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Concludes that Attic Wit's extremely low;
As well might Vanbrugh ev'ry Stone revile,
But, fuch, alas! difdain to borrow Fame,
LINE 39. Extremely low. A favourite Coffeehoufe Phrafe.
LINE 40. Wotton and Perrault. See Wotton's Difcourfe on ancient and modern Learning, and Perrault's Defence of his Siecle de Louis XIV.
LINE 46. Arthur's Fame. See Blackmore's King Arthur, an Heroic Poem.
LINE 60. To Curll, &c. Moft of the bad Tranflations, which we have of eminent Authors, were done by Garreteers under the Infpection of this Gentleman, who paid them by the Sheet for their hafty Performances.
Or fome pale Pedant, whofe encumber'd Brain
There are, who timid Line by Line purfue, 75 Anxious to keep th' Original in View;
Who mark each Footstep where their Mafter trod,
LINE 75, 79. There are, &c. The Reader will eafily recollect inftances to illuftrate each of thefe Remarks, more efpecially the laft; halfour Tranflations being done from Tranflations by fuch as were never able to confult the Original. One of these Gentlemen having Occalion in his Verfion to mention Dionyfius of Halicarnaffus, not having the good Fortune to be acquainted with any fuch Writer, makes Ufe, of the French Liberty of Curtailing, and without Scruple calls him Dennis of Halicarnaffus. Miftakes as grofs as this often occur, though perhaps not many altoge ther fo ridiculous.
Thus Greece and Rome, in modern Dress array'd, Is but Antiquity in Masquerade.
Difguis'd in Oldsworth's Verse or Watson's Profe,
LINE 91. See Welfied's Tranflation of Lorginus, done almoft Word for Word from Boileau,
LINE 62. To Gordon.-This Gentleman translated Tacitus in a very stiff and affected Manner, tranfpofing Words, and placing the Verb at the End of the Sentence, according to the Latin Idiom. He was called in his Life-Time Tacitus-Gordon.
LINE 97. To Gallia yield. It was faid by a great Wit in the laft War, that he fhould never doubt of our Succefs, if we could once bring ourselves to hate the French as heartily as we do the Arts and Sciences. It is indifputable, that they are more warmly encouraged, and confequently more cultivated and improved in France than amongst us. Their Tranflations (especially in Profe) are acknowledged to be more faithful and correct, and in general more lively and fpirited than ours.'"
LINE 99. The French had fo high an Opinion of d'Ablancourt's Merit, as to think him deferving of the following Epitaph :
L'illuftre d'Ablancourt repofe en ce tombeau,
Careful to make each Ancient's Merit known,
But know, whate'er proud Art hath call'd her own,
Her various Charms in various Forms exprefs'd, 115
So when great Shakespeare to his Garrick join'd, With mutual Aid confpire to roufe the Mind, 120 'Tis not a Scene of idle Mimickry,
'Tis Lear's, Hamlet's, Richard's self we fee ;
Dans fes fameux ecrits toute la France admire Des Grecs & des Romains les precieux trefors ; A fon trepas on ne peut dire
Qui perd le plus, des vivans ou des morts.
LINE 109. The great Tranflator, &c. Pope, in his Epiftle to Arbuthnot, after his Enumeration of Dunces, concludes with thefe two Lines:
All these my modeft Satire bade tranflate, And own'd that nine fuch Poets made a Tate. I make no Doubt but the very defpicable Light in which Tranflation is here reprefented, may have deterr'd many from engaging in it, who would, perhaps, have made no contemptible Figure in that Branch of Literature.
We feel the Actor's Strength, the Poet's Fire ;
Theirs be the Task to comment and translate, Like these who judge, like these who imitate. Unless an Authour like a Mistress warms, How shall we hide his Faults, or taste his Charms, How all his modeft, latent Beauties find, How trace each lovelier Feature of the Mind, Soften each Blemish, and each Grace improve, And treat him with the Dignity of Love?
'Tis not enough that, fraught with Learning's Store, By the dim Lamp the taftelefs Critic pore; 'Tis not enough that Wit's mifguiding Ray Uncertain glance, and yield a doubtful Day,
LINE 129. Andrea del Sarto being defired by Frederic, Duke of Mantua, to copy a Picture of Leo X. did it with fo much Juftnefs, that Julio Romano, who drew the Drapery of that Piece under Raphael, took his Copy for the Original, and faid to Vafari, Don't I fee the Strokes that I ftruck with my own Hand; but Vafari fhewing him Del Sarto's Mark, he was convinced of his Miftake.
The Story is told at large in the 27th Chapter of the firft Book of De Pile's Art of Painting. LINE 135. Unless, &c. Rofcommon says,
⚫ Chufe then an Author as you chufe a Friend.'
Perhaps the Image is better drawn from the more Jively Paffion,