The Works of John Dryden, now first collected in eighteen volumes. Volume 15 by Dryden, John























Æneis, Book VIII 1

Notes on Book VIII 29

Book IX 30

Notes on Book IX 62

Book X 64

Notes on Book X 102

Book XI 105

Book XII 143

Notes on Book XII 182

Postscript to the Reader, 187


An Essay upon Satire, 201

A familiar Epistle to Mr Julian, 218

The Art of Poetry, 227

Tarquin and Tullia, 267

On the young Statesmen, 273

Suum cuique, 276


Essay of Dramatic Poesy, 283

Dedication to the Earl of Dorset and Middlesex, 286

Heads of an Answer to Mr Rymer's Remarks on the Tragedies of the last Age, 383

Preface to Notes and Observations on the Empress of Morocco, 397

Preface to the Husband his own Cuckold, 414




_The war being now begun, both the generals make all possible preparations. Turnus sends to Diomedes. Æneas goes in person to beg succours from Evander and the Tuscans. Evander receives him kindly, furnishes him with men, and sends his son Pallas with him. Vulcan, at the request of Venus, makes arms for her son Æneas, and draws on his shield the most memorable actions of his posterity._

When Turnus had assembled all his powers, His standard planted on Laurentum's towers, When now the sprightly trumpet, from afar, Had given the signal of approaching war, Had roused the neighing steeds to scour the fields, While the fierce riders clattered on their shields, Trembling with rage, the Latian youth prepare To join the allies, and headlong rush to war. Fierce Ufens, and Messapus, led the crowd, With bold Mezentius, who blasphemed aloud. These through the country took their wasteful course, The fields to forage, and to gather force. Then Venulus to Diomede they send, To beg his aid Ausonia to defend, Declare the common danger, and inform The Grecian leader of the growing storm: "Æneas, landed on the Latian coast, With banished gods, and with a baffled host, Yet now aspired to conquest of the state, And claimed a title from the gods and fate; What numerous nations in his quarrel came, And how they spread his formidable name. What he designed, what mischiefs might arise, If fortune favoured his first enterprize, Was left for him to weigh, whose equal fears, And common interest, was involved in theirs." While Turnus and the allies thus urge the war, } The Trojan, floating in a flood of care, } Beholds the tempest which his foes prepare. } This way, and that, he turns his anxious mind; Thinks and rejects the counsels he designed; Explores himself in vain, in every part, And gives no rest to his distracted heart. So, when the sun by day, or moon by night, Strike on the polished brass their trembling light,[1] The glittering species here and there divide, And cast their dubious beams from side to side; Now on the walls, now on the pavement play, And to the cieling flash the glaring day. 'Twas night; and weary nature lulled asleep The birds of air, and fishes of the deep, And beasts, and mortal men. The Trojan chief } Was laid on Tyber's banks, oppressed with grief, } And found, in silent slumber, late relief. } Then, through the shadows of the poplar wood, Arose the father of the Roman flood; An azure robe was o'er his body spread, A wreath of shady reeds adorned his head: Thus, manifest to sight, the god appeared, And with these pleasing words his sorrow cheered:-- "Undoubted offspring of etherial race, O long expected in this promised place! Who, through the foes, hast borne thy banished gods, Restored them to their hearths, and old abodes-- This is thy happy home, the clime where fate Ordains thee to restore the Trojan state. Fear not! The war shall end in lasting peace, And all the rage of haughty Juno cease. And that this nightly vision may not seem The effect of fancy, or an idle dream, A sow beneath an oak shall lie along, All white herself, and white her thirty young. When thirty rolling years have run their race, Thy son Ascanius, on this empty space, Shall build a royal town, of lasting fame, Which from this omen shall receive the name. Time shall approve the truth.--For what remains, And how with sure success to crown thy pains, With patience next attend. A banished band, Driven with Evander from the Arcadian land, Have planted here, and placed on high their walls; Their town the founder Pallanteum calls, Derived from Pallas, his great grandsire's name: But the fierce Latians old possession claim, With war infesting the new colony. These make thy friends, and on their aid rely. To thy free passage I submit my streams. Wake, son of Venus, from thy pleasing dreams; And, when the setting stars are lost in day, To Juno's power thy just devotion pay; With sacrifice the wrathful queen appease: Her pride at length shall fall, her fury cease. When thou return'st victorious from the war, Perform thy vows to me with grateful care. The god am I, whose yellow water flows Around these fields, and fattens as it goes: Tyber my name--among the rolling floods, Renowned on earth, esteemed among the gods. This is my certain seat. In times to come, My waves shall wash the walls of mighty Rome." He said; and plunged below. While yet he spoke, His dream Æneas and his sleep forsook. He rose, and, looking up, beheld the skies With purple blushing, and the day arise. Then water in his hollow palm he took From Tyber's flood, and thus the powers bespoke:-- "Laurentian nymphs, by whom the streams are fed, And father Tyber, in thy sacred bed Receive Æneas, and from danger keep. Whatever fount, whatever holy deep, Conceals thy watery stores--where'er they rise, And, bubbling from below, salute the skies-- Thou, king of horned floods, whose plenteous urn Suffices fatness to the fruitful corn, For this thy kind compassion of our woes, Shalt share my morning song, and evening vows. But, oh! be present to thy people's aid, And firm the gracious promise thou hast made." Thus having said, two galleys, from his stores, With care he chuses, mans, and fits with oars. Now on the shore the fatal swine is found-- Wonderous to tell!--She lay along the ground: Her well-fed offspring at her udders hung; She white herself, and white her thirty young. Æneas takes the mother and her brood, And all on Juno's altar are bestowed.[2] The following night, and the succeeding day, Propitious Tyber smoothed his watery way: He rolled his river back, and poised he stood, A gentle swelling, and a peaceful flood. The Trojans mount their ships; they put from shore, Borne on the waves, and scarcely dip an oar. Shouts from the land give omen to their course, And the pitched vessels glide with easy force. The woods and waters wonder at the gleam Of shields, and painted ships that stem the stream. One summer's night and one whole day they pass Betwixt the greenwood shades, and cut the liquid glass. The fiery sun had finished half his race, Looked back, and doubted in the middle space, When they from far beheld the rising towers, The tops of sheds, and shepherds' lowly bowers, Thin as they stood, which, then of homely clay, Now rise in marble, from the Roman sway. These cots (Evander's kingdom, mean and poor) The Trojan saw, and turned his ships to shore. 'Twas on a solemn day: the Arcadian states, The king and prince, without the city gates, Then paid their offerings in a sacred grove To Hercules, the warrior son of Jove. Thick clouds of rolling smoke involve the skies, And fat of entrails on his altar fries. But, when they saw the ships that stemmed the flood, And glittered through the covert of the wood, They rose with fear, and left the unfinished feast, Till dauntless Pallas re-assured the rest To pay the rites. Himself without delay A javelin seized, and singly took his way, Then gained a rising ground, and called from far:-- } "Resolve me, strangers, whence, and what you are; } Your business here; and bring you peace or war?" } High on the stern Æneas took his stand, And held a branch of olive in his hand, While thus he spoke:--"The Phrygians' arms you see, Expelled from Troy, provoked in Italy By Latian foes, with war unjustly made-- At first affianced, and at last betrayed. This message bear:--The Trojans and their chief Bring holy peace, and beg the king's relief." Struck with so great a name, and all on fire, The youth replies:--"Whatever you require, Your fame exacts. Upon our shores descend, A welcome guest, and, what you wish, a friend." He said, and, downward hasting to the strand, Embraced the stranger prince, and joined his hand. Conducted to the grove, Æneas broke The silence first, and thus the king bespoke:-- "Best of the Greeks! to whom, by fate's command, I bear these peaceful branches in my hand-- Undaunted I approach you, though I know Your birth is Grecian, and your land my foe; From Atreus though your ancient lineage came, And both the brother kings your kindred claim; Yet, my self-conscious worth, your high renown, Your virtue, through the neighbouring nations blown, Our fathers' mingled blood, Apollo's voice, Have led me hither, less by need than choice. Our father Dardanus, as fame has sung, And Greeks acknowledge, from Electra sprung: Electra from the loins of Atlas came-- Atlas, whose head sustains the starry frame. Your sire is Mercury, whom long before On cold Cyllene's top fair Maia bore. Maia the fair, on fame if we rely, Was Atlas daughter, who sustains the sky. Thus from one common source our streams divide; Ours is the Trojan, yours the Arcadian side. Raised by these hopes, I sent no news before, } Nor asked your leave, nor did your faith implore; } But come, without a pledge, my own ambassador. } The same Rutulians, who with arms pursue The Trojan race, are equal foes to you. Our host expelled, what farther force can stay The victor troops from universal sway? Then will they stretch their power athwart the land, And either sea from side to side command. Receive our offered faith, and give us thine; Ours is a generous and experienced line: We want not hearts nor bodies for the war; In council cautious, and in fields we dare." He said; and, while he spoke, with piercing eyes Evander viewed the man with vast surprise-- Pleased with his action, ravished with his face; Then answered briefly, with a royal grace:-- "O valiant leader of the Trojan line, In whom the features of thy father shine! How I recall Anchises! how I see His motions, mien, and all my friend, in thee! Long though it be, 'tis fresh within my mind, When Priam to his sister's court designed A welcome visit, with a friendly stay, And through the Arcadian kingdom took his way. Then, past a boy, the callow down began To shade my chin, and call me first a man. I saw the shining train with vast delight, And Priam's goodly person pleased my sight: But great Anchises, far above the rest, With awful wonder fired my youthful breast. I longed to join, in friendship's holy bands, Our mutual hearts, and plight our mutual hands. I first accosted him: I sued, I sought, And, with a loving force, to Pheneus brought. He gave me, when at length constrained to go, A Lycian quiver and a Gnossian bow, A vest embroidered, glorious to behold, } And two rich bridles, with their bits of gold, } Which my son's coursers in obedience hold. } The league you ask, I offer, as your right; And, when to-morrow's sun reveals the light, With swift supplies you shall be sent away. } Now celebrate, with us, this solemn day, } Whose holy rites admit no long delay. } Honour our annual feast; and take your seat, With friendly welcome, at a homely treat." Thus having said, the bowls (removed for fear) The youths replaced, and soon restored the cheer. On sods of turf he set the soldiers round: A maple throne, raised higher from the ground, Received the Trojan chief; and, o'er the bed, A lion's shaggy hide, for ornament, they spread. The loaves were served in canisters; the wine } In bowls; the priest renewed the rites divine: } Broiled entrails are their food, and beef's continued chine. } But, when the rage of hunger was repressed, Thus spoke Evander to his royal guest:-- "These rites, these altars, and this feast, O king, From no vain fears or superstition spring, Or blind devotion, or from blinder chance, Or heady zeal, or brutal ignorance: But, saved from danger, with a grateful sense, The labours of a god we recompense. See, from afar, yon rock that mates the sky, About whose feet such heaps of rubbish lie; Such indigested ruin; bleak and bare, How desert now it stands, exposed in air! 'Twas once a robber's den, inclosed around With living stone, and deep beneath the ground, The monster Cacus, more than half a beast, This hold, impervious to the sun, possessed. The pavement ever foul with human gore; Heads, and their mangled members, hung the door. Vulcan this plague begot; and, like his sire, Black clouds he belched, and flakes of livid fire. Time, long expected, eased us of our load, And brought the needful presence of a god. The avenging force of Hercules, from Spain, } Arrived in triumph, from Geryon slain:-- } Thrice lived the giant, and thrice lived in vain. } His prize, the lowing herds, Alcides drove Near Tyber's banks, to graze the shady grove. Allured with hope of plunder, and intent By force to rob, by fraud to circumvent, The brutal Cacus, as by chance they strayed, Four oxen thence, and four fair kine, conveyed. And, lest the printed footsteps might be seen, He dragged them backwards to his rocky den. The tracks averse a lying notice gave, And led the searcher backward from the cave. Meantime the herdsman hero shifts his place, To find fresh pasture and untrodden grass. The beasts, who missed their mates, filled all around With bellowings, and the rocks restored the sound. One heifer, who had heard her love complain, Roared from the cave, and made the project vain. Alcides found the fraud; with rage he shook, And tossed about his head his knotted oak. Swift as the winds, or Scythian arrows' flight, He clomb, with eager haste, the aërial height. Then first we saw the monster mend his pace; Fear in his eyes, and paleness in his face, Confessed the god's approach. Trembling he springs, As terror had increased his feet with wings; Nor stayed for stairs; but down the depth he threw His body, on his back the door he drew: (The door, a rib of living rock; with pains His father hewed it out, and bound with iron chains,) He broke the heavy links, the mountain closed, And bars and levers to his foe opposed. The wretch had hardly made his dungeon fast; The fierce avenger came with bounding haste; Surveyed the mouth of the forbidden hold, And here and there his raging eyes he rolled. He gnashed his teeth; and thrice he compassed round With winged speed the circuit of the ground. Thrice at the cavern's mouth he pulled in vain, And, panting, thrice desisted from his pain. A pointed flinty rock, all bare and black, Grew gibbous from behind the mountain's back; Owls, ravens, all ill omens of the night, Here built their nests, and hither winged their flight. The leaning head hung threatening o'er the flood, And nodded to the left. The hero stood Averse, with planted feet, and, from the right, Tugged at the solid stone with all his might. Thus heaved, the fixed foundations of the rock Gave way; heaven echoed at the rattling shock. Tumbling, it choked the flood: on either side The banks leap backward, and the streams divide; The sky shrunk upward with unusual dread, And trembling Tyber dived beneath his bed. The court of Cacus stands revealed to sight; The cavern glares with new-admitted light. So the pent vapours, with a rumbling sound, Heave from below, and rend the hollow ground; A sounding flaw succeeds; and, from on high, The gods with hate behold[3] the nether sky: The ghosts repine at violated night, And curse the invading sun, and sicken at the sight. The graceless monster, caught in open day, Inclosed, and in despair to fly away, Howls horrible from underneath, and fills His hollow palace with unmanly yells. The hero stands above, and from afar Plies him with darts, and stones, and distant war. He, from his nostrils and huge mouth, expires Black clouds of smoke, amidst his father's fires, Gathering, with each repeated blast, the night, To make uncertain aim, and erring sight. The wrathful god then plunges from above, And, where in thickest waves the sparkles drove, There lights; and wades through fumes, and gropes his way, Half singed, half stifled, till he grasps his prey. The monster, spewing fruitless flames, he found; } He squeezed his throat; he writhed his neck around, } And in a knot his crippled members bound; } Then, from their sockets, tore his burning eyes. Rolled on a heap, the breathless robber lies. The doors, unbarred, receive the rushing day, And thorough lights disclose the ravished prey. The bulls, redeemed, breathe open air agen. Next, by the feet, they drag him from his den. The wondering neighbourhood, with glad surprise, } Beheld his shagged breast, his giant size, } His mouth that flames no more, and his extinguished eyes. } From that auspicious day, with rites divine, We worship at the hero's holy shrine. Potitius first ordained these annual vows: As priests, were added the Pinarian house, Who raised this altar in the sacred shade, Where honours, ever due, for ever shall be paid. For these deserts, and this high virtue shown, Ye warlike youths, your heads with garlands crown: Fill high the goblets with a sparkling flood, And with deep draughts invoke our common god." This said, a double wreath Evander twined, And poplars black and white his temples bind. Then brims his ample bowl. With like design The rest invoke the gods, with sprinkled wine. Meantime the sun descended from the skies, And the bright evening-star began to rise. And now the priests, Potitius at their head, In skins of beasts involved, the long procession led; Held high the flaming tapers in their hands, As custom had prescribed their holy bands; Then with a second course the tables load, And with full chargers offer to the god. The Salii sing, and cense his altars round With Saban smoke, their heads with poplar bound-- One choir of old, another of the young, To dance, and bear the burden of the song. The lay records the labours, and the praise, And all the immortal acts of Hercules: First, how the mighty babe, when swathed in bands, The serpents strangled with his infant hands; Then, as in years and matchless force he grew, The Œchalian walls, and Trojan, overthrew. Besides, a thousand hazards they relate, Procured by Juno's and Eurystheus' hate. "Thy hands, unconquered hero, could subdue The cloud-born Centaurs, and the monster crew: Nor thy resistless arm the bull withstood, Nor he, the roaring terror of the wood. The triple porter of the Stygian seat, } With lolling tongue, lay fawning at thy feet, } And, seized with fear, forgot his mangled meat. } The infernal waters trembled at thy sight; Thee, god! no face of danger could affright; Not huge Typhöeus, nor the unnumbered snake, Increased with hissing heads, in Lerna's lake. Hail, Jove's undoubted son! an added grace To heaven and the great author of thy race! Receive the grateful offerings which we pay, And smile propitious on thy solemn day!" In numbers thus they sung: above the rest, The den and death of Cacus crown the feast. The woods to hollow vales convey the sound, The vales to hills, and hills the notes rebound. The rites performed, the cheerful train retire. Betwixt young Pallas and his aged sire, The Trojan passed, the city to survey, And pleasing talk beguiled the tedious way. The stranger cast around his curious eyes, New objects viewing still with new surprise; With greedy joy inquires of various things, And acts and monuments of ancient kings. Then thus the founder of the Roman towers:-- "These woods were first the seat of sylvan powers, Of Nymphs and Fauns, and savage men, who took Their birth from trunks of trees and stubborn oak. Nor laws they knew, nor manners, nor the care } Of labouring oxen, nor the shining share, } Nor arts of gain, nor what they gained to spare. } Their exercise the chase; the running flood Supplied their thirst, the trees supplied their food. Then Saturn came, who fled the power of Jove, Robbed of his realms, and banished from above. The men, dispersed on hills, to towns he brought, And laws ordained, and civil customs taught, And Latium called the land where safe he lay From his unduteous son, and his usurping sway. With his mild empire, peace and plenty came; And hence the golden times derived their name. A more degenerate and discoloured age Succeeded this, with avarice and rage. The Ausonians then, and bold Sicanians, came; And Saturn's empire often changed the name. Then kings--gigantic Tybris, and the rest-- With arbitrary sway the land oppressed: For Tyber's flood was Albula before, Till, from the tyrant's fate, his name it bore. I last arrived, driven from my native home, By fortune's power, and fate's resistless doom. Long tossed on seas, I sought this happy land, Warned by my mother nymph, and called by heaven's command." Thus, walking on, he spoke, and shewed the gate, Since called Carmental by the Roman state; Where stood an altar, sacred to the name Of old Carmenta, the prophetic dame, Who to her son foretold the Ænean race, Sublime in fame, and Rome's imperial place;-- Then shews the forests, which, in after-times, Fierce Romulus, for perpetrated crimes, A sacred refuge made;--with this, the shrine Where Pan below the rock had rites divine;-- Then tells of Argus' death, his murdered guest, Whose grave and tomb his innocence attest. Thence, to the steep Tarpeian rock he leads-- Now roofed with gold, then thatched with homely reeds. A reverent fear (such superstition reigns Among the rude) even then possessed the swains. Some god, they knew--what god, they could not tell-- Did there amidst the sacred horror dwell. The Arcadians thought him Jove; and said they saw The mighty Thunderer with majestic awe, Who shook his shield, and dealt his bolts around, And scattered tempests on the teeming ground. Then saw two heaps of ruins, (once they stood Two stately towns, on either side the flood,) Saturnia's and Janiculum's remains; And either place the founder's name retains. Discoursing thus together, they resort Where poor Evander kept his country court. They viewed the ground of Rome's litigious hall; (Once oxen lowed, where now the lawyers bawl,) Then, stooping, through the narrow gate they pressed, When thus the king bespoke his Trojan guest:-- "Mean as it is, this palace, and this door, Received Alcides, then a conqueror. Dare to be poor; accept our homely food, Which feasted him, and emulate a god." Then underneath a lowly roof he led } The weary prince, and laid him on a bed; } The stuffing leaves with hides of bears o'erspread. } Now night had shed her silver dews around, And with her sable wings embraced the ground, When love's fair goddess, anxious for her son, (New tumults rising, and new wars begun,) Couched with her husband in his golden bed, With these alluring words invokes his aid-- And, that her pleasing speech his mind may move, Inspires each accent with the charms of love:-- "While cruel fate conspired with Grecian powers, To level with the ground the Trojan towers, I asked not aid the unhappy to restore, Nor did the succour of thy skill implore; Nor urged the labours of my lord in vain, A sinking empire longer to sustain, Though much I owed to Priam's house, and more The danger of Æneas did deplore. But now, by Jove's command, and fate's decree, His race is doomed to reign in Italy; With humble suit I beg thy needful art, O still propitious power, that rul'st my heart! A mother kneels a suppliant for her son. By Thetis and Aurora thou wert won To forge impenetrable shields, and grace With fated arms a less illustrious race. Behold, what haughty nations are combined Against the reliques of the Phrygian kind, With fire and sword my people to destroy, And conquer Venus twice, in conquering Troy." She said; and strait her arms, of snowy hue, About her unresolving husband threw. Her soft embraces soon infuse desire; } His bones and marrow sudden warmth inspire; } And all the godhead feels the wonted fire. } Not half so swift the rattling thunder flies, Or forky lightnings flash along the skies. The goddess, proud of her successful wiles, And conscious of her form, in secret smiles. Then thus the power, obnoxious to her charms, Panting, and half dissolving in her arms:-- "Why seek you reasons for a cause so just, Or your own beauties or my love distrust? Long since, had you required my helpful hand, The artificer and art you might command, To labour arms for Troy: nor Jove, nor Fate, Confined their empire to so short a date. And, if you now desire new wars to wage, My skill I promise, and my pains engage. Whatever melting metals can conspire, Or breathing bellows, or the forming fire, Is freely yours: your anxious fears remove, And think no task is difficult to love." Trembling he spoke; and, eager of her charms, He snatched the willing goddess to his arms; Till, in her lap infused, he lay possessed Of full desire, and sunk to pleasing rest. Now when the night her middle race had rode, And his first slumber had refreshed the god-- The time when early housewives leave the bed; When living embers on the hearth they spread, Supply the lamp, and call the maids to rise;-- With yawning mouths, and with half-opened eyes, They ply the distaff by the winking light, And to their daily labour add the night: Thus frugally they earn their children's bread, And uncorrupted keep their nuptial bed-- Not less concerned, nor at a later hour, Rose from his downy couch the forging power. Sacred to Vulcan's name, an isle there lay, Betwixt Sicilia's coasts and Lipare, Raised high on smoking rocks: and, deep below, In hollow caves the fires of Ætna glow. The Cyclops here their heavy hammers deal; Loud strokes, and hissings of tormented steel, Are heard around; the boiling waters roar, And smoky flames through fuming tunnels soar. Hither the father of the fire, by night, Through the brown air precipitates his flight. On their eternal anvils here he found The brethren beating, and the blows go round: A load of pointless thunder now there lies Before their hands, to ripen for the skies: These darts, for angry Jove, they daily cast-- Consumed on mortals with prodigious waste. Three rays of writhen rain, of fire three more, Of winged southern winds and cloudy store As many parts, the dreadful mixture frame; And fears are added, and avenging flame. Inferior ministers, for Mars, repair His broken axle-trees, and blunted war, And send him forth again with furbished arms, To wake the lazy war, with trumpets' loud alarms. The rest refresh the scaly snakes, that fold The shield of Pallas, and renew their gold. Full on the crest the Gorgon's head they place, With eyes that roll in death, and with distorted face. "My sons!" said Vulcan, "set your tasks aside; Your strength and master-skill must now be tried. Arms for a hero forge--arms that require Your force, your speed, and all your forming fire." He said. They set their former work aside, And their new toils with eager haste divide. A flood of molten silver, brass, and gold, And deadly steel, in the large furnace rolled; Of this, their artful hands a shield prepare, Alone sufficient to sustain the war. Seven orbs within a spacious round they close: One stirs the fire, and one the bellows blows. The hissing steel is in the smithy drowned; The grot with beaten anvils groans around. By turns, their arms advance in equal time; By turns, their hands descend, and hammers chime. They turn the glowing mass with crooked tongs; The fiery work proceeds, with rustic songs. While, at the Lemnian god's command, they urge Their labours thus, and ply the Æolian forge, The cheerful morn salutes Evander's eyes, And songs of chirping birds invite to rise. He leaves his lowly bed: his buskins meet Above his ankles; sandals sheath his feet: He sets his trusty sword upon his side, And o'er his shoulder throws a panther's hide. Two menial dogs before their master press'd. Thus clad, and guarded thus, he seeks his kingly guest. Mindful of promised aid, he mends his pace, But meets Æneas in the middle space. Young Pallas did his father's steps attend, And true Achates waited on his friend. They join their hands; a secret seat they chuse; The Arcadian first their former talk renews: "Undaunted prince! I never can believe The Trojan empire lost, while you survive. Command the assistance of a faithful friend: But feeble are the succours I can send. Our narrow kingdom here the Tyber bounds; } That other side the Latian state surrounds, } Insults our walls, and wastes our fruitful grounds. } But mighty nations I prepare to join Their arms with yours, and aid your just design. You come, as by your better genius sent, And Fortune seems to favour your intent. Not far from hence there stands a hilly town, Of ancient building, and of high renown, Torn from the Tuscans by the Lydian race, Who gave the name of Cære to the place, Once Agyllina called. It flourished long, In pride of wealth and warlike people strong, Till cursed Mezentius, in a fatal hour, Assumed the crown, with arbitrary power. What words can paint those execrable times, The subjects' sufferings, and the tyrant's crimes? That blood, those murders, O ye gods! replace On his own head, and on his impious race! The living and the dead, at his command, Were coupled, face to face, and hand to hand, Till, choked with stench, in loathed embraces tied, The lingering wretches pined away and died. Thus plunged in ills, and meditating more-- The people's patience, tried, no longer bore The raging monster; but with arms beset His house, and vengeance and destruction threat. They fire his palace: while the flame ascends, They force his guards, and execute his friends. He cleaves the crowd, and, favoured by the night, To Turnus' friendly court directs his flight. By just revenge the Tuscans set on fire, With arms, their king to punishment require: Their numerous troops, now mustered on the strand, My counsel shall submit to your command. Their navy swarms upon the coasts; they cry To hoist their anchors, but the gods deny. An ancient augur, skilled in future fate, With these foreboding words restrains their hate:-- "Ye brave in arms, ye Lydian blood, the flower Of Tuscan youth, and choice of all their power, Whom just revenge against Mezentius arms, To seek your tyrant's death by lawful arms! Know this: no native of our land may lead This powerful people; seek a foreign head." Awed with these words, in camps they still abide, And wait with longing looks their promised guide. Tarchon, the Tuscan chief, to me has sent Their crown, and every regal ornament: The people join their own with his desire; And all my conduct, as their king, require. But the chill blood that creeps within my veins, And age, and listless limbs unfit for pains, And a soul conscious of its own decay, Have forced me to refuse imperial sway. My Pallas were more fit to mount the throne, And should, but he's a Sabine mother's son, And half a native: but, in you, combine A manly vigour, and a foreign line. Where Fate and smiling Fortune shew the way, Pursue the ready path to sovereign sway. The staff of my declining days, my son, Shall make your good or ill success his own; In fighting fields, from you shall learn to dare, And serve the hard apprenticeship of war; Your matchless courage and your conduct view, And early shall begin to admire and copy you. Besides, two hundred horse he shall command-- Though few, a warlike and well-chosen band. These in my name are listed; and my son As many more has added in his own." Scarce had he said; Achates and his guest, With downcast eyes, their silent grief expressed; Who, short of succours, and in deep despair, Shook at the dismal prospect of the war. But his bright mother, from a breaking cloud, To cheer her issue, thundered thrice aloud; Thrice forky lightning flashed along the sky, And Tyrrhene trumpets thrice were heard on high. Then, gazing up, repeated peals they hear; And in a heaven serene, refulgent arms appear: Reddening the skies, and glittering all around, The tempered metals clash, and yield a silver sound. The rest stood trembling: struck with awe divine, Æneas only, conscious to the sign, Presaged the event, and joyful viewed, above, The accomplished promise of the queen of love. Then, to the Arcadian king:--"This prodigy (Dismiss your fear) belongs alone to me. Heaven calls me to the war: the expected sign Is given of promised aid, and arms divine. My goddess mother, whose indulgent care Foresaw the dangers of the growing war, This omen gave, when bright Vulcanian arms, Fated from force of steel by Stygian charms, Suspended, shone on high: she then foreshowed Approaching fights, and fields to float in blood. Turnus shall dearly pay for faith forsworn; And corps, and swords, and shields, on Tyber borne, Shall choke his flood: now sound the loud alarms; And, Latian troops, prepare your perjured arms." He said, and, rising from his homely throne, The solemn rites of Hercules begun, And on his altars waked the sleeping fires; Then cheerful to his household gods retires; There offers chosen sheep. The Arcadian king And Trojan youth the same oblations bring. Next, of his men and ships he makes review; Draws out the best, and ablest of the crew. Down with the falling stream the refuse run, To raise with joyful news his drooping son. Steeds are prepared to mount the Trojan band, Who wait their leader to the Tyrrhene land. A sprightly courser, fairer than the rest, The king himself presents his royal guest. A lion's hide his back and limbs infold, Precious with studded work, and paws of gold. Fame through the little city spreads aloud The intended march: amid the fearful crowd, The matrons beat their breasts, dissolve in tears, And double their devotion in their fears. The war at hand appears with more affright, And rises every moment to the sight. Then old Evander, with a close embrace, Strained his departing friend; and tears o'erflow his face. "Would heaven (said he) my strength and youth recal, Such as I was beneath Præneste's wall-- Then when I made the foremost foes retire, And set whole heaps of conquered shields on fire; When Herilus in single fight I slew, Whom with three lives Feronia did endue; And thrice I sent him to the Stygian shore, Till the last ebbing soul returned no more-- Such if I stood renewed, not these alarms, Nor death, should rend me from my Pallas' arms; Nor proud Mezentius thus, unpunished, boast His rapes and murders on the Tuscan coast. Ye gods! and mighty Jove! in pity bring Relief, and hear a father and a king! If fate and you reserve these eyes, to see My son returned with peace and victory; If the loved boy shall bless his father's sight; If we shall meet again with more delight; Then draw my life in length; let me sustain, In hopes of his embrace, the worst of pain. But, if your hard decrees--which, O! I dread-- Have doomed to death his undeserving head; This, O! this very moment let me die, While hopes and fears in equal balance lie; While, yet possessed of all his youthful charms, I strain him close within these aged arms-- Before that fatal news my soul shall wound!" He said, and, swooning, sunk upon the ground. His servants bore him off, and softly laid His languished limbs upon his homely bed. The horsemen march; the gates are opened wide; Æneas at their head, Achates by his side. Next these, the Trojan leaders rode along; Last, follows in the rear the Arcadian throng. Young Pallas shone conspicuous o'er the rest; Gilded his arms, embroidered was his vest. So, from the seas, exerts his radiant head The star, by whom the lights of heaven are led; Shakes from his rosy locks the pearly dews, Dispels the darkness, and the day renews. The trembling wives the walls and turrets crowd, And follow, with their eyes, the dusty cloud, Which winds disperse by fits, and shew from far The blaze of arms, and shields, and shining war. The troops, drawn up in beautiful array, O'er heathy plains pursue the ready way. Repeated peals of shouts are heard around; } The neighing coursers answer to the sound, } And shake with horny hoofs the solid ground. } A greenwood shade, for long religion known, Stands by the streams that wash the Tuscan town, Incompassed round with gloomy hills above, Which add a holy horror to the grove. The first inhabitants, of Grecian blood, That sacred forest to Silvanus vowed, The guardian of their flocks and fields--and pay Their due devotions on his annual day. Not far from hence, along the river's side, In tents secure, the Tuscan troops abide, By Tarchon led. Now, from a rising ground, Æneas cast his wondering eyes around, And all the Tyrrhene army had in sight, Stretched on the spacious plain from left to right. Thither his warlike train the Trojan led, Refreshed his men, and wearied horses fed. Meantime the mother goddess, crowned with charms, Breaks through the clouds, and brings the fated arms. Within a winding vale she finds her son, On the cool river's banks, retired alone. She shews her heavenly form without disguise, And gives herself to his desiring eyes. "Behold (she said) performed, in every part, My promise made, and Vulcan's laboured art. Now seek, secure, the Latian enemy, And haughty Turnus to the field defy." She said: and, having first her son embraced, The radiant arms beneath an oak she placed. Proud of the gift, he rolled his greedy sight Around the work, and gazed with vast delight. He lifts, he turns, he poises, and admires The crested helm, that vomits radiant fires: His hands the fatal sword and corslet hold, One keen with tempered steel, one stiff with gold: Both ample, flaming both, and beamy bright; So shines a cloud, when edged with adverse light. He shakes the pointed spear, and longs to try The plaited cuishes on his manly thigh; But most admires the shield's mysterious mould, And Roman triumphs rising on the gold: For there, embossed, the heavenly smith had wrought (Not in the rolls of future fate untaught) The wars in order, and the race divine Of warriors issuing from the Julian line. The cave of Mars was dressed with mossy greens: There, by the wolf, were laid the martial twins. Intrepid on her swelling dugs they hung: The foster-dam lolled out her fawning tongue: They sucked secure, while, bending back her head, She licked their tender limbs, and formed them as they fed. Not far from thence new Rome appears, with games Projected for the rape of Sabine dames. The pit resounds with shrieks; a war succeeds, For breach of public faith, and unexampled deeds. Here for revenge the Sabine troops contend; The Romans there with arms the prey defend. Wearied with tedious war, at length they cease; And both the kings and kingdoms plight the peace. The friendly chiefs before Jove's altar stand, Both armed, with each a charger in his hand: A fatted sow for sacrifice is led, With imprecations on the perjured head. Near this, the traitor Metius, stretched between Four fiery steeds, is dragged along the green, By Tullus' doom: the brambles drink his blood; And his torn limbs are left, the vulture's food. There, Porsena to Rome proud Tarquin brings, And would by force restore the banished kings. One tyrant for his fellow-tyrant fights: The Roman youth assert their native rights. Before the town the Tuscan army lies, To win by famine, or by fraud surprise. Their king, half threatening, half disdaining, stood, While Cocles broke the bridge, and stemmed the flood. The captive maids there tempt the raging tide, 'Scaped from their chains, with Clœlia for their guide. High on a rock heroic Manlius stood, To guard the temple, and the temple's god. Then Rome was poor; and there you might behold The palace thatched with straw, now roofed with gold. The silver goose before the shining gate There flew, and, by her cackle, saved the state. She told the Gauls' approach: the approaching Gauls, Obscure in night, ascend, and seize the walls. The gold dissembled well their yellow hair, And golden chains on their white necks they wear. Gold are their vests; long Alpine spears they wield, And their left arm sustains a length of shield. Hard by, the leaping Salian priests advance; And naked through the streets the mad Luperci dance: In caps of wool; the targets dropt from heaven. Here modest matrons, in soft litters driven, To pay their vows in solemn pomp appear, And odorous gums in their chaste hands they bear. Far hence removed, the Stygian seats are seen; Pains of the damned, and punished Catiline, Hung on a rock--the traitor; and, around, The Furies hissing from the nether ground. Apart from these, the happy souls he draws, And Cato's holy ghost dispensing laws. Betwixt the quarters flows a golden sea; But foaming surges there in silver play. The dancing dolphins with their tails divide The glittering waves, and cut the precious tide. Amid the main, two mighty fleets engage-- Their brazen beaks opposed with equal rage. Actium surveys the well-disputed prize: Leucate's watery plain with foamy billows fries. Young Cæsar, on the stern, in armour bright, Here leads the Romans and their gods to fight: His beamy temples shoot their flames afar, And o'er his head is hung the Julian star. Agrippa seconds him, with prosperous gales, And, with propitious gods, his foes assails. A naval crown, that binds his manly brows, The happy fortune of the fight foreshows. Ranged on the line opposed, Antonius brings Barbarian aids, and troops of eastern kings, The Arabians near, and Bactrians from afar, Of tongues discordant, and a mingled war: And, rich in gaudy robes, amidst the strife, His ill fate follows him--the Egyptian wife. Moving they fight: with oars and forky prows, The froth is gathered, and the water glows. It seems, as if the Cyclades again Were rooted up, and jostled in the main; Or floating mountains floating mountains meet; Such is the fierce encounter of the fleet. Fire-balls are thrown, and pointed javelins fly; The fields of Neptune take a purple dye. The queen herself, amidst the loud alarms, With cymbals tossed, her fainting soldiers warms-- Fool as she was! who had not yet divined Her cruel fate, nor saw the snakes behind. Her country gods, the monsters of the sky, Great Neptune, Pallas, and love's queen defy. The dog Anubis barks, but barks in vain, Nor longer dares oppose the etherial train. Mars, in the middle of the shining shield, Is graved, and strides along the liquid field. The Diræ sowse from heaven with swift descent: And Discord, dyed in blood, with garments rent, Divides the prease: her steps Bellona treads, And shakes her iron rod above their heads. This seen, Apollo, from his Actian height, Pours down his arrows; at whose winged flight The trembling Indians and Egyptians yield, And soft Sabæans quit the watery field. The fatal mistress hoists her silken sails, And, shrinking from the fight, invokes the gales. Aghast she looks, and heaves her breast for breath, Panting, and pale with fear of future death. The god had figured her, as driven along By winds and waves, and scudding through the throng. Just opposite, sad Nilus opens wide His arms and ample bosom to the tide, And spreads his mantle o'er the winding coast, In which he wraps his queen, and hides the flying host. The victor to the gods his thanks expressed, And Rome triumphant with his presence blessed. Three hundred temples in the town he placed; With spoils and altars every temple graced. Three shining nights, and three succeeding days, } The fields resound with shouts, the streets with praise, } The domes with songs, the theatres with plays. } All altars flame: before each altar lies, Drenched in his gore, the destined sacrifice, Great Cæsar sits sublime upon his throne, Before Apollo's porch of Parian stone; Accepts the presents vowed for victory, And hangs the monumental crowns on high. Vast crowds of vanquished nations march along, Various in arms, in habit, and in tongue. Here, Mulciber assigns the proper place For Carians, and the ungirt Numidian race; Then ranks the Tracians in the second row, With Scythians, expert in the dart and bow. And here the tamed Euphrates humbly glides, And there the Rhine submits her swelling tides, And proud Araxes, whom no bridge could bind. } The Danes' unconquered offspring march behind; } And Morini, the last of human kind. } These figures, on the shield divinely wrought, } By Vulcan laboured, and by Venus brought, } With joy and wonder fill the hero's thought. } Unknown the names, he yet admires the grace, And bears aloft the fame and fortune of his race.




Note I.

_So, when the sun by day, or moon by night, Strike on the polished brass their trembling light._--P. 2.

This similitude is literally taken from Apollonius Rhodius; and it is hard to say whether the original or the translation excels. But, in the shield which he describes afterwards in this Æneïd, he as much transcends his master Homer, as the arms of Glaucus were richer than those of Diomedes--Χρυσεα χαλχειων.

Note II.

_Æneas takes the mother and her brood, And all on Juno's altar are bestowed._--P. 4.

The translation is infinitely short of Virgil, whose words are these:

----_Tibi_ enim, _tibi maxima Juno, Mactat, sacra ferens, et cum grege sistit ad aram_--

for I could not turn the word _enim_ into English with any grace, though it was of such necessity in the Roman rites, that a sacrifice could not be performed without it. It is of the same nature, (if I may presume to name that sacred mystery,) in our words of consecration at the altar.

Æ N E Ï S,



_Turnus takes advantage of Æneas's absence, fires some of his ships, (which are transformed into sea-nymphs,) and assaults his camp. The Trojans, reduced to the last extremities, send Nisus and Euryalus to recal Æneas; which furnishes the poet with that admirable episode of their friendship, generosity, and the conclusion of their adventures._

