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defence of this proceeding is, that the prefent readers of Virgil judge of it in a manner different from the Romans to whom he wrote; who probably looked on Turnus ás juftly punished for having broke the folemn truce agreed to in the twelfth book, and for fighting against the will of Heaven; and moreover might view this gallant prince in an unfavourable light as he opposed the establishment of that perfon in Italy,
Genus unde Latinum
Albanique patres, atque altae moenia Romae.
Thus am I rafhly endeavouring to pick out feeming blemishes and defects in this admirable writer, while I should be making fome apology for undertaking the following tranflation, after so many perfons of eminence, and particularly Mr. Dryden, for whose name and writings I have the fincerest veneration and love. But I must at the fame time beg leave to observe, with truth, and I hope with modefty, that in his version of the Eclogues and Georgics, which is certainly inferior to his Æneid, there are so many grofs mistakes, fo many careless incorrect lines, and fuch wild deviations from his original, as are utterly aftonishing in fo great and true a genius. But instead of the invidious and difagreeable task of pointing out these paffages at length, I choose rather to fay in those generous words of Mr. Pope on a fimilar occafion, " that
nothing could have made Mr. Dryden capable of "fuch mistakes, but extreme hafte in writing;
"which never ought to be imputed as a fault to him, but to thofe who fuffered fo noble a genius "to lie under the neceffity of it.”
And I have still a weightier reason for not fpecifying these blameable paffages; which is, that I am apprehensive, an equal, or perhaps a greater number of my own lines, might be produced on the fame occafion. Juftice obliges me to add, that even in the midst of these lowneffes and inequalities of Mr. Dryden, his native fpirit and vigour, the veteris veftigia flammae, frequently break forth: and I have deeply felt how difficult it is to work after fo great a master on the same subject.
Give me leave to intrude on your patience a moment longer, to speak of Mr. Pitt's verfion of the Æneid. I am very well informed that Mr. Pope, notwithstanding his just affection and even veneration for Mr. Dryden, regarded Mr. Pitt's as an excellent tranflation. It is lucky for me that fome of Mr. Dryden's errors in this part of the work have been lately pointed out by a very candid writer, and one who entertains the highest opinion of his genius, to whom, fays he, our English poetry is more obliged for its improvements than to any other writer, excepting only Mr. Pope. What I hint at, is one of the chapters upon allegory in Mr. Spence's Polymetis, where that gentleman hath endeavoured to fhew, how very little our poets have understood the allegories of the ancients
even in their tranflations of them; and has chosen
1. Cum tacet omnis ager.
Æn. 4. ver. 520. And peace with downy wings was brooding on the ground. Dryden, ver. 752.
Virgil does not mention peace at all on this occafion; and I do not remember, fays Mr. Spence, to have met with any one ancient reprefentation of Peace with wings. Pitt only fays:
O'er all the fields a brooding filence reigns.
Pitt, ver. 759
2. Jamque rubefcebat radiis mare, et aethere ab alto Aurora in rofeis fulgebat lutea bigis.
Æn. 7. 26.
Now when the rofy morn began to rife,
Dryden, ver. 35.
Mr. Dryden here feems to have admitted fome mixture of the allegory and the reality together:
Virgil is free both from the ftreamer, and this faulty mixture; fo alfo is Pitt;
Now on her car was gay Aurora borne,
attonitae Baccho nemora avia matres
Æn. 7. 582.
Then they, whofe mothers frantic with their fear,
As he had before given a ftreamer to Aurora, he here gives flags to the attendants of Bacchus ;
Those too whose mothers by the queen were led,
4. Cybele in another place is drawn by the tygers of Bacchus inftead of her own lions.
Alma parens Idaea deûm, cui Dindyma cordi,
Æn. 10. 253.
Hear thou, great mother of the deities,
Great guardian queen, of Ida's hills and woods,
5. Hic, ubi disječtas moles, avulfaque faxis
Æn. 2. 612.
This exalted paffage Mr. Dryden has thus tranflated:
Amid that fmother, Neptune holds his place,
Where it is to be observed he has divested Neptune of his trident, and equipped him with a Gothic mace. That Pitt hath reftored the god his proper infignia, is much the least part of his praise in this fublime paffage :
Where yon' rude piles of fhatter'd ramparts rise,
En. 7. 179.