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Ipfe ego, qui nullos me affirmo scribere versus,
Invenior i Parthis mendacior ; et prius orto
Sole vigil, calamum et chartas et scrinia posco.
k Navem agere ignarus navistimet : abrotonum aegro
Non audet, nisi qui didicit, dare: quod medicorum est,
Promittunt' medici: tractant fabrilia fabri:
m Scribimus indocti doctique poemata passim.
NOTES. " but by-English wisdom and English honesty is above yours.” MS. Eng. Let. Oet. 15, 1726.
Ver. 180. to shew our Wit.] The force of this consists in the ambiguity.--To Thew how constant we are to our resolutions or, to thew what fine verses we can make.
VER. 181. He serv'd etc.] To the simple elegance of the original, the Poet has here added great spirit and vivacity, without departing from the fidelity of a translation.
Ver. 182. Ward] A famous Empiric, whose Pill and Drop had several surprizing effects, and were one of the principal subjects of writing and conversation at this time. P.
Ibid. Ward try'd on Puppies, and the Poor, his Drop ;] It was the Poet's purpose to do Mr. Ward honour in alligning to
To Theatres, and to Rehearsals throng,
k He serv'd a 'Prenticeship, who sets up shop;
NOTES. him that medical Aphorism of regular practice,
periculum faciamus in corpore vili. SCRIBL. Ver. 183. Ev'n Radcliff's Doctors travel first to France, Nor dare to prati se till they've learn'd to dance.] By no means an infinuation as if these travelling Doctors had mispent their time. Radcliff had sent them on a medicinal mission, to examine the produce of each Country, and see in what it might be made subservient to the art of healing. The native commodity of France is DANCING. Mercurialis gives the Gymnastics, of which this is part, a necessary place amongst the non-naturals (by which term the Physicians mean air, exercise, diet, etc. as if the natural way of living in health was by physic) and the
n Hic error tamen et levis haec insania, quantas
Virtutes habeat, fie collige : vatis ° avarus
Non temere eft animus : P versus amat, hoc ftudet
Detrimenta, o fugas servorum, incendia ridet ;
Non "fraudem focio, puerove incogitat ullam
Pupillo ; vivit filiquis, et pane secundo”;
+ Militiae quanquam piger et malus, utilis urbi;
Si das hoc, parvis quoque rebus magna juvari.
Os tenerum pueri balbumque poeta figurat:
NOTES. dignity and eminence of this part of the Gymnastics is learnedly and elaborately explained in that curious Dissertation on dancing, in the 13th chap. of the 2d Vol. of the Life of King David.
SCRIBL. VER. 201. Of little use, etc.] There is a poignancy in the following verses, which the original did not aim at, nor affect.
Ver. 204. And (thono Soldier)] Horace had not acquitted himself much to his credit in this capacity (non bene relifta parmula) in the battle of Philippi. It is manifeft he alludes to
Yet, Sir, " reflect, the mischief is not great;
Of little use the Man you may suppose,
Torquet wab obfcoenis jam nunc fermonibus aurem;
Mox ctiam pectus praeceptis format amicis,
Afperitatis, et invidiae corrector, et irae;
NOTES. Ver. 213. Unhappy Dryden--- In all Charles's days, Rof common only boasts unspotted bays ;] The break in the first line has a great beauty. The Poet's tenderness for his Master is expressed in making his case general; and his honour for him, in making his case particular, and the only one that deserved pity.
VER. 215. excuse fome Courtly strains We are not to understand this as a disapprobation of Mr. Addison for celebrating the virtues of the present Royal Family. It relates to a particular fact, in which he thought that amiable Poet did not act with the ingenuity that became his character.
When Mr. Addison, in the year 1713, had finished his Cato, he brought it to Mr. Pope for his judgment. Our Poet, who thought the sentiments excellent, but the action not enough theatrical, gave him his opinion fairly, and told him that he had better not bring it upon the Stage, but print it like a classical performance, which would perfectly answer his design. Mr. Addison approved of this advice; and seemed disposed to follow it. But soon after he came to Mr. Pope, and told him, that some friends, whom he could not disoblige, insisted on his hav