While these affairs in distant places passed, The various Iris Juno sends with haste, To find bold Turnus, who, with anxious thought, The secret shade of his great grandsire sought. Retired alone she found the daring man, And oped her rosy lips, and thus began:-- "What none of all the gods could grant thy vows-- That, Turnus, this auspicious day bestows. Æneas, gone to seek the Arcadian prince, Has left the Trojan camp without defence; And, short of succours there, employs his pains In parts remote to raise the Tuscan swains. Now snatch an hour that favours thy designs; Unite thy forces, and attack their lines." This said, on equal wings she poised her weight, And formed a radiant rainbow in her flight. The Daunian hero lifts his hands and eyes, And thus invokes the goddess as she flies:-- "Iris, the grace of heaven! what power divine Has sent thee down, through dusky clouds to shine? See, they divide: immortal day appears, And glittering planets dancing in their spheres! With joy, these happy omens I obey, And follow, to the war, the god that leads the way." Thus having said, as by the brook he stood, He scooped the water from the crystal flood; Then with his hands the drops to heaven he throws, And loads the powers above with offered vows. Now march the bold confederates through the plain, Well horsed, well clad--a rich and shining train. Messapus leads the van; and, in the rear, The sons of Tyrrheus in bright arms appear. In the main battle, with his flaming crest, The mighty Turnus towers above the rest, Silent they move, majestically slow, Like ebbing Nile, or Ganges in his flow. The Trojans view the dusty cloud from far, And the dark menace of the distant war. Caïcus from the rampire saw it rise, Blackening the fields, and thickening through the skies. Then to his fellows thus aloud he calls:-- "What rolling clouds, my friends, approach the walls? Arm! arm! and man the works! prepare your spears, And pointed darts! the Latian host appears." Thus warned, they shut their gates; with shouts ascend The bulwarks, and, secure, their foes attend: For their wise general, with foreseeing care, Had charged them not to tempt the doubtful war, Nor, though provoked, in opens fields advance, But close within their lines attend their chance. Unwilling, yet they keep the strict command, And sourly wait in arms the hostile band. The fiery Turnus flew before the rest: } A piebald steed of Thracian strain he pressed; } His helm of massy gold; and crimson was his crest. } With twenty horse to second his designs, An unexpected foe, he faced the lines.-- "Is there, (he said,) in arms, who bravely dare His leader's honour and his dangers share?" Then spurring on, his brandished dart he threw, In sign of war: applauding shouts ensue. Amazed to find a dastard race, that run Behind the rampires, and the battle shun, He rides around the camp, with rolling eyes, And stops at every post, and every passage tries. So roams the nightly wolf about the fold: Wet with descending showers, and stiff with cold, He howls for hunger, and he grins for pain, (His gnashing teeth are exercised in vain,) And, impotent of anger, finds no way In his distended paws to grasp the prey. The mothers listen; but the bleating lambs Securely swig the dug, beneath the dams. Thus ranges eager Turnus o'er the plain, Sharp with desire, and furious with disdain; Surveys each passage with a piercing sight, To force his foes in equal field to fight. Thus while he gazes round, at length he spies, Where, fenced with strong redoubts, their navy lies. Close underneath the walls: the washing tide Secures from all approach this weaker side. He takes the wished occasion, fills his hand With ready fires, and shakes a flaming brand. Urged by his presence, every soul is warmed, And every hand with kindled fires is armed. From the fired pines the scattering sparkles fly; Fat vapours, mixed with flames, involve the sky. What power, O Muses, could avert the flame, Which threatened, in the fleet, the Trojan name? Tell: for the fact, through length of time obscure, Is hard to faith; yet shall the fame endure. 'Tis said, that, when the chief prepared his flight, And felled his timber from mount Ida's height, The Grandame goddess then approached her son, And with a mother's majesty begun:-- "Grant me (she said) the sole request I bring, Since conquered heaven has owned you for its king. On Ida's brows, for ages past, there stood, With firs and maples filled, a shady wood; And on the summit rose a sacred grove, Where I was worshipped with religious love. These woods, that holy grove, my long delight, I gave the Trojan prince, to speed his flight. Now, filled with fear, on their behalf I come; Let neither winds o'erset, nor waves intomb, The floating forests of the sacred pine; But let it be their safety to be mine." Then thus replied her awful son, who rolls The radiant stars, and heaven and earth controuls:-- "How dare you, mother, endless date demand For vessels moulded by a mortal hand? What then is fate? Shall bold Æneas ride, Of safety certain, on the uncertain tide? Yet, what I can, I grant: when, wafted o'er, The chief is landed on the Latian shore, Whatever ships escape the raging storms, At my command shall change their fading forms To nymphs divine, and plough the watery way, Like Doto and the daughters of the sea." To seal his sacred vow, by Styx he swore, The lake of liquid pitch, the dreary shore, And Phlegethon's innavigable flood, } And the black regions of his brother god. } He said; and shook the skies with his imperial nod. } And now at length the numbered hours were come, Prefixed by fate's irrevocable doom, When the great mother of the gods was free To save her ships, and finish Jove's decree. First, from the quarter of the morn, there sprung A light that signed the heavens, and shot along; Then from a cloud, fringed round with golden fires, Were timbrels heard, and Berecynthian choirs; And, last, a voice, with more than mortal sounds, Both hosts, in arms opposed, with equal horror wounds:-- "O Trojan race! your needless aid forbear, And know, my ships are my peculiar care. With greater ease the bold Rutulian may, With hissing brands, attempt to burn the sea, Than singe my sacred pines. But you, my charge, Loosed from your crooked anchors, launch at large, Exalted each a nymph: forsake the sand, And swim the seas, at Cybele's command." No sooner had the goddess ceased to speak, When, lo! the obedient ships their halsers break; And, strange to tell, like dolphins, in the main They plunge their prows, and dive, and spring again: As many beauteous maids the billows sweep, As rode before tall vessels on the deep. The foes, surprised with wonder, stood aghast; Messapus curbed his fiery courser's haste: Old Tyber roared, and, raising up his head, Called back his waters to their oozy bed. Turnus alone, undaunted, bore the shock, And with these words his trembling troops bespoke:-- "These monsters for the Trojans' fate are meant, And are by Jove for black presages sent. He takes the cowards' last relief away; } For fly they cannot, and, constrained to stay, } Must yield unfought, a base inglorious prey. } The liquid half of all the globe is lost; Heaven shuts the seas, and we secure the coast. Theirs is no more than that small spot of ground, Which myriads of our martial men surround. Their feats I fear not, or vain oracles. 'Twas given to Venus they should cross the seas, And land secure upon the Latian plains: Their promised hour is passed, and mine remains. 'Tis in the fate of Turnus, to destroy, With sword and fire, the faithless race of Troy. Shall such affronts as these, alone, inflame The Grecian brothers, and the Grecian name? My cause and theirs is one; a fatal strife, And final ruin, for a ravished wife. Was't not enough, that, punished for the crime, They fell--but will they fall a second time? One would have thought they paid enough before, To curse the costly sex, and durst offend no more. Can they securely trust their feeble wall, A slight partition, a thin interval, Betwixt their fate and them; when Troy, though built By hands divine, yet perished by their guilt? Lend me, for once, my friends, your valiant hands, To force from out their lines these dastard bands. Less than a thousand ships will end this war, Nor Vulcan needs his fated arms prepare. Let all the Tuscans, all the Arcadians, join! Nor these, nor those, shall frustrate my design. Let them not fear the treasons of the night, } The robbed Palladium, the pretended flight: } Our onset shall be made in open light. } No wooden engine shall their town betray; Fires they shall have around, but fires by day. No Grecian babes before their camp appear, Whom Hector's arms detained to the tenth tardy year. Now, since the sun is rolling to the west, Give we the silent night to needful rest: Refresh your bodies, and your arms prepare; The morn shall end the small remains of war." The post of honour to Messapus falls, To keep the nightly guard, to watch the walls, To pitch the fires at distances around, And close the Trojans in their scanty ground. Twice seven Rutulian captains ready stand, And twice seven hundred horse these chiefs command; All clad in shining arms the works invest, Each with a radiant helm and waving crest. Stretched at their length, they press the grassy ground; They laugh, they sing, (the jolly bowls go round,) With lights and cheerful fires renew the day, And pass the wakeful night in feasts and play. The Trojans, from above, their foes beheld, And with armed legions all the rampires filled. Seized with affright, their gates they first explore; Join works to works with bridges, tower to tower: Thus all things needful for defence abound: Mnestheus and brave Serestus walk the round, Commissioned by their absent prince to share The common danger, and divide the care. The soldiers draw their lots, and, as they fall, By turns relieve each other on the wall. Nigh where the foes their utmost guards advance, To watch the gate was warlike Nisus' chance. His father Hyrtacus of noble blood; His mother was a huntress of the wood, And sent him to the wars. Well could he bear His lance in fight, and dart the flying spear, But better skilled unerring shafts to send. Beside him stood Euryalus, his friend-- Euryalus, than whom the Trojan host No fairer face, or sweeter air, could boast. Scarce had the down to shade his cheeks begun. One was their care, and their delight was one. One common hazard in the war they shared, And now were both by choice upon the guard. Then Nisus thus:--"Or do the gods inspire This warmth, or make we gods of our desire? A generous ardour boils within my breast, Eager of action, enemy to rest: This urges me to fight, and fires my mind, To leave a memorable name behind. Thou seest the foe secure; how faintly shine Their scattered fires: the most, in sleep supine Along the ground, an easy conquest lie: The wakeful few the fuming flaggon ply: All hushed around. Now hear what I revolve-- A thought unripe--and scarcely yet resolve. Our absent prince both camp and council mourn; By message both would hasten his return: If they confer what I demand on thee, (For fame is recompense enough for me,) Methinks, beneath yon hill, I have espied A way that safely will my passage guide." Euryalus stood listening while he spoke; With love of praise, and noble envy struck; Then to his ardent friend exposed his mind:-- } "All this, alone, and leaving me behind! } Am I unworthy, Nisus, to be joined? } Think'st thou I can my share of glory yield, Or send thee unassisted to the field? Not so my father taught my childhood arms-- Born in a siege, and bred among alarms. Nor is my youth unworthy of my friend, Nor of the heaven born hero I attend. The thing, called life, with ease I can disclaim, And think it over-sold to purchase fame." Then Nisus thus:--"Alas! thy tender years Would minister new matter to my fears. So may the gods, who view this friendly strife, Restore me to thy loved embrace with life, Condemned to pay my vows, (as sure I trust,) This thy request is cruel and unjust. But if some chance--as many chances are, And doubtful hazards, in the deeds of war-- If one should reach my head, there let it fall, And spare thy life; I would not perish all. Thy bloomy youth deserves a longer date: Live thou to mourn thy love's unhappy fate, To bear my mangled body from the foe, Or buy it back, and funeral rites bestow. Or, if hard fortune shall those dues deny, Thou canst at least an empty tomb supply. O! let not me the widow's tears renew, Nor let a mother's curse my name pursue-- Thy pious parent, who, for love of thee, Forsook the coasts of friendly Sicily, Her age committing to the seas and wind, When every weary matron staid behind." To this, Euryalus:--"You plead in vain, And but protract the cause you cannot gain. No more delays! but haste!" With that, he wakes The nodding watch; each to his office takes. The guard relieved, the generous couple went To find the council at the royal tent. All creatures else forgot their daily care, And sleep, the common gift of nature, share; Except the Trojan peers, who wakeful sate In nightly council for the endangered state. They vote a message to their absent chief, Shew their distress, and beg a swift relief. Amid the camp a silent seat they chose, Remote from clamour, and secure from foes. On their left arms their ample shields they bear, Their right reclined upon the bending spear. Now Nisus and his friend approach the guard, } And beg admission, eager to be heard-- } The affair important, not to be deferred. } Ascanius bids them be conducted in, Ordering the more experienced to begin. Then Nisus thus:--"Ye fathers, lend your ears; Nor judge our bold attempt beyond our years. The foe, securely drenched in sleep and wine, Neglect their watch; the fires but thinly shine; And, where the smoke in cloudy vapours flies, Covering the plain, and curling to the skies, Betwixt two paths, which at the gate divide, } Close by the sea, a passage we have spied, } Which will our way to great Æneas guide. } Expect each hour to see him safe again, Loaded with spoils of foes in battle slain. Snatch we the lucky minute while we may; Nor can we be mistaken in the way; For, hunting in the vales, we both have seen The rising turrets, and the stream between, And know the winding course, with every ford." He ceased; and old Aletes took the word:-- "Our country gods, in whom our trust we place, Will yet from ruin save the Trojan race, While we behold such dauntless worth appear In dawning youth, and souls so void of fear." Then into tears of joy the father broke; } Each in his longing arms by turns he took; } Panted and paused; and thus again he spoke:-- } "Ye brave young men, what equal gifts can we, In recompense of such desert, decree? The greatest, sure, and best you can receive, The gods and your own conscious worth will give. The rest our grateful general will bestow, And young Ascanius, till his manhood, owe." "And I, whose welfare in my father lies," Ascanius adds, "by the great deities, By my dear country, by my household gods, By hoary Vesta's rites and dark abodes, Adjure you both, (on you my fortune stands; That and my faith I plight into your hands,) Make me but happy in his safe return, Whose wanted presence I can only mourn; Your common gift shall two large goblets be Of silver, wrought with curious imagery, And high embossed, which, when old Priam reigned, My conquering sire at sacked Arisba gained; And, more, two tripods cast in antique mould, With two great talents of the finest gold; Beside a costly bowl, engraved with art, Which Dido gave, when first she gave her heart. But, if in conquered Italy we reign, When spoils by lot the victor shall obtain-- Thou saw'st the courser by proud Turnus pressed, That, Nisus! and his arms, and nodding crest, And shield, from chance exempt, shall be thy share; } Twelve labouring slaves, twelve handmaids young and fair, } All clad in rich attire, and trained with care; } And, last, a Latian field with fruitful plains, And a large portion of the king's domains. But thou, whose years are more to mine allied, No fate my vowed affection shall divide From thee, heroic youth! Be wholly mine; Take full possession; all my soul is thine. One faith, one fame, one fate, shall both attend: My life's companion, and my bosom friend-- My peace shall be committed to thy care; And, to thy conduct, my concerns in war." Then thus the young Euryalus replied:-- "Whatever fortune, good or bad, betide, The same shall be my age, as now my youth; No time shall find me wanting to my truth. This only from your goodness let me gain-- (And, this ungranted, all rewards are vain,) Of Priam's royal race my mother came-- And sure the best that ever bore the name-- Whom neither Troy nor Sicily could hold From me departing, but, o'erspent and old, My fate she followed. Ignorant of this (Whatever) danger, neither parting kiss, Nor pious blessing taken, her I leave, And in this only act of all my life deceive. By this right hand, and conscious night, I swear, My soul so sad a farewell could not bear. Be you her comfort; fill my vacant place; (Permit me to presume so great a grace;) Support her age, forsaken and distressed. That hope alone will fortify my breast Against the worst of fortunes, and of fears." He said. The moved assistants melt in tears. Then thus Ascanius, wonder-struck to see That image of his filial piety:-- "So great beginnings, in so green an age, Exact the faith which I again engage. Thy mother all the dues shall justly claim, Creüsa had, and only want the name. Whate'er event thy bold attempt shall have, 'Tis merit to have borne a son so brave. Now by my head, a sacred oath, I swear, (My father used it,) what, returning here Crowned with success, I for thyself prepare, That, if thou fail, shall thy loved mother share." He said, and, weeping while he spoke the word, From his broad belt he drew a shining sword, Magnificent with gold. Lycaon made, And in an ivory scabbard sheathed the blade. This was his gift. Great Mnestheus gave his friend A lion's hide, his body to defend; And good Aletes furnished him, beside, With his own trusty helm, of temper tried. Thus armed they went. The noble Trojans wait Their issuing forth, and follow to the gate With prayers and vows. Above the rest appears Ascanius, manly far beyond his years, And messages committed to their care, Which all in winds were lost, and flitting air. The trenches first they passed; then took their way Where their proud foes in pitched pavilions lay; To many fatal, ere themselves were slain. They found the careless host dispersed upon the plain, Who, gorged, and drunk with wine, supinely snore. Unharnessed chariots stand along the shore: Amidst the wheels and reins, the goblet by, A medley of debauch and war, they lie. Observing Nisus shewed his friend the sight:-- "Behold a conquest gained without a fight. Occasion offers, and I stand prepared; There lies our way: be thou upon the guard, And look around, while I securely go, And hew a passage through the sleeping foe." Softly he spoke; then, striding, took his way, With his drawn sword, where haughty Rhamnes lay; His head raised high on tapestry beneath, And heaving from his breast, he drew his breath-- A king and prophet, by king Turnus loved; But fate by prescience cannot be removed. Him and his sleeping slaves he slew; then spies Where Remus, with his rich retinue, lies. His armour-bearer first, and next he kills His charioteer, intrenched betwixt the wheels And his loved horses; last invades their lord; Full on his neck he drives the fatal sword: The gasping head flies off; a purple flood Flows from the trunk, that welters in the blood, Which, by the spurning heels dispersed around, The bed besprinkles, and bedews the ground. Lamus the bold, and Lamyrus the strong, He slew, and then Sarranus fair and young. From dice and wine the youth retired to rest, And puffed the fumy god from out his breast: Even then he dreamt of drink and lucky play-- More lucky, had it lasted till the day. The famished lion thus, with hunger bold, O'erleaps the fences of the nightly fold, And tears the peaceful flocks: with silent awe Trembling they lie, and pant beneath his paw. Nor with less rage Euryalus employs The wrathful sword, or fewer foes destroys: But on the ignoble crowd his fury flew; He Fadus, Hebesus, and Rhoetus slew. Oppressed with heavy sleep the former fall, But Rhoetus wakeful, and observing all: Behind a spacious jar he slinked for fear; The fatal iron found and reached him there; For, as he rose, it pierced his naked side, And, reeking, thence returned in crimson dyed. The wound pours out a stream of wine and blood; The purple soul comes floating in the flood. Now, where Messapus quartered, they arrive. The fires were fainting there, and just alive: The warrior-horses, tied in order, fed; Nisus observed the discipline, and said:-- "Our eager thirst of blood may both betray; And see the scattered streaks of dawning day, Foe to nocturnal thefts. No more, my friend; Here let our glutted execution end. A lane through slaughtered bodies we have made." The bold Euryalus, though loth, obeyed. Of arms, and arras, and of plate, they find A precious load; but these they leave behind. Yet, fond of gaudy spoils, the boy would stay } To make the rich caparison his prey, } Which on the steed of conquered Rhamnes lay. } Nor did his eyes less longingly behold The girdle-belt, with nails of burnished gold. This present Cædicus the rich bestowed On Remulus, when friendship first they vowed, And, absent, joined in hospitable ties: He, dying, to his heir bequeathed the prize; Till, by the conquering Ardean troops oppressed, He fell; and they the glorious gift possessed. These glittering spoils (now made the victor's gain) He to his body suits, but suits in vain. Messapus' helm he finds among the rest, And laces on, and wears the waving crest. Proud of their conquest, prouder of their prey, They leave the camp, and take the ready way. But far they had not passed, before they spied Three hundred horse, with Volscens for their guide. The queen a legion to king Turnus sent; } But the swift horse the slower foot prevent, } And now, advancing, sought the leader's tent. } They saw the pair; for, through the doubtful shade, } His shining helm Euryalus betrayed, } On which the moon with full reflexion played. } "'Tis not for nought," cried Volscens from the crowd, "These men go there;" then raised his voice aloud: "Stand! stand! why thus in arms? and whither bent? From whence, to whom, and on what errand sent?" Silent they scud away, and haste their flight To neighbouring woods, and trust themselves to night. The speedy horse all passages belay, And spur their smoking steeds to cross their way; And watch each entrance of the winding wood. Black was the forest: thick with beech it stood, Horrid with fern, and intricate with thorn; Few paths of human feet, or tracks of beasts, were worn. The darkness of the shades, his heavy prey, And fear, misled the younger from his way. But Nisus hit the turns with happier haste, And, thoughtless of his friend, the forest passed, And Alban plains (from Alba's name so called) Where king Latinus then his oxen stalled; Till, turning at the length, he stood his ground, And missed his friend, and cast his eyes around:-- "Ah wretch!" he cried--"where have I left behind The unhappy youth? where shall I hope to find? Or what way take?" Again he ventures back, And treads the mazes of his former track. He winds the wood, and, listening, hears the noise Of trampling coursers, and the riders' voice. The sound approached; and suddenly he viewed The foes inclosing, and his friend pursued, Forelaid and taken, while he strove in vain The shelter of the friendly shades to gain. What should he next attempt? what arms employ, What fruitless force, to free the captive boy? Or desperate should he rush and lose his life, With odds oppressed, in such unequal strife? Resolved at length, his pointed spear he shook; And, casting on the moon a mournful look,-- "Guardian of groves, and goddess of the night! Fair queen!" he said, "direct my dart aright. If e'er my pious father, for my sake, Did grateful offerings on thy altars make, Or I increased them with my sylvan toils, And hung thy holy roofs with savage spoils, Give me to scatter these." Then from his ear He poised, and aimed, and launched the trembling spear. The deadly weapon, hissing from the grove, Impetuous on the back of Sulmo drove; Pierced his thin armour, drank his vital blood, And in his body left the broken wood. He staggers round; his eyeballs roll in death, And with short sobs he gasps away his breath. All stand amazed:--a second javelin flies With equal strength, and quivers through the skies. This through thy temples, Tagus, forced the way, And in the brain-pan warmly buried lay. Fierce Volscens foams with rage, and, gazing round, Descried not him who gave the fatal wound, Nor knew to fix revenge:--"But thou," he cries, "Shalt pay for both," and at the prisoner flies With his drawn sword. Then, struck with deep despair, That cruel sight the lover could not bear; But from his covert rushed in open view, And sent his voice before him as he flew:-- "Me! me!" he cried--"turn all your swords alone On me--the fact confessed, the fault my own. He neither could nor durst, the guiltless youth-- Ye moon and stars, bear witness to the truth! His only crime (if friendship can offend) Is too much love to his unhappy friend." Too late he speaks:--the sword, which fury guides, Driven with full force, had pierced his tender sides. Down fell the beauteous youth: the yawning wound Gushed out a purple stream, and stained the ground. His snowy neck reclines upon his breast, Like a fair flower by the keen share oppressed-- Like a white poppy sinking on the plain, Whose heavy head is overcharged with rain. Despair, and rage, and vengeance justly vowed, Drove Nisus headlong on the hostile crowd. Volscens he seeks; on him alone he bends: Borne back and bored by his surrounding friends, Onward he pressed, and kept him still in sight, Then whirled aloft his sword with all his might: The unerring steel descended while he spoke, Pierced his wide mouth, and through his weazon broke. Dying, he slew; and, staggering on the plain, With swimming eyes he sought his lover slain; Then quiet on his bleeding bosom fell, Content, in death, to be revenged so well. O happy friends! for, if my verse can give Immortal life, your fame shall ever live, Fixed as the Capitol's foundation lies, And spread, where'er the Roman eagle flies! The conquering party first divide the prey, Then their slain leader to the camp convey. With wonder, as they went, the troops were filled, To see such numbers whom so few had killed. Saranus, Rhamnes, and the rest, they found; } Vast crowds the dying and the dead surround; } And the yet reeking blood o'erflows the ground. } All knew the helmet which Messapus lost, But mourned a purchase that so dear had cost. Now rose the ruddy morn from Tithon's bed, And with the dawn of day the skies o'erspread: Nor long the sun his daily course with-held, But added colours to the world revealed: When early Turnus, wakening with the light, All clad in armour, calls his troops to fight. His martial men with fierce harangues he fired, And his own ardour in their souls inspired. This done--to give new terror to his foes, The heads of Nisus and his friend he shows, Raised high on pointed spears--a ghastly sight! Loud peals of shouts ensue, and barbarous delight. Meantime the Trojans run, where danger calls: They line their trenches, and they man their walls. In front extended to the left they stood: Safe was the right, surrounded by the flood. But, casting from their towers a frightful view, They saw the faces, which too well they knew, Though then disguised in death, and smeared all o'er With filth obscene, and dropping putrid gore. Soon hasty fame through the sad city bears The mournful message to the mother's ears. An icy cold benumbs her limbs; she shakes; Her cheeks the blood, her hand the web forsakes. She runs the rampires round amidst the war, } Nor fears the flying darts: she rends her hair, } And fills with loud laments the liquid air. } "Thus, then, my loved Euryalus appears! Thus looks the prop of my declining years! Was't on this face my famished eyes I fed? Ah! how unlike the living is the dead! And could'st thou leave me, cruel, thus alone? Not one kind kiss from a departing son! No look, no last adieu before he went, In an ill-boding hour to slaughter sent! Cold on the ground, and pressing foreign clay, To Latian dogs and fowls he lies a prey! Nor was I near to close his dying eyes, To wash his wounds, to weep his obsequies, To call about his corpse his crying friends, Or spread the mantle (made for other ends) On his dear body, which I wove with care, Nor did my daily pains or nightly labour spare. Where shall I find his corpse? what earth sustains His trunk dismembered, and his cold remains? For this, alas! I left my needful ease, Exposed my life to winds, and winter seas! If any pity touch Rutulian hearts, Here empty all your quivers, all your darts: Or, if they fail, thou, Jove, conclude my woe, And send me thunder-struck to shades below!" Her shrieks and clamours pierce the Trojans' ears, Unman their courage, and augment their fears: Nor young Ascanius could the sight sustain, Nor old Ilioneus his tears restrain, But Actor and Idæus jointly sent, To bear the madding mother to her tent. And now the trumpets terribly, from far, With rattling clangour, rouse the sleepy war. The soldiers' shouts succeed the brazen sounds; And heaven, from pole to pole, the noise rebounds. The Volscians bear their shields upon their head, And, rushing forward, form a moving shed. These fill the ditch; those pull the bulwarks down; Some raise the ladders; others scale the town. But, where void spaces on the walls appear, Or thin defence, they pour their forces there. With poles and missive weapons, from afar, The Trojans keep aloof the rising war. Taught, by their ten years' siege, defensive fight, They roll down ribs of rocks, an unresisted weight, To break the penthouse with the ponderous blow, Which yet the patient Volscians undergo-- But could not bear the unequal combat long; For, where the Trojans find the thickest throng, The ruin falls: their shattered shields give way, And their crushed heads become an easy prey. They shrink for fear, abated of their rage, Nor longer dare in a blind fight engage-- Contented now to gall them from below With darts and slings, and with the distant bow. Elsewhere Mezentius, terrible to view, A blazing pine within the trenches threw. But brave Messapus, Neptune's warlike son, } Broke down the palisades, the trenches won, } And loud for ladders calls, to scale the town. } Calliope, begin! Ye sacred Nine, Inspire your poet in his high design, To sing what slaughter manly Turnus made, What souls he sent below the Stygian shade, What fame the soldiers with their captain share, And the vast circuit of the fatal war; For you, in singing martial facts, excel; You best remember, and alone can tell. There stood a tower, amazing to the sight, Built up of beams, and of stupendous height: Art, and the nature of the place, conspired To furnish all the strength that war required. To level this, the bold Italians join; The wary Trojans obviate their design; With weighty stones o'erwhelm their troops below, Shoot through the loopholes, and sharp javelins throw. Turnus, the chief, tossed from his thundering hand, Against the wooden walls, a flaming brand: It stuck, the fiery plague; the winds were high; The planks were seasoned, and the timber dry. Contagion caught the posts; it spread along, Scorched, and to distance drove, the scattered throng. The Trojans fled; the fire pursued amain, Still gathering fast upon the trembling train; Till, crowding to the corners of the wall, Down the defence and the defenders fall. The mighty flaw makes heaven itself resound: The dead and dying Trojans strew the ground. The tower, that followed on the fallen crew, Whelmed o'er their heads, and buried whom it slew: Some stuck upon the darts themselves had sent; All the same equal ruin underwent. Young Lycus and Helenor only 'scape; Saved--how, they know not--from the steepy leap. Helenor, elder of the two: by birth, On one side royal, one a son of earth, Whom, to the Lydian king, Licymnia bare, } And sent her boasted bastard to the war: } (A privilege which none but freemen share.) } Slight were his arms, a sword and silver shield: No marks of honour charged its empty field. Light as he fell, so light the youth arose, And rising, found himself amidst his foes; Nor flight was left, nor hopes to force his way. Emboldened by despair, he stood at bay; And, like a stag, whom all the troop surrounds Of eager huntsmen and invading hounds-- Resolved on death, he dissipates his fears, And bounds aloft against the pointed spears: So dares the youth, secure of death; and throws His dying body on his thickest foes. But Lycus, swifter of his feet by far, Runs, doubles, winds, and turns, amidst the war; Springs to the walls, and leaves his foes behind, And snatches at the beam he first can find; Looks up, and leaps aloft at all the stretch, In hopes the helping hand of some kind friend to reach. But Turnus followed hard his hunted prey, (His spear had almost reached him in the way, Short of his reins, and scarce a span behind,) "Fool!" said the chief, "though fleeter than the wind, Could'st thou presume to 'scape, when I pursue?" He said, and downward by the feet he drew The trembling dastard; at the tug he falls; Vast ruins come along rent from the smoking walls. Thus on some silver swan, or timorous hare, Jove's bird comes sowsing down from upper air; Her crooked talons truss the fearful prey: Then out of sight she soars, and wings her way. So seizes the grim wolf the tender lamb, In vain lamented by the bleating dam. Then rushing onward with a barbarous cry, The troops of Turnus to the combat fly. The ditch with faggots filled, the daring foe Tossed firebrands to the steepy turrets throw. Ilioneus, as bold Lucetius came To force the gate, and feed the kindling flame, Rolled down the fragment of a rock so right, It crushed him double underneath the weight. Two more young Liger and Asylas slew: } To bend the bow young Liger better knew; } Asylas best the pointed javelin threw. } Brave Cæneus laid Ortygius on the plain; The victor Cæneus was by Turnus slain. By the same hand, Clonius and Itys fall, Sagar, and Idas standing on the wall. From Capys' arms his fate Privernus found: Hurt by Temilla first--but slight the wound-- His shield thrown by, to mitigate the smart, He clapped his hand upon the wounded part: The second shaft came swift and unespied, And pierced his hand, and nailed it to his side, Transfixed his breathing lungs, and beating heart: The soul came issuing out, and hissed against the dart. The son of Arcens shone amid the rest, In glittering armour and a purple vest, (Fair was his face, his eyes inspiring love,) Bred by his father in the Martian grove, Where the fat altars of Palicus flame, And sent in arms to purchase early fame. Him when he spied from far, the Tuscan king Laid by the lance, and took him to the sling, Thrice whirled the thong around his head, and threw; The heated lead half melted as it flew: It pierced his hollow temples and his brain; The youth came tumbling down, and spurned the plain. Then young Ascanius, who, before this day, Was wont in woods to shoot the savage prey, First bent in martial strife the twanging bow, And exercised against a human foe-- With this bereft Numanus of his life, Who Turnus' younger sister took to wife. Proud of his realm, and of his royal bride, } Vaunting before his troops, and lengthened with a stride, } In these insulting terms the Trojans he defied:-- } "Twice-conquered cowards! now your shame is shown-- Cooped up a second time within your town! Who dare not issue forth in open field, But hold your walls before you for a shield. Thus threat you war? thus our alliance force? What gods, what madness, hither steered your course? You shall not find the sons of Atreus here, Nor need the frauds of sly Ulysses fear. Strong from the cradle, of a sturdy brood, We bear our new-born infants to the flood; There bathed amid the stream, our boys we hold, With winter hardened, and inured to cold. They wake before the day to range the wood, Kill ere they eat, nor taste unconquered food. No sports, but what belong to war, they know-- To break the stubborn colt, to bend the bow. Our youth, of labour patient, earn their bread; Hardly they work, with frugal diet fed. From ploughs and harrows sent to seek renown, They fight in fields, and storm the shaken town. No part of life from toils of war is free, No change in age, or difference in degree. We plough and till in arms: our oxen feel, Instead of goads, the spur and pointed steel: The inverted lance makes furrows in the plain. Even time, that changes all, yet changes us in vain-- The body, not the mind--nor can controul The immortal vigour, or abate the soul. Our helms defend the young, disguise the grey: We live by plunder, and delight in prey. Your vests embroidered with rich purple shine; In sloth you glory, and in dances join. Your vests have sweeping sleeves: with female pride, Your turbans underneath your chins are tied. Go, Phrygians, to your Dindymus agen! Go, less than women, in the shapes of men! Go! mixed with eunuchs in the Mother's rites, (Where with unequal sound the flute invites,) Sing, dance, and howl, by turns, in Ida's shade: Resign the war to men, who know the martial trade." This foul reproach Ascanius could not hear With patience, or a vowed revenge forbear. At the full stretch of both his hands, he drew, And almost joined, the horns of the tough yew.[4] But, first, before the throne of Jove he stood, And thus with lifted hands invoked the god:-- "My first attempt, great Jupiter, succeed! An annual offering in thy grove shall bleed, A snow-white steer, before thy altar led, Who, like his mother, bears aloft his head, Butts with his threatening brows, and bellowing stands, And dares the fight, and spurns the yellow sands." Jove bowed the heavens, and lent a gracious ear, And thundered on the left, amidst the clear. Sounded at once the bow; and swiftly flies The feathered death, and hisses through the skies. The steel through both his temples forced the way: Extended on the ground, Numanus lay. "Go now, vain boaster! and true valour scorn! The Phrygians, twice subdued, yet make this third return." Ascanius said no more. The Trojans shake The heavens with shouting, and new vigour take. Apollo then bestrode a golden cloud, } To view the feats of arms, and fighting crowd; } And thus the beardless victor he bespoke aloud:-- } "Advance, illustrious youth! increase in fame, And wide from east to west extend thy name-- Offspring of gods thyself; and Rome shall owe To thee a race of demigods below. This is the way to heaven: the powers divine From this beginning date the Julian line. To thee, to them, and their victorious heirs, The conquered war is due, and the vast world is theirs. Troy is too narrow for thy name." He said, And plunging downward shot his radiant head; Dispelled the breathing air, that broke his flight: Shorn of his beams, a man to mortal sight, Old Butes' form he took, Anchises' squire, Now left, to rule Ascanius, by his sire: His wrinkled visage, and his hoary hairs, } His mien, his habit, and his arms, he wears, } And thus salutes the boy, too forward for his years:-- } "Suffice it thee, thy father's worthy son, The warlike prize thou hast already won. The god of archers gives thy youth a part Of his own praise, nor envies equal art. Now tempt the war no more." He said, and flew Obscure in air, and vanished from their view. The Trojans, by his arms, their patron know, And hear the twanging of his heavenly bow. Then duteous force they use, and Phœbus' name, To keep from fight the youth too fond of fame. Undaunted, they themselves no danger shun; From wall to wall, the shouts and clamours run; They bend their bows; they whirl their slings around; } Heaps of spent arrows fall, and strew the ground; } And helms, and shields, and rattling arms, resound. } The combat thickens, like the storm that flies From westward, when the showery Kids arise; Or pattering hail comes pouring on the main, When Jupiter descends in hardened rain, Or bellowing clouds burst with a stormy sound, And with an armed winter strew the ground. Pand'rus and Bitias, thunder-bolts of war, Whom Hiera to bold Alcanor bare On Ida's top--two youths of height and size Like firs that on their mother mountain rise-- Presuming on their force, the gates unbar, And of their own accord invite the war, With fates averse, against their king's command. Armed, on the right and on the left they stand, And flank the passage: shining steel they wear, And waving crests above their heads appear. Thus two tall oaks, that Padus' banks adorn, Lift up to heaven their leafy heads unshorn, And, overpressed with nature's heavy load, Dance to the whistling winds, and at each other nod. In flows a tide of Latians, when they see The gate set open, and the passage free; Bold Quercens, with rash Tmarus, rushing on, Aquicolus, that in bright armour shone, And Hæmon first: but soon repulsed they fly, Or in the well-defended pass they die. These with success are fired, and those with rage, And each on equal terms at length engage. Drawn from their lines, and issuing on the plain, The Trojans hand to hand the fight maintain. Fierce Turnus in another quarter fought, When suddenly the unhoped-for news was brought, The foes had left the fastness of their place, Prevailed in fight, and had his men in chase. He quits the attack, and, to prevent their fate, Runs, where the giant brothers guard the gate. The first he met, Antiphates the brave, (But base-begotten on a Theban slave-- Sarpedon's son) he slew: the deadly dart Found passage through his breast, and pierced his heart. Fixed in the wound the Italian cornel stood, Warmed in his lungs, and in his vital blood. Aphidnus next, and Erymanthus dies, } And Meropes, and the gigantic size } Of Bitias, threatening with his ardent eyes. } Not by the feeble dart he fell oppressed, (A dart were lost within that roomy breast,) But from a knotted lance, large, heavy, strong, Which roared like thunder as it whirled along: Not two bull-hides the impetuous force withhold, Nor coat of double mail, with scales of gold. Down sunk the monster-bulk, and pressed the ground, (His arms and clattering shield on the vast body sound,) Not with less ruin than the Baian mole, Raised on the seas, the surges to controul-- At once comes tumbling down the rocky wall; Prone to the deep, the stones disjointed fall Of the vast pile; the scattered ocean flies; Black sands, discoloured froth, and mingled mud, arise: The frighted billows roll, and seek the shores: Then trembles Prochyta, then Ischia roars: Typhöeus, thrown beneath by Jove's command, Astonished at the flaw that shakes the land, Soon shifts his weary side, and, scarce awake, With wonder feels the weight press lighter on his back. The warrior god the Latian troops inspired, New strung their sinews, and their courage fired, But chills the Trojan hearts with cold affright: Then black despair precipitates their flight. When Pandarus beheld his brother killed, The town with fear and wild confusion filled, He turns the hinges of the heavy gate With both his hands, and adds his shoulders to the weight; Some happier friends within the walls inclosed; The rest shut out, to certain death exposed: Fool as he was, and frantic in his care, To admit young Turnus, and include the war! He thrust amid the crowd, securely bold, Like a fierce tyger pent amid the fold. Too late his blazing buckler they descry, And sparkling fires that shot from either eye, His mighty members, and his ample breast, His rattling armour, and his crimson crest. Far from that hated face the Trojans fly, All but the fool who sought his destiny. Mad Pandarus steps forth, with vengeance vowed For Bitias' death, and threatens thus aloud:-- "These are not Ardea's walls, nor this the town Amata proffers with Lavinia's crown: 'Tis hostile earth you tread. Of hope bereft, No means of safe return by flight are left." To whom, with countenance calm, and soul sedate, Thus Turnus:--"Then begin, and try thy fate: My message to the ghost of Priam bear; Tell him a new Achilles sent thee there." A lance of tough ground-ash the Trojan threw, Rough in the rind, and knotted as it grew: With his full force he whirled it first around; But the soft yielding air received the wound: Imperial Juno turned the course before, And fixed the wandering weapon in the door. "But hope not thou," said Turnus, "when I strike, To shun thy fate: our force is not alike, Nor thy steel tempered by the Lemnian god." Then rising, on his utmost stretch he stood, And aimed from high: the full descending blow Cleaves the broad front and beardless cheeks in two. Down sinks the giant with a thundering sound: } His ponderous limbs oppress the trembling ground; } Blood, brains, and foam, gush from the gaping wound. } Scalp, face, and shoulders, the keen steel divides; And the shared visage hangs on equal sides. The Trojans fly from their approaching fate: And, had the victor then secured the gate, And, to his troops without, unclosed the bars, One lucky day had ended all his wars. But boiling youth, and blind desire of blood, Push on his fury, to pursue the crowd. Hamstringed behind, unhappy Gyges died; Then Phalaris is added to his side. The pointed javelins from the dead he drew, And their friends' arms against their fellows threw. Strong Halys stands in vain; weak Phegeus flies; Saturnia, still at hand, new force and fire supplies. Then Halius, Prytanis, Alcander fall-- Engaged against the foes who scaled the wall: But, whom they feared without, they found within. At last, though late, by Lynceus he was seen. He calls new succours, and assaults the prince: But weak his force, and vain is their defence. Turned to the right, his sword the hero drew, And at one blow the bold aggressor slew. He joints the neck; and, with a stroke so strong, The helm flies off, and bears the head along. Next him, the huntsman Amycus he killed, In darts envenomed and in poison skilled. Then Clytius fell beneath his fatal spear, And Cretheus, whom the Muses held so dear: He fought with courage, and he sung the fight; Arms were his business, verses his delight. The Trojan chiefs behold, with rage and grief, Their slaughtered friends, and hasten their relief. Bold Mnestheus rallies first the broken train, Whom brave Serestus and his troop sustain. To save the living, and revenge the dead, Against one warrior's arms all Troy they led. "O, void of sense and courage!" Mnestheus cried, "Where can you hope your coward heads to hide? Ah! where beyond these rampires can you run? One man, and in your camp inclosed, you shun! Shall then a single sword such slaughter boast, And pass unpunished from a numerous host? Forsaking honour, and renouncing fame, Your gods, your country, and your king, you shame!" This just reproach their virtue does excite: They stand, they join, they thicken to the fight. Now Turnus doubts, and yet disdains to yield, But with slow paces measures back the field, And inches to the walls, where Tyber's tide, Washing the camp, defends the weaker side. The more he loses, they advance the more, And tread in every step he trod before. They shout; they bear him back; and, whom by might They cannot conquer, they oppress with weight. As, compassed with a wood of spears around, The lordly lion still maintains his ground; Grins horrible, retires, and turns again; Threats his distended paws, and shakes his mane; He loses while in vain he presses on, Nor will his courage let him dare to run: So Turnus fares, and, unresolved of flight, Moves tardy back, and just recedes from fight. Yet twice, enraged, the combat he renews, Twice breaks, and twice his broken foes pursues. But now they swarm, and, with fresh troops supplied, Come rolling on, and rush from every side: Nor Juno, who sustained his arms before, Dares with new strength suffice the exhausted store; For Jove, with sour commands, sent Iris down, To force the invader from the frighted town. With labour spent, no longer can he wield The heavy faulchion, or sustain the shield, O'erwhelmed with darts, which from afar they fling: The weapons round his hollow temples ring: His golden helm gives way, with stony blows Battered, and flat, and beaten to his brows. His crest is rashed away; his ample shield Is falsified, and round with javelins filled.[5] The foe, now faint, the Trojans overwhelm; And Mnestheus lays hard load upon his helm. Sick sweat succeeds; he drops at every pore; With driving dust his cheeks are pasted o'er; Shorter and shorter every gasp he takes; And vain efforts and hurtless blows he makes. Armed as he was, at length he leaped from high, Plunged in the flood, and made the waters fly. The yellow god the welcome burden bore, And wiped the sweat, and washed away the gore; Then gently wafts him to the farther coast, And sends him safe to cheer his anxious host.


[Footnote 1: Note I.]

[Footnote 2: Note II.]

[Footnote 3: Early editions, _beheld_.]

[Footnote 4: Note I.]

[Footnote 5: Note II.]




Note I.

_At the full stretch of both his hands, he drew, And almost joined, the horns of the tough yew._--P. 54.

The first of these lines is all of monosyllables, and both verses are very rough, but of choice; for it had been easy for me to have smoothed them. But either my ear deceives me, or they express the thing which I intended in their sound: for the stress of a bow, which is drawn to the full extent, is expressed in the harshness of the first verse, clogged not only with monosyllables, but with consonants; and these words, _the tough yew_, which conclude the second line, seem as forceful, as they are unharmonious. Homer and Virgil are both frequent in their adapting sounds to the thing they signify. One example will serve for both; because Virgil borrowed the following verses from Homer's Odysses.

_Una Eurusque Notusque ruunt, creberque procellis Africus, et vastos volvunt ad litora fluctus._

Συν δ' Ευροστε, Νοτοςτ' επεσεν. Ζεφυροστε δυσαης, Και Βορεης αιθρηγενετης, μεγα κυμα κυλινδων.

Our language is not often capable of these beauties, though sometimes I have copied them, of which these verses are an instance.

Note II.

---- ---- ---- ---- _His ample shield_ _Is falsified, and round with javelins filled._--P. 61.

When I read this Æneïd to many of my friends in company together, most of them quarrelled at the word _falsified_, as an innovation in our language. The fact is confessed; for I remember not to have read it in any English author, though perhaps it may be found in Spenser's "Fairy Queen;" but, suppose it be not there, why am I forbidden to borrow from the Italian (a polished language) the word which is wanting in my native tongue? Terence has often Grecised; Lucretius has followed his example, and pleaded for it--

_Sic quia me cogit patrii sermonis egestus._

Virgil has confirmed it by his frequent practice; and even Cicero in prose, wanting terms of philosophy in the Latin tongue, has taken them from Aristotle's Greek. Horace has given us a rule for coining words, _si Græco fonte cadant_; especially, when other words are joined with them, which explain the sense. I use the word _falsify_ in this place, to mean, that the shield of Turnus was not of proof against the spears and javelins of the Trojans, which had pierced it through and through (as we say) in many places. The words which accompany this new one, make my meaning plain, according to the precept which Horace gave. But I said I borrowed the word from the Italian. _Vide_ Ariosto, Cant. 26.

_Ma sì l'usbergo d'ambi era perfetto, Che mai poter falsarlo in nessun canto._

_Falsar_ cannot otherwise be turned, than by _falsified_; for _his shield was falsed_, is not English. I might indeed have contented myself with saying, his shield was pierced, and bored, and stuck with javelins, _nec sufficit umbo ictibus_. They, who will not admit a new word, may take the old; the matter is not worth dispute.




_Jupiter, calling a council of the gods, forbids them to engage in either party. At Æneas's return there is a bloody battle: Turnus killing Pallas; Æneas, Lausus and Mezentius. Mezentius is described as an atheist; Lausus as a pious and virtuous youth. The different actions and death of these two are the subject of a noble episode._

