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R E F A C
HEN I first thought of writing upon this
occasion, I found the ideas so great and numerous, that I judged them more proper for the warmth of an ode, than for any other fort of poetry; I therefore fet Horace before me for a pattern, and particularly his famous ode, the fourth of the fourth book,
Qualem miniftrum fulminis alitem, &c.
which he wrote in praise of DRURŠUS after his ex. pedition into GERMANY, and of AUGUSTUS upon his happy choice of that general. And in the fol. lowing poem, though I have endeavoured to imi.
tate all the great strokes of that ode, I have taken ! the liberty to go off from it, and to add variously, as
the subject and my own imagination carried me. As to the style, the choice I made of following the ode in latin, determined me in English to the stanza; and herein it was impoffible not to have a mind to
follow our great countryman SPENSER ; which I have done (as well as I could) in the manner of my expreffion, and the turn of my number ; having only added one verse to his stanza, which I thought made the number more harmonious ; and avoided such of his words, as I found too obsolete. I have howe. ver retained some few of them, to make the colour. ing look more like SPENSER'S. Beheft, command
; band, army; prowess, strength; I weet, I know; 1 ween, I think; whilom, heretofore ; and two or three more of that kind, which I hope the ladies will pardon me, and not judge my Muse less handsome, though for once the appears in a farthingale. I have also in SPENSER's manner, used Cæsar for the Emperor, Boya for Bavaria, Bavar for that • Prince, Ifter for Danube, Iberia for Spain, &c.
That noble part of the ode which I just now mentioned,
Gens, quae cremato fortis ab Ilio
where HORACE praises the Romans, as being dem scended from Æneas, I have turned to the honour of the BRITISH nation, descended from BŘUTE, likewise a TROJAN. That this BRUTE, fourth or fifth from Æneas, fettled in ENGLAND, and built LONDON, which he called Troja Nova or Troyno vante, is a story which (I think) owes its original if not to GEOFTRY of Monmouth, at least to the Mon. kish writers, yet is not rejected by our great Cam
DEN, and is told by MILTON, as if (at leaf); he was pleased with it; though possibly he does not believe it ; however it carries a poetical authority, which is fufficient for our purpofe. It is as certain that BRUTE came into ENGLAND, as that AENEAS went into ITALY ; and upon the fuppofition of these facts, VIRGIL wrote the best poem that the world ever read, and SPENSER paid Queen LLIBABBTH the greatest compliment.
I NEED not obviate one piece of criticism, that I bring my hero
From burning Troy, and Xanthus red with blood ,
whereas he was not born, when that city was de Atroyed. VIRGIL in the case of his own AENEAS relating to Dido, will stand as a sufficient proof, that a man in his poetical capacity is not accountable for a little fault in chronology.
My two great examples, HORACE and SPENSER, in many things resemble cach other : both have a height of imagination, and a majesty of exprefion in describing the sublime; and both know how to temper those talents, and sweeten the description, so as to make it lovely as well as pom pous; both have equally that agreeable manner of mixing morality with their story, and that curiosa felicitas in the choice of their diction, which every writer aims at, and so very few have reached; both are particu. Jarly fine in their images, and knowing in their aum
ber. Leaving therefore our two matters to the cone fideration and study of those who design to excel in poetry, I only beg leave to add, that it is long since I have (or at least ought to have) quitted PARNAS SUS, and all the flowery roads on that side of the country; though I thought myself indispensably obliged, upon the present occasion, to take a little journey into those parts.