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THE SECOND EPISTLE
SECOND BOOK OF HORACE.
This Epistle is addressed to colonel Cotterell, of Rousham, near Oxford, the descendant of sir Charles Cotterell, who, at the desire of Charles I., translated Davila into English. Pope in this poem once more gracefully alludes to his personal circumstances, his self-taught knowlege, his love of a country life, his indifference to wealth, and the resignation with which he was prepared to give up the great world and life together.
Dear colonel, Cobham's and your country's friend,
4 This lad, sir, is of Blois. A town in Beauce, where the French tongue is spoken in great purity.-Warburton.
A perfect genius at an opera-song:
heart. Once, and but once, I caught him in a lie, And then, unwhipp’d, he had the grace to cry: The fault he has I fairly shall reveal; (Could you o'erlook but that) it is to steal.' 20
If, after this, you took the graceless lad, Could you complain, my friend, he proved so bad ? Faith, in such case, if you should prosecute, I think sir Godfrey should decide the suit; Who sent the thief that stole the cash away, 25 And punish'd him that put it in his way.
Consider then, and judge me in this light: I told you, when I went, I could not write ; You said the same; and are you discontent With laws, to which you gave your own assent? Nay, worse,
to ask for verse at such a time! D'ye think me good for nothing but to rhyme ? In Anna's wars, a soldier poor
and old Had dearly earn'd a little purse of gold: Tired with a tedious march, one luckless night, 35 He slept, poor dog! and lost it, to a doit. This put the man in such a desperate mind, Between revenge, and grief, and hunger join'd, Against the foe, himself, and all mankind,
24 Sir Godfrey. Kneller, whom Pope pleasantly describes
• an eminent justice of peace, who decided much after the manner of Sancho Panza.'
And certain laws, by sufferers thought unjust, 60
repose. Years following years, steal something every
day; At last they steal us from ourselves away ; In one our frolics, one amusements end, In one a mistress drops, in one a friend : 75 This subtle thief of life, this paltry time, What will it leave me, if it snatch my rhyme ?
part which Horace took in the civil wars, are among the happiest instances of his felicitous style :
Dura sed emovere loco me tempora grato;
Versus ut facerem. Warton, in the spirit of a scholar, observes this apologetical delicacy of throwing the blame on necessity, inexperience, and the whirl of the time. Horace had the high command, of a legion ;-a command equivalent to that of a British majorgeneral.
70 Monroes. Dr. Monroe, physician to Bedlam-hospital.