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that are afflicted from their hearts ; so the sham admirer is more moved than he that praises with sincerity. Certain kings are said to ply with frequent bumpers, and by wine make trial of a man whom they are sedulous to know, whether he be worthy of their friendship or not. Thus, if you compose verses, let not the fox's concealed intentions impose upon you.
had recited any thing to Quintilius, he would say, Alter, I
pray, this and this :" if you replied, you could do it no better, having made the experiment twice or thrice in vain; he would order you to blot out, and once more apply to the anvil your ill-formed verses : if you choose rather to defend than correct a fault, he spent not a word more nor fruitless labor, but you alone might be fond of yourself and your own works, without a rival. A good and sensible man will censure spiritless verses, he will condemn the rugged, on the incorrect he will draw across a black stroke with his pen; he will lop off ambitious [and redundant] ornaments; he will make him throw light on the parts that are not perspicuous; he will arraign what is expressed ambiguously; he will mark what should be altered ; [in short,] he will be an Aristarchus :50 he will not say, “Why should I give my friend offense about mere trifles ?" These trifles will lead into mischiefs of serious consequence, when once made an object of ridicule, and used in a sinister manner.
Like one whom an odious plague or jaundice, fanatic phrensy or lunacy, distresses ; those who are wise avoid a mad poet, and are afraid to touch him; the boys jostle him, and the incautious pursue him. If, like a fowler intent upon his game,
he should fall into a well or a ditch while he belches out his fustian verses and roams about, though he should cry out for a long time, “ Come to my assistance, O my countrymen;" not one would give himself the trouble of taking him up. Were any one to take pains to give him aid, and let down a rope; “How do you know, but he threw himself in hither on purpose ?” I shall say: and will relate the death of the Sicilian poet. Empedocles, while he was am
69 Aristarchus was a critic, who wrote above four score volumes of comments on the Greek poets. His criticisms on Homer were so much esteemed, that no line was thought genuine until he had acknowledged it. He was surnamed the prophet or diviner, for his sagacity. FRAN.
bitious of being esteemed an immortal god, in cold blood leaped into burning Ætna.“ Let poets have the privilege and license to die (as they please]. He who saves a man against his will, does the same with him who kills him [against his will]. Neither is it the first time that he has behaved in this manner; nor, were be to be forced from his purposes, would he now become a man, and lay aside his de. sire of such a famous death. Neither does it appear sufficiently, why he makes verses : whether he has defiled his father's ashas, or sacrilegiously removed the sad enclosure“ of the vindictive thunder : it is evident that he is mad, and like a bear that has burst through the gates closing bis den, this unmerciful rehearser chases the learned and unlearned. And whomsoever he seizes, he fastens on and assassinates with recitation : a 'eech that will not quit the skin, till satiated with blood.es
60 Ardentem frigidus Ætnam insiluit. “In cold blood, deliberately." Horace, by playing on the words ardentum frigidus, would show that he did not believe the story, and told it as one of the traditions, which poets may use without being obliged to vouch the truth of them. The pleasantry continues, when he says, it is murder to hinder a poet from killing himself; a maxim, which could not be said seriously. SAN.
61 An triste bidental What crime must that man have committed whom the gods in vengeance have possessed with a madness of writing verses? Bidental was a place struck with lightning, which the aruspices purified and consecrated with a sacrifice of a sheep, bidental. It was an act of sacrilege ever to remove the bounds of it, movere bidental. FRAN.
62 In concluding the annotations on the Art of Poetry, I must beg to recommend to the reader's notice my translation of Aristotle's Poetic, with a collection of notes, as the two treatises contribute to each other's illustration in the fullest extent.
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