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themselves. We see the soul of the poet, like that universal one of which he speaks, informing and moving through all his pictures :
“ Totamque infusa per artus
Mens agitat molem et magno se corpore miscet." * We behold him embellishing his images, as he makes Venus breathing beauty upon her son Eneas.
See his Tempest, his Funeral Sports, his Combat of Turnus and Æneas, and in his Georgics, which I esteem the divinest part of all his writings, the Plague, the Country, the Battle of Bulls, the Labour of the Bees, and those many other excellent images of nature, most of which are neither great in themselves nor have any natural ornament to bear them up : but the words wherewith he describes them are so excellent, that it might be well applied to him which was said by Ovid, Materiam superabat opus :the very sound of his words has often somewhat that is connatural to the subject ; and while we read him, we sit, as in a play, beholding the scenes of what he represents. To perform this, he made frequent use of tropes, which you know change the nature of a known word by applying it to some other signification ; and this is it which Horace means in his epistle to the Pisos :
"Dixeris egregie, notum si callida verbum
But I am sensible I have presumed too far to entertain you with a rude discourse of that art which you both know so well, and put into practice with so much happiness. Yet before I leave Virgil, I must own the vanity to tell you, and by you the world, that he has been my master in this poem : I have followed him everywhere, I know not with what success, but I am sure with diligence enough :' my images are many of them copied from him, and the rest are imitations of him. My expressions also are as near as the idioms of the two languages would admit of in translation. And this, Sir, I have done with that boldness for which I will stand accountable to any of our little critics, who, perhaps, are not better acquainted with him than I am. Upon your first perusal of this poem, you have taken notice X of some words which I have innovated (if it be too bold for me to say refined) upon his Latin ; which, as I offer not to introduce into English prose, so I hope they are neither improper nor altogether unelegant in verse ; and in this Horace will again defend me.
“Et nova fictaque nuper habebunt verba fidem si
Græco fonte cadent parce detorta." I The inference is exceeding plain : for if a Roman poet might have liberty to coin a word, supposing only that it was derived from the Greek, was put into a Latin termination, and that he used this liberty but seldom and with modesty; how much more justly may I challenge that privilege to do it with the same prerequisites, from the best and most judicious of Latin writers? In some places, where either the fancy or the words were his or any other's, I have noted it in the
* Encis, vi. 926.
Æn, i 590.
Metam. ii. 4.
Ars Poetica, 47.
Ars Poct. 52.
margin, that I might not seem a plagiary ; in others I have neglected it, to avoid as well tediousness as the affectation of doing it too often. Such descriptions or images well wrought, which I promise not for mine, are, as I have said, the adequate delight of heroic poesy ; for they beget admiration, which is its proper object; as the images of the burlesque, which is contrary to this, by the same reason beget laughter : for the one shows nature beautified, as in the picture of a fair woman, which we all admire ; the other shows her deformed, as in that of a lazar, or of a fool with distorted face and antic gestures, at which we cannot forbear to laugh, because it is a deviation from nature. But though the same images serve equally for the epic poesy, and for the historic and panegyric, which are branches of it, yet a several sort of sculpture is to be used in them. If some of them are to be like those of Juvenal, Stantes in curribus Æmiliani,* heroes drawn in their triumphal chariots and in their full proportion ; others are to be like that of Virgil, Spirantia mollius ara:t there is somewhat more of softness and tenderness to be shown in them. You will soon find I write not this without concern. Some, who have seen a paper of verses which I wrote last year to her Highness the Duchess, have accused them of that only thing I could defend in them. They have said, I did humi serpere, I that I wanted not only height of fancy, but dignity of words to set it off. I might well answer with that of Horace, Nunc non erat his locus ; $ I knew I addressed them to a lady, and accordingly I affected the softness of expression and the smoothness of ineasure, rather than the height of thought ; and in what I did endeavour, it is no vanity to say I have succeeded. I detest arrogance ; but there is some difference betwixt that and a just defence. But I will not farther bribe your candour, or the reader's. I leave them to speak for me ; and, if they can, to make out that character, not pretending to a greater, which I have given them.||
And now, Sir, 'tis time I should relieve you from the tedious length of this account. You have better and more profitable employment for your hours, and I wrong the public to detain you longer. In conclusion, I must leave my poem to you with all its faults, which I hope to find fewer in the printing by your emendations. I know you are not of the number of those, of whom the younger Pliny speaks ; Nec sunt parum multi, qui carpere amicos suos judicium vocant ** I am rather too secure of you on that side. Your candour in pardoning my errors may make you more remiss in correcting them ; if you will not withal consider that they come into the world with your approbation, and through your hands. I beg from you the greatest favour you can confer upon an absent person, since I repose upon your management what is dearest to me, my fame and reputation ; and, therefore, I hope it will stir you up to make my poem fairer by many of your blots. If not, you know the story of the gamester who married the rich man's daughter and, when her father denied the portion, christened all the children by his surname, that, if in conclusion they must beg, they should do so by one name as well as by the other. But since the reproach of my faults will light on you, 'tis but reason I should do you that justice to the readers to let them know, that, if there be any. thing tolerable in this poem, they owe the argument to your choice, the writing to
* Sat. viii. 43
+ Æneis, vi 848. 1 “Serpit bumi tutus nimium timidusque procellæ."-Hor. Ars Poet. 28.
