« PoprzedniaDalej »
TO MR. BETHEL.
"WHAT, and how great, the virtue and the art To live on little with a cheerful heart,
(A doctrine sage, but truly none of mine ;) Let's talk, my friends, but talk before we dine. "Not when a gilt buffet's reflected pride Turns you from sound philosophy aside; Not when from plate to plate your eye-balls roll, And the brain dances to the mantling bowl.
Hear BETHEL'S sermon, one not versed in schools, But strong in sense, and wise without the rules. 10 'Go work, hunt, exercise! (he thus began,) Then scorn a homely dinner, if you can.
Ver. 11. Go work, hunt,] These six following lines are much inferior to the original, in which the mention of many particular exercises gives it a pleasing variety. The sixth and seventh lines in Horace are nervous and strong. The third in Pope is languid and wordy, which renders foris est promus. Defendens, and latrantem, and caro, and pinguem, and album, are all of them very expressive epithets: and the allusion to Socrates's constant exercise, tu pulmentaria, &c. ought not to have been omitted. Pope's two last lines in this passage are very exceptionable. We are informed by Mr. Stuart, in his Athens, that the honey of Hymettus, even to this time, continues to be in vogue; and that the seraglio of the Grand Seignor is served with a stated quantity of it yearly.
Cùm labor extulerit fastidia, siccus, inanis,
Sperne cibum vilem: nisi Hymettia mella Falerno,
Summa, 'sed in teipso est. Tu pulmentaria quære
Quam laudas, plumâ? coctove num adest honor
Carne tamen quamvis distat nihil hâc, magis illâ ;
Ducit te species, video. Quo pertinet ergo
Majorem natura modum dedit, his breve pondus.
Jejunus raro stomachus vulgaria temnit.
"Your wine lock'd up, your butler stroll'd abroad, "Or fish denied, (the river yet unthaw'd,)
If then plain bread and milk will do the feat, 15 The pleasure lies in you, and not the meat.
*Preach as I please, I doubt our curious men Will choose a pheasant still before a hen; Yet hens of Guinea full as good I hold, Except you eat the feathers green and gold. 1Of carps and mullets why prefer the great, (Though cut in pieces ere my Lord can eat,) Yet for small turbots such esteem profess? Because God made these large, the other less.
Ver. 18. before a hen ;] He might have inserted the original word peacocks, as many of our English epicures are fond of them. Q. Hortensius had the honour of being the first Roman that introduced this bird to the table as a great dainty, in a magnificent feast which he made on his being created Augur. The price of a peacock, says Arbuthnot, page 129, was fifty denarii, that is, 17. 12s. 3d. A flock of a hundred was sold at a much dearer rate, for 3221. 18s. 4d. of our money. M. Aufidius Lurco, according to Varro, used to make every year of his peacocks 484l. 7s. 6d.
Ver. 21. Of carps and mullets] Very inferior to the original; and principally so, because that pleasant stroke is omitted of the eaters knowing in what part of the river the lupus was taken, and whether or no betwixt the two bridges, which was deemed an essential circumstance. The reader will be well entertained on this subject if he will look into the seventeenth chapter of the third book of Macrobius, particularly into a curious speech of C. Tertius there recited. But Horace seems to have had in his eye a passage of Lucilius, quoted by Macrobius: "Sed et Lucilius acer et violentus poeta, ostendit scire se hunc piscem egregii saporis, qui inter duos pontes captus esset." Warton.
Porrectum magno magnum spectare catino Vellem, ait Harpyiis gula digna rapacibus. At vos, "Præsentes Austri, coquite horum opsonia: quam
Putet aper rhombusque recens, mala copia quando
Nigrisque est oleis hodie locus. Haud ita pridem
P Tutus erat rhombus, tutoque ciconia nido,
Ver. 25. Oldfield] This eminent glutton ran through a fortune of fifteen hundred pounds a year in the simple luxury of good eating. Warburton. Ver. 26. Hog barbacued, &c.] A West Indian term of gluttony; a hog roasted whole, stuffed with spice, and basted with Madeira wine. Pope.
He has happily introduced this large unwieldy instance of gluttony, supposed to be peculiar to the West Indies. But Athenæus speaks of a cook that could dress a whole hog with various puddings in his belly. Gulla is here used personally, as it is also by Juvenal, Sat. xiv. ver. 10. Warton.
Ver. 28. rabbit's tail.] A very filthy and offensive image for the more happy and decent word coquite: so fond, it must be owned, was our author, as well as Swift, of such disgusting ideas.
"Oldfield, with more than harpy throat endued, 25 Cries: "Send me, Gods! a whole hog barbecued!" Oh blast it, "south winds! till a stench exhale Rank as the ripeness of a rabbit's tail.
By what criterion do ye eat, d'ye think,
If this is prized for sweetness, that for stink? 30
He calls for something bitter, something sour,
The robin-red-breast till of late had rest,
And children sacred held a martin's nest,
Till becaficos sold so devilish dear
To one that was, or would have been, a peer. 40 "Let me extol a cat, on oysters fed,
I'll have a party at the Bedford-head;
Ver. 41. Let me extol] To dine upon a cat fattened with oysters, and to crack live crawfish, is infinitely more pleasant and ridiculous than to eat mergos assos. But then the words, extol and recommend, fall far below edixerit, give out a decree. So Virgil, Geor. iii. line 295, does not advise, but raises his subject, by saying:
In the lines above, 37 and 38, he has dexterously substituted for the stork two birds that among us are vulgarly held to be sacred. Semp. Rufus first taught the Romans to eat storks, for which he lost the prætorship.
Ver. 42. Bedford-head;] A famous eating-house.