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Liber et ingenuus; praesertim cenfus equeftrem ,
Summam nummorum, vitioque remotus ab omni.
Tu nihil invita dices faciesve Minerva : 385
Id tibi judicium est, ea mens, fi quid tamen olim
Scripseris, in Maecî descendat judicis auris,
Et patris, et noftras; nonumque prematur in an-
Membranis intus positis. Delere licebit
Quod non edideris : nescit vox miffa reverti. 390
Silvestris homines facer interpresque Deoruin
Caedibus et victu foedo deterruit Orpheus;
Dictus ob hoc lenire tigris rabidofque leones,
COMMENTARY. lowances already made, might be something struck with this last reflexion, he flings out (from l. 391 to 408) into a fine encomium, on the dignity and excellence of the art itself, by recounting its ancient ho. nours. This encomium, besides its great usefulness in invigorating the mind of the poet, has this further view, to recommend and revive, together with its honours, the office of ancient poefy; which was einployed about the noblest and most important subjects; the facred fource, from whence those honours were derived.
From this transient view of the several species of poetry, terminating, as by a beautiful contrivance it is made to do, in the Ode, the order of his ideas cara ries him into some reflexions on the power of genius (which so essentially belongs to the Lyric Muse) and to settle thereby a point of criticisin, much controverted among the antients, and on which a very con
Di&tus et Amphion, Thebanae conditor arcis,
Saxa movere sono testudinis, et prece blanda 395
Ducere quo vellet. fuit haec fapientia quondam,
Publica privatis secernere, facra profanis;
Concubitu prohibere vago; dare jura maritis ;
Oppida moliri; leges incidere ligno.
Sic honor et noinen divinis vatibus atque 400
Carminibus venit, poft hos insignis Homerus
Tyrtaeusque mares animos in Martia bella
Versibus exacuit, dictae per carmina fortes,
Et vitae monstrata via est, et gratia regum
Pieriis tentata modis, ludusque repertus, 405
Et longoruin operum finis; ne forte pudori
Sit tibi Musa lyrae solers, et cantor Apollo.
Natura fieret laudabile carmen, an arte,
COMMENTARY. siderable itress would apparently be laid. For, if af. ter all, so much art and care and caution be demanded in poetry, what becomes of genius, in which alone it had been thought to confift? would the critic infinuate, that good poems can be the fole effect of art, and go so far, in opposition to the reigning preju. dice, as to affert nature to be of no force at all ? · This objection, which would be apt to occur to the
general scope and tenor of the epistle, as having turned principally on art and rules without insisting much on natural energy, the poet obviates at once (from 1. 408 to 419] by reconciling two things which were held, it seems, incompatible, and demanding in the poet, besides the fire of real genius, all the labour
Quaesitum est. Ego nec studium sine divite vena,
Nec rude quid poffit video ingeniuin : alterius fic
Altera poscit opem res, et conjurat amice. 411
Qui ftudet optatam cursu contingere metam,
Multa tulit fecitque puer; sudavit et alsit;
Abstinuit venere et vino. qui Pythia cantat
Tibicen, didicit prius, cxtimuitque magiftrum,
Nec satis eft dixisse, Ego mira poëmata pango:
Occupetextremum scabies: mihiturpe relinqui est,
Et, quod non didici, sane nescire fateri.
Ut praeco, ad merces turbam qui cogit emendas;
Ad sentatores jubet ad lucrum ire poëta 420
Dives agris, dives pofitis in foenore nummis.
Si yero eft, unctuni qui recte ponere poffit,
Et spondere levi pro paupere, et eripere artis
and discipline of art. But there is one thing still
wanting. The poèt may be excellently formed by
nature, and accomplished by art: but will his own
judgment be a fufficient guide, without assistance
from others ? will not the partiality of an author for
his own works fometimes prevail over the united
force of rules and genius, unless he call in a fairer
and less interested guide? Doubtless it will: and
therefore the poet, with the 'utinost propriety, adds
(from 1. 419 to 450] as a necessary part of this in-
structive monition to his brother poets, some directions
concerning the choice of a prúdent and sincere friend,
whose unbiassed sense might at all times correct the
prejudices, indiscretions, and oversights, of the au.
Litibus inplicitum; mirabor, fi fciet inter- .
Noscere mendacem verumque beatus amicum. 425
Tu feu donaris seu quid donate voles cui;
Nolito ad versus tibi factos ducere plenum
Laetitiae ; clamabit enim, Pulehre, bene, re&te!
Pallefcet ; super his etiain ftillabit amicis
Ex oculis rorein; saliet; tundet pede terrain. 430
Ut qui conducti plorant in funere, dicunt
Et faciunt prope plura dolentibus ex animo: fie
Derisor vero plus laudatore movetur.
Keges dicuntur multis urguere eululliss
Et torquere mero quem perspexisse laborant 433
An fit amicitia dignus. fi carmina condes,
Nunquam te fallant animi sub volpe latentes.
Quintilio fi quid recitarés : Corrige fodes.me
Hoc, aiebat, et hoc. melius te poffe negares,
Bis terque expertum fruftra? delere jubebat, 440
Et male ter natos incudi reddere versus.
COMMENTARY. thor. And to impress this necessary care, with greater force, on the poet, he closes the whole with shewing, the dreadful consequences of being imposed upon in so nice an affair; representing, in all the strength of colouring, the picture of a bad poet, infatuated, to a degree of inadness, by a fond conceit of his owo works, and exposed thereby (so important had been the service of timely advice) to the contempt and fcorn of the public,
And now, an unity of defign in this epistle, and the pertinent connection of its several parts, being, it is
Si defendere deliétum, quam vertere, malles ; Nullum ultra verbum, aut operam infumebat
' Quin fine rivali teque et tua folus anjares.
Vir bonus et prudens verfus reprehender inertis;
Culpabit &uros; incoinptis adlinet atrum
Tranfverfo calaino fignum; ambitiofa recidet
Ornamența ; parum claris tlucem dare coget;'
Arguet ambigue dictum; mutanda notabit;
Fiét Aristarchus; non dicet, Cur ego amicum 450
Offendam in nugis? Hae nugae feria ducent
In mala derisum femel, exceptuinque finiftre.
Ut mala quem scabies aut morbus regius urguet,
Aut fanaticus error, et iracunda Diana;
Vesanum tetigiffe timent fugiuntque poëtam, 455
Qui fapiunt : agitant pueri, incautique sequuntur,
Hic, dum fublimis versus ructatur, et errat,
Si veluti merulis intentus decidit auceps
COMMENTARY. presumed, from this method of illuftration, clearly and indisputably Thewn, what must we think of the celebrated French interpreter of Horace, who, after a studied translation of this piece, supported by a long, elaborate commentary, minutely condescending to scrutinize each part, could yet perceive so little of its true form and character, as to give it for his fum. mary judgment, in conclufion; “ Comme il [Horace] ne travailloit pas à cela de fuite et qu'il ne gardoit d'autre 'ordre que celui des matieres que le hazard lui donnoit à lire Het à examiner, il est arrivé delà qu' 11. N'Y A AUCUNE