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exhibited the whole of this interesting poet in an English dress, Mr. Francis has been supposed to have succeeded best in that which is most difficult, the lyric part, and likewise to have conveyed the spirit and sense of the original, in the Epistles and Satires, with least injury to the genius of the author. In his preface, he acknowledges his obligations to Dr. Dunkin, a poet of some celebrity, and an excellent classical scholar.
While Horace is accounted the most difficult, he is perhaps of all Latin authors the most popular; and accordingly we find more frequent quotations from him than from any other. He is in Latin what Pope is in English; and the reason is honourable to his talents, to the refinement and elegance of his senti. ments, and to the universal range he took through the extensive provinces of manners, morals, and criticism. He was contemporary with Virgil and Varius, by whose means he obtained the patronage of Mæ. cenas and Augustus. To Mæcenas he was so warmly attached, that it has been supposed, but not on suffi. cient authority, that he put an end to his own life in order to follow his generous patron. It is certain that he died soon after Mæcenas, in the fifty-seventh year of his age, and in the year eighth before the Christian æra.
THE works of Horace have been always num.
bered among the most valuable remains of antiquity. If we may rely upon the judgment of his commentators, he has united in his lyric poetry the enthusiasm of Pindar, the majesty of Alcæus, tiig tenderness of Sappho, and the charming levities of Anacreon. Yet he has beauties of his own genius, his own manner, that form his peculiar character. Many of his odes are varied with irong and satire; with delicacy and humour; with ease and pleasantry. Some of them were written in the first heat of imagination, when circumstances of time, places, persons, were strong upon him. In others, he rises in full poetical dignity; sublime in sentiments, bold in allusions, and profuse of figures; frugal of words, curious in his choice, and happily venturous in his use of them; pure in his diction, animated in his expressions, and harmonious in his numbers; artful in the plans of his poems, regular in their conduct, and happy in their execution. Surely the best attempts to translate so various an author, will require great indulgence, and any tolerable success may de serve it. But perhaps we shall better see the va. riety of our poet's genius by considering, if such an expression may be forgiven, the various genius of lyric poetry.
In the first ages of Greece, the lyric muse was particularly appointed to celebrate the praises of the gods and heroes in their festivals. The noblest precepts of philosophy were enlivened by music, and animated by the language of poetry, while reason governed the raptures, which a religious enthusiasm inspired. We may therefore believe, that nothing
could enter into its compositions, but what was ) ohaste and correct, awful and sublime, while it was employed in singing the praises of gods, and immortalising the actions of men; in supporting the sacred truths of religion, and encouraging the practice of moral virtue. Such was its proper, patural cha. racter. But it soon lost this original excellence, and became debased to every light description of love, dances, feasts, gallantry, and wine. In this view it may be compared to one of its first masters, who de. scended (according to an expression of Quintilian)
and loves, although naturally formed for nobler subjects.
Yet this alteration, though it lessened its natural dignity, seems to have added to that pleasing va riety, to which no other poetry can pretend. For when the skill and experience of the persons, who first cultivated the different kinds of poems, gave to each kind those numbers, which seemed most proper for it; as lyric poetry had given birth to all sorts of verse, so it preserved to itself all the measures of which they are composed, the pentameter alone ex. cepted. Thus a variety of subjects is agreeably maintained by a variety of numbers, and they have both contributed to that free,, unbounded spirit, which forms the peculiar character of lyric poetry.
In this freedoni of spirit it disdains to mark the transitions, which preserve a connection in all other writings, and which naturally conduct the mind from one thought to another. From whence it must often happen, that while a translator is grammatically ex. plaining his author, and opening his reasoning, that genius and manner, and boldness of thinking, which are effects of an immediate poetical enthusiasm, shall either be wholly lost, or greatly dissipated and enfeebled.
It is remarkable, that this kind of poetry was the first that appeared in Rome, as it was the first that was known in Greece, and was used in the same subjects by the Romans, while they had not get any correspondence with Greece and her learning. How
ever, it continued in almost its first rudeness until the Augustan age, when Horace, improved by reading and imitating the Grecian poets, carried it at once to its perfection, and, in the judgment of Quintilian, is almost the only Latin lyric poet worthy of being read.
If we should inquire into the state of lyric poetry among English writers, we shall be obliged to confess that their taste was early vitiated, and their judg. ment unhappily misguided, by the too great success of one man of wit, who first gave Pindar's name to a wild, irregular kind of versification, of which there is not one instance in Pindar. All his numbers are exact, and all his strophes regular. But from the authority of Cowley, supported by an inconsiderate imitation of some other eminent writers, every idler in poetry, who has not strength or industry sufficient to confine his rhimes and numbers to some constant form (which can alone give them real harmony), makes an art of wandering, and then calls his work a Pindaric ode; in which, by the same justness of criticism, his imagination is as wild and licentious as his numbers are loose and irregular.
To avoid this fault, all the measures in the following translation are constantly maintained through each ode, except in the Carmen Seculare. But it may be useless to excuse particulars, when possibly the whole poem, in its present form, may be condemned. Yet by foreigners it has been called Mr. Sanadon's master-piece; and since the odes of Ho. race are certainly not in that order at present, in which they were originally published, it has been esteemed an uncommon proof of his critical sagacity, to have reconciled in one whole so many broken parts, that have so long perplexed the best commentators. Yet the reader will find some alteration of Mr. Sanadou's plan, for which the translator is obliged to the learned and reverend Mr. Jones, who lately published a very valuable edition of Horace.
Although it was impossible to preserve our author's measures, yet the form of his strophes has been often imitated, and, in general, there will be found a greater number of different stanzas, in the translation, than in the original. One advantage there is peculiar to English stanzas, that some of them have a natural ease and fluency; others seem formed for humour and pleasantry; while a third kind has a tone of dignity and solemnity proper for sublimer subjects. Thus the measures and form of the stanza will often show the design and cast of the ode.
In the translation it has not only been endeavoured to give the poet's general meaning, but to preserve that force of expression, in which his peculiar happiness consists, and that boldness of epithets, for which one of his commentators calls him wonderful, and almost divine. Many odes, especially in the first book, have little more than choice of words and harmony of numbers to make them not unworthy of their author; and although these were really the most difficult parts of the translation, yet they will be certainly least entertaining to an English reader. In the usual manner of paraphrase or imitation, it had not been impossible to have given them more spirit, according to the taste of many a modern critic, by enlarging the poet's design, and adding to his thoughts; but, however hardy the translator may seem by his present adventurous undertaking, this was' a presumption, of which he was very little capable.
It would be a tedious, useless, and ill-natured labour to point out the faults in other versions of our poet. Let us rather acknowledge, that there are excellent lines in them, of which the present translator has taken as many as he could use upon his plan, and wishes, for the sake of the public, they could be found to exceed a hundred.
Yet still the far more valuable parts of our author remain to be considered. If in his Odes he appears with all the charms and graces and ornaments of poetry, in his Epistles and Satires he gives us the