Abbildungen der Seite


the Preface, to have excelled in drawing characters and painting manners, and indeed his whole Poem is one continued occasion of shewing this bright part of his talent.

To speak fairly, it is impossible she could read even the translation, and take my sense fo wrong as she represents it; but I was first translated ignorantly, and then read partially. My expression indeed was not quite exact ; it should have been, “ Every thing has manners, as Aristotle calls them.” But such a fault, methinks, might have been spared, since if one was to look with that disposition she discovers towards me, even on her own excellent writings, one might find some mistakes which no context can redress; as where she makes Eustathius call Cratisthenes the Phliahan, Callisthenes the Phyfician'. What a triumph might some slips of this fort have afforded, to Homer's, her's, and my enemies, from which she was only screened by their happy ignorance? How unlucky had it been, when she insulted Monsieur de la Motte for omitting a material passage in the speech of Helen to Hector, Il. 6. if some champion for the moderns had by chance understood so much Greek, as to whisper him, that there was no such passage in Homer!

Our concern, zeal, and even jealousy, for our great

Author's honour were mutual, our endeavours


b Dacier Remarques sur le 4me livre de l'Odys. pag. 467. • De la Corruption du Goût.


to advance it were equal, and I have as often trembled for it in her hands, as she could in mine. It was one of the many reasons I had to wish the longer life of this Lady, that I must certainly have regained her good opinion, in spite of all misrepresenting translators whatever. I could not have expected it on any other terms than being approved as great, if not as passionate, an admirer of Homer as herself. For that was the first condition of her favour and friendship; otherwise not one's taste alone, but one's morality had been corrupted, nor would any

man's religion have been unsuspected, who did not implicitly believe in an Author whose doctrine is so conformable to holy Scripture. However, as different people have different ways of expressing their belief, some purely by public and general acts of worship, others by a reverend sort of reasoning and inquiry about the grounds of it; it is the same in admiration, some prove it by exclamations, others by respect. I have observed that the loudest huzza's given to a great man in triumph, proceed not from his friends, but the rabble; and as I have fancied it the same with the rabble of critics, a desire to be distinguished from them has turned me to the more moderate, and, I hope, more rational method. Though I am a Poet, I would not be an enthusiast; and though I am an Englishman, I would not be furiously of a party. I am far from thinking myself that genius, upon whom, at the end of these re


marks, Madam Dacier congratulates my country: One capable of “ correcting Homer, and conse" quently of reforming mankind, and amending " this constitution.” It was not to Great Britain this ought to have been applied, since our nation has one happiness for which she might have preferred it to her own; that as much as we abound in other miserable misguided fects, we have, at least, none of the blasphemers of Homer. We stedfastly and unanimously believe both this Poem and our Constitution to be the best that ever human wit invent. ed: that the one is not more incapable of amend. ment than the other; and (old as they both are) we despise any French or Englishman whatever, who shall presume to retrench, to innovate, or to make the least alteration in either. Far therefore from the

genius for which Madam Dacier mistook me, my whole desire is but to preserve the humble character of a faithful translator, and a quiet subject .

. This composition has great beauty and force. The criticisms are in general as just and discriminating, as the language is elegant. To the manly sentiments in the conclusion, every Englishman must assent with cordi It were only to be wished, that the writer had never given us reason to doubt his own sincerity.



pope says, in the Epilogue to the Satires, in this volume, line 99, that he never

Din'd with the Man of Ross." A few more particulars, which I have accidentally met with, concerning this extraordinary man, and his mode of living, to which Pope probably alludes, may be here admitted, though too long and unimportant for a Note on the place. These were sent to an Editor of a newspaper, 1787, but they bear the evident marks of authenticity.

66 To the PRINTER. “ Sir, I send you a few anecdotes relative to Mr. John Kirle, the Man of Ross, which I picked up the other day in that town. He kept a public table on the Thursday of every week, and had always twelve persons to dine with him on that day. The dinner confifted of a furloin of beef, a loin of veal, a leg of mutton, (all bought at Ross market,) and a plain pudding. What remained of this was given away in the afternoon. His hour of dinner was at two o'clock. Cyder, perry, and ale, were the only liquors drank at his table. His Sunday dinner consisted of a rump of beef; the remains of which were given away to the poor. His household establishment consisted of two maids, a boy, and an upper fervant. He was skilled in architecture; and once, on a visit to see some building near Benson in Oxfordshire, was taken up as an highwayman, and carried before a justice, to whom he said he was the Man of Rofs. This, however, did not avail him completely; for three persons of consequence in the neighbourhood went in their coaches and fix to bail him. He raised the spire of Ross upwards of one hundred feet. He made a causeway on the Monmouth road, for the use of foot passengers. He inclosed within a stone-wall, ornamented with two elegant entrances, a space of ground of near half an acre, in the center of which he sunk a bafon, as a reservoir for water for the use of the inhabitants of.


« ZurückWeiter »