A Discourse Concerning the Original
and Progress of Satire

John Dryden

Edited by Jack Lynch

From The Satires of Decimus Junius Juvenalis: Translated into English Verse by Mr. Dryden and Several Other Eminent Hands (London, 1693). The text follows the 1693 edition in spelling and capitalization, with only a few obvious typos corrected. I’ve added paragraph numbers and have footnoted some of the passages in classical languages and obscure allusions, but haven’t tried to track down every reference. Greek words are transliterated. Whenever possible, I’ve used Dryden’s own translations of Roman authors.


Right Honourable

C H A R L E S,

Earl of Dorset and Middlesex,

Lord Chamberlain of Their Maje-
sties Household: Knight of the
Most Noble Order of the

My Lord,

[1] The Wishes and Desires of all good Men, which have attended your Lordship from your First appearance in the World, are at length accomplish’d in your obtaining those Honours and Dignities, which you have so long deserv’d. There are no Factions, tho irreconcilable to one another, that are not united in their Affection to you, and the Respect they pay you. They are equally pleas’d in your Prosperity, and wou’d be equally concern’d in your Afflictions. Titus Vespasian was not more the Delight of Human-kind. The Universal Empire made him only more known, and more Powerful, but cou’d not make him more belov’d. He had greater Ability of doing Good, but your Inclination to it, is not less; And tho’ you could not extend your Beneficence to so many Persons, yet you have lost as few days as that Excellent Emperour; and never had his Complaint to make when you went to Bed, that the Sun had shone upon you in vain, when you had the Opportunity of relieving some unhappy man. This, My Lord, has justly acquir’d you as many Friends, as there are Persons who have the Honour to be known to you: Meer Acquaintance you have none: You have drawn them all into a nearer Line: And they who have Convers’d with you, are for ever after inviolably yours. This is a Truth so generally acknowledg’d, that it needs no Proof: ’Tis of the Nature of a first Principle, which is receiv’d as soon as it is propos’d; and needs not the Reformation which Descartes us’d to his: For we doubt not, neither can we properly say, we think we admire and love you, above all other men: There is a certainty in the Proposition, and we know it. With the same Assurance I can say, you neither have Enemies, nor can scarce have any; for they who have never heard of you, can neither Love or Hate you: And they who have, can have no other notion of you, than that which they receive from the Publick, that you are the best of Men. After this, my Testimony can be of no farther use, than to declare it to be Day-light at High-Noon: And all who have the benefit of sight, can look up, as well, and see the Sun.

[2] ’Tis true, I have one Priviledge which is almost particular to my self, that I saw you in the East at your first arising above the Hemisphere: I was as soon Sensible as any Man of that Light, when it was but just shooting out, and beginning to Travel upwards to the Meridian. I made my early Addresses to your Lordship, in my Essay of Dramatick Poetry; and therein bespoke you to the World: Wherein, I have the right of a First Discoverer. When I was my self, in the Rudiments of my Poetry, without Name, or Reputation in the World, having rather the Ambition of a Writer, than the skill; when I was Drawing the Out-Lines of an Art without any Living Master to Instruct me in it; an Art which had been better Prais’d than Study’d here in England, wherein Shakespear who Created the Stage among us, had rather Written happily, than knowingly and justly; and Johnson,° who by studying Horace,° had been acquainted with the Rules, yet seem’d to envy to Posterity that Knowledge, and like an Inventer of some useful Art, to make a Monopoly of his Learning: When thus, as I may say, before the use of the Loadstone,° or knowledge of the Compass, I was failing in a vast Ocean, without other help, than the Pole-Star of the Ancients, and the Rules of the French Stage amongst the Moderns, which are extreamly different from ours, by reason of their opposite taste; yet even then, I had the presumption to Dedicate to your Lordship: A very unfinish’d Piece, I must Confess, and which only can be excus’d, by the little Experience of the Author, and the Modesty of the Title, An Essay. Yet I was stronger in Prophecy than I was in Criticism: I was Inspir’d to foretell you to Mankind, as the Restorer of Poetry, the greatest Genius, the truest Judge, and the best Patron.

Johnson, Renaissance playwright Ben Jonson
Horace, Roman poet
loadstone = magnet

[3] Good Sence and good Nature, are never separated, tho’ the Ignorant World has thought otherwise. Good Nature, by which I mean Beneficence and Candor, is the Product of right Reason: Which of necessity will give Allowance to the Failings of others, by considering that there is nothing perfect in Mankind; and by distinguishing that which comes nearest to Excellency, tho not absolutely free from Faults, will certainly produce a Candor in the Judge. ’Tis incident to an Elevated Understanding, like your Lordships, to find out the Errors of other men: But ’tis your Prerogative to pardon them; to look with Pleasure on those things, which are somewhat Congenial, and of a remote Kindred to your own Conceptions: And to forgive the many Failings of those, who with their wretched Art, cannot arrive to those Heights that you possess, from a happy, abundant, and Native Genius. Which are as inborn to you, as they were to Shakespear; and for ought I know to Homer; in either of whom we find all Arts and Sciences, all Moral and Natural Philosophy, without knowing that they ever Study’d them.

[4] There is not an English Writer this day living, who is not perfectly convinc’d, that your Lordship excels all others, in all the several parts of Poetry which you have undertaken to adorn. The most Vain, and the most Ambitious of our Age have not dar’d to assume so much, as the Competitours of Themistocles: They have yielded the first place, without dispute; and have been arrogantly content, to be esteem’d as second to your Lordship; and even that also, with a Longo, sed proximi Intervallo. If there have been, or are any, who go farther in their Self-conceipt, they must be very singular in their Opinion: They must be like the Officer, in a Play, who was call’d Captain, Lieutenant, and Company. The World will easily conclude, whether such unattended Generals can ever be capable of making a Revolution in Parnassus.

[5] I will not attempt in this place, to say anything particular of your Lyrick-Poems, though they are the Delight and Wonder of this Age, and will be the Envy of the next. The Subject of this Book confines me to Satire: And in that, an Author of your own Quality, (whose Ashes I will not disturb,) has given you all the Commendation, which his self-sufficiency cou’d afford to any Man: The best Good Man, with the worst-Natur’d Muse. In that Character, methinks I am reading Johnson’s Verses to the Memory of Shakespear: An Insolent, Sparing, and Invidious Panegyrick: Where good Nature, the most God-like Commendation of a Man, is only attributed to your Person, and deny’d to your Writings: for they are every where so full of Candour, that like Horace, you only expose the Follies of Men, without Arraigning their Vices; and in this excel him, That You add that pointedness of Thought, which is visibly wanting in our Great Roman. There is more of Salt in all your Verses, than I have seen in any of the Moderns, or even of the Ancients: But you have been sparing of the Gaul; by which means you have pleas’d all Readers, and offended none. Donn alone, of all our Countrymen, had your Talent; but was not happy enough to arrive at your Versification. And were he Translated into Numbers,° and English, he wou’d yet be wanting in the Dignity of Expression. That which is the prime Vertue, and chief Ornament of Virgil, which distinguishes him from the rest of Writers, is so conspicuous in your Verses, that it casts a shadow on all your Contemporaries; we cannot be seen, or but obscurely, while you are present. You equal Donn, in the Variety, Multipicity, and Choice of Thoughts; you excel him in the Manner, and the Words. I Read you both, with the same Admiration, but not with the same Delight. He affects the Metaphysicks, not only in his Satires, but in his Amorous Verses, where Nature only shou’d reign; and perplexes the Minds of the Fair Sex with nice Speculations of Philosophy, when he shou’d ingage their hearts, and entertain them with the softnesses of Love. In this (if I may be pardon’d for so bold a truth) Mr. Cowley has Copy’d him to a fault: so great a one, in my Opinion, that it throws his Mistress infinitely below his Pindariques, and his latter Compositions; which are undoubtedly the best of his Poems, and the most Correct. For my own part, I must avow it freely to the World, that I never attempted anything in Satire, wherein I have not study’d your Writings as the most perfect Model. I have continually laid them before me; and the greatest Commendation, which my own partiality can give to my Productions, is that they are Copies, and no farther to be allow’d, than as they have something more or less of the Original. Some few Touches of your Lordship, some secret Graces which I have endeavour’d to express after your manner, have made whole Poems of mine to pass with approbation: But take your Verses altogether, and they are inimitable. If therefore I have not written better, ’tis because you have not written more. You have not set me sufficient Copy to Transcribe; and I cannot add one Letter of my own invention, of which I have not the Example there.

numbers = poetic meter

[6] ’Tis a general Complaint against your Lordship, and I must have leave to upbraid you with it, that, because you need not write, you will not. Mankind that wishes you so well, in all things that relate to your prosperity, have their intervals of wishing for themselves, and are within a little of grudging you the fulness of your Fortune: They wou’d be more malicious if you us’d it not so well, and with so much generosity.

[7] Fame is in it self a real good, if we may believe Cicero, who was perhaps too fond of it. But even Fame, as Virgil tells us, acquires strength by going forward. Let Epicurus give Indolency as an Attribute to his Gods, and place in it the happiness of the blest: The Divinity which we Worship, has given us not only a Precept against it, but his own Example to the contrary. The World, my Lord, wou’d be content to allow you a Seventh Day for rest; or if you thought that hard upon you, we wou’d not refuse you half your time: If you came out, like some Great Monarch, to take a Town but once a year, as it were for your diversion, though you had no need to extend your Territories: In short, if you were a bad, or which is worse, an indifferent Poet, we wou’d thank you for our own quiet, and not expose you to the want of yours. But when you are so great, and so successful, and when we have that necessity of your Writing, that we cannot subsist in Poetry without it; any more, (I may almost say,) than the World without the daily Course of ordinary Providence, methinks this Argument might prevail with you, my Lord, to foregoe a little of your Repose for the Publick Benefit. ’Tis not that you are under any force of working daily Miracles, to prove your Being; but now and then somewhat of extraordinary, that is anything of your production, is requisite to refresh your Character.

[8] This, I think, my Lord, is a sufficient Reproach to you; and shou’d I carry it as far as Mankind wou’d Authorise me, wou’d be little less than Satire. And, indeed, a provocation is almost necessary, in behalf of the World, that you might be induc’d sometimes to write; and in relation to a multitude of Scriblers, who daily pester the World with their insufferable Stuff, that they might be discourag’d from Writing any more. I complain not of their Lampoons and Libels, though I have been the Publick Mark for many years. I am vindictive enough to have repell’d force by force, if I cou’d imagine that any of them had ever reach’d me; but they either shot at Rovers,° and therefore miss’d, or their Powder was so weak, that I might safely stand them, at the nearest distance. I answer’d not the Rehearsall, because I knew the Author sate to himself when he drew the Picture, and was the very Bays of his own Farce. Because also I knew, that my Betters were more concern’d than I was in that Satire: And lastly, because Mr. Smith, and Mr. Johnson, the main Pillars of it, were two such Languishing Gentlemen in their Conversation, that I cou’d liken them to nothing but to their own Relations, those Noble Characters of Men of Wit and Pleasure about the Town. The like Considerations have hinder’d me from dealing with the lamentable Companions of their Prose and Doggrel. I am so far from defending my Poetry against them, that I will not so much as expose theirs. And for my Morals, if they are not proof against their attacks, let me be thought by Posterity, what those Authors wou’d be thought, if any Memory of them, or of their Writings cou’d endure so long, as to another Age. But these dull Makers of Lampoons, as harmless as they have been to me, are yet of dangerous Example to the Publick: Some Witty Men may perhaps succeed to their Designs, and mixing Sence with Malice, blast the Reputation of the most Innocent amongst Men, and the most Virtuous amongst Women.

rovers = distant targets in archery

[9] Heaven be prais’d, our common Libellers are as free from the imputation of Wit, as of Morality; and therefore what ever Mischief they have design’d, they have perform’d but little of it. Yet these ill Writers, in all justice ought themselves to be expos’d: As Persius has given us a fair Example in his First Satire; which is level’d particularly at them: And none is so fit to Correct their Faults, as he who is not only clear from any in his own Writings, but is also so just, that he will never defame the good; and is arm’d with the power of Verse, to Punish and make Examples of the bad. But of this, I shall have occasion to speak further, when I come to give the Definition and Character of true Satires.

[10] In the mean time, as a Councellour bred up in the knowledge of the Municipal and Statute Laws, may honestly inform a just Prince how far his Prerogative extends; so I may be allow’d to tell your Lordship, who by an undisputed Title, are the King of Poets, what an extent of Power you have, and how lawfully you may exercise it, over the petulant Scriblers of this Age. As Lord Chamberlain, I know, you are absolute by your Office, in all that belongs to the Decency and Good Manners of the Stage. You can banish from thence Scurrility and Profaneness, and restrain the licentious insolence of Poets and their Actors, in all things that shock the Publick Quiet, or the Reputation of Private Persons, under the notion of Humour. But I mean not the Authority, which is annex’d to your Office: I speak of that only which is inborn and inherent to your Person. What is produc’d in you by an Excellent Wit, a Masterly and Commanding Genius over all Writers: Whereby you are impower’d, when you please, to give the final decision of Wit; to put your Stamp on all that ought to pass for current; and set a Brand of Reprobation on Clipt Poetry, and false Coyn. A Shilling dipt in the Bath may go for Gold amongst the Ignorant, but the Scepters on the Guinies shew the difference. That your Lordship is form’d by Nature for this Supremacy, I cou’d easily prove, (were it not already granted by the World) from the distinguishing Character of your Writing. Which is so visible to me, that I never cou’d be impos’d on to receive for yours, what was written by any others; or to mistake your Genuine Poetry, for their Spurious Productions. I can farther add with truth (though not without some Vanity in saying it) that in the same Paper, written by divers Hands, whereof your Lordship’s was only part, I cou’d separate your Gold from their Copper: And tho I cou’d not give back to every Author his own Brass, (for there is not the same Rule for distinguishing betwixt bad and bad, as betwixt ill and excellently good) yet I never fail’d of knowing what was yours, and what was not: And was absolutely certain, that this, or the other Part was positively yours, and cou’d not possibly be Written by any other.

[11] True it is, that some bad Poems, though not all, carry their Owners Marks about ’em. There is some peculiar aukardness, false Grammar, imperfect Sense, or at the least Obscurity; some Brand or other on this Buttock, or that Ear, that ’tis notorious who are the Owners of the Cattel, though they shou’d not Sign it with their Names. But your Lordship, on the contrary, is distinguish’d, not only by the Excellency of your Thoughts, but by your Stile, and Manner of expressing them. A Painter judging of some Admirable Piece, may affirm with certainty, that it was of Holben, or Vandyke: But Vulgar Designs, and Common Draughts, are easily mistaken, and misapply’d. Thus, by my long Study of your Lordship, I am arriv’d at the knowledge of your particular manner. In the Good Poems of other Men, like those Artists, I can only say, this is like the Draught of such a one, or like the Colouring of another. In short, I can only be sure, that ’tis the Hand of a good Master: But in your Performances ’tis scarcely possible for me to be deceiv’d. If you write in your strength, you stand reveal’d at the first view; and shou’d you write under it, you cannot avoid some Peculiar Graces, which only cost me a second Consideration to discover you: For I may say it, with all the severity of Truth, that every Line of yours is precious. Your Lordship’s only fault is, that you have not written more: Unless I cou’d add another, and that yet greater, but I fear for the Publick, the Accusation wou’d not be true, that you have written, and out of a vicious Modesty will not Publish.

[12] Virgil has confin’d his Works within the compass of Eighteen Thousand Lines, and has not treated many Subjects; yet he ever had, and ever will have the Reputation of the best Poet. Martial° says of him, that he cou’d have excell’d Varius in Tragedy, and Horace in Lyrick Poetry, but out of deference to his Friends he attempted neither.

Martial, Roman epigrammatist

[13] The same prevalence of Genius is in your Lordship, but the World cannot pardon your concealing it on the same consideration; because we have neither a Living Varius, nor a Horace, in whose Excellencies both of Poems, Odes and Satires, you had equall’d them, if our Language had not yielded to the Roman Majesty, and length of time had not added a Reverence to the Works of Horace. For good Sense is the same in all or most Ages; and course of Time rather improves Nature, than impairs her. What has been, may be again: Another Homer, and another Virgil may possibly arise from those very Causes which produc’d the first: Though it wou’d be impudence to affirm that any such have yet appear’d.

[14] ’Tis manifest, that some particular Ages have been more happy than others in the production of Great Men, in all sorts of Arts and Sciences: As that of Eurypides, Sophocles, Aristophanes, and the rest for Stage-Poetry amongst the Greeks: That of Augustus, for Heroick, Lyrick, Dramatick, Elegiaque, and indeed all sorts of Poetry; in the Persons of Virgil, Horace, Varius, Ovid, and many others; especially if we take into that Century the latter end of the Commonwealth; wherein we find Varro, Lucretius, and Catullus: And at the same time liv’d Cicero and Salust, and Cæsar. A Famous Age in Modern Times, for Learning in every kind, was that of Lorenzo de Medici, and his Son Leo the Tenth. Wherein Painting was reviv’d, and Poetry flourish’d, and the Greek Language was restor’d.

[15] Examples in all these are obvious: But what I wou’d infer, is this; That in such an Age ’tis possible some Great Genius may arise, to equal any of the Antients; abating only for the Language. For great Contemporaries whet and cultivate each other: And mutual Borrowing, and Commerce, makes the Common Riches of Learning, as it does of the Civil Government.

[16] But suppose that Homer and Virgil were the only of their Species, and that Nature was so much worn out in producing them, that she is never able to bear the like again; yet the Example only holds in Heroick Poetry: In Tragedy and Satire I offer my self to maintain against some of our Modern Criticks, that this Age and the last, particularly in England, have excell’d the Ancients in both those kinds; and I wou’d instance in Shakespear of the former, of your Lordship in the latter sort.

[17] Thus I might safely confine my self to my Native Country: But if I wou’d only cross the Seas, I might find in France a living Horace and a Juvenal, in the Person of the admirable Boileau: Whose Numbers are Excellent, whose Expressions are Noble, whose Thoughts are Just, whose Language is Pure, whose Satire is pointed, and whose Sense is close; What he borrows from the Ancients, he repays with Usury of his own: in Coin as good, and almost as Universally valuable: For setting prejudice and Partiality apart, though he is our Enemy, the Stamp of a Louis, the Patron of all Arts, is not much inferiour to the Medal of an Augustus Cæsar. Let this be said without entring into the interests of Factions and Parties; and relating only to the Bounty of that King to Men of Learning and Merit: A Praise so just, that even we who are his Enemies, cannot refuse it to him.

[18] Now if it may be permitted me to go back again, to the Consideration of Epique Poetry, I have confess’d, that no Man hitherto has reach’d, or so much as approach’d to the Excellencies of Homer or of Virgil; I must farther add, that Statius, the best Versificator next to Virgil, knew not how to Design after him, though he had the Model in his Eye; that Lucan is wanting both in Design and Subject, and is besides too full of Heat, and Affectation; that amongst the Moderns, Ariosto neither Design’d Justly, nor observ’d any Unity of Action, or Compass of Time, or Moderation in the Vastness of his Draught; his Style is Luxurious, without Majesty, or Decency; and his Adventures, without the compass of Nature and Possibility: Tasso, whose Design was Regular, and who observ’d the Rules of Unity in Time and Place, more closely than Virgil, yet was not so happy in his Action; he confesses himself to have been too Lyrical, that is, to have written beneath the Dignity of Heroick Verse, in his Episodes of Sophronia, Erminia, and Armida; his Story is not so pleasing as Ariosto’s; he is too flatulent sometimes, and sometimes too dry; many times unequal, and almost always forc’d; and besides, is full of Conceipts, points of Epigram and Witticisms; all which are not only below the Dignity of Heroick Verse, but contrary to its Nature: Virgil and Homer have not one of them. And those who are guilty of so boyish an Ambition in so grave a Subject, are so far from being consider’d as Heroique Poets, that they ought to be turn’d down from Homer to the Anthologia, from Virgil to Martial and Owen’s Epigrams, and from Spencer to Fleckno; that is, from the top to the bottom of all Poetry. But to return to Tasso, he borrows from the Invention of Boyardo, and in his Alteration of his Poem, which is infinitely for the worse, imitates Homer so very servilely, that (for Example) he gives the King of Jerusalem Fifty Sons, only because Homer had bestow’d the like number on King Priam; he kills the youngest in the same manner, and has provided his Hero with a Patroclus, under another Name, only to bring him back to the Wars, when his Friend was kill’d. The French have perform’d nothing in this kind, which is not far below those two Italians, and subject to a thousand more Reflections, without examining their Saint Lewis, their Pucelle, or their Alarique: The English have only to boast of Spencer and Milton, who neither of them wanted either Genius, or Learning, to have been perfect Poets; and yet both of them are liable to many Censures. For there is no Uniformity in the Design of Spencer: He aims at the Accomplishment of no one Action: He raises up a Hero for every one of his Adventures; and endows each of them with some particular Moral Virtue, which renders them all equal, without Subordination or Preference. Every one is most Valiant in his own Legend; only we must do him that Justice to observe, that Magnanimity, which is the Character of Prince Arthur, shines throughout the whole Poem; and Succours the rest, when they are in Distress. The Original of every Knight, was then living in the Court of Queen Elizabeth: And he attributed to each of them that Virtue, which he thought was most conspicuous in them: An Ingenious piece of Flattery, tho’ it turn’d not much to his Account. Had he liv’d to finish his Poem, in the six remaining Legends, it had certainly been more of a piece; but cou’d not have been perfect, because the Model was not true. But Prince Arthur, or his chief Patron, Sir Philip Sidney, whom he intended to make happy, by the Marriage of his Gloriana, dying before him, depriv’d the Poet, both of Means and Spirit, to accomplish his Design: For the rest, his Obsolete Language, and the ill choice of his Stanza, are faults but of the Second Magnitude: For notwithstanding the first he is still Intelligible, at least, after a little practice; and for the last, he is the more to be admir’d; that labouring under such a difficulty, his Verses are so Numerous, so Various, and so Harmonious, that only Virgil, whom he profestly imitated, has surpass’d him, among the Romans; and only Mr. Waller among the English.