The gates of heaven unfold: Jove summons all The gods to council in the common hall. Sublimely seated, he surveys from far The fields, the camp, the fortune of the war, And all the inferior world. From first to last, The sovereign senate in degrees are placed. Then thus the almighty sire began:--"Ye gods, Natives or denizens of blest abodes! From whence these murmurs, and this change of mind, This backward fate from what was first designed? Why thus protracted war, when my commands Pronounced a peace, and gave the Latian lands? What fear or hope on either part divides Our heavens, and arms our powers on different sides? A lawful time of war at length will come, (Nor need your haste anticipate the doom,) When Carthage shall contend the world with Rome; Shall force the rigid rocks and Alpine chains, And, like a flood, come pouring on the plains. Then is your time for faction and debate, For partial favour, and permitted hate. Let now your immature dissention cease; Sit quiet, and compose your souls to peace." Thus Jupiter in few unfolds the charge; But lovely Venus thus replies at large:-- "O power immense! eternal energy! (For to what else protection can we fly?) Seest thou the proud Rutulians, how they dare In fields, unpunished, and insult my care? How lofty Turnus vaunts amidst his train, In shining arms triumphant on the plain? Even in their lines and trenches they contend, And scarce their walls the Trojan troops defend: The town is filled with slaughter, and o'erfloats, With a red deluge, their increasing moats. Æneas, ignorant, and far from thence, Has left a camp exposed, without defence. This endless outrage shall they still sustain? Shall Troy renewed be forced and fired again? A second siege my banished issue fears, And a new Diomede in arms appears. One more audacious mortal will be found; And I, thy daughter, wait another wound. Yet, if, with fates averse, without thy leave, The Latian lands my progeny receive, Bear they the pains of violated law, And thy protection from their aid withdraw. But, if the gods their sure success foretell-- If those of heaven consent with those of hell, To promise Italy; who dare debate The power of Jove, or fix another fate? What should I tell of tempests on the main, Of Æolus usurping Neptune's reign? Of Iris sent, with Bacchanalian heat To inspire the matrons, and destroy the fleet? Now Juno to the Stygian sky descends, Solicits hell for aid, and arms the fiends. That new example wanted yet above-- An act that well became the wife of Jove! Alecto, raised by her, with rage inflames The peaceful bosoms of the Latian dames. Imperial sway no more exalts my mind; (Such hopes I had indeed, while heaven was kind,) Now let my happier foes possess my place, } Whom Jove prefers before the Trojan race; } And conquer they, whom you with conquest grace. } Since you can spare, from all your wide command, No spot of earth, no hospitable land, Which may my wandering fugitives receive; (Since haughty Juno will not give you leave,) Then, father, (if I still may use that name,) By ruined Troy, yet smoking from the flame, I beg you, let Ascanius, by my care, Be freed from danger, and dismissed the war: Inglorious let him live, without a crown: } The father may be cast on coasts unknown, } Struggling with fate; but let me save the son. } Mine is Cythera, mine the Cyprian towers: In those recesses, and those sacred bowers, Obscurely let him rest; his right resign To promised empire, and his Julian line. Then Carthage may the Ausonian towns destroy, Nor fear the race of a rejected boy. What profits it my son, to 'scape the fire, Armed with his gods, and loaded with his sire; To pass the perils of the seas and wind; Evade the Greeks, and leave the war behind; To reach the Italian shores; if, after all, Our second Pergamus is doomed to fall? Much better had he curbed his high desires, And hovered o'er his ill-extinguished fires. To Simoïs' banks the fugitives restore, And give them back to war, and all the woes before." Deep indignation swelled Saturnia's heart: "And must I own," she said, "my secret smart-- What with more decence were in silence kept, And, but for this unjust reproach, had slept? Did god or man your favourite son advise, With war unhoped the Latians to surprise? By fate, you boast, and by the gods' decree, He left his native land for Italy! Confess the truth; by mad Cassandra, more Than heaven, inspired, he sought a foreign shore. Did I persuade to trust his second Troy To the raw conduct of a beardless boy, With walls unfinished, which himself forsakes, And through the waves a wandering voyage takes? When have I urged him meanly to demand The Tuscan aid, and arm a quiet land? Did I or Iris give this mad advice? Or made the fool himself the fatal choice? You think it hard, the Latians should destroy With swords your Trojans, and with fires your Troy! Hard and unjust indeed, for men to draw Their native air, nor take a foreign law! That Turnus is permitted still to live, To whom his birth a god and goddess give! But yet 'tis just and lawful for your line To drive their fields, and force with fraud to join; Realms, not your own, among your clans divide, And from the bridegroom tear the promised bride; Petition, while you public arms prepare; Pretend a peace, and yet provoke a war! 'Twas given to you, your darling son to shroud, } To draw the dastard from the fighting crowd, } And, for a man, obtend an empty cloud. } From flaming fleets you turned the fire away, And changed the ships to daughters of the sea. But 'tis my crime--the queen of heaven offends, If she presume to save her suffering friends! Your son, not knowing what his foes decree, You say, is absent: absent let him be. Yours is Cythera, yours the Cyprian towers, The soft recesses, and the sacred bowers. Why do you then these needless arms prepare, And thus provoke a people prone to war? Did I with fire the Trojan town deface, Or hinder from return your exiled race? Was I the cause of mischief, or the man, Whose lawless lust the fatal war began? Think on whose faith the adulterous youth relied; Who promised, who procured, the Spartan bride? When all the united states of Greece combined, To purge the world of the perfidious kind, Then was your time to fear the Trojan fate:-- Your quarrels and complaints are now too late." Thus Juno. Murmurs rise, with mixed applause, Just as they favour or dislike the cause. So winds, when yet unfledged in woods they lie, In whispers first their tender voices try, Then issue on the main with bellowing rage, And storms to trembling mariners presage. Then thus to both replied the imperial god, Who shakes heaven's axles with his awful nod. (When he begins, the silent senate stand, With reverence listening to the dread command: The clouds dispel; the winds their breath restrain; And the hushed waves lie flatted on the main.) "Celestials! your attentive ears incline! } Since (said the god) the Trojans must not join } In wished alliance with the Latian line-- } Since endless jarrings and immortal hate, } Tend but to discompose our happy state-- } The war henceforward be resigned to fate: } Each to his proper fortune stand or fall; Equal and unconcerned I look on all. Rutulians, Trojans, are the same to me; And both shall draw the lots their fates decree. Let these assault, if Fortune be their friend; And, if she favours those, let those defend:-- The fates will find their way." The Thunderer said; And shook the sacred honours of his head, Attesting Styx, the inviolable flood, } And the black regions of his brother god. } Trembled the poles of heaven, and earth confessed the nod. } This end the sessions had: the senate rise, And to his palace wait their sovereign through the skies. Meantime, intent upon their siege, the foes Within their walls the Trojan host inclose: They wound, they kill, they watch at every gate; Renew the fires, and urge their happy fate. The Æneans wish in vain their wanted chief, Hopeless of flight, more hopeless of relief. Thin on the towers they stand; and even those few, A feeble, fainting, and dejected crew. Yet in the face of danger some there stood: The two bold brothers of Sarpedon's blood, Asius, and Acmon: both the Assaraci; Young Hæmon, and, though young, resolved to die. With these were Clarus and Thymœtes joined; Thymbris and Castor, both of Lycian kind. From Acmon's hands a rolling stone there came, So large, it half deserved a mountain's name! Strong-sinewed was the youth, and big of bone: } His brother Mnestheus could not more have done, } Or the great father of the intrepid son. } Some firebrands throw, some flights of arrows send; And some with darts, and some with stones, defend. Amid the press appears the beauteous boy, The care of Venus, and the hope of Troy. His lovely face unarmed, his head was bare; In ringlets o'er his shoulders hung his hair. His forehead circled with a diadem; Distinguished from the crowd, he shines a gem, Enchased in gold, or polished ivory set, Amidst the meaner foil of sable jet. Nor Ismarus was wanting to the war, Directing ointed arrows from afar, And death with poison armed--in Lydia born, Where plenteous harvests the fat fields adorn; Where proud Pactolus floats the fruitful lands, And leaves a rich manure of golden sands. There Capys, author of the Capuan name, } And there was Mnestheus too, increased in fame, } Since Turnus from the camp he cast with shame. } Thus mortal war was waged on either side. Meantime the hero cuts the nightly tide: For, anxious, from Evander when he went, He sought the Tyrrhene camp, and Tarchon's tent; Exposed the cause of coming to the chief; His name and country told, and asked relief; Proposed the terms; his own small strength declared; What vengeance proud Mezentius had prepared; What Turnus, bold and violent, designed; Then shewed the slippery state of human-kind, And fickle fortune; warned him to beware, And to his wholesome counsel added prayer. Tarchon, without delay, the treaty signs, And to the Trojan troops the Tuscan joins. They soon set sail; nor now the Fates withstand; Their forces trusted with a foreign hand. Æneas leads; upon his stern appear } Two lions carved, which rising Ida bear-- } Ida, to wandering Trojans ever dear. } Under their grateful shade Æneas sate, Revolving war's events, and various fate. His left young Pallas kept, fixed to his side, And oft of winds inquired, and of the tide; Oft of the stars, and of their watery way; And what he suffered both by land and sea. Now, sacred sisters, open all your spring! The Tuscan leaders, and their army, sing,[6] Which followed great Æneas to the war: Their arms, their numbers, and their names, declare. A thousand youths brave Massicus obey, Borne in the Tiger through the foaming sea; From Clusium[7] brought, and Cosa, by his care: For arms, light quivers, bows and shafts, they bear. Fierce Abas next: his men bright armour wore: His stern Apollo's golden statue bore. Six hundred Populonia sent along, All skilled in martial exercise, and strong. Three hundred more for battle Ilva joins, An isle renowned for steel, and unexhausted mines. Asylas on his prow the third appears, Who heaven interprets, and the wandering stars; From offered entrails, prodigies expounds, And peals of thunder, with presaging sounds. A thousand spears in warlike order stand, Sent by the Pisans under his command. Fair Astur follows in the watery field, Proud of his managed horse, and painted shield. Gravisca, noisome from the neighbouring fen, And his own Cære, sent three hundred men, With those which Minio's fields, and Pyrgi gave; All bred in arms, unanimous, and brave. Thou, Muse, the name of Cinyras renew, And brave Cupavo followed but by few; Whose helm confessed the lineage of the man, And bore, with wings displayed, a silver swan. Love was the fault of his famed ancestry, Whose forms and fortunes in his ensign fly. For Cycnus loved unhappy Phaëthon, And sung his loss in poplar groves, alone, Beneath the sister shades, to sooth his grief. Heaven heard his song, and hastened his relief, And changed to snowy plumes his hoary hair, And winged his flight, to chant aloft in air. His son Cupavo brushed the briny flood; Upon his stern a brawny Centaur stood, Who heaved a rock, and, threatening still to throw, With lifted hands alarmed the seas below: They seemed to fear the formidable sight, And rolled their billows on, to speed his flight.[8] Ocnus was next, who led his native train Of hardy warriors through the watery plain-- The son of Manto, by the Tuscan stream, From whence the Mantuan town derives the name-- An ancient city, but of mixed descent: Three several tribes compose the government; Four towns are under each; but all obey The Mantuan laws, and own the Tuscan sway. Hate to Mezentius armed five hundred more, } Whom Mincius from his sire Benacus bore-- } Mincius, with wreaths of reeds his forehead covered o'er. } These grave Aulestes leads: a hundred sweep With stretching oars at once the glassy deep. Him, and his martial train, the Triton bears; High on his poop the sea-green god appears: Frowning he seems his crooked shell to sound, And at the blast the billows dance around. A hairy man above the waist he shows; A porpoise-tail beneath his belly grows; And ends a fish: his breast the waves divides, And froth and foam augment the murmuring tides. Full thirty ships transport the chosen train, For Troy's relief, and scour the briny main. Now was the world forsaken by the sun, And Phoebe half her nightly race had run. The careful chief, who never closed his eyes, Himself the rudder holds, the sails supplies. A choir of Nereids meet him on the flood,[9] Once his own galleys, hewn from Ida's wood; But now, as many nymphs, the sea they sweep, As rode, before, tall vessels on the deep. They know him from afar; and in a ring Inclose the ship that bore the Trojan king. Cymodoce, whose voice excelled the rest, Above the waves advanced her snowy breast; Her right hand stops the stern; her left divides The curling ocean, and corrects the tides. She spoke for all the choir; and thus began, With pleasing words, to warn the unknowing man:-- "Sleeps our loved lord? O goddess-born! awake! Spread every sail, pursue your watery track, And haste your course. Your navy once were we, From Ida's height descending to the sea; Till Turnus, as at anchor fixed we stood, Presumed to violate our holy wood. Then, loosed from shore, we fled his fires profane, } (Unwillingly we broke our master's chain,) } And since have sought you through the Tuscan main. } The mighty Mother changed our forms to these, And gave us life immortal in the seas. But young Ascanius, in his camp distressed, By your insulting foes is hardly pressed. The Arcadian horsemen, and Etrurian host, Advance in order on the Latian coast: To cut their way the Daunian chief designs, Before their troops can reach the Trojan lines. Thou, when the rosy morn restores the light, First arm thy soldiers for the ensuing fight: Thyself the fated sword of Vulcan wield, And bear aloft the impenetrable shield. To-morrow's sun, unless my skill be vain, Shall see huge heaps of foes in battle slain." Parting, she spoke; and with immortal force Pushed on the vessel in her watery course; For well she knew the way. Impelled behind, The ship flew forward, and outstript the wind. The rest make up. Unknowing of the cause, The chief admires their speed, and happy omens draws. Then thus he prayed, and fixed on heaven his eyes:-- "Hear thou, great Mother of the deities, With turrets crowned! (on Ida's holy hill, Fierce tygers, reined and curbed, obey thy will.) Firm thy own omens; lead us on to fight; And let thy Phrygians conquer in thy right." He said no more. And now renewing day Had chased the shadows of the night away. He charged the soldiers, with preventing care, } Their flags to follow, and their arms prepare; } Warned of the ensuing fight, and bade them hope the war. } Now, from his lofty poop, he viewed below His camp encompassed, and the inclosing foe. His blazing shield, embraced, he held on high; The camp receive the sign, and with loud shouts reply. Hope arms their courage: from their towers they throw Their darts with double force, and drive the foe. Thus, at the signal given, the cranes arise Before the stormy south, and blacken all the skies. King Turnus wondered at the fight renewed, Till, looking back, the Trojan fleet he viewed, The seas with swelling canvas covered o'er, And the swift ships descending on the shore. The Latians saw from far, with dazzled eyes, The radiant crest that seemed in flames to rise, And dart diffusive fires around the field, And the keen glittering of the golden shield. Thus threatening comets, when by night they rise, Shoot sanguine streams, and sadden all the skies: So Sirius, flashing forth sinister lights, Pale human kind with plagues and with dry famine frights. Yet Turnus, with undaunted mind, is bent To man the shores, and hinder their descent, And thus awakes the courage of his friends:-- "What you so long have wished, kind Fortune sends-- In ardent arms to meet the invading foe: You find, and find him at advantage now. Yours is the day: you need but only dare; Your swords will make you masters of the war. Your sires, your sons, your houses, and your lands, And dearest wives, are all within your hands. Be mindful of the race from whence you came, And emulate in arms your fathers' fame. Now take the time, while staggering yet they stand With feet unfirm, and prepossess the strand: Fortune befriends the bold." No more he said, But balanced, whom to leave, and whom to lead; Then these elects, the landing to prevent; And those he leaves, to keep the city pent. Meantime the Trojan sends his troops ashore: Some are by boats exposed, by bridges more. With labouring oars they bear along the strand, Where the tide languishes, and leap a-land. Tarchon observes the coast with careful eyes, And, where no ford he finds, no water fries, Nor billows with unequal murmurs roar, But smoothly slide along, and swell the shore, That course he steered, and thus he gave command: "Here ply your oars, and at all hazard land: Force on the vessel, that her keel may wound This hated soil, and furrow hostile ground. Let me securely land--I ask no more; Then sink my ships, or shatter on the shore." This fiery speech inflames his fearful friends: They tug at every oar, and every stretcher bends: They run their ships aground; the vessels knock, (Thus forced ashore,) and tremble with the shock. Tarchon's alone was lost, and stranded stood: Stuck on a bank, and beaten by the flood, She breaks her back; the loosened sides give way, And plunge the Tuscan soldiers in the sea. Their broken oars and floating planks withstand } Their passage, while they labour to the land, } And ebbing tides bear back upon the uncertain sand. } Now Turnus leads his troops without delay, Advancing to the margin of the sea. The trumpets sound: Æneas first assailed The clowns new-raised and raw, and soon prevailed. Great Theron fell, an omen of the fight-- Great Theron, large of limbs, of giant height. He first in open fields defied the prince: But armour scaled with gold was no defence Against the fated sword, which opened wide His plated shield, and pierced his naked side. Next Lichas fell, who, not like others born, Was from his wretched mother ripped and torn; Sacred, O Phœbus! from his birth to thee; For his beginning life from biting steel was free. Not far from him was Gyas laid along, Of monstrous bulk; with Cisseus fierce and strong: Vain bulk and strength! for, when the chief assailed, Nor valour nor Herculean arms availed, Nor their famed father, wont in war to go With great Alcides, while he toiled below. The noisy Pharos next received his death: Æneas writhed his dart, and stopped his bawling breath. Then wretched Cydon had received his doom, Who courted Clytius in his beardless bloom, And sought with lust obscene polluted joys-- The Trojan sword had cured his love of boys, Had not his seven bold brethren stopped the course Of the fierce champion, with united force. Seven darts were thrown at once; and some rebound From his bright shield, some on his helmet sound: The rest had reached him; but his mother's care Prevented those, and turned aside in air. The prince then called Achates, to supply The spears, that knew the way to victory-- "Those fatal weapons, which, inured to blood, In Grecian bodies under Ilium stood: Not one of those my hand shall toss in vain Against our foes, on this contended plain." He said; then seized a mighty spear, and threw; Which, winged with fate, through Mæon's buckler flew, Pierced all the brazen plates, and reached his heart: He staggered with intolerable smart. Alcanor saw; and reached, but reached in vain, His helping hand, his brother to sustain. A second spear, which kept the former course, From the same hand, and sent with equal force, His right arm pierced, and holding on, bereft His use of both, and pinioned down his left. Then Numitor from his dead brother drew The ill-omen'd spear, and at the Trojan threw: Preventing fate directs the lance awry, Which, glancing, only marked Achates' thigh. In pride of youth the Sabine Clausus came, And, from afar, at Dryops took his aim. The spear flew hissing through the middle space, And pierced his throat, directed at his face; It stopped at once the passage of his wind, And the free soul to flitting air resigned: His forehead was the first that struck the ground; Life-blood and life rushed mingled through the wound. He slew three brothers of the Borean race, } And three, whom Ismarus, their native place, } Had sent to war, but all the sons of Thrace. } Halesus, next, the bold Aurunci leads: The son of Neptune to his aid succeeds, Conspicuous on his horse. On either hand, These fight to keep, and those to win, the land. With mutual blood the Ausonian soil is dyed, While on its borders each their claim decide. As wintery winds, contending in the sky, With equal force of lungs their titles try: They rage, they roar; the doubtful rack of heaven Stands without motion, and the tide undriven: Each bent to conquer, neither side to yield, They long suspend the fortune of the field. Both armies thus perform what courage can; Foot set to foot, and mingled, man to man. But, in another part, the Arcadian horse With ill success engage the Latin force: For, where the impetuous torrent, rushing down, Huge craggy stones and rooted trees had thrown, They left their coursers, and, unused to fight On foot, were scattered in a shameful flight. Pallas, who, with disdain and grief, had viewed His foes pursuing, and his friends pursued, Used threatenings mixed with prayers, his last resource, With these to move their minds, with those to fire their force. "Which way, companions? whither would you run? By you yourselves, and mighty battles won, By my great sire, by his established name, And early promise of my future fame; By my youth, emulous of equal right To share his honours--shun ignoble flight! Trust not your feet: your hands must hew your way Through yon black body, and that thick array: 'Tis through that forward path that we must come; There lies our way, and that our passage home. Nor powers above, nor destinies below, } Oppress our arms: with equal strength we go, } With mortal hands to meet a mortal foe. } See on what foot we stand! a scanty shore-- The sea behind, our enemies before; No passage left, unless we swim the main; Or, forcing these, the Trojan trenches gain." This said, he strode with eager haste along, And bore amidst the thickest of the throng. Lagus, the first he met, with fate to foe, Had heaved a stone of mighty weight, to throw: Stooping, the spear descended on his chine, Just where the bone distinguished either loin: It stuck so fast, so deeply buried lay, That scarce the victor forced the steel away. Hisbo came on: but, while he moved too slow To wished revenge, the prince prevents his blow; For, warding his at once, at once he pressed, And plunged the fatal weapon in his breast. Then lewd Anchemolus he laid in dust, Who stained his stepdame's bed with impious lust. And, after him, the Daunian twins were slain, Laris and Thymbrus, on the Latian plain; So wondrous like in feature, shape, and size, As caused an error in their parents' eyes-- Grateful mistake! but soon the sword decides The nice distinction, and their fate divides: For Thymbrus' head was lopped; and Laris' hand, Dismembered, sought its owner on the strand: The trembling fingers yet the faulchion strain, And threaten still the extended stroke in vain. Now, to renew the charge, the Arcadians came: } Sight of such acts, and sense of honest shame, } And grief, with anger mixed, their minds inflame. } Then, with a casual blow was Rhœteus slain, Who chanced, as Pallas threw, to cross the plain: The flying spear was after Ilus sent; But Rhœteus happened on a death unmeant: From Teuthras and from Tyres while he fled, The lance, athwart his body, laid him dead: Rolled from his chariot with a mortal wound, And intercepted fate, he spurned the ground. As when, in summer, welcome winds arise, The watchful shepherd to the forest flies, And fires the midmost plants; contagion spreads, And catching flames infect the neighbouring heads; Around the forest flies the furious blast, } And all the leafy nation sinks at last, } And Vulcan rides in triumph o'er the waste; } The pastor, pleased with his dire victory, Beholds the satiate flames in sheets ascend the sky:-- So Pallas' troops their scattered strength unite, And, pouring on their foes, their prince delight. Halseus came, fierce with desire of blood; But first collected in his arms he stood: Advancing then, he plied the spear so well, Ladon, Demodocus, and Pheres, fell. Around his head he tossed his glittering brand, And from Strymonius hewed his better hand, Held up to guard his throat; then hurled a stone At Thoas' ample front, and pierced the bone: It struck beneath the space of either eye; And blood, and mingled brains, together fly. Deep skilled in future fates, Halesus' sire Did with the youth to lonely groves retire: But, when the father's mortal race was run, Dire destiny laid hold upon the son, And hauled him to the war, to find, beneath The Evandrian spear, a memorable death. Pallas the encounter seeks, but, ere he throws, To Tuscan Tyber thus addressed his vows:-- "O sacred stream! direct my flying dart, And give to pass the proud Halesus' heart: His arms and spoils the holy oak shall bear." Pleased with the bribe, the god received his prayer: For, while his shield protects a friend distressed, The dart came driving on, and pierced his breast. But Lausus, no small portion of the war, Permits not panic fear to reign too far, Caused by the death of so renowned a knight; But by his own example cheers the fight. Fierce Abas first he slew--Abas, the stay Of Trojan hopes, and hinderance of the day. The Phrygian troops escaped the Greeks in vain: They, and their mixed allies, now load the plain. To the rude shock of war both armies came; Their leaders equal, and their strength the same. The rear so pressed the front, they could not wield Their angry weapons, to dispute the field. Here Pallas urges on, and Lausus there: } Of equal youth and beauty both appear, } But both by fate forbid to breathe their native air. } Their congress in the field great Jove withstands-- Both doomed to fall, but fall by greater hands. Meantime Juturna warns the Daunian chief Of Lausus' danger, urging swift relief. With his driven chariot he divides the crowd, And, making to his friends, thus calls aloud:-- "Let none presume his needless aid to join; Retire, and clear the field; the fight is mine: To this right hand is Pallas only due; Oh! were his father here, my just revenge to view!" From the forbidden space his men retired. Pallas their awe, and his stern words, admired; Surveyed him o'er and o'er with wondering sight, Struck with his haughty mien, and towering height. Then to the king:--"Your empty vaunts forbear; Success I hope, and fate I cannot fear. Alive, or dead, I shall deserve a name; Jove is impartial, and to both the same." He said, and to the void advanced his pace: Pale horror sat on each Arcadian face. Then Turnus, from his chariot leaping light, Addressed himself on foot to single fight. And, as a lion--when he spies from far A bull that seems to meditate the war, Bending his neck, and spurning back the sand-- Runs roaring downward from his hilly stand: Imagine eager Turnus not more slow, To rush from high on his unequal foe. Young Pallas, when he saw the chief advance Within due distance of his flying lance, Prepares to charge him first--resolved to try If fortune would his want of force supply; And thus to heaven and Hercules addressed:-- "Alcides, once on earth Evander's guest! His son adjures thee by those holy rites, That hospitable board, those genial nights; Assist my great attempt to gain this prize, And let proud Turnus view, with dying eyes, His ravished spoils." 'Twas heard, the vain request; Alcides mourned, and stifled sighs within his breast. Then Jove, to sooth his sorrow, thus began:-- } "Short bounds of life are set to mortal man. } 'Tis virtue's work alone to stretch the narrow span. } So many sons of gods, in bloody fight Around the walls of Troy, have lost the light: My own Sarpedon fell beneath his foe; Nor I, his mighty sire, could ward the blow.[10] Even Turnus shortly shall resign his breath And stands already on the verge of death." This said, the god permits the fatal fight, But from the Latian fields averts his sight. Now with full force his spear young Pallas threw, And, having thrown, his shining faulchion drew. The steel just grazed along the shoulder-joint, And marked it slightly with the glancing point. Fierce Turnus first to nearer distance drew, And poised his pointed spear, before he threw: Then, as the winged weapon whizzed along, "See now," said he, "whose arm is better strung." The spear kept on the fatal course, unstayed By plates of iron, which o'er the shield were laid: Through folded brass, and tough bull-hides, it passed, His corslet pierced, and reached his heart at last. In vain the youth tugs at the broken wood; The soul comes issuing with the vital blood: He falls; his arms upon his body sound; And with his bloody teeth he bites the ground. Turnus bestrode the corpse:--"Arcadians, hear, Said he; "my message to your master bear: Such as the sire deserved, the son I send; It costs him dear to be the Phrygian's friend. The lifeless body, tell him, I bestow Unasked, to rest his wandering ghost below." He said, and trampled down, with all the force Of his left foot, and spurned the wretched corse; Then snatched the shining belt, with gold inlaid-- The belt Eurytion's artful hands had made, Where fifty fatal brides, expressed to sight, } All in the compass of one mournful night, } Deprived their bridegrooms of returning light. } In an ill hour insulting Turnus tore Those golden spoils, and in a worse he wore. O mortals! blind in[11] fate, who never know To bear high fortune, or endure the low! The time shall come, when Turnus, but in vain, Shall wish untouched the trophies of the slain-- Shall wish the fatal belt were far away, And curse the dire remembrance of the day. The sad Arcadians, from the unhappy field, Bear back the breathless body on a shield. O grace and grief of war! at once restored, With praises, to thy sire, at once deplored. One day first sent thee to the fighting field, } Beheld whole heaps of foes in battle killed; } One day beheld thee dead, and borne upon thy shield. } This dismal news, not from uncertain fame, But sad spectators, to the hero came: His friends upon the brink of ruin stand, Unless relieved by his victorious hand. He whirls his sword around, without delay, And hews through adverse foes an ample way, To find fierce Turnus, of his conquest proud. Evander, Pallas, all that friendship owed To large deserts, are present to his eyes-- His plighted hand, and hospitable ties. Four sons of Sulmo, four whom Ufens bred, He took in fight, and living victims led, To please the ghost of Pallas, and expire, In sacrifice, before his funeral fire. At Magus next he threw: he stooped below The flying spear, and shunned the promised blow, Then, creeping, clasped the hero's knees, and prayed: "By young Iulus, by thy father's shade, O! spare my life, and send me back to see My longing sire, and tender progeny. A lofty house I have, and wealth untold, In silver ingots, and in bars of gold: All these, and sums besides, which see no day, The ransom of this one poor life shall pay. If I survive, shall Troy the less prevail? A single soul's too light to turn the scale." He said. The hero sternly thus replied:--- "Thy bars and ingots, and the sums beside, Leave for thy children's lot. Thy Turnus broke All rules of war by one relentless stroke, When Pallas fell: so deems, nor deems alone, My father's shadow, but my living son." Thus having said, of kind remorse bereft, He seized his helm, and dragged him with his left; Then with his right hand, while his neck he wreathed, Up to the hilts his shining faulchion sheathed. Apollo's priest, Hæmonides, was near; His holy fillets on his front appear; Glittering in arms, he shone amidst the crowd, Much of his god, more of his purple, proud. Him the fierce Trojan followed through the field: The holy coward fell; and, forced to yield, The prince stood o'er the priest, and, at one blow, Sent him an offering to the shades below. His arms Serestus on his shoulders bears, Designed a trophy to the god of wars. Vulcanian Cæculus renews the fight, And Umbro born upon the mountain's height. The champion cheers his troops to encounter those, And seeks revenge himself on other foes. At Anxur's shield he drove; and, at the blow, Both shield and arm to ground together go. Anxur had boasted much of magic charms, And thought he wore impenetrable arms, So made by muttered spells; and, from the spheres, Had life secured, in vain, for length of years. Then Tarquitus the field in triumph trod; A nymph his mother, and his sire a god. Exulting in bright arms, he braves the prince: With his protended lance he makes defence; Bears back his feeble foe; then, pressing on, Arrests his better hand, and drags him down; Stands o'er the prostrate wretch, and (as he lay, Vain tales inventing, and prepared to pray) Mows off his head: the trunk a moment stood, Then sunk, and rolled along the sand in blood. The vengeful victor thus upbraids the slain:-- "Lie there, proud man, unpitied on the plain; Lie there, inglorious, and without a tomb, Far from thy mother and thy native home, Exposed to savage beasts, and birds of prey, Or thrown for food to monsters of the sea." On Lucas and Antæus next he ran, Two chiefs of Turnus, and who led his van. They fled for fear; with these, he chased along } Camers the yellow-locked, and Numa strong; } Both great in arms, and both were fair and young. } Camers was son to Volscens lately slain, } In wealth surpassing all the Latian train, } And in Amyclæ fixed his silent easy reign. } And, as Ægæon, when with heaven he strove, Stood opposite in arms to mighty Jove; Moved all his hundred hands, provoked the war, Defied the forky lightning from afar; At fifty mouths his flaming breath expires, And flash for flash returns, and fires for fires; In his right hand as many swords he wields, And takes the thunder on as many shields: With strength like his, the Trojan hero stood; } And soon the fields with falling corpse were strowed, } When once his faulchion found the taste of blood. } With fury scarce to be conceived, he flew Against Niphæus, whom four coursers drew. They, when they see the fiery chief advance, And pushing at their chests his pointed lance, Wheeled with so swift a motion, mad with fear, They threw their master headlong from the chair. They stare, they start, nor stop their course, before They bear the bounding chariot to the shore. Now Lucagus and Liger scour the plains, } With two white steeds; but Liger holds the reins, } And Lucagus the lofty seat maintains-- } Bold brethren both. The former waved in air } His flaming sword: Æneas couched his spear, } Unused to threats, and more unused to fear. } Then Liger thus:--"Thy confidence is vain To 'scape from hence, as from the Trojan plain: Nor these the steeds which Diomede bestrode, Nor this the chariot where Achilles rode; Nor Venus' veil is here, nor Neptune's shield; Thy fatal hour is come, and this the field." Thus Liger vainly vaunts: the Trojan peer Returned his answer with his flying spear. As Lucagus, to lash his horses, bends, Prone to the wheels, and his left foot protends, Prepared for fight--the fatal dart arrives, And through the border of his buckler drives; Passed through, and pierced his groin. The deadly wound, Cast from his chariot, rolled him on the ground: Whom thus the chief upbraids with scornful spite:-- "Blame not the slowness of your steeds in flight; Vain shadows did not force their swift retreat; But you yourself forsake your empty seat." He said, and seized at once the loosened rein; For Liger lay already on the plain By the same shock; then, stretching out his hands, The recreant thus his wretched life demands:-- "Now, by thyself, O more than mortal man! By her and him from whom thy breath began, Who formed thee thus divine, I beg thee, spare This forfeit life, and hear thy suppliant's prayer." Thus much he spoke, and more he would have said; But the stern hero turned aside his head, And cut him short:--"I hear another man; You talked not thus before the fight began. Now take your turn; and, as a brother should, Attend your brother to the Stygian flood." Then through his breast his fatal sword he sent, And the soul issued at the gaping vent. As storms the skies, and torrents tear the ground, Thus raged the prince, and scattered deaths around. At length Ascanius, and the Trojan train, Broke from the camp, so long besieged in vain. Meantime the king of gods and mortal man Held conference with his queen, and thus began:-- "My sister goddess, and well-pleasing wife, Still think you Venus' aid supports the strife-- Sustains her Trojans--or themselves, alone, With inborn valour force their fortune on? How fierce in fight, with courage undecayed! Judge if such warriors want immortal aid." To whom the goddess with the charming eyes, Soft in her tone, submissively replies:-- "Why, O my sovereign lord, whose frown I fear, And cannot, unconcerned, your anger bear-- Why urge you thus my grief? when, if I still, (As once I was,) were mistress of your will, From your almighty power your pleasing wife Might gain the grace of lengthening Turnus' life, Securely snatch him from the fatal fight, And give him to his aged father's sight. Now let him perish, since you hold it good, And glut the Trojans with his pious blood. Yet from our lineage he derives his name, And, in the fourth degree, from god Pilumnus came! Yet he devoutly pays you rites divine, And offers daily incense at your shrine." Then shortly thus the sovereign god replied:-- "Since in my power and goodness you confide, If, for a little space, a lengthened span, You beg reprieve for this expiring man, I grant you leave to take your Turnus hence From instant fate, and can so far dispense. But, if some secret meaning lies beneath, To save the short-lived youth from destined death, Or, if a farther thought you entertain, To change the fates; you feed your hopes in vain." To whom the goddess thus, with weeping eyes:-- "And what if that request, your tongue denies, Your heart should grant--and not a short reprieve, But length of certain life, to Turnus give? Now speedy death attends the guiltless youth, If my presaging soul divines with truth; Which, O! I wish, might err through causeless fears, And you (for you have power) prolong his years!" Thus having said, involved in clouds, she flies, And drives a storm before her through the skies. Swift she descends, alighting on the plain, Where the fierce foes a dubious fight maintain. Of air condensed, a spectre soon she made; And, what Æneas was, such seemed the shade. Adorned with Dardan arms, the phantom bore His head aloft; a plumy crest he wore: This hand appeared a shining sword to wield, And that sustained an imitated shield. With manly mien he stalked along the ground, Nor wanted voice belied, nor vaunting sound. (Thus haunting ghosts appear to waking sight, Or dreadful visions in our dreams by night.) The spectre seems the Daunian chief to dare, And flourishes his empty sword in air. At this, advancing, Turnus hurled his spear: The phantom wheeled, and seemed to fly for fear. Deluded Turnus thought the Trojan fled, And with vain hopes his haughty fancy fed. "Whither, O coward?" (thus he calls aloud, Nor found he spoke to wind, and chased a cloud,) "Why thus forsake your bride! Receive from me The fated land you sought so long by sea." He said, and, brandishing at once his blade, With eager pace pursued the flying shade. By chance a ship was fastened to the shore, Which from old Clusium king Osinius bore: The plank was ready laid for safe ascent; } For shelter there the trembling shadow bent, } And skipped and skulked, and under hatches went. } Exulting Turnus, with regardless haste, Ascends the plank, and to the galley passed. Scarce had he reached the prow; Saturnia's hand The halsers cuts, and shoots the ship from land. With wind in poop, the vessel ploughs the sea, And measures back with speed her former way. Meantime Æneas seeks his absent foe, And sends his slaughtered troops to shades below. The guileful phantom now forsook the shroud, And flew sublime, and vanished in a cloud. Too late young Turnus the delusion found, Far on the sea, still making from the ground. Then, thankless for a life redeemed by shame, With sense of honour stung, and forfeit fame, Fearful besides of what in fight had passed, His hands and hagard eyes to heaven he cast:-- "O Jove!" he cried--"for what offence have I Deserved to bear this endless infamy? Whence am I forced, and whither am I borne? How, and with what reproach, shall I return? Shall ever I behold the Latian plain, Or see Laurentum's lofty towers again? What will they say of their deserting chief? The war was mine: I fly from their relief! I led to slaughter, and in slaughter leave; And even from hence their dying groans receive. Here, over-matched in fight, in heaps they lie, There, scattered o'er the fields, ignobly fly. Gape wide, O earth, and draw me down alive! } Or, oh! ye pitying winds, a wretch relieve! } On sands or shelves the splitting vessel drive; } Or set me shipwrecked on some desert shore, Where no Rutulian eyes may see me more-- Unknown to friends, or foes, or conscious fame, Lest she should follow, and my flight proclaim." Thus Turnus raved, and various fates revolved: The choice was doubtful, but the death resolved. And now the sword, and now the sea, took place-- That to revenge, and this to purge disgrace. Sometimes he thought to swim the stormy main, By stretch of arms the distant shore to gain. Thrice he the sword essayed, and thrice the flood; But Juno, moved with pity, both withstood, And thrice repressed his rage; strong gales supplied, And pushed the vessel o'er the swelling tide. At length she lands him on his native shores, And to his father's longing arms restores. Meantime, by Jove's impulse, Mezentius armed, Succeeding Turnus, with his ardour warmed His fainting friends, reproached their shameful flight, Repelled the victors, and renewed the fight. Against their king the Tuscan troops conspire; Such is their hate, and such their fierce desire Of wished revenge--on him, and him alone, All hands employed, and all their darts are thrown. He, like a solid rock by seas inclosed, To raging winds and roaring waves opposed, From his proud summit looking down, disdains Their empty menace, and unmoved remains. Beneath his feet fell haughty Hebrus dead, Then Latagus, and Palmus as he fled. At Latagus a weighty stone he flung: His face was flatted, and his helmet rung. But Palmus from behind receives his wound: Hamstringed he falls, and grovels on the ground: His crest and armour, from his body torn, Thy shoulders, Lausus, and thy head, adorn. Evas and Mimas, both of Troy, he slew. Mimas his birth from fair Theano drew-- Born on that fatal night, when, big with fire, The queen produced young Paris to his sire. But Paris in the Phrygian fields was slain, Unthinking Mimas on the Latian plain. And, as a savage boar, on mountains bred, With forest mast and fattening marshes fed, When once he sees himself in toils inclosed, By huntsmen and their eager hounds opposed, He whets his tusks, and turns, and dares the war, The invaders dart their javelins from afar: All keep aloof, and safely shout around; But none presumes to give a nearer wound: He frets and froths, erects his bristled hide, And shakes a grove of lances from his side: Not otherwise the troops, with hate inspired, And just revenge against the tyrant fired, Their darts with clamour at a distance drive, And only keep the languished war alive. From Corythus came Acron to the fight, Who left his spouse betrothed, and unconsummate night. Mezentius sees him through the squadron ride, Proud of the purple favours of his bride. Then, as a hungry lion, who beholds A gamesome goat, who frisks about the folds, Or beamy stag, that grazes on the plain-- He runs, he roars, he shakes his rising mane; He grins, and opens wide his greedy jaws: The prey lies panting underneath his paws: He fills his famished maw; his mouth runs o'er With unchewed morsels, while he churns the gore: So proud Mezentius rushes on his foes, And first unhappy Acron overthrows: Stretched at his length, he spurns the swarthy ground; The lance, besmeared with blood, lies broken in the wound. Then with disdain the haughty victor viewed Orodes flying, nor the wretch pursued, Nor thought the dastard's back deserved a wound, But, running, gained the advantage of the ground: Then turning short, he met him face to face, To give his victory the better grace. Orodes falls, in equal fight oppressed: Mezentius fixed his foot upon his breast, And rested lance; and thus aloud he cries:-- "Lo! here the champion of my rebels lies!" The fields around with "Iö Pæan!" ring; And peals of shouts applaud the conquering king. At this the vanquished, with his dying breath, Thus faintly spoke, and prophesied in death:-- "Nor thou, proud man, unpunished shalt remain. Like death attends thee on this fatal plain." Then, sourly smiling, thus the king replied:-- "For what belongs to me, let Jove provide; But die thou first, whatever chance ensue." He said, and from the wound the weapon drew. A hovering mist came swimming o'er his sight, And sealed his eyes in everlasting night. By Cædicus, Alcathöus was slain; Sacrator laid Hydaspes on the plain; Orses the strong to greater strength must yield; He, with Parthenius, were by Rapo killed. Then brave Messapus Ericetes slew, Who from Lycaon's blood his lineage drew. But from his headstrong horse his fate he found, } Who threw his master, as he made a bound: } The chief, alighting, stuck him to the ground; } Then Clonius, hand to hand, on foot assails: The Trojan sinks, and Neptune's son prevails. Agis the Lycian, stepping forth with pride, To single fight the boldest foe defied; Whom Tuscan Valerus by force o'ercame, And not belied his mighty father's fame. Salius to death the great Authronius sent: But the same fate the victor underwent, Slain by Nealces' hand, well skilled to throw The flying dart, and draw the far-deceiving bow. Thus equal deaths are dealt with equal chance: By turns they quit their ground, by turns advance, Victors and vanquished in the various field, Nor wholly overcome, nor wholly yield. The gods from heaven survey the fatal strife, And mourn the miseries of human life. Above the rest, two goddesses appear Concerned for each: here Venus, Juno there. Amidst the crowd, infernal Ate shakes Her scourge aloft, and crest of hissing snakes. Once more the proud Mezentius, with disdain, Brandished his spear, and rushed into the plain, Where towering in the midmost ranks he stood, Like tall Orion stalking o'er the flood, (When with his brawny breast he cuts the waves, His shoulders scarce the topmost billow laves,) Or like a mountain-ash, whose roots are spread, Deep fixed in earth--in clouds he hides his head. The Trojan prince beheld him from afar, And dauntless undertook the doubtful war. Collected in his strength, and like a rock Poised on his base, Mezentius stood the shock. He stood, and, measuring first with careful eyes The space his spear could reach, aloud he cries:-- "My strong right hand, and sword, assist my stroke! (Those only gods Mezentius will invoke) His armour, from the Trojan pirate torn, By my triumphant Lausus shall be worn." He said; and with his utmost force he threw The massy spear, which, hissing as it flew, Reached the celestial shield: that stopped the course; But, glancing thence, the yet unbroken force Took a new bent obliquely, and, betwixt The side and bowels, famed Antores fixed. Antores had from Argos travelled far, Alcides' friend, and brother of the war; Till, tired with toils, fair Italy he chose, And in Evander's palace sought repose. Now falling by another's wound, his eyes He casts to heaven, on Argos thinks, and dies. The pious Trojan then his javelin sent; The shield gave way; through triple plates it went Of solid brass, of linen triply rolled, And three bull-hides which round the buckler rolled. All these it passed, resistless in the course, Transpierced his thigh, and spent its dying force. The gaping wound gushed out a crimson flood. The Trojan, glad with sight of hostile blood, His faulchion drew, to closer fight addressed, And with new force his fainting foe oppressed. His father's peril Lausus viewed with grief; He sighed, he wept, he ran to his relief. And here, heroic youth, 'tis here I must To thy immortal memory be just, And sing an act so noble and so new, Posterity will scarce believe 'tis true. Pained with his wound, and useless for the fight, The father sought to save himself by flight: Encumbered, slow he dragged the spear along, Which pierced his thigh, and in his buckler hung. The pious youth, resolved on death, below } The lifted sword, springs forth to face the foe; } Protects his parent, and prevents the blow. } Shouts of applause ran ringing through the field, To see the son the vanquished father shield. All, fired with generous indignation, strive, And with a storm of darts, to distance drive The Trojan chief, who, held at bay from far, On his Vulcanian orb sustained the war. As, when thick hail comes rattling in the wind, The ploughman, passenger, and labouring hind, For shelter to the neighbouring covert fly, Or, housed, or safe in hollow caverns, lie; But, that o'erblown, when heaven above them smiles, Return to travail, and renew their toils: Æneas thus, o'erwhelmed on every side, } The storm of darts, undaunted, did abide; } And thus to Lausus loud with friendly threatening cried:-- } "Why wilt thou rush to certain death, and rage In rash attempts, beyond thy tender age, Betrayed by pious love?"--Nor, thus forborne, The youth desists, but with insulting scorn Provokes the lingering prince, whose patience, tired, Gave place; and all his breast with fury fired. For now the Fates prepared their sharpened shears; And lifted high the flaming sword appears, Which, full descending with a frightful sway, Through shield and corslet forced the impetuous way, And buried deep in his fair bosom lay. The purple streams through the thin armour strove, And drenched the embroidered coat his mother wove; And life at length forsook his heaving heart, Loth from so sweet a mansion to depart. But when, with blood and paleness all o'erspread, The pious prince beheld young Lausus dead, He grieved; he wept, (the sight an image brought Of his own filial love, a sadly pleasing thought,) Then stretched his hand to hold him up, and said:-- "Poor hapless youth! what praises can be paid To love so great, to such transcendent store Of early worth, and sure presage of more? Accept whate'er Æneas can afford; Untouched thy arms, untaken be thy sword; And all that pleased the living, still remain Inviolate, and sacred to the slain. Thy body on thy parents I bestow, } To rest thy soul, at least, if shadows know, } Or have a sense of human things below. } There to thy fellow-ghosts with glory tell, 'Twas by the great Æneas' hand I fell." With this, his distant friends he beckons near, Provokes their duty, and prevents their fear: Himself assists to lift him from the ground, With clotted locks, and blood that welled from out the wound. Meantime, his father, now no father, stood, And washed his wounds, by Tyber's yellow flood: Oppressed with anguish, panting, and o'erspent, His fainting limbs against an oak he leant. A bough his brazen helmet did sustain; His heavier arms lay scattered on the plain: A chosen train of youth around him stand; His drooping head was rested on his hand: His grisly beard his pensive bosom sought; And all on Lausus ran his restless thought. Careful, concerned his danger to prevent, He much inquired, and many a message sent To warn him from the field--alas! in vain! Behold, his mournful followers bear him slain! O'er his broad shield still gushed the yawning wound, And drew a bloody trail along the ground. Far off he heard their cries, far off divined The dire event with a foreboding mind. With dust he sprinkled first his hoary head; } Then both his lifted hands to heaven he spread; } Last, the dear corpse embracing, thus he said:-- } "What joys, alas! could this frail being give, That I have been so covetous to live? To see my son, and such a son, resign His life, a ransom for preserving mine? And am I then preserved, and art thou lost? How much too dear has that redemption cost! 'Tis now my bitter banishment I feel: This is a wound too deep for time to heal. My guilt thy growing virtues did defame; My blackness blotted thy unblemished name. Chased from a throne, abandoned, and exiled For foul misdeeds, were punishments too mild: I owed my people these, and, from their hate, With less resentment could have borne my fate. And yet I live, and yet sustain the sight Of hated men, and of more hated light-- But will not long." With that he raised from ground His fainting limbs, that staggered with his wound; Yet, with a mind resolved, and unappalled With pains or perils, for his courser called-- Well-mouthed, well-managed, whom himself did dress } With daily care, and mounted with success-- } His aid in arms, his ornament in peace. } Soothing his courage with a gentle stroke, The steed seemed sensible, while thus he spoke:-- O Rhœbus! we have lived too long for me-- If life and long were terms that could agree. This day thou either shalt bring back the head And bloody trophies of the Trojan dead-- This day thou either shalt revenge my woe, For murdered Lausus, on his cruel foe; Or, if inexorable Fate deny Our conquest, with thy conquered master die: For, after such a lord, I rest secure, Thou wilt no foreign reins, or Trojan load,[12] endure." He said; and straight the officious courser kneels, To take his wonted weight. His hands he fills With pointed javelins; on his head he laced His glittering helm, which terribly was graced With waving horse-hair, nodding from afar; Then spurred his thundering steed amidst the war. Love, anguish, wrath, and grief, to madness wrought, Despair, and secret shame, and conscious thought Of inborn worth, his labouring soul oppressed, Rolled in his eyes, and raged within his breast. Then loud he called Æneas thrice by name: The loud repeated voice to glad Æneas came. "Great Jove," he said, "and the far-shooting god, Inspire thy mind to make thy challenge good!" He spoke no more, but hastened, void of fear, And threatened with his long protended spear. To whom Mezentius thus:--"Thy vaunts are vain. My Lausus lies extended on the plain: He's lost! thy conquest is already won; The wretched sire is murdered in the son. Nor fate I fear, but all the gods defy. } Forbear thy threats: my business is to die; } But first receive this parting legacy." } He said; and straight a whirling dart he sent; Another after, and another, went. Round in a spacious ring he rides the field, } And vainly plies the impenetrable shield. } Thrice rode he round; and thrice Æneas wheeled, } Turned as he turned: the golden orb withstood The strokes, and bore about an iron wood. Impatient of delay, and weary grown, Still to defend, and to defend alone, To wrench the darts which in his buckler light, Urged, and o'er-laboured in unequal fight-- At length resolved, he throws, with all his force, Full at the temples of the warrior horse. Just where the stroke was aimed, the unerring spear Made way, and stood transfixed through either ear. Seized with unwonted pain, surprised with fright, The wounded steed curvets, and, raised upright, Lights on his feet before; his hoofs behind Spring up in air aloft, and lash the wind. Down comes the rider headlong from his height: His horse came after with unwieldy weight, And, floundering forward, pitching on his head, His lord's encumbered shoulder overlaid. From either host, the mingled shouts and cries Of Trojans and Rutulians rend the skies: Æneas, hastening, waved his fatal sword High o'er his head, with this reproachful word:-- "Now! where are now thy vaunts, the fierce disdain, Of proud Mezentius, and the lofty strain?" Struggling, and wildly staring on the skies With scarce recovered sight, he thus replies:-- "Why these insulting words, this waste of breath, To souls undaunted, and secure of death? 'Tis no dishonour for the brave to die: Nor came I here with hope of victory; Nor ask I life, nor fought with that design. As I had used my fortune, use thou thine. My dying son contracted no such band: The gift is hateful from his murderer's hand. For this, this only favour let me sue, If pity can to conquered foes be due, Refuse it not; but let my body have The last retreat of human kind, a grave. Too well I know the insulting people's hate; Protect me from their vengeance after fate: This refuge for my poor remains provide, } And lay my much-loved Lausus by my side." } He said, and to the sword his throat applied. } The crimson stream distained his arms around, And the disdainful soul came rushing through the wound.


[Footnote 6: Note II.]

[Footnote 7: _Assium_, according to the old editions; but Virgil bears,

----_qui mœnia Clusi, Quique urbem liquere Cosas_----

Accordingly Carey's edition reads _Clusium_, and is here followed.]

[Footnote 8: This conceit is not Virgil's: The original runs thus:

---- ---- ---- ----_ille Instat aguæ, saxumque undis immane minatur Arduus, et longa sulcat maria alta carina_. ]

[Footnote 9: Note I.]

[Footnote 10: Note III.]

[Footnote 11: Dr Carey reads, "of fate," without authority, and, as I think, without necessity.]

[Footnote 12: Dr Carey proposes to read _lord_, which is doubtless the more close translation of

----_dominos dignabere Teucros_.

But all the old editions have _load_, which is excellent good sense.]




Note I.

_A choir of Nereids_, &c.--P. 73.

These were transformed from ships to sea-nymphs. This is almost as violent a machine, as the death of Arruns by a goddess in the episode of Camilla. But the poet makes use of it with greater art; for here it carries on the main design. These new-made divinities not only tell Æneas what had passed in his camp during his absence, and what was the present distress of his besieged people, and that his horsemen, whom he had sent by land, were ready to join him at his descent; but warn him to provide for battle the next day, and foretel him good success: so that this episodical machine is properly a part of the great poem; for, besides what I have said, they push on his navy with celestial vigour, that it might reach the port more speedily, and take the enemy more unprovided to resist the landing: whereas the machine relating to Camilla is only ornamental; for it has no effect, which I can find, but to please the reader, who is concerned that her death should be revenged.

Note II.

_Now, sacred sisters, open all your spring! The Tuscan leaders, and their army, sing._--P. 71.

The poet here begins to tell the names of the Tuscan captains who followed Æneas to the war: and I observe him to be very particular in the description of their persons, and not forgetful of their manners; exact also in the relation of the numbers which each of them command. I doubt not but, as, in the Fifth Book, he gave us the names of the champions who contended for the several prizes, that he might oblige many of the most ancient Roman families, their descendants--and as, in the Seventh Book, he mustered the auxiliary forces of the Latins on the same account--so here he gratifies his Tuscan friends with the like remembrance of their ancestors, and, above the rest, Mæcenas, his great patron, who, being of a royal family in Etruria, was probably represented under one of the names here mentioned, then known among the Romans, though, at so great a distance, unknown to us. And, for his sake chiefly, as I guess, he makes Æneas (by whom he always means Augustus) to seek for aid in the country of Mæcenas, thereby to endear his protector to his emperor, as if there had been a former friendship betwixt their lines. And who knows, but Mæcenas might pretend, that the Cilnian family was derived from Tarchon, the chief commander of the Tuscans?

Note III.

_Nor I, his mighty sire, could ward the blow._--P. 83.

I have mentioned this passage in my preface to the Æneïs, to prove that fate was superior to the gods, and that Jove could neither defer nor alter its decrees. Sir Robert Howard has since been pleased to send me the concurrent testimony of Ovid: it is in the last book of his Metamorphoses, where Venus complains that her descendant, Julius Cæsar, was in danger of being murdered by Brutus and Cassius, at the head of the commonwealth-faction, and desires [_the gods_] to prevent that barbarous assassination. They are moved to compassion; they are concerned for Cæsar; but the poet plainly tells us, that it was not in their power to change destiny. All they could do, was to testify their sorrow for his approaching death, by fore-shewing it with signs and prodigies, as appears by the following lines:--

_Talia necquidquam toto Venus anxia cælo Verba jacit; superosque movet: qui rumpere quanquam Ferrea non possunt veterum decreta sororum, Signa tamen luctús dant haud incerta futuri._

Then she addresses to her father Jupiter, hoping aid from him, because he was thought omnipotent. But he, it seems, could do as little as the rest; for he answers thus:

----_sola insuperabile Fatum, Nata, movere paras? Intres licet ipsa sororum Tecta trium; cernes illic, molimine vasto, Ex ære et solido rerum tabularia ferro_,

_Quæ neque concursum cœli, neque fulminis iram, Nec metuunt ullas, tuta atque æterna, ruinas. Invenies illic, incisa adamante perenni, Fata tui generis. Legi ipse, animoque notavi; Et referam, ne sis etiamnum ignara futuri. Hic sua complevit (pro quo, Cytherea, laboras) Tempora, perfectis, quos terræ debuit, annis, &c._

Jupiter, you see, is only library-keeper, or _custos rotulorum_, to the Fates: for he offers his daughter a cast of his office, to give her a sight of their decrees, which the inferior gods were not permitted to read without his leave. This agrees with what I have said already in the preface; that they, not having seen the records, might believe they were his own hand-writing, and consequently at his disposing, either to blot out or alter as he saw convenient. And of this opinion was Juno in those words, _tua, qui potes, orsa reflectas_. Now the abode of those Destinies being in hell, we cannot wonder why the swearing by Styx was an inviolable oath amongst the gods of heaven, and that Jupiter himself should fear to be accused of forgery by the Fates, if he altered any thing in their decrees; Chaos, Night, and Erebus, being the most ancient of the deities, and instituting those fundamental laws, by which he was afterwards to govern. Hesiod gives us the genealogy of the gods; and I think I may safely infer the rest. I will only add, that Homer was more a fatalist than Virgil: for it has been observed, that the word Τυχη, or _Fortune_, is not to be found in his two poems; but, instead of it, always Μοιρα.




_Æneas erects a trophy of the spoils of Mezentius, grants a truce for burying the dead, and sends home the body of Pallas with great solemnity. Latinus calls a council, to propose offers of peace to Æneas; which occasions great animosity betwixt Turnus and Drances. In the mean time there is a sharp engagement of the horse; wherein Camilla signalises herself, is killed; and the Latine troops are entirely defeated._

