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T H E

PRE FACE.

HE Poems of the Antients, transated into modern Languages, are justly compar'd to Flowers, of the Growth of warmer Regions, transplanted thence in to our colder Climates : They often die in the Raising ; but, if with Difficulty

they are brought to bear, the Flowers they produce, wanting the indulgent Warmth of their native Sun, degenerate from their antient Stock ; they impair in Livelines of Colours and lose their- Fragrancy of smell, or retain at best but a faint Odour. Verse in. like manner, when transplanted from the Language of one Countrey into that of another, participates of all the Defects of the Air and Soil : and when antient Wit comes to be taught and confin'd in modern Numbers, the noble Spirit, for want of the Warmth with which the Original was written, evaparates in Tranfusing, and often becomes little better than a dead and senseles Image. Hence we see, that, tho' Composing be indeed the nobler Part of Poetry, yet to translate well is scarce a les difficult Task. The Materials, Igrant, are found to the Translator's Hands; but then bis Fansy is bound

up, and confin'd; for be must build according to bis Model: and tho bis. Invention toil the leß, bis Judgment must labour the. more; otherwise be will never copy bis Original, nor do Justice to his Autbour,

B

I wil

I will not presume to give my Opinion, either in Praise or Dispraise, of the following Translation in general; The many Testimonies, given in Behalf of it by the Translatour's Isarned and ingenious Friends, in their commendatory Verses, which, as they were to all the former Editions of this Work, are likewise prefix'd to this, render all that can be Said in Praise of it superfluous, and in Blame of it ineffe&taal: for who will dare to censure a Work, that has deservedly found so favourable a Reception, and gain'd such a general Approbation and Applause? What Mr. Waller writes to Mr. Evelyn on bis Translation of the first Book of Lucretius only, may with greater Justise be apply'd to aur, Translatour :

For bere Lucretius whole we find,
His Words, bis Musick, and bis Mind:
Thy Art bas to our Countrey brought
All that be writ, and all be thought.

Waller

Now all translated Books, whatever Subjects they treat of, are, or ought to be, intended for the Benefit and Inftruštion of such as understand not the Languages in which the Originals are written, and if they fail of that End, they are always, and at best, but useless Amusements : But if they allert Principles, and advance. Maxims and Propoli. tion, that are repugnant to the Do&trine of the Christian Faith, or to the Precepts of Morality and Good Manners, they may prove of ill Consequence to some, particularly to the unwary or less intelligent, Readers. It were better that Books of that Nature, (and most of the Writings of the Antient Heathens are such, in a leß or greater Degree,) were never translated at all, than that, by being render’d into modern Languages

, they should fall into the Hands of all forts of Readers ; many of whom, not being capable to judge of the Strength or Weakness of the Arguments they find in them, are often seduc'd into Errours. Such Books are a fort of edg’d Tools, that either ought to be kept from the

Weak,

Weak, and the Illiterate; or, when they are put into their Hands, they ought to be instructed how to use them with. out Danger. This being granted in general is sufficient to juftifie my Undertaking, and to prove the Usefulness of it, in writing the following Notes and Animadversions on tbis English Lucretius. i foresee nevertheles, that some will blame, and perhaps

. censure me feverely, for baving bestow'd so much Time and Labour on an impious Poet: For this, will they say, is that very Lucretius, wbo believes, and endeavours all be can to prove, the buman Soul to be corporeal and mortal; and who, by so doing, denies a future State, either of Happines or Misery; and takes away all Hopes of our Salvation in a blessed and eternal Futurity: This is be, who flatly denies the Providence of God; which is the chief Basis and Support of the Christian Religion : and lastly, this is be who teaches, and aserts to be true, that Athes istical Hypothesis of Democritus and Epicurus concerning the indivisible Principles, and the Nature of all Things. This, I confeß, seems at first fight to be a grievous Accusation ; but yet, if duly consider'd, it will appear to be of little Moment ; For not to mention that, for the same Reason that we ought not, as some pretend, to read Lucretius, we ought likewise to abstain from Reading all, at least most of the Authours of Antiquity, since in their Writings are containd many impious, prophane, false, ridiculous, and fabulous Affertions ; infomuch that all our Poets, Orators, Historians, and Philosophers must be rejected and thrown away, as Debauchers of Youth, and Corrupters of Good Manners, if their Writings were once to be try'd by the Standard of our Faith, and by the Doctrine of Christianity; not to mention, I say, all this, I dare boldly affirm, that whatever Propositions Lucretius advances, contrary to the Christian Religion, are so visibly and notoriously false, and conséquently so eafily answer'd, that they can not in the least startle any one, who professes our Holy Belief : For Instance ; Lucretius, in his third Book, after having, as be thinks, fully demonstrated the Corporality of the humane B 3

Soula

Soul, brings no leß than fix and twenty Arguments to prove its Mortality likewise : But all of them, when they come to be maturely consider'd, are of jo little Validity, and for obvious to be confuted, that, far from being able to stagger in the least the Faith of a Christian; no Man, I think, tbobut of mean Capacity, can, on such fender and una convincing Proofs, bèlieve, even if he would, that the Soul dies with the Body. Nor are bis Arguments, by wbicb be labours to overthrow all Belief of a divine Providence, and to wrest the Power of Creation out of the Hands, aven of Omnipotence itself, more cogent of persuafive; as will, I bope, be made appear in the following Notes and Animadversions ; in which I bave made it my chief

Study to sew the Weaknes, and to expose to my Readers the Insufficiency, of them. How well I have succeeded in my Attempt must be left to the Judgment of the Publick : the Design, I am sure, was well-meaning and honest ; and if the Performance be answerable, it may justly challenge a favourable Reception : For, what Christian will not be pleas'd to see, that not even the most penetrating Wit of Lucretius has been able to advance any Thing Solid against the Power of that infinite God whom he adores; especially considering that if any such Impieties could have been defended, be certainly was capable of defending them :

Si Pergama dextrâ Defendi pollent, certè hâc defensa fuiffent.

Moreover : What Danger can arise to any. Man, tho? but of common Understanding, wbile he reads that ridiculous Doctrine of the Epicurean Philosophers concerning their Atoms, or minute indivisible Corpuscles, which they beld to be the first Principles of all Things ? An Opinion so absurd, that even the bare mentioning of it confutes it. So far therefore from being of dangerous Consequence to us is the Reading those Absurdities of the Antients concerning the Nature of Things, tbat, on the contrary, we may gain from thence the great Advantage of acquiring a more perfet

Knowledge

Virg.

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