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discover nothing but what is weak and foolish, tal, wake eternally? All that he; says of dreamy And since sleep, according to Lucretius, is occa- to ver. Iej6. i> downright trifling. We ban sioned by a dispersion of the soul, why do not given our thought* of the reft of this book »t»t we, who are endowed with a foul that it itnmor- note on v. io$3.
PREFACE TO THE SECOND VOLUME.
HjjyiNO in the preface to the first volume given the public so full and ample an account of my design in publishing these notes and animadversions on this English translation «f Lucretius, as likewise of the helps I made use of, and of the method I have observed in this undertaking, which I take to be the chief business of a Prefacer, I shall not long detain my reader by way of introduction to this second volume, that contains only the two last books of my author; who, )sjv. ing in these two books treated of a great variety of noble subjects, has afforded me a just occasion of swelling this volume to almost au equal number of sheets with the former, though computing the number of verses, it contains but little more than one third of the whole poem of Lucretius: The length, however, if I may judge of the readers satisfaction in the perusal, by my own in the compiling, will not, I hope, seem tedious to him; and I flatter myself, that I shall not weaty and grow irksome to those whom it has been my principal study and design at once to instruct and divert.
When the subject of which my author was treating was naturally crabbed and abstruse, as in the two first book*, in which he disputes chiefly of the nature and properties of his atoms; 1 thought it not convenient to dwell too long upon it; but endeavoured only to render it plain and intelligible with as much brevity as the province of an interpreter, which I had undertaken, would allow: But when he came to treat of things, which I judged would be more entertaining, as of the origin of the world; of the motion of the lSeavcns; of the fun, moon, and stirs; of the first men, and of their manners and way of life; of the first institution of king*, magistrates and laws; of tbe first invention of arts and sciences; of the things we call meteors, as thunder, lightning, whirlwinds, earthquakes, &c. Of the causes of rain, wind, hail, snow, and frost; of the flames that are ejected from the bowels of Mount Ætna; of the annual increase of the river Nile; of the Averni; of certain miraculous fountains; of the loadstone; and of the cause and origin of plagues and diseases; of all which, as well as of many other subjects of the like nature, Lucretius has disputed in these two last books; when he came, I fay, to treat of these matters, he afforded me a wider field to enlarge and expatiate upon; and I have laid hold of the opportunity be gave me, to illustrate all those several
'subjects, with the opinions of all the most celt; brated, as well ancient, as modern philosopher*, concerning them: In which I presume 1 (hall not be deemed to have transgressed the bounds, whirti were formerly prescribed to an interpreter, who, as Ammonius allows, " Neque benevolentia ductus conari dsbet, quæ perptram dicuutur consentanea facere, eaque veluti a tripode excipere, ne; que recte prodita pravo sensu per odium carpore led eorum else incorruptus judex, atque auctora sensum aperire imprimis, illiusque placita interpretari; turn quod alii, et ipse sentiat afserre" Besides, 1 cannot apprehend, but that it will he acceptable to the public to fee at one view the different opinions of the learned men in all ages, or. the above subjects; and this is what I have endeavoured to oblige my readers with in tbe following sheets.
1 will conclude this preface with a few lines in my own vindication, and then take my leave.
I foresee that I have rendered myself liable to be carped at, and that I shall be censured by some critics, on account of some particular words, and certain ways of expression, which 1 have constantly observed and made use of through the whok course of this work; contrary to the generally received custom and practice of many, nay, perhaps of most of our present writers.
I need not be told, that, in matter of speech, when custom has once prevailed, we are absolutely obliged to submit to whatever it has imposed upon us; and that it is not lawful, on any pretence whatsoever, to resist the laws of that sovereign, I had almost said tyrant ot languages.
Cui penes arbitrium est et jus norma loquendi.
But on the other hand, in language, as in most things else, there is a good custom and a bad: the good ought to be the standard of propriety and correctness of speech; and the bad ought carefully to be avoided, as the corrupter of it: so that the main difficulty lies in discerning rightly between them : But how this may be done is not our present business to inquire.
