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Inftructed thus, you bow, embrace, proteft,
If P to live well means nothing but to eat;
Or fhall we' ev'ry Decency confound, Thro' Taverns, Stews, and Bagnio's take our round, Go dine with Chartres, in each Vice out-do SK-l's lewd Cargo, or Ty-y's Crew, From Latian Syrens, French Circæan Feafts, Return well travell'd, and transform'd to Beafts, Or for a Titled Punk, or foreign Flame,
125 Renounce our Country, and degrade our Name?
If, after all, we must with ▾ Wilmot own,
The Cordial Drop of Life is Love alone,
And SWIFT cry wifely, "Vive la Bagatelle !"
The Man that loves and laughs, must sure do well.
Or better precepts if you can impart,
HE Reflections of Horace, and the Judgments paft in his Epiftle to Auguftus, feem'd so feafonable to the prefent Times, that I could not help applying them to the use of my own Country. The Author thought them confiderable enough to address them to his Prince; whom he paints with all the great and good qualities of a Monarch, upon whom the Romans depended for the Encrease of an Abfolute Empire. But to make the Poem entirely English, I was willing to add one or two of those which contribute to the Happiness of a Free People, and are more confiftent with the Welfare of our Neighbours.
This Epiftle will show the learned World to have fallen into Two mistakes: one, that Augustus was a Patron of Poets in general; whereas he not only prohibited all but the Best Writers to name him, but recommended that Care even to the Civil Magiftrate: Admonebat Praetores, ne paterentur Nomen fuum obfa lefieri, etc. The other, that this Piece was only a general Difcourfe of Poetry; whereas it was an Apology for the Poets, in order to render Auguftus more their Patron. Horace here pleads the Caufe of his Cotemporaries, first against the Taste of the Town, whose humour it was to magnify the Authors of the preceding Age; fecondly against the Court and Nobi
lity, who encouraged only the Writers for the Theatre; and laftly against the Emperor himself, who had conceived them of little Ufe to the Government. He fhews (by a view of the Progress of Learning, and the Change of Taste among the Romans) that the Introduction of the Polite Arts of Greece had given the Writers of his Time great advantages over their Predeceffors; that their Morals were much improved, and the Licence of those ancient Poets restrained: that Satire and Comedy were become more juft and ufeful; that whatever extravagancies were left on the Stage, were owing to the Ill Tafte of the Nobility; that Poets, under due Regulations, were in many refpects useful to the State, and concludes, that it was upon them the Emperor himself muft depend, for his Fame with Pofterity.
Te may farther learn from this Epiftle, that Horace made his Court to this Great Prince by writing with a decent Freedom toward him, with a juft Contempt of his low Flatterers, and with a manly Regard to his own Character. P.