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to have filenced his enemies. Milbourne, indeed, a clergyman, attacked it ; but his outrages seem to be the ebullitions of a mind agitated by stronger resentment than bad poetry can excite, and previously resolved not to be pleased.
His criticism extends only to the Preface, Pastorals, and Georgicks; and, as he profeffes, to give his antagonist an opportunity of reprisal, he has added his own version of the first and fourth Pastorals; and the first Georgick. The world has forgotten his book ; but since his attempt has given him a place in literary history, I will preserve a specimen of his criticism, by inserting his remarks on the invocation before the first Georgick, and of his poetry, by annexing his own version.
" What makes a plenteous barveft, when to “ turn, The fruitful foil, and when to fow the corn-It's
unlucky, they say, to Aumble at the threshold, but what “ has a plenteous harvest to do here? Virgil would not “ pretend to prescribe rules for that which depends not " on the husbandman's care, but the disposition of Heaven $6 altogether. Indeed, the plenteous crop depends some
what on the good method of tillage, and where the "land's ill manur'd, the corn, without a miracle, can ss be but indifferent; but the barvest may be good, “ which is its properest epithet, tho' the husbandman's "skill were never so indifferent. The next fentence is * too literal, and when to plough had been Virgil's “ meaning, and intelligible to every body; and when " to sow the corn, is a needless addition."
“ The care of sheep; of oxen; and of kine, And so when to geld the lambs, and sheer the fwine, would as « well have fallen under the cura boum, qui cultus hae bendo fit pecori, as Mr. D's deduction of particulars."
- The birth and genius of the frugal bee, I fing, 6 Mæcenas, and I fing to thee.-But where did experie “entia ever signify birth and genius? or what ground “ was there for such a figure in this place ? How much “ more manly is Mr. Ogylby's version!
" What makes rich grounds, in what celestial signs,
* Í fing, Mæcenas. " Which four lines, tho' faulty enough, are yet much “ more to the purpose than Mr. D’s fix.”
Ver. 22. “ From fields and mountains to my song repair. “ For patrium linquens nemus, faltusque Lycæi-Very « well explained !"
Ver. 23, 24. “ Inventor Pallas, of the fattening oil, “ Thou founder of the plough, and ploughman's toil! “Written as if these had been Pallas's invention. The “ ploughman's toil's impertinent.”
Ver. 25. "--The shroud-like cypress—Why shroud“ like? Is a cypress pulled up by the roots, which the "sculpture in the last Eclogue fills Silvanus's hand with, very
like a foroud? Or did not Mr. D. think of “ that kind of cypress us'd often for scarves and bat“ bands at funerals formerly, or for widow's vails, &c. “ if so, 'twas a deep good thought.”
Ver. 26. “_That wear the royal honours, and increofe " the year-What's ineant by increasing the year? Did “ the gods or goddesses add more months, or days, or “ hours to it? Or how can arva tueri-signify to weer " rural honours? Is this to translate, or abuse an au“thor ? The next couplet is borrow'd from Ogylby, I suppose, because less to the purpose than ordinary. +
Ver. 42, 43.
33. “ The patron of the world, and Rome's peto culiar guard—Idle, and none of Virgil's, no more “than the sense of the precedent couplet ; so again, he “ interpolates Virgil with that and the round circle of the
year to guide powerful of blessings, which thou strew'ft “s around. A ridiculous Latinism, and an impertinent " addition ; indeed the whole period is but one piece * of absurdity and nonsense, as those who lay it with “ the original must find.”
“ And Neptune shall resign the fasces of “the sea. Was he consul or dictator there ? And watry
virgins for thy bed mall strive. Both absurd interpo"lations.”
Ver. 47, 48. “Where in the void of heaven a place is free. Ah happy D-n, were that place for thee! “ But where is that void? Or what does our translator
mean by it? He knows what Ovid says God did, to
prevent such a void in heaven ; perhaps, this was " then forgotten: but Virgil talks more sensibly.”
“ The scorpion ready to receive thy laws. No, “ he would not then have gotten out of his way so fast.”
“ Ver. 56. “ The Proferpine affects her filent seat“ What made her then so angry with Ascalapbus, for “ preventing her return? She was now mus'd to Pa“ tience under the determinations of Fate, rather than “ fond of her residence.”
Ver. 61, 2, 3. “ Pity the poet's, and the ploug?man's “ cares, Interest thy greatness in our mean affairs. And “ use thyself betimes to bear our prayers. Which is such “ a wretched perversion of Virgil's noble thought as Vicars “ would have blush'd at; but Mr. Ogylby makes us “ some amends, by his better lines :
“ O wheresoe'er thou art, from thence incline, “ And grant aslistance to my bold defign! VOL. II.
Pity with me, poor husbandmen's affairs,
• And now, as if translated, hear our prayers. “ This is sense, and to the purpose : the other, poor's
Such were the strictures of Milbourne, who found few abettors; and of whom it may be reasonably imagined that many who favoured his design were ashamed of his infolenice.
When admiration had subsided, the translation was more coolly examined, and found like all others, to be sometimes erroneous, and sometimes licentious. Those who could find faults, thought they could avoid them; and Dr. Brady attempted in blank verse a translation of the Eneid, which, when dragged into the world, did not live long enough to cry. I have never seen it; but that such a version there is, or has been, perhaps some old catalogue informed me.
With not much better success, Trapp, when his Tragedy and his Prele&tions had given him reputation, attempted another blank version of the Eneid; to which, notwithstanding the flight regard with which it was treated, he had afterwards perseverance enough to add the Eclogues and Georgicks. His book may continue its existence as long as it is the clandestine. refuge of schoolboys.
Since the English ear has been accustomed to the mellifluence of Pope's numbers, and the diction of poetry has become more splendid, new attempts have been made to translate Virgil; and all his works have been attempted by men better qualified to contend with Dryden. I will not engage myself in an invidious comparison by opposing one passage to another; a
work of which there would be no end, and which Inight be often offensive without use.
It is not by comparing line with line that the me.it of great works is to be estimated, but by their general effects and ultimate result. It is easy to note a weak line, and write one more vigorous in its place; to find á happiness of expression in the original, and trans: plant it by force into the version : but what is given to the parts, may be subducted from the whole, and the reader may be weary, though the critick may com mend. Works of imagination excel by their allurement and delight; by their power of attracting and detaining the attention. That book is good in vain, which the reader throws away. He only is the master, who keeps the mind in pleating captivity; whose pages are perused with eagerness, and in hope of new pleasure are perused again ; and whose conclusion is
perceived with an eye of sorrow, such as the traveller casts upon departing day.
By his proportion of this predomination I will consent that Dryden should be tried; of this, which, in opposition to reason, makes Ariosto the darling and the pride of Italy; of this, which, in defiance of criticism, continues Shakspeare the sovereign of the drama.
His last work was his Tables, in which he gave us the first example of a mode of writing which the Italians call refaccimento, a renovation of ancient writers, by modernizing their language. Thus the old poem of Boiardo has been new-dressed by Domenichi and Berni. The siorks of Chaucer, upon which this kind of rejuvenescence has been bestowed by Dryden, require lit: tle criticism. The tale of the Cock seems hardly worth revival; and the story of Palamon and arcile,