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"given to Men of Letters, who were often "reduced to the hard Neceffity of Writing "for Bread; and that notwithstanding the "World allowed their Merit, and admired "their Writings. Statius is brought in, as "an unhappy Example of this ill Ufage.

Curritur ad vocem, &c.

"From this Paffage we learn, that Statius "wrote a Tragedy, which Paris purchased, "who from a Player, was become the Em

peror's Minion, the Poet being reduced to "fell it for his Subfiftence. This Circum"stance perhaps might have introduced our "Poet to that Favourite, for I do not find, "that after his Admiffion to his Patronage, "he wanted the Conveniences of Life. How"ever it does not appear from what has been quoted, that Juvenal has spoken reproachfully of him, but rather has given him great and real Commendations, and has particularly taken Notice of his noble Style; "the Translator has altogether favoured this "Senfe. This Teftimony deferves the more

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to be confidered, as coming from one, "whom both his Friendship to Martial, and "Hatred to the Court might reasonably be prefumed to have made our Author's Enemy."


BUT to return to our Poet, he had no
fooner finished his Thebaid, than he formed
his Plan of the Achilleid, a Work, in which
he intended to take in the whole Life of his
Hero, and not one fingle Action, as Homer
has done in the Iliad. This he left imper-
fect, dying at Naples in the Reign of Trajan,
before he had well finished two Books of it.

WHEN he was young, he fell in Love
with, and married a Widow, Daughter of
Claudius Apollinaris, a Musician of Naples:
He defcribes her in his Poems, as a very
beautiful, learned, ingenious and virtuous
Woman, and a great Proficient in his own
favorite Study of Poefy. Her Society was a
Solace to him in his heavy Hours, and her
Judgment of no small Ufe in his Poem, as
he himself has confessed to us in his Sylvæ.

Longi tu fola Laboris

Confcia, cumque tuis crevit mea Thebais annis.
A Woman of fuch Qualifications, as these
could not fail of commanding his warmest
Love and Refpect. He infcribed several of
his Verses to her, and as a Mark of his Af-
fection behaved with fingular Tenderness to
a Daughter, which he had by a former
Hufband. During his Abfence at Naples for
the Space of twenty Years, she behaved with
the strictest Fidelity, and at length followed

him, and died there. He had no Children by her; and therefore adopted a Son, whofe Death he bewails in a very pathetic Manner.

Tellure cadentem

Excepi, et vinctum genitali carmine fovi,
Pofcentemque novas tremulis ululatibus auras
Inferui vita: quid plus tribuere Parentes?
Nonne gemam te, care Puer, quo fofpite natos
Non cupii?

This (as Dr. Crucius obferves) is a good Ar-
gument, that Domitian and Paris's Bounty
had fet him above Want; one, if not the
principal End, of Adoption being to have
one to inherit, what we leave behind us,
whofe grateful Behaviour, and filial Duty
might supply the Place of a true Son. Be-
fides the Poet informs us, that he had a small
Country-Seat in Tuscany, where Alba for-
merly stood.

Parvi beatus ruris Honoribus,

Quà prifca Teucros Alba colit Lares,
Fortem atque facundum Severum
Non folitis fidibus faluto.


WITH Regard to his moral Character, Characour Author stands unimpeached; and from what we can collect, he appears to have been religious almost to Superftition, an affection


Effay on

the The faid.

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ate Husband, a loyal Subject, and good Citizen. Some Critics however have not fcrupled to accufe him of grofs Flattery to Domitian. That he paid his Court to him with a view to Intereft, cannot be denied: fo did Virgil to Auguftus, and Lucan to Nero: and it is more than probable, his Patron had not yet arrived to that Pitch of Wickedness and Impiety, at the Time he wrote his Poem, as he shew'd afterwards. Envy made no Part of his Compofition. That he acknowledged Merit, wherever he found it, his Genethliacon of Lucan, and Encomia on Virgil, bear ample Teftimony. Nay, he carried his Reverence for the Memory of the latter almost to Ado-▾ ration, constantly vifiting his Tomb, and celebrating his Birth-Day with great SolemniHis Tragedy of Agave excepted, we have all his Works, confifting of his Sylva, or miscellaneous Pieces, in five Books, his Thebaid in twelve, and his Achilleid in two.


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HAVING laid before the Reader the most . authenticated Accounts we have of our Poet's : Life, I fhall now deliver my Sentiments of the Work in general freely and impartially; not having the Vanity to expect the World will abide by my Opinion, nor invidiously. detracting from the Merit of other Authors, to fet that of Statius in a more advantageous { Light, as has been the Practice of fome li


terary Bigots. So confcious am I of the Want of critical Abilities, that I fhould have declined faying any thing by Way of differtation, had not my more able Predeceffors entailed it upon me, and by their Examples, rendered it the indispensable Duty of each fucceeding Translator. Therefore if any Thing is advanced contrary to the Doctrine of the Critics, Youth muft plead for me, and procure that Pardon, which would be denied to Perfons of a more mature Judg


As the World is no longer fo bigotted to Ariftotle and Bofu, as to reject a Work merely because it is not written according to their particular rules, I shall not trouble myfelf to enquire, whether the Thebaid is an Epic Poem, or not. Sufficient is it to ob ferve, that Mr. Pope thought it so; and that it has a better Title to the Name, than the Pharfalia of Lucan, which Mr. de Voltaire, in his paradoxical Effay, has termed one. However before we proceed to a critical Dis quifition of it's Merit, it is neceffary to inform the Reader, that the Event therein spoken of, and described, happened about 1251 Years before the Birth of our Saviour, and 42 before the Destruction of Troy. The Purport of the History is this,

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