Scarce had the rosy morning raised her head Above the waves, and left her watery bed; The pious chief, whom double cares attend For his unburied soldiers and his friend, Yet first to heaven performed a victor's vows: He bared an ancient oak of all her boughs; Then on a rising ground the trunk he placed, Which with the spoils of his dead foe he graced. The coat of arms by proud Mezentius worn, Now on a naked snag in triumph borne, Was hung on high, and glittered from afar, A trophy sacred to the god of war. Above his arms, fixed on the leafless wood, Appeared his plumy crest, besmeared with blood: His brazen buckler on the left was seen; Trunchions of shivered lances hung between; And on the right was placed his corslet, bored; And to the neck was tied his unavailing sword. A crowd of chiefs inclose the godlike man, Who thus, conspicuous in the midst, began:-- "Our toils, my friends, are crowned with sure success; The greater part performed, achieve the less. Now follow cheerful to the trembling town; Press but an entrance, and presume it won. Fear is no more: For fierce Mezentius lies, As the first fruits of war, a sacrifice. Turnus shall fall extended on the plain, And, in this omen, is already slain. Prepared in arms, pursue your happy chance; That none unwarned may plead his ignorance, And I, at heaven's appointed hour, may find Your warlike ensigns waving in the wind. Meantime the rites and funeral pomps prepare, Due to your dead companions of the war-- The last respect the living can bestow, To shield their shadows from contempt below. That conquered earth be theirs, for which they fought, And which for us with their own blood they bought. But first the corpse of our unhappy friend To the sad city of Evander send, Who, not inglorious, in his age's bloom Was hurried hence by too severe a doom." Thus, weeping while he spoke, he took his way, Where, new in death, lamented Pallas lay. Acœtes watched the corpse; whose youth deserved The father's trust; and now the son he served With equal faith, but less suspicious care. The attendants of the slain his sorrow share. A troop of Trojans mixed with these appear, And mourning matrons with dishevelled hair. Soon as the prince appears, they raise a cry; All beat their breasts, and echoes rend the sky. They rear his drooping forehead from the ground; But, when Æneas viewed the grisly wound Which Pallas in his manly bosom bore, And the fair flesh distained with purple gore; First, melting into tears, the pious man Deplored so sad a sight, then thus began:-- "Unhappy youth! when Fortune gave the rest Of my full wishes, she refused the best! She came; but brought not thee along, to bless My longing eyes, and share in my success: She grudged thy safe return, the triumphs due To prosperous valour, in the public view. Not thus I promised, when thy father lent Thy needless succour with a sad consent; Embraced me, parting for the Etrurian land, And sent me to possess a large command. He warned, and from his own experience told, Our foes were warlike, disciplined, and bold. And now perhaps, in hopes of thy return, Rich odours on his loaded altars burn, While we, with vain officious pomp, prepare To send him back his portion of the war, A bloody breathless body, which can owe No farther debt, but to the powers below. The wretched father, ere his race is run, Shall view the funeral honours of his son! These are my triumphs of the Latian war, Fruits of my plighted faith and boasted care! And yet, unhappy sire, thou shalt not see A son, whose death disgraced his ancestry: Thou shall not blush, old man, however grieved: Thy Pallas no dishonest wound received. He died no death to make thee wish, too late, Thou hadst not lived to see his shameful fate. But what a champion has the Ausonian coast, And what a friend hast thou, Ascanius, lost!" Thus having mourned, he gave the word around, To raise the breathless body from the ground; And chose a thousand horse, the flower of all His warlike troops, to wait the funeral, To bear him back, and share Evander's grief-- A well-becoming, but a weak relief. Of oaken twigs they twist an easy bier, Then on their shoulders the sad burden rear. The body on this rural hearse is borne: Strewed leaves and funeral greens the bier adorn. All pale he lies, and looks a lovely flower, New cropt by virgin hands, to dress the bower: Unfaded yet, but yet unfed below, No more to mother earth or the green stem shall owe. Then two fair vests, of wonderous work and cost, Of purple woven, and with gold embossed, For ornament the Trojan hero brought, Which with her hands Sidonian Dido wrought. One vest arrayed the corpse; and one they spread O'er his closed eyes, and wrapped around his head, That, when the yellow hair in flame should fall, The catching fire might burn the golden caul. Besides, the spoils of foes in battle slain, When he descended on the Latian plain-- Arms, trappings, horses--by the hearse are led In long array--the achievements of the dead. Then, pinioned with their hands behind, appear The unhappy captives, marching in the rear, Appointed offerings in the victor's name, To sprinkle with their blood the funeral flame. Inferior trophies by the chiefs are borne; Gauntlets and helms their loaded hands adorn; And fair inscriptions fixed, and titles read Of Latian leaders conquered by the dead. Acœtes on his pupil's corpse attends, With feeble steps, supported by his friends. Pausing at every pace, in sorrow drowned, Betwixt their arms he sinks upon the ground; Where grovelling while he lies in deep despair, He beats his breast, and rends his hoary hair. The champion's chariot next is seen to roll, Besmeared with hostile blood, and honourably foul. To close the pomp, Æthon, the steed of state, Is led, the funerals of his lord to wait. Stripped of his trappings, with a sullen pace He walks; and the big tears run rolling down his face. The lance of Pallas, and the crimson crest, Are borne behind:--the victor seized the rest. The march begins: the trumpets hoarsely sound; The pikes and lances trail along the ground. Thus while the Trojan and Arcadian horse To Pallantean towers direct their course, In long procession ranked; the pious chief Stopped in the rear, and gave a vent to grief:-- "The public care," he said, "which war attends, Diverts our present woes, at least suspends. Peace with the manes of great Pallas dwell! Hail, holy reliques! and a last farewell!" He said no more, but, inly though he mourned, Restrained his tears, and to the camp returned. Now suppliants, from Laurentum sent, demand A truce, with olive-branches in their hand; Obtest his clemency, and from the plain Beg leave to draw the bodies of their slain. They plead, that none those common rites deny To conquered foes, that in fair battle die. All cause of hate was ended in their death; Nor could he war with bodies void of breath. A king, they hoped, would hear a king's request, Whose son he once was called, and once his guest. Their suit, which was too just to be denied, The hero grants, and farther thus replied:-- "O Latian princes! how severe a fate In causeless quarrels has involved your state, And armed against an unoffending man, Who sought your friendship ere the war began! You beg a truce, which I would gladly give, Not only for the slain, but those who live. I came not hither but by heaven's command, And sent by fate to share the Latian land. Nor wage I wars unjust: your king denied My proffered friendship, and my promised bride; Left me for Turnus. Turnus then should try His cause in arms, to conquer or to die. My right and his are in dispute: the slain Fell without fault, our quarrel to maintain. In equal arms let us alone contend; And let him vanquish, whom his fates befriend. This is the way (so tell him) to possess The royal virgin, and restore the peace. Bear this my message back--with ample leave, That your slain friends may funeral rites receive." Thus having said--the embassadors, amazed, Stood mute a while, and on each other gazed. Drances, their chief, who harboured in his breast Long hate to Turnus, as his foe professed, Broke silence first, and to the godlike man, With graceful action bowing, thus began:-- "Auspicious prince, in arms a mighty name, But yet whose actions far transcend your fame! Would I your justice or your force express, Thought can but equal; and all words are less. Your answer we shall thankfully relate, And favours granted to the Latian state. If wished success our labour shall attend, Think peace concluded, and the king your friend: Let Turnus leave the realm to your command, And seek alliance in some other land: Build you the city which your fates assign; We shall be proud in the great work to join." Thus Drances; and his words so well persuade The rest empowered, that soon a truce is made. Twelve days the term allowed: and, during those, Latians and Trojans, now no longer foes, Mixed in the woods, for funeral piles prepare To fell the timber, and forget the war. Loud axes through the groaning groves resound; Oak, mountain-ash, and poplar, spread the ground; Firs fall from high; and some the trunks receive In loaden wains; with wedges some they cleave. And now the fatal news by Fame is blown Through the short circuit of the Arcadian town, Of Pallas slain--, by Fame, which just before His triumphs on distended pinions bore. Rushing from out the gate, the people stand, Each with a funeral flambeau in his hand. Wildly they stare, distracted with amaze: The fields are lightened with a fiery blaze, That casts a sullen splendour on their friends-- The marching troop which their dead prince attends. Both parties meet: they raise a doleful cry; } The matrons from the walls with shrieks reply, } And their mixed mourning rends the vaulted sky. } The town is filled with tumult and with tears, Till the loud clamours reach Evander's ears: Forgetful of his state, he runs along, With a disordered pace, and cleaves the throng; Falls on the corpse; and groaning there he lies, With silent grief, that speaks but at his eyes. Short sighs and sobs succeed; till sorrow breaks A passage, and at once he weeps and speaks:-- "O Pallas! thou hast failed thy plighted word! To fight with caution, not to tempt the sword, I warned thee, but in vain; for well I knew What perils youthful ardour would pursue-- That boiling blood would carry thee too far, Young as thou wert in dangers, raw to war! O curst essay of arms! disastrous doom! Prelude of bloody fields, and fights to come! Hard elements of inauspicious war! Vain vows to heaven, and unavailing care! Thrice happy thou, dear partner of my bed! Whose holy soul the stroke of Fortune fled-- Præscious of ills, and leaving me behind, To drink the dregs of life by fate assigned. Beyond the goal of nature I have gone: My Pallas late set out, but reached too soon. If, for my league against the Ausonian state, Amidst their weapons I had found my fate, (Deserved from them,) then I had been returned A breathless victor, and my son had mourned. Yet will I not my Trojan friend upbraid, Nor grudge the alliance I so gladly made. 'Twas not his fault, my Pallas fell so young, But my own crime for having lived too long. Yet, since the gods had destined him to die, At least, he led the way to victory: First for his friends he won the fatal shore, } And sent whole herds of slaughtered foes before-- } A death too great, too glorious to deplore. } Nor will I add new honours to thy grave, Content with those the Trojan hero gave-- That funeral pomp thy Phrygian friends designed, In which the Tuscan chiefs and army joined. Great spoils and trophies, gained by thee, they bear: Then let thy own achievements be thy share. Even thou, O Turnus, hadst a trophy stood, Whose mighty trunk had better graced the wood, If Pallas had arrived, with equal length Of years, to match thy bulk with equal strength. But why, unhappy man! dost thou detain These troops, to view the tears thou shedd'st in vain? Go, friends! this message to your lord relate: Tell him, that, if I bear my bitter fate, And, after Pallas' death, live lingering on, 'Tis to behold his vengeance for my son. I stay for Turnus, whose devoted head Is owing to the living and the dead. My son and I expect it from his hand; 'Tis all that he can give, or we demand. Joy is no more; but I would gladly go, To greet my Pallas with such news below." The morn had now dispelled the shades of night, Restoring toils, when she restored the light. The Trojan king, and Tuscan chief, command To raise the piles along the winding strand. Their friends convey the dead to funeral fires; } Black smouldering smoke from the green wood expires; } The light of heaven is choked, and the new day retires. } Then thrice around the kindled piles they go; (For ancient custom had ordained it so;) Thrice horse and foot about the fires are led; And thrice, with loud laments, they hail the dead. Tears, trickling down their breasts, bedew the ground, And drums and trumpets mix their mournful sound. Amid the blaze, their pious brethren throw The spoils, in battle taken from the foe-- Helms, bitts embossed, and swords of shining steel; One casts a target, one a chariot-wheel; Some to their fellows their own arms restore-- The faulchions which in luckless fight they bore, Their bucklers pierced, their darts bestowed in vain, And shivered lances gathered from the plain. Whole herds of offered bulls, about the fire, And bristled boars, and woolly sheep, expire. Around the piles a careful troop attends, To watch the wasting flames, and weep their burning friends-- Lingering along the shore, till dewy night New decks the face of heaven with starry light. The conquered Latians, with like pious care, Piles without number for their dead prepare. Part, in the places where they fell, are laid; And part are to the neighbouring fields conveyed. The corps of kings, and captains of renown, Borne off in state, are buried in the town; The rest, unhonoured, and without a name, Are cast a common heap to feed the flame. Trojans and Latians vie with like desires } To make the field of battle shine with fires, } And the promiscuous blaze to heaven aspires. } Now had the morning thrice renewed the light, And thrice dispelled the shadows of the night, When those who round the wasted fires remain, Perform the last sad office to the slain. They rake the yet warm ashes from below; These, and the bones unburned, in earth bestow: These reliques with their country rites they grace, And raise a mount of turf to mark the place. But, in the palace of the king, appears A scene more solemn, and a pomp of tears. Maids, matrons, widows, mix their common moans; Orphans their sires, and sires lament their sons. All in that universal sorrow share, And curse the cause of this unhappy war-- A broken league, a bride unjustly sought, A crown usurped, which with their blood is bought! These are the crimes, with which they load the name Of Turnus, and on him alone exclaim:-- "Let him, who lords it o'er the Ausonian land, Engage the Trojan hero hand to hand: His is the gain; our lot is but to serve; 'Tis just, the sway he seeks, he should deserve." This Drances aggravates; and adds, with spite, His foe expects, and dares him to the fight. Nor Turnus wants a party, to support His cause and credit in the Latian court. His former acts secure his present fame, And the queen shades him with her mighty name. While thus their factious minds with fury burn, The legates from the Ætolian prince return: Sad news they bring, that, after all the cost And care employed, their embassy is lost; That Diomede refused his aid in war, Unmoved with presents, and as deaf to prayer. Some new alliance must elsewhere be sought, Or peace with Troy on hard conditions bought. Latinus, sunk in sorrow, finds too late, A foreign son is pointed out by fate; And, till Æneas shall Lavinia wed, The wrath of heaven is hovering o'er his head. The gods, he saw, espoused the juster side, } When late their titles in the field were tried: } Witness the fresh laments, and funeral tears undried. } Thus full of anxious thought, he summons all The Latian senate to the council-hall. The princes come, commanded by their head, And crowd the paths that to the palace lead. Supreme in power, and reverenced for his years, He takes the throne, and in the midst appears. Majestically sad, he sits in state, And bids his envoys their success relate. When Venulus began, the murmuring sound Was hushed, and sacred silence reigned around. "We have," said he, "performed your high command, And passed with peril a long tract of land: We reached the place desired; with wonder filled, The Grecian tents and rising towers beheld. Great Diomede has compassed round with walls The city, which Argyripa he calls, From his own Argos named. We touched, with joy, The royal hand that razed unhappy Troy. When introduced, our presents first we bring, Then crave an instant audience from the king. His leave obtained, our native soil we name, And tell the important cause for which we came. Attentively he heard us, while we spoke; Then, with soft accents, and a pleasing look, Made this return:--'Ausonian race, of old Renowned for peace, and for an age of gold, What madness has your altered minds possessed, To change for war hereditary rest, Solicit arms unknown, and tempt the sword-- A needless ill, your ancestors abhorred? We--for myself I speak, and all the name Of Grecians, who to Troy's destruction came-- (Omitting those who were in battle slain, Or borne by rolling Simoïs to the main,) Not one but suffered, and too dearly bought The prize of honour which in arms he sought; Some doomed to death, and some in exile driven, Out-casts, abandoned by the care of heaven-- So worn, so wretched, so despised a crew, As even old Priam might with pity view. Witness the vessels by Minerva tossed In storms--the vengeful Capharean coast-- The Eubœan rocks--the prince, whose brother led Our armies to revenge his injured bed, In Egypt lost. Ulysses, with his men, Have seen Charybdis, and the Cyclops' den. Why should I name Idomeneus, in vain } Restored to sceptres, and expelled again? } Or young Achilles, by his rival slain? } Even he, the king of men, the foremost name Of all the Greeks, and most renowned by fame, The proud revenger of another's wife, Yet by his own adulteress lost his life-- Fell at his threshold; and the spoils of Troy The foul polluters of his bed enjoy. The gods have envied me the sweets of life, My much-loved country, and my more loved wife: Banished from both, I mourn; while in the sky, Transformed to birds, my lost companions fly: Hovering about the coasts, they make their moan, And cuff the cliffs with pinions not their own. What squalid spectres, in the dead of night, Break my short sleep, and skim before my sight! I might have promised to myself those harms, Mad as I was, when I, with mortal arms, Presumed against immortal powers to move, And violate with wounds the queen of love. Such arms this hand shall never more employ. No hate remains with me to ruined Troy. I war not with its dust; nor am I glad To think of past events, or good or bad. Your presents I return: whate'er you bring To buy my friendship, send the Trojan king. We met in fight: I know him, to my cost: With what a whirling force his lance he tossed! Heavens! what a spring was in his arm, to throw! How high he held his shield, and rose at every blow! Had Troy produced two more his match in might, They would have changed the fortune of the fight: The invasion of the Greeks had been returned, Our empire wasted, and our cities burned. The long defence the Trojan people made, The war protracted, and the siege delayed, Were due to Hector's and this hero's hand: Both brave alike, and equal in command; Æneas, not inferior in the field, In pious reverence to the gods excelled. Make peace, ye Latians, and avoid with care The impending dangers of a fatal war.' He said no more; but, with this cold excuse, Refused the alliance, and advised a truce." Thus Venulus concluded his report. A jarring murmur filled the factious court: As, when a torrent rolls with rapid force, And dashes o'er the stones that stop the course, The flood, constrained within a scanty space, Roars horrible along the uneasy race; White foam in gathering eddies floats around; The rocky shores rebellow to the sound. The murmur ceased: then from his lofty throne The king invoked the gods, and thus begun:-- "I wish, ye Latians, what we now debate Had been resolved before it was too late. Much better had it been for you and me, Unforced by this our last necessity, To have been earlier wise, than now to call A council, when the foe surrounds the wall. O citizens! we wage unequal war, With men, not only heaven's peculiar care, But heaven's own race--unconquered in the field, Or, conquered, yet unknowing how to yield. What hopes you had in Diomede, lay down: Our hopes must centre in ourselves alone. Yet those how feeble, and, indeed, how vain, You see too well; nor need my words explain-- Vanquished without resource--laid flat by fate-- Factions within, a foe without the gate! Not but I grant that all performed their parts With manly force, and with undaunted hearts: With our united strength the war we waged; With equal numbers, equal arms, engaged: You see the event.--Now hear what I propose, To save our friends, and satisfy our foes. A tract of land the Latians have possessed Along the Tyber, stretching to the west, Which now Rutulians and Auruncans till, And their mixed cattle graze the fruitful hill. Those mountains filled with firs, that lower land, If you consent, the Trojans shall command, Called into part of what is ours; and there, On terms agreed, the common country share. There let them build and settle, if they please; Unless they chuse once more to cross the seas, In search of seats remote from Italy, And from unwelcome inmates set us free. Then twice ten galleys let us build with speed, Or twice as many more, if more they need. Materials are at hand: a well-grown wood Runs equal with the margin of the flood: Let them the number and the form assign; The care and cost of all the stores be mine. To treat the peace, a hundred senators Shall be commissioned hence with ample powers, With olive crowned: the presents they shall bear, } A purple robe, a royal ivory chair, } And all the marks of sway that Latian monarchs wear, } And sums of gold. Among yourselves debate This great affair, and save the sinking state." Then Drances took the word, who grudged, long since, The rising glories of the Daunian prince. Factious and rich, bold at the council-board, } But cautious in the field, he shunned the sword-- } A close caballer, and tongue-valiant lord. } Noble his mother was, and near the throne; But, what his father's parentage, unknown. He rose, and took the advantage of the times, To load young Turnus with invidious crimes. "Such truths, O king," said he, "your words contain, As strike the sense, and all replies are vain; Nor are your loyal subjects now to seek What common needs require, but fear to speak. Let him give leave of speech, that haughty man, Whose pride this inauspicious war began; For whose ambition, (let me dare to say, Fear set apart, though death is in my way,) The plains of Latium run with blood around; So many valiant heroes bite the ground; Dejected grief in every face appears; A town in mourning, and a land in tears; While he, the undoubted author of our harms, The man who menaces the gods with arms, Yet, after all his boasts, forsook the fight, And sought his safety in ignoble flight. Now, best of kings, since you propose to send Such bounteous presents to your Trojan friend; Add yet a greater at our joint request, One which he values more than all the rest: Give him the fair Lavinia for his bride; } With that alliance let the league be tied, } And for the bleeding land a lasting peace provide. } Let insolence no longer awe the throne; But, with a father's right, bestow your own. For this maligner of the general good, If still we fear his force, he must be woo'd; His haughty godhead we with prayers implore, Your sceptre to release, and our just rights restore. O cursed cause of all our ills! must we Wage wars unjust, and fall in fight, for thee? What right hast thou to rule the Latian state, And send us out to meet our certain fate? 'Tis a destructive war: from Turnus' hand Our peace and public safety we demand. Let the fair bride to the brave chief remain; If not, the peace, without the pledge, is vain. Turnus, I know you think me not your friend, Nor will I much with your belief contend: I beg your greatness not to give the law In other realms, but, beaten, to withdraw. Pity your own, or pity our estate; Nor twist our fortunes with your sinking fate. Your interest is, the war should never cease; But we have felt enough, to wish the peace-- A land exhausted to the last remains, Depopulated towns, and driven plains. Yet, if desire of fame, and thirst of power, A beauteous princess, with a crown in dower, So fire your mind, in arms assert your right, And meet your foe, who dares you to the fight. Mankind, it seems, is made for you alone! We, but the slaves who mount you to the throne-- A base ignoble crowd, without a name, Unwept, unworthy of the funeral flame, By duty bound to forfeit each his life, That Turnus may possess a royal wife! Permit not, mighty man, so mean a crew } Should share such triumphs, and detain from you } The post of honour, your undoubted due. } Rather alone your matchless force employ, To merit what alone you must enjoy." These words, so full of malice mixed with art, Inflamed with rage the youthful hero's heart. Then groaning from the bottom of his breast, He heaved for wind, and thus his wrath expressed:-- "You, Drances, never want a stream of words, Then, when the public need requires our swords. First in the council-hall to steer the state, And ever foremost in a tongue-debate, While our strong walls secure us from the foe, Ere yet with blood our ditches overflow: But let the potent orator declaim, And with the brand of coward blot my name; Free leave is given him, when his fatal hand } Has covered with more corps the sanguine strand, } And high as mine his towering trophies stand. } If any doubt remains, who dares the most, Let us decide it at the Trojans' cost, And issue both a-breast, where honour calls-- (Foes are not far to seek without the walls,) Unless his noisy tongue can only fight, And feet were given him but to speed his flight. I beaten from the field? I forced away? Who, but so known a dastard, dares to say? Had he but even beheld the fight, his eyes Had witnessed for me what his tongue denies-- What heaps of Trojans by this hand were slain, And how the bloody Tyber swelled the main. All saw, but he, the Arcadian troops retire In scattered squadrons, and their prince expire. The giant brothers, in their camp, have found, I was not forced with ease to quit my ground. Not such the Trojans tried me, when, inclosed, I singly their united arms opposed-- First forced an entrance through their thick array, Then, glutted with their slaughter, freed my way. 'Tis a destructive war? So let it be, But to the Phrygian pirate, and to thee! Meantime proceed to fill the people's ears With false reports, their minds with panic fears: Extol the strength of a twice-conquered race; Our foes encourage, and our friends debase. Believe thy fables, and the Trojan town Triumphant stands; the Grecians are o'erthrown; Suppliant at Hector's feet Achilles lies, And Diomede from fierce Æneas flies! Say, rapid Aufidus with awful dread Runs backward from the sea, and hides his head, When the great Trojan on his bank appears; For that's as true as thy dissembled fears Of my revenge: dismiss that vanity: Thou, Drances, art below a death from me. Let that vile soul in that vile body rest; The lodging is well worthy of the guest. Now, royal father, to the present state Of our affairs, and of this high debate-- If in your arms thus early you diffide, And think your fortune is already tried; If one defeat has brought us down so low, As never more in fields to meet the foe; Then I conclude for peace: 'tis time to treat, And lie like vassals at the victor's feet. But, oh! if any ancient blood remains, One drop of all our fathers, in our veins, That man would I prefer before the rest, Who dared his death with an undaunted breast; Who comely fell by no dishonest wound, To shun that sight, and, dying, gnawed the ground. But, if we still have fresh recruits in store, If our confederates can afford us more; If the contended field we bravely fought, And not a bloodless victory was bought; Their losses equalled ours; and, for their slain, With equal fires they filled the shining plain; Why thus, unforced, should we so tamely yield, And, ere the trumpet sounds, resign the field? Good unexpected, evils unforeseen, Appear by turns, as fortune shifts the scene. Some, raised aloft, come tumbling down amain; Then fall so hard, they bound and rise again. If Diomede refuse his aid to lend, The great Messapus yet remains our friend: Tolumnius, who foretells events, is ours: The Italian chiefs, and princes, join their powers: Nor least in number, nor in name the last, Your own brave subjects have our cause embraced. Above the rest, the Volscian Amazon Contains an army in herself alone, And heads a squadron, terrible to sight, With glittering shields, in brazen armour bright. Yet, if the foe a single fight demand, And I alone the public peace withstand; If you consent, he shall not be refused, Nor find a hand to victory unused. This new Achilles, let him take the field, With fated armour, and Vulcanian shield! For you, my royal father, and my fame, I, Turnus, not the least of all my name, Devote my soul. He calls me hand to hand; And I alone will answer his demand. Drances shall rest secure, and neither share The danger, nor divide the prize, of war." While they debate, nor these nor those will yield, Æneas draws his forces to the field, And moves his camp. The scouts with flying speed Return, and through the frighted city spread The unpleasing news,--"The Trojans are descried, In battle marching by the river-side, And bending to the town." They take the alarm: Some tremble, some are bold; all in confusion arm. The impetuous youth press forward to the field; They clash the sword, and clatter on the shield: The fearful matrons raise a screaming cry; } Old feeble men with fainter groans reply; } A jarring sound results, and mingles in the sky, } Like that of swans remurmuring to the floods, Or birds of differing kinds in hollow woods. Turnus the occasion takes, and cries aloud:-- "Talk on, ye quaint haranguers of the crowd: Declaim in praise of peace, when danger calls, And the fierce foes in arms approach the walls." He said, and, turning short with speedy pace, Casts back a scornful glance, and quits the place.-- "Thou, Volusus, the Volscian troops command To mount; and lead thyself our Ardean band. Messapus, and Catillus, post your force Along the fields, to charge the Trojan horse. Some guard the passes, others man the wall; Drawn up in arms, the rest attend my call." They swarm from every quarter of the town, And with disordered haste the rampires crown. Good old Latinus, when he saw, too late, The gathering storm just breaking on the state, Dismissed the council till a fitter time, And owned his easy temper as his crime, Who, forced against his reason, had complied To break the treaty for the promised bride. Some help to sink new trenches; others aid To ram the stones, or raise the palisade. Hoarse trumpets sound the alarm; around the walls Runs a distracted crew, whom their last labour calls. A sad procession in the streets is seen, Of matrons, that attend the mother queen: High in her chair she sits, and, at her side, With downcast eyes appears the fatal bride. They mount the cliff, where Pallas' temple stands; Prayers in their mouths, and presents in their hands. With censers, first they fume the sacred shrine, Then in this common supplication join:-- "O patroness of arms! unspotted maid! Propitious hear, and lend thy Latins aid! Break short the pirate's lance; pronounce his fate, And lay the Phrygian low before the gate." Now Turnus arms for fight. His back and breast Well-tempered steel and scaly brass invest: The cuishes, which his brawny thighs infold, Are mingled metal damasked o'er with gold. His faithful faulchion sits upon his side; Nor casque, nor crest, his manly features hide: But, bare to view, amid surrounding friends, With godlike grace, he from the tower descends. Exulting in his strength, he seems to dare His absent rival, and to promise war. Freed from his keepers, thus, with broken reins, The wanton courser prances o'er the plains, Or in the pride of youth o'erleaps the mounds, And snuffs the females in forbidden grounds, Or seeks his watering in the well-known flood, To quench his thirst, and cool his fiery blood: He swims luxuriant in the liquid plain, And o'er his shoulder flows his waving mane: He neighs, he snorts, he bears his head on high; Before his ample chest the frothy waters fly. Soon as the prince appears without the gate, The Volscians, and their virgin leader, wait His last commands. Then, with a graceful mien, Lights from her lofty steed the warrior queen: Her squadron imitates, and each descends; Whose common suit Camilla thus commends:-- "If sense of honour, if a soul secure Of inborn worth, that can all tests endure, Can promise aught, or on itself rely Greatly to dare to conquer or to die; Then, I alone, sustained by these, will meet The Tyrrhene troops, and promise their defeat. Ours be the danger, ours the sole renown: You, general, stay behind, and guard the town." Turnus a while stood mute with glad surprise, And on the fierce virago fixed his eyes, Then thus returned:--"O grace of Italy! With what becoming thanks can I reply? Not only words lie labouring in my breast, But thought itself is by thy praise oppressed. Yet rob me not of all; but let me join My toils, my hazard, and my fame, with thine. The Trojan, not in stratagem unskilled, Sends his light horse before to scour the field: Himself, through steep ascents and thorny brakes, A larger compass to the city takes. This news my scouts confirm: and I prepare To foil his cunning, and his force to dare; With chosen foot his passage to forelay, And place an ambush in the winding way. Thou, with thy Volscians, face the Tuscan horse: The brave Messapus shall thy troops inforce With those of Tibur, and the Latian band, Subjected all to thy supreme command." This said, he warns Messapus to the war, Then every chief exhorts with equal care. All thus encouraged, his own troops he joins, And hastes to prosecute his deep designs. Inclosed with hills, a winding valley lies, By nature formed for fraud, and fitted for surprise. A narrow track, by human steps untrode, Leads, through perplexing thorns, to this obscure abode. High o'er the vale a steepy mountain stands, Whence the surveying sight the nether ground commands. The top is level--an offensive seat Of war; and from the war a safe retreat: For, on the right and left, is room to press The foes at hand, or from afar distress; To drive them headlong downward; and to pour, On their descending backs, a stony shower. Thither young Turnus took the well-known way, Possessed the pass, and in blind ambush lay. Meantime, Latonian Phœœbe, from the skies, Beheld the approaching war with hateful eyes, And called the light-foot Opis to her aid, Her most beloved and ever-trusty maid; Then with a sigh began:--"Camilla goes To meet her death amidst her fatal foes-- The nymph I loved of all my mortal train, Invested with Diana's arms, in vain. Nor is my kindness for the virgin new: 'Twas born with her; and with her years it grew. Her father Metabus, when forced away From old Privernum for tyrannic sway, Snatched up, and saved from his prevailing foes, This tender babe, companion of his woes. Casmilla was her mother; but he drowned One hissing letter in a softer sound, And called Camilla. Through the woods he flies; Wrapped in his robe the royal infant lies. His foes in sight, he mends his weary pace; With shouts and clamours they pursue the chase. The banks of Amasene at length he gains: } The raging flood his farther flight restrains, } Raised o'er the borders with unusual rains. } Prepared to plunge into the stream, he fears, Not for himself, but for the charge he bears. Anxious, he stops a while, and thinks in haste, Then, desperate in distress, resolves at last. A knotty lance of well-boiled oak he bore; The middle part with cork he covered o'er: He closed the child within the hollow space; With twigs of bending osier bound the case, Then poised the spear, heavy with human weight, And thus invoked my favour for the freight:-- 'Accept, great goddess of the woods, (he said,) Sent by her sire, this dedicated maid! Through air she flies a suppliant to thy shrine; And the first weapons that she knows, are thine.' He said; and with full force the spear he threw: Above the sounding waves Camilla flew. Then, pressed by foes, he stemmed the stormy tide, And gained, by stress of arms, the farther side. His fastened spear he pulled from out the ground, And, victor of his vows, his infant nymph unbound; Nor, after that, in towns which walls inclose, Would trust his hunted life amidst his foes; But, rough, in open air he chose to lie; Earth was his couch, his covering was the sky. On hills unshorn, or in a desert den, He shunned the dire society of men. A shepherd's solitary life he led; His daughter with the milk of mares he fed. The dugs of bears, and every savage beast, He drew, and through her lips the liquor pressed. The little Amazon could scarcely go-- He loads her with a quiver and a bow; And, that she might her staggering steps command, He with a slender javelin fills her hand. Her flowing hair no golden fillet bound; Nor swept her trailing robe the dusty ground. Instead of these, a tyger's hide o'erspread Her back and shoulders, fastened to her head. The flying dart she first attempts to fling, And round her tender temples tossed the sling; Then, as her strength with years increased, began } To pierce aloft in air the soaring swan, } And from the clouds to fetch the heron and the crane. } The Tuscan matrons with each other vied, To bless their rival sons with such a bride: But she disdains their love, to share with me The sylvan shades, and vowed virginity. And, oh! I wish, contented with my cares Of savage spoils, she had not sought the wars: Then had she been of my celestial train, And shunned the fate that dooms her to be slain. But since, opposing heaven's decree, she goes To find her death among forbidden foes, Haste with these arms, and take thy steepy flight, Where, with the gods adverse, the Latins fight. This bow to thee, this quiver, I bequeath, This chosen arrow, to revenge her death: By whate'er hand Camilla shall be slain, } Or of the Trojan or Italian train, } Let him not pass unpunished from the plain. } Then, in a hollow cloud, myself will aid To bear the breathless body of my maid: Unspoiled shall be her arms, and unprofaned } Her holy limbs with any human hand, } And in a marble tomb laid in her native land." } She said. The faithful nymph descends from high } With rapid flight, and cuts the sounding sky: } Black clouds and stormy winds around her body fly. } By this, the Trojan and the Tuscan horse, Drawn up in squadrons, with united force Approach the walls: the sprightly coursers bound, Press forward on their bits, and shift their ground. Shields, arms, and spears, flash horribly from far; And the fields glitter with a waving war. Opposed to these, come on with furious force Messapus, Coras, and the Latian horse; These in the body placed, on either hand Sustained and closed by fair Camilla's band. Advancing in a line, they couch their spears; And less and less the middle space appears. Thick smoke obscures the field; and scarce are seen The neighing coursers, and the shouting men. In distance of their darts they stop their course; Then man to man they rush, and horse to horse. The face of heaven their flying javelins hide, And deaths unseen are dealt on either side. Tyrrhenus, and Aconteus void of fear, By mettled coursers borne in full career, Meet first opposed; and, with a mighty shock, Their horses' heads against each other knock. Far from his steed is fierce Aconteus cast, } As with an engine's force, or lightning's blast: } He rolls along in blood, and breathes his last. } The Latin squadrons take a sudden fright, And sling their shields behind, to save their backs in flight. Spurring at speed, to their own walls they drew; Close in the rear the Tuscan troops pursue, And urge their flight: Asylas leads the chase; Till, seized with shame, they wheel about, and face, Receive their foes, and raise a threatening cry. The Tuscans take their turn to fear and fly. So swelling surges, with a thundering roar, Driven on each other's backs, insult the shore, Bound o'er the rocks, encroach upon the land, And far upon the beach eject the sand; Then backward, with a swing, they take their way, Repulsed from upper ground, and seek their mother sea; With equal hurry quit the invaded shore, And swallow back the sand and stones they spewed before. Twice were the Tuscans masters of the field, Twice by the Latins, in their turn, repelled. Ashamed at length, to the third charge they ran-- Both hosts resolved, and mingled man to man. Now dying groans are heard; the fields are strowed With falling bodies, and are drunk with blood. Arms, horses, men, on heaps together lie: Confused the fight, and more confused the cry. Orsilochus, who durst not press too near } Strong Remulus, at distance drove his spear, } And struck the steel beneath his horse's ear. } The fiery steed, impatient of the wound, } Curvets, and, springing upward with a bound, } His helpless lord cast backward on the ground. } Catillus pierced Iolas first; then drew } His reeking lance, and at Herminius threw, } The mighty champion of the Tuscan crew. } His neck and throat unarmed, his head was bare, But shaded with a length of yellow hair: Secure, he fought, exposed on every part, A spacious mark for swords, and for the flying dart. Across the shoulders came the feathered wound; Transfixed, he fell, and doubled to the ground. The sands with streaming blood are sanguine dyed, And death, with honour, sought on either side. Resistless, through the war Camilla rode, In danger unappalled, and pleased with blood. One side was bare for her exerted breast; One shoulder with her painted quiver pressed. Now from afar her fatal javelins play; Now with her axe's edge she hews her way: Diana's arms upon her shoulder sound; } And when, too closely pressed, she quits the ground, } From her bent bow she sends a backward wound. } Her maids, in martial pomp, on either side, Larina, Tulla, fierce Tarpeia, ride-- Italians all--in peace, their queen's delight; In war, the bold companions of the fight. So marched the Thracian Amazons of old, When Thermodon with bloody billows rolled: Such troops as these in shining arms were seen, When Theseus met in fight their maiden queen: Such to the field Penthesilea led, From the fierce virgin when the Grecians fled; With such returned triumphant from the war, Her maids with cries attend the lofty car; They clash with manly force their moony shields; With female shouts resound the Phrygian fields. Who foremost, and who last, heroic maid, On the cold earth were by thy courage laid? Thy spear, of mountain-ash, Eunæus first, With fury driven, from side to side transpierced: A purple stream came spouting from the wound; Bathed in his blood he lies, and bites the ground. Liris and Pagasus at once she slew: The former, as the slackened reins he drew, Of his faint steed--the latter, as he stretched His arm to prop his friend--the javelin reached. By the same weapon, sent from the same hand, Both fall together, and both spurn the sand. Amastrus next is added to the slain: The rest in rout she follows o'er the plain: Tereus, Harpalycus, Demophoon, And Chromis, at full speed her fury shun. Of all her deadly darts, not one she lost; Each was attended with a Trojan ghost. Young Ornytus bestrode a hunter steed, Swift for the chase, and of Apulian breed. Him, from afar, she spied, in arms unknown: O'er his broad back an ox's hide was thrown; His helm a wolf, whose gaping jaws were spread A covering for his cheeks, and grinned around his head. He clenched within his hand an iron prong, And towered above the rest, conspicuous in the throng. Him soon she singled from the flying train, And slew with ease; then thus insults the slain:-- "Vain hunter! didst thou think through woods to chase The savage herd, a vile and trembling race? Here cease thy vaunts, and own my victory: A woman warrior was too strong for thee. Yet, if the ghosts demand the conqueror's name, Confessing great Camilla, save thy shame." Then Butes and Orsilochus she slew, The bulkiest bodies of the Trojan crew-- But Butes breast to breast: the spear descends } Above the gorget, where his helmet ends, } And o'er the shield which his left side defends. } Orsilochus, and she, their coursers ply: He seems to follow, and she seems to fly. But in a narrower ring she makes the race; And then he flies, and she pursues the chase. Gathering at length on her deluded foe, She swings her axe, and rises to the blow; Full on the helm behind, with such a sway The weapon falls, the riven steel gives way: He groans, he roars, he sues in vain for grace; Brains, mingled with his blood, besmear his face. Astonished Aunus just arrives by chance, To see his fall, nor farther dares advance; But, fixing on the horrid maid his eye, He stares, and shakes, and finds it vain to fly; Yet, like a true Ligurian, born to cheat, (At least while Fortune favoured his deceit,) Cries out aloud,--"What courage have you shown, Who trust your courser's strength, and not your own? Forego the 'vantage of your horse, alight, And then on equal terms begin the fight: It shall be seen, weak woman, what you can, When, foot to foot, you combat with a man." He said. She glows with anger and disdain, } Dismounts with speed to dare him on the plain, } And leaves her horse at large among her train; } With her drawn sword defies him to the field, And, marching, lifts aloft her maiden shield. The youth, who thought his cunning did succeed, Reins round his horse, and urges all his speed, Adds the remembrance of the spur, and hides The goring rowels in his bleeding sides. "Vain fool, and coward!" said the lofty maid, "Caught in the train, which thou thyself hast laid! On others practise thy Ligurian arts; Thin stratagems, and tricks of little hearts, Are lost on me: nor shalt thou safe retire, With vaunting lies, to thy fallacious sire." At this, so fast her flying feet she sped, That soon she strained beyond his horse's head: Then turning short, at once she seized the rein, And laid the boaster grovelling on the plain. Not with more ease the falcon, from above, Trusses, in middle air, the trembling dove, Then plumes the prey, in her strong pounces bound: The feathers, foul with blood, come tumbling to the ground. Now mighty Jove, from his superior height, With his broad eye surveys the unequal fight. He fires the breast of Tarchon with disdain, And sends him to redeem the abandoned plain. Between the broken ranks the Tuscan rides, And these encourages, and those he chides; Recals each leader, by his name, from flight; Renews their ardour, and restores the fight. "What panic fear has seized your souls? O shame, O brand perpetual of the Etrurian name! Cowards incurable! a woman's hand Drives, breaks, and scatters, your ignoble band! Now cast away the sword, and quit the shield! What use of weapons which you dare not wield? Not thus you fly your female foes by night, Nor shun the feast, when the full bowls invite; When to fat offerings the glad augur calls, And the shrill horn-pipe sounds to bacchanals. These are your studied cares, your lewd delight-- Swift to debauch, but slow to manly fight." Thus having said, he spurs amid the foes, Not managing the life he meant to lose. The first he found he seized, with headlong haste, In his strong gripe, and clasped around the waist: 'Twas Venulus, whom from his horse he tore, And (laid athwart his own) in triumph bore. Loud shouts ensue; the Latins turn their eyes, And view the unusual sight with vast surprise. The fiery Tarchon, flying o'er the plains, Pressed in his arms the ponderous prey sustains, Then, with his shortened spear, explores around His jointed arms, to fix a deadly wound. Nor less the captive struggles for his life: He writhes his body to prolong the strife, And, fencing for his naked throat, exerts His utmost vigour, and the point averts. So stoops the yellow eagle from on high, And bears a speckled serpent through the sky, Fastening his crooked talons on the prey: The prisoner hisses through the liquid way; Resists the royal hawk; and, though oppressed, She fights in volumes, and erects her crest: Turned to her foe, she stiffens every scale, And shoots her forky tongue, and whisks her threatening tail. Against the victor, all defence is weak: The imperial bird still plies her with his beak; He tears her bowels, and her breast he gores, Then claps his pinions, and securely soars. Thus, through the midst of circling enemies, Strong Tarchon snatched and bore away his prize. The Tyrrhene troops, that shrunk before, now press The Latins, and presume the like success. Then Arruns, doomed to death, his arts essayed To murder, unespied, the Volscian maid: This way and that his winding course he bends, And, wheresoe'er she turns, her steps attends. When she retires victorious from the chase, He wheels about with care, and shifts his place: When, rushing on, she seeks her foes in fight, He keeps aloof, but keeps her still in sight: He threats, and trembles, trying every way, Unseen to kill, and safely to betray. Chloreus, the priest of Cybele, from far, Glittering in Phrygian arms amidst the war, Was by the virgin viewed. The steed he pressed Was proud with trappings; and his brawny chest With scales of gilded brass was covered o'er: A robe of Tyrian dye the rider wore. With deadly wounds he galled the distant foe; Gnossian his shafts, and Lycian was his bow: A golden helm his front and head surrounds; A gilded quiver from his shoulder sounds. Gold, weaved with linen, on his thighs he wore, } With flowers of needle-work distinguished o'er, } With golden buckles bound, and gathered up before. } Him the fierce maid beheld with ardent eyes, Fond and ambitious of so rich a prize, Or that the temple might his trophies hold, Or else to shine herself in Trojan gold. Blind in her haste, she chases him alone, And seeks his life, regardless of her own. This lucky moment the sly traitor chose; Then, starting from his ambush, up he rose, And threw, but first to heaven addressed his vows:-- "O patron of Soracte's high abodes! Phœbus, the ruling power among the gods! Whom first we serve: whole woods of unctuous pine Are felled for thee, and to thy glory shine; By thee protected, with our naked soles, Through flames unsinged we march, and tread the kindled coals. Give me, propitious power, to wash away The stains of this dishonourable day: Nor spoils, nor triumph, from the fact I claim, But with my future actions trust my fame. Let me, by stealth, this female plague o'ercome, And from the field return inglorious home." Apollo heard, and, granting half his prayer, Shuffled in winds the rest, and tossed in empty air. He gives the death desired: his safe return By southern tempests to the seas is borne. Now, when the javelin whizzed along the skies, Both armies on Camilla turned their eyes, Directed by the sound. Of either host, The unhappy virgin, though concerned the most, Was only deaf; so greedy was she bent On golden spoils, and on her prey intent; Till in her pap the winged weapon stood Infixed, and deeply drunk the purple blood. Her sad attendants hasten to sustain Their dying lady drooping on the plain. Far from their sight the trembling Arruns flies, With beating heart, and fear confused with joys; Nor dares he farther to pursue his blow, Or even to bear the sight of his expiring foe. As, when the wolf has torn a bullock's hide At unawares, or ranched a shepherd's side, Conscious of his audacious deed, he flies, And claps his quivering tail between his thighs: So, speeding once, the wretch no more attends, But, spurring forward, herds among his friends. She wrenched the javelin with her dying hands, But wedged within her breast the weapon stands: The wood she draws, the steely point remains; She staggers in her seat with agonizing pains; (A gathering mist o'erclouds her cheerful eyes, And from her cheeks the rosy colour flies;) Then turns to her, whom, of her female train, She trusted most, and thus she speaks with pain:-- "Acca, 'tis past! he swims before my sight, Inexorable Death; and claims his right. Bear my last words to Turnus: fly with speed, And bid him timely to my charge succeed, Repel the Trojans, and the town relieve:-- Farewell! and in this kiss my parting breath receive." She said, and, sliding, sunk upon the plain: Dying, her opened hand forsakes the rein; Short, and more short, she pants: by slow degrees Her mind the passage from her body frees. She drops her sword; she nods her plumy crest, Her drooping head declining on her breast: In the last sigh her struggling soul expires, And, murmuring with disdain, to Stygian sounds retires. A shout, that struck the golden stars, ensued; Despair and rage, and languished fight renewed. The Trojan troops and Tuscans, in a line, Advance to charge; the mixed Arcadians join. But Cynthia's maid, high seated, from afar Surveys the field, and fortune of the war, Unmoved a while, till, prostrate on the plain, } Weltering in blood, she sees Camilla slain, } And, round her corpse, of friends and foes a fighting train. } Then, from the bottom of her breast, she drew A mournful sigh, and these sad words ensue:-- "Too dear a fine, ah much lamented maid! For warring with the Trojans, thou hast paid: Nor aught availed, in this unhappy strife, Diana's sacred arms, to save thy life. Yet unrevenged thy goddess will not leave Her votary's death, nor with vain sorrow grieve. Branded the wretch, and be his name abhorred; But after-ages shall thy praise record. The inglorious coward soon shall press the plain: Thus vows thy queen, and thus the Fates ordain." High o'er the field, there stood a hilly mound-- Sacred the place, and spread with oaks around-- Where, in a marble tomb, Dercennus lay, A king that once in Latium bore the sway. The beauteous Opis thither bent her flight, To mark the traitor Arruns from the height. Him in refulgent arms she soon espied, Swoln with success; and loudly thus she cried:-- "Thy backward steps, vain boaster, are too late; Turn, like a man, at length, and meet thy fate. Charged with my message to Camilla go, } And say I sent thee to the shades below-- } An honour undeserved from Cynthia's bow." } She said, and from her quiver chose with speed The winged shaft, predestined for the deed; Then to the stubborn yew her strength applied, Till the far distant horns approached on either side. The bow-string touched her breast, so strong she drew; Whizzing in air the fatal arrow flew. At once the twanging bow and sounding dart The traitor heard, and felt the point within his heart. Him beating with his heels in pangs of death, His flying friends to foreign fields bequeath. The conquering damsel, with expanded wings, The welcome message to her mistress brings. Their leader lost, the Volscians quit the field; And, unsustained, the chiefs of Turnus yield. The frighted soldiers, when their captains fly, More on their speed than on their strength rely. Confused in flight, they bear each other down, And spur their horses headlong to the town. Driven by their foes, and to their fears resigned, Not once they turn, but take their wounds behind. These drop the shield, and those the lance forego, Or on their shoulders bear the slackened bow. The hoofs of horses, with a rattling sound, Beat short and thick, and shake the rotten ground. Black clouds of dust come rolling in the sky, And o'er the darkened walls and rampires fly. The trembling matrons, from their lofty stands, Rend heaven with female shrieks, and wring their hands. All pressing on, pursuers and pursued, Are crushed in crowds, a mingled multitude. Some happy few escape: the throng too late Rush on for entrance, till they choke the gate. Even in the sight of home, the wretched sire Looks on, and sees his helpless son expire, Then, in a fright, the folding gates they close, But leave their friends excluded with their foes. The vanquished cry; the victors loudly shout; 'Tis terror all within, and slaughter all without. Blind in their fear, they bounce against the wall, Or, to the moats pursued, precipitate their fall. The Latian virgins, valiant with despair, Armed on the towers, the common danger share: So much of zeal their country's cause inspired; So much Camilla's great example fired. Poles, sharpened in the flames, from high they throw, With imitated darts to gall the foe. Their lives, for godlike freedom, they bequeath, And crowd each other to be first in death. Meantime to Turnus, ambushed in the shade, With heavy tidings came the unhappy maid:-- "The Volscians overthrown--Camilla killed-- The foes entirely masters of the field, Like a resistless flood, come rolling on: The cry goes off the plain, and thickens to the town." Inflamed with rage, (for so the Furies fire The Daunian's breast, and so the Fates require,) He leaves the hilly pass, the woods in vain Possessed, and downward issues on the plain. Scarce was he gone, when to the straits, now freed From secret foes, the Trojan troops succeed. Through the black forest and the ferny brake, Unknowingly secure, their way they take, From the rough mountains to the plain descend, And there, in order drawn, their line extend. Both armies now in open fields are seen; Not far the distance of the space between. Both to the city bend. Æneas sees, Through smoking fields, his hastening enemies; And Turnus views the Trojans in array, And hears the approaching horses proudly neigh. Soon had their hosts in bloody battle joined; But westward to the sea the sun declined. Intrenched before the town, both armies lie, While night with sable wings involves the sky.




_Turnus challenges Æneas to a single combat: articles are agreed on, but broken by the Rutuli, who wound Æneas. He is miraculously cured by Venus, forces Turnus to a duel, and concludes the poem with his death._

