He, doubly thus oblig'd, must doubting stana, MR. DRYDEN,

Which chiefly should his gratitude command;

Whether should claim the tribute of his heart, ON 19 EXCELLENT TRANSLATION OF VIRGIL. The patron's bounty, or the poet's art.

Alike with wonder and delight we view'd
WHENE'ER great Virgil's lofty verse I see, The Roman genius in thy verse renew'd :
The pompous scene charms my admiring eye: We saw thee raise soft Ovid's amorous fire,
There different beauties in perfection mcet; And fit the tuneful Horace to thy lyre:
The thoughts as proper, as the numbers sweet : We saw new gall imbitter Juvenal's per,
And when wild fancy mounts a daring height, And crabbed Perseus made politely plain :
Judgment steps in, and moderates her flight. Virgil alone was thought too great a task ;
Wisely he manages his wealthy store,

What you could scarce perform, or we durst ask : Still says enough, and yet implies still more : A task! which Waller's Muse could ne'er

engage; For though the weighty sense be closely wrought, A task! too hard for Denham's stronger rage : The reader's left to improve the pleasing thought. Sure of success they some slight sallies try'd, Hence we despair to see an English dress

But he fenc'd coast their attempts defy'd. Should e'er his nervous energy express;

With fear their o'ermatch'd forces back they For who could that in fetter'd rhyme enclose, Quitted the province fate reserv'd for you. [drew, Which without loss can scarce be told in prose! lo vain thus Philip did the Persians storm;

But you, great Sir, his manly genius raise ; A work his son was destin’d to perform. And make your copy share an equal praise.

“ O had Roscommon liv'd to hail the day, Oh how I see thee in soft scenes of love,

And sing loud Pæans through the crowded way; Renew those passions he alone could move! When you in Roman majesty appear, Here Cupid's charnis are with new art exprest, Which none know better, and none come so near:" And pale Elisa leaves her peaceful rest:

The happy author would with wonder see, Leaves her Elysium, as if glad to live,

His rules were only prophecies of thee : To love, and wish, to sigh, despair, and grieve, And were he now to give translators light, And die again for him that would again deceive. He'd bid them only read thy work, and write. Nor does the mighty Trojan Icss appear

For this great task our loud applause is due; Than Mars himself amidst the storms of war.


e own old favours, but must press for new : Now his fierce eyes with double fury glow,

Th' expecting world demands one labour more ; And a new dread attends th' impending blow: And thy lov'd Homer does thy aid implore, The Daunian chiefs their eager rage abate, To right his injur'd works, and set them free And, though unwounded, seem to feel their fate. From the lewd rhymes of graveling Ogleby. Long the rude fury of an ignorant age,

Then shall his verse in grateful pomp appear, With barbarous spite, prophan’d his sacred page. Nor will his birth renew the ancient jar; The heavy Dutchmen, with laborious toil,

On those Greek cities we shall look with scorn, Wrested his sense, and cramp'd his vigorous style; And our Britain think the poet born. No time, no pains, the drudging pedants spare ; But still his shoulders must the burden bear. While through the mazes of their comments led,

TO We learn not what he writes, but what they read.

Yet, through these shades of undistinguish'd night

Appear'd some glimmering intervals of light ;
Till mangled by a vile translating sect,

We read, how dreams and visions heretofore Like babes by witches in effigy rackt;

The prophet and the poet could inspire ; Till Ogleby, mature in dulness, rose,

And make them in unusual rapture soar,
And Holborn doggrel, and low chiming prose,

With rage divine, and with poetic fire.
His strength and beauty did at once depose.
But now the magic spell is at an end,

O could I find it now ;--would Virgil's shade
Since ev’n the dead in you hath found a friend ; But for a while vouchsafe to bear the light;
You free the bard from rude oppressors' power, To grace my numbers, and that Muse to aid,
and grace his verse with charms unknown before : Wbo sings the poet that has done him right.


It long has been this sacred author's fate, By the stale thing his appetite was cloy'd, To lie at every dull translator's will; (weight His fancy lessen'd, and his fire destroy'd.

Long, long his Muse has groan'd beneath the But Nature, grown extravagantly kind, Of mangling Ogleby's presumptuous quill.

With all her treasures did adorn your mind.

The different powers were then united found, Dryden, at last, in his defence arose ;

And you wit's universal monarch crown'd. The father now is righted by the son :

Your mighty sway your great desert secures, And while his Muse endeavours to disclose

And every Muse and every Grace is yours,
That poet's beauties, she declares her own.

