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good, and of doing justice on the oppressors of their liberty, revenged themselves, without form of law, on their private enemies. Sylla, in his turn, proscribed the heads of the adverse party: he too had nothing but liberty and reformation in his mouth (for the cause of religion is but a modern motive to rebellion, invented by the Christian priesthood, refining on the heathen!) Sylla, to be sure, meant no more good to the Roman people than Marius before, whatever he declared; but sacrificed the lives and took the estates of all his enemies, to gratify those who brought him into power. Such was the reformation of the government by both parties. The senate and the commons were the two bases on which it stood; and the two champions of either faction, each destroyed the foundations of the other side: so the fabric, of consequence, must fall betwixt them; and tyranny must be built upon their ruins. This comes of altering fundamental laws and constitutions-like him, who, being in good health, lodged himself in a physician's house, and was over-persuaded by his landlord to take physic (of which he died), for the benefit of his doctor. Stavo ben (was written on his monument) ma, per stur meglio, sto qui7.

After the death of those two usurpers, the commonwealth seemed to recover, and held up its head for a little time. But it was all the while in a deep consumption, which is a flattering disease. Pompey, Crassus, and Cæsar, had found the sweets of arbitrary power; and, each being a check to the other's growth, struck up a false friendship amongst themselves, and divided the government betwixt them, which none of them was able to assume alone. These were the public-spirited men of their age; that is, patriots for their own interest. The commonwealth looked with a florid countenance in their management, spread in bulk, and all the while was wasting in the vitals. Not to trouble your lordship with the repetition of what you know-after the death of Crassus, Pompey found himself outwitted by Cæsar, broke with him, overpowered him in the senate, and caused many unjust decrees to pass against him. Cæsar, thus injured,

7 I was well; but would be better; and here I am.

and unable to resist the faction of the nobles, which was now uppermost (for he was a Marian), had recourse to arms; and his cause was just against Pompey, but not against his country, whose constitution ought to have been sacred to him, and never to have been violated on the account of any private wrong. But he prevailed! and, Heaven declaring for him, he became a providential monarch, under the title of perpetual dictator. He being murdered by his own son, whom I neither dare commend, nor can justly blame (though Dante, in his Inferno, has put him and Cassius, and Judas Iscariot betwixt them, into the great devil's mouth), the commonwealth popped up its head for the third time, under Brutus and Cassius, and then sunk for ever.

Thus the Roman people were grossly gulled twice or thrice over, and as often enslaved, in one century, and under the same pretence of reformation. At last the two battles of Philippi gave the decisive stroke against liberty; and, not long after, the commonwealth was turned into a monarchy, by the conduct and good fortune of Augustus. It is true, that the despotic power could not have fallen into better hands than those of the first and second Cæsar. Your lordship well knows what obligations Virgil had to the latter of them: he saw, beside, that the commonwealth was lost without resource; the heads of it destroyed; the senate new moulded, grown degenerate, and either bought off, or thrusting their own necks into the yoke, out of fear of being forced. Yet I may safely affirm for our great author (as men of good sense are generally honest), that he was still of republican principles in his heart.

Secretosque pios, his dantem jura Catonem.

I think I need use no other argument to justify my opinion, than that of this one line, taken from the eighth book of the Eneis. If he had not well studied his patron's temper, it might have ruined him with another prince. But Augustus was not discontented (at least that we can find), that Cato was placed, by his own poet, in Elysium, and there giving laws to the holy souls who deserved to be separated from the vulgar sort of good

spirits: for his conscience could not but whisper to the arbitrary monarch, that the kings of Rome were at first elective, and governed not without a senate;—that Romulus was no hereditary prince; and though, after his death, he received divine honours for the good he did on earth, yet he was but a god of their own making;—that the last Tarquin was expelled justly for overt acts of tyranny, and maladministration; for such are the conditions of an elective kingdom; and I meddle not with others, being, for my own opinion, of Montaigne's principles, that an honest man ought to be contented with that form of government, and with those fundamental constitutions of it, which he received from his ancestors, and under which himself was born; though at the same time he confessed freely, that if he could have chosen his place of birth, it should have been at Venice ;—which for many reasons I dislike, and am better pleased to have been born an Englishman.

