« PoprzedniaDalej »
the Aricinian and Veientian fields some time since, sups on bought vegetables, however he thinks otherwise; nay, he boils his pot with bought wood, at the approach of every chill evening. But he calls all that his own, as far as where the planted poplar prevents quarrels amongst neighbours, by a determinate limitation: as if any thing were a man's property, which, in a moment of the fleeting hour, now by solicitations, now by sale, by violence at another time, and now by the supreme lot of all men, may change masters, and come into another's jurisdiction. Thus, since the perpetual possession is given to none, and one man's heir urges on an other's, as wave impels wave, of what importance are houses, or granaries? or what the Lucanian pastures joined to the Calabrian, if death, inexorable to a bribe, mows down the grand together with the small?
Gems, marble, ivory, Tuscan statues, pictures, silver plate, robes dyed with Getulian purple, there are who cannot acquire; and there are others, who are not solicitous of having. Of two brothers, why one prefers lounging, play, and perfume, even to Herod's rich palm-tree groves;* why the other, rich, and uneasy, from the rising of the light to the evening shade, subdues his woodland with fire and steel, our attendant Genius best knows, who governs the planet of our nativity, the divinity that presides over human na ture, who dies with each individual, of various complexion, white and black.
I will freely use, and take out from my mode
Judea was famous for its woods of palms, from whence Herod derived a vast revenue.
rate stock, as much as my exigence demands; nor will I be under any apprehensions of what opinion my heir shall be concerning me, when he shall find I have left him no more than I had given me. And yet I, the same man, shall be inclined to know how far an open and cheerful person differs from a debauchee, and how greatly the economist differs from the miser. For there is a great distinction, whether you throw away your money in a prodigal manner, or make an entertainment without grudging, nor toil to accumulate more; or rather, as formerly in Minerva's holidays, when a school-boy, you enjoy by starts the short and pleasant vacation.
Let sordid poverty be far, very far away. I, whether carried in a large or small vessel, let me be borne uniform and the same. I am not indeed wafted with swelling sail before the north wind blowing fair; however, I do not bear my course of life against the adverse south. In force, genius, figure, virtue, station, estate, the last of the first rate, yet still before those of the last.
You are not covetous, you say :-Go to-What then? Have the rest of your vices fled from you, together with this? Is your breast free from vain ambition? Is it void of the fear of death, and free from anger? Can you laugh at dreams, magic terrors, wonders, witches, nocturnal goblins, and Thessalian prodigies? Do you remember your birthdays with a grateful mind? Are you forgiving to your friends? Do you grow milder and better as old age approaches? What profits you
*This festival was celebrated from the 19th to the 22d of March.
ART OF POETRY.*
TO THE PISOS.†
Ir a painter should form a design of uniting a horse's neck to a human head, and spread a variety of plumage over limbs of different animals,
*Horace, in this celebrated didactic poem, is greatly obliged to Aristotle's Art of Poetry, which, however, he has improved upon, notwithstanding Scaliger calls it an art written without art. Mr. Pope thinks this want of method a beauty:
Horace still charms with graceful negligence,
Mr. Hurd, in his commentary, endeavours to point out a method that is actually observed. "The subject of this piece being, as I suppose, one, viz. the state of the Roman Drama, and common sense requiring, even in the fiercest forms of composition, some kind of method, the intelligent reader will not be surprised to find the poet prosecuting his subject in a regular, well-ordered plan.'
Piso, the father, and his two sons, some of the most illustrious personages in Rome, eminent for learning themselves, and great encouragers of it in others.
taken from every part of nature, so that what is, a beautiful woman in the upper parts, terminate unsightly in an ugly fish below; could you, my friends, refrain from laughter, were you admitted to such a sight? Believe, ye Pisos, the book will be perfectly like such a picture, the ideas of which, in the manner of a sick man's dreams, are all vain and fictitious; so that neither head nor foot can be reduced to any uniformity. But poets and painters (you will say) have ever had an equal authority of attempting any thing. We are conscious of this, and this privilege we demand and allow reciprocally: but not to such a degree that the tame should associate with the savage; nor that serpents should be coupled with birds, lambs with tigers.
In pompous introductions, and such as promise a great deal, it generally happens that one or two verses of purple patchwork, that may make a great show, are tagged to the work; as when the grove and the altar of Diana, and the meandering of a current hastening through pleasant fields, or the river Rhine, or the rainbow, is described. But here there was no room for these fine things: perhaps, too, you know how to draw a cypress ;** but what is that to the purpose, if he who is to be painted for the given price, is to be represented as swimming hopeless out of a shipwreck? A large
*Boughs of cypress were carried in funeral processions, and placed before the houses of the great, upon particular occasions of sorrow. Et non plebeios luctus testata cupres sus.-LUCAN. A painter might, by frequent practice, excel in drawing a tree, for which there was such a demand, and he therefore absurdly determines to show his skill upon all occasions, even by painting it in the ocean.-FRANCIS.