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TO THE KING.
WHILE my deceased husband was engaged in the following long and laborious work, he was not a little supported in it, by the honour which he proposed to himself of dedicating it to your sacred majesty. This design, which had given him so much pleasure for some years, out-lasted his abilities to put it in execution: for, when his life was despaired of, and this part of the book remained unfinished, he expressed to me his desire, that this translation should be laid at your majesty's feet, as a mark of that zeal and veneration which he had always entertained for your majesty's royal person and virtues. Had he lived to have made his own address to your majesty upon this occasion, he would have been able, in some measure, to have done justice to that exalted character, which it becomes such as I am to admire in silence: being incapable of representing my dear husband in any thing, but in that profound humility and respect with which I am,
may it please your majesty,
your majesty's most dutiful and most obedient servant,
GIVING SOME ACCOUNT OF LUCAN AND HIS WORKS.
BY JAMES WELWOOD, M.D.
Fellow of the ROYAL COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS, LONDON.
I COULD not resist Mr. Rowe's request in his last sickness, nor the importunities of his friends since, to introduce into the world this his posthumous translation of Lucan, with something by way of preface. I am very sensible how much it is out of my sphere, and that I want both leisure and materials, to do justice to the author, or to the memory of the translator. works of both will best plead for them; the one having already out-lived seventeen ages, and both one and the other like to endure as long as there is any taste for liberty or polite learning left in the world. Hard has been the fate of many a great genius, that while they have conferred immortality on others, they have wanted themselves some friend to embalm their names to posterity. This has been the fate of Lucan, and perhaps may be that of Mr. Rowe.
All the accounts we have handed down to us of the first are but very lame, and scattered in fragments of ancient authors. I am of opinion, that one reason why his life is not to be found at any length in the writings of his contemporaries, is the fear they were in of Nero's resentmeat, who could not bear to have the life of a man set in a true light, whom, together with his uncle Seneca, he had sacrificed to his revenge. Notwithstanding this, we have some hints in writers who lived near this time, that leave us not altogether in the dark, about the life and works of this extraordinary young man.
Marcus Annæus Lucan was of an equestrian family of Rome, born at Corduba in Spain, about the year of our Saviour 39, in the reign of Caligula. His family had been transplanted from Italy to Spain a considerable time before, and were invested with several dignities and employments in that remote province of the Roman empire. His father was Marcus Annæus Mela, or Mella, a man of a distinguished merit and interest in his country, and not the less in esteem for being the brother of the great philosopher Seneca. His mother was Acilia the daughter of Acilius Lucanus, one of the most eminent orators of his time: and it was from his grandfather that he took the name of Lucan. The story that is told of Hesiod and Homer, of a swarm of bees hovering about them in their cradle, is likewise told of Lucan, and probably with equal truth: but whether true or not, it is a proof of the high esteem paid to him by the ancients, as a poet.
He was hardly eight months old when he was brought from his native country to Rome, that he might take the first impression of the Latin tongue in the city where it was spoke in the greatest purity. I wonder then to find some critics detract from his language, as if it took a tincture from the place of his birth; nor can I be brought to think otherwise, than that the