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critique upon my work, by defending me from the imputation of want of modesty in publishing it. He supposes, that I was unacquainted with Brewster's translation of Persius, because I have not mentioned it in my Preface; and thence he absolves me from the charge of presumption, in attempting what had been already done, in his opinion, with unparalleled success. I must hope to be forgiven by the author of the British Critic, if, in acknowledging his erudition, his various literature, the general ability of his criticisms, and the soundness of his principles, both moral and political, I do not always coincide with him in his notions of poetical excellence. Brewster's translation of Persius was not unknown to me, when I began mine. If I deserve to be charged with presumption, I at least do not desire to evade a merited censure, by a false plea of ignorance. The truth is, that I judged very differently of Brewster from the author of the British Critic. I did not find out, that he united all the talents which can be required in a translator. I did not discover, that his numbers were remarkable either for their strength, or for their harmony. On the contrary, I fairly own, I thought them, as I think them still, feeble and prosaic. I no where see in his verses those flashes of genius, which, amidst all the defects of Dryden's translation, occasionally shine through the gloom, and discover the poet.
The author of the British Critic will probably abide by his opinion, as I, not less probably, shall abide by
mine. If he shall think, that I now doubly deserve to be blamed for want of modesty, he will perhaps regret having said many things of me, with which, if I were not flattered, I should have little modesty indeed.
The Monthly Reviewers find my versification strong, flowing, and harmonious; but they question, whether it possess that ease and vivacity, in which Dryden, in their judgment, particularly excels. What English poet can exist, without admiring Dryden? Dryden is to our poets, what Michael Angelo is to the painters of Italy. Would we wish to see the effects in poetry of the tà σφοδρών και ένθεσιανικών παθος,* which Longinus considers as one of the sources of the sublime, let us study the works of Dryden. If his verses be not always polished ; if his poems be defective in design, if his figures be generally too coarse ; there is a vivida vis animi, which pervades his works, which gives to them the immortal stamp, the indelible character of genius. Perhaps above all other English Poets, Dryden possesses that constant glow of poetical enthusiasm, which more than metre or rhyme distinguishes poetry from prose. But with submission to the acuteness and learning of the Monthly Reviewers, I have never thought that in satire, especially, ease and vivacity were peculiarly characteristic of the Muse of Dryden. Sometimes we are struck
• See in the Thesaurus of Stephanus how the word nabos was understood apad rbetores.
with the beauty of her form, with the dignity of her appearance, with the majesty of her aspect, rather contrasted, than concealed, by the negligence of her apparel. Sometimes we see her fallen from her high estate, pressed within the iron gripe of poverty, her dress slovenly, her zone unbound, and her bays untrimmed. In these less happy hours, can we be made merry by her unnatural mirth ? can we smile, while the Muse of Dryden, formed to strike with no unequal hand the lyre of Pindar, condescends to employ the coarse language of vulgar liberti, nism; and strives to entertain us with ribaldry gathered from the stews, and with jests worthy of the alehouse?
Ver. I. Vatibus hic mos est centum sibi poscere voces,
Centum ora, et lingua optare in carmina centum. Persius probably particularly alludes here to the extravagant hyperbole employed by Virgil, where he says,.
Non mihi'si centum linguæ sint, oraque centum.
-sæpe insulso cænanda Glyconi. Glyco, tragedi alicujus nomen vocis obsona, quem obiter satiricus irridet. Casaubon.
— et picta tectoria lingua. The old copies have plectoria. Casaubon, no more than any body else, could tell what plectoria meant. He therefore reads tectoria.
Ver. 31. Bullaque succinctis Laribus, &c.
The bulla was a small ornament, or rather amulet, hung about the neck. It seems to have been used even in the remotest times, and by different nations. The Egyptians, according to Diodorus Siculus, wore round their necks images suspended to collars. The supreme
judge was adorned with a golden chain, to which was attached an image of precious stones, which was the figure of truth. 'Εφορει δε αρχιδικαςης περί τον τράχηλον, εκ χρυσής αλύσεως ηρτημενον ζωδιον των πολυτελων λιθων και προσηγορευον αληθειαν. Εlian nearly concurs with Diodorus, only he makes the image to consist of a single sapphire. Ειχε δε και άγαλμα περί τον αυχενα εκ φαπφερε λιθε, δε εκαλείο άγαλμα αληθεια. If we can believe Pignorius, the Egyptian soldiers wore beetles, sculptured in gems or stones, and tied round their necks or arms. According to Ælian the soldiers wore rings with the figure of the beetle sculptured on it. Αιγυπτιων οι μαχιμοι επί των δακτυλίων είχαν εγγεγλυμμένον κάνθαρος. The ring here (δακτυλιον) probably is put for the gem, which was set in it. Thus also Plutarch de Iside et Osir, TOIS μαχιμους κανθαρος: τη γλυφη σφραγιδος.
The Jews, besides the urim and thummim, which formed part
of the sacerdotal ornaments; and the teffilas, which were tied on the head, and the hand: wore phylacteries upon their breasts, inscribed with the sacred name of 777. It seems a little singular, that a living author, who is a man of research, should adduce the τετραγραμματον as a proof of the Jews having mystically adorned a triad.
The bulla appears to have been an ornament worn by the Roman youth from very remote antiquity. Macrobius mentions, that it was given by the elder Tarquin