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WHENE'ER great Virgil's lofty verse I see,
The pompous scene charms my admiring eye:
There different beauties in perfection meet;
The thoughts as proper, as the numbers sweet:
And when wild fancy mounts a daring height,
Judgment steps in, and moderates her flight.
Wisely he manages his wealthy store,.
Still says enough, and yet implies still more:
For though the weighty sense be closely wrought,
The reader's left to improve the pleasing thought.
Hence we despair to see an English dress
Should e'er his nervous energy express ;
For who could that in fetter'd rhyme enclose,
Which without loss can scarce be told in prose!
But you, great Sir, his manly genius raise;
And make your copy share an equal praise.
Oh how I see thee in soft scenes of love,
Renew those passions he alone could move!
Here Cupid's charms are with new art exprest,
And pale Elisa leaves her peaceful rest:
Leaves her Elysium, as if glad to live,
To love, and wish, to sigh, despair, and grieve,
And die again for him that would again deceive.
Nor does the mighty Trojan less appear
Than Mars himself amidst the storms of war.
Now his fierce eyes with double fury glow,
And a new dread attends th' impending blow:
The Daunian chiefs their eager rage abate,
And, though unwounded, seem to feel their fate.
Long the rude fury of an ignorant age,
With barbarous spite, prophan'd his sacred page.
The heavy Dutchmen, with laborious toil,
Wrested his sense, and cramp'd his vigorous style;
No time, no pains, the drudging pedants spare;
But still his shoulders must the burden bear.
While through the mazes of their comments led,
We learn not what he writes, but what they read.
Yet, through these shades of undistinguish'd night
Appear'd some glimmering intervals of light;
Till mangled by a vile translating sect,
Like babes by witches in effigy rackt;
Till Ogleby, mature in dulness, rose,
And Holborn doggrel, and low chiming prose,
His strength and beauty did at once depose.
But now the magic spell is at an end,
Since ev'n the dead in you hath found a friend;
You free the bard from rude oppressors' power,
And grace his verse with charms unknown before;

He, doubly thus oblig'd, must doubting stand,
Which chiefly should his gratitude command;
Whether should claim the tribute of his heart,
The patron's bounty, or the poet's art.

Alike with wonder and delight we view'd
The Roman genius in thy verse renew'd :
We saw thee raise soft Ovid's amorous fire,
And fit the tuneful Horace to thy lyre:
We saw new gall imbitter Juvenal's pen,
And crabbed Perseus made politely plain :
Virgil alone was thought too great a' task;
What you could scarce perform, or we durst ask :
A task! which Waller's Muse could ne'er engage;
A task! too hard for Denham's stronger rage:
Sure of success they some slight sallies try'd,
But the fenc'd coast their bold attempts defy'd.
With fear their o'ermatch'd forces back they
Quitted the province fate reserv'd for you. [drew,
In vain thus Philip did the Persians storm;
A work his son was destin'd to perform.

"O had Roscommon liv'd to hail the day,
And sing loud Peans through the crowded way;
When you in Roman majesty appear,
Which none know better, and none come so near:"
The happy author would with wonder see,
His rules were only prophecies of thee:
And were he now to give translators light,
He'd bid them only read thy work, and write.

For this great task our loud applause is due;
We own old favours, but must press for new:
Th' expecting world demands one labour more;
And thy lov'd Homer does thy aid implore,
To right his injur'd works, and set them free
From the lewd rhymes of groveling Ogleby.
Then shall his verse in grateful pomp appear,
Nor will his birth renew the ancient jar;
On those Greek cities we shall look with scorn
And in our Britain think the poet born.




WE read, how dreams and visions heretofore The prophet and the poet could inspire; And make them in unusual rapture soar, With rage divine, and with poetic fire.

O could I find it now ;-would Virgil's shade But for a while vouchsafe to bear the light; To grace my numbers, and that Muse to aid, Who sings the poet that has done him right.

It long has been this sacred author's fate,
To lie at every dull translator's will; [weight
Long, long his Muse has groan'd beneath the
Of mangling Ogleby's presumptuous quill.

Dryden, at last, in his defence arose ;
The father now is righted by the son :

And while his Muse endeavours to disclose That poet's beauties, she declares her own.

In your smooth, pompous numbers drest, each line, Each thought, betrays such a majestic touch;

He could not, had he finish'd his design, Have wish'd it better, or have done so much. You, like his hero, though yourself were free, And disentangled from the war of wit;

You, who secure might other dangers see, And safe from all malicious censures sit.

Yet because sacred Virgil's noble Muse, O'erlay'd by fools, was ready to expire:

To risk your fame again, you boldly chuse,
Or to redeem, or perish with your sire.

Ev'n first and last, we owe him half to you,
For that his Æneids miss'd their threaten'd fate,
Was that his friends by some prediction knew,
Hereafter, who correcting should translate.

But hold, my Muse, thy needless flight restrain,
Unless, like him, thou couldst a verse indite:
To think his fancy to describe is vain,
Since nothing can discover light, but light.
'Tis want of genius that does more deny :
'Tis fear my praise should make your glory less.
And therefore, like the modest painter, I
Must draw the veil, where I cannot express.


No undisputed monarch govern'd yet
With universal sway the realms of wit;
Nature could never such expense afford;
Each several province own'd a several lord.
A poet then had his poetic wife,

One Muse embrac'd, and married for his life.

By the stale thing his appetite was cloy'd,
His fancy lessen'd, and his fire destroy'd.
But Nature, grown extravagantly kind,
With all her treasures did adorn your mind.
The different powers were then united found,
And you wit's universal monarch crown'd.
Your mighty sway your great desert secures,
And every Muse and every Grace is yours,
To none confin'd, by turns you all enjoy,
Sated with this, you to another fly.
So sultan-like in your seraglio stand,
While wishing Muses wait for your command.
Thus no decay, no want of vigour find,
Sublime your fancy, boundless is your mind.
Not all the blasts of time can do you wrong;
Young, spite of age; in spite of weakness, strong.
'Time, like Alcides, strikes you to the ground:
You, like Antæus, from each fall rebound.




'Tis said that Phidias gave such living grace
To the carv'd image of a beauteous face,
That the cold marble might even seem to be
The life; and the true life, the imagery.

You pass'd that artist, sir, and all his powers,
Making the best of Roman poets ours;
With such effect, we know not which to call
The imitation, which th' original.
What Virgil lent, you pay in equal weight,
The charming beauty of the coin no less;
And such the majesty of your impress,
You seem the very author you translate.

'Tis certain, were he now alive with us,

And did revolving destiny constrain
To dress his thoughts in English o'er again,
Himself could write no otherwise than thus.
His old encomium never did appear

So true as now; Romans and Greeks, submit,
Something of late is in our language writ,
More nobly great than the fam'd Iliads were.


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