Слике страница




AFTER p. 5. 1. 13. it followed thus-For my part,

I confefs, had I feen things in this view at first, the public had never been troubled either with my writings, or with this apology for them. I am fenfible how difficult it is to speak of one's felf with decency: but when a man muft fpeak of himself, the best way is to speak truth of himself, or, he may depend upon it, others will do it for him. I'll therefore make this Preface a general confeffion of all my thoughts of my own Poetry, refolving with the fame freedom to expofe myself, as it is in the power of any other to expose them. In the first place, I thank God and nature, that I was born with a love to poetry*; for nothing more conduces to fill up all the intervals of our time, or, if rightly used, to make the whole courfe of life entertaining: Cantantes licet ufque (minus via lædet). 'Tis a vaft happiness to poffefs the plea

But at the conclufion of his tranflation of the Iliad, he contradicts this fentiment, by applying to himself a passage of M. Antoninus.



fures of the head, the only pleasures in which a man is fufficient to himself, and the only part of him which, to his fatisfaction, he can employ all day long. The Mufes are amicæ omnium horarum; and, like our gay acquaintance, the best company in the world as long as one expects no real service from them. I confefs there was a time when I was in love with myself, and my first productions were the children of felf-love upon innocence. I had made an Epic Poem, and Panegyrics on all the Princes in Europe, and thought myself the greatest genius that ever was. I can't but regret those delightful vifions of my childhood, which, like the fine colours we fee when our eyes are fhut, are vanifhed for ever. Many trials and fad experience have fo undeceived me by degrees, that I am utterly at a lofs at what rate to value myself. As for fame, I fhall be glad of any I can get, and not repine at any I miss; and as for vanity, I have enough to keep me from hanging myself, or even from wishing those hanged who would take it away. It was this that made me write. The fenfe of my faults made me correct befides that it was as pleasant to me to correct as to write.

[ocr errors]

At p. 9. l. 12.—In the first place I own that I have used my best endeavours to the finishing these pieces. That I made what advantage I could of the judgment of authors dead and living; and that I omitted no means in my power to be informed of


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

WITH Age decay'd, with Courts and busʼness tir'd,
Caring for nothing but what Ease requir'd ;
Too dully ferious for the Mufe's fport,

And from the Critics fafe arriv'd in Port;
I little thought of launching forth agen,
Amidst advent'rous Rovers of the Pen:
And after fo much undeferv'd fuccefs,
Thus hazarding at last to make it less.
Encomiums fuit not this cenforious time,
Itself a fubject for fatiric rhyme;
Ignorance honour'd, Wit and Worth defam'd,
Folly triumphant, and ev'n Homer blam'd!
But to this Genius, join'd with so much Art,
Such various Learning mix'd in ev'ry part,
Poets are bound a loud applause to pay;
Apollo bids it, and they must obey.

And yet fo wonderful, fublime a thing
As the great ILIAD, fcarce could make me fing;
Except I justly could at once commend
A good Companion, and as firm a Friend.
One moral, or a mere well-natur'd deed
Can all defert in Sciences exceed.







'Tis great delight to laugh at fome men's ways, But a much greater to give Merit praise.




thefe more dull, as more cenforious days, When few dare give, and fewer merit praise, A Muse fincere, that never Flatt'ry knew, Pays what to friendship and defert is due. Young, yet judicious; in your verse are found Art strength'ning Nature, Senfe improv'd by Sound. Unlike those Wits, whose numbers glide along So smooth, no thought e'er interrupts the song: Laboriously enervate they appear,


And write not to the head, but to the ear:
Our minds unmov'd and unconcern'd they lull,
And are at best moft mufically dull:

So purling streams with even murmurs creep,
And hush the heavy hearers into fleep.
As smoothest speech is most deceitful found,
The smoothest numbers oft are empty found.
But Wit and Judgment join at once in you,
Sprightly as Youth, as Age confummate too:
Your strains are regularly bold, and please
With unforc'd care, and unaffected ease,
With proper thoughts, and lively images:

[ocr errors]




« ПретходнаНастави »