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Restat, ut his ego me ipse regam "solerque ele
"Non possis oculo quantum contendere Lynceus;
Fervet Avaritia, miseroque cupidine pectus?
Ver. 51. I'll do what Mead] Mr. Pope highly esteemed and loved this worthy man; whose unaffected humanity and benevolence have stifled much of that envy which his eminence in his profession would otherwise have drawn out. Speaking of his obligations to this great Physician and others of the Faculty, in a Letter to Mr. Allen, about a month before his death, he says, "There is no end of my kind treatment from the Faculty. They are in general the most amiable companions, and the best friends, as well as the most learned men I know." W.
The same may with strict justice be said of Heberden, Baker, and Warren.
Ver. 61. Be furious,] Horace, in his usual artful way, glanced at his own frailties and weaknesses, as he frequently does in the four last epithets of the 38th verse in the original. As to envy, he had not a grain of it in his nature: and in verse 100 of the original, he laughs at his own passion for building.
'Late as it is, I put myself to school,
And feel some "comfort, not to be a fool.
Say, does thy blood rebel, thy bosom move With wretched Av'rice, or as wretched Love?
Know, there are Words, and Spells, which can control
Between the Fits this Fever of the Soul;
Know, there are Rhymes, which fresh and fresh apply'd
Will cure the arrant'st Puppy of his Pride.
Be 'furious, envious, slothful, mad, or drunk,
Slave to a Wife, or Vassal to a Punk,
A Switz, a High-Dutch, or a Low-Dutch ‘Bear;
"Tis the first Virtue, Vices to abhor;
And the first Wisdom, to be Fool no more.
Diruit, ædificat, mutat quadrata rotundis
The word arrant'st is very hard and inharmonious, from the crowd of consonants in it. V. 60.
Ver. 65. to abhor ;—more.] Dr. King informed me that these were two of the rhymes to which Swift, who was scrupulously
Esse mala, exiguum censum, turpemque repulsam,
exact in this respect, used to object, as he frequently did to some others in Pope; and particularly to two in the Essay on Criticism, Verse 237, where delight is made to rhyme to wit; and to many in his Homer.
Ver. 70. Scar'd at the spectre] Pope has given life to the image, and added terror to the simple expression, Pauperiem. Bolingbroke translated this passage in Horace, in about twenty-six lines, and sent them to Swift in a letter, dated March 16, 1719. But a poor performance. Pope has omitted the Olympian games.
Ver. 77. Here, Wisdom calls, &c.] All from hence to Ver. 110, is a pretty close translation; but in general done with so masterly a spirit, that the Original, though one of the most finished passages in Horace, looks only like the imitation of it. W.
Ver. 78. As Gold to Silver, Virtue is to Gold,] This perhaps is the most faulty line in the whole collection. The Original is,
"Vilius est auro argentum, virtutibus aurum."
which only says, That as Silver is of less value than Gold, so Gold is of less value than Virtue: in which simple inferiority, and not the proportion of it, is implied. For it was as contrary to the Author's
To either India see the Merchant fly,
Scar'd at the spectre of pale Poverty !
See him, with pains of body, pangs of soul,
Burn through the Tropic, freeze beneath the Pole!
To stop thy foolish views, thy long desires,
Here, Wisdom calls: "Seek Virtue first, be bold ! As Gold to Silver, Virtue is to Gold."
There, London's voice: "Get Money, Money still!
purpose, as it is to common sense, to suppose, that virtue was but just as much better than gold, as gold is better than silver. Yet Mr. Pope, too attentive to his constant object conciseness, has, before he was aware, fallen into this absurd meaning. However, this and many other inaccuraces in his works had been corrected, had he lived; as many, that now first appear in his edition, were actually corrected a little before his death.
And here I cannot but do justice to one of his many good qualities, a very rare one, indeed, and what none but a truly great genius can afford to indulge: I mean his extreme readiness, and unfeigned pleasure, in acknowledging his mistakes: this, with an impatience to reform them, he possessed in a greater degree, and with less affectation, than any man I ever knew. W.
Ver. 83. From him whose quills stand quiver'd at his ear,] They who do not take the delicacy of this satire, may think the figure of standing quiver'd, extremely hard and quaint: but it has an exquisite beauty, insinuating that the pen of a Scrivener is as ready
Est "animus tibi, sunt mores, est lingua, fidesque : Sed quadringentis sex septem millia desint,
• Plebs eris. Pat pueri ludentes, Rer eris, aiunt, Si recte facies. Hic murus aheneus esto,
Nil conscire sibi, nulla pallescere culpa.
Roscia, dic sodes, melior lex, an puerorum est Nænia, quæ regnum recte facientibus offert,
Et Maribus Curiis et decantata Camillis?
'Isne tibi melius suadet, qui, "Rem facias; rem, "Si possis, recte; si non, quocunque modo rem."
as the quill of a porcupine, and as fatal as the shafts of a Parthian. Quiver'd at the ear of the Scrivener, describes the position it is usually found in, and alludes to the custom of the American canibals, who make use of their hair (tied in a knot on the top of of their heads) instead of a quiver, for their poison'd arrows. W.
This note is another masterpiece of wire-drawing and forced meaning; exactly in the taste of what he so justly laughs at in Dacier, below, at Verse 95.
Ver. 84. notches sticks] Exchequer Tallies. W.
Ver. 85. Barnard in spirit, sense, and truth, abounds ;] Sir John Barnard. It was the Poet's purpose to say, that this great Man (who does so much honour to his Country) had a fine genius, improved and put in use by a true understanding; and both, under the guidance of an integrity superior to all the temptations of interest, honours, or any meaner passion. Many events, since the paying this tribute to his virtue, have shewn how much and how particularly it was due to him. W.
Ver. 88. Bug, and Dorimant] It cannot now be discovered to whom these names belong. So soon does Satire become unintelligible. The same may be said of ver. 112.
Ver. 95. Be this thy Screen, and this thy Wall of Brass ;]
"Hic murus aheneus esto."
Dacier langhs at an able Critic, who was scandalized, that the ancient Scholiasts had not explained what Horace meant by a