[19] As for Mr. Milton, whom we all admire with so much Justice, his Subject is not that of an Heroique Poem; properly so call’d: His Design is the Losing of our Happiness; his Event is not prosperous, like that of all other Epique Works: His Heavenly Machines are many, and his Humane Persons are but two. But I will not take Mr. Rymer’s Work out of his Hands. He has promis’d the World a Critique on that Author; wherein, tho’ he will not allow his Poem for Heroick, I hope he will grant us, that his Thoughts are elevated, his Words Sounding, and that no Man has so happily Copy’d the Manner of Homer; or so copiously translated his Grecisms, and the Latin Elegancies of Virgil. ’Tis true, he runs into a flat of Thought, sometimes for a Hundred Lines together, but ’tis when he is got into a Track of Scripture: His Antiquated words were his Choice, not his Necessity; for therein he imitated Spencer, as Spencer did Chawcer. And tho’, perhaps, the love of their Masters, may have transported both too far; in the frequent use of them; yet in my Opinion, Obsolete Words may then be laudably reviv’d, when either they are more Sounding, or more Significant than those in practice: And when their Obscurity is taken away, by joining other Words to them which clear the Sense; according to the Rule of Horace, for the admission of new Words. But in both cases, a Moderation is to be observ’d, in the use of them: For unnecessary Coynage, as well as unnecessary Revival, runs into Affectation; a fault to be avoided on either hand. Neither will I Justifie Milton for his Blank Verse, tho’ I may excuse him, by the Example of Hannibal Caro, and other Italians, who have us’d it: For whatever Causes he alledges for the abolishing of Rhyme (which I have not now the leisure to examine) his own particular Reason is plainly this, that Rhyme was not his Talent; he had neither the Ease of doing it, nor the Graces of it; which is manifest in his Juvenilia, or Verses written in his Youth: Where his Rhyme is always constrain’d and forc’d, and comes hardly from him at an Age when the Soul is most pliant; and the Passion of Love, makes almost every Man a Rhymer, tho’ not a Poet.

[20] By this time, My Lord, I doubt not but that you wonder, why I have run off from my Biass so long together, and made so tedious a Digression from Satire to Heroique Poetry. But if You will not excuse it, by the tattling Quality of Age, which, as Sir William Davenant says, is always Narrative; yet I hope the usefulness of what I have to say on this Subject, will qualifie the remoteness of it; and this is the last time I will commit the Crime of Prefaces; or trouble the World with my Notions of any thing that relates to Verse. I have then, as You see, observ’d the Failings of many great Wits amongst the Moderns, who have attempted to write an Epique Poem: Besides these, or the like Animadversions of them by other Men, there is yet a farther Reason given, why they cannot possibly succeed, so well as the Ancients, even tho’ we cou’d allow them not to be Inferiour, either in Genius or Learning, or the Tongue in which they write; or all those other wonderful Qualifications which are necessary to the forming of a true Accomplish’d Heroique Poet. The fault is laid on our Religion: They say that Christianity is not capable of those Embellishments which are afforded in the Belief of those Ancient Heathens.

[21] And ’tis true, that in the severe notions of our Faith; the Fortitude of a Christian consists in Patience, and Suffering for the Love of God, what ever hardships can befall him in the World; not in any great Attempt; or in performance of those Enterprises which the Poets call Heroique; and which are commonly the Effects of Interest, Ostentation, Pride and Worldly Honour. That Humility and Resignation are our prime Vertues; and that these include no Action, but that of the Soul; When as, on the Contrary, an Heroique Poem requires to its necessary Design, and as its last Perfection, some great Action of War, the Accomplishment of some Extraordinary Undertaking; which requires the Strength and Vigour of the Body, the Duty of a Souldier, the Capacity and Prudence of a General; and, in short, as much, or more of the Active Virtue, than the Suffering. But to this, the Answer is very Obvious. God has plac’d us in our several Stations; the Virtues of a private Christian are Patience, Obedience, Submission, and the like; but those of a Magistrate, or General, or a King, are Prudence, Counsel, active Fortitude, coercive Power, awful Command, and the Exercise of Magnanimity, as well as Justice. So that this Objection hinders not, but that an Epique Poem, or the Heroique Action of some Great Commander, Enterpris’d for the Common Good, and Honour of the Christian Cause, and Executed happily, may be as well Written now, as it was of old by the Heathens; provided the Poet be endu’d with the same Talents; and the Language, though not of equal Dignity, yet as near approaching to it; as our Modern Barbarism will allow, which is all that can be expected from our own or any other now extant, though more Refin’d, and therefore we are to rest contented with that only Inferiority, which is not possibly to be Remedy’d.

[22] I wish, I cou’d as easily remove that other difficulty which yet remains. ’Tis Objected by a great French Critique, as well as an Admirable Poet, yet living, and whom I have mention’d with that Honour, which his Merit exacts from me, I mean Boileau, that the Machines of our Christian Religion in Heroique Poetry, are much more feeble to Support that weight than those of Heathenism. Their Doctrine, grounded as it was on Ridiculous Fables, was yet the Belief of the Two Victorious Monarchies, the Grecian, and Roman. Their Gods did not only interest themselves in the Event of Wars (which is the Effect of a Superiour Providence) but also espous’d the several Parties, in a Visible Corporeal Descent, mannag’d their Intrigues, and Fought their Battels sometimes in Opposition to each other: Tho’ Virgil (more discreet than Homer in that last Particular) has contented himself with the Partiality of his Deities, their Favours, their Counsels or Commands, to those whose Cause they had espous’d, without bringing them to the Outrageousness of Blows. Now, our Religion (says he) is depriv’d of the greatest part of those Machines; at least the most Shining in Epique Poetry. Tho’ St. Michael in Ariosto seeks out Discord, to send her amongst the Pagans, and finds her in a Convent of Friars, where Peace should Reign, which indeed is fine Satire; and Satan, in Tasso, excites Solyman, to an Attempt by Night on the Christian Camp, and brings an Host of Devils to his Assistance; yet the Arch-Angel, in the former Example, when Discord was relative, and would not be drawn from her belov’d Monastery with fair Words, has the Whip-hand of her, Drags her out with many stripes, sets her, on Gods-name, about her business; and makes her know the difference of Strength betwixt a Nuncio of Heaven, and a Minister of Hell: The same Angel, in the latter Instance from Tasso (as if God had never another Messenger, belonging to the Court, but was confin’d like Jupiter to Mercury, and Juno to Iris,) when he sees his time, that is, when half of the Christians are already kill’d, and all the rest are in a fair way to be Routed, stickles betwixt the Remainders of God’s Host, and the Race of Fiends; Pulls the Devils backward by their Tails, and drives them from their quarry; or otherwise the whole business had miscarri’d, and Jerusalem remain’d untaken. This, says Boileau, is a very unequal Match for the Poor Devils; who are sure to come by the worst of it in the Combat; for nothing is more easie, than for an Almighty Power to bring his old Rebels to Reason, when he Pleases. Consequently, what pleasure, what Entertainment can be rais’d from so pitiful a Machine? Where we see the Success of the Battel, from the very beginning of it? Unless that, as we are Christians, we are glad that we have gotten God on our side, to maul our Enemies, when we cannot do the work ourselves. For if the Poet had given the Faithful more Courage, which had cost him nothing, or at least have made them exceed the Turks in Number; he might have gain’d the Victory for us Christians, without interesting Heaven in the quarrel; and that with as much ease, and as little Credit to the Conqueror, as when a Party of a Hundred Souldiers defeats another which consists only of Fifty.

[23] This, my Lord, I confess is such an Argument against our Modern Poetry, as cannot be answer’d by those Mediums, which have been us’d. We cannot hitherto boast, that our Religion has furnish’d us with any such Machines, as have made the Strength and Beauty of the Ancient Buildings.

[24] But, what if I venture to advance an Invention of my own, to supply the manifest defect of our new Writers: I am sufficiently sensible of my weakness, and ’tis not very probable, that I shou’d succeed in such a Project, whereof I have not had the least hint from any of my Predecessors, the Poets, or any of their Seconds, and Coadjutors, the Critiques. Yet we see the Art of War is improv’d in Sieges, and new Instruments of Death are invented daily. Something new in Philosophy° and the Mechanicks is discover’d almost every Year: And the Science° of Former Ages is improv’d by the Succeeding. I will not detain you with a long Preamble to that, which better Judges will, perhaps, conclude to be little worth.

philosophy = science
science = knowledge

[25] ’Tis this, in short, That Christian Poets have not hitherto been acquainted with their own Strength. If they had search’d the Old Testament as they ought, they might there have found the Machines which are proper for their Work; and those more certain in their effect, than it may be the New-Testament is, in the Rules sufficient for Salvation. The perusing of one Chapter in the Prophecy of Daniel, and Accommodating what there they find, with the Principles of Platonique Philosophy, as it is now Christianis’d, wou’d have made the Ministry of Angels as strong an Engine, for the Working up Heroique Poetry, in our Religion, as that of the Ancients has been to raise theirs by all the Fables of their Gods, which were only receiv’d for Tuths by the most ignorant, and weakest of the People.

[26] ’Tis a Doctrine almost Universally receiv’d by Christians, as well Protestants as Catholicks, that there are Guardian Angels appointed by God Almighty, as his Vicegerents, for the Protection and Government of Cities, Provinces, Kingdoms, and Monarchies; and those as well of Heathens, as of true Believers. All this is so plainly prov’d from those Texts of Daniel, that it admits of no farther Controversie. The Prince of the Persians, and that other of the Grecians, are granted to be the Guardians and Protecting Ministers of those Empires. It cannot be deny’d, that they were opposite, and resisted one another. St. Michael is mention’d by his Name, as the Patron of the Jews, and is now taken by the Christians, as the Protector General of our Religion. These Tutelar Genij, who presided over the several People and Regions committed to their Charge, were watchful over them for good, as far as their Commissions cou’d possibly extend. The General Purpose, and Design of all, was certainly the Service of their Great Creatour. But ’tis an undoubted Truth, that for Ends best known to the Almighty Majesty of Heaven, his Providential Designs for the benefit of his Creatures, for the Debasing and Punishing of some Nations, and the Exaltation and Temporal Reward of others, were not wholly known to these his Ministers; else why those Factious Quarrels, Controversies, and Battels amongst themselves, when they were all United in the same Design, the Service and Honour of their common Master? But being instructed only in the General, and zealous of the main Design; and as Finite Beings, not admitted into the Secrets of Government, the last resorts of Providence, or capable of discovering the final Purposes of God, who can work Good out of Evil, as he pleases; and-irresistably sways all manner of Events on Earth, directing them finally for the best, to his Creation in General, and to the Ultimate End of his own Glory in Particular: They must of necessity be sometimes ignorant of the Means conducing to those Ends, in which alone they can jarr, and oppose each other. One Angel, as we may suppose the Prince of Persia, as he is call’d, judging, that it would be more for God’s Honour, and the Benefit of his People, that the Median and Persian Monarchy, which deliver’d them from the Babylonish Captivity, shou’d still be uppermost: And the Patron of the Grecians, to whom the Will of God might be more particularly Reveal’d, contending on the other side, for the Rise of Alexander and his Successors, who were appointed to punish the Backsliding Jews, and thereby to put them in mind of their Offences, that they might Repent, and become more Virtuous, and more Observant of the Law Reveal’d. But how far these Controversies and appearing Enmities of those glorious Creatures may be carri’d; how these Oppositions may best be manag’d, and by what Means conducted, is not my business to shew or determine: These things must be left to the Invention and Judgment of the Poet: If any of so happy a Genius be now living, or any future Age can produce a Man, who being Conversant in the Philosophy of Plato, as it is now accommodated to Christian use; for (as Virgil gives us to understand by his Example) that is the only proper of all others for an Epique Poem, who to his Natural Endowments, of a large Invention, a ripe Judgment, and a strong Memory, has join’d the knowledge of the Liberal Arts and Sciences, and particularly, Moral Philosophy, the Mathematicks, Geography and History, and with all these Qualifications is born a Poet; knows, and can practice the variety of Numbers, and is Master of the Language in which he Writes; if such a Man, I say, be now arisen, or shall arise, I am vain enough to think, that I have propos’d a Model to him, by which he may build a Nobler, a more Beautiful and more Perfect Poem, than any yet extant since the Ancients.

[27] There is another part of these Machines yet wanting; but by what I have said, it wou’d have been easily supply’d by a Judicious Writer. He cou’d not have fail’d, to add the opposition of ill Spirits to the good; they have also their Design, ever opposite to that of Heaven; and this alone, has hitherto been the practice of the Moderns: But this imperfect System, if I may call it such, which I have given, will infinitely advance and carry farther that Hypothesis of the Evil Spirits contending with the Good. For being so much weaker since their Fall, than those blessed Beings, they are yet suppos’d to have a permitted Power from God, of acting ill, as from their own deprav’d Nature they have always the Will of designing it. A great Testimony of which we find in Holy Writ, when God Almighty suffer’d Satan to appear in the Holy Synod of the Angels, (a thing not hitherto drawn into Example by any of the Poets,) and also gave him Power over all things belonging to his Servant Job, excepting only Life.

[28] Now what these Wicked Spirits cannot compass, by the vast disproportion of their Forces, to those of the Superiour Beings: They may by their Fraud and Cunning carry farther, in a seeming League, Confederacy or Subserviency to the Designs of some good Angel, as far as consists with his purity, to suffer such an aid, the end of which may possibly be disguis’d, and conceal’d from his finite Knowledge. This is indeed to suppose a great Errour in such a Being: Yet since a Devil can appear like an Angel of Light; since Craft and Malice may sometimes blind for a while a more perfect Understanding; and lastly, since Milton has given us an Example of the like nature, when Satan appearing like a Cherub, to Uriel, the Intelligence of the Sun, Circumvented him even in his own Province, and pass’d only for a Curious Traveller through those new Created Regions, that he might observe therein the Workmanship of God, and praise him in his Works.

[29] I know not why, upon the same supposition, or some other, a Fiend may not deceive a Creature of more Excellency than himself, but yet a Creature; at least by the connivance, or tacit permission of the Omniscient Being.

[30] Thus, my Lord, I have as briefly as I cou’d, given your Lordship, and by you the World a rude draught of what I have been long labouring in my Imagination. And what I had intended to have put in practice, (though far unable for the attempt of such a Poem) and to have left the Stage, to which my Genius never much inclin’d me, for a Work which wou’d have taken up my Life in the performance of it. This too, I had intended chiefly for the Honour of my Native Country, to which a Poet is parcicularly oblig’d: Of two Subjects, both relating to it, I was doubtful, whether I shou’d chuse that of King Arthur, Conquering the Saxons; which being farther distant in Time, gives the greater Scope to my Invention: Or that of Edward the Black Prince in subduing Spain, and Restoring it to the Lawful Prince, though a Great Tyrant, Don Pedro the Cruel: Which for the compass of Time, including only the Expedition of one Year: For the greatness of the Action, and its answearable Event; for the Magnanimity of the English Hero, oppos’d to the Ingratitude of the person whom he restor’d; and for the many Beautiful Episodes, which I had interwoven with the principal Design, together with the Characters of the chiefest English Persons; wherein, after Virgil and Spencer, I wou’d have taken occasion to represent my living Friends and Patrons of the Noblest Families, and also shadow’d the Events of future Ages, in the Succession of our Imperial Line. With these helps, and those of the Machines, which I have mention’d; I might perhaps have done as well as some of my Predecessors; or at least chalk’d out a way, for others to amend my Errors in a like Design. But being encourag’d only with fair Words, by King Charles II, my little Sallary ill paid, and no prospect of a future Subsistance, I was then Discourag’d in the beginning of my Attempt; and now Age has overtaken me; and Want, a more insufferable Evil, through the Change of the Times, has wholly disenabl’d me. Tho’ I must ever acknowledge, to the Honour of your Lordship, and the Eternal Memory of your Charity, that since this Revolution, wherein I have patiently suffer’d the Ruin of my small Fortune, and the loss of that poor Subsistance which I had from two Kings, whom I had serv’d more Faithfully than Profitably to my self; then your Lordship was pleas’d, out of no other Motive, but your own Nobleness, without any Desert of mine, or the least Sollicitation from me, to make me a most bountiful Present, which at that time, when I was most in want of it, came most seasonably and unexpectedly to my Relief. That Favour, my Lord, is of it self sufficient to bind any Grateful Man, to a perpetual Acknowledgment, and to all the future Service, which one of my mean Condition, can be ever able to perform. May the Almighty God return it for me, both in Blessing you here, and Rewarding you hereafter. I must not presume to defend the Cause for which I now suffer, because your Lordship is engag’d against it: But the more you are so, the greater is my Obligation to you: For your laying aside all the Considerations of Factions and Parties, to do an Action of pure disinteress’d Charity. This is one amongst many of your shining Qualities, which distinguish you from others of your Rank: But let me add a farther Truth, That without these Ties of Gratitude, and abstracting from them all, I have a most particular Inclination to Honour you; and if it were not too bold an Expression, to say, I Love you. ’Tis no shame to be a Poet, tho’ ’tis to be a bad one. Augustus Cæsar of old, and Cardinal Richlieu of late, wou’d willingly have been such; and David and Solomon were such. You, who without Flattery, are the best of the present Age in England, and wou’d have been so, had you been born in any other Country, will receive more Honour in future Ages, by that one Excellency, than by all those Honours to which your Birth has intitl’d you, or your Merits have acquir’d you.

      Ne, forte, pudori,
Sit tibi Musa Lyræ solers, & Cantor

[31] I have formerly said in this Epistle, that I cou’d distinguish your Writings from those of any others: ’Tis now time to clear my self from any imputation of Self-conceipt on that Subject. I assume not to my self any particular lights in this Discovery; they are such only as are obvious to every Man of Sense and Judgment, who loves Poetry, and understands it. Your Thoughts are always so remote from the common way of thinking, that they are, as I may say, of another Species, than the Conceptions of other Poets; yet you go not out of Nature for any of them: Gold is never bred upon the Surface of the Ground; but lies so hidden, and so deep, that the Mines of it are seldom found; but the force of Waters casts it out from the Bowels of Mountains, and exposes it amongst the Sands of Rivers; giving us of her Bounty, what we cou’d not hope for by our search. This Success attends your Lordship’s Thoughts, which wou’d look like Chance, if it were not perpetual, and always of the same tenour. If I grant that there is Care in it, ’tis such a Care as wou’d be ineffectual, and fruitless in other Men. ’Tis the Curiosa felicitas which Petronius ascribes to Horace in his Odes. We have not wherewithal to imagine so strongly, so justly, and so pleasantly: In short, if we have the same Knowledge, we cannot draw out of it the same Quintessence, we cannot give it such a Turn, such a Propriety, and such a Beauty. Something is deficient in the Manner, or the Words, but more in the Nobleness of our Conception. Yet when you have finish’d all, and it appears in its full Lustre, when the Diamond is not only found, but the Roughness smooth’d, when it is cut into a Form, and set in Gold, then we cannot but acknowledge, that it is the Perfect Work of Art and Nature: And every one will be so vain, to think he himself cou’d have perform’d the like, till he attempts it. ’Tis just the Description that Horace makes of such a Finish’d Piece: It appears so easie, Ut sibi quivis speret idem, sudet multum, frustraque laboret, ausus idem. And besides all this, ’tis Your Lordships particular Talent to lay your Thoughts so close together, that were they closer, they wou’d be crouded, and even a due connexion wou’d be wanting. We are not kept in expectation of two good lines, which are to come after a long Parenthesis of twenty bad; which is the April Poetry of other Writers, a mixture of Rain and Sun-shine by fits: You are always bright, even almost to a fault, by reason of the excess. There is continual abundance, a Magazine° of Thought, and yet a perpetual Variety of Entertainment; which creates such an Appetite in your Reader, that he is not cloy’d with any thing, but satisfy’d with all. ’Tis that which the Romans call Coena dubia; where there is such plenty, yet withall so much Diversity, and so good Order, that the choice is difficult betwixt one Excellency and another; and yet the Conclusion, by a due Climax, is evermore the best; that is, as a Conclusion ought to be, ever the most proper for its place. See, my Lord, whether I have not studi’d Your Lordship with some Application: And since You are so Modest, that You will not be Judge and Party, I appeal to the whole World, if I have not drawn Your Picture to a great degree of likeness, tho’ ’tis but in Miniature: And that some of the best Features are yet wanting. Yet what I have done is enough to distinguish You from any other, which is the Proposition that I took upon me to demonstrate.

magazine = storehouse

[32] And now, my Lord, to apply what I have said, to my present Business; the Satires of Juvenal and Persius, appearing in this New English Dress, cannot so properly be Inscrib’d to any Man as to Your Lordship, who are the First of the Age in that way of Writing. Your Lordship, amongst many other Favours, has given me Your Permission for this Address; and You have particularly Encourag’d me by Your Perusal and Approbation of the Sixth and Tenth Satires of Juvenal, as I have Translated them. My fellow Labourers, have likewise Commission’d me, to perform in their behalf this Office of a Dedication to you; and will acknowledge with all possible Respect and Gratitude, your Acceptance of their Work. Some of them have the Honour to be known to your Lordship already; and they who have not yet that happiness, desire it now. Be pleas’d to receive our common Endeavours with your wonted Candor, without Intitleing you to the Protection of our common Failings, in so difficult an Undertakeing. And allow me your Patience, if it be not already tir’d with this long Epistle, to give you from the Best Authors, the Origine, the Antiquity, the Growth, the Change, and the Compleatment of Satire among the Romans. To Describe, if not Define, the Nature of that Poem, with it’s several Qualifications and Virtues, together with the several sorts of it. To compare the Excellencies of Horace, Persius and Juvenal, and shew the particular Manners of their Satires. And lastly, to give an Account of this New Way of Version° which is attempted in our Performance. All which, according to the weakness of my Ability, and the best Lights which I can get from others, shall be the Subject of my following Discourse.

version = translation

[33] The most Perfect Work of Poetry, says our Master Aristotle, is Tragedy. His Reason is, because it is the most United; being more severely confin’d within the Rules of Action, Time and Place. The Action is entire of a Piece, and one, without Episodes: The Time limited to a Natural Day: And the Place Circumbscrib’d at least within the Compass of one Town, or City. Being exactly Proportion’d thus, and Uniform in all it’s Parts, The Mind is more Capable of Comprehending the whole Beauty of it without distraction.

[34] But after all these Advantages, an Heroique Poem is certainly the greatest Work of Human Nature. The Beauties and Perfections of the other are but Mechanical; those of the Epique are more Noble. Tho’ Homer has limited his Place to Troy, and the Fields about it; his Actions to Forty Eight Natural Days, whereof Twelve are Holy-days, or Cessation from business, during the Funerals of Patroclus. To proceed, the Action of the Epique is greater: The Extention of Time enlarges the Pleasure of the Reader, and the Episodes give it more Ornament, and more Variety. The Instruction is equal; but the first is only Instuctive, the latter Forms a Hero, and a Prince.