To none confin'd, by turns you all enjoy,
In your smooth, pompous numbers drest, each line, Sated with this, you to another ty.
Each thought, betrays such a majestic touch ;

So sultan-like in your seraglio stand,
He could not, had he finish'd his design,

While wishing Muses wait for your command. Have wish'd it better, or have done so much.

Thus no decay, no want of vigour find,

Sublime your fancy, boundless is your mind.
You, like bis hero, though yourself were free, Not all the blasts of time can do you wrong ;
And disentangled from the war of wit;

Young, spite of age; in spite of weakness, strong.
You, who secure might other dangers see, Time, like Alcides, strikes you to the ground;
And safe from all malicious censures sit.

You, like Antæus, froin each fall rebound.
Yet because sacred Virgil's noble Muse,
O'erlay'd by fools, was ready to expire :

To risk your fame again, you boldly chuse,
Or to redeem, or perish with your sire.

En first and last, we owe him half to you,
For that his Æneids miss'd their threaten'd fate,

'Tis said that Phidias gave such living grace Was—that his friends by some prediction knew,

To the carv'd image of a beauteous face, Mereafter, who correcting should translate.

That the cold marble might even seem to be

The life; and the true life, the imagery.
But hold, my Muse, thy needless flight restrain,
Unless, like him, thou couldst a verse indite :

You pass'd that artist, sir, and all his powers,
To think his fancy to describe is vain,

Making the best of Roinan poets ours; Since nothing can discover light, but light.

With such effect, we know not wbich to call

The initation, which th' original. 'Tis want of genius that does more deny: 'Tis fear my praise should make your glory less.

What Virgil lent, you pay in equal weight, And therefore, like the modest painter, I

'The charming beauty of the coin no less ; Must draw the veil, where I cannot express.

And such the majesty of your impress,
You seem the very author you translate.
'Tis certain, were he now alive with us,

And did revolving destiny constrain

To dress his thoughts in English o'er again,

Himself could write no otherwise than thus.
No undisputed monarch govern'd yet
With universal sway the realms of wit;

His old encomium never did appear
Nature could never such expense afford;

So true as now; Romans and Greeks, submit, Each several province own'd a several lord,

Something of late is in our language writ, A poet then had his poetic wife,

More nobly great than the faru'd Iliads were. One Muse embrac'd, and married for his life.



[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]






want of health, have shut me out from sharing in the happiness. The poets, who condemn their

Tantalus to Hell, had added to his torments, if HUGH LORD CLIFFORD,

they had placed him in Elysium, which is the proper emblem of my condition. The fruit and

the water may reach my lips, but cannot enter: MY LORD,

and they could, yet I want a palate as well as 'I have found it not more difficult to translate Vir- a digestion. But it is some kind of pleasure to gil, than to find such patrons as I desire for my me, to please those whom I respect. And I am translation. For though England is not wanting not altogether ont of hope, that these Pastorals in a learned nobility, yet such are my unhappy of Virgil may give your lordship some delight, circumstances, that they have confined me to a though made English by one, who scarce remem. narrow choice. To the greater part, I have not bers that passion which inspired my author when the honour to be known; and to some of them the wrote them. These were his first essay in cannot show at present, by any public act, that poetry, (if the Ceiras was not his :) and it was grateful respect which I shall ever bear them in more excuseable in him to describe love when he my heart. Yet I have no reason to complain of was young, than for me to translate bim when I fortune, since, in the midst of that abundance I am old. He died at the age of fifty-two, and I could not possibly have chosen better, than the begin this work in my great climacteric. But worthy son of so illustrious a father. He was the having perhaps a better constitution than my aupatron of my manhood, when I fourished in the thor, I have wronged him less, considering my ciropinion of the world; though with small advantage cumstances, than those who have atteropted him to my fortune, till he awakened the remembrance before, either in our own, or any modern lanof my royal master. He was that Pollio, or that guage. And though this version is not void of erVarus, who introduced me to Augustus: and rours, yet it cornforts me that the faults of others though he soon dismissed himself from state-affairs are not worth finding Mine are neither gross yet in the short time of his adıninistration he shone por frequent, in those Eclogues, wherein my mster sa powerfully upon me, that, like the heat of a has raised himself above that humble style in Russian summer, he ripened the fruits of poetry which pastoral delights, and which I must confess in a cold climate; and gave me wherewithal to is proper to the education and converse of shepsubsist at least, in the long winter which succeeded. herds: for he found the strength of his genius beWhat I now offer to your lordship is the wretched times, and was even in his youth preluding to his remainder of a sickly age, worn out with study, Georgics, and his Æneis. He could not forbear to and oppressed by fortune: without other support try his wings, though his pinions were not hardened than the constancy and patience of a Christian. to maintain a long laborious flight. Yet someYou, my lord, are yet in the flower of your youth, times they bore him to a pitch as lofty, as ever and may live to enjoy the benefits of the peace he was able to reach afterwards. But when he which is promised Furope. I can only hear of was admonished by his subject to descend, he that blessing: for years, and, above all things, came down gently circling in the air, and singing