When Turnus saw the Latins leave the field, Their armies broken, and their courage quelled, Himself become the mark of public spite, His honour questioned for the promised fight-- The more he was with vulgar hate oppressed, The more his fury boiled within his breast: He roused his vigour for the last debate, And raised his haughty soul, to meet his fate. As, when the swains the Libyan lion chase, He makes a sour retreat, nor mends his pace; But, if the pointed javelin pierce his side, The lordly beast returns with double pride: He wrenches out the steel, he roars for pain, His sides he lashes, and erects his mane: So Turnus fares: his eyeballs flash with fire; Through his wide nostrils clouds of smoke expire. Trembling with rage, around the court he ran, At length approached the king, and thus began:-- "No more excuses or delays: I stand } In arms prepared to combat, hand to hand, } This base deserter of his native land. } The Trojan, by his word, is bound to take The same conditions which himself did make. Renew the truce; the solemn rites prepare, And to my single virtue trust the war. The Latians unconcerned shall see the fight: This arm unaided shall assert your right: Then, if my prostrate body press the plain, To him the crown and beauteous bride remain." To whom the king sedately thus replied:-- "Brave youth! the more your valour has been tried, The more becomes it us, with due respect, To weigh the chance of war, which you neglect. You want not wealth, or a successive throne, Or cities which your arms have made your own: My towns and treasures are at your command, And stored with blooming beauties is my land: Laurentum more than one Lavinia sees, Unmarried, fair, of noble families. Now let me speak, and you with patience hear, Things which perhaps may grate a lover's ear, But sound advice, proceeding from a heart Sincerely yours, and free from fraudful art. The gods, by signs, have manifestly shown, No prince, Italian born, should heir my throne: Oft have our augurs, in prediction skilled, And oft our priests, a foreign son revealed. Yet, won by worth that cannot be withstood, Bribed by my kindness to my kindred blood, Urged by my wife, who would not be denied, I promised my Lavinia for your bride: Her from her plighted lord by force I took; All ties of treaties, and of honour, broke: On your account I waged an impious war-- } With what success, 'tis needless to declare; } I and my subjects feel, and you have had your share. } Twice vanquished while in bloody fields we strive, Scarce in our walls we keep our hopes alive: The rolling flood runs warm with human gore; The bones of Latians blanch the neighbouring shore. Why put I not an end to this debate, Still unresolved, and still a slave to fate? If Turnus' death a lasting peace can give, Why should I not procure it whilst you live? Should I to doubtful arms your youth betray, What would my kinsmen, the Rutulians, say? And, should you fall in fight, (which heaven defend!) } How curse the cause, which hastened to his end } The daughter's lover, and the father's friend? } Weigh in your mind the various chance of war; Pity your parent's age, and ease his care." Such balmy words he poured, but all in vain: The proffered medicine but provoked the pain. The wrathful youth, disdaining the relief, With intermitting sobs thus vents his grief:-- "The care, O best of fathers! which you take For my concerns, at my desire forsake. Permit me not to languish out my days, But make the best exchange of life for praise. This arm, this lance, can well dispute the prize; And the blood follows, where the weapon flies. His goddess mother is not near, to shrowd The flying coward with an empty cloud." But now the queen, who feared for Turnus' life, And loathed the hard conditions of the strife, Held him by force; and, dying in his death, In these sad accents gave her sorrow breath:-- "O Turnus! I adjure thee by these tears, And whate'er price Amata's honour bears Within thy breast, since thou art all my hope, My sickly mind's repose, my sinking age's prop-- Since on the safety of thy life alone Depends Latinus, and the Latian throne-- Refuse me not this one, this only prayer, To wave the combat, and pursue the war. Whatever chance attends this fatal strife, Think it includes, in thine, Amata's life. I cannot live a slave, or see my throne Usurped by strangers, or a Trojan son." At this, a flood of tears Lavinia shed; } A crimson blush her beauteous face o'erspread, } Varying her cheeks by turns with white and red.[13] } The driving colours, never at a stay, Run here and there, and flush, and fade away. Delightful change! thus Indian ivory shows, } Which with the bordering paint of purple glows; } Or lilies damasked by the neighbouring rose. } The lover gazed, and, burning with desire, The more he looked, the more he fed the fire: Revenge, and jealous rage, and secret spite, Roll in his breast, and rouse him to the fight. Then fixing on the queen his ardent eyes, Firm to his first intent, he thus replies:-- "O mother! do not by your tears prepare Such boding omens, and prejudge the war. Resolved on fight, I am no longer free To shun my death, if heaven my death decree."-- Then turning to the herald, thus pursues: "Go, greet the Trojan with ungrateful news; Denounce from me, that, when to-morrow's light Shall gild the heavens, he need not urge the fight; The Trojan and Rutulian troops no more Shall dye, with mutual blood, the Latian shore: Our single swords the quarrel shall decide, And to the victor be the beauteous bride." He said, and, striding on with speedy pace, He sought his coursers of the Thracian race. At his approach, they toss their heads on high, And, proudly neighing, promise victory. The sires of these Orithyia sent from far, To grace Pilumnus, when he went to war. The drifts of Thracian snows were scarce so white, Nor northern winds in fleetness matched their flight. Officious grooms stand ready by his side; } And some with combs their flowing manes divide, } And others stroke their chests, and gently sooth their pride. } He sheathed his limbs in arms; a tempered mass Of golden metal those, and mountain-brass. Then to his head his glittering helm he tied, And girt his faithful faulchion to his side. In his Ætnæan forge, the god of fire That faulchion laboured for the hero's sire, Immortal keenness on the blade bestowed, And plunged it hissing in the Stygian flood. Propped on a pillar, which the cieling bore, Was placed the lance Auruncan Actor wore; Which with such force he brandished in his hand, The tough ash trembled like an osier wand: Then cried,--"O ponderous spoil of Actor slain, And never yet by Turnus tossed in vain! Fail not this day thy wonted force; but go, Sent by this hand, to pierce the Trojan foe: Give me to tear his corslet from his breast, And from that eunuch head to rend the crest; Dragged in the dust, his frizzled hair to soil, Hot from the vexing iron, and smeared with fragrant oil." Thus while he raves, from his wide nostrils flies A fiery steam, and sparkles from his eyes. So fares the bull in his loved female's sight: Proudly he bellows, and preludes the fight: He tries his goring horns against a tree, And meditates his absent enemy: He pushes at the winds; he digs the strand With his black hoofs, and spurns the yellow sand. Nor less the Trojan, in his Lemnian arms, To future fight his manly courage warms: He whets his fury, and with joy prepares To terminate at once the lingering wars; To cheer his chiefs and tender son, relates What heaven had promised, and expounds the fates. Then to the Latian king he sends, to cease The rage of arms, and ratify the peace. The morn ensuing, from the mountain's height, Had scarcely spread the skies with rosy light; The etherial coursers, bounding from the sea, From out their flaming nostrils breathed the day; When now the Trojan and Rutulian guard, In friendly labour joined, the list prepared. Beneath the walls, they measure out the space; } Then sacred altars rear, on sods of grass, } Where, with religious rites, their common gods they place. } In purest white, the priests their heads attire, And living waters bear, and holy fire; And, o'er their linen hoods and shaded hair, Long twisted wreaths of sacred vervain wear. In order issuing from the town, appears The Latin legion, armed with pointed spears; And from the fields, advancing on a line, The Trojan and the Tuscan forces join: Their various arms afford a pleasing sight: A peaceful train they seem, in peace prepared for fight. Betwixt the ranks the proud commanders ride, Glittering with gold, and vests in purple dyed-- Here Mnestheus, author of the Memmian line, And there Messapus, born of seed divine. The sign is given; and, round the listed space, Each man in order fills his proper place. Reclining on their ample shields, they stand, And fix their pointed lances in the sand. Now, studious of the sight, a numerous throng Of either sex promiscuous, old and young, Swarm from the town: by those who rest behind, The gates and walls, and houses' tops, are lined. Meantime the queen of heaven beheld the sight, With eyes unpleased, from mount Albano's height: (Since called Albano by succeeding fame, But then an empty hill, without a name.) She thence surveyed the field, the Trojan powers, The Latian squadrons, and Laurentine towers. Then thus the goddess of the skies bespake, With sighs and tears, the goddess of the lake, King Turnus' sister, once a lovely maid, Ere to the lust of lawless Jove betrayed-- Compressed by force, but, by the grateful god, Now made the Naïs of the neighbouring flood. "O nymph, the pride of living lakes! (said she) O most renowned, and most beloved by me! Long hast thou known, nor need I to record, The wanton sallies of my wandering lord. Of every Latian fair, whom Jove misled To mount by stealth my violated bed, To thee alone I grudged not his embrace, But gave a part of heaven, and an unenvied place. Now learn from me thy near approaching grief, Nor think my wishes want to thy relief While fortune favoured, nor heaven's king denied To lend my succour to the Latian side, I saved thy brother, and the sinking state: But now he struggles with unequal fate, And goes, with gods averse, o'ermatched in might, } To meet inevitable death in fight; } Nor must I break the truce, nor can sustain the sight. } Thou, if thou dar'st, thy present aid supply; It well becomes a sister's care to try." At this the lovely nymph, with grief oppressed, Thrice tore her hair, and beat her comely breast. To whom Saturnia thus:--"Thy tears are late: Haste, snatch him, if he can be snatched, from fate: New tumults kindle; violate the truce. Who knows what changeful Fortune may produce? 'Tis not a crime to attempt what I decree; Or, if it were, discharge the crime on me." She said, and, sailing on the winged wind, Left the sad nymph suspended in her mind. And now in pomp the peaceful kings appear: Four steeds the chariot of Latinus bear: Twelve golden beams around his temples play, To mark his lineage from the god of day. Two snowy coursers Turnus' chariot yoke, And in his hand two massy spears he shook: Then issued from the camp, in arms divine, Æneas, author of the Roman line; And by his side Ascanius took his place, The second hope of Rome's immortal race. Adorned in white, a reverend priest appears, } And offerings to the flaming altars bears-- } A porket, and a lamb that never suffered shears. } Then to the rising sun he turns his eyes, And strews the beasts, designed for sacrifice, With salt and meal: with like officious care He marks their foreheads, and he clips their hair. Betwixt their horns the purple wine he sheds; With the same generous juice the flame he feeds. Æneas then unsheathed his shining sword, And thus with pious prayers the gods adored:-- "All-seeing sun! and thou, Ausonian soil, For which I have sustained so long a toil, Thou, king of heaven! and thou, the queen of air, Propitious now, and reconciled by prayer; Thou, god of war, whose unresisted sway The labours and events of arms obey! Ye living fountains, and ye running floods! All powers of ocean, all etherial gods! Hear, and bear record: if I fall in field, Or, recreant in the fight, to Turnus yield, My Trojans shall increase Evander's town; Ascanius shall renounce the Ausonian crown: All claims, all questions of debate, shall cease; Nor he, nor they, with force infringe the peace. But, if my juster arms prevail in fight, (As sure they shall, if I divine aright,) My Trojans shall not o'er the Italians reign; Both equal, both unconquered, shall remain, Joined in their laws, their lands, and their abodes; I ask but altars for my weary gods. The care of those religious rites be mine: The crown to king Latinus I resign: His be the sovereign sway. Nor will I share His power in peace, or his command in war. For me, my friends another town shall frame, And bless the rising towers with fair Lavinia's name." Thus he. Then, with erected eyes and hands, The Latian king before his altar stands. "By the same heaven, (said he,) and earth, and main, And all the powers that all the three contain; By hell below, and by that upper god, Whose thunder signs the peace, who seals it with his nod; So let Latona's double offspring hear, And double-fronted Janus, what I swear: I touch the sacred altars, touch the flames, And all those powers attest, and all their names: Whatever chance befal on either side, No term of time this union shall divide: No force, no fortune, shall my vows unbind, Or shake the stedfast tenor of my mind; Not, though the circling seas should break their bound, O'erflow the shores, or sap the solid ground; Not, though the lamps of heaven their spheres forsake, Hurled down, and hissing in the nether lake: Even as this royal sceptre" (for he bore A sceptre in his hand) "shall never more Shoot out in branches, or renew the birth-- An orphan now, cut from the mother earth By the keen axe, dishonoured of its hair, And cased in brass, for Latian kings to bear." When thus in public view the peace was tied With solemn vows, and sworn on either side, All dues performed which holy rites require, The victim beasts are slain before the fire, The trembling entrails from their bodies torn, And to the fatten'd flames in chargers borne. Already the Rutulians deemed their man O'ermatched in arms, before the fight began. First rising fears are whispered through the crowd; Then, gathering sound, they murmur more aloud. Now, side to side, they measure with their eyes The champions' bulk, their sinews, and their size: The nearer they approach, the more is known The apparent disadvantage of their own. Turnus himself appears in public sight Conscious of fate, desponding of the fight. Slowly he moves, and at his altar stands With eyes dejected, and with trembling hands: And, while he mutters undistinguished prayers, A livid deadness in his cheeks appears. With anxious pleasure when Juturna viewed The increasing fright of the mad multitude, When their short sighs and thickening sobs she heard, And found their ready minds for change prepared; Dissembling her immortal form, she took Camertes' mien, his habit, and his look-- A chief of ancient blood:--in arms well known Was his great sire, and he his greater son. His shape assumed, amid the ranks she ran, And humouring their first motions, thus began:-- "For shame, Rutulians! can you bear the sight Of one exposed for all, in single fight? Can we, before the face of heaven, confess Our courage colder, or our numbers less? View all the Trojan host, the Arcadian band, And Tuscan army; count them as they stand: Undaunted to the battle if we go, Scarce every second man will share a foe. Turnus, 'tis true, in this unequal strife, Shall lose, with honour, his devoted life, Or change it rather for immortal fame, Succeeding to the gods, from whence he came: But you, a servile and inglorious band, For foreign lords shall sow your native land, Those fruitful fields, your fighting fathers gained, Which have so long their lazy sons sustained." With words like these, she carried her design. A rising murmur runs along the line. Then even the city troops, and Latians, tired With tedious war, seem with new souls inspired: Their champion's fate with pity they lament, And of the league, so lately sworn, repent. Nor fails the goddess to foment the rage With lying wonders, and a false presage; But adds a sign, which, present to their eyes, Inspires new courage, and a glad surprise. For, sudden, in the fiery tracts above, Appears in pomp the imperial bird of Jove: A plump of fowl he spies, that swim the lakes, And o'er their heads his sounding pinions shakes; Then, stooping on the fairest of the train, In his strong talons trussed a silver swan. The Italians wonder at the unusual sight: But while he lags, and labours in his flight, Behold, the dastard fowl return anew, And with united force the foe pursue: Clamorous around the royal hawk they fly, And, thickening in a cloud, o'ershade the sky. They cuff, they scratch, they cross his airy course; Nor can the encumbered bird sustain their force; But, vexed, not vanquished, drops the ponderous prey, And, lightened of his burden, wings his way. The Ausonian bands with shouts salute the sight, Eager of action, and demand the fight. Then king Tolumnius, versed in augurs' arts, Cries out, and thus his boasted skill imparts:-- "At length 'tis granted, what I long desired! This, this is what my frequent vows required. Ye gods! I take your omen, and obey.-- Advance, my friends, and charge! I lead the way. These are the foreign foes, whose impious band, Like that rapacious bird, infest our land: But soon, like him, they shall be forced to sea By strength united, and forego the prey. Your timely succour to your country bring; Haste to the rescue, and redeem your king." He said: and, pressing onward through the crew, Poised in his lifted arm, his lance he threw. The winged weapon, whistling in the wind, Came driving on, nor missed the mark designed. At once the cornel rattled in the skies; At once tumultuous shouts and clamours rise. Nine brothers in a goodly band there stood, Born of Arcadian mixed with Tuscan blood, Gylippus' sons; the fatal javelin flew, Aimed at the midmost of the friendly crew. A passage through the jointed arms it found, } Just where the belt was to the body bound, } And struck the gentle youth extended on the ground. } Then, fired with pious rage, the generous train Run madly forward to revenge the slain. And some with eager haste their javelins throw; And some with sword in hand assault the foe. The wished insult the Latine troops embrace, And meet their ardour in the middle space. The Trojans, Tuscans, and Arcadian line, With equal courage obviate their design. Peace leaves the violated fields; and hate Both armies urges to their mutual fate. With impious haste their altars are o'erturned, The sacrifice half broiled, and half unburned. Thick storms of steel from either army fly, And clouds of clashing darts obscure the sky; Brands from the fire are missive weapons made, With chargers, bowls, and all the priestly trade. Latinus, frighted, hastens from the fray, And bears his unregarded gods away. These on their horses vault; those yoke the car; The rest, with swords on high, run headlong to the war. Messapus, eager to confound the peace, Spurred his hot courser through the fighting prease, At king Aulestes, by his purple known } A Tuscan prince, and by his regal crown; } And, with a shock encountering, bore him down. } Backward he fell; and, as his fate designed, The ruins of an altar were behind: There pitching on his shoulders and his head, Amid the scattering fires he lay supinely spread. The beamy spear, descending from above, His cuirass pierced, and through his body drove. Then, with a scornful smile, the victor cries:-- "The gods have found a fitter sacrifice." Greedy of spoils, the Italians strip the dead Of his rich armour, and uncrown his head. Priest Corynæus armed his better hand, From his own altar, with a blazing brand; And, as Ebusus with a thundering pace Advanced to battle, dashed it on his face: His bristly beard shines out with sudden fires; The crackling crop a noisome scent expires. Following the blow, he seized his curling crown With his left hand; his other cast him down. The prostrate body with his knees he pressed, And plunged his holy poignard in his breast. While Podalirius, with his sword, pursued The shepherd Alsus through the flying crowd, Swiftly he turns, and aims a deadly blow Full on the front of his unwary foe. The broad axe enters with a crashing sound, } And cleaves the chin with one continued wound; } Warm blood, and mingled brains, besmear his arms around. } An iron sleep his stupid eyes oppressed, And sealed their heavy lids in endless rest. But good Æneas rushed amid the bands; Bare was his head, and naked were his hands, In sign of truce: then thus he cries aloud:-- "What sudden rage, what new desire of blood, Inflames your altered minds? O Trojans! cease From impious arms, nor violate the peace. By human sanctions, and by laws divine, The terms are all agreed; the war is mine. Dismiss your fears, and let the fight ensue; This hand alone shall right the gods and you: Our injured altars, and their broken vow, To this avenging sword the faithless Turnus owe." Thus while he spoke, unmindful of defence, A winged arrow struck the pious prince. But, whether from some human hand it came, Or hostile god, is left unknown by fame: No human hand, or hostile god, was found, To boast the triumph of so base a wound. When Turnus saw the Trojan quit the plain, His chiefs dismayed, his troops a fainting train, The unhoped event his heightened soul inspires: At once his arms and coursers he requires; Then, with a leap, his lofty chariot gains, And with a ready hand assumes the reins. He drives impetuous, and, where'er he goes, He leaves behind a lane of slaughtered foes. These his lance reaches; over those he rolls His rapid car, and crushes out their souls. In vain the vanquished fly: the victor sends The dead men's weapons at their living friends. Thus, on the banks of Hebrus' freezing flood, The god of battles, in his angry mood, Clashing his sword against his brazen shield, Lets loose the reins, and scours along the field: Before the wind his fiery coursers fly; Groans the sad earth, resounds the rattling sky. Wrath, Terror, Treason, Tumult, and Despair, } (Dire faces, and deformed,) surround the car-- } Friends of the god, and followers of the war. } With fury not unlike, nor less disdain, Exulting Turnus flies along the plain: His smoking horses, at their utmost speed, He lashes on; and urges o'er the dead. Their fetlocks run with blood; and, when they bound, The gore and gathering dust are dashed around. Thamyris and Pholus, masters of the war, He killed at hand, but Sthenelus afar: From far the sons of Imbrasus he slew, Glaucus and Lades, of the Lycian crew-- Both taught to fight on foot, in battle joined, Or mount the courser that outstrips the wind. Meantime Eumedes, vaunting in the field, New fired the Trojans, and their foes repelled. This son of Dolon bore his grandsire's name, But emulated more his father's fame-- His guileful father, sent a nightly spy, The Grecian camp and order to descry-- Hard enterprise! and well he might require Achilles' car and horses, for his hire: But, met upon the scout, the Ætolian prince In death bestowed a juster recompense. Fierce Turnus viewed the Trojan from afar, And launched his javelin from his lofty car, Then lightly leaping down, pursued the blow, And, pressing with his foot his prostrate foe, Wrenched from his feeble hold the shining sword, And plunged it in the bosom of its lord. "Possess," said he, "the fruit of all thy pains, And measure, at thy length, our Latian plains. Thus are my foes rewarded by my hand; Thus may they build their town, and thus enjoy the land!" Then Dares, Butes, Sybaris, he slew, Whom o'er his neck the floundering courser threw. As when loud Boreas, with his blustering train, Stoops from above, incumbent on the main; Where'er he flies, he drives the rack before, And rolls the billows on the Ægæan shore: So, where resistless Turnus takes his course, The scattered squadrons bend before his force: His crest of horses hair is blown behind By adverse air, and rustles in the wind. This haughty Phegeus saw with high disdain, } And, as the chariot rolled along the plain, } Light from the ground he leapt, and seized the rein. } Thus hung in air, he still retained his hold, The coursers frighted, and their course controuled. The lance of Turnus reached him as he hung, And pierced his plated arms, but passed along, And only razed the skin. He turned, and held Against his threatening foe his ample shield, Then called for aid: but, while he cried in vain, The chariot bore him backward on the plain. He lies reversed; the victor king descends, And strikes so justly where his helmet ends, He lops the head. The Latian fields are drunk With streams that issue from the bleeding trunk. While he triumphs, and while the Trojans yield, The wounded prince is forced to leave the field: Strong Mnestheus, and Achates often tried, And young Ascanius, weeping by his side, Conduct him to his tent. Scarce can he rear His limbs from earth, supported on his spear. Resolved in mind, regardless of the smart, He tugs with both his hands, and breaks the dart. The steel remains. No readier way he found To draw the weapon, than to enlarge the wound. Eager of fight, impatient of delay, He begs; and his unwilling friends obey. Iäpis was at hand to prove his art, Whose blooming youth so fired Apollo's heart, That, for his love, he proffered to bestow His tuneful harp, and his unerring bow: The pious youth, more studious how to save His aged sire now sinking to the grave, Preferred the power of plants, and silent praise Of healing arts, before Phœbean bays. Propped on his lance the pensive hero stood, And heard and saw, unmoved, the mourning crowd. The famed physician tucks his robes around With ready hands, and hastens to the wound. With gentle touches he performs his part, } This way and that, soliciting the dart, } And exercises all his heavenly art. } All softening simples, known of sovereign use, He presses out, and pours their noble juice. These first infused, to lenify the pain-- He tugs with pincers, but he tugs in vain. Then to the patron of his art he prayed: The patron of his art refused his aid. Meantime the war approaches to the tents: The alarm grows hotter, and the noise augments: The driving dust proclaims the danger near; } And first their friends, and then their foes, appear: } Their friends retreat; their foes pursue the rear. } The camp is filled with terror and affright: The hissing shafts within the trench alight; An undistinguished noise ascends the sky-- The shouts of those who kill, and groans of those who die. But now the goddess mother, moved with grief, And pierced with pity, hastens her relief. A branch of healing dittany she brought, Which in the Cretan fields with care she sought-- (Rough is the stem, which woolly leaves surround; The leaves with flowers, the flowers with purple crowned,) Well known to wounded goats; a sure relief To draw the pointed steel, and ease the grief. This Venus brings, in clouds involved, and brews The extracted liquor with ambrosian dews, And odorous panacee. Unseen she stands, Tempering the mixture with her heavenly hands, And pours it in a bowl, already crowned With juice of medicinal herbs prepared to bathe the wound. The leech, unknowing of superior art } Which aids the cure, with this foments the part; } And in a moment ceased the raging smart. } Stanched is the blood, and in the bottom stands: The steel, but scarcely touched with tender hands, Moves up, and follows of its own accord, And health and vigour are at once restored. Iäpis first perceived the closing wound, And first the footsteps of a god he found. "Arms! arms!" he cries: "the sword and shield prepare, And send the willing chief, renewed, to war. This is no mortal work, no cure of mine, Nor art's effect, but done by hands divine. Some god our general to the battle sends; Some god preserves his life for greater ends." The hero arms in haste: his hands enfold His thighs with cuishes of refulgent gold: Inflamed to fight, and rushing to the field, That hand sustaining the celestial shield, This gripes the lance, and with such vigour shakes, That to the rest the beamy weapon quakes. Then with a close embrace he strained his son, And, kissing through his helmet, thus begun:-- "My son! from my example learn the war, } In camps to suffer, and in fields to dare; } But happier chance than mine attend thy care! } This day my hand thy tender age shall shield, And crown with honours of the conquered field: Thou, when thy riper years shall send thee forth To toils of war, be mindful of my worth: Assert thy birth-right; and in arms be known, For Hector's nephew, and Æneas' son." He said; and, striding, issued on the plain. Antheus and Mnestheus, and a numerous train, Attend his steps: the rest their weapons take, And, crowding to the field, the camp forsake. A cloud of blinding dust is raised around, Labours beneath their feet the trembling ground. Now Turnus, posted on a hill, from far Beheld the progress of the moving war: With him the Latins viewed the covered plains, And the chill blood ran backward in their veins. Juturna saw the advancing troops appear, And heard the hostile sound, and fled for fear. Æneas leads; and draws a sweeping train, Closed in their ranks, and pouring on the plain. As when a whirlwind, rushing to the shore From the mid ocean, drives the waves before; The painful hind with heavy heart foresees The flatted fields, and slaughter of the trees; With such impetuous rage the prince appears, Before his doubled front, nor less destruction bears. And now both armies shock in open field; Osiris is by strong Thymbræus killed. Archetius, Ufens, Epulon, are slain, (All famed in arms, and of the Latian train,) By Gyas', Mnestheus', and Achates' hand. The fatal augur falls, by whose command The truce was broken, and whose lance, embrued With Trojan blood, the unhappy fight renewed. Loud shouts and clamours rend the liquid sky; And o'er the field the frighted Latins fly. The prince disdains the dastards to pursue, Nor moves to meet in arms the fighting few. Turnus alone, amid the dusky plain, He seeks, and to the combat calls in vain. Juturna heard, and, seized with mortal fear, Forced from the beam her brother's charioteer; Assumes his shape, his armour, and his mien, And, like Metiscus, in his seat is seen. As the black swallow near the palace plies; O'er empty courts, and under arches, flies; Now hawks aloft, now skims along the flood, To furnish her loquacious nest with food: So drives the rapid goddess o'er the plains; The smoking horses run with loosened reins. She steers a various course among the foes; Now here, now there, her conquering brother shows; Now with a straight, now with a wheeling flight, She turns, and bends, but shuns the single fight. Æneas, fired with fury, breaks the crowd, And seeks his foe, and calls by name aloud: He runs within a narrower ring, and tries To stop the chariot; but the chariot flies. If he but gain a glimpse, Juturna fears, And far away the Daunian hero bears. What should he do? Nor arts nor arms avail; And various cares in vain his mind assail. The great Messapus, thundering through the field, In his left hand two pointed javelins held: Encountering on the prince, one dart he drew, And with unerring aim, and utmost vigour, threw. Æneas saw it come, and, stooping low Beneath his buckler, shunned the threat'ning blow. The weapon hissed above his head, and tore The waving plume, which on his helm he wore. Forced by this hostile act, and fired with spite, That flying Turnus still declined the fight, The prince, whose piety had long repelled His inborn ardour, now invades the field; Invokes the powers of violated peace, Their rites and injured altars to redress; Then, to his rage abandoning the rein, With blood and slaughtered bodies fills the plain. What god can tell, what numbers can display, The various labours of that fatal day? What chiefs and champions fell on either side, In combat slain, or by what deaths they died? Whom Turnus, whom the Trojan hero killed? Who shared the fame and fortune of the field? Jove! could'st thou view, and not avert thy sight, } Two jarring nations joined in cruel fight, } Whom leagues of lasting love so shortly shall unite? } Æneas first Rutulian Sucro found, Whose valour made the Trojans quit their ground; Betwixt his ribs the javelin drove so just, It reached his heart, nor needs a second thrust. Now Turnus, at two blows, two brethren slew; First from his horse fierce Amycus he threw: Then, leaping on the ground, on foot assailed Diores, and in equal fight prevailed. Their lifeless trunks he leaves upon the place; Their heads, distilling gore, his chariot grace. Three cold on earth the Trojan hero threw, Whom without respite at one charge he slew: Cethegus, Tanaïs, Talus, fell oppressed, And sad Onytes, added to the rest-- Of Theban blood, whom Peridia bore. Turnus two brothers from the Lycian shore, And from Apollo's fane to battle sent, O'erthrew; nor Phœbus could their fate prevent. Peaceful Menœtes after these he killed, Who long had shunned the dangers of the field: On Lerna's lake a silent life he led, And with his nets and angle earned his bread. Nor pompous cares, nor palaces, he knew, But wisely from the infectious world withdrew. Poor was his house: his father's painful hand Discharged his rent, and ploughed another's land. As flames among the lofty woods are thrown On different sides, and both by winds are blown; The laurels crackle in the sputtering fire; The frighted sylvans from their shades retire: Or as two neighbouring torrents fall from high, Rapid they run; the foamy waters fry; They roll to sea with unresisted force, And down the rocks precipitate their course Not with less rage the rival heroes take Their different ways; nor less destruction make. With spears afar, with swords at hand, they strike; And zeal of slaughter fires their souls alike. Like them, their dauntless men maintain the field; And hearts are pierced, unknowing how to yield: They blow for blow return, and wound for wound; And heaps of bodies raise the level ground. Murrhanus, boasting of his blood, that springs From a long royal race of Latian kings, Is by the Trojan from his chariot thrown, Crushed with the weight of an unwieldy stone: Betwixt the wheels he fell; the wheels, that bore His living load, his dying body tore. His starting steeds, to shun the glittering sword, Paw down his trampled limbs, forgetful of their lord. Fierce Hyllus threatened high, and, face to face, Affronted Turnus in the middle space: The prince encountered him in full career, And at his temples aimed the deadly spear: So fatally the flying weapon sped, That through his brazen helm it pierced his head. Nor, Cisseus, could'st thou 'scape from Turnus' hand, In vain the strongest of the Arcadian band: Nor to Cupencus could his gods afford Availing aid against the Ænean sword, Which to his naked heart pursued the course; Nor could his plated shield sustain the force. Iölas fell, whom not the Grecian powers, Nor great subverter of the Trojan towers, Were doomed to kill, while heaven prolonged his date: But who can pass the bounds prefixed by Fate? In high Lyrnessus, and in Troy, he held Two palaces, and was from each expelled: Of all the mighty man, the last remains A little spot of foreign earth contains. And now both hosts their broken troops unite In equal ranks, and mix in mortal fight. Serestus and undaunted Mnestheus join The Trojan, Tuscan, and Arcadian line: Sea-born Messapus, with Atinas, heads The Latin squadrons, and to battle leads. They strike, they push, they throng the scanty space, } Resolved on death, impatient of disgrace; } And, where one falls, another fills his place. } The Cyprian goddess now inspires her son To leave the unfinished fight, and storm the town: For, while he rolls his eyes around the plain In quest of Turnus, whom he seeks in vain, He views the unguarded city from afar, In careless quiet, and secure of war. Occasion offers, and excites his mind To dare beyond the task he first designed. Resolved, he calls his chiefs: they leave the fight: Attended thus, he takes a neighbouring height: The crowding troops about their general stand, All under arms, and wait his high command. Then thus the lofty prince:--"Hear and obey, Ye Trojan bands, without the least delay. Jove is with us; and what I have decreed, Requires our utmost vigour, and our speed. Your instant arms against the town prepare, The source of mischief, and the seat of war. This day the Latian towers, that mate the sky, Shall, level with the plain, in ashes lie: The people shall be slaves, unless in time They kneel for pardon, and repent their crime. Twice have our foes been vanquished on the plain: Then shall I wait till Turnus will be slain? Your force against the perjured city bend; There it began, and there the war shall end; The peace profaned our rightful arms requires; Cleanse the polluted place with purging fires." He finished; and--one soul inspiring all-- Formed in a wedge, the foot approach the wall. Without the town, an unprovided train Of gaping gazing citizens are slain. Some firebrands, others scaling ladders, bear, And those they toss aloft, and these they rear: The flames now launched, the feathered arrows fly, And clouds of missive arms obscure the sky. Advancing to the front, the hero stands, And, stretching out to heaven his pious hands, Attests the gods, asserts his innocence, Upbraids with breach of faith the Ausonian prince; Declares the royal honour doubly stained, And twice the rites of holy peace profaned. Dissenting clamours in the town arise: Each will be heard, and all at once advise. One part for peace, and one for war, contends: Some would exclude their foes, and some admit their friends. The helpless king is hurried in the throng, And (whate'er tide prevails) is borne along. Thus, when the swain, within a hollow rock, Invades the bees with suffocating smoke, They run around, or labour on their wings, Disused to flight, and shoot their sleepy stings; To shun the bitter fumes, in vain they try; Black vapours, issuing from the vent, involve the sky. But Fate and envious Fortune now prepare To plunge the Latins in the last despair. The queen, who saw the foes invade the town, And brands on tops of burning houses thrown, Cast round her eyes, distracted with her fear:-- No troops of Turnus in the field appear. Once more she stares abroad, but still in vain, And then concludes the royal youth is slain. Mad with her anguish, impotent to bear The mighty grief, she loaths the vital air. She calls herself the cause of all this ill, And owns the dire effects of her ungoverned will: She raves against the gods; she beats her breast; She tears with both her hands her purple vest: Then round a beam a running noose she tied, And, fastened by the neck, obscenely died. Soon as the fatal news by fame was blown, And to her dames and to her daughter known, The sad Lavinia rends her yellow hair, } And rosy cheeks: the rest her sorrow share: } With shrieks the palace rings, and madness of despair. } The spreading rumour fills the public place: } Confusion, fear, distraction, and disgrace, } And silent shame, are seen in every face. } Latinus tears his garments as he goes, Both for his public and his private woes; With filth his venerable beard besmears, And sordid dust deforms his silver hairs. And much he blames the softness of his mind, } Obnoxious to the charms of woman-kind, } And soon reduced to change what he so well designed-- } To break the solemn league so long desired, Nor finish what his fates, and those of Troy, required. Now Turnus rolls aloof o'er empty plains, And here and there some straggling foes he gleans. His flying coursers please him less and less, Ashamed of easy fight, and cheap success. Thus half-contented, anxious in his mind, The distant cries come driving in the wind-- Shouts from the walls, but shouts in murmurs drowned; A jarring mixture, and a boding sound. "Alas!" said he, "what mean these dismal cries? What doleful clamours from the town arise?" Confused, he stops, and backward pulls the reins. She, who the drivers office now sustains, Replies:--"Neglect, my lord, these new alarms: Here fight, and urge the fortune of your arms: There want not others to defend the wall. If by your rival's hand the Italians fall, So shall your fatal sword his friends oppress, In honour equal, equal in success." To this, the prince:--"O sister!--for I knew, The peace infringed proceeded first from you: I knew you, when you mingled first in fight: And now in vain you would deceive my sight-- Why, goddess, this unprofitable care? Who sent you down from heaven, involved in air, Your share of mortal sorrows to sustain, And see your brother bleeding on the plain? For to what power can Turnus have recourse, Or how resist his fate's prevailing force? These eyes beheld Murrhanus bite the ground-- Mighty the man, and mighty was the wound. I heard my dearest friend, with dying breath, My name invoking to revenge his death. Brave Ufens fell with honour on the place, To shun the shameful sight of my disgrace. On earth supine, a manly corpse he lies; His vest and armour are the victor's prize. Then, shall I see Laurentum in a flame, Which only wanted, to complete my shame? How will the Latins hoot their champion's flight! How Drances will insult and point them to the sight! Is death so hard to bear?--Ye gods below! (Since those above so small compassion show,) Receive a soul unsullied yet with shame, Which not belies my great forefathers' name." He said: and while he spoke, with flying speed Came Saces urging on his foamy steed: Fixed on his wounded face a shaft he bore, And, seeking Turnus, sent his voice before: "Turnus! on you, on you alone, depends Our last relief:--compassionate your friends! Like lightning, fierce Æneas, rolling on, With arms invests, with flames invades, the town: The brands are tossed on high; the winds conspire To drive along the deluge of the fire. All eyes are fixed on you: your foes rejoice; Even the king staggers, and suspends his choice-- Doubts to deliver or defend the town, Whom to reject, or whom to call his son. The queen, on whom your utmost hopes were placed, Herself suborning death, has breathed her last. 'Tis true, Messapus, fearless of his fate, With fierce Atinas' aid, defends the gate: On every side surrounded by the foe, } The more they kill, the greater numbers grow; } An iron harvest mounts, and still remains to mow. } You, far aloof from your forsaken bands, Your rolling chariot drive o'er empty sands." Stupid he sate, his eyes on earth declined, And various cares revolving in his mind: Rage, boiling from the bottom of his breast, And sorrow mixed with shame, his soul oppressed; And conscious worth lay labouring in his thought, And love by jealousy to madness wrought. By slow degrees his reason drove away The mists of passion, and resumed her sway. Then, rising on his car, he turned his look, And saw the town involved in fire and smoke. A wooden tower with flames already blazed, Which his own hands on beams and rafters raised, And bridges laid above to join the space, And wheels below to roll from place to place. "Sister! the Fates have vanquished: let us go The way which heaven and my hard fortune show. The fight is fixed; nor shall the branded name Of a base coward blot your brother's fame. Death is my choice; but suffer me to try My force, and vent my rage before I die." He said: and leaping down without delay, Through crowds of scattered foes he freed his way. Striding he passed, impetuous as the wind, And left the grieving goddess far behind. As, when a fragment, from a mountain torn By raging tempests, or by torrents borne, Or sapped by time, or loosened from the roots-- Prone through the void the rocky ruin shoots, Rolling from crag to crag, from steep to steep; Down sink, at once, the shepherds and their sheep: Involved alike, they rush to nether ground; Stunned with the shock they fall, and stunned from earth rebound: So Turnus, hasting headlong to the town, Shouldering and shoving, bore the squadrons down. Still pressing onward, to the walls he drew, } Where shafts and spears and darts promiscuous flew, } And sanguine streams the slippery ground embrue. } First stretching out his arm, in sign of peace, He cries aloud, to make the combat cease:-- "Rutulians, hold! and Latin troops, retire! The fight is mine; and me the gods require. 'Tis just that I should vindicate alone The broken truce, or for the breach atone. This day shall free from wars the Ausonian state, Or finish my misfortunes in my fate." Both armies from their bloody work desist, And, bearing backward, form a spacious list. The Trojan hero, who received from fame The welcome sound, and heard the champion's name, Soon leaves the taken works and mounted walls: Greedy of war where greater glory calls, He springs to fight, exulting in his force; His jointed armour rattles in the course. Like Eryx, or like Athos, great he shows, Or father Apennine, when, white with snows, His head divine obscure in clouds he hides, And shakes the sounding forest on his sides. The nations, overawed, surcease the fight; Immoveable their bodies, fixed their sight. Even death stands still; nor from above they throw Their darts, nor drive their battering-rams below. In silent order either army stands, And drop their swords, unknowing, from their hands. The Ausonian king beholds, with wondering sight, Two mighty champions matched in single fight, Born under climes remote, and brought by fate, With swords to try their titles to the state. Now, in closed field, each other from afar They view; and, rushing on, begin the war. They launch their spears; then hand to hand they meet, The trembling soil resounds beneath their feet: Their bucklers clash; thick blows descend from high, And flakes of fire from their hard helmets fly. Courage conspires with chance; and both engage With equal fortune yet, and mutual rage. As, when two bulls for their fair female fight In Sila's shades, or on Taburnus' height, With horns adverse they meet; the keeper flies; Mute stands the herd; the heifers roll their eyes, And wait the event--which victor they shall bear, And who shall be the lord, to rule the lusty year: With rage of love the jealous rivals burn, And push for push, and wound for wound, return; Their dewlaps gored, their sides are laved in blood; Loud cries and roaring sounds rebellow through the wood: Such was the combat in the listed ground; So clash their swords, and so their shields resound. Jove sets the beam: in either scale he lays The champions' fate, and each exactly weighs. On this side, life, and lucky chance ascends; Loaded with death, that other scale descends. Raised on the stretch, young Turnus aims a blow Full on the helm of his unguarded foe: Shrill shouts and clamours ring on either side, As hopes and fears their panting hearts divide. But all in pieces flies the traitor sword, And, in the middle stroke, deserts his lord. Now 'tis but death or flight: disarmed he flies, When in his hand an unknown hilt he spies. Fame says that Turnus, when his steeds he joined, } Hurrying to war, disordered in his mind, } Snatched the first weapon which his haste could find. } 'Twas not the fated sword his father bore, But that his charioteer Metiscus wore. This, while the Trojans fled, the toughness held: But, vain against the great Vulcanian shield, The mortal-tempered steel deceived his hand: The shivered fragments shone amid the sand. Surprised with fear, he fled along the field, And now forthright, and now in orbits wheeled: For here the Trojan troops the list surround, And there the pass is closed with pools and marshy ground. Æneas hastens, though with heavier pace-- His wound, so newly knit, retards the chase, And oft his trembling knees their aid refuse-- Yet, pressing foot by foot, his foe pursues. Thus, when a fearful stag is closed around With crimson toils, or in a river found, High on the bank the deep-mouthed hound appears, Still opening, following still, where'er he steers; The persecuted creature, to and fro, Turns here and there, to 'scape his Umbrian foe: Steep is the ascent, and, if he gains the land, The purple death is pitched along the strand: His eager foe, determined to the chase, Stretched at his length, gains ground at every pace: Now to his beamy head he makes his way, And now he holds, or thinks he holds, his prey: Just at the pinch, the stag springs out with fear; He bites the wind, and fills his sounding jaws with air: The rocks, the lakes, the meadows, ring with cries; The mortal tumult mounts, and thunders in the skies. Thus flies the Daunian prince, and, flying, blames His tardy troops, and calling by their names, Demands his trusty sword. The Trojan threats The realm with ruin, and their ancient seats To lay in ashes, if they dare supply, With arms or aid, his vanquished enemy; Thus menacing, he still pursues the course, With vigour, though diminished of his force. Ten times already, round the listed place, One chief had fled, and t'other given the chase: No trivial prize is played; for on the life Or death of Turnus, now depends the strife. Within the space, an olive-tree had stood, } A sacred shade, a venerable wood, } For vows to Faunus paid, the Latins' guardian god. } Here hung the vests, and tablets were engraved, Of sinking mariners from shipwreck saved. With heedless hands the Trojans felled the tree, To make the ground inclosed for combat free. Deep in the root, whether by fate, or chance, Or erring haste, the Trojan drove his lance; Then stooped, and tugged with force immense, to free The encumbered spear from the tenacious tree; That, whom his fainting limbs pursued in vain, His flying weapon might from far attain. Confused with fear, bereft of human aid, Then Turnus to the gods, and first to Faunus, prayed:-- "O Faunus! pity! and thou, mother Earth, Where I thy foster-son received my birth, Hold fast the steel! If my religious hand Your plant has honoured, which your foes profaned, Propitious hear my pious prayer!" He said, Nor with successless vows invoked their aid. The incumbent hero wrenched, and pulled, and strained; But still the stubborn earth the steel detained. Juturna took her time; and, while in vain He strove, assumed Metiscus' form again, And, in that imitated shape, restored To the despairing prince his Daunian sword. The queen of love--who, with disdain and grief, Saw the bold nymph afford this prompt relief-- To assert her offspring with a greater deed, From the tough root the lingering weapon freed. Once more erect, the rival chiefs advance: } One trusts the sword, and one the pointed lance; } And both resolved alike, to try their fatal chance. } Meantime imperial Jove to Juno spoke, Who from a shining cloud beheld the shock:-- "What new arrest, O queen of heaven! is sent To stop the Fates now labouring in the event? What further hopes are left thee to pursue? } Divine Æneas, (and thou know'st it too,) } Fore-doomed, to these celestial seats is due. } What more attempts for Turnus can be made, That thus thou lingerest in this lonely shade? Is it becoming of the due respect And awful honour of a god elect, A wound unworthy of our state to feel, Patient of human hands, and earthly steel? Or seems it just, the sister should restore } A second sword, when one was lost before, } And arm a conquered wretch against his conqueror? } For what, without thy knowledge and avow, Nay more, thy dictate, durst Juturna do? At last, in deference to my love, forbear To lodge within thy soul this anxious care: Reclined upon my breast, thy grief unload:-- Who should relieve the goddess, but the god? Now all things to their utmost issue tend, Pushed by the Fates to their appointed end. While leave was given thee, and a lawful hour For vengeance, wrath, and unresisted power, Tossed on the seas thou could'st thy foes distress, And, driven ashore, with hostile arms oppress; Deform the royal house; and, from the side Of the just bridegroom, tear the plighted bride:-- Now cease at my command." The Thunderer said; And, with dejected eyes, this answer Juno made:-- "Because your dread decree too well I knew, From Turnus and from earth unwilling I withdrew. Else should you not behold me here, alone, Involved in empty clouds, my friends bemoan, But, girt with vengeful flames, in open sight, Engaged against my foes in mortal fight. 'Tis true, Juturna mingled in the strife By my command, to save her brother's life, At least to try; but (by the Stygian lake-- The most religious oath the gods can take) With this restriction, not to bend the bow, Or toss the spear, or trembling dart to throw. And now, resigned to your superior might, And tired with fruitless toils, I loath the fight. This let me beg (and this no fates withstand) Both for myself and for your father's land, That, when the nuptial bed shall bind the peace, (Which I, since you ordain, consent to bless,) The laws of either nation be the same; But let the Latins still retain their name, Speak the same language which they spoke before, Wear the same habits which their grandsires wore. Call them not Trojans: perish the renown And name of Troy, with that detested town. Latium be Latium still; let Alba reign, And Rome's immortal majesty remain." Then thus the founder of mankind replies:-- (Unruffled was his front, serene his eyes,) "Can Saturn's issue, and heaven's other heir, Such endless anger in her bosom bear? Be mistress, and your full desires obtain; But quench the choler you foment in vain. From ancient blood, the Ausonian people, sprung, Shall keep their name, their habit, and their tongue: The Trojans to their customs shall be tied. } I will, myself, their common rites provide. } The natives shall command, the foreigners subside. } All shall be Latium; Troy without a name; And her lost sons forget from whence they came. From blood so mixed, a pious race shall flow, Equal to gods, excelling all below. No nation more respect to you shall pay, Or greater offerings on your altars lay." Juno consents, well pleased that her desires Had found success, and from the cloud retires. The peace thus made, the Thunderer next prepares To force the watery goddess from the wars. Deep in the dismal regions void of light, Three daughters, at a birth, were born to Night:[14] These their brown mother, brooding on her care, } Endued with windy wings to flit in air, } With serpents girt alike, and crowned with hissing hair. } In heaven the Diræ called, and still at hand, Before the throne of angry Jove they stand, His ministers of wrath, and ready still The minds of mortal men with fears to fill, Whene'er the moody sire, to wreak his hate On realms or towns deserving of their fate, Hurls down diseases, death, and deadly care, And terrifies the guilty world with war. One sister plague of these from heaven he sent, To fright Juturna with a dire portent. The pest comes whirling down: by far more slow Springs the swift arrow from the Parthian bow, Or Cydon yew, when, traversing the skies, And drenched in poisonous juice, the sure destruction flies. With such a sudden, and unseen a flight, Shot through the clouds the daughter of the Night. Soon as the field inclosed she had in view, And from afar her destined quarry knew-- Contracted, to the boding bird she turns, Which haunts the ruined piles and hallowed urns, And beats about the tombs with nightly wings, Where songs obscene on sepulchres she sings. Thus lessened in her form, with frightful cries } The Fury round unhappy Turnus flies, } Flaps on his shield, and flutters o'er his eyes. } A lazy chilness crept along his blood; Choked was his voice; his hair with horror stood. Juturna from afar beheld her fly, And knew the ill omen, by her screaming cry, And stridor of her wing. Amazed with fear, Her beauteous breast she beat, and rent her flowing hair. "Ah me!" she cries--"in this unequal strife, What can thy sister more to save thy life? Weak as I am, can I, alas! contend In arms with that inexorable fiend? Now, now, I quit the field! forbear to fright My tender soul, ye baleful birds of night! The lashing of your wings I know too well, The sounding flight, and funeral screams of hell! These are the gifts you bring from haughty Jove, The worthy recompense of ravished love! Did he for this exempt my life from fate? O hard conditions of immortal state! Though born to death, not privileged to die, But forced to bear imposed eternity! Take back your envious bribes, and let me go Companion to my brother's ghost below! The joys are vanished: nothing now remains Of life immortal, but immortal pains. What earth will open her devouring womb, To rest a weary goddess in the tomb?" She drew a length of sighs; nor more she said, But in her azure mantle wrapped her head, Then plunged into her stream, with deep despair, And her last sobs came bubbling up in air. Now stern Æneas waves his weighty spear Against his foe, and thus upbraids his fear:-- "What farther subterfuge can Turnus find? What empty hopes are harboured in his mind? 'Tis not thy swiftness can secure thy flight; Not with their feet, but hands, the valiant fight. Vary thy shape in thousand forms, and dare What skill and courage can attempt in war; Wish for the wings of winds, to mount the sky; } Or hid within the hollow earth to lie!" } The champion shook his head, and made this short reply:-- } "No threats of thine my manly mind can move; Tis hostile heaven I dread, and partial Jove." He said no more, but, with a sigh, repressed The mighty sorrow in his swelling breast. Then, as he rolled his troubled eyes around, } An antique stone he saw, the common bound } Of neighbouring fields, and barrier of the ground-- } So vast, that twelve strong men of modern days The enormous weight from earth could hardly raise. He heaved it at a lift, and, poised on high, Ran staggering on against his enemy, But so disordered, that he scarcely knew His way, or what unwieldy weight he threw. His knocking knees are bent beneath the load, And shivering cold congeals his vital blood. The stone drops from his arms, and, falling short For want of vigour, mocks his vain effort. And as, when heavy sleep has closed the sight, The sickly fancy labours in the night; We seem to run; and, destitute of force, Our sinking limbs forsake us in the course: In vain we heave for breath; in vain we cry; } The nerves, unbraced, their usual strength deny; } And on the tongue the faltering accents die; } So Turnus fared; whatever means he tried, } All force of arms, and points of art employed, } The Fury flew athwart, and made the endeavour void. } A thousand various thoughts his soul confound; } He stared about, nor aid nor issue found; } His own men stop the pass, and his own walls surround. } Once more he pauses, and looks out again, And seeks the goddess charioteer in vain. Trembling he views the thundering chief advance, And brandishing aloft the deadly lance: Amazed he cowers beneath his conquering foe, Forgets to ward, and waits the coming blow. Astonished while he stands, and fixed with fear, Aimed at his shield he sees the impending spear. The hero measured first, with narrow view, } The destined mark; and, rising as he threw, } With its full swing the fatal weapon flew. } Not with less rage the rattling thunder falls, Or stones from battering-engines break the walls: Swift as a whirlwind, from an arm so strong, The lance drove on, and bore the death along. Nought could his sevenfold shield the prince avail, Nor aught, beneath his arms, the coat of mail: It pierced through all, and with a grisly wound Transfixed his thigh, and doubled him to ground. With groans the Latins rend the vaulted sky: Woods, hills, and valleys, to the voice reply. Now low on earth the lofty chief is laid, } With eyes cast upwards, and with arms displayed, } And, recreant, thus to the proud victor prayed:-- } "I know my death deserved, nor hope to live: Use what the gods and thy good fortune give. Yet think, oh! think, if mercy may be shown, (Thou hadst a father once, and hast a son,) Pity my sire, now sinking to the grave; And, for Anchises' sake, old Daunus save! Or, if thy vowed revenge pursue my death, Give to my friends my body void of breath! The Latian chiefs have seen me beg my life: } Thine is the conquest, thine the royal wife: } Against a yielded man, 'tis mean ignoble strife." } In deep suspense the Trojan seemed to stand, And, just prepared to strike, repressed his hand. He rolled his eyes, and every moment felt His manly soul with more compassion melt; When, casting down a casual glance, he spied The golden belt that glittered on his side, The fatal spoil which haughty Turnus tore From dying Pallas, and in triumph wore. Then, roused anew to wrath, he loudly cries, (Flames, while he spoke, came flashing from his eyes) "Traitor! dost thou, dost thou to grace pretend, Clad, as thou art, in trophies of my friend? To his sad soul a grateful offering go! 'Tis Pallas, Pallas gives this deadly blow." He raised his arm aloft, and, at the word, Deep in his bosom drove the shining sword. The streaming blood distained his arms around, And the disdainful soul came rushing through the wound.


[Footnote 13: Note I.]

[Footnote 14: Note IV.]




Note I.

_At this, a flood, of tears Lavinia shed; } A crimson blush her beauteous face o'erspread, } P. 146. Varying her cheeks by turns with white and red._ }

Amata, ever partial to the cause of Turnus, had just before desired him, with all manner of earnestness, not to engage his rival in single fight; which was his present resolution. Virgil, though (in favour of his hero) he never tells us directly that Lavinia preferred Turnus to Æneas, yet has insinuated this preference twice before. For mark, in the seventh Æneïd, she left her father, (who had promised her to Æneas without asking her consent,) and followed her mother into the woods, with a troop of Bacchanals, where Amata sung the marriage-song, in the name of Turnus; which, if she had disliked, she might have opposed. Then, in the eleventh Æneïd, when her mother went to the temple of Pallas, to invoke her aid against Æneas, whom she calls by no better name than _Phrygius prædo_, Lavinia sits by her in the same chair or litter, _juxtaque comes Lavinia virgo,--oculos dejecta decoros_. What greater sign of love, than fear and concernment for the lover? In the lines which I have quoted, she not only sheds tears, but changes colour. She had been bred up with Turnus; and Æneas was wholly a stranger to her. Turnus, in probability, was her first love, and favoured by her mother, who had the ascendant over her father. But I am much deceived, if (besides what I have said) there be not a secret satire against the sex, which is lurking under this description of Virgil, who seldom speaks well of women--better indeed of Camilla, than any other--for he commends her beauty and valour--because he would concern the reader for her death. But valour is no very proper praise for woman-kind; and beauty is common to the sex. He says also somewhat of Andromache, but transiently: and his Venus is a better mother than a wife; for she owns to Vulcan she had a son by another man. The rest are Junos, Dianas, Didos, Amatas, two mad prophetesses, three Harpies on earth, and as many Furies under ground. This fable of Lavinia includes a secret moral; that women, in their choice of husbands, prefer the younger of their suitors to the elder; are insensible of merit, fond of handsomeness, and, generally speaking, rather hurried away by their appetite, than governed by their reason.

Note II.

_Sea-born Messapus, with Atinas, heads The Latin squadrons, and to battle leads._--P. 166.

The poet had said, in the preceding lines, that Mnestheus, Serestus, and Asylas, led on the Trojans, the Tuscans, and the Arcadians: but none of the printed copies, which I have seen, mention any leader of the Rutulians and Latins, but Messapus the son of Neptune. Ruæus takes notice of this passage, and seems to wonder at it; but gives no reason, why Messapus is alone without a coadjutor.

The four verses of Virgil run thus:

_Totæ adeo conversæ acies, omnesque Latini, Omnes Dardanidæ; Mnestheus, ucerque Serestus, Et Messapus equûm domitor, et fortis Asylas, Tuscorumque phalanx, Evandrique Arcades alæ._

I doubt not but the third line was originally thus:

_Et Messapus equûm domitor, et fortis Atinas:_

for the two names of Asylas and Atinas are so like, that one might easily be mistaken for the other by the transcribers. And to fortify this opinion, we find afterward, in the relation of Saces to Turnus, that Atinas is joined with Messapus:

_Soli, pro portis, Messapus et acer Atinas Sustentant aciem_----

In general I observe, not only in this Æneïd, but in all the six last Books, that Æneas is never seen on horseback, and but once before, as I remember, in the fourth, where he hunts with Dido. The reason of this, if I guess aright, was a secret compliment which the poet made to his countrymen the Romans, the strength of whose armies consisted most in foot, which, I think, were all Romans and Italians. But their wings or squadrons were made up of their allies, who were foreigners.

Note III.

_This let me beg (and this no fates withstand) Both for myself and for your father's land, &c._--P. 176.

The words in the original are these:

_Pro Latio obtestor, pro majestate tuorum_.

Virgil very artfully uses here the word _majestas_, which the Romans loved so well, that they appropriated it to themselves--_Majestas populi Romani_. This title, applied to kings, is very modern; and that is all I will say of it at present, though the word requires a larger note. In the word _tuorum_, is included the sense of my translation, _Your father's land_, because Saturn, the father of Jove, had governed that part of Italy, after his expulsion from Crete. But that on which I most insist, is the address of the poet, in this speech of Juno. Virgil was sufficiently sensible, as I have said in the preface, that whatever the common opinion was, concerning the descent of the Romans from the Trojans, yet the ancient customs, rites, laws, and habits of those Trojans were wholly lost, and perhaps also that they had never been: and, for this reason, he introduces Juno in this place, requesting of Jupiter that no memory might remain of Troy (the town she hated), that the people hereafter should not be called Trojans, nor retain any thing which belonged to their predecessors. And why might not this also be concerted betwixt our author and his friend Horace, to hinder Augustus from re-building Troy, and removing thither the seat of empire, a design so unpleasing to the Romans? But of this I am not positive, because I have not consulted Dacier, and the rest of the critics, to ascertain the time in which Horace writ the ode relating to that subject.

Note IV.

_Deep in the dismal regions void of light, Three daughters, at a birth, were born to Night._--P. 177.

The father of these (not here mentioned) was Acheron: the names of the three were Alecto, Megæra, and Tisiphone. They were called Furies in hell, on earth Harpies, and in heaven Diræ. Two of these assisted at the throne of Jupiter, and were employed by him to punish the wickedness of mankind. These two must be Megæra and Tisiphone--not Alecto; for Juno expressly commands her to return to hell, from whence she came; and gives this reason:

_Te super ætherias errare licentius auras Haud pater ipse velit, summi regnator Olympi, Cede locis_.

Probably this Dira, unnamed by the poet in this place, might be Tisiphone; for, though we find her in hell, in the Sixth Æneïd, employed in the punishment of the damned,

_Continuo sontes ultrix, accincta flagello, Tisiphone quatit insultans, &c._

yet afterwards she is on earth in the tenth Æneïd, and amidst the battle,

_Pallida Tisiphone media inter millia sævit_--

which I guess to be Tisiphone, the rather, by the etymology of her name, which is compounded of τιω ulciscor, and φονος cœdes; part of her errand being to affright Turnus with the stings of a guilty conscience, and denounce vengeance against him for breaking the first treaty, by refusing to yield Lavinia to Æneas, to whom she was promised by her father--and, consequently, for being the author of an unjust war; and also for violating the second treaty, by declining the single combat, which he had stipulated with his rival, and called the gods to witness before their altars. As for the names of the Harpies, (so called on earth,) Hesiod tells us they were Iris, Aëllo, and Ocypete. Virgil calls one of them Celæno: this, I doubt not, was Alecto, whom Virgil calls, in the Third Æneïd, _Furiarum maxima_, and in the sixth again by the same name--_Furiarum maxima juxta accubat_. That she was the chief of the Furies, appears by her description in the Seventh Æneïd; to which, for haste, I refer the reader.




What Virgil wrote in the vigour of his age, in plenty and at ease, I have undertaken to translate in my declining years; struggling with wants, oppressed with sickness, curbed in my genius, liable to be misconstrued in all I write; and my judges, if they are not very equitable, already prejudiced against me, by the lying character which has been given them of my morals. Yet, steady to my principles, and not dispirited with my afflictions, I have, by the blessing of God on my endeavours, overcome all difficulties, and, in some measure, acquitted myself of the debt which I owed the public when I undertook this work. In the first place, therefore, I thankfully acknowledge to the Almighty Power the assistance he has given me in the beginning, the prosecution, and conclusion, of my present studies, which are more happily performed than I could have promised to myself, when I laboured under such discouragements. For, what I have done, imperfect as it is for want of health and leisure to correct it, will be judged in after-ages, and possibly in the present, to be no dishonour to my native country, whose language and poetry would be more esteemed abroad, if they were better understood. Somewhat (give me leave to say) I have added to both of them in the choice of words, and harmony of numbers, which were wanting (especially the last) in all our poets, even in those who, being endued with genius, yet have not cultivated their mother-tongue with sufficient care; or, relying on the beauty of their thoughts, have judged the ornament of words, and sweetness of sound, unnecessary. One is for raking in Chaucer (our English Ennius) for antiquated words, which are never to be revived, but when sound or significancy is wanting in the present language. But many of his deserve not this redemption, any more than the crowds of men who daily die, or are slain for sixpence in a battle, merit to be restored to life, if a wish could revive them. Others have no ear for verse, nor choice of words, nor distinction of thoughts; but mingle farthings with their gold, to make up the sum. Here is a field of satire opened to me: but, since the Revolution, I have wholly renounced that talent: for who would give physic to the great, when he is uncalled--to do his patient no good, and endanger himself for his prescription? Neither am I ignorant, but I may justly be condemned for many of those faults, of which I have too liberally arraigned others.

----_Cynthius aurem Vellit, et admonuit_----

It is enough for me, if the government will let me pass unquestioned. In the mean time, I am obliged, in gratitude, to return my thanks to many of them, who have not only distinguished me from others of the same party, by a particular exception of grace, but, without considering the man, have been bountiful to the poet--have encouraged Virgil to speak such English as I could teach him, and rewarded his interpreter for the pains he has taken in bringing him over into Britain, by defraying the charges of his voyage. Even Cerberus, when he had received the sop, permitted Æneas to pass freely to Elysium. Had it been offered me, and I had refused it, yet still some gratitude is due to such who were willing to oblige me: but how much more to those from whom I have received the favours which they have offered to one of a different persuasion! amongst whom I cannot omit naming the Earls of Derby[15] and of Peterborough[16]. To the first of these I have not the honour to be known; and therefore his liberality was as much unexpected, as it was undeserved. The present Earl of Peterborough has been pleased long since to accept the tenders of my service: his favours are so frequent to me, that I receive them almost by prescription. No difference of interests or opinion has been able to withdraw his protection from me. And I might justly be condemned for the most unthankful of mankind, if I did not always preserve for him a most profound respect and inviolable gratitude. I must also add, that, if the last Æneïd shine amongst its fellows, it is owing to the commands of Sir William Trumball,[17] one of the principal secretaries of state, who recommended it, as his favourite, to my care; and, for his sake particularly, I have made it mine: for who would confess weariness, when he enjoined a fresh labour? I could not but invoke the assistance of a Muse, for this last office.

_Extremum hunc, Arethusa---- ----Negat quis carmina Gallo?_

Neither am I to forget the noble present which was made me by Gilbert Dolben, Esq. the worthy son of the late Archbishop of York,[18] who, when I began this work, enriched me with all the several editions of Virgil, and all the commentaries of those editions in Latin; amongst which, I could not but prefer the Dauphin's, as the last, the shortest, and the most judicious. Fabrini[19] I had also sent me from Italy; but either he understands Virgil very imperfectly, or I have no knowledge of my author.

Being invited by that worthy gentleman, Sir William Bowyer, to Denham Court, I translated the First Georgic at his house, and the greatest part of the last Æneïd.[20] A more friendly entertainment no man ever found. No wonder, therefore, if both those versions surpass the rest, and own the satisfaction I received in his converse, with whom I had the honour to be bred in Cambridge, and in the same college. The Seventh Æneïd was made English at Burleigh, the magnificent abode of the Earl of Exeter.[21] In a village belonging to his family I was born;[22] and under his roof I endeavoured to make that Æneïd appear in English with as much lustre as I could; though my author has not given the finishing strokes either to it, or to the eleventh, as I perhaps could prove in both, if I durst presume to criticise my master.

By a letter from William Walsh, of Abberley, Esq.[23] (who has so long honoured me with his friendship, and who, without flattery, is the best critic of our nation,) I have been informed, that his grace the Duke of Shrewsbury[24] has procured a printed copy of the Pastorals, Georgics, and six first Æneïds, from my bookseller, and has read them in the country, together with my friend. This noble person having been pleased to give them a commendation, which I presume not to insert, has made me vain enough to boast of so great a favour, and to think I have succeeded beyond my hopes; the character of his excellent judgment, the acuteness of his wit, and his general knowledge of good letters, being known as well to all the world, as the sweetness of his disposition, his humanity, his easiness of access, and desire of obliging those who stand in need of his protection, are known to all who have approached him, and to me in particular, who have formerly had the honour of his conversation. Whoever has given the world the translation of part of the Third Georgic, which he calls "The Power of Love," has put me to sufficient pains to make my own not inferior to his;[25] as my Lord Roscommon's "Silenus" had formerly given me the same trouble. The most ingenious Mr Addison of Oxford has also been as troublesome to me as the other two, and on the same account. After his "Bees," my latter swarm is scarcely worth the hiving.[26] Mr Cowley's "Praise of a Country Life" is excellent, but is rather an imitation of Virgil, than a version. That I have recovered, in some measure, the health which I had lost by too much application to this work, is owing, next to God's mercy, to the skill and care of Dr Guibbons[27] and Dr Hobbs,[28] the two ornaments of their profession, whom I can only pay by this acknowledgment. The whole faculty has always been ready to oblige me; and the only one of them, who endeavoured to defame me, had it not in his power.[29] I desire pardon from my readers for saying so much in relation to myself, which concerns not them; and, with my acknowledgments to all my subscribers, have only to add, that the few Notes which follow, are _par manière d'acquit_, because I had obliged myself by articles to do somewhat of that kind.[30] These scattering observations are rather guesses at my author's meaning in some passages, than proofs that so he meant. The unlearned may have recourse to any poetical dictionary in English, for the names of persons, places, or fables, which the learned need not: but that little which I say, is either new or necessary; and the first of these qualifications never fails to invite a reader, if not to please him.


[Footnote 15: William Richard George, ninth earl of Derby. He died 5th November, 1702. He joined early in the Revolution.]

[Footnote 16: Charles Mordaunt, third earl of Peterborough, and first earl of Monmouth of his family, is one of the most heroic characters, according to ancient ideas of heroism, which occur in English history. Under every disadvantage of want of money, and provisions, and men, from England, of the united opposition of France, and almost all Spain, and of the untoward and untractable disposition of Charles of Austria, he had almost placed that prince upon the Spanish throne, in defiance of all opposition, as well as of Charles's own imprudence. With an army, which never amounted to 10,000 men, he drove triple the number out of Spain before him; and, had he not been removed by a wretched intrigue, he would have secured the kingdom, which he had effectually conquered. Like other heroes, he was attached to literature, and especially to poetry; and the conqueror of Spain was the patron of Dryden, and the friend of Swift, Pope, and Gay. He was a keen Whig, but not in favour with his party. "It is a perfect jest," says Swift, in a letter to Archbishop King, 5th February, 1707-8, "to see my Lord Peterborough, reputed as great a Whig as any man in England, abhorred by his own party, and caressed by the Tories." This great man died at Lisbon, 1737, aged seventy-seven.]

[Footnote 17: The name of Sir William Trumball is eminent among those statesmen, who, amidst the fatigues of state, have found leisure to cultivate the Muses. He had been ambassador to France and Constantinople; and, in 1695, was raised to the high situation mentioned in the text. In 1697, he resigned his employments, and retired to East Hamstead, in Berkshire, where he early distinguished the youthful genius of Pope. During the remaining years of Sir William's life, the young bard and the old statesman were almost inseparable companions.]

[Footnote 18: Gilbert was the eldest son of John Dolben, Archbishop of York; a man distinguished for bravery in the civil wars, and for dignity of conduct in his episcopal station. Sir William Trumball wrote a character of him, which is inserted in the new edition of the _Biographia_, Vol. V. p. 330. The archbishop is celebrated by Dryden, as a friend of David, in the first part of "Absalom and Achitophel." See Vol. IX. p. 243, 303. Of Gilbert Dolben's life, the munificence extended to Dryden is perhaps the most memorable incident.]

[Footnote 19: Printed at Venice, 1623. His countrymen claim for Fabrini more respect than Dryden allows him.]

[Footnote 20: Dryden gives a beautiful description of this spot in a note on the beginning of the Second Georgic, Vol. XIV. p. 49.]

[Footnote 21: John Cecil, fifth earl of Exeter. He was a non-juror, and lived in retirement at his noble seat of Burleigh. Prior was early patronised by his lordship; and dates from his mansion the lively epistle to Fleetwood Shepherd. Mr Malone supposes Prior may have assisted in composing his epitaph, where his character is thus elegantly drawn: _Johannes Cecil, Baro de Burghley, Exoniæ comes, magni Burleii abnepos haudquaquam degener. Egregiam enim indolem optimis moribus optimis artibus excoluit. Humanioribus literis bene instructus, peregre, plus vice simplici, profectus est. Et ab excultis Europæ regionibus, multam antiquitatum linguarum, necnon et rerum civilium scientiam reportavit. Cum nemo fortê meliùs vel aulam ornare, vel curare respublicas posset, maluit tamen otium et secessum. Itaque ruri suo vixit, eleganter, sumptuose, splendide, liberalibus studiis oblectatus, amicis comis et jocundus, egenis largus, legum et ecclesiæ Anglicanæ fortis semper propugnator._]

[Footnote 22: Aldwincle, in Northamptonshire.]

[Footnote 23: See Vol. XIII. p. 297.]

[Footnote 24: Charles Talbot, the twelfth earl, and only duke of Shrewsbury. He was bred a Catholic; but renounced the tenets of Rome during the time of the Popish plot. Previous to the Revolution, he had so strong a sense of the necessity of that measure, that he mortgaged his estate for 40,000l. and retired into Holland, for the purpose of offering his fealty, and sword, to the Prince of Orange. Accordingly, when that great enterprize succeeded, he was advanced to the ducal dignity, and loaded with office and honours. In 1700, the Duke went upon the Continent for his health; and, on his return, finding the Whigs disgusted at his having married a foreign lady, having visited Rome, and, above all, having declined to enter actively into their measures, he joined the Tories; he assisted in bringing about the peace of Utrecht, being appointed ambassador extraordinary for that purpose; and, finally, went to Ireland as lord-lieutenant. He died 1st February, 1717-18.--Mackay, or Davis, gives him the following character.

"Never was a greater mixture of honour, virtue, [_none_] and good sense, in any one person, than in him. A great man, attended with a sweetness of behaviour and easiness of conversation, _which charms all_ who come near him: Nothing of the stiffness of a statesman, yet the capacity and knowledge of a piercing wit. He speaks French and Italian as well as his native language: and, although but one eye, yet he has a very charming countenance, and is the most generally beloved by the ladies of any gentleman in his time. He is turned of forty years old."

The little word _none_, within the crotchets, is inserted by Swift. That wit elsewhere describes the duke "as a person of admirable qualities; and, if he were somewhat more active, and less timorous in business, no man would be thought comparable to him."--_Letter to Archbishop King, 20th May, 1712._]

[Footnote 25: Mr Malone conjectures the concealed translator may have been Lord Lansdowne, author of the poem which precedes that translation in the Miscellanies.]

[Footnote 26: Alluding to a translation of the Third Book of the Georgics, exclusive of the story of Aristæus, which appeared in the third volume of the Miscellanies; by the famous Addison, then of Queen's College, Oxford.]

[Footnote 27: The same of whom Dryden elsewhere says,

"Guibbons but guesses, nor is sure to save." ]

[Footnote 28: Also an eminent physician of the time, ridiculed, in the "Dispensary," under the title of Guiacum.]

[Footnote 29: Alluding to his ancient foe, Sir Richard Blackmore. See the "Epistle to Dryden of Chesterton," and the conclusion of the Preface to the Fables.]

[Footnote 30: A passage in a letter from our author to Jacob Tonson, dated probably February 1695-6, lets us know yet more plainly, that to the niggard disposition of this bookseller, we owe that the notes, as here acknowledged, were rather slurred over, than written with due care: "I am not sorry that you will not allow any thing towards the Notes; for, to make them good, would have cost me half a year's time at least. Those I write shall be only marginal, to help the unlearned, who understand not the poetical fables. The Prefaces, as I intend them, will be somewhat more learned. It would require seven years to translate Virgil exactly; but, I promise you once more, to do my best in the four remaining Books, as I have hitherto done in the foregoing.--Upon trial, I find all of your trade are sharpers, and you not more than others; therefore, I have not wholly left you. Mr Aston does not blame you for getting as good a bargain as you could, though I could have got a hundred pounds more; and you might have spared almost all your trouble, if you had thought fit to publish the proposals for the first subscriptions, for I have guineas offered me every day, if there had been room; I believe, modestly speaking, I have refused already twenty-five. I mislike nothing in your letter, therefore, but only your upbraiding me with the public encouragement, and my own reputation concerned in the notes; when I assure you I could not make them to my mind in less than half a year's time."]



_In this last division of poetry, those poems are placed which have been ascribed to Dryden upon grounds more or less satisfactory, yet do not seem entitled to be classed with his acknowledged writings. To some of them he doubtless lent his assistance, either from friendship to the author, or to the cause in which they were written. But, even in these, the hand of Dryden is not so effectually distinguished from that of the inferior artist, as to entitle them to be removed from the apocryphal station which is here assigned. Others I would have discarded altogether, but from the consideration that they were not of great length, and that the first complete edition of Dryden should contain all that has hitherto been ascribed to our immortal Bard, even upon loose and uncertain grounds._


Among the pieces fathered upon Dryden, without satisfactory reason, this contains as little internal evidence as any of having received even the touches of that great master. Yet, as is mentioned in the Life of our poet, the suspicion of being the author subjected him to the cowardly revenge of Rochester, who hired bravoes to beat Dryden, in return for the severity with which he is here treated. The versification is so harsh, and the satire so coarse and clumsy, that I can hardly consent to think that Dryden did more than revise and correct it. If he added a few lines here and there, he had so industriously levelled them with the rest of the performance, that they cannot be distinguished from it. The real author was Sheffield, Earl of Mulgrave, afterwards Duke of Buckingham.

Like other lampoons of the time, the "Essay on Satire" was handed about in manuscript copies, about November 1679. It is inserted in the quarto edition of Sheffield Duke of Buckingham's Works, with many alterations and improvements by Pope, to whose correction it had been subjected by the noble poet. It is obvious, and has been well argued by Mr Malone, that if Dryden had taken any considerable pains with the original copy, Pope would have had but little to do.

Sheffield, in his "Essay on Poetry," pays our author a very supercilious and aristocratic compliment on this, his own poem, having been attributed to him, and the castigation which ensued:

Though praised and punished for another's rhimes, His own deserve as much applause _sometimes_.

It is thus that noble authors distribute their praise, like their bounty, duly seasoned with humbling admonition. In the copy of the Essay, revised by Pope, this impertinent couplet is omitted.



