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« given to Men of Letters, who were often w reduced to the hard Necessity of Writing “ fot Bread; and that notwithstanding the “World allowed their Merit, and admired “their Writings. Statius is brought in, as "an unhappy Example of this ill Usage.
Curritur ad vocem, &c. “From this Passage we learn, that Statius “wrote a Tragedy, which Paris purchased,
who from a Player, was become the Em
peror's Minion, the Poet being reduced to “ sell it for his Şubsistence. This Circum“stance perhaps might have introduced our “Poet to that Favourite, for I do not find, " that after his Admission to his Patronage, "he wanted the Conveniences of Life. How, "ever it does not appear from what has been “quoted, that Juvenal has spoken reproach“ fully of him, but rather has given him a great and real Commendations, and has “particularly taken Notice of his noble Style; " the Translator has altogether favoured this “ Sense. This Testimony deserves the more “to be considered, as coming from one, “ whom both his Friendship to Martial, and “ Hatred to the Court might reasonably be “presumed to have made our Author's “Enemy”.
But to return to our Poet, he had no
When he was young, he fell in Love
Longi tu fola Laboris
him, and died there. He had no Children
This (as Dr. Crucius observes) is a good Ar-
Parvi beatus ruris Honoribus, i ii.
With Regard to his moral Character, Characour Author stands unimpeached; and from
and footer. what we can collect, he appears to have been religious almost to Superstition, an affection
ate Husband, a loyal Subject, and good Citizen. Some Critics however have not scrupled to accuse him of gross Flattery to Domitian. That he paid his Court to him with a view to Interest, cannot be denied : fo did Virgil to Auguftus, and Lucan to Nero :: and it is more than probable, his Patron had not yet arrived to that Pitch of Wickedness and Impiety, at the Time he wrote his Poem, as he shew'd afterwards. Envy made no Part of his Composition. That he acknowledged Merit, wherever he found it, his Genethliacon of Lucan, and Encomia on Virgil, bear ample Testimony. Nay, he carried his Reverence. for the Memory of the latter almost to Adoration, constantly visiting his Tomb, and ce- . lebrating his Birth-Day with great Solemnity. --- His Tragedy of Agave excepted, we have all his Works, consisting of his Sylva, ormiscellaneous Pieces, in five Books, his The
baid in twelve, and his Achilleid in two. Effay on HAVING laid before the Reader the most. the The authenticated Accounts we have of our Poet's !
Life, I shall now deliver my Sentiments of the Work in general freely and impartially; not having the Vanity to expect the World. will abide by my Opinion, nor invidiously detracting from the Merit of other Authors, : to set that of Statius in a more advantageous ? Light, as has been the Practice of some li
terary Bigots. So conscious am I of the Want of critical Abilities, that I should have des clined saying any thing by Way of dissertation, had not my more able Predecessors en tailed it upon me, and by their Examples, rendered it the indispensable Duty of each fucceeding Translator. Therefore if any Thing is advanced contrary to the Doctrine of the Critics, Youth must plead for me, and procure that Pardon, which would be denied to Persons of a more mature Judge ment.
As the World is no longer so bigotted to Ariftotle and Boslu, as to reject a Work, merely because it is not written according to their particular rules, I shall not trouble myself to enquire, vhether the Thebaid is an Epic Poem, or not. Sufficient is it to ob- * ferve, that Mr. Pope thought it so; and that it has a better Title to the Name, than the Pharfalia of Lucan, which Mr. de Voltaire, in his paradoxical Efsay, has termed one. However before we proceed to a critical Dis. quisition of it's Merit, it is necessary to inform the Reader, that the Event therein spoken of, and described, happened about 1251 Years before the Birth of our Saviour, and 42 before the Destruction of Troy. The ** Purport of the History is this.. voedsel