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ried to Namur, at that time in possession of the French ;* then it was, my lord, that you took a considerable part of what was remitted to you of your own revenues, and, as a memorable instance of your heroic charity, put it into the hands of Count Guiscard, who was governor of the place, to be distributed among your fellow-prisoners. The French commander, charmed with the greatness of your soul, accordingly consigned it to the use for which it was intended by the donor; by which means the lives of so many miserable men were saved, and a comfortable provision made for their subsistence, who had otherwise perished, had you not been the companion of their misfortune; or rather sent by Providence, like another Joseph, to keep out famine from invading those, whom, in humility, you called your brethren. How happy was it for those poor creatures, that your grace was made their fellowsuffererhow
you chose to want, rather than not relieve the wants of others ? The heathen poet, in commending the charity of Dido to the Trojans, spoke like a Christian :
Non ignara mali, miseris succurrere disco. All men, even those of a different interest, and contrary principles, must praise this action as the most eminent for piety, not only in this degenerate age, but almost in any of the former; when men were made de meliore luto; when examples of charity were frequent, and when there were in being,
* In the bloody battle of Landen, fought on 29th July, 1693, the Duke of Ormond was in that brigade of English horse which King William led in person to support his right wing of cavalry. The duke charged at the head of a squadron of Lumley's regiment, received several wounds, and had his horse shot under him. He was about to be cut to pieces, when he was rescued by a gentleman of the gardes-du-corps, and made prisoner. King William lost the day, after exhibiting prodigies of conduct and valour.
-Teucri pulcherrima proles, Magnanimi heroes, nati melioribus annis. No envy can detract from this; it will shine in history, and, like swans, grow whiter the longer it endures; and the name of Ormond will be more celebrated in his captivity, than in his greatest triumphs.
But all actions of your grace are of a piece, as waters keep the tenor of their fountains : your compassion is general, and has the same effect as well on enemies as friends. It is so much in your nature to do good, that your life is but one continued act of placing benefits on many; as the sun is always carrying his light to some part or other of the world. And were it not that your reason guides you where to give, I might almost say, that you could not help bestowing more than is consisting with the fortune of a private man, or with the will of any but an Alexander.
What wonder is it tl:en, that, being born for a blessing to mankind, your supposed death in that engagement was so generally lamented through the nation? The concernment for it was as universal as the loss; and though the gratitude might be counterfeit in some, yet the tears of all were real : where every man deplored his private part in that calamity, and even those who had not tasted of your favours, yet built so much on the fame of
beneficence, that they bemoaned the loss of their expectations.
This brought the untimely death of your great father into fresh remembrance, as if the same de
cree had passed on two short successive generations of the virtuous; and I repeated to myself the same verses which I had formerly applied to him :
Ostendunt terris hunc tantum fata, neque ultra
Esse sinent. But, to the joy not only of all good men, but mankind in general, the unhappy omen took not place. You are still living to enjoy the blessings and applause of all the good you have performed, the prayers of multitudes, whom you have obliged, for your long prosperity, and that your power of doing generous and charitable actions may be as extended as your will; which is by none more zealously desired than by
Your Grace's most humble,
Most obliged, and
Most obedient servant,
It is with a poet, as with a man who designs to build, and is very exact, as he supposes, in casting up the cost beforehand; but, generally speaking, he is mistaken in his account, and reckons short in the expence he first intended. He alters his mind as the work proceeds, and will have this or that convenience more, of which he had not thought when he began. So has it happened to me; I have built a house, where I intended but a lodge; yet with better success than a certain nobleman, who, beginning with a dog-kennel, never lived to finish the palace he had contrived.*
* This was, I suppose, our author's old foe, Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, the tardy progress of whose great buildings at Cleveden was often the subject of satire:
“ Once more, says fame, for battle he prepares,
From translating the First of Homer's “Iliads," (which I intended as an essay to the whole work,) I proceeded to the translation of the Twelfth Book of Ovid's “
Metamorphoses,” because it contains, among other things, the causes, the beginning, and ending, of the Trojan war. Here I ought in reason to have stopped ; but the speeches of Ajax and Ulysses lying next in my way, I could not balk them. When I had compassed them, I was so taken with the former part of the Fifteenth Book, which is the masterpiece of the whole “ Metamorphoses,” that I enjoined myself the pleasing task of rendering it into English. And now I found, by the number of my verses, that they began to swell into a little volume; which gave me an occasion of looking backward on some beauties of my author, in his former books: There occurred to me the “Hunting of the Boar,” “Cinyras and Myrrha,” the good-natured story of “ Baucis and Philemon,” with the rest, which I hope I have translated closely enough, and given them the same turn of verse which they had in the original ; * and this I may say, without vanity, is not the talent of every poet. He who has arrived the nearest to it, is the ingenious and learned Sandys, the best versifier of the former age; if I may properly call it by that name, which was the former part of this concluding century. For Spenser and Fairfax both flourished in the reign of Queen Elizabeth; great masters in our language, and who saw much farther into the beauties of our numbers, than those who immediately followed them. Milton was the poetical son of Spenser, and Mr Waller of Fairfax; for we have
* These translations are to be found in the 12th volume, being placed after the versions of Ovid's “ Epistles.”