[35] If it signifies any thing which of them is of the more Ancient Family, the best and most absolute Heroique Poem was written by Homer, long before Tragedy was Invented: But, if we consider the Natural Endowments, and acquir’d Parts which are necessary to make an accomplish’d Writer in either Kind, Tragedy requires a less and more confin’d Knowledge: moderate Learning, and Observation of the Rules is sufficient, if a Genius be not wanting. But in an Epique Poet, one who is worthy of that Name, besides an Universal Genius, is requir’d Universal Learning, together with all those Qualities and Acquisitions which I have nam’d above, and as many more as I have through haste or negligence omitted. And after all, he must have exactly Study’d Homer and Virgil, as his Patterns, Aristotle and Horace as his Guides, and Vida and Bossu, as their Commentators, with many others both Italian and French Critiques, which I want leisure here to Recommend.

[36] In a Word, what I have to say, in Relation to This Subject, which does not Particularly concern Satire, is, That the greatness of an Heroique Poem, beyond that of a Tragedy, may easily be discover’d by observing, how few have attempted that Work, in comparison of those who have Written Drama’s; and of those few, how small a number have Succeeded. But leaving the Critiques on either side to contend about the preference due to this or that sort of Poetry; I will hasten to my present business, which is the Antiquity and Origine of Satire, according to those Informations which I have receiv’d from the Learned Casaubon, Heinsius, Rigaltius, Dacier and the Dauphin’s Juvenal; to which I shall add some Observations of my own.

[37] There has been a long Dispute amongst the Modern Critiques, whether the Romans deriv’d their Satire from the Grecians, or first Invented it themselves. Julius Scaliger and Heinsius, are of the first Opinion; Casaubon, Rigaltius, Dacier, and the Publisher of the Dauphin’s Juvenal maintain the Latter. If we take Satire in the general signification of the Word, as it is us’d in all Modern Languages, for an Invective, ’tis certain that it is almost as old as Verse; and tho’ Hymns, which are praises of God, may be allow’d to have been before it, yet the defamation of others was not long after it. After God had Curs’d Adam and Eve in Paradise, the Husband and Wife excus’d themselves, by laying the blame on one another; and gave a beginning to those Conjugal Dialogues in Prose; which the Poets have perfected in Verse. The Third Chapter of Job is one of the first Instances of this Poem in Holy Scripture: Unless we will take it higher, from the latter end of the second; where his Wife advises him to curse his Maker.

[38] This Original, I confess, is not much to the Honour of Satire; but here it was Nature, and that deprav’d: When it became an Art, it bore better Fruit. Only we have learnt thus much already, that Scoffs and Revilings are of the growth of all Nations; and consequently that neither the Greek Poets borrow’d from other People their Art of Railing, neither needed the Romans to take it from them. But considering Satire as a Species of Poetry; here the War begins amongst the Criticks.

[39] Scaliger the Father will have it descend from Greece to Rome; and derives the word Satyre, from Satyrus, that mixt kind of Animal, or, as the Ancients thought him, Rural God,° made up betwixt a Man and a Goat; with a Humane Head, Hook’d Nose, Powting Lips, a Bunch, or Struma under the Chin, prick’d Ears, and upright Horns; the Body shagg’d with hair, especially from the waste, and ending in a Goat, with the legs and feet of that Creature. But Casaubon, and his Followers, with Reason, condemn this derivation; and prove that from Satyrus, the word Satira, as it signifies a Poem, cannot possibly descend. For Satira is not properly a Substantive, but an Adjective; to which, the word Lanx, in English a Charger, or large Platter, is understood: So that the Greek Poem made according to the Manners of a Satyr, and expressing his Qualities, must properly be call’d Satyrical, and not Satire: And thus far ’tis allow’d,° that the Grecians had such Poems; but that they where wholly different in Specie, from that to which the Romans gave the Name of Satire.

rural god, a satyr
substantive = noun
allow’d = admitted

[40] Aristotle divides all Poetry, in relation to the Progress of it, into Nature without Art: Art begun, and Art Compleated. Mankind, even the most Barbarous have the Seeds of Poetry implanted in them. The first Specimen of it was certainly shewn in the Praises of the Deity, and Prayers to him: And as they are of Natural Obligation, so they are likewise of Divine Institution. Which Milton observing, introduces Adam and Eve, every Morning adoring God in Hymns and Prayers. The first Poetry was thus begun, in the wild Notes of Nature, before the invention of Feet,° and Measures. The Grecians and Romans had no other Original of their Poetry. Festivals and Holydays soon succeeded to Private Worship, and we need not doubt but they were enjoyn’d by the true God to his own People; as they were afterwards imitated by the Heathens; who by the light of Reason knew they were to invoke some Superiour Being in their Necessities, and to thank him for his Benefits. Thus the Grecian Holydays were Celebrated with Offerings to Bacchus and Ceres, and other Deities, to whose Bounty they suppos’d they were owing for their Corn and Wine, and other helps of Life. And the Ancient Romans, as Horace tells us, paid their thanks to Mother Earth, or Vesta, to Silvanus, and their Genius, in the same manner. But as all Festivals have a double Reason of their Institution; the first of Religion, the other of Recreation, for the unbending of our Minds: So both the Grecians and Romans agreed, after their Sacrifices were perform’d, to spend the remainder of the day in Sports and Merriments; amongst which, Songs and Dances, and that which they call’d Wit, (for want of knowing better,) were the chiefest Entertainments. The Grecians had a notion of Satyres, whom I have already describ’d; and taking them, and the Sileni, that is the young Satyrs and the old, for the Tutors, Attendants, and Humble Companions of their Bacchus, habited themselves like those Rural Deities, and imitated them in their Rustick Dances, to which they join’d Songs, with some sort of rude Harmony, but without certain Numbers; and to these they added a kind of Chorus.

feet = poetic meter

[41] The Romans also (as Nature is the same in all places) though they knew nothing of those Grecian Demi-Gods, nor had any Communication with Greece, yet had certain Young Men, who at their Festivals, Danc’d and Sung after their uncouth manner, to a certain kind of Verse, which they call’d Saturnian; what it was, we have no very certain light from Antiquity to discover; but we may conclude, that, like the Grecian, it was void of Art, or at least with very feeble beginnings of it. Those Ancient Romans, at these Holydays, which were a mixture of Devotion and Debauchery, had a Custom of reproaching each other with their Faults, in a sort of Extempore° Poetry, or rather of tunable hobling Verse; and they answer’d in the same kind of gross Raillery;° their Wit and their Musick being of a piece. The Grecians, says Casaubon, had formerly done the same, in the Persons of their petulant Satyrs: But I am afraid he mistakes the matter, and confounds the Singing and Dancing of the Satyrs, with the Rustical Entertainments of the first Romans. The Reason of my Opinion is this; that Casaubon finding little light from Antiquity, of these beginnings of Poetry, amongst the Grecians, but only these Representations of Satyrs, who carry’d Canisters and Cornucopias full of several Fruits in their hands, and danc’d with them at their Publick Feasts: And afterwards reading Horace, who makes mention of his homely Romans, jesting at one another in the same kind of Solemnities, might suppose those wanton Satyrs did the same. And especially because Horace possibly might seem to him, to have shewn the Original of all Poetry in general, including the Grecians, as well as Romans: Though ’tis plainly otherwise, that he only describ’d the beginning, and first Rudiments of Poetry in his own Country. The Verses are these, which he cites from the First Epistle of the Second Book, which was Written to Augustus.

extempore = improvised
raillery = ridicule

Agricolæ prisci, fortes, parvoq; beati,
Condita post frumenta, levantes tempore festo
Corpus & ipsum animum spe finis dura ferentem,
Cum sociis operum, & pueris, & conjuge fidâ,
Tellurem Porco, Silvanum lacte piabant;
Floribus & vino Genium memorem brevis ævi:
Fescennina per hunc invent a licentia morem
Versibus alternis, opprobria rustica fudit.

Our Brawny Clowns of Old, who turn’d the soyl,
Content with little, and inur’d to toyl,
At Harvest home, with Mirth and Country Cheer
Restor’d their Bodies for another year:
Refresh’d their Spirits, and renew’d their Hope,
Of such a future Feast, and future Crop.
Then with their Fellow-joggers of the Ploughs,
Their little Children, and their faithful Spouse;
A Sow they slew to Vesta’s Deity;
And kindly Milk, Silvanus, pour’d to thee.
With Flow’rs, and Wine, their Genius they ador’d;
A short Life, and a merry, was the word.
From flowing Cups defaming Rhymes ensue,
And at each other homely Taunts they threw.

[42] Yet since it is a hard Conjecture, that so Great a Man as Casaubon shou’d misapply what Horace writ concerning Ancient Rome, to the Ceremonies and Manners of Ancient Greece, I will not insist on this Opinion, but rather judge in general, that since all Poetry had its Original from Religion, that of the Grecians and Rome had the same beginning: Both were invented at Festivals of Thanksgiving: And both were prosecuted with Mirth and Raillery, and Rudiments of Verses: Amongst the Greeks, by those who Represented Satyrs; and amongst the Romans by real Clowns.

[43] For, Indeed, when I am Reading Casaubon, on these two Subjects, methinks I hear the same Story told twice over with very little alteration. Of which Dacier takeing notice, in his Interpretation of the Latine Verses which I have Translated, says plainly, that the begining of Poetry was the same, with a small variety in both Countries: And that the Mother of it in all Nations, was Devotion. But what is yet more wonderful, that most Learned Critique takes notice also, in his Illustrations on the First Epistle of the Second Book, that as the Poetry of the Romans, and that of the Grecians, had the same beginning at Feasts of Thanksgiving, as it has been Observ’d; and the old Comedy of the Greeks which was Invective, and the Satire of the Romans which was of the same Nature, were begun on the very same Occasion, so the Fortune of both in process of time was just the same; the old Comedy of the Grecians was forbidden, for its too much License in exposing of particular Persons, and the Rude Satire of the Romans was also Punish’d by a Law of the Decemviri, as Horace tells us, in these Words,

Libertasque recurrentes accepta per Annos
Lusit amabiliter, donec jam sævus apertam
In rabiem verticæpit jocus; & per honestas
Ire domos impune minax: Doluere cruento
Dente lacessiti; fuit intactis quoque cura
Conditione super communi: Quinetiam Lex,
Pænaq; lata, malo quæ nollet carmine quemquam
Describi, vertere modum formidine fustis;
Ad benedicendum delectandumq; redacti.

[44] The Law of the Decemviri, was this. Siquis Occentassit malum Carmen, sive Condidisit, quod Infamiam faxit, Flagitiumve alteri, Capital este. A strange likeness, and barely possible: But the Critiques being all of the same Opinion, it becomes me to be silent, and submit to better Judgments than my own.

[45] But to return to the Grecians, from whose Satyrick Drama’s, the Elder Scaliger and Heinsius, will have the Roman Satire to proceed, I am to take a View of them first, and see if there be any such Descent from them as those Authors have pretended.

[46] Thespis, or whosoever he were that Invented Tragedy, (for Authors differ) mingl’d with them a Chorus and Dances of Satyres, which had before been us’d, in the Celebration of their Festivals; and there they were ever afterwards retain’d. The Character of them was also kept, which was Mirth and Wantonness: And this was given, I suppose, to the folly of the Common Audience, who soon grow weary of good Sense; and as we daily see, in our own Age and Country, are apt to forsake Poetry, and still ready to return, to Buffoonry and Farce. From hence it came, that in the Olympique-Games, where the Poets contended for Four Prizes, the Satyrique Tragedy was the last of them: for in the rest, the Satyrs were excluded from the Chorus. Amongst the Plays of Eurypides, which are yet remaining, there is one of these Satyriques, which is call’d the Cyclops; in which we may see the nature of those Poems; and from thence conclude, what likeness they have to the Roman Satire.

[47] The Story of this Cyclops, whose Name was Polyphemus, so famous in the Grecian Fables, was, That Ulysses, who with his Company was driven on that Coast of Sicily, where those Cyclops Inhabited, coming to ask Relief from Silenus, and the Satyres, who were Herdsmen to that One-ey’d Gyant, was kindly receiv’d by them, and entertain’d; till being perceiv’d by Polyphemus, they were made Prisoners, against the Rites of Hospitality, for which Ulysses Eloquently pleaded, were afterwards put down into the Den, and some of them devour’d: After which, Ulysses having made him Drunk, when he was asleep, thrust a great Firebrand into his Eye, and so Revenging his Dead Followers, escap’d with the remaining Party of the Living: And Silenus and the Satyrs, were freed from their Servitude under Polyphemus, and remitted to their first Liberty, of attending and accompanying their Patron Bacchus.

[48] This was the Subject of the Tragedy, which being one of those that end with a happy Event, is therefore by Aristotle, judg’d below the other sort, whose Success° is unfortunate. Notwithstanding which, the Satyrs, who were part of the Dramatis Personæ, as well as the whole Chorus, were properly introduc’d into the Nature of the Poem, which is mix’d of Farce and Tragedy. The Adventure of Ulysses was to entertain the Judging part of the Audience, and the uncouth Persons of Silenus, and the Satyrs, to divert° the Common People, with their gross Railleries.

success = outcome
divert = entertain

[49] Your Lordship has perceiv’d, by this time, that this Satyrique Tragedy, and the Roman Satire have little Resemblance in any of their Features. The very Kinds are different: For what has a Pastoral Tragedy to do with a Paper of Verses Satirically written? The Character and Raillery of the Satyres is the only thing that cou’d pretend to a likeness: Were Scaliger and Heinsius alive to maintain their Opinion. And the first Farces of the Romans, which were the Rudiments of their Poetry, were written before they had any Communication with the Greeks; or, indeed, any Knowledge of that People.

[50] And here it will be proper to give the Definition of the Greek Satyrique Poem from Casaubon, before I leave this Subject. The Satyrique, says he, is a Dramatick Poem, annex’d to a Tragedy; having a Chorus, which consists of Satyrs: The Persons Represented in it, are Illustrious Men: The Action of it is great; the Stile is partly Serious, and partly Jocular; and the Event of the Action most commonly is Happy.

[51] The Grecians, besides these Satyrique Tragedies, had another kind of Poem, which they call’d Silli; which were more of kin to the Roman Satire: Those Silli were indeed Invective Poems, but of a different Species from the Roman Poems of Ennius, Pacuvius, Lucilius, Horace, and the rest of their Successors. They were so call’d, says Casaubon in one place, from Silenus, the Foster-Father of Bacchus; but in another place, bethinking himself better, he derives their Name apo tou sillainein, from their Scoffing and Petulancy. From some Fragments of the Silli, written by Timon, we may find, that they were Satyrique Poems, full of Parodies; that is, of Verses patch’d up from great Poets, and turn’d into another Sence than their Author intended them. Such amongst the Romans is the Famous Cento of Ausonius; where the words are Virgil’s: But by applying them to another Sense, they are made a Relation of a Wedding-Night; and the Act of Consummation fulsomly describ’d in the very words of the most Modest amongst all Poets. Of the same manner are our Songs, which are turn’d into Burlesque; and the serious words of the Author perverted into a ridiculous meaning. Thus in Timon’s Silli the words are generally those of Homer, and the Tragick Poets; but he applies them Satyrically, to some Customs and Kinds of Philosophy, which he arraigns. But the Romans not using any of these Parodies in their Satyres sometimes, indeed, repeating Verses of other Men, as Persius cites some of Nero’s; but not turning them into another meaning, the Silli cannot be suppos’d to be the Original of Roman Satire. To these Silli consisting of Parodies, we may properly add, the Satires which were written against particular Persons; such as were the Iambiques of Archilocus against Lycambes, which Horace undoubtedly imitated in some of his Odes and Epodes, whose Titles bear sufficient witness of it: I might also name the Invective of Ovid against Ibis; and many others: But these are the Under-wood of Satire, rather than the Timber-Trees: They are not of General Extension, as reaching only to some Individual Person. And Horace seems to have purg’d himself from those Splenetick Reflections in those Odes and Epodes, before he undertook the Noble Work of Satires; which were properly so call’d.

[52] Thus, my Lord, I have at length disengag’d my self from those Antiquities of Greece; and have prov’d, I hope, from the best Critiques, that the Roman Satire was not borrow’d from thence, but of their own Manufacture: I am now almost gotten into my depth; at least by the help of Dacier, I am swimming towards it. Not that I will promise always to follow him, any more than he follows Casaubon; but to keep him in my Eye, as my best and truest Guide; and where I think he may possibly mislead me, there to have recourse to my own lights, as I expect that others should do by me.

[53] Quintilian says, in plain words, Satira quidem tota, nostra est: And Horace had said the same thing before him, speaking of his Predecessor in that sort of Poetry, Et Græcis intacti Carminis Author. Nothing can be clearer than the Opinion of the Poet, and the Orator, both the best Criticks of the two best Ages of the Roman Empire, than that Satire was wholly of Latin growth, and not transplanted to Rome from Athens. Yet, as I have said, Scaliger, the Father, according to his Custom, that is, insolently enough, contradicts them both; and gives no better Reason, than the derivation of Satyrus from sathu, Salacitas;° and so from the Lechery of those Fauns, thinks he has sufficiently prov’d, that Satyre is deriv’d from them. As if Wantonness and lubricity,° were Essential to that sort of Poem, which ought to be avoided in it. His other Allegation, which I have already mention’d, is as pitiful: That the Satyres carried Platters and Canisters full of Fruit, in their Hands. If they had enter’d empty-handed, had they been ever the less Satyres? Or were the Fruits and Flowers, which they offer’d, any thing of kin to Satyre? Or any Argument that this Poem was Originally Grecian? Causaubon judg’d better, and his Opinion is grounded on sure Authority; that Satyre was deriv’d from Satura, a Roman word, which signifies Full, and Abundant; and full also of Variety, in which nothing is wanting to its due Perfection. ’Tis thus, says Dacier, that we lay a full Colour, when the Wool has taken the whole Tincture, and drunk in as much of the Dye as it can receive. According to this Derivation, from Satar comes Satura, or Satira: According to the new spelling, as optamus and maxumus are now spell’d optimus and maximus. Satura, as I have formerly noted, is an Adjective, and relates to the word Lanx, which is understood. And this Lanx, in English a Charger, or large Platter, was yearly fill’d with all sorts of Fruits, which were offer’d to the Gods at their Festivals, as the Premices, or First Gatherings. These Offerings of several sorts thus mingl’d, ’tis true, were not unknown to the Grecians, who call’d them pankarpon thysian, a Sacrifice of all sorts of Fruits; and panspermion, when they offer’d all kinds of Grain. Virgil has mention’d these Sacrifices in his Georgiques.

salacitas = lust
lubricity = lewdness

Lancibus & pandis, fumantia reddimus Exta:

And in another place, Lancesq; & liba feremus. That is, we offer the smoaking Entrails in great Platters; and we will offer the Chargers, and the Cakes.

[54] This word Satura has been afterward apply’d to many other sorts of Mixtures; as Festus calls it a kind of Olla, or hotch-potch, made of several sorts of Meats. Laws were also call’d Leges Saturæ; when they were of several Heads and Titles; like our tack’d Bills of Parliament. And per Saturam legem ferre, in the Roman Senate, was to carry a Law without telling the Senatours, or counting Voices when they were in haste. Salust uses the word per Saturam Sententias exquirere; when the Majority was visibly on one side. From hence it might probably be conjectur’d, that the Discourses or Satyres of Ennius, Lucilius, and Horace, as we now call them, took their Name; because they are full of various Matters, and are also Written on various Subjects, as Porphyrius says. But Dacier affirms, that it is not immediately from thence that these Satyres are so call’d: For that Name had been us’d formerly for other things, which bore a nearer resemblance to those Discourses of Horace. In explaining of which, (continues Dacier) a Method is to be pursu’d, of which Casaubon himself has never thought, and which will put all things into so clear a light, that no farther room will be left for the least Dispute.

[55] During the space of almost four hundred years, since the Building of their City, the Romans had never known any Entertainments of the Stage: Chance and Jollity first found out those Verses which they call’d Saturnian, and Fescennine: Or rather Humane Nature, which is inclin’d to Poetry, first produc’d them, rude and barbarous, and unpolish’d, as all other Operations of the Soul are in their beginnings, before they are Cultivated with Art and Study. However, in occasions of Merriment they were first practis’d; and this rough-cast unhewn Poetry, was instead of Stage-Plays for the space of an hundred and twenty years together. They were made extempore, and were, as the French call them, Impromptus: For which the Tarsians of Old were much Renown’d; and we see the daily Examples of them in the Italian Farces of Harlequin, and Scaramucha. Such was the Poetry of that Salvage° People, before it was tun’d into Numbers, and the Harmony of Verse. Little of the Saturnian Verses is now remaining; we only know from Authors, that they were nearer Prose than Poetry, without feet, or measure. They were enrhythmoi, but not emmetroi: Perhaps they might be us’d in the solemn part of their Ceremonies, and the Fescennine, which were invented after them, in their Afternoons Debauchery, because they were scoffing, and obscene.

salvage = savage

[56] The Fescennine and Saturnian were the same: for as they were call’d Saturnian from their Ancientness, when Saturn Reign’d in Italy; they were also call’d Fescennine, from Fescenina, a Town in the same Country, where they were first practis’d. The Actors with a Gross and Rustick kind of raillery, reproach’d each other with their Failings; and at the same time were nothing sparing of it to their Audience. Somewhat of this Custom was afterwards retain’d in their Saturnalia, or Feasts of Saturn, Celebrated in December; at least all kind of freedom in Speech was then allow’d to Slaves, even against their Masters; and we are not without some imitation of it in our Christmas Gambols. Souldiers also us’d those Fescennine Verses, after Measure and Numbers had been added to them, at the Triumph of their Generals: Of which we have an Example, in the Triumph of Julius Cæsar over Gaul, in these Expressions.

Cæsar Gallias subegit, Nicomedes Cæsarem:
Ecce Cæsar nunc triumphat, qui sabegit Gallias;
Nicomedes non triumphat, qui subegit Cæsarem.

