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“This piece is the most finished of all his Imitations, and executed in the high manner the Italian painters call con amore. By which they mean, the exertion of that principle, which puts the faculties on the stretch, and produces the supreme degree of excellence. For the Poet had all the warmth of affection for the great Lawyer to whom it is addressed : and, indeed, no man ever more deserved to have a Poet for his friend. In the obtaining of which, as neither vanity, party, nor fear had any share, (which gave birth to the attachments of
many of his noble acquaintance,) so he supported his title to it by all the good offices of a generous and true friendship.”—WARBURTON.
Warburton's expressions seem exaggerated. It is difficult to understand how he can have preferred this piece to the splendid Imitation of the First Epistle of the Second Book, or to the First Satire. Like the next Epistle, it is indeed highly finished, but like that it labours under the disadvantage of being a reproduction of Roman sentiment and philosophy which neither Pope nor any modern writer could treat con amore.
“Nil Admirari” was a text on which an easy man of the world in the Court of Augustus could expatiato, in a spirit quite unlike that of the modern cynic who contents himself with the belief that “there's nothing new, nothing true, and it don't signify.” What Horace seems to say is that, as everything in the external world appears mutable and uncertain, men should steadily pursue whatever they choose as their end in life, without turning to the right or the left. Whether you prefer to philosophise, he says, to lead a life of active virtue, to make money, to succeed in politics, to indulge in dissipation, or to treat existence as a jest, in any case be “ thorough”; adapt your means to your end; above all preserye your equanimity. He does not attempt to set up any standard of right or wrong; as his principles are those of a sceptic his tone is ironic;
all these pursuits, so runs his argument, are vanity, but if you only immerse yourself sufficiently in action, you may contrive to keep the unpleasant reflection out of your mind.
Such sentiments were as different as possible from Pope's. Though Pope's own standard of morality cannot be said to be definitely Christian, yet he was affected by the established doctrines of religion, and his many solemn protestations of his zoal for virtue, his denunciations of the public corruption, and his praises in other places of such characters as Barnard and the Man of Ross, show the feeling that separated him from the light-headed unconcern of Horace. There is a solemnity of tono in many parts of this Epistle, and though he follows closely the line of Horace's argument, yet when he comes to the passages on gluttony and debauchery, he feels himself obliged to modify the conclusions of the original. The address to Murray is full of fine and poetic feeling.
This Imitation was published by Gilliver in 1737.
It was registered at Stationers' Hall, 14th Jan., 1737, as follows: “The Sixth Epistle of the First Book of Horace, Imitated by Mr. Pope ; " the owner of the copyright being Alexander Pope.
THE SIXTH EPISTLE
FIRST BOOK OF HORACE. .
“Not to admire, is all the art I know,
This vault of air, this congregated ball,
1 William Murray, afterwards the of his translation of this Epistle. famous Earl of Mansfield, Chief Jus- Creech is said to have committed suitice of the King's Bench.
cide during a fit of insanity occasioned born 2nd March, 1705, was made by the refusal of a fellow collegian to Chief Justice in 1756, and died 20th
lend him money. March, 1793.
4 Pope, in a manner not unusual 2 So Milton, Paradise Regained, with him, gives a religious turn to iv. 362 :
the atheistic indifference of the origiWhat makes a nation happy, and keeps nal. Compare Imitation of Satire ii. it so?
Book ii. vv. 79, 80, where, as War3 Creech published his translation burton says, he mitigates Horace's of Horace in 1684. Pope, as he him. Epicureanism. self says, borrows the two first lines
Admire we then what earth's low entrails hold,
If weak the pleasure that from these can spring,
1 In the House of Lords, and in the Courts of Chancery, and at Westminster.
2 “Murray," says Lord Campbell,
was attached to a young lady of beauty, accomplishments, and birth, and she listened favourably to his suit. But her fainily requiring a
Yet time ennobles, or degrades each line;
Racked with sciatics, martyred with the stone,
And desperate Misery lays hold on Dover.' sight of his rent-roll, were not con- Murray was fourth son of the fifth tented that her jointure and pin- Viscount Stormont. money should be charged upon his 2 There is a parody of these lines, rood of ground at Westminster Hall, said to be by Cibber : and married her to a squire of broad
Persuasion tips his tongue, whene'er he acres
a midland county.”—Chief talks, Justices, ii. 339.
And he has chambers in the King's Bench
Walks. 1 Lady M. W. Montagu says in her account of the Court of George I. : Pope's couplet has been often “His (the younger Craggs) father noticed as a specimen of the Bádos, was nothing more considerable at'his but it is not quite so much so as it first appearance in the world than sounds, as he is speaking of Murray footman to Lady Mary Mordant, the pleadirg before the highest tribunal gallant Duchess of Norfolk.” This of the land, the House of Lords in statement has been repeated by Lord its judicial capacity, "conspicuous Macaulay, but it rests on mere gossip. scene ;” and then he carries on the The truth is, that the elder Craggs idea, “another yet is nigh.” was the son of Anthony Craggs, Esq., CROKER. of Hole House, near Walsingham, in This is just, but Pope ought to the county of Durham, a gentleman have perceived that the local associaof some estate, which he however had tion would predominate, and when to mortgage or sell in consequence of taken in connection with the highly his extravagance. James came to rhetorical construction of the first London in 1680. He found a patron line would conspire to produce a in the Earl of Arundel, and having “bathos.” The slip is the more unobtained the appointment of steward fortunate as it to a certain extent to the Duke of Norfolk, afterwards spoils the effect of the fine and inmarried a lady of good fortune. See geniously turned compliment to MurMr. Moy Thomas's note on Lady ray that immediately follows. M. W. Montagu's Letters and Works, 3 Two quack doctors. Joshua vol. i. p. 230.
Ward's statue is in the Society of
VOL. III. - POETRY.