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Concludes that Attic Wit's extremely low;
40 Our shallow Language, shallow'r Judges fay, Can ne'er the Force of ancient Sense convey.
As well might Vanbrugh ev'ry Stone revile, That swells enormous Blenheim's awkward Pile ; The guiltless Pen as well might Mauro blame, 45 For writing ill, and fallying Arthur's Fame ; Successless Lovers blait the Maid they wood, As these a 'Tongue they never understood ;
That Tongue which gave immortal Shakespeare Fame, Which boasts a Prior's, and a Thomson's Name; 50 Graceful and chaste which flows in Addison, With native Charms, and Vigour all its own; In Bolinbroke and Swift, whose Beauties shine, In Rowe's foft Numbers, Jonson's nervous Line, Dryden's free Vein, and Milton's Work divine.
But, such, alas ! disdain to borrow Fame, 55 Or live like Dulness in another's Name; And hence the Task for noblest Souls defign'd, Giv'n to the Weak, the Tasteless, and the Blind; To some low Wretch, who, prostitute for Pay, Lets out to Curll the Labours of the Day, Careless who hurries o'er th' unblotted Line, Impatient still to finish, and to dine ;
LINE 39. Extremely low. A favourite Coffeehouse Phrase. LINE 40. Wotton and Perrault.
Wotton and Perrault. See Wotton's Discourse on ancient and modern Learning, and Perrault's Defence of his Siecle de Louis XIV. LINE 46. Arthur's Fame.
Arthur's Fame. See Blackmore's King Arthur, an Heroic Poem.
LINE 60. To Curll, &c. Most of the bad Translations, which we have of eminent Authors, were done by Garreteers under the Inspection of this Gentleman, who paid them by the Sheet for their hasty Performances.
There are, who timid Line by Line pursue, 75
There are, an Author's Sense who boldly quit,
80 Who leave their Fellow-trav’ller on the Shore, Launch in the Deep, and part to meet no more.
Some from Reflection catch the weaken'd Ray,
LINE 75, 79. There are, &c. The Reader will
Thus Greece and Rome, in modern Dress array'd, Is but Antiquity in Masquerade.com Disguis’d in Oldsworth's Verfe or Watson's Profe, What Claflic Friend his alterd Flaccus knows? 95 Whilst great Longinus gives to Welfted Fame, And Tacitus to Gordon lends his Name, Unmeaning Strains debase the Mantuan Mufe, And Terence speaks the Language of the Stews.
In Learning thus must Britain's Sons decay, 95 And see her Rival bear the Prize away, In Arts as well as Arms to Gallia yield, And own her happier Skill in either Field See where her boasted d'Ablancourt appears, Her Mongualts, Brumoys, Olivets, Daciers;
Careful Line gi. See Welpled's Translation of Longinus, done almoft Word for Word from Boileau,
Line 62. To Gordon. --This Gentleman translated Tacitus in a very stiff and affected Manner, tranfpofing Words, and placing the Verb at the End of the Sentence, according to the Latin Idiom, He was called in his Life-Time Tacitus-Gordon.
LINE 97. To Gallia yield. It was said by a great Wit in the last War, that he should never doubt of our Success, if we could once bring ourselves to hate the French as heartily as we do the Arts and Sciences. It is indisputable, that they are more warmly encouraged, and consequently more cultivated and improved in France than amongst ús. Their Translations (especially in Prose) are acknowledged to be more faithful and correct, and in general more lively and spirited than ours.
LINE 99. The French had fo high an Opinion of d' Ablancourt's Merit, as to think him deserving of 'the following Epitaph :
L'illustre d'Ablancourt repose en ce tombeau, tsb Son genie à son fiécle fervi de flambeau,
Careful to make each Ancient's Merit known,
But know, whate'er proud Art hath call'd her own,
So when great Shakespeare to his Garrick join'd,
Dans les fameux ecrits toute la France admire
Des Grecs & des Romains les precieux tresors ; 10. A fon trepas on ne peut dire
Qui perd le plus, des vivans ou des morts.
Line 109. The great Translator, &c. Pope, in his Epistle to Arbuthnot, after his Enumeration of Dances, concludes with these two Lines :
All these my modest Satire bade translate,
And own'd that nine such Poets made a Tate... I make no Doubt but the very despicable Light in which Translation is here represented, may have deterr'd many from engaging in it, who would, perhaps, have made no contemptible Figure in that Branch of Literature. A 2 2
We feel the Actor's Strength, the Poet's Fire ;
When Sarto’s Pencil trac'd the faithful Line,
Theirs be the Talk to comment and translate, Like these who judge, like these who imitate.
Unless an Authour like a Mistress warms, 135 How shall we bide his Faults, or taste his Charms, How all his modest, latent Beauties find, How trace each lovelier Feature of the Mind, Soften each Blemish, and each Grace improve, And treat him with the Dignity of Love? 140
'Tisnot enough that, fraught with Learning's Store, By the dim Lamp the tasteless Critic pore; 'Tis not enough that Wit's misguiding Ray Uncertain glance, and yield a doubtful Day,
LINE 129. Andrea del Sarto being defired by Free deric, Duke of Mantua, to copy a Picture of Leo X. did it with so much Justness, that Julio Romano, who diew the Drapery of that Piece under Raphael, took his Copy for the Original, and said to Vafari, · Don't I see the Strokes that I ftruck with
my own Hand; but Vasari fhewing him Del Sarto's Mark, he was convinced of his Miftake.
The Story is told at large in the 27th Chapter of the first Book of De Pile's Art of Painting.
LINE 135. Unless, &c. Rofcommon fays,
? Chufe then an Author as you chuse a Friend.' Perhaps the image is better drawn from the more lively Passion