The vapours of Wine made those first Satyrical Poets amongst the Romans; which, says Dacier, we cannot better represent, than by imagining a Company of Clowns° on a Holyday, dancing Lubberly, and upbraiding one another in Extempore° Doggrel, with their Defects and Vices, and the Stories that were told of them in Bake-houses, and Barbers Shops.

clowns = rural bumpkins
extempore = improvised

[57] When they began to be somewhat better bred, and were entering, as I may say, into the first Rudiments of Civil Conversation, they left these Hedge Notes, for another sort of Poem, somewhat polish’d, which was also full of pleasant Raillery, but without any mixture of obscenity. This sort of Poetry appear’d under the name of Satire, because of its variety: And this Satire was adorn’d with Compositions of Musick, and with Dances: but Lascivious Postures were banish’d from it. In the Tuscan Language, says Livy, the word Hister signifies a Player: And therefore those Actors, which were first brought from Etruria to Rome, on occasion of a Pestilence; when the Romans were admonish’d to avert the Anger of the Gods by Plays, in the Year ab Urbe Condita, cccxc. Those Actors, I say, were therefore call’d Histriones: And that Name has since remain’d, not only to Actors Roman born, but to all others of every Nation. They Play’d not the former extempore stuff of Fescennine Verses, or Clownish Jests; but what they Acted, was a kind of civil cleanly Farce, with Musick and Dances, and Motions that were proper to the Subject.

[58] In this Condition Livius Andronicus found the Stage, when he attempted first, instead of Farces, to supply it with a Nobler Entertainment of Tragedies and Comedies. This Man was a Grecian born, and being made a Slave by Livius Salinator, and brought to Rome, had the Education of his Patron’s Children committed to him. Which trust he discharg’d, so much to the satisfaction of his Master, that he gave him his Liberty.

[59] Andronicus thus become a Freeman of Rome, added to his own Name that of Livius his Master; and, as I observ’d, was the first Author of a Regular Play in that Commonwealth. Being already instructed in his Native Country, in the Manners and Decencies of the Athenian Theater, and Conversant in the Archæa Comædia, or old Comedy of Aristophanes, and the rest of the Grecian Poets; he took from that Model his own designing of Plays for the Roman Stage. The first of which was represented in the Year 514. since the building of Rome, as Tully, from the Commentaries of Atticus, has assur’d us; it was after the end of the first Punick War, the year before Ennius was born. Dacier has not carry’d the matter altogether thus far; he only says, that one Livius Andronicus was the first Stage-Poet at Rome: But I will adventure on this hint, to advance another Proposition, which I hope the Learned will approve. And though we have not any thing of Andronicus remaining to justifie my Conjecture, yet ’tis exceeding probable, that having read the Works of those Grecian Wits, his Countrymen, he imitated not only the groundwork, but also the manner of their Writing. And how grave soever his Tragedies might be, yet in his Comedies he express’d the way of Aristophanes, Eupolis, and the rest, which was to call some Persons by their own Names, and to expose their Defects to the laughter of the People. The Examples of which we have in the foremention’d Aristophanes, who turn’d the wise Socrates into Ridicule; and is also very free with the management of Cleon, Alcibiades, and other Ministers of the Athenian Government. Now if this be granted, we may easily suppose, that the first hint of Satirical Plays on the Roman Stage, was given by the Greeks. Not from their Satyrica, for that has been reasonably exploded in the former part of this Discourse: But from their old Comedy, which was imitated first by Livius Andronicus. And then Quintilian and Horace must be cautiously Interpreted, where they affirm, that Satire is wholly Roman; and a sort of Verse, which was not touch’d on by the Grecians. The reconcilement of my Opinion to the Standard of their Judgment, is not however very difficult, since they spoke of Satire, not as in its first Elements, but as it was form’d into a separate Work; begun by Ennius, pursu’d by Lucilius, and compleated afterwards by Horace. The Proof depends only on this Postulatum, that the Comedies of Andronicus, which were imitations of the Greek, were also imitations of their Railleries, and Reflections on particular Persons. For if this be granted me, which is a most probable Supposition, ’tis easie to infer, that the first light which was given to the Roman Theatrical Satire, was from the Plays of Livius Andronicus. Which will be more manifestly discover’d, when I come to speak of Ennius: In the mean time I will return to Dacier.

[60] The People, says he, ran in Crowds to these New Entertainments of Andronicus, as to Pieces which were more Noble in their kind, and more perfect than their former Satires, which for some time they neglected and abandon’d. But not long after, they took them up again, and then they joyn’d them to their Comedies: Playing them at the end of every Drama; as the French continue at this Day to Act their Farces; in the nature of a separate Entertainment, from their Tragedies. But more particularly they were joyn’d to the Atellane Fables, says Casaubon; which were Plays invented by the Osci. Those Fables, says Valerius Maximus, out of Livy, were temper’d with the Italian severity, and free from any note of Infamy, or Obsceneness; and as an old Commentator on Juvenal affirms, the Exodiarii, which were Singers and Dancers, enter’d to entertain the People with light Songs, and Mimical Gestures, that they might not go away oppress’d with Melancholly, from those serious Pieces of the Theater. So that the Ancient Satire of the Romans was in Extemporary Reproaches: The next was Farce, which was brought from Tuscany: To that Succeeded the Plays of Andronicus, from the old Comedy of the Grecians: And out of all these, sprung two several Branches of new Roman Satire; like different Cyens° from the same Root. Which I shall prove with as much Brevity as the Subject will allow.

cyens (scions) = branches

[61] A Year after Andronicus had open’d the Roman Stage, with his new Drama’s, Ennius was Born: who, when he was grown to Mans Estate, haveing seriously consider’d the Genius of the People, and how eagerly they follow’d the first Satires, thought it wou’d be worth his Pains, to refine upon the Project, and to write Satires not to be Acted on the Theater, but Read. He preserv’d the Ground-work of their Pleasantry, their Venom, and their Raillery on particular Persons, and general Vices: And by this means, avoiding the danger of any ill Success, in a Publick Representation, he hop’d to be as well receiv’d in the Cabinet, as Andronicus had been upon the Stage. The Event was answerable° to his Expectation. He made Discourses in several sorts of Verse, vari’d often in the same Paper; Retaining still in the Title, their Original Name of Satire. Both in relation to the Subjects and the variety of Matters contain’d in them, the Satires of Horace are entirely like them; only Ennius, as I said, confines not himself to one sort of Verse, as Horace does; but takeing Example from the Greeks, and even from Homer himself, in his Margites, which is a kind of Satire, as Scaliger observes, gives himself the License, when one sort of Numbers comes not easily, to run into another, as his Fancy Dictates. For he makes no difficulty, to mingle Hexameters with Iambique Trimeters; or with Trochaique Tetrameters; as appears by those Fragments which are yet remaining of him: Horace has thought him worthy to be Copy’d; inserting many things of his into his own Satires, as Virgil has done into his Æneids.

answerable = suitable

[62] Here we have Dacier making out that Ennius was the first Satyrist in that way of Writing, which was of his Invention; that is, Satire abstracted from the Stage, and new modell’d into Papers of Verses, on several Subjects. But he will have Ennius take the Ground-work of Satire from the first Farces of the Romans; rather than from the form’d Plays of Livius Andronicus, which were Copy’d from the Grecian Comedies. It may possibly be so; but Dacier knows no more of it than I do. And it seems to me the more probable Opinion, that he rather imitated the fine Railleries of the Greeks, which he saw in the Pieces of Andronicus, than the Coursness of his old Country men, in their Clownish Extemporary way of jeering.

[63] But besides this, ’tis Universally Granted, that Ennius though an Italian, was excellently Learn’d in the Greek Language. His Verses were stuff’d with Fragments of it, even to a fault: And he himself believ’d, according to the Pithagorean Opinion, that the Soul of Homer was transfus’d into him: Which Persius observes, in his Sixth Satire: Postquam destertuit esse Mæonides. But this being only the private Opinion of so inconsiderable a Man as I am, I leave it to the farther Disquisition of the Critiques, if they think it worth their notice. Most evident it is, that whether he imitated the Roman Farce, or the Greek Comedies, he is to be acknowledg’d for the first Author of Roman Satire: as it is properly so call’d; and distinguish’d from any sort of Stage-Play.

[64] Of Pacuvius, who succeeded him, there is little to be said, because there is so little remaining of him: Only that he is taken to be the Nephew of Ennius, his Sisters son; that in probability he was instructed by his Uncle, in his way of Satire, which we are told he has Copy’d; but what Advances he made we know not.

[65] Lucilius came into the World, when Pacuvius flourish’d most; he also made Satires after the manner of Ennius, but he gave them a more grateful turn; and endeavour’d to imitate more closely the vetus Comædia of the Greeks: Of the which the old Original Roman Satire had no Idea, till the time of Livius Andronicus. And though Horace seems to have made Lucilius the first Author of Satire in Verse, amongst the Romans; in these Words, Quid cum est Lucilius ausus Primus in hunc operis componere carmina morem: He is only thus to be understood, That Lucilius had given a more graceful turn to the Satire of Ennius and Pacuvius; not that he invented a new Satire of his own: And Quintilian seems to Explain this Passage of Horace in these words; Satira quidem tota nostra est, in qua primus insignem laudem adeptus est Lucilius.

[66] Thus, both Horace and Quintilian, give a kind of Primacy of Honour to Lucilius, amongst the Latin Satirists. For as the Roman Language grew more Refin’d, so much more capable it was of receiving the Grecian Beauties in his time: Horace and Quintilian cou’d mean no more, than that Lucilius writ better than Ennius and Pacuvius: And on the same account we prefer Horace to Lucilius: Both of them imitated the old Greek Comedy; and so did Ennius and Pacuvius before them. The polishing of the Latin Tongue, in the Succession of Times, made the only difference. And Horace himself, in two of his Satires, written purposely on this Subject, thinks the Romans of his Age, were too Partial in their Commendations of Lucilius; who writ not only loosely, and muddily, with little Art, and much less Care, but also in a time when the Latin Tongue was not yet sufficiently purg’d from the Dregs of Barbarism; and many significant and sounding Words, which the Romans wanted, were not admitted even in the times of Lucretius and Cicero; of which both complain.

[67] But to proceed, Dacier justly taxes Casaubon, for saying, That the Satires of Lucilius were wholly different in Specie, from those of Ennius and Pacuvius. Casaubon was led into that mistake, by Diomedes the Grammarian, who in effect says this. Satire amongst the Romans, but not amongst the Greeks, was a biteing invective Poem, made after the Model of the Ancient Comedy; for the Reprehension of Vices: Such as were the Poems of Lucilius, of Horace, and of Persius. But in former times, the Name of Satire was given to Poems, which were compos’d of several sorts of Verses; such as were made by Ennius, and Pacuvius; more fully expressing the Etymology of the word Satire, from Satura, which we have observ’d. Here ’tis manifest, that Diomedes makes a Specifical Distinction betwixt the Satires of Ennius, and those of Lucilius. But this, as we say in English, is only a Distinction without a Difference; for the Reason of it, is ridiculous, and absolutely false. This was that which cozen’d honest Casaubon, who relying on Diomedes, had not sufficiently examin’d the Origine and Nature of those two Satires; which were entirely the same, both in the Matter and the Form. For all that Lucilius perform’d beyond his Predecessors, Ennius and Pacuvius, was only the adding of more Politeness, and more Salt; without any change in the Substance of the Poem: And tho’ Lucilius put not together in the same Satire several sorts of Verses, as Ennius did; yet he compos’d several Satires, of several sorts of Verses; and mingl’d them with Greek Verses: One Poem consisted only of Hexameters; and another was entirely of Iambiques; a third of Trochaiques; as is visible by the Fragments yet remaining of his Works. In short, if the Satires of Lucilius are therefore said to be wholly different from those of Ennius because he added much more of Beauty and Polishing to his own Poems, than are to be found in those before him; it will follow from hence, that the Satires of Horace are wholly different from those of Lucilius, because Horace has not less surpass’d Lucilius in the Elegancy of his Writing, than Lucilius surpass’d Ennius in the turn and Ornament of his. This Passage of Diomedes has also drawn Dousa, the Son, into the same Error of Casaubon, which, I say, not to expose the little Failings of those Judicious Men, but only to make it appear, with how much Diffidence and Caution we are to Read their Works; when they treat a Subject of so much Obscurity, and so very ancient, as is this of Satire.

cozen’d = tricked

[68] Having thus brought down the History of Satire from its Original, to the times of Horace, and shewn the several changes of it, I shou’d here discover some of those Graces which Horace added to it, but that I think it will be more proper to defer that Undertaking, till I make the Comparison betwixt him and Juvenal. In the mean while, following the Order of Time, it will be necessary to say somewhat of another kind of Satire, which also was descended from the Ancient: ’Tis that which we call the Varronian Satire, but which Varro himself calls the Menippean; because Varro, the most Learn’d of the Romans, was the first Author of it, who imitated, in his Works, the Manners of Menippus the Gadarenian, who profess’d the Philosophy of the Cyniques.

[69] This sort of Satire was not only compos’d of several sorts of Verse, like those of Ennius, but was also mix’d with Prose; and Greek was sprinkl’d amongst the Latin. Quintilian, after he had spoken of the Satire of Lucilius, adds what follows. There is another and former kind of Satire, Compos’d by Terentius Varro, the most Learn’d of the Romans: In which he was not satisfy’d alone, with mingling in it several sorts of Verse. The only difficulty of this Passage, is, that Quintilian tells us, that this Satire of Varro was of a former kind. For how can we possibly imagine this to be, since Varro, who was contemporary to Cicero, must consequently be after Lucilius? But Quintilian meant not, that the Satire of Varro was in order of Time before Lucilius; he wou’d only give us to understand, that the Varronian Satire, with mixture of several sorts of Verses, was more after the manner of Ennius and Pacuvius, than that of Lucilius, who was more severe, and more correct, and gave himself less liberty in the mixture of his Verses, in the same Poem.

[70] We have nothing remaining of those Varronian Satires, excepting some inconsiderable Fragments; and those for the most part much corrupted. The Titles of many of them are indeed preserv’d, and they are generally double: From whence, at least, we may understand, how many various Subjects were treated by that Author. Tully, in his Academicks, introduces Varro himself giving us some light concerning the Scope and Design of these Works. Wherein, after he had shewn his Reasons why he did not ex professo write of Philosophy, he adds what follows. Notwithstanding, says he, that those Pieces of mine, wherein I have imitated Menippus, though I have not Translated him, are sprinkled with a kind of mirth, and gayety: Yet many things are there inserted, which are drawn from the very intrails of Philosophy, and many things severely argu’d: Which I have mingl’d with Pleasantries on purpose, that they may more easily go down with the Common sort of Unlearn’d Readers. The rest of the Sentence is so lame, that we can only make thus much out of it; that in the Composition of his Satires, he so temper’d Philology with Philosophy, that his Work was a mixture of them both. And Tully himself confirms us in this Opinion; when a little after he addresses himself to Varro in these words. And you your self have compos’d a most Elegant and Compleat Poem; you have begun Philosophy in many Places: Sufficient to incite us, though too little to Instruct us. Thus it appears, that Varro was one of those Writers whom they call’d spoudogeloioi, studious of laughter; and that, as Learned as he was, his business was more to divert° his Reader, than to teach him. And he Entitled his own Satires Menippean: Not that Menippus had written any Satires, (for his were either Dialogues or Epistles) but that Varro imitated his Style, his Manner, and his Facetiousness. All that we know farther of Menippus, and his Writings, which are wholly lost; is, that by some he is esteem’d, as, amongst the rest, by Varro: By others he is noted of Cynical Impudence, and Obscenity: That he was much given to those Parodies, which I have already mention’d; that is, he often quoted the Verses of Homer and the Tragick Poets, and turn’d their serious meaning into something that was Ridiculous; whereas Varro’s Satires are by Tully call’d Absolute, and most Elegant, and Various Poems. Lucian, who was emulous of this Menippus, seems to have imitated both his Manners and his Style in many of his Dialogues; where Menippus himself is often introduc’d as a Speaker in them, and as a perpetual Buffoon: Particularly his Character is express’d in the beginning of that Dialogue which is call’d Nekyomanteia. But Varro, in imitating him, avoids his impudence and filthiness, and only expresses his witty Pleasantry.

divert = entertain

[71] This we may believe for certain, That as his Subjects were various, so most of them were Tales or Stories of his own invention. Which is also manifest from Antiquity, by those Authors who are acknowledg’d to have written Varronian Satires, in imitation of his: Of whom the Chief is Petronius Arbiter, whose Satire, they say, is now Printing in Holland, wholly recover’d, and made compleat: When ’tis made publick, it will easily be seen by any one Sentence, whether it be supposititious, or genuine. Many of Lucian’s Dialogues may also properly be call’d Varronian Satires; particularly his True History: And consequently the Golden Ass of Apuleius, which is taken from him. Of the same stamp is the Mock Deification of Claudius, by Seneca: And the Symposium or Cæsars of Julian the Emperour. Amongst the Moderns we may reckon the Encomium Moriæ of Erasmus, Barclay’s Euphormio, and a Volume of German Authors, which my ingenious Friend Mr. Charles Killigrew once lent me. In the English I remember none, which are mix’d with Prose, as Varro’s were: But of the same kind is Mother Hubbard’s Tale in Spencer; and (if it be not too vain, to mention any thing of my own) the Poems of Absalom, and Mac Fleckno.

[72] This is what I have to say in General of Satire: Only as Dacier has observ’d before me, we may take notice, That the word Satire is of a more general signification in Latin, than in French, or English. For amongst the Romans it was not only us’d for those Discourses which decry’d Vice, or expos’d Folly; but for others also, where Virtue was recommended. But in our Modern Languages we apply it only to invective Poems, where the very Name of Satire is formidable to those Persons, who wou’d appear to the World, what they are not in themselves. For in English, to say Satire, is to mean Reflection, as we use that word in the worst Sense; or as the French call it, more properly, Medisance.° In the Criticism of Spelling, it ought to be with i and not with y; to distinguish its true derivation from Satura, not from Satyrus. And if this be so, then ’tis false spell’d throughout this Book: For here ’tis written Satyr. Which having not consider’d at the first, I thought it not worth Correcting afterwards. But the French are more nice, and never spell it any other ways than Satire.

medisance = malicious gossip

[73] I am now arriv’d at the most difficult part of my Undertaking, which is, to compare Horace with Juvenal and Persius: ’Tis observ’d by Rigaltius, in his Preface before Juvenal, written to Thuanus, that these three Poets have all their particular Partisans, and Favourers: Every Commentator, as he has taken pains with any of them, thinks himself oblig’d to prefer his Author to the other two: To find out their Failings, and decry them, that he may make room for his own Darling. Such is the partiality of Mankind, to set up that Interest which they have once espous’d, though it be to the prejudice of Truth, Morality, and common Justice. And especially in the productions of the Brain. As Authors generally think themselves the best Poets, because they cannot go out of themselves, to judge sincerely of their Betters: So it is with Critiques, who, having first taken a liking to one of these Poets, proceed to Comment on him, and to Illustrate him; after which they fall in love with their own Labours, to that degree of blind fondness, that at length they defend and exalt their Author, not so much for his sake as for their own. ’Tis a folly of the same Nature, with that of the Romans themselves, in their Games of the Circus; the Spectators were divided in their Factions, betwixt the Veneti and the Prasini: Some were for the Charioteer in Blue, and some for him in Green. The Colours themselves were but a Fancy; but when once a Man had taken pains to set out those of his Party, and had been at the trouble of procuring Voices for them, the Case was alter’d: He was concern’d for his own Labour: And that so earnestly, that Disputes and Quarrels, Animosities, Commotions, and Bloodshed, often happen’d: And in the Declension of the Grecian Empire, the very Soveraigns themselves ingag’d in it, even when the Barbarians were at their doors; and stickled for the preference of Colours, when the safety of their People was in question. I am now, my self, on the brink of the same Precipice; I have spent some time on the Translation of Juvenal, and Persius: And it behoves me to be wary, lest, for that Reason, I shou’d be partial to them, or take a prejudice against Horace. Yet, on the other side, I wou’d not be like some of our Judges, who wou’d give the Cause for a Poor Man, right or wrong: For though that be an Errour on the better hand, yet it is still a partiality: And a Rich Man, unhear’d, cannot be concluded an Oppressor. I remember a saying of K. Charles the Second, on Sir Matthew Hales, (who was doubtless an Uncorrupt and Upright Man) That his Servants were sure to be Cast on any Trial, which was heard before him: Not that he thought the Judge was possibly to be brib’d; but that his Integrity might be too scrupulous: And that the Causes of the Crown were always suspicious, when the Priviledges of Subjects were concern’d.

[74] It had been much fairer, if the Modern Critiques, who have imbark’d in the Quarrels of their favourite Authors, had rather given to each his proper due; without taking from another’s heap, to raise their own. There is Praise enough for each of them in particular, without encroaching on his Fellows, and detracting from them, or Enriching themselves with the Spoils of others. But to come to particulars: Heinsius and Dacier, are the most principal of those, who raise Horace above Juvenal and Persius. Scaliger the Father, Rigaltius, and many others, debase Horace, that they may set up Juvenal: And Casaubon, who is almost single, throws Dirt on Juvenal and Horace, that he may exalt Persius, whom he understood particularly well, and better than any of his former Commentators; even Stelluti who succeeded him. I will begin with him, who in my Opinion defends the weakest Cause, which is that of Persius; and labouring, as Tacitus professes of his own Writing, to divest my self of partiality, or prejudice, consider Persius, not as a Poet, whom I have wholly Translated, and who has cost me more labour and time, than Juvenal; but according to what I judge to be his own Merit; which I think not equal in the main, to that of Juvenal or Horace; and yet in some things to be preferr’d to both of them.

[75] First, then, for the Verse, neither Casaubon himself, nor any for him, can defend either his Numbers, or the Purity of his Latin. Casaubon gives this point for lost; and pretends not to justifie either the Measures, or the Words of Persius: He is evidently beneath Horace and Juvenal, in both.

[76] Then, as his Verse is scabrous,° and hobbling, and his Words not every where well chosen, the purity of Latin being more corrupted, than in the time of Juvenal, and consequently of Horace, who writ when the Language was in the heighth of its perfection; so his diction is hard; his Figures are generally too bold and daring; and his Tropes, particularly his Metaphors, insufferably strain’d.

scabrous = offensive

[77] In the third place, notwithstanding all the diligence of Casaubon, Stelluti, and a Scotch Gentleman (whom I have hear’d extreamly commended for his Illustrations of him:) yet he is still obscure: Whether he affected not to be understood, but with difficulty; or whether the fear of his safety under Nero, compell’d him to this darkness in some places; or that it was occasion’d by his close way of thinking, and the brevity of his Style, and crowding of his Figures; or lastly, whether after so long a time, many of his Words have been corrupted, and many Customs, and Stories relating to them, lost to us; whether some of these Reasons, or all, concurr’d to render him so cloudy; we may be bold to affirm, that the best of Commentators can but guess at his Meaning, in many passages: And none can be certain that he has divin’d rightly.

