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Or filch whole pages at a clap, for need,
“ He knows the grace of that new elegance,
&c. &c. About this time compound epithets were introduced into our poetry. Spencer had been beforehand in complaining of the abuses here noticed. See Teares of the Muses, 553. E.
48 Lastly he names the spirit of Astrophell. Astrophel was the name by which Spencer distinguished Sir Phillip Sidney; on whom he has left a Pastoral Elegy, under this title.
49 Or dance a sober Pirrhicke in the field. The Pyrrhic Dance, performed in armour.
W. startups--some kind of country furniture for the feet, which I have not been able to trace in the old Dictionaries. • As did whilere the homely Carmelite,
Following Virgil, and he Theocrite. By the homely Carmelite we are, doubtless, to understand Baptista Mantuan, who lived at the close of the xyth and the beginning of the xvith century. E. Whilere means a little time ago. See Note i, to the “ Defiance to Envy”.
As wittie Pontan”, in great earnest, saed,
12 As wittie Pontan John Jovianus Pontanus, whose poetry, chiefly hendecasyllabic, was often luxuriantly amorous. See his Works, printed at Hamburgh, 1515.
» And with them grinds soft-simpring all the day. See Note 22, on Book iv. Sat. I.
* Where down descends th' oreflowing stream doth film The relative is omitted that doth fill.
POSTSCRIPT TO THE READER.
It is not for every one to relish a true and natural Satite : being, of itself, besides the nature and inbred bitterness and tartness of particulars, both hard of conceit and harsh of style; and, therefore, cannot but be unpleasing both to the unskilful and over musical ear: the one being affected with only a shallow and easy matter; the other, with a smooth and current disposition. So that I well foresee, in the timely publication of these my concealed satires, I am set upon the rack of many merciless and peremptory censures; which, since the calmest and most plausible writer is almost fatally subject unto, in the curiosity of these nicer times, how may I hope to be exempted upon the occasion of so busy and stirring a subject ? One thinks it mis-beseeming the author; because a poem: another, unlawful in itself; because a satire: a third, harmful to others; for the sharpness : and a fourth, unsatire-like; for the mildness : the learned, too perspicuous; being named with Juvenal, Persius, and the other antient satires: the unlearned, savourless; because too obscure, and obscure because not under their reach. What a monster must he be, that would please all!
Certainly, look what weather it would be, if every almanack should be verified: much-what like poems, if every fancy should be suited. It is not for this kind to desire or hope to please, which naturally should only find pleasure in displeasing : notwithstanding, if the fault-finding with the vices of the time may honestly accord with the good will of the parties, I had as lieve ease myself with a slender apology, as wilfully bear the brunt of causeless anger in my silence.
For Poetry itself, after the so effectual and absolute endeavours of her honoured patrons, either she needed no new defence, or else might well scorn the offer of so impotent and poor a client. Only, for my own part, though were she a more unworthy mistress, I think she might be inotfensively served with the broken messes of our twelve o'clock hours, which homely service she only claimed and found of me, for that short while of my attendance; yet, having thus soon taken my solemn farewell of her, and shaked hands with all her retinue, why should it be an eye-sore unto any, since it can be no loss to myself?
For my Satires themselves, I see two obvious cavils to be an. swered. 10.
386 One, concerning the matter : than which, I confess, none can be more open to danger, to envy; since faults loath nothing more than the light, and men love nothing more than their faults : and, therefore, what through the nature of the faults and fault of the persons, it is impossible so violent an appeachment should be quietly brooked. But why should vices be unblamed, for fear of blame? And, if thou mayst spit upon a toad unvenomed, why mayst thou not speak of a vice without danger ? Especially so warily as I have endeavoured: who, in the unpartial mention of so many vices, may safely profess to be altogether guiltless in myself to the intention of any guilty person who might be blemished by the likelihood of my conceived application ; thereupon choosing rather to mar mine own verse than another's name: which 'notwithstanding, if the injurious reader shall wrest to his own spite, and disparaging of others, it is a short answer," Art thou guilty ?" Complain not thou art not wronged. “ Art thou guiltless ?" Complain not: thou art not touched.
The other, concerning the manner: wherein, perhaps, too much stooping to the low reach of the vulgar, I shall be thought not to have any whit kindly raught my ancient Roman predecessors, whom, in the want of more late and familiar precedents, I am constrained thus far off to imitate: which thing I can be so willing to grant, that I am further ready to warrant my action therein to any
indifferent censure. First, therefore, I dare boldly avouch, that the English is not altogether so natural to a satire as the Latin : which I do not impute to the nature of the language itself, being so far from disabling it any way, that methinks I durst equal it to the proudest in every respect; but to that which is common to it with all other common languages, Italian, French, German, &c. In their poesies the fettering together the series of the verses, with the bonds of like cadence or desinence of rhyme, which if it be usually abrupt, and not dependent in sense upon so near affinity of words, I know not what a loathsome kind of barshness and discordance it breedeth to any judicial ear: which if any more confident adversary shall gainsay, I wish no better trial than the translation of one of Persius's Satires into English; the difficulty and dissonance whereof shall make good my assertion. Besides, the plain experience thereof in the Satires of Ariosto, (save which, and one base French satire, I could never attain the view of any for
my direction, and that also might for need serve for an excuse at least) whose chain verse, to which he fettereth himself, as it may well afford a pleasing harmony to the ear, so can it yield vothing but a flashy and loose conceit to the judgment. Whereas, the Roman numbers, tying but one foot to another, offereth a greater freedom of variety, with much more delight to the reader.
Let my second ground be, the well-known daintiness of the
· The edition of 1599, followed by the Oxford, reads unusually. I have restored the reading of the first edition. EDITOR.