in all his expreffions, a kind of noble and bold purity. His words are chosen with as much exactness as Virgil's; but there seems to be a greater spirit in them. There is a fecret happiness attends his choice, which in Petronius is called Curiofa Felicitas, and which I fuppofe he had from the Feliciter audere of Horace himfelf. But the moft diftinguishing part of all his character feems to me to be his brifknefs, his jollity, and his good humour: and those I have chiefly endeavoured to copy. His other excellencies, I confefs, are above my imitation. One Ode, which infinitely pleafed me in the reading, I have attempted to tranflate in Pindaric Verfe: it is that, which is infcribed to the present Earl of Rochester, to whom I have particular obligations, which this fmall teftimony of my gratitude can never pay. It is his darling in the Latin, and I have taken fome pains to make it my mafter-piece in English: for which reafon I took this kind of verfe, which allows more latitude than any other. Every one knows it was introduced into our language, in this age, by the happy genius of Mr. Cowley. The feeming eafinefs of it has made it fpread: but it has not been confidered enough, to be fo well cultivated. It languishes in almost every hand but his, and fome very few, whom (to keep the rest

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