[78] After all, he was a Young Man, like his Friend and Contemporary Lucan: Both of them Men of extraordinary Parts, and great acquir’d Knowledge, considering their Youth. But neither of them had arriv’d to that Maturity of Judgment, which is necessary to the accomplishing of a form’d Poet. And this Consideration, as on the one hand it lays some Imperfections to their charge, so on the other side ’tis a candid excuse for those Failings, which are incident to Youth and Inexperience; and we have more Reason to wonder, how they, who Dyed before the Thirtieth Year of their Age, cou’d write so well, and think so strongly; than to accuse them of those Faults, from which Humane Nature, and more especially in Youth, can never possibly be exempted.

[79] To consider Persius yet more closely: He rather insulted over Vice and Folly, than expos’d them, like Juvenal and Horace. And as Chaste, and Modest as he is esteem’d, it cannot be deny’d, but that in some places, he is broad and fulsom, as the latter Verses of the Fourth Satire, and of the Sixth, sufficiently witness. And ’tis to be believ’d, that he who commits the same Crime often, and without Necessity, cannot but do it with some kind of Pleasure.

[80] To come to a conclusion, He is manifestly below Horace; because he borrows most of his greatest Beauties from him: And Casaubon is so far from denying this; that he has written a Treatise purposely concerning it; wherein he shews a multitude of his Translations from Horace, and his imitations of him, for the Credit of his Author; which he calls Imitatio Horatiana.

[81] To these defects, which I casually observ’d, while I was Translating this Author, Scaliger has added others: He calls him, in plain terms, a silly Writer, and a trifler; full of Ostentation of his Learning; and after all, unworthy to come into Competition with Juvenal and Horace.

[82] After such terrible Accusations, ’tis time to hear what his Patron Casaubon can alledge in his Defence. Instead of answering, he excuses for the most part; and when he cannot, accuses others of the same Crimes. He deals with Scaliger, as a Modest Scholar with a Master. He Compliments him with so much Reverence, that one wou’d swear he Fear’d him as much at least as he Respected him. Scaliger will not allow° Persius to have any Wit: Casaubon Interprets this in the mildest Sense; and confesses his Author was not good at turning things into a pleasant Ridicule; or in other words, that he was not a laughable Writer. That he was ineptus, indeed, but that was, non aptissimus ad jocandum. But that he was Ostentatious of his Learning, that, by Scaliger’s good Favour, he denies. Persius shew’d his Learning, but was no Boaster of it; he did ostendere, but not ostentare; and so, he says, did Scaliger: Where, methinks, Casaubon turns it handsomly, upon that supercilious Critick, and silently insinuates, that he himself was sufficiently vainglorious; and a boaster of his own Knowledge. All the Writings of this Venerable Censor, continues Casaubon, which are khrysou chrysotera, more golden, than Gold it self, are every where smelling of that Thyme, which, like a Bee, he has gather’d from Ancient Authors: But far be Ostentation and Vain-Glory from a Gentleman, so well Born, and so Nobly Educated as Scaliger: But, says Scaliger, he is so obscure, that he has got himself the Name of Scotinus, a dark Writer. Now, says Casaubon, ’tis a wonder to me, that any thing cou’d be obscure to the Divine Wit of Scaliger; from which nothing cou’d be hidden. This is indeed a strong Compliment, but no Defence. And Casaubon, who cou’d not but be sensible of his Author’s blind side, thinks it time to abandon a Post that was untenable. He acknowledges that Persius is obscure in some places; but so is Plato, so is Thucydides; so are Pindar, Theocritus, and Aristophanes amongst the Greek Poets; and even Horace and Juvenal, he might have added, amongst the Romans. The Truth is, Persius is not sometimes, but generally obscure: And therefore Casaubon, at last, is forc’d to excuse him, by alledging that it was se defendendo,° for fear of Nero; and that he was commanded to Write so cloudily by Cornutus, in virtue of Holy Obedience to his Master. I cannot help my own Opinion; I think Cornutus needed not to have Read many Lectures to him on that Subject. Persius was an apt Scholar; and when he was bidden to be obscure, in some places, where his Life and Safety were in question, took the same Counsel for all his Book; and never afterwards Wrote ten Lines together clearly. Casaubon, being upon this Chapter, has not fail’d, we may be sure, of making a Compliment to his own dear Comment. If Persius, says he, be in himself obscure, yet my Interpretation has made him intelligible. There is no question, but he deserves that Praise, which he has given to himself: But the Nature of the thing, as Lucretius says, will not admit of a perfect Explanation. Besides many Examples which I cou’d urge; the very last Verse of his last Satire, upon which he particularly values himself in his Preface, is not yet sufficiently explicated. ’Tis true, Holiday has endeavour’d to justifie his Construction; but Stelluti is against it: And, for my part, I can have but a very dark Notion of it. As for the Chastity of his Thoughts, Casaubon denies not, but that one particular passage, in the Fourth Satire, At, si unctus cesses, &c. is not only the most obscure, but the most obscene of all his Works: I understood it; but for that Reason turn’d it over. In defence of his boistrous Metaphors, he quotes Longinus, who accounts them as instruments of the Sublime: Fit to move and stir up the Affections, particularly in Narration. To which it may be reply’d, That where the Trope is far fetch’d, and hard, ’tis fit for nothing but to puzzle the Understanding: And may be reckon’d amongst those things of Demosthenes, which Æschines, call’d thaumata, not rhemata; that is Prodigies, not Words. It must be granted to Casaubon, that the Knowledge of many things is lost in our Modern Ages, which were of familiar notice to the Ancients: And that Satire is a Poem of a difficult Nature in it self, and is not written to Vulgar Readers. And through the Relation which it has to Comedy, the frequent change of Persons, makes the Sense perplex’d; when we can but Divine, who it is that speaks: Whether Persius himself, or his Friend and Monitor; or, in some places, a third Person. But Casaubon comes back always to himself, and concludes, that if Persius had not been obscure, there had been no need of him for an Interpreter. Yet when he had once enjoyn’d himself so hard a Task, he then consider’d the Greek Proverb, that he must khelones phagein e me phagein; either eat the whole Snail, or let it quite alone; and so, he went through with his laborious Task, as I have done with my difficult Translation.

allow = acknowledge
se defendendo = in self-defense

[83] Thus far, my Lord, you see it has gone very hard with Persius: I think he cannot be allow’d to stand in competition, either with Juvenal or Horace. Yet, for once, I will venture to be so vain, as to affirm, That none of his hard Metaphors, or forc’d Expressions, are in my Translation: But more of this in its proper place, where I shall say somewhat in particular, of our general performance, in making these two Authors English. In the mean time I think my self oblig’d, to give Persius his undoubted due; and to acquaint the World, with Casaubon, in what he has equall’d, and in what excell’d his two Competitors.

[84] A Man who is resolv’d to praise an Author, with any appearance of Justice, must be sure to take him on the strongest side; and where he is least liable to Exceptions. He is therefore oblig’d to chuse his Mediums accordingly: Casaubon, who saw that Persius cou’d not laugh with a becomeing Grace, that he was not made for jesting, and that a merry Conceit was not his Talent, turn’d his Feather, like an Indian, to another light, that he might give it the better Gloss. Moral Doctrine, says he, and Urbanity, or well-manner’d Wit, are the two things which constitute the Roman Satire. But of the two, that which is most Essential to this Poem, and is as it were the very Soul which animates it, is the scourging of Vice, and Exhortation to Virtue. Thus Wit, for a good Reason, is already almost out of Doors: And allow’d only for an Instrument, a kind of Tool, or a Weapon, as he calls it, of which the Satyrist makes use, in the compassing of his Design. The End and Aim of our three Rivals, is consequently the same. But by what Methods they have prosecuted their intention, is farther to be consider’d. Satire is of the nature of Moral Philosophy; as being instructive: He therefore, who instructs most Usefully, will carry the Palm from his two Antagonists. The Philosophy in which Persius was Educated, and which he professes through his whole Book, is the Stoick: The most noble, most generous, most beneficial to Humane Kind, amongst all the Sects, who have given us the Rules of Ethiques, thereby to form a severe Virtue in the Soul; to raise in us an undaunted Courage, against the assaults of Fortune; to esteem as nothing the things that are without us, because they are not in our Power; not to value Riches, Beauty, Honours, Fame, or Health, any farther than as conveniences, and so many helps to living as we ought, and doing good in our Generation. In short, to be always Happy, while we possess our Minds, with a good Conscience, are free from the slavery of Vices, and conform our Actions and Conversation to the Rules of right Reason. See here, my Lord, an Epitome of Epictetus; the Doctrine of Zeno, and the Education of our Persius. And this he express’d, not only in all his Satires, but in the manner of his Life. I will not lessen this Commendation of the Stoick Philosophy, by giving you an account of some Absurdities in their Doctrine, and some perhaps Impieties, if we consider them by the Standard of Christian Faith: Persius has faln into none of them: And therefore is free from those imputations. What he teaches, might be taught from Pulpits, with more profit to the Audience, than all the nice Speculations of Divinity, and Controversies concerning Faith; which are more for the Profit of the Shepherd, than for the Edification of the Flock. Passion, Interest, Ambition, and all their Bloody Consequences of Discord and of War, are banish’d from this Doctrine. Here is nothing propos’d but the quiet and tranquility of Mind; Virtue lodg’d at home, and afterwards diffus’d in her general Effects, to the improvement, and good of Humane Kind. And therefore I wonder not, that the present Bishop of Salisbury, has recommended this our Author, and the Tenth Satyr of Juvenal, in his Pastoral Letter, to the serious perusal and Practice of the Divines in his Diocese, as the best Common Places for their Sermons, as the Store-Houses and Magazines of Moral Virtues, from whence they may draw out, as they have occasion, all manner of Assistance, for the accomplishment of a Virtuous Life, which the Stoicks have assign’d for the great End and Perfection of Mankind. Hererin, then it is, that Persius has excell’d both Juvenal and Horace. He sticks to his one Philosophy: He shifts not sides, like Horace, who is sometimes an Epicuræan, sometimes a Stoick, sometimes an Eclectick; as his present Humour leads him: Nor declaims like Juvenal against Vices, more like an Orator, than a Philosopher. Persius is every where the same: True to the Dogma’s of his Master: What he has learnt, he teaches vehemently; and what he teaches, that he Practices himself. There is a Spirit of sincerity in all he says: You may easily discern that he is in earnest, and is perswaded of that Truth which he inculcates. In this I am of opinion, that he excels Horace, who is commonly in jeast, and laughs while he instructs: And is equal to Juvenal, who was as honest and serious as Persius, and more he cou’d not be.

[85] Hitherto I have follow’d Casaubon, and enlarg’d upon him; because I am satisfi’d that he says no more than Truth; the rest is almost all frivolous. For he says that Horace being the Son of a Tax-gatherer, or a Collector, as we call it, smells every where of the meanness of his Birth, and Education: His conceipts are vulgar, like the Subjects of his Satires; that he does Plebeium sapere; and Writes not with that Elevation, which becomes a Satyrist: That Persius being nobly born, and of an opulent Family, had likewise the advantage of a better Master; Cornutus being the most Learned of his time, a Man of a most Holy Life; the chief of the Stoick Sect at Rome; and not only a great Philosopher, but a Poet himself; and in probability a Coadjutor of Persius. That, as for Juvenal, he was long a Declaimer, came late to Poetry; and had not been much conversant in Philosophy.

[86] ’Tis granted that the Father of Horace was Libertinus, that is one degree remov’d from his Grandfather, who had been once a Slave: But Horace, speaking of him, gives him the best Character of a Father, which I ever read in History: And I wish a witty Friend of mine now living had such another. He bred him in the best School, and with the best Company of young Noblemen. And Horace, by his gratitude to his Memory, gives a certain Testimony that his Education was ingenuous. After this, he form’d himself abroad, by the Conversation of Great Men. Brutus found him at Athens, and was so pleas’d with him, that he took him thence into the Army, and made him Tribunus Militum, a Colonel in a Legion, which was the Preferment of an Old Souldier. All this was before his Acquaintance with Mecenas, and his introduction into the Court of Augustus, and the familiarity of that great Emperour: Which, had he not been well-bred before, had been enough to civilise his Conversation, and render him accomplish’d, and knowing in all the Arts of Complacency and good behaviour; and, in short, an agreeable Companion for the retir’d hours and privacies of a Favourite, who was first Minister. So that, upon the whole matter, Persius may be acknowledg’d to be equal with him, in those respects, tho’ better born, and Juvenal inferiour to both. If the Advantage be any where, ’tis on the side of Horace; as much as the Court of Augustus Cæsar, was superiour to that of Nero. As for the Subjects which they treated, it will appear hereafter, that Horace writ not vulgarly on vulgar Subjects: Nor always chose them. His Stile is constantly accommodated to his Subject, either high or low: If his fault be too much lowness, that of Persius is the fault of the hardness of his Metaphors, and obscurity: And so they are equal in the failings of their Stile; where Juvenal manefestly Triumphs over both of them.

[87] The Comparison betwixt Horace and Juvenal is more difficult; because their Forces were more equal: A Dispute has always been, and ever will continne, betwixt the Favourers of the two Poets. Non nostrum est tantas componere lites. I shall only venture to give my own Opinion, and leave it for better Judges to determine. If it be only argu’d in general, which of them was the better Poet; the Victory is already gain’d on the side of Horace. Virgil himself must yield to him in the delicacy of his Turns, his choice of Words, and perhaps the Purity of his Latin. He who says that Pindar is inimitable, is himself inimitable in his Odes. But the Contention betwixt these two great Masters, is for the Prize of Satire. In which Controversie, all the Odes, and Epodes of Horace are to stand excluded. I say this, because Horace has written many of them Satirically, against his private Enemies: Yet these, if justly consider’d, are somewhat of the Nature of the Greek Silli, which were Invectives against particular Sects and Persons. But Horace had purg’d himself of this Choler,° before he enter’d on those Discourses, which are more properly call’d the Roman Satire: He has not now to do with a Lyce, a Canidia, a Cassius Severus, or a Menas; but is to correct the Vices and the Follies of his Time, and to give the Rules of a Happy and Virtuous Life. In a word, that former sort of Satire, which is known in England by the Name of Lampoon,° is a dangerous sort of Weapon, and for the most part Unlawful. We have no Moral right on the Reputation of other Men. ’Tis taking from them, what we cannot restore to them. There are only two Reasons, for which we may be permitted to write Lampoons; and I will not promise that they can always justifie us: The first is Revenge, when we have been affronted in the same Nature, or have been any ways notoriously abus’d and can make our selves no other Reparation. And yet we know, that, in Christian Charity, all Offences are to be forgiven; as we expect the like Pardon for those which we daily commit against Almighty God. And this Consideration has often made me tremble when I was saying our Saviour’s Prayer; for the plain Condition of the forgiveness which we beg, is the pardoning of others the Offences which they have done to us: For which Reason I have many times avoided the Commission of that Fault; ev’n when I have been notoriously provok’d. Let not this, my Lord, pass for Vanity in me: For ’tis truth. More Libels have been written against me, than almost any Man now living: And I had Reason on my side, to have defended my own Innocence: I speak not of my Poetry, which I have wholly given up to the Criticks; let them use it, as they please; Posterity, perhaps, may be more favourable to me: For Interest and Passion, will lye bury’d in another Age: And Partiality and Prejudice be forgotten. I speak of my Morals, which have been sufficiently aspers’d: That only sort of Reputation ought to be dear to every honest Man, and is to me. But let the World witness for me, that I have been often wanting to my self in that particular; I have seldom answer’d any scurrilous Lampoon: When it was in my power to have expos’d my Enemies: And being naturally vindicative, have suffer’d in silence; and possess’d my Soul in quiet.

choler = bad mood
lampoon = personal attack

[88] Any thing, tho’ never so little, which a Man speaks of himself, in my Opinion, is still too much, and therefore I will wave this Subject; and proceed to give the second Reason, which may justifie a Poet, when he writes against a particular Person; and that is, when he is become a Publick Nuisance. All those, whom Horace in his Satires, and Persius and Juvenal have mention’d in theirs, with a Brand of infamy, are wholly such. ’Tis an Action of Virtue to make Examples of vicious Men. They may and ought to be upbraided with their Crimes and Follies: Both for their own amendment, if they are not yet incorrigible; and for the Terrour of others, to hinder them from falling into those Enormities, which they see are so severely punish’d, in the Persons of others: The first Reason was only an Excuse for Revenge: But this second is absolutely of a Poet’s Office to perform: But how few Lampooners are there now living, who are capable of this Duty! When they come in my way, ’tis impossible sometimes to avoid reading them. But, good God, how remote they are in common Justice, from the choice of such Persons as are the proper Subject of Satire! And how little Wit they bring, for the support of their injustice! The weaker Sex is their most ordinary Theme: And the best and fairest are sure to be the most severely handled. Amongst Men, those who are prosperously unjust, are Intitled to a Panegyrick.° But afflicted Virtue is insolently stabb’d with all manner of Reproaches. No Decency is consider’d, no fulsomness omitted; no Venom is wanting,° as far as dullness can supply it. For there is a perpetual Dearth of Wit; a Barrenness of good Sense, and Entertainment. The neglect of the Readers, will soon put an end to this sort of scribling. There can be no pleasantry where there is no Wit: No Impression can be made, where there is no Truth for the Foundation. To conclude, they are like the Fruits of the Earth in this unnatural Season: The Corn which held up its Head, is spoil’d with rankness: But the greater part of the Harvest is laid along, and little of good Income, and wholesom Nourishment is receiv’d into the Barns. This is almost a digression, I confess to your Lordship; but a just indignation forc’d it from me. Now I have remov’d this Rubbish, I will return to the Comparison of Juvenal and Horace.

panegyrick = extravagant praise
wanting = lacking

[89] I wou’d willingly divide the Palm betwixt them; upon the two Heads of Profit and Delight, which are the two Ends of Poetry in general. It must be granted by the Favourers of Juvenal, that Horace is the more Copious, and Profitable in his Instructions of Humane Life. But in my particular Opinion, which I set not up for a Standard to better Judgments, Juvenal is the more delightful Author. I am profited by both, I am pleas’d with both; but I owe more to Horace for my Instruction; and more to Juvenal, for my Pleasure. This, as I said, is my particular Taste of these two Authors: They who will have either of them to excel the other in both qualities, can scarce give better Reasons for their Opinion, than I for mine: But all unbiass’d Readers, will conclude, that my Moderation is not to be Condemn’d: To such Impartial Men I must appeal: For they who have already form’d their Judgment, may justly stand suspected of prejudice; and tho all who are my Readers, will set up to be my Judges, I enter my Caveat against them, that they ought not so much as to be of my Jury. Or, if they be admitted, ’tis but Reason, that they shou’d first hear, what I have to urge in the Defence of my Opinion.

[90] That Horace is somewhat the better Instructor of the two, is prov’d from hence, that his Instructions are more general: Juvenal’s more limited. So that granting, that the Counsels which they give, are equally good for Moral Use; Horace, who gives the most various Advice, and most applicable to all Occasions, which can occurr to us, in the course of our Lives; as including in his Discourses, not only all the Rules of Morality, but also of Civil Conversation; is, undoubtedly, to be preferr’d to him, who is more circumscrib’d in his Instructions, makes them to fewer People, and on fewer Occasions, than the other. I may be pardon’d for using an Old Saying, since ’tis true, and to the purpose, Bonum que communius, eo melius. Juvenal, excepting only his first Satire, is in all the rest confin’d, to the exposing of some particuler Vice; that he lashes, and there he sticks. His Sentences are truly shining and instructive: But they are sprinkl’d here and there. Horace is teaching us in every Line, and is perpetually Moral; he had found out the Skill of Virgil, to hide his Sentences: To give you the Virtue of them, without shewing them in their full extent: Which is the Ostentation of a Poet, and not his Art: And this Petronius charges on the Authors of his Time, as a Vice of Writing, which was then growing on the Age. Ne Sententiæ extra Corpus Orationis emineant: He wou’d have them weav’d into the Body of the Work, and not appear emboss’d upon it, and striking directly on the Reader’s view. Folly was the proper Quarry of Horace, and not Vice: And, as there are but few Notoriously Wicked Men, in comparison with a Shoal of Fools, and Fops; so ’tis a harder thing to make a Man Wise, than to make him Honest: For the Will is only to be reclaim’d in the one; but the Understanding is to be inform’d in the other. There are Blind-sides and Follies, even in the Professors of Moral Philosophy; and there is not any one Sect of them that Horace has not expos’d. Which as it was not the Design of Juvenal, who was wholly employ’d in lashing Vices, some of them the most enormous that can be imagin’d; so perhaps, it was not so much his Talent. Omne vafer vitium ridenti Flaccus amico, tangit, & admissus circum præcordia ludit. This was the Commendation which Persius gave him: Where by Vitium, he means those little Vices, which we call Follies, the defects of Humane Understanding, or at most the Peccadillos of Life, rather than the Tragical Vices, to which Men are hurri’d by their unruly Passions and exorbitant Desires. But in the word omne, which is universal, he concludes, with me, that the Divine Wit of Horace, left nothing untouch’d; that he enter’d into the inmost Recesses of Nature; found out the Imperfections even of the most Wise and Grave, as well as of the Common People: Discovering, even in the great Trebatius, to whom he addresses the first Satire, his hunting after Business, and following the Court, as well as in the Persecutor Crispinus, his impertinence and importunity. ’Tis true, he exposes Crispinus openly, as a common Nuisance: But he rallies the other, as a Friend, more finely. The Exhortations of Persius are confin’d to Noblemen: And the Stoick Philosophy, is that alone, which he recommends to them: Juvenal Exhorts to particular Virtues, as they are oppos’d to those Vices against which he declaims: But Horace laughs to shame, all Follies, and insinuates Virtue, rather by familiar Examples, than by the severity of Precepts.