[ocr errors]

to the ground. Like à lark, melodious in her his shepherds describes a bowl, or mazer, curiously mounting, and continuing her song till she alights : carved. still preparing for a higher flight at her next sally, In médio duo signa: Conon, et quis fuit alter and tuning her voice to better music. The fourth, Descripsit radio totum qui gentibus orbem. the sixth, and the eighth Pastorals, are clear evi- He remembers only the pame of Conon, and fordences of this truth. In the three first he con

gets the other on set purpose (whether he means tains himself within his bounds; but addressing to Anaximander or Eudoxus I dispute not); but he Pollio, his great patron, and himself no vulgar

was certainly forgotten, to show his country swain poet, he no longer could restrain the freedom of

was no great scholar. his spirit, but began to assert his native character,

After all, I must confess that the boorish dialect which is sublimity. Putting himself under the of Theocritus has a secret charm in it, which the conduct of the same Cumæan Sibyl, whom after- Roman language cannot imitate, though Virgil wards he gave for a guide to his Æneas. It is true has drawn it down as low as possibly he could : he was sensible of his own boldness; and we know

as in the Cujunt Pecus, and some other words, for it by the Paulo Majora, which begins his fourth which he was so unjustly blamed by the bad critics Eclogue. He remembered, like young Manlius, of his age, who could not see the beauties of that that he was forbidden to engage; but what avails Merum Rus, which the poet described in those exan express command to a youthful courage which pressions. But Theocritus may justly be preferred presages victory in the attempt ? Encouraged with

as the original, without injury to Virgil who success, he proceeds farther in the sixth, and in modestly contents himself with the second place, tades the province of philosophy. And notwith- and glories only in being the first who transplanted standing that Phoebus bad forewarned hina of sing pastoral into his own country; and brought it ing of wars, as he there confesses, yet he pre- there to bear as happily as the cherry-trees which sumed that the search of nature was as free to him Lucullus brought from Pontus. as to Lucretius, who at his age explained it ac.

Our own nation has produced a third poet ir. cording to the principles of Epicurus. In his this kind, not inferior to the two foriner. For eighth Eclogue, he has innovated nothing; the

the Shepherd's Calendar of Spenser is not to be former part of it being the complaint and despair matched in any modern langnage. Not even of á forsaken lover: the latter a charm of an en

by Tasso's Amyntas, which infinitely transcends chantress, to renew a lost affection. But the com

Guarini's Pastor Fido, as having more of nature in plaint perhaps contains some topics which are

it, and being almost wholly clear from the wretched above the condition of his persons ; and our author affectation of learning. I will say nothing of the seems to have made his herdsmen somewhat too Piscatory Eclogues, because no modern Latin can learned for their profession: the charms are also bear criticism. It is no wonder that rolling down of the same nature; but both were copied from through so many barbarous ages, from the spring Theocritos, and had received the applause of for- of Virgil, it bears along with it the filth and ordure mer ages in their original. There is a kind of of the Goths and Vandals. Neither will I mention rusticity in all those pompous verses; somewhat Monsieur Fontenelle, the living glory of the of a holiday shepherd strutting in his country French. It is enough for him to have excelled his buskins. The like may be observed, both in the master Lucian, without attempting to compare Pollio, and the Silenus; where the similitudes

our miserable age with that of Virgil or Theocritus. are drawn from the woods and meadows. They Let me only add, for his reputation, seem to me to represent our poet betwixt a far

