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ART OF POETRY
In LATIN and ENGLISH.
Critical NOTES collected from his best
Primùm ego me illorum, dederim quibus effe poetis,
By the Revd Mr. PHILIP FRANCIS,
THE THIRD EDITION.
Printed for A. MILLAR, at Buchanan's Head,
Q. HORATII FLACCI EPISTOLARUM
EPISTOLA I. Ad MECENATEM.
RIMA dicte mihi, fummâ dicende Camenâ, Spectatum fatis, & donatum jam rude, quæris, Mæcenas, iterum antiquo me includere ludo.
It may be worth obferving, that the Disquietude of Mankind in their feveral Conditions of Life, and their Inconftancy of Temper, is the Subject of our Author's firft Ode, Satire, and Epiftle, as if all our Errours, and all his Philosophy, rose from the fame Principle. He now declares, that the gay Amusements of Pleasure and Poetry, which entertained his Youth, fhall give place to Cares more ufeful; that he has no other Paffion, but for Philofophy, which alone can form our Manners, and inftruct us how to find out Truth; that this only can make us happy, by making us vir. tuous; that all other Studies are an idle Speculation, or a barren Curiofity, and that whatever hinders his Progress in a Science fo neceffary to all Mankind, is become infupportable to him. In this Epiftle he would convince us, that Happiness does not arife from our Poffeffion of large Fortunes, and confiderable Employments; but that the Levity of our Hearts, which hurries us from one Object to another, hinders us from perceiving, it confifts in Virtue only.
Verf. 1. Primâ dicte mibi.] The Poet, fays Torrentius, opens his Epiftles with an Addrefs to Mæcenas in Imitation of the Invocations to Jupiter and other Gods. Thus Theocritus, 'Ex Aids dipχώμεσθα καὶ εἰς Δία λήγετε Μᾶσαι, and Virgil, A te principium,
EPISTLES of HORACE.
EPISTLE I. To MECENAS.
Thou, to whom the Muse first tun'd her Lyre, Whofe Friendship shall her latest Song inspire, Wherefore, Mæcenas, would You thus engage Your Bard, difmift with Honour from the Stage, Again to venture in the Lifts of Fame, His Youth, his Genius, now no more the fame ?
tibi definet: And in a late Parody by Mr. Pope, With whom my Mufe began, with whom shall end.
2. Donatum rude.] The Gladiators, in learning their Exercises, played with wooden Swords, called rudes, as we ufe Foils in FencingSchools. When they had ferved three Years, they received their Difmiffion; or for any uncommon Proof of Courage and Dexterity they were fometimes immediately difmiffed by the People, and afterwards wore the Rudis, as a Mark of their Freedom. They could not again be compelled to fight, but were usually purchased at a large Expence, if ever they appeared on the Stage.
3. Antiquo includere ludo.] Horace began to write about four and twenty Years of Age, and he is now paft fifty, which he expreffes by antiquo ludo, in Allufion to the Schools, where the Gladiators performed their Exercifes. Mens may be understood either for a poetical Genius, or an Inclination to Poetry. SAN. DAC.