How dull, and how insensible a beast Is man, who yet would lord it o'er the rest! Philosophers and poets vainly strove In every age the lumpish mass to move; But those were pedants, when compared with these, Who know, not only to instruct, but please. Poets alone found the delightful way, Mysterious morals gently to convey In charming numbers; so that as men grew Pleased with their poems, they grew wiser too. Satire has always shone among the rest; And is the boldest way, if not the best, To tell men freely of their foulest faults, To laugh at their vain deeds, and vainer thoughts.[31] In satire, too, the wise took different ways, To each deserving its peculiar praise. Some did all folly with just sharpness blame, Whilst others laughed and scorned them into shame. But of these two, the last succeeded best, As men aim rightest when they shoot in jest. Yet, if we may presume to blame our guides, And censure those, who censure all besides, In other things they justly are preferred; In this alone methinks the ancients erred: Against the grossest follies they declaim; Hard they pursue, but hunt ignoble game. Nothing is easier than such blots to hit, And 'tis the talent of each vulgar wit: Besides, 'tis labour lost; for, who would preach Morals to Armstrong,[32] or dull Aston[33] teach? 'Tis being devout at play, wise at a ball, Or bringing wit and friendship to Whitehall. But with sharp eyes those nicer faults to find, Which lie obscurely in the wisest mind, That little speck which all the rest does spoil,-- To wash off that would be a noble toil; Beyond the loose-writ libels of this age, Or the forced scenes of our declining stage; Above all censure too, each little wit Will be so glad to see the greater hit; Who judging better, though concerned the most, Of such correction will have cause to boast. In such a satire all would seek a share, And every fool will fancy he is there. Old story-tellers, too, must pine and die, To see their antiquated wit laid by; Like her, who missed her name in a lampoon, And grieved to find herself decayed so soon. No common coxcomb must be mentioned here; Not the dull train of dancing sparks appear; Nor fluttering officers, who never fight; Of such a wretched rabble, who would write? Much less half-wits; that's more against our rules; For they are fops, the other are but fools. Who would not be as silly as Dunbar?[34] As dull as Monmouth,[35] rather than Sir Carr?[36] The cunning courtier should be slighted too, Who with dull knavery makes so much ado; Till the shrewd fool, by thriving too too fast, Like Æsop's fox, becomes a prey at last. Nor shall the royal mistresses[37] be named, Too ugly, or too easy to be blamed; With whom each rhyming fool keeps such a pother, They are as common that way as the other; Yet, sauntering Charles, between his beastly brace, } Meets with dissembling still in either place, } Affected humour, or a painted face. } In loyal libels we have often told him, How one has jilted him, the other sold him: How that affects to laugh, how this to weep; But who can rail so long as he can sleep? Was ever prince by two at once misled, False, foolish, old, ill-natured, and ill-bred? Earnely[39] and Aylesbury,[40] with all that race-- Of busy blockheads, shall have here no place; At council set as foils on Dorset's score, To make that great false jewel shine the more; Who all that while was thought exceeding wise, Only for taking pains, and telling lies. But there's no meddling with such nauseous men; Their very names have tired my lazy pen: 'Tis time to quit their company, and choose Some fitter subject for a sharper muse. First, let's behold the merriest man alive[41] Against his careless genius vainly strive; Quit his dear ease, some deep design to lay, 'Gainst a set time, and then forget the day: Yet he will laugh at his best friends, and be Just as good company as Nokes and Lee. But when he aims at reason or at rule, He turns himself the best to ridicule. Let him at business ne'er so earnest sit, Shew him but mirth, and bait that mirth with wit, That shadow of a jest shall be enjoyed, Though he left all mankind to be destroyed. So cat transformed sat gravely and demure, Till mouse appeared, and thought himself secure; But soon the lady had him in her eye, And from her friend did just as oddly fly. Reaching above our nature does no good; We must fall back to our old flesh and blood; As by our little Machiavel we find, That nimblest creature of the busy kind. His limbs are crippled, and his body shakes; } Yet his hard mind, which all this bustle makes, } No pity of its poor companion takes. } What gravity can hold from laughing out, To see him drag his feeble legs about, Like hounds ill-coupled? Jowler lugs him still Through hedges, ditches, and through all that's ill. 'Twere crime in any man but him alone, To use a body so, though 'tis one's own: Yet this false comfort never gives him o'er, That, whilst he creeps, his vigorous thoughts can soar: Alas! that soaring to those few that know, Is but a busy grovelling here below. So men in rapture think they mount the sky, } Whilst on the ground the entranced wretches lie: } So modern fops have fancied they could fly. } As the new earl,[42] with parts deserving praise, And wit enough to laugh at his own ways, Yet loses all soft days and sensual nights, Kind nature checks, and kinder fortune slights; Striving against his quiet all he can, For the fine notion of a busy man. And what is that at best, but one, whose mind Is made to tire himself and all mankind? For Ireland he would go; faith, let him reign; For, if some odd fantastic lord would fain Carry in trunks, and all my drudgery do, I'll not only pay him, but admire him too. But is there any other beast that lives, Who his own harm so wittingly contrives? Will any dog that has his teeth and stones, Refinedly leave his bitches and his bones, To turn a wheel? and bark to be employed, While Venus is by rival dogs enjoyed? Yet this fond man, to get a statesman's name, Forfeits his friends, his freedom, and his fame. Though satire nicely writ with humour stings But those who merit praise in other things; Yet we must needs this one exception make, And break our rules for silly Tropos' sake;[43] Who was too much despised to be accused, And therefore scarce deserves to be abused; Raised only by his mercenary tongue, For railing smoothly, and for reasoning wrong. As boys, on holidays let loose to play, Lay waggish traps for girls that pass that way; Then shout to see, in dirt and deep distress, Some silly cit in her flowered foolish dress,--[44] So have I mighty satisfaction found, To see his tinsel reason on the ground; To see the florid fool despised, and know it, By some who scarce have words enough to show it; For sense sits silent, and condemns for weaker The finer, nay sometimes the wittier speaker: But 'tis prodigious so much eloquence Should be acquired by such little sense; For words and wit did anciently agree, And Tully was no fool, though this man be: At bar abusive; on the bench unable; Knave on the woolsack; fop at council-table. These are the grievances of such fools as would Be rather wise than honest, great than good. Some other kind of wits must be made known, Whose harmless errors hurt themselves alone; Excess of luxury they think can please, And laziness call loving of their ease; To live dissolved in pleasures still they feign, Though their whole life's but intermitting pain; So much of surfeits, head-aches, claps are seen, We scarce perceive the little time between; Well-meaning men, who make this gross mistake, And pleasure lose only for pleasure's sake; Each pleasure has its price, and when we pay Too much of pain, we squander life away. Thus Dorset,[45] purring like a thoughtful cat, Married,--but wiser puss ne'er thought of that; And first he worried her with railing rhyme, Like Pembroke's mastives at his kindest time; Then for one night sold all his slavish life, A teeming widow, but a barren wife. Swelled by contact of such a fulsome toad, He lugged about the matrimonial load; Till fortune, blindly kind as well as he, Has ill restored him to his liberty; Which he would use in his old sneaking way, Drinking all night, and dozing all the day; Dull as Ned Howard, whom his brisker times Had famed for dulness in malicious rhymes.[46] Mulgrave[47] had much ado to 'scape the snare, Though learned in all those arts that cheat the fair; For, after all his vulgar marriage-mocks, With beauty dazzled, Numps was in the stocks; Deluded parents dried their weeping eyes, To see him catch his Tartar for his prize: The impatient town waited the wished-for change, And cuckolds smiled in hopes of sweet revenge; Till Petworth plot made us with sorrow see, As his estate, his person too was free: Him no soft thoughts, no gratitude could move; To gold he fled from beauty and from love; Yet failing there he keeps his freedom still, Forced to live happily against his will; 'Tis not his fault, if too much wealth and power Break not his boasted quiet every hour. And little Sid.[48] for simile renowned, Pleasure has always sought, but never found; Though all his thoughts on wine and women fall, His are so bad, sure he ne'er thinks at all. The flesh he lives upon is rank and strong, His meat and mistresses are kept too long. But sure we all mistake this pious man, Who mortifies his person all he can: What we uncharitably take for sin, Are only rules of this odd capuchin; For never hermit, under grave pretence, Has lived more contrary to common sense; And 'tis a miracle, we may suppose, No nastiness offends his skilful nose; Which from all stink can, with peculiar art, Extract perfume and essence from a f----t. Expecting supper is his great delight; He toils all day but to be drunk at night; Then o'er his cups this night-bird chirping sits, Till he takes Hewet[49] and Jack Hall[B] for wits. Rochester I despise for want of wit, Though thought to have a tail and cloven feet; For, while he mischief means to all mankind, Himself alone the ill effects does find; And so, like witches, justly suffers shame, Whose harmless malice is so much the same. False are his words, affected is his wit; So often he does aim, so seldom hit; To every face he cringes while he speaks, But when the back is turned the head he breaks. Mean in each action, lewd in every limb, Manners themselves are mischievous in him; A proof that chance alone makes every creature, A very Killigrew without good nature. For what a Bessus[52] has he always lived, And his own kickings notably contrived? For, there's the folly that's still mixt with fear, Cowards more blows than any hero bear; Of fighting sparks some may their pleasures say, But 'tis a bolder thing to run away. The world may well forgive him all his ill, For every fault does prove his penance still; Falsely he falls into some dangerous noose, And then as meanly labours to get loose; A life so infamous is better quitting, Spent in base injury and low submitting.[53] I'd like to have left out his poetry; Forgot by all almost as well as me. Sometimes he has some humour, never wit, And if it rarely, very rarely, hit, 'Tis under so much nasty rubbish laid, To find it out's the cinderwoman's trade, Who, for the wretched remnants of a fire, Must toil all day in ashes and in mire. So lewdly dull his idle works appear, The wretched text deserves no comments here; Where one poor thought sometimes, left all alone, For a whole page of dulness must atone. How vain a thing is man, and how unwise! E'en he, who would himself the most despise! I, who so wise and humble seem to be, Now my own vanity and pride can't see. While the world's nonsense is so sharply shown, We pull down others but to raise our own; That we may angels seem, we paint them elves, And are but satires to set up ourselves. I, who have all this while been finding fault, E'en with my master, who first satire taught; And did by that describe the task so hard, It seems stupendous and above reward; Now labour with unequal force to climb That lofty hill, unreached by former time,-- 'Tis just that I should to the bottom fall, Learn to write well, or not to write at all.


[Footnote 31: Would Dryden have pardoned such a rhyme?]

[Footnote 32: Sir Thomas Armstrong, then an officer of the guards, and gentleman of horse to the king. He seems to have been remarkable for riot and profligacy, even in that profligate age; witness his stabbing a gentleman in the pit of the theatre. Thus principled, he became, unfortunately for himself and his patron, a favourite of the Duke of Monmouth, and engaged deeply in all his intrigues, particularly in that of the Rye-house plot, on the discovery of which he fled to Holland, of which he was a native: nevertheless, he was there seized and delivered. He was tried by Jefferies; and sustained the brutality of that judge with more spirit than his friends or his enemies expected. Upon a conviction of outlawry for treason, he was executed, June 1685.]

[Footnote 33: Aston is mentioned as a sort of half wit in some of the lampoons of the day; but I have not been able to trace any thing of his history, except that he seems to have been a courtier of the period; perhaps the same Colonel Aston, whom the reader will find in a subsequent note, acting as Mulgrave's second, in an intended duel with Rochester. If this be so, from the slight with which he is here mentioned, there may have been a coolness in their friendship, although, indeed, the mere want of _morals_ was not considered as an insufferable stigma in the reign of Charles II., and might pass for a good-natured joke, were the epithet _dull_ omitted. The name Aston is mentioned in the "Epistle to Julian."]

[Footnote 34: Robert Constable, third Viscount of Dunbar. He is elsewhere mentioned with the epithet of "brawny Dunbar." He married, 1st, Mary, daughter of Lord Bellasis; 2dly, the countess-dowager of Westmoreland.]

[Footnote 35: The unfortunate duke; the qualities of whose mind did not correspond to his exterior accomplishments. Rochester says of him,--

But, now we talk of Maestricht, where is he Famed for that brutal piece of bravery? He, with his thick impenetrable scull, The solid hardened armour of a fool, Well might himself to all war's ills expose, Who, come what will, yet had no brains to lose. ]

[Footnote 36: Sir Carr Scroop, a poet and courtier. See Note on the "Epistle to Julian."]

[Footnote 37: The royal mistresses were, the Duchesses of Cleveland and of Portsmouth. Neither was supposed over-scrupulous in fidelity to their royal lover. The Duchess of Cleveland, in particular, lavished her favours even upon Jacob Hall, the rope-dancer; at least, so Count Hamilton assures us, in the "Memoirs of Grammont." The Duchess of Portsmouth was a pensioner of the French court; by whom she was thrown into the arms of Charles, with the express purpose of securing his attachment to the cause of France. Charles knew, as well as any of his subjects, the infidelity of one mistress, and the treachery of the other; and Sheffield has elsewhere vindicated the epithet of "sauntering," which is here bestowed on that indolent monarch. "I am of opinion," says the duke, "that, in his latter times, there was as much of laziness as of love in all those hours he passed among his mistresses; who, after all, only served to fill up his seraglio, while a bewitching kind of pleasure, called _sauntering_, and talking without constraint, was the true sultana-queen he delighted in."[38] While Sheffield thus solemnly confirms, in prose, the character given of Charles in the "Essay upon Satire," he ascertains his claim to the property of the poem. And I must add, I should be sorry to think Dryden was accessary to lampooning persons, to whom he had offered the incense of his verse. See the "Epistle to Lady Castlemain," afterwards Duchess of Cleveland, and "The Fair Stranger," addressed to Louise Querouailles, afterwards Duchess of Portsmouth.]

[Footnote 38: _Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham's Works_, Vol. II. p. 61. 4to, 1723.]

[Footnote 39: Sir John Earnely was bred to the law; but became distinguished as a second-rate statesman. He was chancellor of the exchequer in 1686; and was made one of the commissioners of the treasury, in the room of the Earl of Rochester.]

[Footnote 40: Robert Bruce, second Earl of Elgin, in Scotland, created after the Restoration an English peer, by the titles of Baron and Viscount Bruce, Earl of Aylesbury. In 1678, he was of the privy-council to his majesty, and a gentleman of the bed-chamber. In the reign of James II., the Earl of Aylesbury succeeded to the office of lord-chamberlain, upon the death of the Earl of Arlington, in July 1685; an office which he held only two months, as he died in October following.]

[Footnote 41: The Earl of Shaftesbury; of whose decrepit body, and active mind, much has been said in the notes on "Absalom and Achitophel," and on the "Medal."]

[Footnote 42: This was Arthur, first Earl of Essex of his name. He was son of that Lord Capel, who so gallantly defended Colchester during the civil wars, and was executed upon the place being taken. Lord Essex had been lieutenant of Ireland from 1672 to 1677, and was supposed to have fixed his ambition upon returning to that situation. Being disappointed, he joined in the measures of Shaftesbury and Monmouth, and was a violent opponent of the court. He was committed to the Tower on account of his accession to the Rye-house plot; and, upon the morning on which Lord Russel was conveyed to his trial, he was found with his throat cut, the King and Duke of York being in the Tower at the very time, to witness some experiment on the ordnance. It was afterwards asserted, that he had been murdered by order of the court. Even Burnet, however, seems to acquit them of the crime, both because Essex was a free-thinker, and accustomed to vindicate suicide, and because his surgeon declared to him, that, from the mode in which the wound was inflicted, it could only have been done with his own hand. But the violent proceedings against Braddon and Speke, who attempted to investigate this mysterious affair, threw some suspicion upon the court party. If Charles was accessary to the murder, the time was strangely chosen, and the king's dissimulation equally remarkable; for, on hearing the event, be exclaimed, "Alas! Lord Essex might have trusted my clemency, I owed his family a life."]

[Footnote 43: This was the infamous Lord Chief-Justice Scroggs. He had ready eloquence, and much impudence. At first he stickled hard for the Popish Plot; but, finding that ceased to be the road to preferment, he became as eager on the other side. North allows, that his course of life was scandalous.]

[Footnote 44: This seems to have been copied by Gay in his Trivia:

Why do you, boys, the kennel's surface spread, To tempt, with faithless pass, the matron's tread? How can you laugh to see the damsel spurn, Sink in your frauds, and her green stocking mourn? ]

[Footnote 45: The witty Earl of Dorset, whom we have often had occasion to mention in these notes. His first wife was the Countess-Dowager of Falmouth. Sheffield insinuates, that he had previously lampooned this lady, and hints at some scandal now obsolete. She died without any issue by Dorset.]

[Footnote 46: Alluding to Dorset's verses to Mr Edward Howard. "On his incomparable incomprehensible Poem, called the British Princess."]

[Footnote 47: Mulgrave here alludes to some anecdotes of his own life and amours, which probably were well known at the time, but are now too obscure to be traced. He was three times married, and always to widows. His lordship is here pleased to represent himself as a gallant of the first order, skilled in all the arts of persuasion and conquest. But his contemporaries did not esteem him so formidable, at least if we may believe the author of a satire, called, "A Heroical Epistle from Lord Allpride to Doll Common;" a bitter and virulent satire on Mulgrave. He is thus described, in an epigram on Lord Allpride:

Against his stars the coxcomb ever strives, And to be something they forbid contrives. With a red nose, splay foot, and goggle eye, A ploughman's booby mien, face all awry, A filthy breath, and every loathsome mark, The punchinello sets up for a spark: With equal self-conceit he takes up arms, But with such vile success his part performs, That he burlesques the trade, and, what is best In others, turns, like Harlequin, to jest: So have I seen, at Smithfield's wonderous fair, When all his brother-monsters flourish there, A lubbard elephant divert the town, With making legs, and shooting of a gun. Go where he will, he never finds a friend, Shame and derision all his steps attend; Alike abroad, at home, i'the camp, and court, This knight o'the burning pestle makes us sport.

This seems to have been written by the offended Sir Car Scrope.]

[Footnote 48: Derrick is inclined to think, that Sidney, brother of the Earl of Leicester, and of the famous Algernon Sidney, is here meant. But the character better suits Sir Charles Sedley or Sidley, for he spelled the name both ways. In explanation of the line, there is, in the 4to edition of Sheffield's Works, this short note, "Remarkable for making pleasant and proper similies upon all occasions." In a satire in the State Poems, Vol. II.

To a soul so mean e'en Shadwell is a stranger; Nay, little Sid. it seems, less values danger. ]

[Footnote 49: Sir George Hewet was a coxcomb of the period, after whom Etherege is said to have modelled Sir Fopling Flutter's character:

Scarce will their greater grief pierce every heart, Should Sir George Hewit or Sir Car depart. Had it not better been, than thus to roam, To stay and tie the cravat string at home; To strut, look big, shake pantaloon, and swear With Hewit, "Damme, there's no action here!"

_Rochester's Farewell._

His pretensions to gallantry are elsewhere ridiculed:

Yet most against their genius blindly run, The wrong they chuse, and what they're made for shun; Thus Arlington thinks for state affairs he's fit, Hewit for ogling, C----ly for a wit.

_The Town Life._

And again,

May Hewet's _billets doux_ successful prove, In tempting of her little Grace to love.

Sir George Hewet attended the Prince of Denmark when he joined the Prince of Orange.

Jack Hall, the rotten Uzza of "Absalom and Achitophel," (Vol. IX. pp. 331. 373.) He seems to have gone into opposition to the court with Sidley, his patron. There is a comical account given of a literary effort of his in one of the State Poems:

Jack Hall---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----left town, But first writ something that he durst not own; Of prologue lawfully begotten, And full nine months maturely thought on; Born with hard labour and much pain, Ousely was doctor chamberlain.[50] At length, from stuff and rubbish picked, As bears' cubs into form are licked, When Wharton, Etherege, and Soame, } To give it their last strokes were come, } Those critics differed in their doom; } Yet Swan[51] says, he admired it 'scaped, Being Jack Hall's, without being clapped. ]

[Footnote 50: _Then a famous accoucheur._]

[Footnote 51: _The same, I suppose, whom Dryden dignifies with the title of honest Mr Swan_, Vol XIII. p. 97.]

[Footnote 52: A cowardly braggadocio character in Beaumont and Fletcher's excellent play of "King and no King."]

[Footnote 53: No one could know the cowardice of Lord Rochester so well as Mulgrave, who, in his Memoirs, records the following infamous instance of it. He had heard it reported, that Lord Rochester had said something of him very malicious: "I therefore sent Colonel Aston, a very mettled friend of mine, to call him to account for it. He denied the words; and, indeed, I was soon convinced he had never said them: but the mere report, though I found it to be false, obliged me (as I then foolishly thought) to go on with the quarrel; and the next day was appointed for us to fight on horseback, a way in England a little unusual, but it was his part to chuse. Accordingly, I and my second lay the night before at Knightsbridge, privately, to avoid the being secured at London upon any suspicion; which yet we found ourselves more in danger of there, because we had all the appearance of highway-men, that had a mind to lie skulking in an odd inn for one night; but this, I suppose, the people of that house were used to, and so took no notice of us, but liked us the better. In the morning, we met the Lord Rochester at the place appointed, who, instead of James Porter, whom, he assured Aston, he would make his second, brought an errant lifeguard-man, whom nobody knew. To this Mr Aston took exception, upon the account of his being no suitable adversary; especially considering how extremely well he was mounted, whereas we had only a couple of pads. Upon which, we all agreed to fight on foot: But, as my Lord Rochester and I were riding into the next field, in order to it, he told me, that he had at first chosen to fight on horseback, because he was so weak with a distemper, that he found himself unfit to fight at all any way, much less a-foot. I was extremely surprised, because, at that time, no man had a better reputation for courage; and (my anger against him being quite over, because I was satisfied that he never spoke those words I resented,) I took the liberty of representing, what a ridiculous story it would make if we returned without fighting; and therefore advised him, for both our sakes, especially for his own, to consider better of it; since I must be obliged, in my own defence, to lay the fault on him, by telling the truth of the matter. His answer was, that he submitted to it; and hoped, that I would not desire the advantage of having to do with any man in so weak a condition. I replied, that, by such an argument, he had sufficiently tied my hands, upon condition I might call our seconds to be witnesses of the whole business; which he consented to, and so we parted. When we returned to London, we found it full of this quarrel, upon our being absent so long; and therefore Mr Aston thought himself obliged to write down every word and circumstance of this whole matter, in order to spread every where the true reason of our returning without having fought; which being never in the least either contradicted or resented by the Lord Rochester, entirely ruined his reputation as to courage, (of which I was really sorry to be the occasion,) though no body had still a greater as to wit; which supported him pretty well in the world, notwithstanding some more accidents of the same kind, that never fail to succeed one another when once people know a man's weakness."--_Memoirs of Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham._

Conscious of his infamy, Rochester only ventured to reply to Sheffield, the real author of the above satire, by some cold sneers on his expedition to Tangiers, which occur in the poem called "Rochester's Farewell."]






The extremity of license in manners, necessarily leads to equal license in personal satire; and there never was an age in which both were carried to such excess as in that of Charles II. These personal and scandalous libels acquired the name of lampoons, from the established burden formerly sung to them:

_Lampone, lampone, camerada lampone_.

Dryden suffered under these violent and invisible assaults, as much as any one of his age; to which his own words, in several places of his writings, and also the existence of many of the pasquils themselves in the Luttrel Collection, bear ample witness. In many of his prologues and epilogues he alludes to this rage for personal satire, and to the employment which it found for the half and three quarter wits and courtiers of the time:

Yet these are pearls to your lampooning rhymes; Ye abuse yourselves more dully than the times. Scandal, the glory of the English nation, Is worn to rags, and scribbled out of fashion: Such harmless thrusts, as if, like fencers wise, They had agreed their play before their prize. Faith they may hang their harp upon the willows; 'Tis just like children when they box with pillows.

_See_ Vol. X. p. 365.

Upon the general practice of writing lampoons, and the necessity of finding some mode of dispersing them, which should diffuse the scandal widely, while the authors remained concealed, was founded the self-erected office of Julian, secretary, as he called himself, to the Muses. This person attended Will's, the Wits Coffeehouse, as it was called; and dispersed, among the crowds who frequented that place of gay resort, copies of the lampoons which had been privately communicated to him by their authors. "He is described," says Mr Malone, "as a very drunken fellow, and at one time was confined for a libel." Several satires were written, in the form of addresses, to him, as well as the following. There is one among the State Poems, beginning,

Julian, in verse, to ease thy wants I write, Not moved by envy, malice, or by spite, Or pleased with the empty names of wit and sense, But merely to supply thy want of pence: This did inspire my muse, when, out at eel, She saw her needy secretary reel. Grieved that a man, so useful to the age, Should foot it in so mean an equipage; A crying scandal, that the fees of sense Should not be able to support the expence Of a poor scribe, who never thought of wants When able to procure a cup of Nantz.

Another, called, "A Consoling Epistle to Julian," is said to have been written by the Duke of Buckingham.

From a passage in one of the "Letters from the Dead to the Living," we learn, that, after Julian's death, and the madness of his successor, called Summerton, lampoon felt a sensible decay; and there was no more that "brisk spirit of verse, that used to watch the follies and vices of the men and women of figure, that they could not start new ones faster than lampoons exposed them."

In another epistle of the same collection, supposed to be written by Julian from the shades, to Will Pierre, a low comedian, he is made thus to boast of the extent of the dominion which he exercised when on earth.

"The conscious Tub Tavern can witness, and my Berry Street apartment testify, the solicitations I have had, for the first copy of a new lampoon, from the greatest lords of the court, though their own folly and their wives' vices were the subjects. My person was so sacred, that the terrible scan-man had no terrors for me, whose business was so public and so useful, as conveying about the faults of the great and the fair; for in my books, the lord was shewn a knave or fool, though his power defended the former, and his pride would not see the latter. The antiquated coquet was told of her age and ugliness, though her vanity placed her in the first row in the king's box at the playhouse; and in the view of the congregation at St James's church. The precise countess, that would be scandalized at _double entendre_, was shown betwixt a pair of sheets with a well-made footman, in spite of her quality and conjugal vow. The formal statesman, that set up for wisdom and honesty, was exposed as a dull tool, and yet a knave, losing at play his own revenue, and the bribes incident to his post, besides enjoying the infamy of a poor and fruitless knavery without any concern. The demure lady, that would scarce sip off the glass in company, was shewn carousing her bottles in private, of cool Nantz too, sometimes, to correct the crudities of her last night's debauch. In short, in my books were seen men and women as they were, not as they would seem,--stript of their hypocrisy, spoiled of the fig-leaves of their quality. A knave was called a knave, a fool a fool, a jilt a jilt, and a whore a whore. And the love of scandal and native malice, that men and women have to one another, made me in such request when alive, that I was admitted to the lord's closet, when a man of letters and merit would be thrust out of doors. And I was as familiar with the ladies as their lap-dogs: for to them I did often good services; under pretence of a lampoon, I conveyed a _billet doux_; and so, whilst I exposed their vast vices in the present, I prompted matter for the next lampoon."

The following lampoon, in which it is highly improbable that Dryden had any share, is chiefly levelled against Sir Car Scrope, son of Sir Adrian Scrope of Cockington, in Lincolnshire, a courtier of considerable poetical talents, of whom Anthony Wood says, "that, as divers satirical copies of verses were made upon him by other persons, so he hath diverse made by himself upon them, which are handed about to this day." We have seen that he is mentioned with contempt in the "Essay on Satire;" and, in the "Advice to Apollo," in the State Poems, Vol. I. his studies are thus commemorated:

----Sir Car, that knight of withered face, Who, for the reversion of a poet's place, Waits on Melpomene, and sooths her grace; That angry miss alone he strives to please, For fear the rest should teach him wit and ease, And make him quit his loved laborious walks, Where, sad or silent, o'er the room he stalks, And strives to write as wisely as he talks.

He is also mentioned in many other libels of the day, and some of his answers are still extant. Rochester assailed him in his "Allusion to the Tenth Satire of Horace's first Book." Sir Car Scrope replied, and published a poem in Defence of Satire, to which the earl retorted by a very coarse set of verses, addressed to the knight by name. Sir Car Scrope was a tolerable translator from the classics; and his version of the "Epistle from Sappho to Phaon" is inserted in the translation of Ovid's Epistles by several hands, edited by our author. Dryden mentions, in one of his prefaces, Sir Car Scrope's efforts with approbation. But it is not from this circumstance alone I conclude that this epistle has been erroneously attributed to our author; for the whole internal evidence speaks loudly against its authenticity. Indeed, it only rests on Dryden's name being placed to it in the 6th volume of the Miscellanies published after his death.






Thou common shore of this poetic town, Where all the excrements of wit are thrown; For sonnet, satire, bawdry, blasphemy, Are emptied, and disburdened all in thee: The choleric wight, untrussing all in rage, Finds thee, and lays his load upon thy page. Thou Julian, or thou wise Vespasian rather, Dost from this dung thy well-pickt guineas gather. All mischief's thine; transcribing, thou wilt stoop From lofty Middlesex[54] to lowly Scroop. What times are these, when, in the hero's room, } Bow-bending Cupid doth with ballads come, } And little Aston[55] offers to the bum? } Can two such pigmies such a weight support, Two such Tom Thumbs of satire in a court? Poor George[56] grows old, his muse worn out of fashion, Hoarsely he sung Ephelia's lamentation. Less art thou helped by Dryden's bed-rid age; That drone has lost his sting upon the stage. Resolve me, poor apostate, this my doubt, What hope hast thou to rub this winter out? Know, and be thankful then, for Providence By me hath sent thee this intelligence. A knight there is,[57] if thou canst gain his grace, Known by the name of the hard-favoured face. For prowess of the pen renowned is he, From Don Quixote descended lineally; And though, like him, unfortunate he prove, Undaunted in attempts of wit and love. Of his unfinished face, what shall I say,-- But that 'twas made of Adam's own red clay; That much, much ochre was on it bestowed; God's image 'tis not, but some Indian god: Our christian earth can no resemblance bring, But ware of Portugal for such a thing; Such carbuncles his fiery face confess, As no Hungarian water can redress. A face which, should he see, (but heaven was kind, And, to indulge his self, Love made him blind,) He durst not stir abroad for fear to meet Curses of teeming women in the street: The best could happen from this hideous sight, } Is, that they should miscarry with the fright,-- } Heaven guard them from the likeness of the knight! } Such is our charming Strephon's outward man, His inward parts let those disclose who can. One while he honoureth Birtha with his flame, And now he chants no less Lovisa's[58] name; For when his passion hath been bubbling long, The scum at last boils up into a song; And sure no mortal creature, at one time, Was e'er so far o'ergone with love and rhyme. To his dear self of poetry he talks, His hands and feet are scanning as he walks; His writhing looks his pangs of wit accuse, The airy symptoms of a breeding muse, And all to gain the great Lovisa's grace. But never pen did pimp for such a face; There's not a nymph in city, town, or court, But Strephon's _billet-doux_ has been their sport. Still he loves on, yet still he's sure to miss, As they who wash an Ethiop's face, or his. What fate unhappy Strephon does attend, Never to get a mistress, nor a friend! Strephon alike both wits and fools detest, 'Cause he's like Esop's bat, half bird half beast; For fools to poetry have no pretence, And common wit supposes common sense; Not quite so low as fool, nor quite a top, He hangs between them both, and is a fop. His morals, like his wit, are motley too; He keeps from arrant knave with much ado. But vanity and lying so prevail, That one grain more of each would turn the scale; He would be more a villain had he time, But he's so wholly taken up with rhyme, That he mistakes his talent; all his care Is to be thought a poet fine and fair. Small beer and gruel are his meat and drink, The diet he prescribes himself to think; Rhyme next his heart he takes at the morn peep, Some love epistles at the hour of sleep;-- So, betwixt elegy and ode, we see Strephon is in a course of poetry. This is the man ordained to do thee good, The pelican to feed thee with his blood; Thy wit, thy poet, nay thy friend, for he Is fit to be a friend to none but thee. Make sure of him, and of his muse betimes, For all his study is hung round with rhymes. Laugh at him, jostle him, yet still he writes, In rhyme he challenges, in rhyme he fights. Charged with the last, and basest infamy, His business is to think what rhymes to lie; Which found, in fury he retorts again. Strephon's a very dragon at his pen; His brother murdered,[59] and his mother's whored, His mistress lost, and yet his pen's his sword.


[Footnote 54: Sackville, Lord Buckhurst, was created Earl of Middlesex in 1675. He is better known as the Earl of Dorset.]

[Footnote 55: Probably the person mentioned in the "Essay on Satire."]

[Footnote 56: Sir George Etherege.]

[Footnote 57: Sir Car Scrope.]

[Footnote 58: Louise de Querouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth.]

[Footnote 59: Probably the Mr Scrope whom Langbaine saw stabbed in the theatre, by Sir Thomas Armstrong, during the representation of "Macbeth." Wood mentions a satire of Sir Car Scrope's, in which Sir Thomas Armstrong is reflected upon. The author of the epistle seems to allude to some such circumstance.]




This piece was inserted among Dryden's Works, upon authority of the following advertisement by his publisher Jacob Tonson.

"This translation of Monsieur Boileau's 'Art of Poetry' was made in the year 1680, by Sir William Soame of Suffolk, Baronet; who, being very intimately acquainted with Mr Dryden, desired his revisal of it. I saw the manuscript lie in Mr Dryden's hands for above six months, who made very considerable alterations in it, particularly the beginning of the Fourth Canto; and it being his opinion, that it would be better to apply the poem to English writers, than keep to the French names, as it was first translated, Sir William desired he would take the pains to make that alteration; and accordingly that was entirely done by Mr Dryden.

"The poem was first published in the year 1683. Sir William was after sent ambassador to Constantinople, in the reign of King James, but died in the voyage."--J.T.

To give weight to Tonson's authority, it may be added, that great part of the poem bears marks of Dryden's polishing hand; and that some entire passages show at once his taste in criticism, principles, and prejudices.




Rash author, 'tis a vain presumptuous crime, To undertake the sacred art of rhyme; If at thy birth the stars that ruled thy sense Shone not with a poetic influence, In thy strait genius thou wilt still be bound, Find Phœbus deaf, and Pegasus unsound. You, then, that burn with the desire to try The dangerous course of charming poetry, Forbear in fruitless verse to lose your time, Or take for genius the desire of rhyme; Fear the allurements of a specious bait, And well consider your own force and weight. Nature abounds in wits of every kind, And for each author can a talent find. One may in verse describe an amorous flame, Another sharpen a short epigram; Waller a hero's mighty acts extol, Spenser sing Rosalind in pastoral: But authors, that themselves too much esteem, Lose their own genius, and mistake their theme; Thus in times past Dubartas[60] vainly writ, Allaying sacred truth with trifling wit; Impertinently, and without delight, Described the Israelites triumphant flight; And, following Moses o'er the sandy plain, Perished with Pharaoh in the Arabian main. Whate'er you write of pleasant or sublime, Always let sense accompany your rhyme. Falsely they seem each other to oppose; Rhyme must be made with reason's laws to close; And when to conquer her you bend your force, The mind will triumph in the noble course. To reason's yoke she quickly will incline, Which, far from hurting, renders her divine; But if neglected, will as easily stray, And master reason, which she should obey. Love reason then; and let whate'er you write Borrow from her its beauty, force, and light. Most writers mounted on a resty muse, Extravagant and senseless objects chuse; They think they err, if in their verse they fall On any thought that's plain or natural. Fly this excess; and let Italians be Vain authors of false glittering poetry. All ought to aim at sense; but most in vain Strive the hard pass and slippery path to gain; You drown, if to the right or left you stray; Reason to go has often but one way. Sometimes an author, fond of his own thought, Pursues its object till it's over wrought: If he describes a house, he shews the face, And after walks you round from place to place; Here is a vista, there the doors unfold, Balconies here are ballustred with gold; Then counts the rounds and ovals in the halls, "The festoons, freezes, and the astragals:" Tired with his tedious pomp, away I run, And skip o'er twenty pages, to be gone. Of such descriptions the vain folly see, And shun their barren superfluity. All that is needless carefully avoid; The mind once satisfied is quickly cloyed: He cannot write, who knows not to give o'er; To mend one fault, he makes a hundred more: A verse was weak, you turn it much too strong, And grow obscure for fear you should be long. Some are not gaudy, but are flat and dry; Not to be low, another soars too high. Would you of every one deserve the praise? In writing vary your discourse and phrase; A frozen style, that neither ebbs nor flows, Instead of pleasing, makes us gape and dose. Those tedious authors are esteemed by none Who tire us, humming the same heavy tone. Happy who in his verse can gently steer, From grave to light; from pleasant to severe: His works will be admired wherever found, And oft with buyers will be compassed round. In all you write, be neither low nor vile; The meanest theme may have a proper style. The dull burlesque appeared with impudence, And pleased by novelty in spite of sense. All, except trivial points, grew out of date; Parnassus spoke the cant of Billingsgate; Boundless and mad, disordered rhyme was seen; Disguised Apollo changed to Harlequin. This plague, which first in country towns began, Cities and kingdoms quickly over-ran; The dullest scribblers some admirers found, And the "Mock Tempest"[61] was a while renowned. But this low stuff the town at last despised, And scorned the folly that they once had prized; Distinguished dull from natural and plain, And left the villages to Flecknoe's reign. Let not so mean a style your muse debase, But learn from Butler the buffooning grace; And let burlesque in ballads be employed, Yet noisy bombast carefully avoid; Nor think to raise, though on Pharsalia's plain, "Millions of mourning mountains of the slain:"[62] Nor with Dubartas bridle up the floods, And periwig with wool the baldpate woods.[63] Chuse a just style; be grave without constraint, Great without pride, and lovely without paint: Write what your reader may be pleased to hear, And for the measure have a careful ear. On easy numbers fix your happy choice; Of jarring sounds avoid the odious noise: The fullest verse, and the most laboured sense, Displease us, if the ear once take offence. Our ancient verse, as homely as the times, Was rude, unmeasured, only tagged with rhymes; Number and cadence, that have since been shown, To those unpolished writers were unknown. Fairfax[64] was he, who, in that darker age, By his just rules restrained poetic rage; Spenser did next in pastorals excel,[65] And taught the noble art of writing well; To stricter rules the stanza did restrain, And found for poetry a richer vein. Then D'Avenant[66] came, who, with a new-found art, Changed all, spoiled all, and had his way apart; His haughty muse all others did despise, And thought in triumph to bear off the prize, 'Till the sharp-sighted critics of the times, In their Mock-Gondibert, exposed his rhymes; The laurels he pretended did refuse, And dashed the hopes of his aspiring muse. This headstrong writer falling from on high, Made following authors take less liberty. Waller came last, but was the first whose art Just weight and measure did to verse impart; That of a well-placed word could teach the force, And shewed for poetry a nobler course; His happy genius did our tongue refine, And easy words with pleasing numbers join; His verses to good method did apply, And changed hard discord to soft harmony. All owned his laws; which, long approved and tried, To present authors now may be a guide. Tread boldly in his steps, secure from fear, And be, like him, in your expressions clear. If in your verse you drag, and sense delay, My patience tires, my fancy goes astray; And from your vain discourse I turn my mind, Nor search an author troublesome to find. There is a kind of writer pleased with sound, Whose fustian head with clouds is compassed round, No reason can disperse them with its light: Learn then to think ere you pretend to write. As your idea's clear, or else obscure, The expression follows perfect or impure: What we conceive with ease we can express; Words to the notions flow with readiness. Observe the language well in all you write, And swerve not from it in your loftiest flight. The smoothest verse, and the exactest sense, Displease us, if ill English give offence: A barbarous phrase no reader can approve; Nor bombast, noise, or affectation love. In short, without pure language, what you write Can never yield us profit or delight. Take time for thinking; never work in haste; And value not yourself for writing fast. A rapid poem, with such fury writ, Shews want of judgment, not abounding wit. More pleased we are to see a river lead His gentle streams along a flowery mead, Than from high banks to hear loud torrents roar, With foamy waters on a muddy shore. Gently make haste,[67] of labour not afraid; A hundred times consider what you've said: Polish, repolish, every colour lay, And sometimes add, but oftener take away. 'Tis not enough, when swarming faults are writ, That here and there are scattered sparks of wit: Each object must be fixed in the due place, And differing parts have corresponding grace; Till, by a curious art disposed, we find One perfect whole, of all the pieces joined. Keep to your subject close in all you say; Nor for a sounding sentence ever stray. The public censure for your writings fear, And to yourself be critic most severe. Fantastic wits their darling follies love; But find you faithful friends that will reprove, That on your works may look with careful eyes, And of your faults be zealous enemies: Lay by an author's pride and vanity, And from a friend a flatterer descry, Who seems to like, but means not what he says: Embrace true counsel, but suspect false praise. A sycophant will every thing admire; Each verse, each sentence sets his soul on fire: All is divine! there's not a word amiss! He shakes with joy, and weeps with tenderness; He overpowers you with his mighty praise. Truth never moves in those impetuous ways; A faithful friend is careful of your fame, And freely will your heedless errors blame; He cannot pardon a neglected line, But verse to rule and order will confine; Reprove of words the too-affected sound;-- Here the sense flags, and your expression's round, Your fancy tires, and your discourse grows vain, Your terms improper; make it just and plain.-- Thus 'tis a faithful friend will freedom use; But authors, partial to their darling muse, Think to protect it they have just pretence, And at your friendly counsel take offence.-- Said you of this, that the expression's flat? Your servant, sir, you must excuse me that, He answers you.--This word has here no grace, Pray leave it out;--that, sir, 's the properest place.-- This turn I like not;--'tis approved by all. Thus, resolute not from one fault to fall, If there's a syllable of which you doubt, 'Tis a sure reason not to blot it out. Yet still he says you may his faults confute, And over him your power is absolute. But of his feigned humility take heed; 'Tis a bait laid to make you hear him read. And when he leaves you happy in his muse, Restless he runs some other to abuse, And often finds; for in our scribbling times No fool can want a sot to praise his rhymes. The flattest work has ever in the court Met with some zealous ass for its support; And in all times a forward scribbling fop Has found some greater fool to cry him up.



As a fair nymph, when rising from her bed, With sparkling diamonds dresses not her head, But without gold, or pearl, or costly scents, Gathers from neighbouring fields her ornaments; Such, lovely in its dress, but plain withal, Ought to appear a perfect Pastoral. Its humble method nothing has of fierce, But hates the rattling of a lofty verse; There native beauty pleases, and excites, And never with harsh sounds the ear affrights. But in this style a poet often spent, In rage throws by his rural instrument, And vainly, when disordered thoughts abound, Amidst the Eclogue makes the trumpet sound: Pan flies alarmed into the neighbouring woods, And frighted nymphs dive down into the floods. Opposed to this, another, low in style, Makes shepherds speak a language base and vile: His writings, flat and heavy, without sound, Kissing the earth, and creeping on the ground, You'd swear that Randal, in his rustic strains,[68] Again was quavering to the country swains, And changing, without care of sound or dress, Strephon and Phyllis, into Tom and Bess. 'Twixt these extremes 'tis hard to keep the right; For guides take Virgil, and read Theocrite: Be their just writings, by the Gods inspired, Your constant pattern, practised, and admired. By them alone you'll easily comprehend How poets, without shame, may condescend To sing of gardens, fields, of flowers, and fruit, To stir up shepherds, and to tune the flute; Of love's rewards to tell the happy hour, Daphne a tree, Narcissus made a flower, And by what means the Eclogue yet has power To make the woods worthy a conqueror: This of their writings is the grace and flight; Their risings lofty, yet not out of sight.


The Elegy, that loves a mournful style, With unbound hair weeps at a funeral pile; It paints the lover's torments and delights, A mistress flatters, threatens, and invites: But well these raptures if you'll make us see, You must know love as well as poetry. I hate those lukewarm authors, whose forced fire In a cold style describes a hot desire; That sigh by rule, and, raging in cold blood, Their sluggish muse whip to an amorous mood: Their feigned transports appear but flat and vain; They always sigh, and always hug their chain, Adore their prison, and their sufferings bless, Make sense and reason quarrel as they please. 'Twas not of old in this affected tone, That smooth Tibullus made his amorous moan; Nor Ovid, when instructed from above, By nature's rules he taught the art of love. The heart in Elegies forms the discourse.


The Ode is bolder, and has greater force; Mounting to heaven in her ambitious flight, Amongst the Gods and heroes takes delight; Of Pisa's wrestlers tells the sinewy force, And sings the dusty conqueror's glorious course; To Simoïs' streams does fierce Achilles bring, And makes the Ganges bow to Britain's king. Sometimes she flies like an industrious bee, And robs the flowers by nature's chemistry, Describes the shepherd's dances, feasts, and bliss, And boasts from Phyllis to surprise a kiss, When gently she resists with feigned remorse, That what she grants may seem to be by force: Her generous style at random oft will part, And by a brave disorder shows her art. Unlike those fearful poets, whose cold rhyme In all their raptures keeps exactest time, That sing the illustrious hero's mighty praise (Lean writers!) by the terms of weeks and days; And dare not from least circumstances part, But take all towns by strictest rules of art: Apollo drives those fops from his abode; And some have said that once the humorous god Resolving all such scribblers to confound, For the short Sonnet ordered this strict bound; Set rules for the just measure, and the time, The easy running and alternate rhyme; But above all, those licences denied Which in these writings the lame sense supplied; Forbade an useless line should find a place, Or a repeated word appear with grace. A faultless Sonnet, finished thus, would be Worth tedious volumes of loose poetry. A hundred scribbling authors without ground, Believe they have this only phœnix found: When yet the exactest scarce have two or three, Among whole tomes from faults and censure free. The rest, but little read, regarded less, Are shovelled to the pastry from the press. Closing the sense within the measured time, 'Tis hard to fit the reason to the rhyme.


The Epigram, with little art composed, Is one good sentence in a distich closed. These points that by Italians first were prized, Our ancient authors knew not, or despised: The vulgar dazzled with their glaring light, To their false pleasures quickly they invite; But public favour so increased their pride, They overwhelmed Parnassus with their tide. The Madrigal at first was overcome, And the proud Sonnet fell by the same doom; With these grave Tragedy adorned her flights, And mournful Elegy her funeral rites: A hero never failed them on the stage, Without his point a lover durst not rage; The amorous shepherds took more care to prove True to his point, than faithful to their love. Each word, like Janus, had a double face; And prose, as well as verse, allowed it place: The lawyer with conceits adorned his speech, The parson without quibbling could not preach. At last affronted reason looked about, And from all serious matters shut them out; Declared that none should use them without shame, Except a scattering in the Epigram; Provided that by art, and in due time, They turned upon the thought, and not the rhyme. Thus in all parts disorders did abate: Yet quibblers in the court had leave to prate; Insipid jesters, and unpleasant fools, A corporation of dull punning drolls. 'Tis not, but that sometimes a dexterous muse May with advantage a turned sense abuse, And on a word may trifle with address; But above all avoid the fond excess, And think not, when your verse and sense are lame, With a dull point to tag your Epigram. Each poem his perfection has apart; The British round in plainness shows his art. The Ballad, though the pride of ancient time, Has often nothing but his humorous rhyme; The Madrigal may softer passions move, And breathe the tender ecstasies of love. Desire to show itself, and not to wrong, Armed Virtue first with Satire in its tongue.


Lucilius was the man, who, bravely bold, To Roman vices did this mirror hold, Protected humble goodness from reproach, Showed worth on foot, and rascals in the coach. Horace his pleasing wit to this did add, And none uncensured could be fool or mad: Unhappy was that wretch, whose name might be Squared to the rules of their sharp poetry. Persius obscure, but full of sense and wit, Affected brevity in all he writ; And Juvenal, learned as those times could be, Too far did stretch his sharp hyperbole; Though horrid truths through all his labours shine, In what he writes there's something of divine, Whether he blames the Caprean debauch, Or of Sejanus' fall tells the approach, Or that he makes the trembling senate come To the stern tyrant to receive their doom; Or Roman vice in coarsest habits shews, And paints an empress reeking from the stews: In all he writes appears a noble fire; To follow such a master then desire. Chaucer alone, fixed on this solid base, In his old style conserves a modern grace: Too happy, if the freedom of his rhymes Offended not the method of our times. The Latin writers decency neglect; But modern authors challenge our respect, And at immodest writings take offence, If clean expression cover not the sense. I love sharp Satire, from obsceneness free; Not impudence, that preaches modesty: Our English, who in malice never fail, Hence in lampoons and libels learn to rail; Pleasant detraction, that by singing goes From mouth to mouth, and as it marches grows: Our freedom in our poetry we see, That child of joy begot by liberty. But, vain blasphemer, tremble when you chuse God for the subject of your impious muse: At last, those jests which libertines invent, Bring the lewd author to just punishment. Even in a song there must be art and sense; Yet sometimes we have seen that wine, or chance, Have warmed cold brains, and given dull writers mettle, And furnished out a scene for Mr Settle. But for one lucky hit, that made thee please, Let not thy folly grow to a disease, Nor think thyself a wit; for in our age If a warm fancy does some fop engage, He neither eats nor sleeps till he has writ, But plagues the world with his adulterate wit. Nay 'tis a wonder, if, in his dire rage, He prints not his dull follies for the stage; And in the front of all his senseless plays, Makes David Logan crown his head with bays.[69]



There's not a monster bred beneath the sky, But well-disposed by art, may please the eye: A curious workman by his skill divine, From an ill object makes a good design. Thus to delight us, Tragedy, in tears For Œdipus, provokes our hopes and fears; For parricide Orestes asks relief, And, to encrease our pleasure, causes grief. You then that in this noble art would rise, Come, and in lofty verse dispute the prize. Would you upon the stage acquire renown, And for your judges summon all the town? Would you your works for ever should remain, And after ages past be sought again? In all you write, observe with care and art To move the passions, and incline the heart. If in a laboured act, the pleasing rage Cannot our hopes and fears by turns engage, Nor in our mind a feeling pity raise, In vain with learned scenes you fill your plays: Your cold discourse can never move the mind Of a stern critic, naturally unkind, Who, justly tired with your pedantic flight, Or falls asleep, or censures all you write. The secret is, attention first to gain; To move our minds, and then to entertain; That from the very opening of the scenes, The first may show us what the author means. I'm tired to see an actor on the stage, That knows not whether he's to laugh or rage; Who, an intrigue unravelling in vain, Instead of pleasing keeps my mind in pain. I'd rather much the nauseous dunce should say Downright, my name is Hector in the play; Than with a mass of miracles, ill-joined, Confound my ears, and not instruct my mind. The subject's never soon enough exprest; Your place of action must be fixed, and rest. A Spanish poet may with good event, In one day's space whole ages represent; There oft the hero of a wandering stage Begins a child, and ends the play of age: But we, that are by reason's rules confined, Will, that with art the poem be designed; That unity of action, time, and place, Keep the stage full, and all our labours grace.[70] Write not what cannot be with ease conceived; Some truths may be too strong to be believed. A foolish wonder cannot entertain; My mind's not moved if your discourse be vain. You may relate what would offend the eye: Seeing, indeed, would better satisfy; But there are objects that a curious art Hides from the eyes, yet offers to the heart. The mind is most agreeably surprised, When a well-woven subject, long disguised, You on a sudden artfully unfold, And give the whole another face and mould. At first the Tragedy was void of art; A song, where each man danced and sung his part, And of God Bacchus roaring out the praise, Sought a good vintage for their jolly days: Then wine and joy were seen in each man's eyes, And a fat goat was the best singer's prize. Thespis was first, who, all besmeared with lee, Began this pleasure for posterity: And with his carted actors, and a song, Amused the people as he passed along. Next Æschylus the different persons placed, And with a better mask his players graced: Upon a theatre his verse expressed, And showed his hero with a buskin dressed. Then Sophocles, the genius of his age, Encreased the pomp and beauty of the stage, Engaged the chorus song in every part, And polished rugged verse by rules of art: He in the Greek did those perfections gain, Which the weak Latin never could attain. Our pious fathers, in their priest-rid age, As impious and prophane, abhorred the stage: A troop of silly pilgrims, as 'tis said, Foolishly zealous, scandalously played, Instead of heroes, and of love's complaints, The angels, God, the Virgin, and the saints.[71] At last, right reason did his laws reveal, And showed the folly of their ill-placed zeal, Silenced those nonconformists of the age, And raised the lawful heroes of the stage: Only the Athenian mask was laid aside, And chorus by the music was supplied. Ingenious love, inventive in new arts, Mingled in plays, and quickly touched our hearts: This passion never could resistance find, But knows the shortest passage to the mind. Paint then, I'm pleased my hero be in love; But let him not like a tame shepherd move; Let not Achilles be like Thyrsis seen, Or for a Cyrus show an Artamen;[72] That struggling oft, his passions we may find, The frailty, not the virtue of his mind. Of romance heroes shun the low design; Yet to great hearts some human frailties join: Achilles must with Homer's heat engage; For an affront I'm pleased to see him rage. Those little failings in your hero's heart Show that of man and nature he has part. To leave known rules you cannot be allowed; Make Agamemnon covetous and proud, Æneas in religious rites austere. Keep to each man his proper character. Of countries and of times the humours know; From different climates different customs grow: And strive to shun their fault, who vainly dress An antique hero like some modern ass; Who make old Romans like our English move, Show Cato sparkish, or make Brutus love. In a romance those errors are excused: There 'tis enough that, reading, we're amused: Rules too severe would there be useless found; But the strict scene must have a juster bound; Exact decorum we must always find. If then you form some hero in your mind, Be sure your image with itself agree; For what he first appears, he still must be. Affected wits will naturally incline To paint their figures by their own design; Your bully poets, bully heroes write; } Chapman in Bussy D'Ambois[73] took delight, } And thought perfection was to huff and fight. } Wise nature by variety does please; Clothe differing passions in a differing dress. Bold anger, in rough haughty words appears; Sorrow is humble, and dissolves in tears. Make not your Hecuba with fury rage, And show a ranting grief upon the stage; Or tell in vain how the rough Tanaïs bore His sevenfold waters to the Euxine shore: These swoln expressions, this affected noise, Shows like some pedant that declaims to boys. In sorrow you must softer methods keep; And, to excite our tears, yourself must weep. Those noisy words with which ill plays abound, Come not from hearts that are in sadness drowned. The theatre for a young poet's rhymes Is a bold venture in our knowing times: An author cannot easily purchase fame; Critics are always apt to hiss, and blame: You may be judged by every ass in town, The privilege is bought for half-a-crown. To please, you must a hundred changes try; Sometimes be humble, then must soar on high; In noble thoughts must everywhere abound, Be easy, pleasant, solid, and profound; To these you must surprising touches join, And show us a new wonder in each line; That all, in a just method well-designed, May leave a strong impression in the mind. These are the arts that tragedy maintain:


But the Heroic claims a loftier strain. In the narration of some great design, Invention, art, and fable, all must join: Here fiction must employ its utmost grace; All must assume a body, mind, and face: Each virtue a divinity is seen; Prudence is Pallas, Beauty, Paphos' queen. 'Tis not a cloud from whence swift lightnings fly, But Jupiter, that thunders from the sky; Nor a rough storm that gives the sailor pain, But angry Neptune plowing up the main; Echo's no more an empty airy sound, But a fair nymph that weeps her lover drowned. Thus in the endless treasure of his mind, The poet does a thousand figures find; Around the work his ornaments he pours, And strows with lavish hand his opening flowers. 'Tis not a wonder if a tempest bore The Trojan fleet against the Libyan shore; From faithless fortune this is no surprise, For every day 'tis common to our eyes: But angry Juno, that she might destroy, And overwhelm the rest of ruined Troy; That Æolus, with the fierce goddess joined, Opened the hollow prisons of the wind; Till angry Neptune, looking o'er the main, Rebukes the tempest, calms the waves again, Their vessels from the dangerous quicksands steers. These are the springs that move our hopes and fears: Without these ornaments before our eyes, The unsinewed poem languishes and dies: Your poet in his art will always fail, And tell you but a dull insipid tale. In vain have our mistaken authors tried To lay these ancient ornaments aside, Thinking our God, and prophets that he sent, Might act like those the poets did invent, To fright poor readers in each line with hell, And talk of Satan, Ashtaroth, and Bel.[74] The mysteries which Christians must believe, Disdain such shifting pageants to receive: The gospel offers nothing to our thoughts But penitence, or punishment for faults; And mingling falsehoods with those mysteries, Would make our sacred truths appear like lies. Besides, what pleasure can it be to hear The howlings of repining Lucifer, Whose rage at your imagined hero flies, And oft with God himself disputes the prize? Tasso, you'll say, has done it with applause:-- It is not here I mean to judge his cause: Yet though our age has so extolled his name, His works had never gained immortal fame, If holy Godfrey in his ecstasies Had only conquered Satan on his knees; If Tancred and Armida's pleasing form Did not his melancholy theme adorn. 'Tis not, that Christian poems ought to be Filled with the fictions of idolatry; But, in a common subject, to reject The gods, and heathen ornaments neglect; To banish Tritons, who the seas invade, To take Pan's whistle, or the fates degrade, To hinder Charon in his leaky boat To pass the shepherd with the man of note, Is with vain scruples to disturb your mind, And search perfection you can never find: As well they may forbid us to present Prudence or Justice for an ornament, To paint old Janus with his front of brass, And take from Time his scythe, his wings, and glass, And everywhere, as 'twere idolatry, Banish descriptions from our poetry. Leave them their pious follies to pursue; But let our reason such vain fears subdue: And let us not, amongst our vanities, Of the true God create a god of lies. In fable we a thousand pleasures see, And the smooth names seem made for poetry; As Hector, Alexander, Helen, Phyllis, Ulysses, Agamemnon, and Achilles: In such a crowd, the poet were to blame To chuse king Chilperic for his hero's name. Sometimes the name, being well or ill applied, Will the whole fortune of your work decide. Would you your reader never should be tired, Chuse some great hero, fit to be admired, In courage signal, and in virtue bright; Let even his very failings give delight; Let his great actions our attention bind, Like Cæsar, or like Scipio, frame his mind, And not like Œdipus his perjured race; A common conqueror is a theme too base. Chuse not your tale of accidents too full; Too much variety may make it dull: Achilles' rage alone, when wrought with skill, Abundantly does a whole Iliad fill. Be your narrations lively, short, and smart; In your descriptions show your noblest art: There 'tis your poetry may be employed. Yet you must trivial accidents avoid, Nor imitate that fool, who, to describe The wondrous marches of the chosen tribe, Placed on the sides, to see their armies pass, The fishes staring through the liquid glass; Described a child, who, with his little hand, Picked up the shining pebbles from the sand. Such objects are too mean to stay our sight; Allow your work a just and nobler flight. Be your beginning plain; and take good heed Too soon you mount not on the airy steed; Nor tell your reader, in a thundering verse, "I sing the conqueror of the universe." What can an author after this produce? The labouring mountain must bring forth a mouse. Much better are we pleased with his address, Who, without making such vast promises, Says, in an easier style and plainer sense, "I sing the combats of that pious prince, Who from the Phrygian coasts his armies bore, And landed first on the Lavinian shore." His opening muse sets not the world on fire, And yet performs more than we can require: Quickly you'll hear him celebrate the fame, And future glory of the Roman name; Of Styx and Acheron describe the floods, And Cæsar's wandering in the Elysian woods; With figures numberless his story grace, And every thing in beauteous colours trace. At once you may be pleasing and sublime: I hate a heavy melancholy rhyme: I'd rather read Orlando's comic tale, Than a dull author always stiff and stale, Who thinks himself dishonoured in his style, If on his works the Graces do but smile. 'Tis said, that Homer, matchless in his art, Stole Venus' girdle to engage the heart: His works indeed vast treasures do unfold, And whatsoe'er he touches turns to gold: All in his hands new beauty does acquire; He always pleases, and can never tire. A happy warmth he every where may boast; Nor is he in too long digressions lost: His verses without rule a method find, And of themselves appear in order joined; All without trouble answers his intent; Each syllable is tending to the event. Let his example your endeavours raise; To love his writings is a kind of praise. A poem, where we all perfections find, Is not the work of a fantastic mind; There must be care, and time, and skill, and pains; Not the first heat of inexperienced brains. Yet sometimes artless poets, when the rage Of a warm fancy does their minds engage, Puffed with vain pride, presume they understand, And boldly take the trumpet in their hand: Their fustian muse each accident confounds; Nor can she fly, but rise by leaps and bounds, Till, their small stock of learning quickly spent, Their poem dies for want of nourishment. In vain mankind the hot-brained fool decries, No branding censures can unvail his eyes; With impudence the laurel they invade, Resolved to like the monsters they have made. Virgil, compared to them, is flat and dry; And Homer understood not poetry: Against their merit if this age rebel, To future times for justice they appeal. But waiting till mankind shall do them right, And bring their works triumphantly to light, Neglected heaps we in bye-corners lay, Where they become to worms and moths a prey. Forgot, in dust and cobwebs let them rest, Whilst we return from whence we first digrest. The great success which tragic writers found, In Athens first the comedy renowned. The abusive Grecian there, by pleasing ways, Dispersed his natural malice in his plays: Wisdom and virtue, honour, wit, and sense, Were subject to buffooning insolence: Poets were publicly approved, and sought, That vice extolled, and virtue set at nought; A Socrates himself, in that loose age, Was made the pastime of a scoffing stage. At last the public took in hand the cause, And cured this madness by the power of laws; Forbade at any time, or any place, To name the person, or describe the face. The stage its ancient fury thus let fall, And comedy diverted without gall: By mild reproofs recovered minds diseased, And, sparing persons, innocently pleased. Each one was nicely shewn in this new glass, And smiled to think he was not meant the ass: A miser oft would laugh at first, to find A faithful draught of his own sordid mind; And fops were with such care and cunning writ, They liked the piece for which themselves did sit. You, then, that would the comic laurels wear, To study nature be your only care. Whoe'er knows man, and by a curious art Discerns the hidden secrets of the heart; He who observes, and naturally can paint The jealous fool, the fawning sycophant, A sober wit, an enterprising ass, A humorous Otter,[75] or a Hudibras,-- May safely in those noble lists engage, And make them act and speak upon the stage. Strive to be natural in all you write, And paint with colours that may please the sight. Nature in various figures does abound, And in each mind are different humours found; A glance, a touch, discovers to the wise, But every man has not discerning eyes. All-changing time does also change the mind, And different ages different pleasures find; Youth, hot and furious, cannot brook delay, By flattering vice is easily led away; Vain in discourse, inconstant in desire, In censure, rash; in pleasures, all on fire. The manly age does steadier thoughts enjoy; Power and ambition do his soul employ; Against the turns of fate he sets his mind; And by the past the future hopes to find. Decrepit age, still adding to his stores, For others heaps the treasure he adores; In all his actions keeps a frozen pace; Past times extols, the present to debase: Incapable of pleasures youth abuse, In others blames what age does him refuse. Your actors must by reason be controuled; Let young men speak like young, old men like old. Observe the town, and study well the court; For thither various characters resort. Thus 'twas great Jonson purchased his renown, And in his art had borne away the crown, If, less desirous of the people's praise, He had not with low farce debased his plays; Mixing dull buffoonry with wit refined, And Harlequin with noble Terence joined. When in the Fox I see the tortoise hist, I lose the author of the Alchemist.[76] The comic wit, born with a smiling air, Must tragic grief and pompous verse forbear; Yet may he not, as on a market-place, With bawdy jests amuse the populace; With well-bred conversation you must please, And your intrigue unravelled be with ease; Your action still should reason's rules obey, Nor in an empty scene may lose its way. Your humble style must sometimes gently rise; And your discourse sententious be, and wise: The passions must to nature be confined; And scenes to scenes with artful weaving joined. Your wit must not unseasonably play; But follow business, never lead the way. Observe how Terence does this error shun: A careful father chides his amorous son; Then see that son, whom no advice can move, Forget those orders, and pursue his love: 'Tis not a well-drawn picture we discover; 'Tis a true son, a father, and a lover. I like an author that reforms the age, And keeps the right decorum of the stage; That always pleases by just reason's rule: But for a tedious droll, a quibbling fool, Who with low nauseous bawdry fills his plays, Let him be gone, and on two tressels raise Some Smithfield stage, where he may act his pranks, And make Jack-Puddings speak to mountebanks.