But, to return from my long rambling-I say that Virgil having maturely weighed the condition of the times in which he lived-that an entire liberty was not to be retrieved; that the present settlement had the prospect of a long continuance in the same family, or those adopted into it; that he held his paternal estate from the bounty of the conqueror, by whom he was likewise enriched, esteemed, and cherished; that this conqueror, though of a bad kind, was the very best of it; that the arts of peace flourished under him; that all men might be happy, if they would be quiet; that now he was in possession of the whole, yet he shared a great part of his authority with the senate; that he would be chosen into the ancient offices of the commonwealth, and ruled by the power which he derived from them; and prorogued his government from time to time, still, as it were, threatening to dismiss himself from public cares, which he exercised more for the common good, than for any delight he took in greatness-these things, I say, being considered by the poet, he concluded it to be the interest of his country to be so governed; to infuse an awful respect into the people towards such a prince; by that respect to confirm their obedience to him, and by that obedience to

make them happy. This was the moral, of his divine poem-honest in the poet; honourable to the emperor, whom he derives from a divine extraction; and reflecting part of that honour on the Roman people, whom he derives also from the Trojans; and not only profitable, but necessary, to the present age, and likely to be such to their posterity. That it was the received opinion that the Romans were descended from the Trojans, and Julius Cæsar from Iülus the son of Æneas, was enough for Virgil; though perhaps he thought not so himself, or that Æneas ever was in Italy, which Bochartus manifestly proves. And Homer, where he says that Jupiter hated the house of Priam, and was resolved to transfer the kingdom to the family of Æneas, yet mentions nothing of his leading a colony into a foreign country, and settling there. But that the Romans valued themselves on their Trojan ancestry, is so undoubted a truth, that I need not prove it. Even the seals which we have remaining of Julius Cæsar, which we know to be antique, have the star of Venus over them (though they were all graven after his death), as a note that he was deified. I doubt not but one reason why Augustus should be so passionately concerned for the preservation of the Æneis (which its author had condemned to be burned, as an imperfect poem, by his last will and testament), was, because it did him a real service, as well as an honour: that a work should not be lost, where his divine original was celebrated in verse which had the character of immortality stamped upon it.

Neither were the great Roman families, which flourished in his time, less obliged to him than the emperor. Your lordship knows with what address he makes mention of them, as captains of ships, or leaders in the war; and even some of Italian extraction are not forgotten. These are the single stars which are sprinkled through the Eneis: but there are whole constellations of them in the fifth book. And I could not but take notice, when I translated it, of some favourite families to which he gives the victory, and awards the prizes, in the person of his hero, at the funeral games which were celebrated in honour of Anchises. I insist not on their names: but am pleased to find the Memmii amongst them, derived from

Menestheus, because Lucretius dedicates to one of that family, a branch of which destroyed Corinth. I likewise either found or formed an image to myself of the contrary kind; that those who lost the prizes, were such as disobliged the poet, or were in disgrace with Augustus, or enemies to Mæcenas; and this was the poetical revenge he took: for genus irritabile vatum, as Horace says. When a poet is thoroughly provoked, he will do himself justice, however dear it costs him; animamque in vulnere ponit. I think these are not bare imaginations of my own, though I find no trace of them in the commentators: but one poet may judge of another, by himself. The vengeance we defer is not forgotten. I hinted before, that the whole Roman people were obliged by Virgil, in deriving them from Troy; an ancestry which they affected. We and the French are of the same humour: they would be thought to descend from a son, I think, of Hector; and we would have our Britain both named and planted by a descendant of Æneas. Spenser favours this opinion what he can. His Prince Arthur, or whoever he intends by him, is a Trojan. Thus the hero of Homer was a Grecian; of Virgil, a Roman; of Tasso, an Italian,

I have transgressed my bounds, and gone further than the moral led me: but if your lordship is not tired, I am safe enough.

Thus far, I think, my author is defended. But, as Augustus is still shadowed in the person of Eneas (of which I shall say more, when I come to the manners which the poet gives his hero), I must prepare that subject, by showing how dexterously he managed both the prince and people, so as to displease neither, and to do good to both; which is the part of a wise and an honest man, and proves that it is possible for a courtier not to be a knave. I shall continue still to speak my thoughts like a freeborn subject, as I am: though such things, perhaps, as no Dutch commentator could, and I am sure no Frenchman durst. I have already told your lordship my opinion of Virgil; that he was no arbitrary man. Obliged he was to his master for his bounty; and he repays him with good counsel, how to behave himself in his new monarchy, so as to gain the affections of his subjects,

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