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Nam propriæ telluris herum natura neque illum,
Nunc ager Umbreni sub nomine, nuper Ofelli Dictus erat: nulli proprius; sed cedit in usum Nunc mihi, nunc alii. 'quocirca vivite fortes, Fortiaque adversis opponite pectora rebus.
Ver. 165. Well, if the use be mine, &c.] In a letter to this Mr. Bethel, of March 20, 1743, he says, "My landlady, Mrs. Vernon, being dead, this Garden and House are offered me in sale; and, I believe (together with the cottages on each side my grassplot next the Thames), will come at about a thousand pounds. If I thought any very particular friend would be pleased to live in it after my death, (for, as it is, it serves all my purposes as well, during life,) I would purchase it; and more particularly could I hope two things; that the Friend who should like it, was so much younger and healthier than myself, as to have a prospect of its continuing his, some years longer than I can of its continuing mine. But most of those I love are travelling out of the world, not into it; and unless I have such a view given me, I have no vanity nor pleasure that does not stop short of the Grave."-So that we see (what some who call themselves his friends would not believe) his thoughts in prose and verse were the same.
Ver. 171-2. Or in pure equity (the case not clear),
The Chanc'ry takes your rents for twenty year:] A Protestant Miser's Money in Chancery, and a Catholic Miser's person in Purgatory, are never to be got out, till the Law and the Church have been well paid for their redemption. W.
Pity! to build, without a son or wife :
Who cries, "My father's dam'd, and all's my own." Shades, that to BACON could retreat afford, Become the portion of a booby Lord;
And Hemsley, once proud Buckingham's delight, Slides to a Scriv'ner or a city Knight.
'Let lands and houses have what Lords they will, Let Us be fix'd, and our own masters still.
Ver. 175. that to BACON could] Gorhambury, near St. Alban's, a fine and venerable old mansion. Some anecdotes have lately told us, that Bacon was much acquainted with, and had a regard for, Hobbes.
Ver. 177. proud Buckingham's, &c.] Villiers Duke of Buckingham. P.
Ver. 180. Let Us be fix'd,] The majestic plainness of the original is weakened and impaired by the addition of an antithesis, and a turn of wit in this last line. Whenever I have ventured to censure Pope, I have never forgotten that fine and candid reflection of Quintilian; "Neque id statim legenti persuasum sit, omnia, quæ magni Auctores dixerint, esse perfecta."
PRIMA dicte mihi, summa dicende camena, Spectatum satis, et donatum jam rude, quæris, Mæcenas, iterum antiquo me includere ludo. Non eadem est ætas, non mens. Veianius, armis Herculis ad postem fixis, latet abditus agro;
Ne populum extrema toties exoret arena.
Ver. 1. whose love] Equal to the affection which Horace in the original professes for Maecenas. It has been suspected that his affection to his friend was so strong, as to make him resolve not to outlive him; and that he actually put into execution his promise of ibimus, ibimus. Od. xvii. lib. 3. Both died in the end of the year 746; Horace only three weeks after Mæcenas, November 27. Nothing can be so different as the plain and manly style of the former, in comparison to what Quintilian calls the calamistros of the latter, for which Sanctorius and Macrobius, cap. 86, say Augustus frequently ridiculed him, though Augustus himself was guilty of the same fault: as when he said, vapide se habere for male. The learned C. G. Heyne, in his excellent edition of Virgil, after observing that the well-known verses usually ascribed to Augustus, on Virgil's ordering his Æneid to be burnt, are the work of some bungling grammarian, and not of that emperor, adds, "Videas tamen Voltairium, horridos hos et ineptos versus non modo Augusto tribuere, verum etiam magnopere probare; ils sont beaux et semblent partir du cœur. Essai sur le Poesie Epique, cap. 3. Ita vides, ad verum pulcrarum sententiarum sensum et judicium, sermonis intelligentiam aliquam esse necessariam." P. V. Maronis Opera, tom. i. p. 131. Lipsiæ, 1767.
Ver. 3. Sabbath of my days?] i. e. The 49th year, the age of the Author.