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IT T was in his childhood only that he could make choice of fo injudicious a writer as Statius to tranflate. It were to be wished that no youth of genius were fuffered ever to look into Statius, Lucan, Claudian, or Seneca the tragedian; authors who, by their forced conceits, by their violent metaphors, by their fwelling epithets, by their want of a juft decorum, have a strong tendency to dazzle, and to mislead inexperienced minds, and tates unformed, from the true relish of poffibility, propriety, fimplicity, and nature. Statius had undoubtedly invention, ability, and spirit; but his images are gigantic and outrageous, and his fentiments tortured and hyperbolical. It can hardly, I think, be doubted, but that Juvenal intended a fevere fatire on him in these wellknown lines, which have been commonly interpreted as a pane. gyric:

"Curritur ad vocem jucundam et carmen amica
Thebaidos, lætam fecit cum Statius urbem,
Promifitque diem; tanta dulcedine captos
Afficit ille animos, tantaque libidine vulgi
Auditur: fed, cum fregit fubfellia verfu,

In these verses are many expreffions, here marked with Italics, which feem to hint obliquely that Statius was the favourite poet of the vulgar, who were eafily captivated with a wild and inartificial tale, and with an empty magnificence of numbers; the noify roughness of which may be particularly alluded to in the expreffion, fregit fubfellia verfu. One cannot forbear reflecting on the short duration of a true taste in poetry among the Romans. From the time of Lucretius to that of Statius was no more than about one hundred and forty-feven years; and if I might venture to pronounce fo rigorous a fentence, I would fay, that the Romans can boaft of but eight poets who are unexceptionably excellent ; namely, Terence, Lucretius, Catullus, Virgil, Horace, Tibullus, Proper. tius, Phædrus. These only can be called legitimate models of just thinking and writing Succeeding authors, as it happens in all countries, refolving to be original and new, and to avoid the im- putation

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putation of copying, become diftorted and unnatural: by endeavouring to open an unbeaten path, they defert fimplicity and truth; weary of common and obvious beauties, they must needs hunt for remote and artificial decorations. Thus was it that the age of Demetrius Phalerëus fucceeded that of Demofthenes, and the falfe relish of Tiberius's court the chafte one of Auguftus.



OED EDIPUS King of Thebes having by mistake flain his father Laius, and married his mother Jocafta, put out his own eyes, and refigned his realm to his fons, Eteocles and Polynices. Being neglected by them, he makes his prayer to the Fury Tifiphone, to fow debate betwixt the brothers. They agree at last to reign fingly, each a year by turns, and the first lot is obtained by Eteocles. Jupiter, in a council of the Gods, declares his refolution of punishing the Thebans, and Argives alfo, by means of a marriage betwixt Polynices and one of the daughters of Adraftus king of Argos. Juno opposes, but to no effect; and Mercury is fent on a message to the Shades, to the ghoft of Laius, who is to appear to Eteocles, and provoke him to break the agreement. Polynices in the mean time departs from Thebes by night, is overtaken by a storm, and arrives at Argos; where he meets with Tydeus, who had filed from Calydon, having killed his brother. Adraftus entertains them, having received an oracle from Apollo that his daughters fhould be married to a Boar and a Lion, which he understands to be meant of these ftrangers, by whom the hides of those beafts were worn, and who arrived at the time when he kept an annual feast in honour of that God. The rife of this folemnity he relates to his guefts, the loves of Phoebus and Pfamathe, and the story of Chorobus. He enquires, and is made acquainted with their defcent and quality: The facrifice is renewed, and the book concludes with a Hymn to Apollo.

The Tranflator hopes he need not apologize for his choice of this piece, which was made almost in his childhood. But finding the version better than he expected, he gave it some correction a few afterwards. POPE.



He was but fourteen years old.



FRATERNAS acies, alternaque regna profanis
Decertata odiis, fontefque evolvere Thebas,
Pierius menti calor incidit. Unde jubetis
Ire, Dex? gentifne canam primordia diræ ?
Sidonios raptus, et inexorabile pactum
Legis Agenorex? fcrutantemque æquora Cadmum?
Longa retro feries, trepidum fi Martis operti
Agricolam infandis condentem prælia fulcis
Expediam, penitufque fequar quo carmine muris
Jufferit Amphion Tyrios accedere montes:
Unde graves iræ cognata in monia Baccho,
Quod fævæ Junonis opus; cui fumpferit arcum
Infelix Athamas, cur non expaverit ingens
Ionium, focio cafura Palæmone mater.





FRATERNAL rage the guilty Thebes alarms, Th' alternate reign destroy'd by impious arms, Demand our fong; a facred Fury fires My ravish'd breast, and all the Muse inspires. O Goddess, fay, fhall I deduce my rhimes From the dire nation in its early times, Europa's rape, Agenor's ftern decree, And Cadmus fearching round the spacious fea? How with the serpent's teeth he fow'd the foil, And reap'd an Iron harvest of his toil? Or how from joining ftones the city fprung, While to his harp divine Amphion fung? Or fhall I Juno's hate to Thebes refound, Whose fatal rage th' unhappy Monarch found? The fire against the fon his arrows drew, O'er the wide fields the furious mother flew. And while her arms a fecond hope contain, Sprung from the rocks and plung'd into the main.


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