Dr. Swift, in his letter to the Lord High Treasurer, with good reason complains, that o«r language is extremely imperfect, that its daily improvements are by no means in proportion to its daily corruptions, and that the pretenders to polish and refine it have chiefly multiplied abuses and absurdities; and so far he it certainly is tbe
right: but f cannot agree with him when he goe* on, and says, That in many instances it offends against every part of grammar. He seems to impute to the language itself the faults of our uncorrect writers. All languages, but more especially the modern, and ours amongst the rest, have certain idioms and properties of speech peculiar to each of them, in which nevertheless they offend against the general rules of grammar. Of this so many instances might be given, that it is needless to give any.
Modem and living languages are not to be fixed by the standard, nor ascertained by the maxims and rules of the ancient and the dead; and their chief beauties consist in frequent emancipations from the servile laws of ancient grammar. A man may write ungrammatically, and yet write very good English; according to this excellent saying of Quintillian, " Aliud est gramtrutice, aliud Latinc loqui."
I Dow return to what gave occasion to these reflections, and, among several other instances that my readers may observe, will mention only •ne or two, in which 1 have varied from some •thcr writers of these days. Phenomenon is a ward that has been introduced into our language: Necessity brought it in to avoid a circumlocution: For it is originally Greek, and signifies an appearance in the heaven, or in the air. Now, some instead of phenomenon, leaving out the two final letters, make it phenomen, and fay is the plural, phenomens; both which 1 take to be altogether absurd: Others who write phenomenon in the singular number, when they have occasion to use it in the plural, fay phenomena, which, in my opinion, is contrary to the analogy of our language; and others again, in the fame number, phenomena's, which I almost dare pronounce to be a monster in speech: For my own part, whenever I have been obliged to use it in the plural, I have nut stuck to say, phenomennns, rather than the phenomena, as it is the original; and this I am sure is more conformable to the analogy of our language, in which the difference between the singular and the plural number, even in the words borrowed from the learned languages, consists not in any variation of the final syllable, bat in the addition of the letter / to the singular number. Thus, in the following words, idea, anathema, chimera, compendium, epithalamjum,
which, together with many other, we have taken from the learned languages, and naturalized iq our own, we fay not in the plural, idea;, anathemata, chimeræ, compendia, epithalamia, even though we have retained their original terminations in the singular, but ideas, anathemas, chi» meras,compendiums,epithalamiunis. Besides,, since there is no method yet proposed, nor any rule* yet agreed upon, and settled among us, for the ascertaining and tiling our language for ever, why has not every man an equal share of liberty, not only to introduce and set up a new word, if there be occasion for it, but even to use one that is already introduced, in a different manner from the rest us his contemporary writers, especially since they themselves use it differently from one another?" Licuit, seniperque licebit." This I hope, is sufficient to excuse, if not to justify, my having used the word phenomenons in the plural number; at least it will make it appear to be an error, not of ignorance, but of judgment, ansl which I declare myself always ready to recant and rectify, whenever I can be better informed, and convinced by good reasons that I am in the wrong.
Again: nothing is more frequent with our present writers than the following way of expression: They greedily embrace that doctrine, be it never so erroneous. This erample is takea from one of our most celebrated authors for correctness of style: nevertheless I take the worst never in that place to be a barbarism in speech? It ought to be ever; be it ever so erroneous: I fail way of expression is an idiom of our language; partly elliptic, partly a transposition of the words; which, when placed in due order, and without any word understood, will run as follows: How erroneous soever it be. 1 have not room in this place to undertake the disquisition of this doubt, nor to give my reasons at large, why, whenever 1 have had occasion to make use of the like expression, 1 have dissented from most of our other writers, and employed the word ever, rather thaa never: But this, together with some hundreds of observations, relating to our native language, ansl which 1 have been many years digesting in taj thoughts, I intend to publish in a short time, as an essay towards the correcting, improving, and ascertaining of it, under this title, Remarks upon, the English Tongue.
