« PreviousContinue »
Aut nimium teneris juvenentur versibus umquam, Aut inmunda crepent ignominiofaque dieta. Offenduntur eniin, quibus est equus, et pater, et
res; Nec, fi quid fricti ciceris probat et nucis emtor, Aequis accipiunt animis, donantve corona. 250 Syllaba longa brevi subjecta, vocatur Iambus, Pes citus : unde etiam Trimetris adcrescere juflit Nomen Iambeis, cum senos redderet ictus Primus ad extremum fimilis fibi: non ita pridem, Tardior ut paulo graviorque veniret ad auris, 255, Spondeos stabilis in jura paterna recepit Commodus et patiens : non ut de sede secunda Cederet, aụt quarta socialiter. Hic et in Acci Nobilibus Trimetris apparet rarus, et Enni. In scenam miffus cum magno pondere versus, 260 Aut operae celeris nimium curaque carentis, Aut ignoratae preiniț artis crimine turpi. Non quivis videt immodulata poëmata judex : Et data Romanis venia est indigna poetis.
COMMENTARY. regular tragedy (from l. 251 to 275] the laws and use of the įambic foot; reproving, at the fame time, the indolence or ill-taste of the Roman writers in this re- ; fpect, and sending them for instruction to the Grecian models.
Having introduced his critique on the stage-mufic, and satyric drama, with some account of the rise and progress of each, the poet very properly concludes this
Idcircone vager, fcribainque licenter ? ut omnis
COMMENTAR Y. whole part (from 1. 275 to 295) with a short, incidental history of the principai improvements of the Greek tragedy and comedy; which was artfully con, trived to insinuate the defective state of the Roman drama, and to admonish his countrymen, how far they had gone, and what yet remained to complete it And hence with the advantage of the easiest tranfirion he slides into the last part of the epiitle; the de: sign of which, as hath been observed, was to reprove an incorre&tness and want of care in the Roman writers. For, having just observed their defect, he goes on, in the remaining part of the epiltle, to sum up the several causes, which seem to have produced it. And
Successit vetus his Comoedia, non fine multa
CO'MMENTARY. this gives him the opportunity, under every head, of prescribing the proper remedy for each, and of insert. ing such further rules and precepts for good writing, as could not so properly come in before. The whole is managed with singular address, as will appear from looking over particulars.
RECOMMENDED. I. [from 1. 295 to 1. 323] THE poet ridicules the false notion, into which the Romans had fallen,
Non barbam : secreta petit loca, balnea vitat.
COMMENTARY, that poetry and pollifion were nearly the same thing: that nothing more was required in a poet, than some extravagant starts and fallies of thought; that coolness and reflexion were inconsistent with his character, and that poetry was not to be scanned by the rules of sober sense. This they carried so far, as to affect the outward port and air of madness, and, upon the itrength of that appearance, to set up for wits and poets. In opposition to this mistake, which was one great hindrance to critical correctness, he asserts wifdom and good fenjė to be the source and principle of good writing: for the attainment of which he prescribes, i. (trom l. 310 tp 312] A careful study of the Socratic, that is, moral wisdom: and, 2. [from 1. 312 to 318] A thorough acquaintance with human nature, ahat great exemplar of manners, as he finely calls it, or,
Verbaque provifam rem non invita sequentur. Qui didicit patriae quid debeat, et quid amicis; . Quo fit amore parens, quo frater aınandus et
hospes; Quod fit conscripti, quod judicis officium; quae Partes in bellum miffi ducis ; ille profecto 315 Reddere personae fcit convenientia cuique. Respicere exemplar vitae morumque jubebo Doctum imitatorem, et vivas hinc ducere voces. Interdum speciosa locis, morataque recte
in other words, a wide, extensive view of real, practical life. The joint direction of these two, as means of acquiring moral knowledge, was perfectly neceflary. For the former, when alone, is apt to grow abstracted and unaffecting: the latter, uninitructing and superficial. The philosopher talks without experience, and the man of the world without principles. United, they supply each other's defects; while the man of the world borrows so much of the philosopher, as to be able to adjust the several sentiments with precision and exactness; and the philosopher so much of the man of the world, as to copy the manners of life (which we can only do by experience) with truth and spirit. Both togeiher furnish a thorough and complete comprehension of human life; which, mani. festing itself in the just and affecting, forms that exquifite degree of perfection in the character of the dramatic poet; the want of which no warmth of genius can atone for, or excuse. Nay such is the force of this nice adjustment of manners (from l. 319