In Florence dwelt a doctor of renown, The scourge of God, and terror of the town, Who all the cant of physic had by heart, And never murdered but by rules of art. The public mischief was his private gain: Children their slaughtered parents sought in vain; A brother here his poisoned brother wept; Some bloodless died, and some by opium slept; Colds, at his presence, would to phrenzies turn, And agues, like malignant fevers, burn. Hated, at last, his practice gives him o'er; One friend, unkilled by drugs, of all his store, In his new country-house affords him place; ('Twas a rich abbot, and a building ass.) Here first the doctor's talent came in play; He seems inspired, and talks like Wren or May; Of this new portico condemns the face, And turns the entrance to a better place; Designs the stair-case at the other end: His friend approves, does for his mason send. He comes; the doctor's arguments prevail; In short, to finish this our humorous tale, He Galen's dangerous science does reject, And from ill doctor turns good architect. In this example we may have our part; Rather be mason, ('tis a useful art,) Than a dull poet; for that trade accurst, Admits no mean betwixt the best and worst. In other sciences, without disgrace, A candidate may fill a second place; But poetry no medium can admit, No reader suffers an indifferent wit: The ruined stationers against him bawl, And Herringman[77] degrades him from his stall. Burlesque at least our laughter may excite; But a cold writer never can delight. The Counter-scuffle[78] has more wit and art, Than the stiff formal style of Gondibert. Be not affected with that empty praise Which your vain flatterers will sometimes raise; And when you read, with ecstasy will say, "The finished piece! the admirable play!" Which, when exposed to censure and to light, Cannot endure a critic's piercing sight. A hundred authors' fates have been foretold, And Shadwell's works are printed, but not sold. Hear all the world; consider every thought; A fool by chance may stumble on a fault: Yet, when Apollo does your muse inspire, Be not impatient to expose your fire; Nor imitate the Settles of our times, Those tuneful readers of their own dull rhymes, Who seize on all the acquaintance they can meet, And stop the passengers that walk the street: There is no sanctuary you can chuse For a defence from their pursuing muse. I've said before, be patient when they blame; To alter for the better is no shame. Yet yield not to a fool's impertinence; Sometimes conceited sceptics, void of sense, By their false taste condemn some finished part, And blame the noblest flights of wit and art. In vain their fond opinions you deride, With their loved follies they are satisfied; And their weak judgment, void of sense and light, Thinks nothing can escape their feeble sight: Their dangerous counsels do not cure, but wound; } To shun the storm they run your verse aground, } And thinking to escape a rock, are drowned. } Chuse a sure judge to censure what you write, Whose reason leads, and knowledge gives you light, Whose steady hand will prove your faithful guide, And touch the darling follies you would hide: He, in your doubts, will carefully advise, And clear the mist before your feeble eyes. 'Tis he will tell you, to what noble height A generous muse may sometimes take her flight; When too much fettered with the rules of art, May from her stricter bounds and limits part: But such a perfect judge is hard to see, And every rhymer knows not poetry; Nay some there are for writing verse extolled, Who know not Lucan's dross from Virgil's gold. Would you in this great art acquire renown? Authors, observe the rules I here lay down. In prudent lessons every where abound; With pleasant join the useful and the sound: A sober reader a vain tale will slight; He seeks as well instruction as delight. Let all your thoughts to virtue be confined, Still offering nobler figures to our mind: I like not those loose writers, who employ Their guilty muse, good manners to destroy; Who with false colours still deceive our eyes, And show us vice dressed in a fair disguise. Yet do I not their sullen muse approve, Who from all modest writings banish love; That stript the playhouse of its chief intrigue, And make a murderer of Roderigue: The lightest love, if decently exprest, Will raise no vitious motions in our breast. Dido in vain may weep, and ask relief; I blame her folly, whilst I share her grief. A virtuous author, in his charming art, To please the sense needs not corrupt the heart: His heat will never cause a guilty fire: To follow virtue then be your desire. In vain your art and vigour are exprest; The obscene expression shows the infected breast. But, above all, base jealousies avoid, In which detracting poets are employed. A noble wit dares liberally commend, And scorns to grudge at his deserving friend. Base rivals, who true wit and merit hate, Caballing still against it with the great, Maliciously aspire to gain renown, By standing up, and pulling others down. Never debase yourself by treacherous ways, Nor by such abject methods seek for praise: Let not your only business be to write; Be virtuous, just, and in your friends delight. 'Tis not enough your poems be admired; But strive your conversation be desired: Write for immortal fame; nor ever chuse Gold for the object of a generous muse. I know a noble wit may, without crime, Receive a lawful tribute for his time: Yet I abhor those writers, who despise Their honour, and alone their profits prize; Who their Apollo basely will degrade, And of a noble science make a trade. Before kind reason did her light display, And government taught mortals to obey, Men, like wild beasts, did nature's laws pursue, They fed on herbs, and drink from rivers drew; Their brutal force, on lust and rapine bent, Committed murder without punishment: Reason at last, by her all-conquering arts, Reduced these savages, and tuned their hearts; Mankind from bogs, and woods, and caverns calls, And towns and cities fortifies with walls: Thus fear of justice made proud rapine cease, And sheltered innocence by laws and peace. These benefits from poets we received; From whence are raised those fictions since believed, That Orpheus, by his soft harmonious strains, Tamed the fierce tygers of the Thracian plains; Amphion's notes, by their melodious powers, Drew rocks and woods, and raised the Theban towers: These miracles from numbers did arise; Since which, in verse heaven taught his mysteries, And by a priest, possessed with rage divine, Apollo spoke from his prophetic shrine. Soon after, Homer the old heroes praised, And noble minds by great examples raised; Then Hesiod did his Grecian swains incline To till the fields, and prune the bounteous vine. Thus useful rules were, by the poet's aid, In easy numbers to rude men conveyed, And pleasingly their precepts did impart; First charmed the ear, and then engaged the heart; The muses thus their reputation raised, And with just gratitude in Greece were praised. With pleasure mortals did their wonders see, And sacrificed to their divinity; But want, at last, base flattery entertained, And old Parnassus with this vice was stained; Desire of gain dazzling the poets' eyes, Their works were filled with fulsome flatteries. Thus needy wits a vile revenue made, And verse became a mercenary trade. Debase not with so mean a vice thy art; If gold must be the idol of thy heart, Fly, fly the unfruitful Heliconian strand! Those streams are not enriched with golden sand; Great wits, as well as warriors, only gain Laurels and honours for their toil and pain. But what? an author cannot live on fame, Or pay a reckoning with a lofty name: A poet, to whom fortune is unkind, Who when he goes to bed has hardly dined, Takes little pleasure in Parnassus' dreams, Or relishes the Heliconian streams; Horace had ease and plenty when he writ, } And free from cares for money or for meat, } Did not expect his dinner from his wit. } 'Tis true; but verse is cherished by the great, And now none famish who deserve to eat: What can we fear, when virtue, arts, and sense, Receive the stars' propitious influence; When a sharp-sighted prince, by early grants, Rewards your merits, and prevents your wants? Sing then his glory, celebrate his fame; Your noblest theme is his immortal name. Let mighty Spenser raise his reverend head, Cowley and Denham start up from the dead; Waller his age renew, and offerings bring, Our monarch's praise let bright-eyed virgins sing: Let Dryden with new rules our stage refine, And his great models form by this design. But where's a second Virgil, to rehearse Our hero's glories in his epic verse? What Orpheus sing his triumphs o'er the main, And make the hills and forests move again; Shew his bold fleet on the Batavian shore, And Holland trembling as his cannons roar; Paint Europe's balance in his steady hand,} Whilst the two worlds in expectation stand} Of peace or war, that wait on his command?} But, as I speak, new glories strike my eyes, Glories, which heaven itself does give, and prize, Blessings of peace; that with their milder rays Adorn his reign, and bring Saturnian days. Now let rebellion, discord, vice, and rage, That have in patriots' forms debauched our age, Vanish with all the ministers of hell; His rays their poisonous vapours shall dispel: 'Tis he alone our safety did create, } His own firm soul secured the nation's fate, } Opposed to all the boutefeus[79] of the state. } Authors, for him your great endeavours raise; The loftiest numbers will but reach his praise. For me, whose verse in satire has been bred, And never durst heroic measures tread; Yet you shall see me, in that famous field, With eyes and voice, my best assistance yield; Offer you lessons, that my infant muse Learnt, when she Horace for her guide did chuse; Second your zeal with wishes, heart, and eyes, And afar off hold up the glorious prize. But pardon too, if, zealous for the right, A strict observer of each noble flight, From the fine gold I separate the allay, And show how hasty writers sometimes stray; Apter to blame, than knowing how to mend; A sharp, but yet a necessary friend.


[Footnote 60: William Sallust, Seigneur Du Bartas, who wrote a huge poem, quaintly divided into "weeks and days," narrating the Scriptural history and miracles in vile bombastic and conceited verse. He found a kindred translator in Joshua Sylvester, who published a version of these and other poems about the beginning of the 17th century. Dubartas was a soldier and a Huguenot, and followed the banners of Henry IV. in the civil wars of France. Sylvester was an English merchant adventurer.]

[Footnote 61: Written by Duffet, a low author, employed by the players of the King's-house to compose parodies on the operas, by which the Duke's company at one time attracted large audiences. Accordingly he wrote a "Mock Tempest," "Psyche Debauched," and other pieces of the same kind. The first was so indecent, that in Dublin the ladies and people of rank left the house to the rabble when it was acted. See LANGBAINE, p. 177. Duffet was a milliner in the New Exchange.]

[Footnote 62: _Des mourans et des morts cent montagnes plaintives._ A line from Brebeuf's translation of Lucan.]

[Footnote 63: This passage occurs in the following notable account of the wardrobe of our ancestor Adam after the fall, translated by Sylvester from Du Bartas. It has the honour to be elsewhere alluded to by Dryden:

But when the winter's keener breath began, To crystallize the Baltic Ocean; To glaze the lakes, and bridle up the floods, And periwig with wool the baldpate woods, Our grandsire shrinking, 'gan to shake and shiver, His teeth to chatter, and his beard to shiver: Spying therefore a flock of muttons coming, (Whose freeze-clad bodies feel not winter's mumming,) He takes the fairest, and he knocks it down, Then by good hap, finding upon the down, A sharp great fish-bone, which long time before The roaring flood had cast upon the shore; He cuts the throat, flays it, and spreads the fell; Then dries it, pares it, and he scrapes it well; Then clothes his wife therewith; and of such hides, Slops, hats, and doublets, for himself provides.

_Fourth Part of the first day of the second week. The Handy-crafts._ ]

[Footnote 64: Edward Fairfax, natural son of Sir Thomas Fairfax, of Denton, in Yorkshire, who executed a most beautiful translation of the "Jerusalem Delivered," which was published in 1600. Collins, in apostrophizing Tasso, does not forget his congenial translator:

How have I sate while piped the pensive wind, To hear thy harp by British Fairfax strung; Prevailing poet, whose undoubting mind Believed the magic wonders that he sung.

_Ode on Scottish Superstitions._

Fairfax also wrote the History of Edward the Black Prince, which has never been published.]

[Footnote 65: This is a hasty conclusion; Spenser's pastorals, at least the greater number of them, have little claim to the title. It seems, however, to have been a favourite idea of this poet; for, at the beginning of the Essay, he assigns heroic poetry as the sphere of Waller, and pastoral as that of Spenser.]

[Footnote 66: D'Avenant's "Gondibert," which contains many highly poetical passages, was ridiculed when published, and has been neglected ever since. See Vol. III. p. 97.]

[Footnote 67: A pedantic translation of the Latin phrase _festina lente_.]

[Footnote 68: It is difficult to guess who is meant. Certainly the description does not apply to Thomas Randolph, whose pastorals are rather ornate, and duly garnished with classical names; witness a dialogue between Tityrus and Alexis, "occasioned by two doctors disputing on predestination." Still less do I think Robert Randal was the person intended, whom Ritson has introduced among the English poets, in virtue of his "Woeful Song," and his "Woeful and Sorrowful Complaint," licensed two days after the execution of his son and him, at St Thomas-a-Waterings, 21st February, 1593. Probably Dryden, if he filled up this name, was contented to speak at large, from a general recollection, that Thomas Randolph, the adopted son of Ben Jonson, had written pastorals. The corresponding author named by Boileau, is Pierre Ronsard, who, in singing of Henry and Charles of France, degraded them into Henriot and Carlin.]

[Footnote 69: These concluding lines are probably Dryden's; being marked with his usual inveteracy against Elkanah Settle, and his peculiar sense of that bard's presumption in prefixing an engraving of his portrait to the "Empress of Morocco"--a circumstance which Dryden took more to heart than was necessary, or becoming: David Logan was the engraver of this offensive plate.]

[Footnote 70: These lines in the original, are translated with uncommon spirit and accuracy in his Life of Lopez de Vega:

The Spanish bard, who no nice censure fears, In one short day includes a lapse of years; In those rude acts the hero lives so fast, Child in the first, he's grey-beard in the last. ]

[Footnote 71: The following concise account of the origin of the mysteries, or religious plays, (still, I believe, acted in some parts of Flanders,) is extracted from a lively and popular miscellany. "It is generally allowed, that pilgrims introduced these devout spectacles. Those who returned from the Holy-Land, or rather consecrated places, composed canticles of their travels, and amused their religious fancies by interweaving scenes, of which Christ, the apostles, and other objects of devotion, served as the themes. Menestrier informs us, that these pilgrims travelled in troops, and stood in the public streets, where they recited their poems, with their staff in hand; while their chaplets and cloaks, covered with shells and images of various colours, formed a picturesque exhibition, which at length excited the piety of the citizens to erect, occasionally, a stage on an extensive spot of ground. These spectacles served as the amusement and instruction of the people. So attractive were these gross exhibitions in the dark ages, that they formed one of the principal ornaments of the reception which was given to princes when they entered towns."--_D'Israeli's Curiosities of Literature._]

[Footnote 72: The absurdity of converting ancient history into romance, and all her heroes into whining lovers, as where Cyrus is introduced a knight-errant, under the assumed name of Artamenes, was well ridiculed by Boileau, in a separate dialogue.]

[Footnote 73: See some specimens of this bombast piece, Vol. VI. p. 376.]

[Footnote 74: I suspect here an attack on Milton.]

[Footnote 75: A whimsical character in Jonson's "Epicœne."]

[Footnote 76: In the "Volpone," or Fox, of Ben Jonson, Sir Politic Woudbe, a foolish politician, as his name intimates, disguises himself as a tortoise, and is detected on the stage;--a machine much too farcical for the rest of the piece.]

[Footnote 77: A bookseller mentioned in "Mac-Flecnoe;" a great publisher of plays and poetry.]

[Footnote 78: A burlesque poem on a quarrel and scuffle in the Counter-prison, which occurs in Dryden's Miscellanies, Vol. III. It is written with considerable humour, though too long to be supported throughout.]

[Footnote 79: _Boutefeu_, a gallicism for _incendiary:_ in Dryden's time it was a word of good reputation, but is now obsolete.]


This piece, and that which immediately follows, bear no trace of Dryden's hand. They have been attributed, by Mr Malone, with much probability, to Mr Mainwaring, a violent Jacobite. The satire is coarse and intemperate, without having that easy flow of verse, and felicity of expression, which always distinguishes the genuine productions of our author.

The comparison of William and Mary with Tarquin and Tullia, was early insisted upon as a topic of reproach. It occurs in a letter concerning the coronation medal, which, as is well known, represented, on the reverse, the destruction of Phaeton. The letter-writer says, that "one gentleman seeing the chariot, but not understanding the Latin inscription, and having heard the town talk of Tullia, who instigated her husband Tarquinius to kill her father Servius Tullius king of the Romans, that he might succeed him in the throne, and, as Livy says, caused her chariot to be driven over his mangled body, cried out, 'Is this Tullia's chariot?' This I say shocked me, and raised my anger against the contriver, who had chosen so ill an emblem, which, upon so superficial a view, brought such an odious history into men's minds." SOMERS' _Tracts_, p. 333.


In times when princes cancelled nature's law, And declarations which themselves did draw; When children used their parents to dethrone, And gnaw their way, like vipers, to the crown; Tarquin, a savage, proud, ambitious prince, Prompt to expel, yet thoughtless of defence, The envied sceptre did from Tullius snatch, The Roman king, and father by the match. To form his party, histories report, } A sanctuary was opened in his court, } Where glad offenders safely might resort. } Great was the crowd, and wonderous the success, For those were fruitful times of wickedness; And all that lived obnoxious to the laws, Flocked to prince Tarquin, and embraced his cause. 'Mongst these a pagan priest for refuge fled; A prophet deep in godly faction read;[80] A sycophant, that knew the modish way To cant and plot, to flatter and betray, To whine and sin, to scribble and recant, A shameless author, and a lustful saint. To serve all times he could distinctions coin, And with great ease flat contradictions join: A traitor now, once loyal in extreme, And then obedience was his only theme: He sung in temples the most passive lays, And wearied monarchs with repeated praise; But managed awkwardly that lawful part, } To vent foul lies and treason was his art, } And pointed libels at crowned heads to dart. } This priest, and others, learned to defame, First murder injured Tullius in his name; With blackest calumnies their sovereign load, A poisoned brother, and dark league abroad; A son unjustly top'd upon the throne,[81] Which yet was proved undoubtedly his own; Though, as the law was then, 'twas his behoof, Who dispossessed the heir, to bring the proof. This hellish charge they backed with dismal frights, The loss of property, and sacred rights, And freedom; words which all false patriots use As surest names the Romans to abuse; Jealous of kings, and always malcontent, Forward in change, yet certain to repent. Whilst thus the plotters needful fears create, Tarquin with open force invades the state. Lewd nobles join him with their feeble might, And atheist fools for dear religion fight. The priests their boasted principles disown, And level their harangues against the throne. Vain promises the people's minds allure: Slight were these ills, but desperate the cure. 'Tis hard for kings to steer an equal course, And they who banish one oft gain a worse. Those heavenly bodies we admire above, Do every day irregularly move; Yet Tullius, 'tis decreed, must lose the crown, For faults that were his council's, not his own. He now in vain commands even those he payed, } By darling troops deserted and betrayed, } By creatures which his generous warmth had made. } Of these a captain of the guards was worst,[82] Whose memory to this day stands accurst. This rogue, advanced to military trust By his own whoredom, and his sister's lust, Forsook his master, after dreadful vows, And plotted to betray him to his foes; The kindest master to the vilest slave, As free to give, as he was sure to crave. His haughty female, who, as books declare,[83] Did always toss wide nostrils in the air, Was to the younger Tullia governess, } And did attend her, when, in borrowed dress, } She fled by night from Tullius in distress. } This wretch, by letters, did invite his foes, And used all arts her father to depose; A father, always generously bent, So kind, that even her wishes he'd prevent. 'Twas now high time for Tullius to retreat, When even his daughter hastened his defeat; When faith and duty vanished, and no more The name of father and of king he bore: A king, whose right his foes could ne'er dispute; So mild, that mercy was his attribute; Affable, kind, and easy of access; Swift to relieve, unwilling to oppress; Rich without taxes, yet in payment just; So honest, that he hardly could distrust: His active soul from labours ne'er did cease, Valiant in war, and vigilant in peace; Studious with traffic to enrich the land, Strong to protect, and skilful to command Liberal and splendid, yet without excess; Prone to relieve, unwilling to distress: In sum, how godlike must his nature be, Whose only fault was too much piety! This king removed, the assembled states thought fit, That Tarquin in the vacant throne should sit; Voted him regent in their senate-house, And with an empty name endowed his spouse.[84] The elder Tullia, who, some authors feign, Drove o'er her father's corse a rumbling wain: But she, more guilty, numerous wains did drive, To crush her father and her king alive; And in remembrance of his hastened fall, Resolved to institute a weekly ball.[85] The jolly glutton grew in bulk and chin, Feasted on rapine, and enjoyed her sin; With luxury she did weak reason force, Debauched good-nature, and cram'd down remorse; Yet when she drank cold tea in liberal sups, The sobbing dame was maudling in her cups. But brutal Tarquin never did relent, Too hard to melt, too wicked to repent; Cruel in deeds, more merciless in will, And blest with natural delight in ill. From a wise guardian he received his doom To walk the change, and not to govern Rome. He swore his native honours to disown, And did by perjury ascend the throne. Oh! had that oath his swelling pride represt, Rome had been then with peace and plenty blest. But Tarquin, guided by destructive fate, The country wasted, and embroiled the state, Transported to their foes the Roman pelf, And by their ruin hoped to save himself. Innumerable woes oppress the land, When it submitted to his cursed command. So just was heaven, that 'twas hard to tell, Whether its guilt or losses did excel. Men that renounced their God for dearer trade, Were then the guardians of religion made. Rebels were sainted, foreigners did reign, } Outlaws returned, preferment to obtain, } With frogs, and toads, and all their croaking train. } No native knew their features nor their birth; They seemed the greasy offspring of the earth. The trade was sunk, the fleet and army spent; Devouring taxes swallowed lesser rent; Taxes imposed by no authority; Each lewd collection was a robbery. Bold self-creating men did statutes draw, Skilled to establish villany by law; Fanatic drivers, whose unjust careers Produced new ills exceeding former fears: Yet authors here except a faithful band, Which the prevailing faction did withstand; And some, who bravely stood in the defence Of baffled justice, and their exiled prince. These shine to after-times; each sacred name Stands still recorded in the rolls of fame.


[Footnote 80: The famous Gilbert Burnet, afterwards Bishop of Sarum. See Vol. X. p. 267.]

[Footnote 81: The alleged poisoning of Charles II., and the imposition of a spurious Prince of Wales, both falsely charged upon James II.]

[Footnote 82: John Lord Churchill, afterwards the famous Duke of Marlborough. Although loaded with favours by James, he felt himself at liberty to join the Prince on the Revolution.]

[Footnote 83: Sarah Lady Churchill, afterwards Duchess of Marlborough. She instigated the flight of the Princess Anne from her father's palace, and accompanied her to Northampton.]

[Footnote 84: On the 8th February, 1688-9, the lords resolved, that, notwithstanding the joint sovereignty of the Prince and Princess of Orange, the Prince alone should possess the regal power, and exercise it in the name of both.]

[Footnote 85: When the Princess of Orange arrived from Holland, she displayed, in the confusion of spirits incidental to her uncommon situation, a womanish levity, for which she was much censured by the friends of the late King. DALRYMPLE'S _Memoirs_, Vol. II. p. 290. Edit. 1790.]


The following verses have been ascribed to Dryden upon slight authority, and contrary to internal evidence. They display a good deal of the turn of wit, and structure of verse, which may be observed in similar _jeux d'esprit_ of Dorset, to whom I am tempted to ascribe them, though the name of Dryden may have been borrowed, to give them publicity.

They ought to have preceded, in point of time, those entitled "Tarquin and Tullia," but were accidentally misplaced.

As nicknames are easily perpetuated, I observe, that these verses entailed upon the young statesmen, the names of Chit Sunderland, Chit Lory, &c. in the satires of the day. This administration came into office in the latter years of Charles II.'s reign. The satire turns on a comparison between them and their predecessors of what was called the Cabal. There is a parody on these lines in the "State Poems," in which they are applied to Stillingfleet.



Clarendon[86] had law and sense, Clifford[87] was fierce and brave; Bennet's[88] grave look was a pretence, And Danby's[89] matchless impudence Helped to support the knave.

But Sunderland, Godolphin, Lory,[90] These will appear such chits in story, 'Twill turn all politics to jests, To be repeated like John Dory, When fidlers sing at feasts. Protect us, mighty Providence! What would these madmen have? First, they would bribe us without pence, Deceive us without common sense, And without power enslave.

Shall free-born men, in humble awe, Submit to servile shame, Who from consent and custom draw The same right to be ruled by law, Which kings pretend, to reign?

The Duke shall wield his conquering sword, The chancellor make a speech, The king shall pledge his honest word, The pawned revenue sums afford, And then, come kiss my breech.

So have I seen a king in chess, (His rooks and knights withdrawn, His queen and bishops in distress,) Shifting about grow less and less, With here and there a pawn.


[Footnote 86: The famous Chancellor.]

[Footnote 87: Lord Clifford, of Chudleigh, a member of the Cabal administration.]

[Footnote 88: Bennet, Earl of Arlington, also of the Cabal.]

[Footnote 89: Osborne, Earl of Danby.]

[Footnote 90: Lawrence, Earl of Rochester, son of Lord Clarendon.]


_This poem was probably composed by Mainwaring. Like "Tarquin and Tullia," it has the rudeness of Oldham's satirical effusions, instead of the strength and harmony of Dryden._

When lawless men their neighbours dispossess, The tenants they extirpate or oppress, And make rude havoc in the fruitful soil, Which the right owners ploughed with careful toil. The same proportion does in kingdoms hold; A new prince breaks the fences of the old, And will o'er carcases and deserts reign, Unless the land its rightful lord regain. He gripes the faithless owners of the place, } And buys a foreign army to deface } The feared and hated remnant of their race; } He starves their forces, and obstructs their trade; Vast sums are given, and yet no native paid. The church itself he labours to assail, And keeps fit tools to break the sacred pale. Of those let him the guilty roll commence,[91] Who has betrayed a master and a prince; A man, seditious, lewd, and impudent; An engine always mischievously bent; One who from all the bans of duty swerves, No tie can hold but that which he deserves; An author dwindled to a pamphleteer; Skilful to forge, and always insincere; Careless exploded practices to mend; Bold to attack, yet feeble to defend. Fate's blindfold reign the atheist loudly owns, And providence blasphemously dethrones. In vain the leering actor strains his tongue To cheat, with tears and empty noise, the throng; Since all men know, whate'er he says or writes, Revenge, or stronger interest, indites; And that the wretch employs his venal wit How to confute what formerly he writ. Next him the grave Socinian claims a place, Endowed with reason, though bereft of grace; A preaching pagan of surpassing fame, No register records his borrowed name. O, had the child more happily been bred, A radiant mitre would have graced his head: But now unfit, the most he should expect, Is to be entered of T---- F----'s sect.[92] To him succeeds, with looks demurely sad, A gloomy soul, with revelation mad; False to his friend, and careless of his word; A dreaming prophet, and a griping lord; He sells the livings which he can't possess, And forms that sinecure, his diocese. Unthinking man! to quit thy barren see } And vain endeavours in chronology, } For the more fruitless care of royal charity. } Thy hoary noddle warns thee to return, The treason of old age in Wales to mourn; Nor think the city-poor may less sustain, Thy place may well be vacant in this reign. I should admit the booted prelate now,[93] But he is even for lampoon too low; The scum and outcast of a royal race, The nation's grievance, and the gown's disgrace. None so unlearned did e'er at London sit; This driveller does the sacred chair besh----t. I need not brand the spiritual parricide, Nor draw the weapon dangling by his side; The astonished world remembers that offence, And knows he stole the daughter of his prince. 'Tis time enough, in some succeeding age, To bring this mitred captain on the stage. These are the leaders in apostacy, And the blind guides of poor elective majesty; A thing which commonwealths-men did devise, Till plots were ripe, to catch the people's eyes. Their king's a monster, in a quagmire born, Of all the native brutes the grief and scorn; With a big snout, cast in a crooked mould, Which runs with glanders and an inborn cold; His substance is of clammy snot and phlegm; Sleep is his essence, and his life a dream. To Caprea this Tiberius does retire, To quench with catamite his feeble fire. Dear catamite! who rules alone the state, } While monarch dozes on his unpropt height, } Silent, yet thoughtless, and secure of fate. } Could you but see the fulsome hero led By loathing vassals to his noble bed! In flannel robes the coughing ghost does walk, And his mouth moats like cleaner breech of hawk; Corruption, springing from his cankered breast, Furs up the channel, and disturbs his rest. With head propt up, the bolstered engine lies; If pillow slip aside, the monarch dies.

* * * * *

To these poems ascribed to Dryden, may be added the following; which, however, have so little mark of his hand, that the Editor thinks it most proper to degrade them into a note. Indeed Dryden could not have written the first of these without being guilty of gross ingratitude, a fault which was entirely inconsistent with his character.

_Epitaph on the Earl of Rochester's being dismissed from the Treasury, in 1687._

Here lies a creature of indulgent fate, From Tory Hyde, raised to a chit of state; In chariot now, Elijah-like, he's hurled To the upper empty regions of the world. The airy thing cuts through the yielding sky, And as it goes does into atoms fly; While we on earth see, with no small delight, The bird of prey changed to a paper kite; With drunken pride and rage he did so swell, The hated thing without compassion fell; By powerful force of universal prayer, The ill-blown bubble now is turned to air; To his first less than nothing he is gone, By his preposterous transaction.

_Epigram on the Duchess of Portsmouth's Picture._

Sure we do live by Cleopatra's age, Since Sunderland does govern now the stage; She of Septimius had nothing made, Pompey had been alone by her betrayed; Were she a poet, she would surely boast, That all the world for pearls had well been lost.

_The Soliloquy of a Royal Exile._

Unhappy I! who, once ordained to bear God's justice-sword, and be's vicegerent here, Am now deposed--'gainst me my children rise, My life must be their only sacrifice; Highly they me accuse, but nothing prove, But this is out of tenderness and love. They seek to spill my blood; 'tis that alone Must for the nation's crying sins atone. But careful heaven forewarned me in a dream, And shewed me that my dangers were extreme; The heavenly vision spoke, and bade me flee The ungrateful brood, that were not worthy me; Alarmed, I fled at the appointed time, And mere necessity became my crime!


[Footnote 91: Lord Halifax, whose correspondence with the Prince of Orange may be seen in Dalrymple's "Memoirs." He wrote several tracts about the time of the Revolution, and was in religious principle a Free-thinker.]

[Footnote 92: Who is here meant I am ignorant. T. F., as chief of the Socinians, is mentioned in a very satirical pamphlet in Somers' Tracts, entitled, "Remarks from the Country upon the two Letters relating to the Convocation, and Alterations in the Liturgy."]

[Footnote 93: Compton, Bishop of London, who took up arms in person on the Revolution, and escorted the Princess, afterwards Queen Anne, from London. See Vol. IX. p. 303.]





----_Fungar vice cotis, acutum Reddere quæ ferrum valet, exors ipsa secandi._

This Essay contains the first detailed view of our author's opinions concerning the Drama. In many things, particularly in the main point of preference given to rhyme, he afterwards saw cause to retract some of the principles here laid down. We have endeavoured elsewhere to trace the progress and alteration of Dryden's sentiments upon these subjects.[94] But the reader's attention may be here called to the elegant form into which he has thrown his Essay, and which has been so often in vain followed by clumsy imitators. The scene of the dialogue, and the striking incident by which it is introduced, have the happiest effect in arresting the attention; and infinite address is displayed in conducting the subject, from the distant noise of a bloody sea-fight, into the academic prolusions of dramatic criticism.

The speakers in the dialogue are four; three of whom are persons "whom their wit and quality have made known to all the town." The fourth, of whose properties the author speaks more modestly, is NEANDER, under which feigned appellation Dryden himself is figured. In corroboration of this, Mr Malone produces two instances, in which Dryden is called Neander by the famous Corinna, or Eliza Thomas.[95] Moreover, the curious reader must be informed, that there is an anagram in the name of the second personage, LISIDEIUS, which points him out to be Sir Charles Sedley, or Sidley, for his name was spelled both ways.[96] CRITES, the advocate for blank verse, is Sir Robert Howard, our author's friend and brother-in-law; who, in the preface to his plays, published in 1665, had censured rhiming tragedies as unnatural. Prior has assured us, that EUGENIUS means the witty Earl of Dorset, then Lord Buckhurst.[97] A very critical observer may remark an inaccuracy in introducing his lordship as listening to the sound of a sea-fight, in which he was himself actually engaged.[98] But Dryden did not mean to identify his speakers, and those shadowed out under them, otherwise than in their capacity of critics and authors.

Dryden has, with infinite address, avoided, or overcome, the obstacles which commonly attend an argumentative discussion, in form of a dialogue. The author of such disputations, in general, so obviously favours one of the combatants, that we as soon expect Hector to slay Achilles, or Turnus to defeat Æneas, as nourish the least hope of the unfriended champion making any effectual resistance. Besides, in prepared arguments of this sort, as in prepared jests on the stage, there is an obvious opening left for those thrusts on which the author chiefly depends for success; so that, instead of admiring the victor, we are angry at the bad address of his antagonist. All these obstacles Dryden has contrived to surmount, by the number of his characters, and the variety of their dialogue, where not only the argument of Neander's antagonists is fairly stated, but the topics are so judiciously varied, that the reader is brought to the point which the author aims at, without stiffness or constraint, as if in the ordinary flow of literary conversation. Thus, as we never see the purpose which Dryden wishes to attain, we arrive at his conclusion without fatigue or prejudice.

The "Essay on Dramatic Poetry" was assailed by several critics. Martin Clifford, of the Charter-House, accused our author of pilfering from the French critics, in the second of four very abusive letters. The only existing edition of these diatribes is one in 1687; but, from their date and import, this may have been a reprint. Sir Robert Howard also attacked the Essay, in the preface to his "Duke of Lerma," which led Dryden to assert his preference of rhyming tragedies, in the Defence prefixed to the "Indian Emperor." See Vol. III. p. 263.

This Essay was first published in 1668, or perhaps in the December preceding. Sixteen years afterwards, Dryden bestowed on it a thorough revisal; and having, in many places, altered and amended the expression with unusual care, he published a second edition in 1684, with the following dedication to Lord Buckhurst, afterwards Earl of Dorset.


[Footnote 94: See the remarks on Dryden's dramatic criticism, subjoined to his Life, Vol. I]

[Footnote 95: In an elegy on his death, and in a poem addressed to Captain Gibbon.--_Malone_, Vol. I. p. 63. For aught I know, an imperfect anagram may be intended; for the letters in the name of Dryden, with a very little aid, will make out the word _Neander_.]

[Footnote 96: For Dryden's connection with this gay writer, see the dedication of the "Assignation," Vol. IV. p. 348. Lisideius is Sidleius, a little changed.]

[Footnote 97: "The most eminent masters in their several ways appealed to his determination. Waller thought it an honour to consult him in the softness and harmony of his verse, and Dr Sprat in the delicacy and turn of his prose. Dryden determines by him, under the character of Eugenius, as to the laws of dramatic poetry." This occurs in Prior's dedication of his poems to Lionel, Earl of Dorset and Middlesex, in which he gives his father's character at length, 8vo Edit. 1709.]

[Footnote 98: The evening before the battle, he is said to have composed the lively song, beginning,

To all you ladies now at land.

Prior gives the following account of the matter. "In the first Dutch war, he went a volunteer with the Duke of York: his behaviour during that campaign was such, as distinguished the Sackvill, descended from that Hildebrand of the name, who was one of the greatest captains that came into England with the Conqueror. But his making a song the night before the engagement, and it is one of the prettiest that ever was made, carries with it so sedate a presence of mind, and such an unusual gallantry, that it deserves as much to be recorded as Alexander's jesting with his soldiers before he past the Granicus, or William the First of Orange giving order over night for a battle, and desiring to be called in the morning, lest he should happen to sleep too long."]







As I was lately reviewing my loose papers, amongst the rest I found this Essay; the writing of which, in this rude and indigested manner, wherein your lordship now sees it, served as an amusement to me in the country, when the violence of the last plague had driven me from the town.[99] Seeing, then, our theatres shut up, I was engaged in these kind of thoughts with the same delight, with which men think upon their absent mistresses. I confess I find many things in this discourse, which I do not now approve; my judgment being not a little altered since the writing of it, but whether for the better, or the worse, I know not: neither, indeed, is it much material in an Essay, where all I have said is problematical. For the way of writing plays in verse, which I have seemed to favour, I have, since that time, laid the practice of it aside, till I have more leisure, because I find it troublesome and slow: But I am no way altered from my opinion of it, at least with any reasons which have opposed it.[100] For your lordship may easily observe, that none are very violent against it, but those who either have not attempted it, or who have succeeded ill in their attempt. It is enough for me to have your lordship's example for my excuse in that little which I have done in it; and I am sure my adversaries can bring no such arguments against verse, as those with which the fourth act of "Pompey" will furnish me in its defence.[101] Yet, my lord, you must suffer me a little to complain of you, that you too soon withdraw from us a contentment, of which we expected the continuance, because you gave it us so early. It is a revolt, without occasion, from your party, where your merits had already raised you to the highest commands, and where you have not the excuse of other men, that you have been ill used, and therefore laid down arms. I know no other quarrel you can have to verse, than that which Spurina had to his beauty, when he tore and mangled the features of his face, only because they pleased too well the sight.[102] It was an honour which seemed to wait for you, to lead out a new colony of writers from the mother-nation: and, upon the first spreading of your ensigns, there had been many in a readiness to have followed so fortunate a leader; if not all, yet the better part of poets:

_Pars, indocili melior grege; mollis et exspes Inominata perprimat cubilia_.

I am almost of opinion, that we should force you to accept of the command, as sometimes the prætorian bands have compelled their captains to receive the empire. The court, which is the best and surest judge of writing, has generally allowed of verse; and, in the town, it has found favourers of wit and quality. As for your own particular, my lord, you have yet youth and time enough to give part of them to the divertisement of the public, before you enter into the serious and more unpleasant business of the world. That which the French poet said of the temple of Love, may be as well applied to the temple of the Muses. The words, as near as I can remember them, were these:

_Le jeune homme à mauvaise grace, N'ayant pas adoré dans le Temple d'Amour; Il faut qu'il entre; et pour le sage Si ce n'est pas son vrai sejour, C'est un gîte sur son passage_.

I leave the words to work their effect upon your lordship in their own language, because no other can so well express the nobleness of the thought; and wish you may be soon called to bear a part in the affairs of the nation, where I know the world expects you, and wonders why you have been so long forgotten; there being no person amongst our young nobility, on whom the eyes of all men are so much bent. But, in the mean time, your lordship may imitate the course of nature, who gives us the flower before the fruit; that I may speak to you in the language of the Muses, which I have taken from an excellent poem to the king:

As Nature, when she fruit designs, thinks fit By beauteous blossoms to proceed to it; And while she does accomplish all the spring, Birds to her secret operations sing.[103]

I confess, I have no greater reason, in addressing this Essay to your lordship, than that it might awaken in you the desire of writing something, in whatever kind it be, which might be an honour to our age and country. And methinks it might have the same effect on you, which Homer tells us the fight of the Greeks and Trojans before the fleet, had on the spirit of Achilles; who, though he had resolved not to engage, yet found a martial warmth to steal upon him at the sight of blows, the sound of trumpets, and the cries of fighting men. For my own part, if, in treating of this subject, I sometimes dissent from the opinion of better wits, I declare it is not so much to combat their opinions, as to defend my own, which were first made public.[104] Sometimes, like a scholar in a fencing-school, I put forth myself, and show my own ill play, on purpose to be better taught. Sometimes I stand desperately to my arms, like the foot when deserted by their horse, not in hope to overcome, but only to yield on more honourable terms. And yet, my lord, this war of opinions, you well know, has fallen out among the writers of all ages, and sometimes betwixt friends. Only it has been prosecuted by some, like pedants, with violence of words; and managed by others like gentlemen, with candour and civility. Even Tully had a controversy with his dear Atticus; and in one of his dialogues makes him sustain the part of an enemy in philosophy, who, in his letters, is his confident of state, and made privy to the most weighty affairs of the Roman senate. And the same respect which was paid by Tully to Atticus, we find returned to him afterwards by Cæsar, on a like occasion, who, answering his book in praise of Cato, made it not so much his business to condemn Cato, as to praise Cicero.

But that I may decline some part of the encounter with my adversaries, whom I am neither willing to combat, nor well able to resist; I will give your lordship the relation of a dispute betwixt some of our wits on the same subject, in which they did not only speak of plays in verse, but mingled, in the freedom of discourse, some things of the ancient, many of the modern, ways of writing; comparing those with these, and the wits of our nation with those of others: it is true they differed in their opinions, as it is probable they would: neither do I take upon me to reconcile, but to relate them; and that, as Tacitus professes of himself, _Sine studio partium, aut irâ_, without passion, or interest; leaving your lordship to decide it in favour of which part you shall judge most reasonable, and withal, to pardon the many errors of

Your lordship's Most obedient humble servant, JOHN DRYDEN.


[Footnote 99: The great pestilence in 1663.]

[Footnote 100: As early as 1676, Dryden confesses that he had grown weary of "his long-loved mistress, Rhyme." See the prologue to "Aureng-Zebe," the last rhyming tragedy which he ever wrote. See Vol. V. p. 188. But although Dryden sometimes chose to abandon his own opinions, there is no instance of his owning conversion by the arguments of his adversaries.]

[Footnote 101: The tragedy of "Pompey the Great," 4to, 1664, translated out of French by certain persons of honour. Waller wrote the first act; Lord Buckhurst, it would seem, translated the fourth.]

[Footnote 102: Valerius Maximus, Lib. IV. Cap. 5.]

[Footnote 103: "Poem to the King's most sacred Majesty."--_D'Avenant's Works_, folio, 1673, p. 268.]

[Footnote 104: See the dedication to the "Rival Ladies," which is elaborately written in the cause of Rhyme against Blank Verse. Vol. II. p. 113.]


The drift of the ensuing discourse was chiefly to vindicate the honour of our English writers, from the censure of those who unjustly prefer the French before them. This I intimate, lest any should think me so exceeding vain, as to teach others an art which they understand much better than myself. But if this incorrect Essay, written in the country without the help of books, or advice of friends, shall find any acceptance in the world, I promise to myself a better success of the Second Part, wherein I shall more fully treat of the virtues and faults of the English poets, who have written either in this, the epic, or the lyric way.[105]


[Footnote 105: This promise our author never fully performed; although the "Essay on Epic Poetry," and other parts of his critical works, exhibit the materials of the proposed Second Part.]





It was that memorable day, in the first summer of the late war, when our navy engaged the Dutch;[106] a day wherein the two most mighty and best appointed fleets which any age had ever seen, disputed the command of the greater half of the globe, the commerce of nations, and the riches of the universe: while these vast floating bodies, on either side, moved against each other in parallel lines, and our countrymen, under the happy conduct of his Royal Highness,[107] went breaking, by little and little, into the line of the enemies; the noise of the cannon from both navies reached our ears about the city; so that all men being alarmed with it, and in a dreadful suspense of the event, which they knew was then deciding, every one went following the sound as his fancy led him; and leaving the town almost empty, some took towards the Park, some cross the river, others down it; all seeking the noise in the depth of silence.

Amongst the rest, it was the fortune of Eugenius, Crites, Lisideius, and Neander, to be in company together: three of them persons whom their wit and quality have made known to all the town; and whom I have chose to hide under these borrowed names, that they may not suffer by so ill a relation as I am going to make of their discourse.

Taking then a barge, which a servant of Lisideius had provided for them, they made haste to shoot the bridge, and left behind them that great fall of waters which hindered them from hearing what they desired: after which, having disengaged themselves from many vessels which rode at anchor in the Thames, and almost blocked up the passage towards Greenwich, they ordered the watermen to let fall their oars more gently; and then every one favouring his own curiosity with a strict silence, it was not long ere they perceived the air to break about them like the noise of distant thunder, or of swallows in a chimney: those little undulations of sound, though almost vanishing before they reached them, yet still seeming to retain somewhat of their first horror which they had betwixt the fleets. After they had attentively listened till such time as the sound by little and little went from them,[108] Eugenius, lifting up his head, and taking notice of it, was the first who congratulated to the rest that happy omen of our nation's victory: adding, that we had but this to desire in confirmation of it, that we might hear no more of that noise which was now leaving the English coast. When the rest had concurred in the same opinion, Crites, a person of a sharp judgement, and somewhat too delicate a taste in wit, which the world hath mistaken in him for ill nature,[109] said, smiling to us, that if the concernment of this battle had not been so exceeding great, he could scarce have wished the victory at the price he knew he must pay for it, in being subject to the reading and hearing of so many ill verses as he was sure would be made on that subject. Adding, that no argument could 'scape some of those eternal rhymers, who watch a battle with more diligence than the ravens and birds of prey; and the worst of them surest to be first in upon the quarry; while the better able, either out of modesty writ not at all, or set that due value upon their poems, as to let them be often desired, and long expected. There are some of those impertinent people of whom you speak, answered Lisideius, who, to my knowledge, are already so provided, either way, that they can produce not only a panegyric upon the victory, but, if need be, a funeral elegy on the duke; wherein, after they have crowned his valour with many laurels, they will at last deplore the odds under which he fell, concluding, that his courage deserved a better destiny. All the company smiled at the conceit of Lisideius; but Crites, more eager than before, began to make particular exceptions against some writers, and said, the public magistrate ought to send betimes to forbid them; and that it concerned the peace and quiet of all honest people, that ill poets should be as well silenced as seditious preachers. In my opinion, replied Eugenius, you pursue your point too far; for as to my own particular, I am so great a lover of poesy, that I could wish them all rewarded, who attempt but to do well; at least, I would not have them worse used than one of their brethren was by Sylla the dictator: _Quem in concione vidimus_, (says Tully,) _cum ei libellum malus poeta de populo subjecisset, quod epigramma in eum fecisset tantummodo alternis versibus longiusculis, statim ex iis rebus quas tunc vendebat jubere ei præmium tribui, sub ea conditione ne quid postea scriberet_. I could wish with all my heart, replied Crites, that many whom we know were as bountifully thanked upon the same condition, that they would never trouble us again. For amongst others, I have a mortal apprehension of two poets, whom this victory, with the help of both her wings, will never be able to escape. 'Tis easy to guess whom you intend, said Lisideius; and without naming them, I ask you if one of them does not perpetually pay us with clenches upon words, and a certain clownish kind of raillery?[110] If now and then he does not offer a _catachresis_ or _Cleivelandism_,[111] wresting and torturing a word into another meaning: in fine, if he be not one of those whom the French would call _un mauvais buffon_; one who is so much a well-willer to the satire, that he intends at least to spare no man; and though he cannot strike a blow to hurt any, yet he ought to be punished for the malice of the action; as our witches are justly hanged, because they think themselves to be such; and suffer deservedly for believing they did mischief, because they meant it.[112] You have described him, said Crites, so exactly, that I am afraid to come after you with my other extremity of poetry: he is one of those, who, having had some advantage of education and converse, knows better than the other what a poet should be, but puts it into practice more unluckily than any man. His style and matter are every where alike; he is the most calm, peaceable writer you ever read: he never disquiets your passions with the least concernment, but still leaves you in as even a temper as he found you; he is a very leveller in poetry: he creeps along with ten little words in every line, and helps out his numbers with _For to_, and _Unto_, and all the pretty expletives he can find, till he drags them to the end of another line; while the sense is left tired half way behind it: he doubly starves all his verses, first, for want of thought, and then of expression. His poetry neither has wit in it, nor seems to have it; like him in Martial:

_Pauper videri_ Cinna _vult, et est pauper_.

He affects plainness, to cover his want of imagination: when he writes the serious way, the highest flight of his fancy is some miserable antithesis or seeming contradiction; and in the comic, he is still reaching at some thin conceit, the ghost of a jest, and that too flies before him, never to be caught. These swallows which we see before us on the Thames, are the just resemblance of his wit: you may observe how near the water they stoop, how many proffers they make to dip, and yet how seldom they touch it; and when they do, 'tis but the surface: they skim over it but to catch a gnat, and then mount into the air and leave it.--Well, gentlemen, said Eugenius, you may speak your pleasure of these authors; but though I and some few more about the town may give you a peaceable hearing, yet assure yourselves, there are multitudes who would think you malicious, and them injured; especially him whom you first described. He is the very Withers of the city:[113] they have bought more editions of his works than would serve to lay under all their pies at the Lord Mayor's Christmas. When his famous poem first came out in the year 1660,[114] I have seen them reading it in the midst of Change-time; nay, so vehement they were at it, that they lost their bargain by the candles' ends.[115] But what will you say if he has been received amongst great persons? I can assure you he is, this day, the envy of one, who is lord in the art of quibbling; and who does not take it well, that any man should intrude so far into his province. All I would wish, replied Crites, is, that they who love his writings, may still admire him, and his fellow poet: _Qui Bavium non odit_, &c. is curse sufficient. And farther, added Lisideius, I believe there is no man who writes well, but would think he had hard measure, if their admirers should praise any thing of his: _Nam quos contemnimus, eorum quoque laudes contemnimus_. There are so few who write well in this age, said Crites, that methinks any praises should be welcome; they neither rise to the dignity of the last age, nor to any of the ancients: and we may cry out of the writers of this time, with more reason than Petronius of his, _Pace vestrâ liceat dixisse, primi omnium eloquentiam perdidistis_: you have debauched the true old poetry so far, that nature, which is the soul of it, is not in any of your writings.