Tat beginning of this book, to ver. 6o. contains, I. The praise of Epicurus, who, because he was the first that instructed mortal men in the art of true wisdom, the poet fays, ough' deservedly to be reckoned among the number of the t»od,, rather than either Ceres, or Bacchus, or Hercuie . whose invention* were less beneficial to human hse, than that true and wise philosophy, which Epicurus taught. H. From ver. to to ver. ico. he proposes the argument of this book, and mows the conAcction between, t£esc subjects be is uow going u handle, and those of which he has already dispute* in the sour preceding books; and being now about to treat of the first rise, and future dissolution of the world, he teaches, III. That the earth, the sea, the heavens, the stars, the fun and the moon, are mortal; and that they are sot animated, nor endowed with a divine body, nor are parts of God himself, ae the Stoic philosophers believed them to be: then he asserts, that neither the heavens, n the general opinion is, nor indeed any part or parts of the world, are the mansions or abodes of rtie gods. IV. From ver. 99. to ver. 266. That none may believe that the world was made by the gods, and is therefore immortal; he heaps up several reasons, drawn as well from the nature of the gods, as from the defectivenefs and ill contrivance of this vast frame of the universe, by which he endeavours to prove, that it was not the workmanship of a Deity. V. From ver. 265. to ver. 461. he argues, that the four elements, earth, water, air, and fire, of which the world consists, are, nevertheless, generated and mortal; and, consequently, that the world itself once had a beginning, and will have an end. And he confirms and proves, by several other arguments, that this universal frame has not existed from all eternity, nor will be immortal, and remain undiss.lved to all futurity. VI. From ver. 460. to ver. 551. he treats of the fir st beginning of the world, and of each of the different parts that compose the whole, and assigns them their proper and respective feats and places, according as they are more or lefi heavy or light. VII. From ver. 550. to ver. 6jj. he propose! many difficulties concerning the motions of the heavens and of the planets; but determines no-hitig for certain: then he teaches, why the whole frame of the earth, which is a heavy body, hang- in the air, without being supported by any foundation: And, at length, takes the dimension* of the fun, the moon, and the stars, and pronounce* them neither bigger nor less than they seem to us to be. VIII. From ver. 654. to ver. 814. he gives several reasons of the summer and winter solstices: tells what causes night: why Aurora, or the morning, precedes the fun: why the nights and days mutually overcome and chafe away each other by turns: why the moon changes her face and figure; and why the fun and muon are sometimes eclipsed. IX. From ver. 823. to ver. 894 he descends from the heavens, and describes the first rife of herbs, trees, birds, bcait-, and man; and tells the order in which each kind of things was produced out of the earth, one after another: to wit, first the grafs, then the trees, next the birds, then beasts, and last of all man. X. From ver. 89c. to ver. 979. he grants, That monsters, certain maimed and imperfect animals, were born in the beginning of the world; but asserts, that nature gave them not the power to propagate their kindi: Hence he takes occasion to deride and explode all Chimeras, Centaurs, Scyllas, and the other fabulous and monstrous productions, which the poets feign that nature brings forth ; and asserts, that there never were, nor could be any such prodigies of nature, neither at the beginning us the world, nor it any time since to this day; and also, that no such things can be produced hereafter. XI. From vet. 978. to ver. 1156. the poet describes the strength of the first men, their robust constitution of bodr, their poorness of living, their food, wit, manners, houses, and marriages. XII. From ver. 11JJ- to 1213. he teaches, That, after fire was thrown down upon earth by lightning, meg began to be more civilized; and, having invented how to dress meat, fared more delicioufly than before. Th« they then first established societies, entered into leagues and alliances, (bared the land among themselves, and chose kings to govern them, who were either the most strong, the most beautiful, or the most witty among them; and were elected for one or more of these three reasons: but that >t length, gold being found out, the richer commanded the poorer; and, envy springing up among them, a sedition arose, the kings were deposed, republics instituted, and law, established, to secure every one in his property. XIII. From ver. 1132. to ver. 1326. he treats of the fear of the god», and of the first rife of religion; which he ascribes merely to ignorance of the Divine Nature, and of natural causes. XIV. From ver. 1325. to the end of the book, he teaches how the several metals gold, silver, brass, iron, and lead, came first to be discovered; mentions the lirst arts «f war, and the weapons then used; and concludes with the invention and progress of spinning, weaving, agriculture, sailing, music, poetry, and other arts.
What verse can soar on so sublime a wing,
For now, compare what other gods bestow :"J
Yet men might still have liv'd without these tw«,
How could the birdsthat o'er th' Arcadian plains
Rcmov'd as far as the Atlantic shore,
For now, ev'n now, vast troops of monsters fill
But had not his philosophy began, (What had not man endur'd, ungrateful man?) 50 And cleans'd our fouls, what civil wars, what cares Would fierce ambition raise, what pungent seam? How pride, lust, envy, sloth, would vex the mind? Therefore, the man who thus refurm'd our fouls, That flew the monsters, not by arms, but rules, Shall we, ungrateful we, not think a God? Especially since he divinely fhow'd Wirat life the gods must live; and found the cause And rise of things, and taught us nature's laws.