-Si Pergama dextrâ mer and a courtier, when he left Mantua for

Defendi possent, etiam hac defensa fuissent. Rome, and dressed himself in his best habit to appear before his patron: somewhat too fine for the But Spenser being master of our northern dialect, place from whence he came, and yet retaining and skilled in Chaucer's English, bas so exactly part of its simplicity. In the ninth Pastoral he imitated the Doric of Theocritus, that his love is collects some beautiful passages, which were scat

a perfect itage of that passion which God infused tered in Theocritus, which he could not insert into into both sexes, before it was corrupted with the any of his former Eclogues, and yet was unwilling knowledge of arts, and the ceremonies of what we they should be lost. In all the rest he is equal to

call good manners. his Sicilian master, and observes like him a just

My lord, know to whom I dedicate : and could decorum, toth of the subject and the persons. As not have been induced by any motive to put this particularly in the third Pastoral, where one of part of Virgil, or any other ifto unlearned bands. You have read him with pleasure, and I dare say, | for the faults of his translator ; who is, with all with admiration, in the Latin, of which you are manner of respect and sense of gratitude, a master. You have added to your natural en

my lord, dowments, which, without fattery, are eminent,

your lordship's the superstructures of study, and the knowledge

most humble and of good authors. Courage, probity, and humanity

most obedient servant, are inherent in you. 'These virtues have ever

JOHN DRYDEN. been habitual to the ancient house of Cumberland, from whence you are descended, and of which our Chronicles make so honourable mention in the long

THE FIRST PASTORAL ; wars betwixt the rival families of York and Lancaster. Your forefathers have asserted the party

OR, which they chose till death, and died for its defence TITYRUS AND MELIB@US. in the fields of battle. You have besides the fresh remembrance of your noble father; from whom you

THE ARGUMENT. never can degenerate.

The occasion of the first pastoral was this. When -Nec ioibellem feroces

Augustus had settled himself in the Roman Progenerant aquilæ columbam.

empire, that he might reward his veteran troops It being almost morally impossible for you to

for their past service, he distributed among

them all the lands that lay about Cremona and be other than you are by kind; I need neither

Mantua : turning out the right owners for hav. praise nor incite your virtue. You are acquainted ing sided with his enemies. Virgil was a sufwith the Roman history, and know without rny in- ferer among the rest; who afterwårds recovered formation that patronage and clientship always

his estate by Mæcenas's intercession, and as an

instance of his gratitude composed the following descended from the fathers to the sons, and that

pastoral ; where he sets out his own good forthe same plebeian houses had recourse to the same tune in the person of Tityrus, and the calani. patrician line, which had formerly protected them;

ties of his Mantuan neighbours in the character

of Melibous. and followed their principles and fortunes to the last. So that I am your lordship's by descent, and part of your inheritance. And the natural inclination which I have to serve you, adds to Beneath the skade which beechen boughs diffuse, your paternal right, for I was wholly yours from You, Tityrus, entertain your sylvan Muse :

Round the wide world in banishment we roam, the first moment when I had the happiness and

Fore'd from our pleasing fields and native home : bonour of being known to you. Be pleased there- While stretch'd at ease you sing your happy loves; fore to accept the rudiments of Virgil's poetry : And Ainaryllis fills the shady groves. coarsely translated, I confess, but which yet re

Tit. These blessings, friend, a deity bestow'd :

For never can I deem him less than God. tains some beauties of the author, which neither The tender firstlings of my woolly breed the barbarity of our language, nor my unskilful- Shall on his holy altar often bleed. ness, could so much sully, but that they some- lle gave my kine to graze the flowery plain ;

And to my pipe renew'd the rural strain. times appear in the dim m'rror which I hold be

MEL. I envy not your fortune, but arimire, The subject is not unsuitable to your That while the raging sword and wasteful fire youth, which allows you yet to love, and is proper Destroy the wretched neighbourhood around,

No liostile arms approach your happy ground. to your present scene of life. Rural recreations

Far different is my fate : my feeble goats abroad, and books at home, are the innocent With paius I drive from their forsaken cotes : pleasures of a man who is early wise; and gives And this you see I scarcely drag along, fortune no more hold of him, than of necessitv he Who, yeaning on the rocks, has left her young :

(The hope and promise of any failing fold.) It is good, on some occasions, to think

My loss by dire portents the gods foretold : beforehand as little as we can; to enjoy as much For had I not been blind, I might have seen of the present as will not endanger our futurity, | Yon riven oak, the fairest of the green,

And the hoarse raven, on the blasted bough, and to provide ourselves with the virtuoso's sadille.


blow. upon the hardest trot. What I humbly offer to But tell me, Tityrus, what heavenly power your lordship is of this nature. I wish it pleasant, Preserv'd your fortunes in that fatal hour? and am sure it is innocent. May you ever con

'Tit. Fool that I was, I thought in perial Porno

Like Mantua, where on market-days we cone, tinue your esteem for Virgil; and not lessen it, ! And thither drive our tender lambs from home. VOL. XIX,



fore you.


« 前へ次へ »