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concerning our affairs. He was blind, and could neither work in the country, nor enjoy the pleasures of it; his helpless poverty was likeliest to be sustained in the richest places; he was to delight the Grecians with fine tales of the wars, and adventures of their ancestors; his subject removed him from all commerce with us, and yet, methinks, he made a shift to shew his good-will a little. For, though he could do us no honour in the person of his hero Ulysses (much less of Achilles), because his whole time was consumed in wars and voyages; yet he makes his father Laertes a gardener all that while, and seeking his consolation for the absence of his son in the pleasure of planting and even dunging his own grounds. Ye see he did not contemn us peasants; nay, so far was he from that insolence, that he always styles Eumseus, who kept the hogs, with wonderful respect, inn itpifioi, the divine swineherd: he could have done no more for Menelaus or Agamemnon. And Theocritus (a very ancient poet, but he was one of our own tribe, for he wrote nothing but pastorals) gave the same epithet to an husbandman,
The divine husbandman replied to Hercules, who was but JTof himself. These were civil Greeks, and who understood the dignity of our calling 1 Among the Romans we have, in the first place, our trulydivine Virgil, who, though by the favour of Maecenas and Augustus he might have been one of the chief men of Rome, yet chose rather to employ much of his time in the exercise, and much of his immortal wit in the praise and instructions of a rustick life; who, though he had written before whole books of pastorals and georgicks, could not abstain in his great and imperial poem from describing Evander, one of his best princes, as living just after the homely manner of an ordinary countryman. He seats him in a throne of maple, and lays him but upon a bear's-skin; the kine and oxen ate lowing in his court-yard; the birds under the eaves of his window call him up in the morning; and when he goes abroad, only two dogs go along with him for his guard: at last, when he brings /Eneas into his royal cottage, he makes him say this memoiable compliment, greater than ever yet was spoken at the Escurial, the Louvre, or our Whitehall:
* Idyll, xxv. Ter. 51.
—— " Haec (inquit) limina victor "Alcides subiit, hsec ilium regia cepit: "Aude, hospes, contemnere opes: & te quoque dig
This humble roof, this rustick court (said he),
• Vii'g. Ma. viii. 365.
Scorn not, great guest, the steps where he has trod 5 But contemn wealth, and imitate a God.
The next man, whom we are much obliged to, both for his doctrine and example, is the next best poet in the world to Virgil, his dear friend Horace; who, when Augustus had desired Maecenas to persuade him to come and live domestically and at the same table with him, and to be secretary of state of the whole world under him, or rather jointly with him, for he says, " ut nos in epistolis scribendis adjuvet," could not be tempted to forsake his Sabin, or Tiburtin manor, for so rich and so glorious a trouble. There was never, I think, such an example as this in the world, that he should have so much moderation and courage as to refuse an offer of such greatness, and the emperor so much generosity and good-nature as not to be at all offended with his refusal, but to retain still the same kindness, and express it often to him in most friendly and familiar letters, part of which are still extant. If I should produce all the passages of this excellent author upon the several subjects which I treat of in this book, I must be obliged to translate half his works; of which I may say more truly than in my opinion he did of Homer;
Qui, quid si tpulchrum, quid turpe, quid utile,quidnon, Planiiis & melius Chrysippo & Crantore dicit*.
* 1 Ep. ii. 3.
I shall content myself upon this particular theme with three only, one out of his Odes, the other out of his Satires, the third out of his Epistles; and shall forbear to collect the suffrages of all other poets, which may be found scattered up and down through all their writings, and especially in Martial's. But I must not omit to make some excuse for the bold undertaking of my own unskilful pencil upon the beauties of a face that has been drawn before by so many great masters; especially, that I should dare to do it in Latin verses (though of another kind), and have the confidence to translate them. I can only say that I love the matter, and that ought to cover many faults; and that 1 run not to contend with those before me, but follow to applaud them.
A TRANSLATION OUT OP VIRGIL.
Georg. Lib. II, 458.
OH happy (if his happiness he knows) The country swain, on whom kind Heaven bestows At home all riches, that wise nature needs; Whom the just earth with easy plenty feeds! 'T is true, no morning tide of clients comes, And fills the painted channels of his rooms, Adoring the rich figures, as they pass, In tapestry wrought, or cut in living brass;
Nor is his wool superfluously dy'd With the dear poison of Assyrian pride: Nor do Arabian perfumes vainly spoil The native use and sweetness of his oil. Instead of these, his calm and harmless life, Free from th' alarms of fear, and storms of strife, Does with substantial blessedness abound, And the soft wings of peace cover him round: Through artless grots the murmuring waters glide j Thick trees both against heat and cold provide, From whence the birds salute him; and his ground With lowing herds and bleating sheep does sound; And all the rivers, and the forests nigh, Both food and game, and exercise, supply. Here a well-harden'd, active youth we see, Taught the great art of cheerful poverty. Here, in this place alone, there still do shine Some streaks of love, both human and divine; From hence Astraea took her flight, and here Still her last footsteps upon earth appear. 'T is true, the first desire, which does control All the inferior wheels that move my soul, 'Is, that the Muse me her high-priest would make, Into her holiest scenes of mystery take, And open there, to my mind's purged eye, Those wonders which to sense the gods deny: How in the moon such change of shapes is found., The moon, the changing world's eternal bound; What shakes the solid earth, what strong disease Pares trpuble the firm centre's ancient ease;