His steps I trace; and prove, as things begun, By the fame laws, and nature they live on, 61 And fail at last, loose all their vital tics; Bat chiefly, that the foul is born, and dies; And that those shadows which in dreams appear,^ And forms of friends, anil [icriuYd heroes bear, > Are but loose shapes, by fancy wrought in air. J
Now I must teach, the world, as years prevail, Must die , this noble frame must sink and fail; And how at first 'twas form'd; what curious J blows [compose : /
Made seed, earth, seas, fun, heav'n, and stars s What living creatures did, what never rose. 71J
How league*, and how society began; What civiliz'd the savage creature, man. [above, Whence sprung that mighty dread os pow'rs That reverence, that awful fear and love, Which first religi. us duties did engage; And now secures their holy things from rage. Huw tow'rds both poles the fun's fix'd journey bends,
A-nd how the year his crooked walk attends: J3y what just steps the wand'.ing lights advance; And what eternal measures guide the dance; 81 J.est some should think their rounds they freely) fcxratt'ring their servile fires on things below, [go, > Osa fruits and animals, to make them grow. j Or that some god does whirl the circling fun, yVnd, fiercely lash the fiery horses on: few ev'n those few exalted souls, that know The god, must live at ease, not look below, Fa-ee from all meddling cares, from bate and"} love; / jf they admire, and view the world above, oef j\s*A wonder bow thesiyjlorious beings move, J
They are entrapp'd, they bind their slavish chain, ; And sink to their religious feari again; And then the world with heav'nly tyrants sill, Whose force is as unbounded as their will. I Deluded ignorants! who ne'er did fee By reason's light, what can, what cannot be: How ev'ry thing must, yield to fatal force; What steady bounds confine their nat'ral course.
But now to prove all this; first cast an eye, V
(Strong harden'd prejudice will scarce remove)
Whose notice, eye, nor hand, those only ways,
But now before I teach these truths, more sure
For these are so unlike the gsds, the frame
Then through each single part, as arms, or head,
Or be in flitting air, or chilling seas,
Nor must we think these arc the blest abodes,
They cannot touch those other things that can;)" Fur whatsoe'er is touch'd, that must be touch'd \ again.
Therefore, the mansions of those happy pow'rs
But now, to say this spacious world began, 169
Besides, what harm, had the fun idly ran, ^ Nor warm'd the mud, nor kindled it to man, > What harm to us, if we had ne'er began? j True: those that are in being once, should strive As long as pleasure will invite to live; But they, who ne'er had tasted jovs, nor seen What hurt to them, suppose they ne'er had been?
Besides: whence had the gods their notice,"j whence their mind, 301 /
Those fit ideas of the human kind? C
For seeds of bodies from eternal strove, [move,
And still such motions, still such ways pursue,
As may supply decaying things by new.
For were I ignorant how beings rise. How things begin ; yet reasons from the skies, From ev'ry thing dedue'd, will plainly prove, This world ne'er fram'd by the wise power's above; 219 So foolish the design, contriv'd so ill! For first; those tracts of air what creatures f Why beasts in ev'ry grove, and shady hill? Vast pools take part, and the impetuous tide, Whole spreading waves the distant shores divide; Two parts in three the torrid zone does bum, Or frigid chill,and all to deserts turn.
And all the other fields, what would they breed. If let alone, but briars, thorns, and weed? These arc their preper fruits, this nature would,} Did not laborious mortals toil for food; 330 V And tear, and plough, and force them to be good. J Did not they turn the clods with crooked share, By frequent torments forcing them to bear; No tender fruits, none of their own accord Would rise co feed proud man, their fancy'd lord.
Nay, often too, when man with pains and toil, Has plough'd, and overcome th' unwilling soil; When flow'rs put forth, and budding braoches shoot,
Look gay, and promise the much Iong'd-for fruit, The scorching sun, with his two busy beams, 14* Burns up, or clouds destroy the fruits with streams. Or chill'd by too much snow they soon decay, Or storms blow them and all our hopes away.
But farther; why should parent nature breed
Did the kind gods dispose os things below?
A man, when first he leaves his prim'-tive nijjrit,
They need no arms, no garrison, or town,
But now, since air, and water, earth, and fire