[91] This last Consideration seems to incline the Ballance on the side of Horace, and to give him the preference to Juvenal, not only in Profit, but in Pleasure. But, after all, I must confess, that the Delight which Horace gives me, is but languishing. Be pleas’d still to understand, that I speak of my own Taste only: He may Ravish other Men; but I am too stupid and insensible, to be tickl’d. Where he barely grins himself, and, as Scaliger says, only shews his white Teeth, he cannot provoke me to any Laughter. His Urbanity, that is, his Good Manners, are to be commended, but his Wit is faint; and his Salt, if I may dare to say so, almost insipid. Juvenal is of a more vigorous and Masculine Wit, he gives me as much Pleasure as I can bear: He fully satisfies my Expectation, he Treats his Subject home: His Spleen° is rais’d, and he raises mine: I have the Pleasure of Concernment in all he says; He drives his Reader along with him; and when he is at the end of his way, I willingly stop with him: If he went another Stage, it wou’d be too far, it wou’d make a Journey of a Progress, and turn Delight into Fatigue. When he gives over, ’tis a sign the Subject is exhausted; and the Wit of Man can carry it no farther. If a Fault can be justly found in him; ’tis that he is sometimes too luxuriant, too redundant; says more than he needs, like my Friend the Plain Dealer, but never more than pleases. Add to this, that his Thoughts are as just as those of Horace, and much more Elevated. His Expressions are Sonorous and more Noble; his Verse more numerous,° and his Words are suitable to his Thoughts; sublime and lofty. All these contribute to the Pleasure of the Reader, and the greater the Soul of him who Reads, his Transports are the greater. Horace is always on the Amble, Juvenal on the Gallop: But his way is perpetually on Carpet Ground. He goes with more impetuosity than Horace; but as securely; and the swiftness adds a more lively agitation to the Spirits. The low Style of Horace, is according to his Subject; that is generally groveling. I question not but he cou’d have rais’d it. For the First Epistle of the Second Book, which he writes to Augustus, (a most instructive Satire concerning Poetry,) is of so much Dignity in the Words, and of so much Elegancy in the Numbers, that the Author plainly shews, the Sermo Pedestris,° in his other Satires, was rather his Choice than his Necessity. He was a Rival to Lucilius his Predecessor; and was resolv’d to surpass him in his own Manner. Lucilius, as we see by his remaining Fragments, minded neither his Style nor his Numbers, nor his purity of words, nor his run of Verse. Horace therefore copes with him in that humble way of Satire. Writes under his own force, and carries a dead Weight, that he may match his Competitor in the Race. This I imagine was the chief Reason, why he minded only the clearness of his Satire, and the cleanness of Expression, without ascending to those heights, to which his own vigour might have carri’d him. But limiting his desires only to the Conquest of Lucilius, he had his Ends of his Rival, who liv’d before him; but made way for a new Conquest over himself, by Juvenal his Successor. He cou’d not give an equal pleasure to his Reader, because he us’d not equal Instruments. The fault was in the Tools, and not in the Workman. But Versification, and Numbers, are the greatest Pleasures of Poetry: Virgil knew it, and practis’d both so happily; that for ought I know, his greatest Excellency is in his Diction. In all other parts of Poetry, he is faultless; but in this he plac’d his chief perfection. And give me leave, my Lord, since I have here an apt occasion, to say, that Virgil, cou’d have written sharper Satires, than either Horace or Juvenal, if he wou’d have employ’d his Talent, that way. I will produce a Verse and half of his, in one of his Eclogues, to justifie my Opinion: And with Comma’s after every Word, to shew, that he has given almost as many lashes, as he has written Syllables. ’Tis against a bad Poet; whose ill Verses he describes. Non tu, in triviis, indocte, solebas, stridenti, miserum, stipula, disperdere carmen? But to return to my purpose, when there is any thing deficient in Numbers, and Sound, the Reader is uneasie, and unsatisfi’d; he wants something of his Complement, desires somewhat which he finds not: And this being the manifest defect of Horace, ’tis no wonder, that finding it supply’d in Juvenal, we are more Delighted with him. And besides this, the Sauce of Juvenal is more poignant, to create in us an Appetite of Reading him. The Meat of Horace is more nourishing; but the Cookery of Juvenal more exquisite; so that, granting Horace to be the more general Philosopher; we cannot deny, that Juvenal was the greater Poet. I mean in Satire. His Thoughts are sharper, his Indignation against Vice is more vehement; his Spirit has more of the Commonwealth Genius; he treats Tyranny, and all the Vices attending it, as they deserve, with the utmost rigour: And consequently, a Noble Soul is better pleas’d with a Zealous Vindicator of Roman Liberty; than with a Temporizing Poet, a well Manner’d Court Slave, and a Man who is often afraid of Laughing in the right place: Who is ever decent, because he is naturally servile. After all, Horace had the disadvantage of the Times in which he liv’d; they were better for the Man, but worse for the Satirist. ’Tis generally said, that those Enormous Vices, which were practis’d under the Reign of Domitian, were unknown in the Time of Augustus Cæsar. That therefore Juvenal had a larger Field, than Horace. Little Follies were out of doors, when Oppression was to be scourg’d instead of Avarice: It was no longer time to turn into Ridicule, the false Opinions of Philosophers; when the Roman Liberty was to be asserted. There was more need of a Brutus in Domitian’s Days, to redeem or mend, than of a Horace, if he had then been Living, to Laugh at a Fly-Catcher. This Reflection at the same time excuses Horace, but exalts Juvenal. I have ended, before I was aware, the Comparison of Horace and Juvenal, upon the Topiques of Instruction and Delight; and indeed I may safely here conclude that common-place: For if we make Horace our Minister of State in Satire, and Juvenal of our private Pleasures: I think the latter has no ill bargain of it. Let Profit have the preheminence of Honour, in the End of Poetry. Pleasure, though but the second in degree, is the first in favour. And who wou’d not chuse to be lov’d better, rather than to be more esteem’d? But I am enter’d already upon another Topique; which concerns the particular Merits of these two Satirists. However, I will pursue my business where I left it: And carry it farther than that common observation of the several Ages, in which these Authors Flourish’d. When Horace writ his Satires, the Monarchy of his Cæsar was in its newness; and the Government but just made easie to the Conquer’d People. They cou’d not possibly have forgotten the Usurpation of that Prince upon their Freedom, nor the violent Methods which he had us’d, in the compassing of that vast Design: They yet remember’d his Proscriptions, and the Slaughter of so many Noble Romans, their Defendors. Amongst the rest, that horrible Action of his, when he forc’d Livia from the Arms of her Husband, who was constrain’d to see her Marry’d, as Dion relates the Story; and, big with Child as she was, convey’d to the Bed of his insulting Rival. The same Dion Cassius gives us another instance of the Crime before mention’d: That Cornelius Sisenna, being reproach’d in full Senate, with the Licentious Conduct of his Wife, return’d this Answer; That he had Marry’d her by the Counsel of Augustus: Intimating, says my Author, that Augustus had oblig’d him to that Marriage, that he might, under that covert, have the more free access to her. His Adulteries were still before their Eyes, but they must be patient, where they had not power. In other things that Emperor was Moderate enough: Propriety was generally secur’d; and the People entertain’d with publick Shows, and Donatives, to make them more easily digest their lost Liberty. But Augustus, who was conscious to himself, of so many Crimes which he had committed, thought in the first place to provide for his own Reputation, by making an Edict against Lampoons and Satires, and the Authors of those defamatory Writings, which my Author Tacitus, from the Law-Term, calls famosos libellos.

spleen = anger
numerous = metrically regular
Sermo Pedestris = low style

[92] In the first Book of his Annals, he gives the following Account of it, in these Words. Primus Augustus cognitianem de famosis libellis specie legis ejus, tractavit; commotus Cassii Severi libidine, qua vires fæminasq; inlustres, procacibus scriptis diffamaverat. Thus in English. Augustus was the first, who under the colour of that Law took Cognisance of Lampoons; being provok’d to it, by the petulancy of Cassius Severus, who had defam’d many Illustrious Persons of both Sexes, in his Writings. The Law to which Tacitus refers, was Lex læsæ Majestatis; commonly call’d, for the sake of brevity Majestas; or as we say, High Treason: He means not that this Law had not been Enacted formerly: For it had been made by the Decemviri,° and was inscrib’d amongst the rest in the Twelve Tables: To prevent the aspersion of the Roman Majesty; either of the People themselves, or their Religion, or their Magistrates: And the infringement of it was Capital: That is, the Offender was Whipt to Death, with the Fasces, which were born before their Chief Officers of Rome. But Augustus was the first, who restor’d that intermitted Law. By the words, under colour of that Law, He insinuates that Augustus caus’d it to be Executed, on pretence of those Libels, which were written by Cassius Severus, against the Nobility: But in Truth, to save himself, from such delamatory Verses. Suetonius likewise makes mention of it thus. Sparsos de se in Curiâ famosos libellos, nec expavit, & magna curâ redarguit: Ac ne requisitis quidem Auctoribus, id modo censuit, cegnoscendum post hoc de iis qui libellos aut carmina ad infamiam cuiuspinam sub alieno neomine edant. Augustus was not afraid of Libels, says that Author: Yet he took all care imaginable to have them answer’d; and then decreed that for the time to come, the Authors of them shou’d be punish’d. But Augustus makes it yet more clear, according to my Sense, that this Emperor for his own sake durst not permit them. Fecit id Augustus in speciem; & quasi gratificaretur Populo Romano, & Primoribus urbis; sed revera ut sibi consuleret: Nam habuit in animo, comprimere nimiam quorundam procacitatem in loquendo, à quâ nec ipse exemptus fuit. Nam suo nomine cormpescere erat invidiosum, sub alieno facile & utile. Ergò specie legis tractavit, quasi Populi Romani Majestas infamaretur. This, I think is a sufficient Comment on that Passage of Tacitus. I will add only by the way, that the whole Family of the Cæsars, and all their Relations were included in the Law; because the Majesty of the Romans in the time of the Empire was wholly in that House: Omnia Cæsar erat: They were all accounted sacred, who belong’d to him. As for Cassius Severus, he was contemporary with Horace; and was the same Poet against whom he Writes in his Epods, under this Title, In Cassium Severum Maledicum Poetam: Perhaps intending to kill two Crows, according to our Proverb, with one Stone; and Revenge both himself and his Emperor together.

Decemviri, ten rules of ancient Rome

[93] From hence I may reasonably conclude, That Agustus, who was not altogether so Good as he was Wise, had some by respect, in the Enacting of this Law: For to do any thing for nothing, was not his Maxim, Horace, as he was a Courtier, comply’d with the Interest of his Master, and avoiding the Lashing of greater Crimes, confin’d himself to the ridiculing of Petty Vices, and common Follies: Excepting only some reserv’d Cases, in his Odes and Epods, of his own particular Quarrels; which either with permission of the Magistrate or without it, every Man will Revenge, tho’ I say not that he shou’d; for prior læsit, is a good excuse in the Civil Law, if Christianity had not taught us to forgive. However he was not the proper Man to arraign great Vices, at least if the Stories which we hear of him are true, that he Practis’d some, which I will not here mention, out of honour to him. It was not for a Clodius to accuse Adulterers, especially when Augustus was of that number. So that though his Age was not exempted from the worst of Villanies, there was no freedom left to reprehend them, by reason of the Edict. And our Poet was not fit to represent them in an odious Character, because himself was dipt in the same Actions. Upon this account, without farther insisting on the different tempers of Juvenal and Horace, I conclude, that the Subjects which Horace chose for Satire, are of a lower nature than those of which Juvenal has written.

[94] Thus I have treated in a new Method, the Comparison betwixt Horace, Juvenal, and Persius; somewhat of their particular manner belonging to all of them is yet remaining to be consider’d. Persius was Grave, and particularly oppos’d his Gravity to Lewdness, which was the Predominant Vice in Nero’s Court, at the time when he publish’d his Satires, which was before that Emperour fell into the excess of Cruelty. Horace was a Mild Admonisher, a Court Satirist, fit for the gentle Times of Augustus, and more fit, for the Reasons which I have already given. Juvenal was as proper for his Times, as they for theirs. His was an Age that deserv’d a more severe Chastisement. Vices were more gross and open, more flagitious, more encourag’d by the Example of a Tyrant; and more protected by his Authority. Therefore, wheresoever Juvenal mentions Nero, he means Domitian, whom he dares not attack in his own Person, but Scourges him by Proxy. Heinsius urges in praise of Horace, that according to the Ancient Art and Law of Satire, it shou’d be nearer to Comedy, than to Tragedy; Not declaiming against Vice, but only laughing at it. Neither Persius, nor Juvenal were ignorant of this, for they had both study’d Horace. And the thing it self is plainly true. But as they had read Horace, they had likewise read Lucilius, of whom Persius says secuit Urbem; & genuinum fregit in illis; meaning Mutius and Lupus: And Juvenal also mentions him in these words, Ense velut stricto, quoties Lucilius ardens Infremuit, &c. So that they thought the imitation of Lucilius was more proper to their purpose than that of Horace. They chang’d Satire, says Holiday; but they chang’d it for the better; For the business being to Reform great Vices, Chastisement goes farther than Admonition; whereas a perpetual Grinn, like that of Horace, does rather anger than amend a Man.

[95] Thus far that Learned Critick, Barten Holiday, whose Interpretation, and Illustrations of Juvenal are as Excellent, as the Verse of his Translation and his English are lame, and pitiful. For ’tis not enough to give us the meaning of a Poet, which I acknowledge him to have perform’d most faithfully; but he must also imitate his Genius, and his Numbers; as far as the English will come up to the Elegance of the Original. In few words, ’tis only for a Poet to Translate a Poet. Holiday and Stapylton had not enough consider’d this, when they attempted Juvenal: But I forbear Reflections; only I beg leave to take notice of this Sentence, where Holiday says, A perpetual Grinn, like that of Horace, rather angers than amends a Man. I cannot give him up the Manner of Horace in low Satire so easily: Let the Chastisements of Juvenal be never so necessary for his new kind of Satire; let him declaim as wittily and sharply as he pleases, yet still the nicest and most delicate touches of Satire consist in fine Raillery. This, my Lord, is your particular Talent, to which even Juvenal could not arrive. ’Tis not Reading, ’tis not imitation of an Author, which can produce this fineness: It must be inborn, it must proceed from a Genius, and particular way of thinking, which is not to be taught; and therefore not to be imitated by him who has it not from Nature: How easie it is to call Rogue and Villain, and that wittily? But how hard to make a Man appear a Fool, a Blockhead, or a Knave, without using any of those opprobrious terms? To spare the grossness of the Names, and to do the thing yet more severely, is to draw a full Face, and to make the Nose and Cheeks stand out, and yet not to employ any depth of Shadowing. This is the Mystery of that Noble Trade; which yet no Master can teach to his Apprentice: He may give the Rules, but the Scholar is never the nearer in his practice. Neither is it true, that this fineness of Raillery is offensive. A witty Man is tickl’d while he is hurt in this manner and a Fool feels it not. The occasion of an Offence may possibly be given, but he cannot take it. If it be granted that in effect this way does more Mischief; that a Man is secretly wounded, and though he be not sensible himself, yet the malicious World will find it for him: Yet there is still a vast difference betwixt the slovenly Butchering of a Man, and the fineness of a stroak that separates the Head from the Body, and leaves it standing in its place. A man may be capable, as Jack Ketche’s Wife said of his Servant, of a plain piece of Work, a bare Hanging; but to make a Malefactor die sweetly, was only belonging to her Husband. I wish I cou’d apply it to my self, if the Reader wou’d be kind enough to think it belongs to me. The Character of Zimri in my Absalom, is, in my Opinion, worth the whole Poem: ’Tis not bloody, but ’tis ridiculous enough. And he for whom it was intended, was too witty to resent it as an injury. If I had rail’d, I might have suffer’d for it justly: But I manag’d my own Work more happily, perhaps more dextrously. I avoided the mention of great Crimes, and apply’d my self to the representing of Blind-sides, and little Extravagancies: To which, the wittier a Man is, he is generally the more obnoxious. It succeeded as I wish’d; the Jest went round, and he was laught at in his turn who began the Frolick.

[96] And thus, My Lord, you see I have preferr’d the Manner of Horace, and of your Lordship, in this kind of Satire, to that of Juvenal; and I think, reasonably. Holiday ought not to have Arraign’d so Great an Author, for that which was his Excellency and his Merit: Or if he did, on such a palpable mistake, he might expect, that some one might possibly arise, either in his own Time, or after him, to rectifie his Error, and restore to Horace, that Commendation, of which he has so unjustly robb’d him. And let the Manes° of Juvenal forgive me, if I say, that this way of Horace was the best, for amending Manners, as it is the most difficult. His was, an Ense rescindendum; but that of Horace was a Pleasant Cure, with all the Limbs preserv’d entire: And as our Mountebanks tell us in their Bills, without keeping the Patient within Doors for a Day. What they promise only, Horace has effectually Perform’d: Yet I contradict not the Proposition which I formerly advanc’d: Juvenal’s Times requir’d a more painful kind of Operation: But if he had liv’d in the Age of Horace, I must needs affirm, that he had it not about him. He took the Method which was prescrib’d him by his own Genius; which was sharp and eager; he cou’d not Rally, but he cou’d Declame: And as his provocations were great, he has reveng’d them Tragically. This notwithstanding, I am to say another Word, which, as true as it is, will yet displease the partial Admirers of our Horace. I have hinted it before; but tis time for me now to speak more plainly.

manes = spirit

[97] This Manner of Horace is indeed the best; but Horace has not executed it, altogether so happily, at least not often. The Manner of Juvenal is confess’d to be Inferior to the former; but Juvenal, has excell’d him in his Performance. Juvenal has rail’d more wittily than Horace has rally’d. Horace means to make his Reader Laugh; but he is not sure of his Experiment. Juvenal always intends to move your Indignation; and he always brings about his purpose. Horace, for ought I know, might have tickl’d the People of his Age; but amongst the Moderns he is not so Successfull. They who say he Entertains so Pleasantly, may perhaps value themselves on the quickness of their own Understandings, that they can see a Jest farther off than other men. They may find occasion of Laughter, in the Wit-battel of the Two Buffoons, Sarmentus and Cicerrus: And hold their sides for fear of bursting, when Rupilius and Persius are Scolding. For my own part, I can only like the Characters of all Four, which are judiciously given: But for my heart I cannot so much as smile at their Insipid Raillery. I see not why Persius shou’d call upon Brutus, to revenge him on his Adversary: And that because he had kill’d Julius Cesar, for endeavouring to be a King, therefore he shou’d be desir’d to Murther Rupilius, only because his Name was Mr. King. A miserable Clench,° in my Opinion, for Horace to Record: I have heard honest Mr. Swan make many a better, and yet have had the Grace to hold my Countenance. But it may be Puns were then in Fashion, as they were Wit in the Sermons of the last Age, and in the Court of King Charles the Second. I am sorry to say it, for the sake of Horace; but certain it is, he has no fine Palate who can feed so heartily on Garbidge.

clench = pun

[98] But I have already wearied my self, and doubt not but I have tir’d your Lordships Patience, with this long rambling, and I fear, trivial Discourse. Upon the one half of the Merits, that is, Pleasure, I cannot but conclude that Juvenal was the better Satirist: They who will descend into his particular Praises, may find them at large, in the Dissertation of the Learned Rigaltius to Thuanus. As for Persius, I have given the Reasons, why I think him Inferior to both of them. Yet I have one thing to add on that Subject.

[99] Barten Holiday, who Translated both Juvenal and Persius, has made this distinction betwixt them, which is no less true than Witty; that, in Persius the difficulty is to find a Meaning; in Juvenal, to chuse a Meaning: So Crabbed is Persius, and so Copious is Juvenal: So much the Understanding is employ’d in one; and so much the Judgment in the other. So difficult it is, to find any Sense in the former, and the best Sense of the latter.

[100] If, on the other side, any one suppose I have commended Horace below his Merit, when I have allow’d him but the Second Place, I desire him to consider, if Juvenal, a Man of Excellent Natural Endowments, besides the advantages of Diligence and Study, and coming after him, and Building upon his Foundations might not probably, with all these helps, surpass him? And whether it be any dishonour to Horace, to be thus surpass’d; since no Art, or Science, is at once begun and perfected, but that it must pass first through many hands, and even through several Ages? If Lucilius cou’d add to Ennius, and Horace to Lucilius, why, without any diminution to the Fame of Horace, might not Juvenal give the last perfection to that Work? Or rather, what disreputation is it to Horace, that Juvenal Excels in the Tragical Satyre, as Horace does in the Comical? I have read over attentively, both Heinsius and Dacier, in their Commendations of Horace: But I can find no more in either of them, for the preference of him to Juvenal, than the Instructive Part; the Part of Wisdom, and not that of Pleasure; which therefore is here allow’d him, notwithstanding what Scaliger and Rigaltius have pleaded to the contrary for Juvenal. And to shew I am Impartial, I will here Translate what Dacier has said on that Subject.

[101] I cannot give a more just Idea of the Two Books of Satires, made by Horace, than by compairing them to the Statues of the Sileni, to which Alcbiades compares Socrates, in the Symposium. They were Figures, which had nothing of agreeable, nothing of Beauty on their out side: But when any one took the Pains to open them, and search into them, he there found the Figures of all the Deities. So, in the Shape that Horace Presents himself to us, in his Satires, we see nothing at the first View, which deserves our Attention. It seems that he is rather an Amusement for Children, than for the serious consideration of Men. But when we take away his Crust, and that which hides him from our sight; when we discover him to the bottom, then we find all the Divinities in a full Assembly: That is to say, all the Virtues, which ought to be the continual exercise of those, who seriously endeavour to Correct their Vices.

[102] ’Tis easy to Observe, that Dacier, in this Noble Similitude, has confin’d the Praise of his Author, wholly to the Instructive Part: The commendation turns on this, and so does that which follows.

[103] In these Two Books of Satire, ’tis the business of Horace to instruct us how to combat our Vices, to regulate our Passions, to follow Nature, to give Bounds to our desires, to Distinguish betwixt Truth and Falshood, and betwixt our Conceptions of Things, and Things themselves. To come back from our prejudicate Opinions, to understand exactly the Principles and Motives of all our Actions; and to avoid the Ridicule, into which all men necessarily fall, who are Intoxicated with those Notions, which they have received from their Masters; and which they obstinately retain, without examining whether or no they are founded on right Reason.