Ars Poetica, 19. i Here were inserted the “Verses" to the Duchess of York, which have been printed in chronological order before this poem.
“In publica commoda peccem Si longo sermone morer tua tempora, Cæsar."
Hor. 2 Epist. i 3. ** Epist. vii. 28.
your encouragement, the correction to your judgment, and the care of it to your friendship, to which he must ever acknowledge himself to owe all things who is,
ANNUS MIRABILIS :
THE YEAR OF WONDERS, 1666.
In thriving arts long time had Holland grown,
Crouching at home and cruel when abroad ; *
Our King they courted and our merchants awed.
Stopped in their channels, found its freedom lost :
And seemed but shipwracked on so base a coast.
In eastern quarriest ripening precious dew;
And in hot Ceylon spicy forests grew.
The sun but seemed the labourer of their year ;s
Each wexing moon || supplied her watery store
Their brim-full vessels to the Belgian shore.
* See note on "Astræa Redux," line 307.
+“ in eastern quarries. Precious stones at first are dew condensed, and hardened by the warmth of the sun or subterranean fires." Compare stanza 139 and note. 1 " Odorato sudantia ligno balsama."-VIRG. Georg. ii. 118.
Their year in first edition, the year in edition of 1688, and so in Scott: an evident corruption, impairing the force of the line. This passage bas been copied from by Oldham in his “ David's Lamentation for the Death of Saul and Jonathan :"
“For you the blest Arabia's spices grew,
The sun himself turned labourer for you." 1“ Each wering moon. According to their opinions who think that great heap of the waters under the Line is depressed into tides by the moon toward the poles." The spelling wex of the first edition is retained, though altered to war in edition of 1688, as Dryden uses the old spelling to the last, as in “ Palamon and Arcite," book 2, 1. 649.
Thus mighty in her ships stood Carthage long,
And swept the riches of the world from far, Yet stooped to Rome, less wealthy but more strong ;
And this may prove our second Punic war. *
What peace can be, where both to one pretend,
But they more diligent, and we more strong ? Or if a peace, it soon must have an end,
For they would grow too powerful, were it long.
Behold two nations then engaged so far
That each seven years the fit must shake each land ; Where France will side to weaken us by war
Who only can his vast designs withstand.
See how he feeds the Iberian + with delays
To render us his timely friendship vain ; And while his secret soul on Flanders preys,
He rocks the cradle of the babe of Spain.
Such deep designs of empire does he lay
O'er them whose cause he seems to take in hand, And prudently would make them lords at sea,
To whom with ease he can give laws by land.
His pensive counsels balanced to and fro;
And he less for it than usurpers do.
of fame and honour, which in dangers lay ; Where wealth, like fruit on precipices, grew,
Not to be gathered but by birds of prey.
* Our first “Punic war” had been advantageously terminated by Cromwell in 1654 ; but this second Dutch war ended with humiliating disasters for England, and 'by no means as the second Punic war ended for Rome.
+ “ The Iberian. The Spaniard." Philip IV. of Spain died in September 1665, leaving the crown and all his dominions to his infant son, Charles II. Louis XIV., looking to the probability of a war with England as Holland's ally, abstained at this time from making any demand for the
anish Netherlands, to which he preferred a claim in right of his wife, elder daughter by à prior marriage of Philip IV. But he was, notwithstanding, determined on ultimately acquiring the Spanish Netherlands. Meanwhile he postponed as long as possible declaring for Holland, and he made delusive proposals to Spain to prevent her entering into engagements with England.
And still his subjects called aloud for war:
Each other's poise and counterbalance are.
He first surveyed the charge with careful eyes,
Which none but mighty monarchs could maintain ;
It would in richer showers descend again.
At length resolved to assert the watery ball,
He in himself did whole armados bring ;
And choose for General, were he not their King.
It seems as every ship their Sovereign knows,
His awful summons they so soon obey ;
And so to pasture follow through the sea.
To see this fleet upon the ocean move
Angels drew wide the curtains of the skies ;
For tapers made two glaring comets rise ;+
Fired by the sun, or seeming so alone,
Which loses footing when to mortals shown;
"When Proteus blows, or
'Cæruleus Proteus immania ponti
Armenta, et magnas pascit sub gurgite phocas.'-VIRG." So Dryden, who quotes incorrectly:
* Cæruleus Proteus, magnum qui piscibus æquor
Et juncto bipedum curru metitur equorum.
Quippe ita Neptuno visum est, immania cujus
Georg. iv. 388