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Thus Greece and Rome, in modern Dress array'd,
Is but Antiquity in Masquerade.
Disguis'd in Oldsworth's Verse or Watson's Profe,
What Classic Friend his alter’d Floccus knows ? 95
Whilst great Longinus gives to Welfted Fame,
And Tacitus to Gordon lends his Name,
Unmeaning Strains debase the Mantuan Muse,
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; 100
Careful Line 91. See Welfted's Tranflation of Longinus, done almoft Word for Word from Boileau,
LINE 62. To Gordon.--This Gentleman trans. lated Tacitus in a very stiff and affected Manner, transposing 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
"warınly encouraged, and consequently morecultivated
and improved in France than amongst us. Their
*T ranilations (especially in Prose) are acknowledged
to be more faithful and correct, and in general more
lively and spirited.chan ours.si
: . Line.39. The French had so high an Opinion of
d'Ablancourt's Merit, as to think him deserving of
the following Epitaph :
L'alfred' blancourt repose en ce tombeau,
Son genie à fon fiécle fervi de flambeau,
Careful to make each Ancient's Merit known,
Who, just to others Fame, have rais'd their own";
No Wonder these shou'd claim superior Praise ;
A Nation thanks them, and a Monarch pays.
Far other Fate attends our hireling Bard, 105
A Sneer his Praise, a Pittance his Reward ;'
The Butt of Wit, and Jeft of every Muse,
Foes laugh to Scorn, and even Friends abuse;
The great Translator bids each Dunce translate,
And ranks us all with Tibbald and with Tate.
But know, whate'er proud Art hath call'd her own,
The breathing Canvas, and the sculptur'd Stone, I
The Poet's Verse, 'tis Imitation all;
Great Nature onlyis Original,
Her various Charms in various Forms express’d, 115
They best have pleas'd us, who have copy?d beft;
And those ftill shine more eminently bright,
Who shew the Goddess in the fairelt Light.
So when great Shakespeare to his Garrick join'd,
With mutual Aid conspire to rouse the Mind, 120
'Tis not a Scene of idle Mimickry,
?Tis Lear's, Hamlet's, Richard's self we see;
Dans les fameux ecrits toute la France admire
Des Grecs & des Romains les precieux tresors;
A son 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 Dunces, concludes with these two Lines :
All these my modest Satire bade translate,
And own'd chat 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. Aa 2
We feel the Actor's Strength, the Poet's Fires
With Joy we praise, with Rapture we admire,
To see such Pow'rs within the Reach of Art, 125
And Fiction thus subdue the human Heart.
When Sarto's Pencil trac'd the faithful Line,
So just each Stroke, fo equal the Design,
That pleas'd he faw astonish'd Yulio stand,
Nor knew his own, nor Raphael's magic Hand; 139
Blushing to find himself enamour'd grown
Of rival Charms and Beauties not his own.
Theirs be the Talk to comment and tranflate, Like these who judge, like these who imitate.
Unless an Authour like a Mistress warms, 135 How shall we hide his Faults, or tafte his Charms, How all his modest, latent Beauties find, How trace each lovelier Feature of the Mind, Soften each Blemish, and each Grace improvę, 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 drew the Drapery of that Piece under Raphael, took his Copy for the Original, and said to Pafari, · Don't I see the Strokes that I ftruck with
my own Hand; but Vafari fhewing him Del Sarto's Mark, he was convinced of his Mistake.
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. Roscommon says,
: Chuse then an Author as you chuse a Friend.' Perhaps the image is better drawn from the more lively Passion
Not ev'n when both by partial Nature giv'n, 145
United bless the Favourite of Heav'n;
Unless, by secret Sympathy combin'd,
The faithful Glass reflects its kindred Mind;
Unless from Soul to Soul th' imparted fire
Congenial catch, and kindlc warm Desire;
Ev'n such as lives in Rowe's enraptur'd Strain,
And gives Pharfalia to our Eyes again;
Where glowing in each animated Line,
We see the fiery Soul of Lucan thine ;
Or such as gilds the fair historic Page,
For Smith reserv'd, to grace our latter Age ;
Such aş o'er Dryden all its Influence shed,
And bade his Muse recall the mighty Dead,
Such as in Pope's extensive Genius Thone,
And made immortal Homer all our own. 160
View all that proud Antiquity displays,
Count o'er her boasted Heirs of endless Praife,
Who thought so nobly, or who wrote so well,
Britain can shew th’illustrious Parallel.
Methinks I hear each venerable Shade
For base Neglect his genuine Sons upbraid.
Why would not Congreve Afer' Charms revive,
Or tender Hammon bid Tibullus live?
LINE 147. Unless by secret, &c.] A Bias of Inclination towards a particular Author, and a similarity of Genius in the Translator, seem more immedi. ately necessary than Wit or Learning.
LINE 154. See Rowe's Translation of Lucan's Pharfalia, at the End of which is a fhort Supplement written in the true Spirit of the Original.
LINE 156. See Smith's Translation of Thucydides, lately published.
LINE 168. Hammond, Author of Love Elegies.
Plautus had pleas’d in Vanbrugh's looser Page,
And Otway should have trod the Græcian Stage ; 170
Lucian wou'd shine unveil'd by Swift alone,
And Tully, calls in vain for Middleton;
A Livy's Sense demands a St. John's Style,
And Plato asks a Melmoth or a Boyle.
Ev'n now there are, ere Learning take her Flight,
And Gothick Darkness spread a second Night ;
Tho' Science droop, and ling'ring Arts decay,
There are, who gild the Evening of our Day.
Once more behold, majestic in her Tears,
By Gray adorn'd, fair Élegy appears,
Whilft by her Side the foft Elfrida stands,
And all our Love and all our Grief demands;
With Roman Spirit Johnson's manly Page
Rises severé to scourge a venal Age;
Brown draws the Pen in sacred Truth's Defence, 185
And Armstrong paints his own Benevolence.
From ancient Models these exalted few
Their faireft Forms and bright Ideas drew;
LINE 180. See Elegy in a Country Church-yard. LINE 181. Elfrida, by Mr. Mafon.
LINE 183. Samuel Johnson, Author of the Ram. bler, and also of two fine Imitations of Juvenal.
LINE 185: See Essay on the Characteristics of Lord Shaftesbury,
Line 186. See an Epistle on Benevolence, by Dr. Armstrong ; so well known for his celebrated Poem on Health, one of the best Performances in the English Language.