[104] In a Word, he labours to render us happy in relation to our selves, agreeable and faithful to our Friends, and discreet, serviceable, and well bred in relation to those with whom we are oblig’d to live, and to converse. To make his Figures Intelligible, to conduct his Readers through the Labyrinth of some perplex’d Sentence, or obscure Parenthesis, is no great matter. And as Epictetus says, there is nothing of Beauty in all this, or what is worthy of a Prudent Man. The Principal business, and which is of most Importance to us, is to shew the Use, the Reason, and the Proof of his Precepts.

[105] They who endeavour not to correct themselves, according to so exact a Model; are just like the Patients, who have open before them a Book of Admirable Receipts,° for their Diseases, and please themselves with reading it, without Comprehending the Nature of the Remedies; or how to apply them to their Cure.

receipts = recipes, prescriptions

[106] Let Horace go off with these Encomiums, which he has so well deserv’d.

[107] To conclude the contention betwixt our Three Poets, I will use the Words of Virgil, in his Fifth Æneid, where Æneas proposes the Rewards of the Foot-Race, to the Three first, who shou’d reach the Goal Tres præmia primi, accipient; flavaque Caput nectentur Olivâ: Let these Three Ancients be preferr’d to all the Moderns; as first arriving at the Goal: Let them all be Crown’d as Victours; with the Wreath that properly belongs to Satire. But, after that, with this distinction amongst themselves, Primus equum phaleris insignem, Victor habeto. Let Juvenal Ride first in Triumph. Alter Amazoniam, pharetram; plenamque Sagittis Threiciis, lato quam circumplectitur auro Balteus, & tereti Subnectit Fibula gemmâ. Let Horace who is the Second, and but just the Second, carry off the Quivers, and the Arrows; as the Badges of his Satire, and the Golden Belt, and the Diamond Button. Tertius, Argolico hoc Clypeo contentus abito. And let Persius, the last of the first Three Worthies, be contented with this Grecian Shield, and with Victory not only over all the Grecians, who were Ignorant of the Roman Satire, but over all the Moderns in Succeeding Ages; excepting Boileau and your Lordship.

[108] And thus, I have given the History of Satire, and deriv’d it as far as from Ennius, to your Lordship; that is, from its first Rudiments of Barbarity, to its last Polishing and Perfection: Which is, with Virgil, in his Address to Augustus;

nomen famâ tot ferre per annos,
Tithoni primâ quot abest ab origine Cæsar.

I said only from Ennius; but I may safely carry it higher, as far as Livius Andronicus; who, as I have said formerly, taught the first Play at Rome in the Year ab urbe conditâ, 514. I have since desir’d my Learn’d Friend, Mr. Maidwell, to compute the difference of Times, betwixt Aristophanes, and Livius Andronicus; and he assures me, from the best Chronologers, that Plutus, the last of Aristophanes’s his Plays, was Represented at Athens, in the Year of the 97th Olympiad; which agrees with the Year Urbis Conditæ 364: So that the difference of Years betwixt Aristophanes and Andronicus is 150; from whence I have probably deduc’d, that Livius Andronicus, who was a Grecian, had read the Plays of the Old Comedy, which were Satyrical, and also of the New; for Menander was fifty Years before him, which must needs be a great light to him, in his own Plays; that were of the Satirical Nature. That the Romans had Farces before this, ’tis true; but then they had no Communication with Greece: So that Andronicus was the first, who wrote after the manner of the Old Comedy, in his Plays; he was imitated by Ennius, about Thirty Years afterwards. Though the former writ Fables; the latter, speaking properly, began the Roman Satire. According to that Description, which Juvenal gives of it in his First; Quicquid agunt homines votum, timor, ira, voluptas, gaudia, discursus, nostri est farrago libelli. This is that in which I have made bold to differ from Casaubon, Rigaltius, Dacier, and indeed, from all the Modern Critiques, that not Ennius, but Andronicus was the First; who by the Archæa Comedia of the Greeks, added many Beauties to the first Rude and Barbarous Roman, Satire: Which sort of Poem, tho’ we had not deriv’d from Rome, yet Nature teaches it Mankind, in all Ages, and in every Country.

[109] ’Tis but necessary, that after so much has been said of Satire, some Definition of it should be given. Heinsius, in his Dissertations on Horace, makes it for me, in these words; Satire is a kind of Poetry, without a Series of Action, invented for the purging of our Minds; in which Humane Vices, Ignorance, and Errors, and all things besides, which are produc’d from them, in every Man, are severely Reprehended; partly Dramatically, partly Simply, and sometimes in both kinds of speaking; but for the most part Figuratively, and Occultly; consisting in a low familiar way, chiefly in a sharp and pungent manner of Speech; but partly, also, in a Facetious and Civil way of Jesting; by which, either Hatred, or Laughter, or Indignation is mov’d. — Where I cannot but observe, that this obscure and perplex’d Definition, or rather Description of Satire, is wholly accommodated to the Horatian way; and excluding the Works of Juvenal and Persius, as foreign from that kind of Poem: The Clause in the beginning of it (without a Series of Action) distinguishes Satire properly from Stage-Plays, which are all of one Action, and one continu’d Series of Action. The End or Scope of Satire is to purge the Passions; so far it is common to the Satires of Juvenal and Persius: The rest which follows, is also generally belonging to all three; till he comes upon us, with the Excluding Clause (consisting in a low familiar way of Speech) which is the proper Character of Horace; and from which, the other two, for their Honour be it spoken, are far distant. But how come Lowness of Style, and the Familiarity of Words to be so much the Propriety of Satire, that without them, a Poet can be no more a Satirist, than without Risibility he can be a Man? Is the fault of Horace to be made the Virtue, and Standing Rule of this Poem? Is the Grande Sophos of Persius, and the Sublimity of Juvenal to be circumscrib’d, with the meanness of Words and vulgarity of Expression? If Horace refus’d the pains of Numbers, and the loftiness of Figures, are they bound to follow so ill a Precedent? Let him walk a Foot with his Pad in his Hand, for his own pleasure; but let not them be accounted no Poets, who choose to mount, and shew their Horsmanship. Holiday is not afraid to say, that there was never such a fall, as from his Odes to his Satires, and that he, injuriously to himself, untun’d his Harp. The Majestique way of Persius and Juvenal was new when they began it; but ’tis old to us; and what Poems have not, with Time, receiv’d an Alteration in their Fashion? Which Alteration, says Holiday, is to after-times, as good a Warrant as the first. Has not Virgil chang’d the Manners of Homer’s Hero’s in his Æneis? certainly he has, and for the better. For Virgil’s Age was more Civiliz’d, and better Bred; and he writ according to the Politeness of Rome, under the Reign of Augustus Cæsar; not to the Rudeness of Agamemnon’s Age, or the Times of Homer. Why shou’d we offer to confine free Spirits to one Form, when we cannot so much as confine our Bodies to one Fashion of Apparel? Wou’d not Donn’s Satires, which abound with so much Wit, appear more Charming, if he had taken care of his Words, and of his Numbers? But he follow’d Horace so very close, that of necessity he must fall with him: And I may safely say it of this present Age. That if we are not so great Wits as Donn, yet, certainly, we are better Poets.

[110] But I have said enough, and it may be, too much on this Subject. Will your Lordship be pleas’d to prolong my Audience, only so far, till I tell you my own trivial Thoughts, how a Modern Satire shou’d be made. I will not deviate in the least from the Precepts and Examples of the Ancients, who were always our best Masters. I will only illustrate them, and discover some of the hidden Beauties in their Designs, that we thereby may form our own in imitation of them. Will you please but to observe, that Persius, the least in Dignity of all the Three, has, notwithstanding, been the first, who has discover’d to us this important Secret, in the designing of a perfect Satire; that it ought only to treat of one Subject; to be confin’d to one particular Theme; or, at least, to one principally. If other Vices occur in the management of the Chief, they shou’d only be transiently lash’d, and not be insisted on, so as to make the Design double. As in a Play of the English Fashion, which we call a Tragecomedy, there is to be but one main Design: And tho’ there be an Under-plot, or Second Walk of Comical Characters and Adventures, yet they are subservient to the Chief Fable, carry’d along under it, and helping to it; so that the Drama may not seem a Monster with two Heads. Thus the Copernican Systeme of the Planets makes the Moon to be mov’d by the motion of the Earth, and carry’d about her Orb, as a Dependant of hers: Mascardi in his Discourse of the Doppia favola, or Double-tale in Plays, gives an Instance of it, in the famous Pastoral of Guarini, call’d Il Pastor Fido; where Corisca and the Satyre are the Under-parts: Yet we may observe, that Corisca is brought into the Body of the Plot, and made subservient to it. ’Tis certain, that the Divine Wit of Horace, was not ignorant of this Rule, that a Play, though it consists of many parts, must yet be one in the Action, and must drive on the Accomplishment of one Design; for he gives this very Precept, Sit quodvis simplex duntaxat & unum; yet he seems not much to mind it in his Satires, many of them consisting of more Arguments than one; and the second without dependance on the first. Casaubon has observ’d this before me, in his Preference of Persius to Horace: And will have his own belov’d Author to be the first, who found out, and introduc’d this Method of confining himself to one Subject. I know it may be urg’d in defence of Horace, that this Unity is not necessary; because the very word Satura signifies a Dish plentifully stor’d with all variety of Fruits and Grains. Yet Juvenal, who calls his Poems a Farrago,° which is a word of the same signification with Satura; has chosen to follow the same Method of Persius, and not of Horace. And Boileau, whose Example alone is a sufficient Authority, has wholly confin’d himself, in all his Satires, to this Unity of Design. That variety which is not to be found in any one Satire, is, at least, in many, written on several occasions. And if Variety be of absolute necessity in every one of them, according to the Etymology of the word; yet it may arise naturally from one Subject, as it is diversly treated, in the several Subordinate Branches of it; all relating to the Chief. It may be illustrated accordingly with variety of Examples in the Subdivisions of it; and with as many Precepts as there are Members of it; which altogether may compleat that Olla, or Hotchpotch, which is properly a Satire.

farrago = medley, mixture

[111] Under this Unity of Theme, or Subject, is comprehended another Rule for perfecting the Design of true Satire. The Poet is bound, and that ex Officio, to give his Reader some one Precept of Moral Virtue; and to caution him against some one particular Vice or Folly: Other Virtues, subordinate to the first, may be recommended, under that Chief Head; and other Vices or Follies may be scourg’d, besides that which he principally intends. But he is chiefly to inculcate one Virtue, and insist on that. Thus Juvenal in every Satire, excepting the first, tyes himself to one principal Instructive Point, or to the shunning of Moral Evil. Even in the Sixth, which seems only an Arraignment of the whole Sex of Womankind; there is a latent Admonition to avoid Ill Women, by shewing how very few, who are Virtuous and Good, are to be found amongst them. But this, tho’ the Wittiest of all his Satires, has yet the least of Truth or Instruction in it. He has run himself into his old declamatory way, and almost forgotten, that he was now setting up for a Moral Poet.

[112] Persius is never wanting to us in some profitable Doctrine, and in exposing the opposite Vices to it. His kind of Philosphy is one, which is the Stoique; and every Satire is a Comment on one particular Dogma of that Sect; unless we will except the first, which is against bad Writers; and yet ev’n there he forgets not the Precepts of the Porch. In general, all Virtues are every where to be prais’d, and recommended to Practice; and all Vices to be reprehended, and made either Odious or Ridiculous; or else there is a Fundamental Error in the whole Design.

[113] I have already declar’d, who are the only Persons that are the Adequate Object of Private Satire, and who they are that may properly be expos’d by Name for publick Examples of Vices and Follies; and therefore I will trouble your Lordship no farther with them. Of the best and finest manner of Satire, I have said enough in the Comparison betwixt Juvenal and Horace: ’Tis that sharp, well-manner’d way, of laughing a Folly out of Countenance, of which your Lordship is the best Master in this Age. I will proceed to the Versification, which is most proper for it, and add somewhat to what I have said already on that Subject. The sort of Verse which is call’d Burlesque, consisting of Eight Syllables, or Four Feet, is that which our Excellent Hudibras has chosen. I ought to have mention’d him before, when I spoke of Donn; but by a slip of an Old Man’s Memory he was forgotten. The Worth of his Poem is too well known to need my Commendation, and he is above my Censure: His Satire is of the Varronian kind, though unmix’d with Prose. The choice of his Numbers is suitable enough to his Design, as he has manag’d it. But in any other Hand, the shortness of his Verse, and the quick returns of Rhyme, had debas’d the Dignity of Style. And besides, the double Rhyme, (a necessary Companion of Burlesque Writing) is not so proper for Manly Satire, for it turns Earnest too much to Jest, and gives us a Boyish kind of Pleasure. It tickles aukwardly with a kind of pain, to the best sort of Readers; we are pleas’d ungratefully, and, if I may say so, against our liking. We thank him not for giving us that unseasonable Delight, when we know he cou’d have given us a better, and more solid. He might have left that Task to others, who not being able to put in Thought, can only make us grin with the Excrescence of a Word of two or three Syllables in the Close. ’Tis, indeed, below so great a Master to make use of such a little Instrument. But his good Sense is perpetually shining through all he writes; it affords us not the time of finding Faults: We pass through the Levity of his Rhyme, and are immediately carri’d into some admirable useful Thought. After all, he has chosen this kind of Verse; and has written the best in it: And had he taken another, he wou’d always have excell’d. As we say of a Court-Favourite, that whatsoever his Office be, he still makes it uppermost, and most beneficial to himself.

[114] The quickness of your Imagination, my Lord, has already prevented me; and you know before-hand, that I wou’d prefer the Verse of ten Syllables, which we call the English Heroique, to that of Eight. This is truly my Opinion. For this sort of Number is more Roomy. The Thought can turn it self with greater ease, in a larger compass.° When the Rhyme comes too thick upon us; it streightens° the Expression; we are thinking of the Close, when we shou’d be employ’d in adorning the Thought. It makes a Poet giddy with turning in a Space too narrow for his Imagination. He loses many Beauties without gaining one Advantage. For a Burlesque Rhyme, I have already concluded to be none; or if it were, ’tis more easily purchas’d in Ten Syllables than in Eight: In both occasions ’tis as in a Tennis-Court, when the Strokes of greater force, are given, when we strike out, and play at length. Tassone and Boileau have left us the best Examples of this way, in the Secchia Rapita, and the Lutrin. And next them Merlin Coccajus in his Baldus. I will speak only of the two former, because the last is written in Latin Verse. The Secchia Rapita, is an Italian Poem; a Satire of the Varronian kind. ’Tis written in the Stanza of Eight, which is their Measure for Heroique Verse. The Words are stately, the Numbers smooth, the Turn both of Thoughts and Words is happy. The first six lines of the Stanza seem Majestical and Severe: but the two last turn them all, into a pleasant Ridicule. Boileau, if I am not much deceiv’d, has model’d from hence, his famous Lutrin. He had read the Burlesque Poetry of Scarron, with some kind of Indignation, as witty as it was, and found nothing in France that was worthy of his Imitation. But he Copy’d the Italian so well, that his own may pass for an Original. He writes it in the French Heroique Verse, and calls it an Heroique Poem: His Subject is Trivial, but his Verse is Noble. I doubt not but he had Virgil in his Eye, for we find many admirable Imitations of him, and some Parodies; as particularly this Passage in the Fourth of the Eneids.

compass = limits
streightens = narrows

Nec tibi Diva Parens; generis nec Dardanus Auctor,
Perfide; sed duris genuit te cautibus horrens
Caucasus; Hyrcanæque admôrunt ubera tigres.

Which he thus Translates, keeping to the Words, but altering the Sense.

Non, ton Pere a Paris, ne fut point Boulanger:
Et tu n’es point du sang de Gervais Horloger:
Ta Mere ne fut point la Maitresse d’un Coche:
Caucase dans ses flancs, te forma d’une Roché:
Une Tigresse affreuse, en quelque Antre écarté
Te fit, avec son laict, succer sa Cruauté.

And, as Virgil in his Fourth Georgique of the Bees, perpetually raises the Lowness of his Subject by the Loftiness of his Words; and ennobles it by Comparisons drawn from Empires, and from Monarchs.

Admiranda tibi levium spectacula rerum,
Magnanimosq; Duces, totiusq; ordine gentis
Mores & studia, & populos, & prælia dicam.

And again,

Sed Genus immortale manet; multosque per annos
Stat fortuna domûs, & avi numerantur avorum.

We see Boileau pursuing him in the same flights; and scarcely yielding to his Master. This, I think, my Lord, to be the most Beautiful, and most Noble kind of Satire. Here is the Majesty of the Heroique, finely mix’d with the Venom of the other; and raising the Delight which otherwise wou’d be flat and vulgar, by the Sublimity of the Expression. I cou’d say somewhat more of the Delicacy of this and some other of his Satires; but it might turn to his Prejudice, if ’twere carry’d back to France.

[115] I have given Your Lordship, but this bare hint, in what Verse, and in what manner this sort of Satire may best be manag’d. Had I time, I cou’d enlarge on the Beautiful Turns of Words and Thoughts; which are as requisite in this, as in Heroique Poetry it self; of which this Satire is undoubtedly a Species. With these Beautiful Turns I confess my self to have been unacquainted, till about Twenty Years ago, in a Conversation which I had with that Noble Wit of Scotland, Sir George Mackenzy: He asked me why I did not imitate in my Verses, the turns of Mr. Waller, and Sir John Denham; of which, he repeated many to me: I had often read with pleasure, and with some profit, those two Fathers of our English Poetry; but had not seriously enough consider’d those Beauties which give the last perfection to their Works. Some sprinklings of this kind, I had also formerly in my Plays, but they were casual, and not design’d. But this hint, thus seasonably given me, first made me sensible of my own wants, and brought me afterwards to seek for the supply of them in other English Authors. I look’d over the Darling of my youth, the Famous Cowley; there I found instead of them, the Points of Wit, and Quirks of Epigram, even in the Davideis, a Heroick Poem, which is of an opposite nature to those Puerilities; but no Elegant turns, either on the word, or on the thought. Then I consulted a Greater Genius, (without offence to the Manes of that Noble Author) I mean Milton. But as he endeavours every where to express Homer, whose Age had not arriv’d to that fineness, I found in him a true sublimity, lofty thoughts, which were cloath’d with admirable Grecisms, and ancient words, which he had been digging from the Mines of Chaucer, and of Spencer, and which, with all their rusticity, had somewhat of Venerable in them. But I found not there neither that for which I look’d. At last I had recourse to his Master, Spencer, the Author of that immortal Poem, call’d the Fairy Queen; and there I met with that which I had been looking for so long in vain. Spencer had studi’d Virgil to as much advantage as Milton had done Homer. And amongst the rest of his Excellencies had Copy’d that. Looking farther into the Italian, I found Tasso had done the same; nay more, that all the Sonnets in that Language are on the turn of the first thought; which Mr. Walsh, in his late ingenious Preface to his Poems has observ’d. In short, Virgil, and Ovid are the two Principal Fountains of them in Latine Poetry. And the French at this day are so fond of them, that they judge them to be the first Beauties. Delicate, & bien tourné, are the highest Commendations, which they bestow, on somewhat which they think a Master-Piece.

[116] An Example of the turn on Words amongst a thousand others, is that, in the last Book of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

Heu quantum scelus est, in viscera, viscera condi!
Congestoq; avidam pinguescere corpore corpus;
Alteriusq; Animantem, Animantis vivere leto.

[117] An Example on the turn both of Thoughts and Words, is to be found in Catullus; in the Complaint of Ariadne, when she was left by Theseus.

Tum jam nulla viro juranti fœmina credat;
Nulla viri speret Sermones esse fideles:
Qui dum aliquid cupiens animus prægestit apisci,
Nil metuunt jurare; nihil promittere parcunt.
Sed simul ac cupidæ mentis satiata libido est,
Dicta nihil metuere; nihil perjuria curant.

[118] An extraordinary turn upon the words, is that in Ovid’s Epistolæ Heroidum, of Sappho to Phaon.

Si nisi quæ formâ poterit te digna videri,
Nulla futura tua est; nulla futura tua est.

[119] Lastly, a turn which I cannot say is absolutely on Words, for the Thought turns with them, is in the Fourth Georgick of Virgil; where Orpheus is to receive his Wife from Hell, on express Condition not to look on her ’till she was come on Earth.

Cum subita incantum dementia cepit Amantem;
Ignoscenda quidem, scirent si ignoscere Manes.

[120] I will not burthen your Lordship with more of them; for I write to a Master, who understands them better than my self. But I may safely conclude them to be great Beauties: I might descend also to the Mecanick Beauties of Heroick Verse, but we have yet no English Prosodia, not so much as a tolerable Dictionary, or a Grammer; so that our Language is in a manner Barbarous; and what Government will encourage any one, or more, who are capable of Refining it, I know not. But nothing under a Publick Expence can go through with it. And I rather fear a declination of the Language, than hope an advancement of it in the present Age.

[121] I am still speaking to you, my Lord; though in all probability, you are already out of hearing. Nothing which my meanness can produce, is worthy of this long attention. But I am come to the last Petition of Abraham; If there be ten Righteous Lines, in this vast Preface, spare it for their sake; and also spare the next City, because it is but a little one.

[122] I would excuse the performance of this Translation, if it were all my own; but the better, tho’ not the greater part being the Work of some Gentlemen who have succeeded very happily in their Undertaking; let their Excellencies attone for my Imperfections, and those of my Sons. I have perus’d some of the Satires, which are done by other Hands: And they seem to me as perfect in their kind, as any thing I have seen in English Verse. The common way which we have taken, is not a Literal Translation, but a kind of Paraphrase; or somewhat which is yet more loose, betwixt a Paraphrase and Imitation. It was not possible for us, or any Men, to have made it pleasant, any other way. If rendring the exact Sense of these Authors, almost line for line. had been our business, Barten Holiday had done it already to our hands: And, by the help of his Learned Notes and Illustrations, not only of Juvenal, and Persius, but what yet is more obscure, his own Verses might be understood.

[123] But he wrote for Fame, and wrote to Scholars: We write only for the Pleasure and Entertainment, of those Gentlemen and Ladies, who tho they are not Scholars are not Ignorant: Persons of Understanding and good Sense; who not having been conversant in the Original, or at least not having made Latine Verse so much their business, as to be Critiques in it, wou’d be glad to find, if the Wit of our Two great Authors, be answerable to their Fame, and Reputation in the World. We have therefore endeavour’d to give the Publick all the Satisfaction we are able in this kind.

[124] And if we are not altogether so faithful to our Author, as our Predecessours Holiday and Stapylton, yet we may Challenge to our selves this praise, that we shall be far more pleasing to our Readers. We have follow’d our Authors, at greater distance; tho’ not Step by Step as they have done. For oftentimes they have gone so close, that they have trod on the Heels of Juvenal and Persius; and hurt them by their too near approach. A Noble Authour wou’d not be persu’d too close by a Translator. We lose his Spirit, when we think to take his Body. The grosser Part remains with us, but the Soul is flown away, in some Noble Expression or some delicate turn of Words, or Thought. Thus Holiday, who made this way his choice, seiz’d the meaning of Juvenal; but the Poetry has always scap’d him.

[125] They who will not grant me, that Pleasure is one of the Ends of Poetry, but that it is only a means of compassing the only end, which is Instruction; must yet allow that without the means of Pleasure, the Instruction is but a bare and dry Philosophy. A crude preparation of Morals, which we may have from Aristotle and Epictetus, with more profit than from any Poet. Neither Holiday nor Stapylton, have imitated Juvenal, in the Poetical part of him, his Diction and his Elocution. Nor had they been Poets, as neither of them were; yet in the way they took, it was impossible for them to have Succeeded in the Poetique part.

[126] The English Verse, which we call Heroique, consists of no more than Ten Syllables; the Latine Hexameter sometimes rises to Seventeen; as for example, this Verse in Virgil,

Pulverulenta putrem sonitu quatit ungula Campum.

Here is the difference, of no less than Seven Syllables in a line, betwixt the English and the Latine. Now the Medium of these, is about Fourteen Syllables; because the Dactyle is a more frequent foot in Hexameters than the Spondee. But Holiday, without considering that he Writ with the disadvantage of Four Syllables less in every Verse, endeavours to make one of his Lines, to comprehend the Sense of one of Juvenal’s. According to the falsity of the Proposition, was the Success. He was forc’d to crowd his Verses with ill sounding Monosyllables, of which our Barbarous Language affords him a wild plenty: And by that means he arriv’d at his Pedantick end, which was to make a literal Translation: His Verses have nothing of Verse in them, but only the worst part of it, the Rhyme: And that, into the bargain, is far from good. But which is more Intollerable, by cramming his ill chosen, and worse sounding Monosyllables so close together; the very Sense which he endeavours to explain, is become more obscure, than that of his Author. So that Holiday himself cannot be understood, without as large a Commentary, as that which he makes on his Two Authours. For my own part, I can make a shift to find the meaning of Juvenal without his Notes: but his Translation is more difficult than his Authour. And I find Beauties in the Latine to recompence my Pains; but in Holiday and Stapylton, my Ears, in the First Place, are mortally offended; and then their Sense is so perplex’d, that I return to the Original, as the more pleasing task, as well as the more easy.

[127] This must be said for our Translation, that if we give not the whole Sense of Juvenal, yet we give the most considerable Part of it: We give it, in General, so clearly, that few Notes are sufficient to make us Intelligible: We make our Authour at least appear in a Poetique Dress. We have actually made him more Sounding, and more Elegant, than he was before in English: And have endeavour’d to make him speak that kind of English, which he wou’d have spoken had he liv’d in England, and had Written to this Age. If sometimes any of us (and ’tis but seldome) make him express the Customs and Manners of our Native Country, rather than of Rome; ’tis, either when there was some kind of Analogy, betwixt their Customes and ours; or when, to make him more easy to Vulgar Understandings, we gave him those Manners which are familiar to us. But I defend not this Innovation, ’tis enough if I can excuse it. For to speak sincerely, the Manners of Nations and Ages, are not to be confounded: We shou’d either make them English, or leave them Roman. If this can neither be defended, nor excus’d, let it be pardon’d, at least, because it is acknowledg’d; and so much the more easily, as being a fault which is never committed without some Pleasure to the Reader.

[128] Thus, my Lord, having troubl’d You with a tedious Visit, the best Manners will be shewn in the least Ceremony. I will slip away while Your Back is turn’d, and while You are otherwise employ’d: with great Confusion, for having entertain’d You so long with this Discourse; and for having no other Recompence to make You, than the Worthy Labours of my Fellow Undertakers in this Work; and the Thankful Acknowledgments, Prayers, and perpetual good Wishes of,

My Lord,

Your Lordships,

Most Obliged, Most Humble,

and Most Obedient Servant.

John Dryden.


Titus Vespasian
Titus Vespasian, Roman Emperor from A.D. 69 to 79, known as a beloved ruler.
René Descartes formulated his famous dictum, Cogito ergo sum — I think, therefore I am — in an attempt to arrive at one proposition that cannot be doubted.
Essay of Dramatick Poesy
Dryden’s Essay of Dramatic Poesy is one of his most important works of criticism.
An Essay
The word essay means “an attempt.”
Shakespeare was known in the seventeenth century as a “natural” genius, one who wrote great works without the benefit of knowing the “rules” of the drama.
A great Athenian military commander.
Longo, sed proximi Intervallo
Aeneid, 5.320: “The next, but tho’ the next, yet far disjoin’d" (Dryden’s translation).
Parnassus was the traditional home of the Muses, and therefore associated with poetry and the arts.
Johnson’s Verses
Ben Jonson included a poem on his friend Shakespeare in the First Folio of 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death.
John Donne, though now known for his “Metaphysical” lyric poems, was known in the late seventeenth century primarily as a writer of satires and sermons. His versification was widely criticized as irregular.
The Roman poet Virgil was renowned above all for his elegance and decorum.
Abraham Cowley, another seventeenth-century poet, also routinely grouped as a “Metaphysical” poet.
A reference to Cowley’s irregular poems known as Pindarics, named for Pindar, the ancient Greek writer of odes.
The Rehearsall
A satirical play by Buckingham that satirized Dryden in a character called Bays.
One of the three great Roman satirists, along with Horace and Juvenal.
Lord Chamberlain
The Lord Chamberlain was authorized to censor stage plays.
Clipt Poetry, and false Coyn
Alluding to the practice of “coin-clipping,” shaving bits of precious metal from silver and gold coins. At the time there were debates over the source of value in money, whether it was the inherent value of the metal or the arbitrary value assigned by the government.
Particular Ages
The fifth and fourth centuries B.C. were the golden age of Greek drama.
Virgil, Horace, Varius, Ovid
These Roman poets lived in the first century B.C.
Famous Age
References to the fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Florentines, associated with the flowering of arts in the Italian Renaissance.
A widely admired seventeenth-century French critic and poet.
Homer . . . Tasso
Dryden considers various epic poets after Virgil, from ancient Rome to sixteenth-century Italy.
Spencer to Fleckno
Edmund Spenser, author of The Faerie Queen, which Dryden admired, and Richard Flecknoe. He often satirized Flecknoe, a second-rate poet, most famously in his satirical poem Mac Flecknoe.
Saint Lewis, their Pucelle, or their Alarique
Referring to three French plays of the seventeenth century: Pierre Lemoyne, Saint Louis ou la Sainte Couronne reconquise sur les infidèles (1653); Jean Chapelain, La Pucelle ou la France delivrée: Poëme heroique par M. Chapelain (1656); and M. de Scudéry, Alaric ou Rome Vaincuë: Poëme heroïque (1654).
Milton died in 1674, just nineteen years before the Discourse was published.
The Design of Spencer
Spenser’s multiple and interlaced plots in The Faerie Queene bothered many later critics, who favored the unified action recommended by Aristotle.
To finish his Poem
The Faerie Queene consists of six books, but Spenser had planned twelve.
Obsolete Language, and the ill choice of his Stanza
Spenser affected an obsolete style in his poems, and a complicated nine-line stanza. Both were attacked by later critics.
Edmund Waller, a seventeenth-century English poet celebrated for his smooth versification.
The Losing of our Happiness
Referring to Paradise Lost.
Mr. Rymer’s Work
Thomas Rymer, a critic contemporary with Dryden.
Tho’ he will not allow his Poem for Heroick
In other words, “Though he won’t admit it’s a heroic poem.”
Blank Verse
Milton famously wrote Paradise Lost in blank verse — iambic pentameter without rhyme — rejecting what he called “the troublesome modern bondage of rime.” Dryden was a master of the heroic couplet, or rhyming iambic pentameter.
“Supernatural agency in poems" (Johnson) — in other words, the intervention of gods and other supernatural beings in the action.
Lodovico Ariosto, author of Orlando Furioso, a sixteenth-century Italian epic or romance.
Torquato Tasso, another sixteenth-century Italian epic poet, most famous for Gierusalemme Liberata.
Those Texts of Daniel
See Daniel 10:13.
In traditional Christian cosmology, each sphere of the heavens was assigned an “intelligence,” or angel.
Ne, forte, pudori . . . Apollo
From Horace’s Ars Poetica: “So don’t blush for the Muse skilled in the lyre, and for Apollo, god of song.”
Curiosa felicitas
“Happy knack” or “felicity of expression”; it comes from Petronius Arbiter.
Ut sibi quivis speret idem, sudet multum, frustraque laboret, ausus idem
“That anybody may hope for the same success, may sweat much and yet toil in vain when attempting it.”
Coenia dubia
“Puzzling dinner,” from Terence’s Phormio.
This new English Dress
The whole “Discourse” appeared as a preface to the translation of Juvenal and Persius by Dryden with several collaborators.
New Way of Version
In other words, “this new kind of translation.”
Referring to Aristotle’s Poetics. Aristotle argued that tragedy was greater than epic because it was more concentrated. In the next paragraph, Dryden disagrees.
Dryden lists several critics on the epic, both ancient and modern.
Important editions of and commentaries on the classical texts of Horace, Juvenal, and Persius.
Scaliger the Father
Julius Caesar Scaliger, father of Joseph Scaliger, both sixteenth-century critics.
Libertasque . . . redacti
“And the freedom, welcomed every eturning year, was innocently gay, till jokes, now becoming cruel, became outright frenzy, and stalked amid the homes of honest folk, fearless in its threatening. Those who were bitten by a tooth that drew blood were stung to the quick; even those untouched felt concern for the common cause, and at last a law was passed with a penalty, forbidding the abusive portrayal of anyone. Men changed their ways, and terror of the cudgel led them back to goodly and gracious ways of speaking.” Horace, Epistles, 2.1.
Siquis . . . este
“It shall be a capital offense to deliver or write verses which bring another into disrepute or shame.”
Thespis, the legendary inventor of drama, from whom the word thespian is derived.
The Latin form of the name Odysseus. Dryden is referring to a famous episode in the Odyssey.
Apo tou sillainein
From sillainein, “to ridicule.”
A poem in which every line is taken from another poem, but the meaning is different because of the arrangement.
“Jocular; tending to raise laughter, by unnatural or unsuitable language or images" (Johnson).
Satira quidem tota, nostra est
“Satire is entirely ours,” that is, the Romans’. From the ancient critic Quintilian.
Et Græcis intacti Carminis Author
From Horace’s Satires, 1.10: “One who was creating a new style, entirely untouched by the Greeks.”
Lancibus . . . feremus
“On the curved dish we lay the smoking entrails,” and “We’ll take cakes and dishes to him.”
Olla, more commonly spelled olio, is a stew; it often means a mixture or hodgepodge.
Leges Saturæ
“Mixed laws.”
Per Saturam Sententias exquirere
“To take a vote on an omnibus bill.”
Scaramouch, “A buffoon in motly dress" (Johnson).
Enrhythmoi, but not emmetroi
That is, rhythmical but not metrical.
Cæsar Gallias subegit
“Caesar conquered the Gauls, and Nicomedes conquered Caesar. Behold, Caesar, who conquered the Gauls, now triumphs; Nicomedes, who conquered Caesar, doesn’t triumph.”
The Tuscan Language
That is, Etruscan, a language now not understood.
Ab Urbe Condita, cccxc
That is, 390 years after the founding of the city of Rome.
Livius Andronicus
Livius Andronicus is held to be the first Latin dramatist. None of his works survive.
The Year 514
That is, 514 ab urbe condita, or 241 B.C.
Aristophanes satirizes Socrates in The Clouds.
Postulate or axiom.
Margites is a comic poem traditionally (but probably falsely) attributed to Homer.
Hexameters with Iambique Trimeters; or with Trochaique Tetrameters
Dactylic hexameter was the meter of Homer’s epic poems; iambic trimeter was used for tragic and satirical poetry.
The Soul of Homer was transfus’d into him
Pythagoras and his followers believed in the transmigration of souls from the dead to the living.
Quid cum est Lucilius ausus Primus in hunc operis componere carmina morem
“When Lucilius dared to be the first to compose this sort of verse.”
Satira quidem tota nostra est, in qua primus insignem laudem adeptus est
“Satire, on the other hand, is all our own. The first of our poets to win renown in this field was Lucilius.”
The Latin Tongue
It was conventional wisdom that the Latin language achieved its greatest heights in the works of Cicero and other writers of his age in the first century B.C. Dryden is referring to the language from an earlier period.
Varronian Satire, but which Varro himself calls the Menippean
Dryden’s discussion of Menippean or Varronian satire was very influential, but even today there’s no clear sense of the characteristics of this strange variety of satire. Since none of Varro’s satires have survived, it is difficult to know what to make of the genre, and the term “Menippean satire” has been applied indiscriminately to many kinds of writing.
Marcus Tullius Cicero was often known in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as “Tully.”
“Mixing laughter with serious matter.”
Encomium Moriæ of Erasmus
That is, Desiderius Erasmus, The Praise of Folly.
Mother Hubbard’s Tale
A sixteenth-century work by Edmund Spenser, author of The Faerie Queene.
The Poems of Absalom, and Mac Fleckno
Dryden alludes to his own poems, Absalom and Achitophel and Mac Flecknoe.
“Scandal” or “malicious gossip.”
Its true derivation from Satura, not from Satyrus
That is, since Dryden argues the word comes from satura lanx and not from satyr, the word should now be spelled satire, not satyre.
“Delicate; scrupulously and minutely cautious" (Johnson).
Trope, “A change of a word from its original signification" (Johnson).
Fear of his safety under Nero
Nero reigned during Persius’s career, and Dryden speculates that Persius may have been cautious in his satires to avoid drawing the wrath of the emperor.
Imitatio Horatiana
That is, Horatian Imitation.
Non aptissimus ad jocandum
“Silly, but not persuading to laughter.”
Ostendere, but not ostentare
Ostendere, “to show”; ostentare, “to display.” Perhaps it’s the difference between “to show” and “to show off.”
Barten Holyday, an English critic.
At, si unctus cesses, &c.
The beginning of a passage in Persius’s fourth Satire.
The author known as Longinus wrote On the Sublime, an influential treatise on the aesthetic experience of the grand and overwhelming.
Plebeium sapere
“Understand the common man.”
A witty Friend of mine
Dryden refers to the playwright William Wycherley.
Non nostrum est tantas componere lites
“It’s not our job to settle such disputes.”
All the Odes, and Epodes
Horace’s poems are divided into Odes, Epodes, Epistles, and Satires. Dryden is explaining that he plans to focus only on the Satires.
I have seldom answer’d any scurrilous Lampoon
It’s instructive to compare these comments with Dryden’s own satirical poems, especially Mac Flecknoe.
Profit and Delight
In the Ars Poetica, Horace famously argued that the two ends of poetry are to instruct and to delight.
Bonum que communius, eo melius.
“The more general a good thing is, the better.”
Ne Sententiæ extra Corpus Orationis emineant
“One must take care that the thoughts do not stand out from the body of the speech.”
Omne vafer . . . ludit
Persius, Satire 1: “Unlike in method, with conceal’d design,/ Did crafty Horace his low Numbers joyn:/ And, with a sly insinuating Grace,/ Laugh’d at his Friend, and look’d him in the Face" (Dryden’s translation).
“The milt; one of the viscera, of which the use is scarcely known. It is supposed the seat of anger and melancholy”; “Anger; spite; ill-humour" (Johnson).
Plain Dealer
The Plain Dealer is a play by William Wycherley, whom Dryden mentioned above.
Non tu . . . carmen?
Virgil, Eclogues, 3.26–27: “Wasn’t it you, you dunce, who, at the crossroads, used to ruin a miserable song on a squealing reed pipe?”
The Reign of Domitian
Horace lived in the first century B.C., under Augustus Caesar, commonly held to be the greatest age of Rome. Juvenal lived about a century later, in the first century A.D., under the emperor Domitian, said to be a degenerate age.
Fasces were a bundle of rods bound together, which served as a symbol of Roman authority. The word fascist comes from a modern attempt to regain that authority.
Fecit id Augustus in speciem . . . infamaretur
“Augustus acted under color [of law], and as if to gratify the Roman people and the leaders of the city; but in truth[he acted] in behalf of his own interests, for he had in mind to suppress certain people’s excessive impudence in pseech, impudence by which he himself was not touched. Now to check them on his own authority would have been spiteful, but to do it on someone else’s was easy and effective. Therefore he dealt with the matter on a legal pretext, as though the majesty of the Roman people had been insulted.”
Omnia Cæsar erat
“Cæsar was all.”
Prior læsit
“He hit first.”
Secuit Urbem; & genuinum fregit in illis
Persius, Satires, 1: he “lash’d the City, and dissected Crimes" (Dryden’s translation).
Ense velut stricto, quoties Lucilius ardens Infremuit
Juvenal, Satires, 1.165–66: “When Lucilius passionately rages, as if with drawn sword.”
Jack Ketche
Jack Ketch was the name of a notorious hangman, and became a proverbial name for all hangmen.
My Absalom
A reference to Dryden’s satire Absalom and Achitophel.
Ense rescindendum
“It may be cut off with the sword.”
Mountebank, “A doctor that mounts a bench in the market, and boasts his infallible remedies and cures”; “Any boastful and false pretender" (Johnson).
Tres præmia primi . . . Olivæ
“The foremost three have Olive Wreaths decreed" (Dryden’s translation).
Primus equum phaleris insignem, Victor habeto
“The first of these obtains a stately steed,/ Adorn’d with trappings" (Dryden’s translation).
Alter Amazoniam, pharetram . . . gemmæ
“The next in Fame,/ The quiver of an Amazonian Dame;/ With feather’d Thracian Arrows well supply’d,/ A Golden Belt shall gird his Manly side;/ Which with a sparkling Diamond shall be ty’d" (Dryden’s translation).
Tertius, Argolico hoc Clypeo contentus abito
“Let the third part go content with his Argive Shield.”
Nomen famâ . . . Cæsar
“And though more Ages bear my Soveraign’s Praise;/ Than have from Tithon past to Cæsar’s Days" (Dryden’s translation).
Ab urbe conditâ, 514
That is, 238 B.C.
Quicquid agunt homines votum . . . libelli
Juvenal, Satires, 1: “What Humane Kind desires, and what they shun,/ Rage, Passions, Pleasures, Impotence of Will,/ Shall this Satyrical Collection fill" (Dryden’s translation).
Archæa Comedia
The Old Comedy.
If Horace refus’d the pains of Numbers
That is, “If Horace didn’t work hard on his meter.”
Donn’s Satires
That is, John Donne, who was well known for his irregular meter and dense metaphors.
What we’d call a subplot.
Sit quodvis simplex duntaxat & unum
“It can be whatever you like, as long as it’s simple and one.”
Ex Officio
“From the office,” in other words, as part of his duty as a satirist.
“Calmness of look; composure of face" (Johnson).
Hudibras is a seventeenth-century mock epic poem by Samuel Butler. The lines are iambic tetrameter, rhyming in couplets: “For rhetoric, he could not ope/ His mouth, but out there flew a trope.”
The Varronian kind
That is, Dryden calls Hudibras an example of Menippean satire.
Double Rhyme
Butler often plays with “double rhyme,” or rhymes of more than one syllable.
Verse of ten Syllables
The pentameter line — ten syllables — was usually used in English for serious or dignified poetry; tetrameter, with eight syllables, was more common in light verse.
Nec tibi Diva Parens . . . Cruaté
“False as thou art, and more than false, forsworn:/ Not sprung from Noble Blood, nor Goddess-born,/ But hewn from hardned Entrails of a Rock;/ And rough Hyrcanian Tygers gave thee suck" (Dryden’s translation).
Admiranda tibi levium spectacula rerum . . . dicam
Mæcenas, read this other part, that sings/ Embattel’d Squadrons and advent’rous Kings:/ A mighty Pomp, tho’ made of little Things./ Their Arms, their Arts, their Manners I disclose,/ And how they War, and whence the People rose" (Dryden’s translation).
Sed Genus immortale manet . . . avorum
“Th’ immortal Line in sure Succession reigns,/ The Fortune of the Family remains:/ And Grandsires, Grandsons the long List contains" (Dryden’s translation).
The turns of Mr. Waller, and Sir John Denham
In the seventeenth century, Denham and Waller were regarded as the two originators of the modern decorous style of poetry.
Abraham Cowley, a “Metaphysical” poet.
Delicate, & bien tourné
“Delicate and well-turned.”
Heu quantum scelus est . . . leto
“How horrible a Sin,/ That entrailes bleeding entrailes should intomb!/ That greedy flesh, by flesh should fat become!” (George Sandys’s seventeenth-century translation).
Tum jam nulla viro . . . curant
“Now no woman listens to man’s words of love, or looks to find there his love-bond: as long as they itch for it they will say anything, do anything; but when lust is satisfied, the soft words are forgotten, the promises are nothing.”
Si nisi quæ formâ . . . est
“If unless she seems to you worthy in her beauty none is to be yours, none is to be yours.” The “extraordinary turn upon the words” is the unusual construction, “if unless.”
Cum subita incantum . . . Manes
“When strong Desires th’ impatient Youth invade;/ By little Caution and much Love betray’d:/ A fault which easy Pardon might receive,/ Were Lovers Judges, or cou’d Hell forgive" (Dryden’s translation).
Betwixt a Paraphrase and Imitation
In his edition of Ovid’s Epistles, Dryden distinguishes three kinds of translation: “Metaphrase, or turning an author word by word, and line by line, from one language to another. . . . Paraphrase, or translation with latitude, where the author is kept in view by the translator, so as never to be lost, but his words are not so strictly followed as his sense. . . . Imitation, where the translator (if now he has not lost that name) assumes the liberty, not only to vary from the words and sense, but to forsake them both as he sees occasion.”
Pulverulenta putrem sonitu quatit ungula Campum
“The Neighing Coursers answer to the sound:/ And shake with horny Hoofs the solid ground" (Dryden’s translation).