If your quarrel (said Eugenius) to those who now write, be grounded only on your reverence to antiquity, there is no man more ready to adore those great Greeks and Romans than I am: but, on the other side, I cannot think so contemptibly of the age in which I live, or so dishonourably of my own country, as not to judge we equal the ancients in most kinds of poesy, and in some surpass them; neither know I any reason why I may not be as zealous for the reputation of our age, as we find the ancients themselves were in reverence to those who lived before them. For you hear your Horace saying,

_Indignor quidquam reprehendi, non quia crassé Compositum, illepidève putetur, sed quia nuper_.

And after:

_Si meliora dies, ut vina, poemata reddit, Scire velim, pretium chartis quotus arroget annus?_

But I see I am engaging in a wide dispute, where the arguments are not like to reach close on either side; for poesy is of so large an extent, and so many, both of the ancients and moderns, have done well in all kinds of it, that in citing one against the other, we shall take up more time this evening, than each man's occasions will allow him: therefore I would ask Crites to what part of poesy he would confine his arguments, and whether he would defend the general cause of the ancients against the moderns, or oppose any age of the moderns against this of ours.

Crites, a little while considering upon this demand, told Eugenius, that if he pleased he would limit their dispute to Dramatic Poesy; in which he thought it not difficult to prove, either that the ancients were superior to the moderns, or the last age to this of ours.[116]

Eugenius was somewhat surprised, when he heard Crites make choice of that subject. For aught I see, said he, I have undertaken a harder province than I imagined; for, though I never judged the plays of the Greek or Roman poets comparable to ours, yet, on the other side, those we now see acted come short of many which were written in the last age. But my comfort is, if we are overcome, it will be only by our own countrymen: and if we yield to them in this one part of poesy, we more surpass them in all the other; for in the epic or lyric way, it will be hard for them to shew us one such amongst them, as we have many now living, or who lately were. They can produce nothing so courtly writ, or which expresses so much the conversation of a gentleman, as Sir John Suckling; nothing so even, sweet, and flowing, as Mr Waller; nothing so majestic, so correct, as Sir John Denham; nothing so elevated, so copious, and full of spirit, as Mr Cowley. As for the Italian, French, and Spanish plays, I can make it evident, that those who now write, surpass them; and that the drama is wholly ours.

All of them were thus far of Eugenius his opinion, that the sweetness of English verse was never understood or practised by our fathers; even Crites himself did not much oppose it: and every one was willing to acknowledge how much our poesy is improved, by the happiness of some writers yet living; who first taught us to mould our thoughts into easy and significant words, to retrench the superfluities of expression, and to make our rhyme so properly a part of the verse, that it should never mislead the sense, but itself be led and governed by it.

Eugenius was going to continue this discourse, when Lisideius told him, that it was necessary, before they proceeded further, to take a standing measure of their controversy; for how was it possible to be decided, who wrote the best plays, before we know what a play should be? but, this once agreed on by both parties, each might have recourse to it, either to prove his own advantages, or to discover the failings of his adversary.

He had no sooner said this, but all desired the favour of him to give the definition of a play; and they were the more importunate, because neither Aristotle, nor Horace, nor any other, who had writ of that subject, had ever done it.

Lisideius, after some modest denials, at last confessed he had a rude notion of it; indeed rather a description than a definition; but which served to guide him in his private thoughts, when he was to make a judgment of what others writ: that he conceived a play ought to be, "A just and lively image of human nature, representing its passions and humours, and the changes of fortune to which it is subject, for the delight and instruction of mankind."

This definition (though Crites raised a logical objection against it--that it was only _à genere et fine_, and so not altogether perfect) was yet well received by the rest: and after they had given order to the watermen to turn their barge, and row softly, that they might take the cool of the evening in their return, Crites, being desired by the company to begin, spoke on behalf of the ancients, in this manner:--

If confidence presage a victory, Eugenius, in his own opinion, has already triumphed over the ancients: nothing seems more easy to him, than to overcome those whom it is our greatest praise to have imitated well; for we do not only build upon their foundations, but by their models. Dramatic Poesy had time enough, reckoning from Thespis (who first invented it) to Aristophanes, to be born, to grow up, and to flourish in maturity. It has been observed of arts and sciences, that in one and the same century they have arrived to great perfection; and no wonder, since every age has a kind of universal genius, which inclines those that live in it to some particular studies: the work then being pushed on by many hands, must of necessity go forward.

Is it not evident, in these last hundred years, (when the study of philosophy has been the business of all the Virtuosi in Christendom,) that almost a new nature has been revealed to us? that more errors of the school have been detected, more useful experiments in philosophy have been made, more noble secrets in optics, medicine, anatomy, astronomy, discovered, than in all those credulous and doting ages from Aristotle to us?--so true it is, that nothing spreads more fast than science, when rightly and generally cultivated.

Add to this, the more than common emulation that was in those times, of writing well; which though it be found in all ages, and all persons that pretend to the same reputation, yet poesy being then in more esteem than now it is, had greater honours decreed to the professors of it, and consequently the rivalship was more high between them. They had judges ordained to decide their merit, and prizes to reward it; and historians have been diligent to record of Æschylus, Euripides, Sophocles, Lycophron, and the rest of them, both who they were that vanquished in these wars of the theatre, and how often they were crowned: while the Asian kings and Grecian commonwealths scarce afforded them a nobler subject, than the unmanly luxuries of a debauched court, or giddy intrigues of a factious city:--_Alit æmulatio ingenia, (says Paterculus) et nunc invidia, nunc admiratio incitationem accendit_: Emulation is the spur of wit; and sometimes envy, sometimes admiration, quickens our endeavours.

But now since the rewards of honour are taken away, that virtuous emulation is turned into direct malice; yet so slothful, that it contents itself to condemn and cry down others, without attempting to do better: 'tis a reputation too unprofitable, to take the necessary pains for it; yet wishing they had it, that desire is incitement enough to hinder others from it. And this, in short, Eugenius, is the reason, why you have now so few good poets, and so many severe judges. Certainly, to imitate the ancients well, much labour and long study is required; which pains, I have already shewn, our poets would want encouragement to take, if yet they had ability to go through the work. Those ancients have been faithful imitators, and wise observers of that nature which is so torn and ill represented in our plays; they have handed down to us a perfect resemblance of her; which we, like ill copiers, neglecting to look on, have rendered monstrous, and disfigured. But, that you may know how much you are indebted to those your masters, and be ashamed to have so ill requited them, I must remember you, that all the rules by which we practise the drama at this day, (either such as relate to the justness and symmetry of the plot; or the episodical ornaments, such as descriptions, narrations, and other beauties, which are not essential to the play;) were delivered to us from the observations which Aristotle made, of those poets, who either lived before him, or were his contemporaries. We have added nothing of our own, except we have the confidence to say, our wit is better; of which none boast in this our age, but such as understand not theirs. Of that book which Aristotle has left us, _ωερὶ τῆς Ποιητικῆς_, Horace his "Art of Poetry," is an excellent comment, and, I believe, restores to us that Second Book of his concerning comedy, which is wanting in him.

Out of these two have been extracted the famous rules which the French call _Des Trois Unites_, or the Three Unities, which ought to be observed in every regular play; namely, of time, place, and action.

The unity of time they comprehend in twenty-four hours, the compass of a natural day, or as near as it can be contrived; and the reason of it is obvious to every one,--that the time of the feigned action, or fable of the play, should be proportioned as near as can be to the duration of that time in which it is represented: since therefore all plays are acted on the theatre in a space of time much within the compass of twenty-four hours, that play is to be thought the nearest imitation of nature, whose plot or action is confined within that time. And, by the same rule which concludes this general proportion of time, it follows, that all the parts of it are (as near as may be) to be equally subdivided; namely, that one act take not up the supposed time of half a day, which is out of proportion to the rest; since the other four are then to be straitened within the compass of the remaining half: for it is unnatural, that one act, which being spoke or written, is not longer than the rest, should be supposed longer by the audience; it is therefore the poet's duty, to take care, that no act should be imagined to exceed the time in which it is represented on the stage; and that the intervals and inequalities of time be supposed to fall out between the acts.

This rule of time, how well it has been observed by the ancients, most of their plays will witness. You see them in their tragedies, (wherein to follow this rule is certainly most difficult,) from the very beginning of their plays, falling close into that part of the story which they intend for the action, or principal object of it, leaving the former part to be delivered by narration: so that they set the audience, as it were, at the post where the race is to be concluded; and saving them the tedious expectation of seeing the poet set out and ride the beginning of the course, they suffer you not to behold him, till he is in sight of the goal, and just upon you.

For the second unity, which is that of place, the ancients meant by it, that the scene ought to be continued through the play, in the same place where it was laid in the beginning: for the stage, on which it is represented, being but one and the same place, it is unnatural to conceive it many; and those far distant from one another. I will not deny, but by the variation of painted scenes, the fancy (which in these cases will contribute to its own deceit) may sometimes imagine it several places, with some appearance of probability; yet it still carries the greater likelihood of truth, if those places be supposed so near each other, as in the same town or city, which may all be comprehended under the larger denomination of one place: for a greater distance will bear no proportion to the shortness of time which is allotted, in the acting, to pass from one of them to another. For the observation of this, next to the ancients, the French are to be most commended. They tie themselves so strictly to the unity of place, that you never see in any of their plays, a scene changed in the middle of an act: if the act begins in a garden, a street, or chamber, 'tis ended in the same place; and that you may know it to be the same, the stage is so supplied with persons, that it is never empty all the time: he who enters second, has business with him who was on before; and before the second quits the stage, a third appears who has business with him. This Corneille calls _la liaison des Scenes_, the continuity or joining of the scenes; and 'tis a good mark of a well-contrived play, when all the persons are known to each other, and every one of them has some affairs with all the rest.

As for the third unity, which is that of action, the ancients meant no other by it than what the logicians do by their _finis_, the end or scope of any action; that which is the first in intention, and last in execution. Now the poet is to aim at one great and complete action, to the carrying on of which all things in his play, even the very obstacles, are to be subservient; and the reason of this is as evident as any of the former.

For two actions equally laboured and driven on by the writer, would destroy the unity of the poem; it would be no longer one play, but two: not but that there may be many actions in a play, as Ben Jonson has observed in his "Discoveries;"[117] but they must be all subservient to the great one, which our language happily expresses in the name of under-plots: such as in Terence's "Eunuch" is the difference and reconcilement of Thais and Phædria, which is not the chief business of the play, but promotes the marriage of Chærea and Chremes's sister, principally intended by the poet. There ought to be but one action, says Corneille, that is, one complete action, which leaves the mind of the audience in a full repose; but this cannot be brought to pass, but by many other imperfect actions, which conduce to it, and hold the audience in a delightful suspense of what will be.

If by these rules (to omit many other drawn from the precepts and practice of the ancients) we should judge our modern plays, 'tis probable, that few of them would endure the trial: that which should be the business of a day, takes up in some of them an age; instead of one action, they are the epitomes of a man's life; and for one spot of ground (which the stage should represent) we are sometimes in more countries than the map can show us.

But if we allow the ancients to have contrived well, we must acknowledge them to have written better. Questionless we are deprived of a great stock of wit in the loss of Menander among the Greek poets, and of Cæcilius, Afranius, and Varius, among the Romans. We may guess at Menander's excellency, by the plays of Terence, who translated some of his; and yet wanted so much of him, that he was called by C. Cæsar the half-Menander; and may judge of Varius, by the testimonies of Horace, Martial, and Velleius Paterculus. 'Tis probable that these, could they be recovered, would decide the controversy; but so long as Aristophanes and Plautus are extant, while the tragedies of Euripides, Sophocles, and Seneca, are in our hands, I can never see one of those plays which are now written, but it increases my admiration of the ancients. And yet I must acknowledge further, that to admire them as we ought, we should understand them better than we do. Doubtless many things appear flat to us, the wit of which depended on some custom or story, which never came to our knowledge; or perhaps on some criticism in their language, which being so long dead, and only remaining in their books, 'tis not possible they should make us understand perfectly. To read Macrobius, explaining the propriety and elegancy of many words in Virgil, which I had before passed over without consideration, as common things, is enough to assure me, that I ought to think the same of Terence; and that in the purity of his style, (which Tully so much valued, that he ever carried his works about him,) there is yet left in him great room for admiration, if I knew but where to place it. In the mean time, I must desire you to take notice, that the greatest man of the last age (Ben Jonson) was willing to give place to them in all things: he was not only a professed imitator of Horace, but a learned plagiary of all the others; you track him every where in their snow. If Horace, Lucan, Petronius Arbiter, Seneca, and Juvenal, had their own from him, there are few serious thoughts which are new in him: you will pardon me, therefore, if I presume he loved their fashion, when he wore their clothes.[118] But since I have otherwise a great veneration for him, and you, Eugenius, prefer him above all other poets,[119] I will use no farther argument to you than his example: I will produce before you father Ben, dressed in all the ornaments and colours of the ancients; you will need no other guide to our party, if you follow him; and whether you consider the bad plays of our age, or regard the good plays of the last, both the best and worst of the modern poets will equally instruct you to admire the ancients.

Crites had no sooner left speaking, but Eugenius, who had waited with some impatience for it, thus began:--

I have observed in your speech, that the former part of it is convincing, as to what the moderns have profited by the rules of the ancients; but in the latter you are careful to conceal how much they have excelled them. We own all the helps we have from them, and want neither veneration nor gratitude, while we acknowledge, that to overcome them we must make use of the advantages we have received from them: but to these assistances we have joined our own industry; for, had we sat down with a dull imitation of them, we might then have lost somewhat of the old perfection, but never acquired any that was new. We draw not therefore after their lines, but those of nature; and having the life before us, besides the experience of all they knew, it is no wonder if we hit some airs and features which they have missed. I deny not what you urge of arts and sciences, that they have flourished in some ages more than others; but your instance in philosophy makes for me: for if natural causes be more known now than in the time of Aristotle, because more studied, it follows, that poesy and other arts may, with the same pains, arrive still nearer to perfection; and, that granted, it will rest for you to prove, that they wrought more perfect images of human life, than we; which seeing in your discourse you have avoided to make good, it shall now be my task to shew you some part of their defects, and some few excellencies of the moderns. And I think there is none among us can imagine I do it enviously, or with purpose to detract from them; for what interest of fame or profit can the living lose by the reputation of the dead? On the other side, it is a great truth which Velleius Paterculus affirms: _Audita visis libentius laudamus; et præsentia invidiâ, præterita admiratione prosequimur; et his nos obrui, illis instrui credimus_: that praise or censure is certainly the most sincere, which unbribed posterity shall give us.

Be pleased then, in the first place, to take notice, that the Greek poesy, which Crites has affirmed to have arrived to perfection in the reign of the old comedy, was so far from it, that the distinction of it into acts was not known to them; or if it were, it is yet so darkly delivered to us, that we cannot make it out.

All we know of it is, from the singing of their chorus; and that too is so uncertain, that in some of their plays we have reason to conjecture they sung more than five times. Aristotle indeed divides the integral parts of a play into four. First, the _Protasis_, or entrance, which gives light only to the characters of the persons, and proceeds very little into any part of the action. Secondly, the _Epitasis_, or working up of the plot; where the play grows warmer, the design or action of it is drawing on, and you see something promising that it will come to pass. Thirdly, the _Catastasis_, called by the Romans, _Status_, the height and full growth of the play: we may call it properly the counter-turn, which destroys that expectation, embroils the action in new difficulties, and leaves you far distant from that hope in which it found you; as you may have observed in a violent stream, resisted by a narrow passage,--it runs round to an eddy, and carries back the waters with more swiftness than it brought them on. Lastly, the _Catastrophe_, which the Grecians called λυσις, the French _le denouement_, and we the discovery, or unravelling of the plot: there you see all things settling again upon their first foundations, and, the obstacles which hindered the design or action of the play once removed, it ends with that resemblance of truth and nature, that the audience are satisfied with the conduct of it. Thus this great man delivered to us the image of a play; and I must confess it is so lively, that from thence much light has been derived to the forming it more perfectly into acts and scenes: but what poet first limited to five the number of the acts, I know not; only we see it so firmly established in the time of Horace, that he gives it for a rule in comedy,--_Neu brevior quinto, neu sit productior actu_. So that you see the Grecians cannot be said to have consummated this art; writing rather by entrances, than by acts, and having rather a general indigested notion of a play, than knowing how, and where to bestow the particular graces of it.

But since the Spaniards at this day allow but three acts, which they call _Jornadas_, to a play, and the Italians in many of theirs follow them, when I condemn the ancients, I declare it is not altogether because they have not five acts to every play, but because they have not confined themselves to one certain number: it is building an house without a model; and when they succeeded in such undertakings, they ought to have sacrificed to Fortune, not to the Muses.

Next, for the plot, which Aristotle called τὸ μυθὸς, and often των πραγμάτων συ΄νθεσις, and from him the Romans _Fabula_, it has already been judiciously observed by a late writer, that in their tragedies it was only some tale derived from Thebes or Troy, or at least something that happened in those two ages; which was worn so thread-bare by the pens of all the epic poets, and even by tradition itself of the talkative Greeklings, (as Ben Jonson calls them,) that before it came upon the stage, it was already known to all the audience; and the people, so soon as ever they heard the name of Œdipus, knew as well as the poet, that he had killed his father by a mistake, and committed incest with his mother, before the play; that they were now to hear of a great plague, an oracle, and the ghost of Laius: so that they sate with a yawning kind of expectation, till he was to come with his eyes pulled out, and speak a hundred or more verses in a tragic tone, in complaint of his misfortunes. But one Œdipus, Hercules, or Medea, had been tolerable; poor people, they escaped not so good cheap; they had still the _chapon bouillé_ set before them, till their appetites were cloyed with the same dish, and, the novelty being gone, the pleasure vanished; so that one main end of Dramatic Poesy in its definition, which was to cause delight, was of consequence destroyed.[120]

In their comedies, the Romans generally borrowed their plots from the Greek poets; and theirs was commonly a little girl stolen or wandered from her parents, brought back unknown to the city, there got with child by some lewd young fellow, who, by the help of his servant, cheats his father; and when her time comes, to cry--_Juno Lucina, fer opem_, one or other sees a little box or cabinet which was carried away with her, and so discovers her to her friends, if some god do not prevent it, by coming down in a machine, and taking the thanks of it to himself.

By the plot you may guess much of the characters of the persons. An old father, who would willingly, before he dies, see his son well married; his debauched son, kind in his nature to his mistress, but miserably in want of money; a servant or slave, who has so much wit to strike in with him, and help to dupe his father; a braggadocio captain, a parasite, and a lady of pleasure.

As for the poor honest maid, on whom the story is built, and who ought to be one of the principal actors in the play, she is commonly a mute in it: she has the breeding of the old Elizabeth way, which was for maids to be seen, and not to be heard; and it is enough you know she is willing to be married, when the fifth act requires it.

These are plots built after the Italian mode of houses,--you see through them all at once: the characters are indeed the imitations of nature, but so narrow, as if they had imitated only an eye or an hand, and did not dare to venture on the lines of a face, or the proportion of a body.

But in how straight a compass soever they have bounded their plots and characters, we will pass it by, if they have regularly pursued them, and perfectly observed those three unities of time, place, and action; the knowledge of which you say is derived to us from them. But, in the first place, give me leave to tell you, that the unity of place, however it might be practised by them, was never any of their rules: we neither find it in Aristotle, Horace, or any who have written of it, till in our age the French poets first made it a precept of the stage. The unity of time, even Terence himself, who was the best and most regular of them, has neglected: his "_Heautontimorumenos_," or Self-punisher, takes up visibly two days, says Scaliger; the two first acts concluding the first day, the three last the day ensuing; and Euripides, in tying himself to one day, has committed an absurdity never to be forgiven him; for in one of his tragedies he has made Theseus go from Athens to Thebes, which was about forty English miles, under the walls of it to give battle, and appear victorious in the next act; and yet, from the time of his departure to the return of the Nuntius, who gives the relation of his victory, Æthra and the Chorus have but thirty-six verses; which is not for every mile a verse.

The like error is as evident in Terence his "Eunuch," when Laches, the old man, enters by mistake into the house of Thais; where, betwixt his exit, and the entrance of Pythias, who comes to give ample relation of the disorders he has raised within, Parmeno, who was left upon the stage, has not above five lines to speak. _C'est bien employer un temps si court_, says the French poet, who furnished me with one of the observations: and almost all their tragedies will afford us examples of the like nature.

It is true, they have kept the continuity, or, as you called it, _liaison des Scenes_, somewhat better: two do not perpetually come in together, talk, and go out together; and other two succeed them, and do the same throughout the act, which the English call by the name of single scenes; but the reason is, because they have seldom above two or three scenes, properly so called, in every act; for it is to be accounted a new scene, not only every time the stage is empty, but every person who enters, though to others, makes it so; because he introduces a new business. Now the plots of their plays being narrow, and the persons few, one of their acts was written in a less compass than one of our well-wrought scenes; and yet they are often deficient even in this. To go no farther than Terence, you find in the "Eunuch," Antipho entering single in the midst of the third act, after Chremes and Pythias were gone off: in the same play you have likewise Dorias beginning the fourth act alone; and after she has made a relation of what was done at the Soldier's entertainment, (which by the way was very inartificial, because she was presumed to speak directly to the audience, and to acquaint them with what was necessary to be known, but yet should have been so contrived by the poet, as to have been told by persons of the drama to one another, and so by them to have come to the knowledge of the people,) she quits the stage, and Phædria enters next, alone likewise: he also gives you an account of himself, and of his returning from the country, in monologue; to which unnatural way of narration Terence is subject in all his plays. In his "Adelphi, or Brothers," Syrus and Demea enter after the scene was broken by the departure of Sostrata, Geta, and Canthara; and indeed you can scarce look into any of his comedies, where you will not presently discover the same interruption.

But as they have failed both in laying of their plots, and in the management, swerving from the rules of their own art, by misrepresenting nature to us, in which they have ill satisfied one intention of a play, which was delight; so in the instructive part they have erred worse: instead of punishing vice, and rewarding virtue, they have often shewn a prosperous wickedness, and an unhappy piety: they have set before us a bloody image of revenge in Medea, and given her dragons to convey her safe from punishment. A Priam and Astyanax murdered, and Cassandra ravished, and the lust and murder ending in the victory of him who acted them. In short, there is no indecorum in any of our modern plays, which, if I would excuse, I could not shadow with some authority from the ancients.

And one farther note of them let me leave you: tragedies and comedies were not writ then as they are now, promiscuously, by the same person; but he who found his genius bending to the one, never attempted the other way. This is so plain, that I need not instance to you, that Aristophanes, Plautus, Terence, never any of them writ a tragedy; Æschylus, Euripides, Sophocles, and Seneca, never meddled with comedy: the sock and buskin were not worn by the same poet. Having then so much care to excel in one kind, very little is to be pardoned them, if they miscarried in it; and this would lead me to the consideration of their wit, had not Crites given me sufficient warning not to be too bold in my judgment of it; because, the languages being dead, and many of the customs and little accidents on which it depended, lost to us, we are not competent judges of it. But though I grant, that here and there we may miss the application of a proverb or a custom, yet a thing well said will be wit in all languages; and though it may lose something in the translation, yet to him who reads it in the original, 'tis still the same; he has an idea of its excellency, though it cannot pass from his mind into any other expression or words than those in which he finds it. When Phædria in the "Eunuch" had a command from his mistress to be absent two days, and encouraging himself to go through with it, said, _Tandem ego non illâ caream, si sit opus, vel totum triduum?_ Parmeno, to mock the softness of his master, lifting up his hands and eyes, cries out, as it were in admiration, _Hui! universum triduum!_ the elegancy of which _universum_, though it cannot be rendered in our language, yet leaves an impression on our souls. But this happens seldom in him; in Plautus oftener, who is infinitely too bold in his metaphors and coining words, out of which many times his wit is nothing; which questionless was one reason why Horace falls upon him so severely in those verses:

_Sed proavi nostri Plautinos et numeros, et Laudavere sales, nimium patienter utrumque, Ne dicam stolide_.[121]

For Horace himself was cautious to obtrude a new word on his readers, and makes custom and common use the best measure of receiving it into writings:

_Multa renascentur quæ nunc [jam] cecidere, cadentque Quæ nunc sunt in honore vocabula, si volet usus, Quem penes arbitrium est, et jus, et norma loquendi_.

The not observing this rule is that which the world has blamed in our satyrist, Cleiveland; to express a thing hard and unnaturally, is his new way of elocution. It is true, no poet but may sometimes use a catachresis; Virgil does it,--

_Mistaque ridenti colocasia fundet acantho_,--

in his eclogue of Pollio; and in his seventh[122] Æneid,

----_mirantur et undæ, Miratur nemus, insuetum fulgentia longe Scuta virum fluvio, pictasque innare carinas_.

And Ovid once so modestly, that he asks leave to do it:

----_[quem] si verbo audacia detur, Haud metuam summi dixisse Palatia cœli_.

calling the court of Jupiter by the name of Augustus his palace; though in another place he is more bold, where he says, _Et longas visent Capitolia pompas_.[123] But to do this always, and never be able to write a line without it, though it may be admired by some few pedants, will not pass upon those who know that wit is best conveyed to us in the most easy language; and is most to be admired when a great thought comes dressed in words so commonly received, that it is understood by the meanest apprehensions, as the best meat is the most easily digested. But we cannot read a verse of Cleiveland's without making a face at it, as if every word were a pill to swallow: He gives us many times a hard nut to break our teeth, without a kernel for our pains. So that there is this difference betwixt his satires and Doctor Donne's, that the one gives us deep thoughts in common language, though rough cadence; the other gives us common thoughts in abstruse words. It is true, in some places his wit is independent of his words, as in that of the rebel Scot:

Had Cain been Scot, God would have changed his doom; Not forced him wander, but confined him home.[124]

_Si sic omnia dixisset!_ This is wit in all languages: it is like mercury, never to be lost or killed:--and so that other,

For beauty, like white-powder, makes no noise, And yet the silent hypocrite destroys.

You see the last line is highly metaphorical, but it is so soft and gentle, that it does not shock us as we read it.

But, to return from whence I have digressed, to the consideration of the ancients' writing, and their wit; of which, by this time, you will grant us in some measure to be fit judges. Though I see many excellent thoughts in Seneca, yet he, of them who had a genius most proper for the stage, was Ovid; he had a way of writing so fit to stir up a pleasing admiration and concernment, which are the objects of a tragedy, and to shew the various movements of a soul combating betwixt two different passions, that had he lived in our age, or in his own could have writ with our advantages, no man but must have yielded to him; and therefore I am confident the "Medea" is none of his; for though I esteem it for the gravity and sententiousness of it, which he himself concludes to be suitable to a tragedy,--_Omne genus scripti gravitate Tragœdia vincit_,--yet it moves not my soul enough to judge that he, who in the epic way wrote things so near the drama, as the story of Myrrha, of Caunus and Biblis, and the rest, should stir up no more concernment where he most endeavoured it.[125] The master-piece of Seneca I hold to be that scene in the "Troades," where Ulysses is seeking for Astyanax to kill him: there you see the tenderness of a mother, so represented in Andromache, that it raises compassion to a high degree in the reader, and bears the nearest resemblance of any thing in the tragedies of the ancients, to the excellent scenes of passion in Shakespeare, or in Fletcher.--For love-scenes you will find few among them; their tragic poets dealt not with that soft passion, but with lust, cruelty, revenge, ambition, and those bloody actions they produced; which were more capable of raising horror than compassion in an audience: leaving love untouched, whose gentleness would have tempered them, which is the most frequent of all the passions, and which, being the private concernment of every person, is soothed by viewing its own image in a public entertainment.

Among their comedies, we find a scene or two of tenderness, and that where you would least expect it, in Plautus; but to speak generally, their lovers say little, when they see each other, but _anima mea, vita mea_; ζωὴ και ψυχῆ, as the women in Juvenal's time used to cry out in the fury of their kindness. Any sudden gust of passion (as an ecstasy of love in an unexpected meeting) cannot better be expressed than in a word, and a sigh, breaking one another. Nature is dumb on such occasions; and to make her speak, would be to represent her unlike herself. But there are a thousand other concernments of lovers, as jealousies, complaints, contrivances, and the like, where not to open their minds at large to each other, were to be wanting to their own love, and to the expectation of the audience; who watch the movements of their minds, as much as the changes of their fortunes. For the imagining of the first is properly the work of a poet; the latter he borrows from the historian.

Eugenius was proceeding in that part of his discourse, when Crites interrupted him. I see, said he, Eugenius and I are never like to have this question decided betwixt us; for he maintains, the moderns have acquired a new perfection in writing, I can only grant they have altered the mode of it, Homer described his heroes men of great appetites, lovers of beef broiled upon the coals, and good fellows; contrary to the practice of the French romances, whose heroes neither eat, nor drink, nor sleep, for love. Virgil makes Æneas a bold avower of his own virtues:

_Sum pius Æneas famâ super æthera notus_;

which, in the civility of our poets, is the character of a fanfaron, or Hector: for with us the knight takes occasion to walk out, or sleep, to avoid the vanity of telling his own story, which the trusty squire is ever to perform for him. So in their love-scenes, of which Eugenius spoke last, the ancients were more hearty, we more talkative: they writ love as it was then the mode to make it; and I will grant this much to Eugenius, that perhaps one of their poets, had he lived in our age,

_Si foret hoc nostrum fato delapsus in ævum_,

as Horace says of Lucilius, he had altered many things; not that they were not natural before, but that he might accommodate himself to the age in which he lived. Yet in the mean time we are not to conclude any thing rashly against those great men, but preserve to them the dignity of masters, and give that honour to their memories,--_quos Libitina sacravit_,--part of which we expect may be paid to us in future times.

This moderation of Crites, as it was pleasing to all the company, so it put an end to that dispute; which Eugenius, who seemed to have the better of the argument, would urge no farther. But Lisideius, after he had acknowledged himself of Eugenius his opinion concerning the ancients, yet told him, he had forborne, till his discourse were ended, to ask him, why he preferred the English plays above those of other nations? and whether we ought not to submit our stage to the exactness of our next neighbours?

Though, said Eugenius, I am at all times ready to defend the honour of my country against the French, and to maintain, we are as well able to vanquish them with our pens, as our ancestors have been with their swords; yet, if you please, added he, looking upon Neander, I will commit this cause to my friend's management; his opinion of our plays is the same with mine: and besides, there is no reason, that Crites and I, who have now left the stage, should re-enter so suddenly upon it; which is against the laws of comedy.

If the question had been stated, replied Lisideius, who had writ best, the French or English, forty years ago, I should have been of your opinion, and adjudged the honour to our own nation; but since that time, (said he, turning towards Neander,) we have been so long together bad Englishmen, that we had not leisure to be good poets. Beaumont, Fletcher, and Jonson, (who were only capable of bringing us to that degree of perfection which we have,) were just then leaving the world; as if in an age of so much horror, wit, and those milder studies of humanity, had no farther business among us. But the muses, who ever follow peace, went to plant in another country: it was then that the great Cardinal of Richelieu began to take them into his protection; and that, by his encouragement, Corneille, and some other Frenchmen, reformed their theatre, which before was as much below ours, as it now surpasses it and the rest of Europe. But because Crites, in his discourse for the ancients, has prevented me, by observing many rules of the stage, which the moderns have borrowed from them, I shall only, in short, demand of you, whether you are not convinced that of all nations the French have best observed them? In the unity of time you find them so scrupulous, that it yet remains a dispute among their poets, whether the artificial day of twelve hours, more or less, be not meant by Aristotle, rather than the natural one of twenty-four; and consequently, whether all plays ought not to be reduced into that compass. This I can testify, that in all their dramas writ within these last twenty years and upwards, I have not observed any that have extended the time to thirty hours. In the unity of place they are full as scrupulous; for many of their critics limit it to that very spot of ground where the play is supposed to begin; none of them exceed the compass of the same town or city.

The unity of action in all their plays is yet more conspicuous; for they do not burden them with under-plots, as the English do: which is the reason why many scenes of our tragi-comedies carry on a design that is nothing of kin to the main plot; and that we see two distinct webs in a play, like those in ill-wrought stuffs; and two actions, that is, two plays, carried on together, to the confounding of the audience; who, before they are warm in their concernments for one part, are diverted to another; and by that means espouse the interest of neither. From hence likewise it arises, that the one half of our actors are not known to the other. They keep their distances, as if they were Montagues and Capulets, and seldom begin an acquaintance till the last scene of the fifth act, when they are all to meet upon the stage. There is no theatre in the world has any thing so absurd as the English tragi-comedy; it is a drama of our own invention, and the fashion of it is enough to proclaim it so; here a course of mirth, there another of sadness and passion, and a third of honour and a duel: thus, in two hours and a half we run through all the fits of Bedlam. The French affords you as much variety on the same day, but they do it not so unseasonably, or _mal à propos_, as we: our poets present you the play and the farce together; and our stages still retain somewhat of the original civility of the Red Bull:[126]

_Atque ursum et pugiles media inter carmina poscunt_.

The end of tragedies or serious plays, says Aristotle, is to beget admiration, compassion, or concernment; but are not mirth and compassion things incompatible? and is it not evident, that the poet must of necessity destroy the former by intermingling of the latter? that is, he must ruin the sole end and object of his tragedy, to introduce somewhat that is forced into it, and is not of the body of it. Would you not think that physician mad, who, having prescribed a purge, should immediately order you to take restringents?

But to leave our plays, and return to theirs. I have noted one great advantage they have had in the plotting of their tragedies; that is, they are always grounded upon some known history: according to that of Horace, _Ex noto fictum carmen sequar_; and in that they have so imitated the ancients, that they have surpassed them. For the ancients, as was observed before, took for the foundation of their plays some poetical fiction, such as under that consideration could move but little concernment in the audience, because they already knew the event of it. But the French goes farther:

_Atque ita mentitur, sic veris falsa remiscet, Primo ne medium, medio ne discrepet imum_.

He so interweaves truth with probable fiction, that he puts a pleasing fallacy upon us, mends the intrigues of fate, and dispenses with the severity of history, to reward that virtue which has been rendered to us there unfortunate. Sometimes the story has left the success so doubtful, that the writer is free, by the privilege of a poet, to take that which of two or more relations will best suit with his design: as for example, in the death of Cyrus, whom Justin and some others report to have perished in the Scythian war, but Xenophon affirms to have died in his bed of extreme old age. Nay more, when the event is past dispute, even then we are willing to be deceived, and the poet, if he contrives it with appearance of truth, has all the audience of his party; at least during the time his play is acting: so naturally we are kind to virtue, when our own interest is not in question, that we take it up as the general concernment of mankind. On the other side, if you consider the historical plays of Shakespeare, they are rather so many chronicles of kings, or the business many times of thirty or forty years, cramped into a representation of two hours and a half; which is not to imitate or paint nature, but rather to draw her in miniature, to take her in little; to look upon her through the wrong end of a perspective, and receive her images not only much less, but infinitely more imperfect than the life: this, instead of making a play delightful, renders it ridiculous:

_Quodcunque ostendis mihi sic, incredulus odi_.

For the spirit of man cannot be satisfied but with truth, or at least verisimility; and a poem is to contain, if not τὰ ἐτυμα, yet ἐτύμοισιν ὁμοῖα, as one of the Greek poets has expressed it.

Another thing in which the French differ from us and from the Spaniards, is, that they do not embarrass, or cumber themselves with too much plot; they only represent so much of a story as will constitute one whole and great action sufficient for a play: we, who undertake more, do but multiply adventures; which, not being produced from one another, as effects from causes, but barely following, constitute many actions in the drama, and consequently make it many plays.

But by pursuing closely one argument, which is not cloyed with many turns, the French have gained more liberty for verse, in which they write: they have leisure to dwell on a subject which deserves it; and to represent the passions, (which we have acknowledged to be the poet's work,) without being hurried from one thing to another, as we are in the plays of Calderon, which we have seen lately upon our theatres, under the name of Spanish plots. I have taken notice but of one tragedy of ours, whose plot has that uniformity and unity of design in it, which I have commended in the French; and that is "Rollo,"[127] or rather, under the name of Rollo, the story of Bassianus and Geta in Herodian: there indeed the plot is neither large nor intricate, but just enough to fill the minds of the audience, not to cloy them. Besides, you see it founded upon the truth of history,--only the time of the action is not reduceable to the strictness of the rules; and you see in some places a little farce mingled, which is below the dignity of the other parts; and in this all our poets are extremely peccant: even Ben Jonson himself, in "Sejanus" and "Catiline," has given us this olio of a play, this unnatural mixture of comedy and tragedy, which to me sounds just as ridiculously as the history of David with the merry humours of Goliah. In "Sejanus" you may take notice of the scene betwixt Livia and the physician, which is a pleasant satire upon the artificial helps of beauty: in "Catiline" you may see the parliament of women; the little envies of them to one another; and all that passes betwixt Curio and Fulvia: scenes admirable in their kind, but of an ill mingle with the rest.

But I return again to the French writers, who, as I have said, do not burden themselves too much with plot, which has been reproached to them by an ingenious person of our nation[128] as a fault; for he says, they commonly make but one person considerable in a play; they dwell on him, and his concernments, while the rest of the persons are only subservient to set him off. If he intends this by it,--that there is one person in the play who is of greater dignity than the rest, he must tax, not only theirs, but those of the ancients, and, which he would be loth to do, the best of ours; for it is impossible but that one person must be more conspicuous in it than any other, and consequently the greatest share in the action must devolve on him. We see it so in the management of all affairs; even in the most equal aristocracy, the balance cannot be so justly poised, but some one will be superior to the rest, either in parts, fortune, interest, or the consideration of some glorious exploit; which will reduce the greatest part of business into his hands.

But, if he would have us to imagine, that in exalting one character the rest of them are neglected, and that all of them have not some share or other in the action of the play, I desire him to produce any of Corneille's tragedies, wherein every person (like so many servants in a well-governed family) has not some employment, and who is not necessary to the carrying on of the plot, or at least to your understanding it.

There are indeed some protatic persons in the ancients, whom they make use of in their plays, either to hear, or give the relation: but the French avoid this with great address, making their narrations only to, or by such, who are some way interested in the main design. And now I am speaking of relations, I cannot take a fitter opportunity to add this in favour of the French, that they often use them with better judgment and more _á propos_ than the English do. Not that I commend narrations in general,--but there are two sorts of them; one, of those things which are antecedent to the play, and are related to make the conduct of it more clear to us; but it is a fault to chuse such subjects for the stage as will force us on that rock, because we see they are seldom listened to by the audience, and that is many times the ruin of the play; for, being once let pass without attention, the audience can never recover themselves to understand the plot; and indeed it is somewhat unreasonable, that they should be put to so much trouble, as, that to comprehend what passes in their sight, they must have recourse to what was done, perhaps, ten or twenty years ago.

But there is another sort of relations, that is, of things happening in the action of the play, and supposed to be done behind the scenes; and this is many times both convenient and beautiful: for, by it the French avoid the tumult to which we are subject in England, by representing duels, battles, and the like; which renders our stage too like the theatres where they fight prizes. For what is more ridiculous than to represent an army with a drum and five men behind it; all which, the hero of the other side is to drive in before him? or to see a duel fought, and one slain with two or three thrusts of the foils, which we know are so blunted, that we might give a man an hour to kill another in good earnest with them?

I have observed, that in all our tragedies the audience cannot forbear laughing when the actors are to die; it is the most comic part of the whole play. All passions may be lively represented on the stage, if to the well-writing of them the actor supplies a good commanded voice, and limbs that move easily, and without stiffness; but there are many actions which can never be imitated to a just height: dying especially is a thing which none but a Roman gladiator could naturally perform on the stage, when he did not imitate, or represent, but do it; and therefore it is better to omit the representation of it.

The words of a good writer, which describe it lively, will make a deeper impression of belief in us, than all the actor can insinuate into us, when he seems to fall dead before us; as a poet in the description of a beautiful garden, or a meadow, will please our imagination more than the place itself can please our sight. When we see death represented, we are convinced it is but fiction; but when we hear it related, our eyes (the strongest witnesses) are wanting, which might have undeceived us; and we are all willing to favour the slight when the poet does not too grossly impose on us. They, therefore, who imagine these relations would make no concernment in the audience, are deceived, by confounding them with the other, which are of things antecedent to the play: those are made often in cold blood, as I may say, to the audience; but these are warmed with our concernments, which were before awakened in the play. What the philosophers say of motion, that, when it is once begun, it continues of itself, and will do so to eternity, without some stop put to it, is clearly true on this occasion: the soul, being already moved with the characters and fortunes of those imaginary persons, continues going of its own accord; and we are no more weary to hear what becomes of them when they are not on the stage, than we are to listen to the news of an absent mistress. But it is objected, that if one part of the play may be related, then why not all? I answer, some parts of the action are more fit to be represented, some to be related. Corneille says judiciously, that the poet is not obliged to expose to view all particular actions which conduce to the principal: he ought to select such of them to be seen, which will appear with the greatest beauty, either by the magnificence of the show, or the vehemence of passions which they produce, or some other charm which they have in them, and let the rest arrive to the audience by narration. It is a great mistake in us to believe the French present no part of the action on the stage: every alteration or crossing of a design, every new-sprung passion, and turn of it, is a part of the action, and much the noblest, except we conceive nothing to be action till the players come to blows; as if the painting of the hero's mind were not more properly the poet's work, than the strength of his body. Nor does this any thing contradict the opinion of Horace, where he tells us,

_Segnius irritant animos demissa per aurem, Quam quæ sunt oculis subjecta fidelibus_.

For he says immediately after,

------------_Non tamen intus Digna geri promes in scenam_; multaq; _tolles Ex oculis, quæ mox narret facundia præsens_.

Among which many he recounts some:

_Nec pueros coram populo Medea trucidet, Aut in avem Progne mutetur, Cadmus in anguem_, &c.

That is, those actions which by reason of their cruelty will cause aversion in us, or by reason of their impossibility, unbelief, ought either wholly to be avoided by a poet, or only delivered by narration. To which we may have leave to add such as, to avoid tumult, (as was before hinted,) or to reduce the plot into a more reasonable compass of time, or for defect of beauty in them, are rather to be related than presented to the eye. Examples of all these kinds are frequent, not only among all the ancients, but in the best received of our English poets. We find Ben Jonson using them in his "Magnetic Lady," where one comes out from dinner, and relates the quarrels and disorders of it to save the undecent appearance of them on the stage, and to abbreviate the story: and this in express imitation of Terence, who had done the same before him in his "Eunuch," where Pythias makes the like relation of what had happened within at the Soldier's entertainment. The relations, likewise, of Sejanus's death, and the prodigies before it, are remarkable; the one of which was hid from sight to avoid the horror and tumult of the representation; the other, to shun the introducing of things impossible to be believed. In that excellent play, "The King and no King," Fletcher goes yet farther; for the whole unravelling of the plot is done by narration in the fifth act, after the manner of the ancients; and it moves great concernment in the audience, though it be only a relation of what was done many years before the play. I could multiply other instances, but these are sufficient to prove, that there is no error in chusing a subject which requires this sort of narrations; in the ill management of them, there may.

But I find I have been too long in this discourse, since the French have many other excellencies not common to us; as that you never see any of their plays end with a conversion, or simple change of will, which is the ordinary way which our poets use to end theirs. It shews little art in the conclusion of a dramatic poem, when they who have hindered the felicity during the four acts, desist from it in the fifth, without some powerful cause to take them off their design; and though I deny not but such reasons may be found, yet it is a path that is cautiously to be trod, and the poet is to be sure he convinces the audience, that the motive is strong enough.[129] As for example, the conversion of the Usurer in "The Scornful Lady," seems to me a little forced; for, being an usurer, which implies a lover of money to the highest degree of covetousness, (and such the poet has represented him,) the account he gives for the sudden change is, that he has been duped by the wild young fellow; which in reason might render him more wary another time, and make him punish himself with harder fare and coarser clothes to get up again what he had lost: but that he should look on it as a judgment, and so repent, we may expect to hear in a sermon, but I should never endure it in a play.

I pass by this; neither will I insist on the care they take, that no person after his first entrance shall ever appear, but the business which brings him upon the stage shall be evident; which rule, if observed, must needs render all the events in the play more natural; for there you see the probability of every accident, in the cause that produced it; and that which appears chance in the play, will seem so reasonable to you, that you will there find it almost necessary: so that in the exit of the actor you have a clear account of his purpose and design in the next entrance; (though, if the scene be well wrought, the event will commonly deceive you;) for there is nothing so absurd, says Corneille, as for an actor to leave the stage, only because he has no more to say.

I should now speak of the beauty of their rhyme, and the just reason I have to prefer that way of writing in tragedies before ours in blank-verse; but because it is partly received by us, and therefore not altogether peculiar to them, I will say no more of it in relation to their plays. For our own, I doubt not but it will exceedingly beautify them; and I can see but one reason why it should not generally obtain, that is, because our poets write so ill in it. This indeed may prove a more prevailing argument than all others which are used to destroy it, and therefore I am only troubled when great and judicious poets, and those who are acknowledged such, have writ or spoke against it: as for others, they are to be answered by that one sentence of an ancient author:[130] _Sed ut primo ad consequendos eos quos priores ducimus, accendimur, ita ubi aut præteriri, aut æquari eos posse desperavimus, studium cum spe senescit: quod, scilicet, assequi non potest, sequi desinit;--prœteritoque eo in quo eminere non possumus, aliquid in quo nitamur, conquirimus_.

Lisideius concluded in this manner; and Neander, after a little pause, thus answered him:

I shall grant Lisideius, without much dispute, a great part of what he has urged against us; for I acknowledge, that the French contrive their plots more regularly, and observe the laws of comedy, and decorum of the stage, (to speak generally,) with more exactness than the English. Farther, I deny not but he has taxed us justly in some irregularities of ours, which he has mentioned; yet, after all, I am of opinion, that neither our faults, nor their virtues, are considerable enough to place them above us.

For the lively imitation of nature being in the definition of a play, those which best fulfil that law, ought to be esteemed superior to the others. 'Tis true, those beauties of the French poesy are such as will raise perfection higher where it is, but are not sufficient to give it where it is not: they are indeed the beauties of a statue, but not of a man, because not animated with the soul of poesy, which is imitation of humour and passions: and this Lisideius himself, or any other, however biassed to their party, cannot but acknowledge, if he will either compare the humours of our comedies, or the characters of our serious plays, with theirs. He who will look upon theirs which have been written till these last ten years, or thereabouts, will find it an hard matter to pick out two or three passable humours amongst them. Corneille himself, their arch-poet, what has he produced except "The Liar," and you know how it was cried up in France; but when it came upon the English stage, though well translated, and that part of Dorant acted[131] to so much advantage as I am confident it never received in its own country, the most favourable to it would not put it in competition with many of Fletcher's or Ben Jonson's. In the rest of Corneille's comedies you have little humour; he tells you himself, his way is, first to shew two lovers in good intelligence with each other; in the working up of the play, to embroil them by some mistake, and in the latter end to clear it, and reconcile them.

But of late years Moliere, the younger Corneille, Quinault, and some others, have been imitating afar off the quick turns and graces of the English stage. They have mixed their serious plays with mirth, like our tragi-comedies, since the death of Cardinal Richelieu,[132] which Lisideius, and many others, not observing, have commended that in them for a virtue, which they themselves no longer practise. Most of their new plays are, like some of ours, derived from the Spanish novels. There is scarce one of them without a veil, and a trusty Diego, who drolls much after the rate of the "Adventures."[133] But their humours, if I may grace them with that name, are so thin sown, that never above one of them comes up in any play. I dare take upon me to find more variety of them in some one play of Ben Jonson's, than in all theirs together: as he who has seen the "Alchemist," "The Silent Woman," or "Bartholomew Fair," cannot but acknowledge with me.

I grant the French have performed what was possible on the ground-work of the Spanish plays; what was pleasant before, they have made regular: but there is not above one good play to be writ on all those plots; they are too much alike to please often, which we need not the experience of our own stage to justify. As for their new way of mingling mirth with serious plot, I do not, with Lisideius, condemn the thing, though I cannot approve their manner of doing it. He tells us, we cannot so speedily recollect ourselves after a scene of great passion and concernment, as to pass to another of mirth and humour, and to enjoy it with any relish: but why should he imagine the soul of man more heavy than his senses? Does not the eye pass from an unpleasant object to a pleasant, in a much shorter time than is required to this? and does not the unpleasantness of the first commend the beauty of the latter? The old rule of logic might have convinced him, that contraries, when placed near, set off each other. A continued gravity keeps the spirit too much bent; we must refresh it sometimes, as we bait in a journey, that we may go on with greater ease. A scene of mirth, mixed with tragedy, has the same effect upon us which our music has betwixt the acts; which we find a relief to us from the best plots and language of the stage, if the discourses have been long. I must therefore have stronger arguments, ere I am convinced that compassion and mirth in the same subject destroy each other; and in the mean time, cannot but conclude, to the honour of our nation, that we have invented, increased, and perfected, a more pleasant way of writing for the stage, than was ever known to the ancients or moderns of any nation, which is tragi-comedy.

And this leads me to wonder why Lisideius and many others should cry up the barrenness of the French plots, above the variety and copiousness of the English. Their plots are single, they carry on one design, which is pushed forward by all the actors, every scene in the play contributing and moving towards it. Our plays, besides the main design, have under-plots, or by-concernments, of less considerable persons and intrigues, which are carried on with the motion of the main plot: as they say the orb of the fixed stars, and those of the planets, though they have motions of their own, are whirled about by the motion of the _primum mobile_, in which they are contained. That similitude expresses much of the English stage; for if contrary motions may be found in nature to agree; if a planet can go east and west at the same time;--one way by virtue of his own motion, the other by the force of the first mover;--it will not be difficult to imagine how the under-plot, which is only different, not contrary to the great design, may naturally be conducted along with it.

Eugenius has already shewn us, from the confession of the French poets, that the unity of action is sufficiently preserved, if all the imperfect actions of the play are conducing to the main design; but when those petty intrigues of a play are so ill ordered, that they have no coherence with the other, I must grant that Lisideius has reason to tax that want of due connection; for co-ordination in a play is as dangerous and unnatural as in a state. In the mean time he must acknowledge, our variety, if well ordered, will afford a greater pleasure to the audience.

As for his other argument, that by pursuing one single theme they gain an advantage to express and work up the passions, I wish any example he could bring from them would make it good; for I confess their verses are to me the coldest I have ever read. Neither, indeed, is it possible for them, in the way they take, so to express passion, as that the effects of it should appear in the concernment of an audience, their speeches being so many declamations, which tire us with the length; so that instead of persuading us to grieve for their imaginary heroes, we are concerned for our own trouble, as we are in tedious visits of bad company; we are in pain till they are gone. When the French stage came to be reformed by Cardinal Richelieu, those long harangues were introduced, to comply with the gravity of a churchman. Look upon the "Cinna" and the "Pompey;" they are not so properly to be called plays, as long discourses of reason of state; and "Polieucte" in matters of religion is as solemn as the long stops upon our organs. Since that time it is grown into a custom, and their actors speak by the hour-glass, like our parsons;[134] nay, they account it the grace of their parts, and think themselves disparaged by the poet, if they may not twice or thrice in a play entertain the audience with a speech of an hundred lines. I deny not but this may suit well enough with the French; for as we, who are a more sullen people, come to be diverted at our plays, so they, who are of an airy and gay temper, come thither to make themselves more serious: and this I conceive to be one reason, why comedies are more pleasing to us, and tragedies to them. But to speak generally: it cannot be denied, that short speeches and replies are more apt to move the passions, and beget concernment in us, than the other; for it is unnatural for any one, in a gust of passion, to speak long together; or for another, in the same condition, to suffer him without interruption. Grief and passion are like floods raised in little brooks by a sudden rain; they are quickly up, and if the concernment be poured unexpectedly in upon us, it overflows us: But a long sober shower gives them leisure to run out as they came in, without troubling the ordinary current. As for comedy, repartee is one of its chiefest graces; the greatest pleasure of the audience is a chace of wit, kept up on both sides, and swiftly managed. And this our forefathers, if not we, have had in Fletcher's plays, to a much higher degree of perfection, than the French poets can reasonably hope to reach.

There is another part of Lisideius's discourse, in which he has rather excused our neighbours, than commended them; that is, for aiming only to make one person considerable in their plays. It is very true what he has urged, that one character in all plays, even without the poet's care, will have advantage of all the others; and that the design of the whole drama will chiefly depend on it. But this hinders not that there may be more shining characters in the play: many persons of a second magnitude, nay, some so very near, so almost equal to the first, that greatness may be opposed to greatness, and all the persons be made considerable, not only by their quality, but their action. It is evident, that the more the persons are, the greater will be the variety of the plot. If then the parts are managed so regularly, that the beauty of the whole be kept entire, and that the variety become not a perplexed and confused mass of accidents, you will find it infinitely pleasing to be led in a labyrinth of design, where you see some of your way before you, yet discern not the end till you arrive at it. And that all this is practicable, I can produce for examples many of our English plays: As "The Maid's Tragedy," "The Alchemist," "The Silent Woman:" I was going to have named "The Fox," but that the unity of design seems not exactly observed in it; for there appear two actions in the play; the first naturally ending with the fourth act, the second forced from it in the fifth: which yet is the less to be condemned in him, because the disguise of Volpone, though it suited not with his character as a crafty or covetous person, agreed well enough with that of a voluptuary;[135] and by it the poet gained the end at which he aimed, the punishment of vice, and the reward of virtue, both which that disguise produced. So that to judge equally of it, it was an excellent fifth act, but not so naturally proceeding from the former.

But to leave this, and pass to the latter part of Lisideius's discourse, which concerns relations, I must acknowledge with him, that the French have reason to hide that part of the action which would occasion too much tumult on the stage, and to chuse rather to have it made known by narration to the audience. Farther, I think it very convenient, for the reasons he has given, that all incredible actions were removed; but, whether custom has so insinuated itself into our countrymen, or nature has so formed them to fierceness, I know not; but they will scarcely suffer combats and other objects of horror to be taken from them. And indeed, the indecency of tumults is all which can be objected against fighting: for why may not our imagination as well suffer itself to be deluded with the probability of it, as with any other thing in the play? For my part, I can with as great ease persuade myself, that the blows are given in good earnest, as I can, that they who strike them are kings or princes, or those persons which they represent. For objects of incredibility,--I would be satisfied from Lisideius, whether we have any so removed from all appearance of truth, as are those of Corneille's "Andromede;" a play which has been frequented the most of any he has writ. If the Perseus, or the son of an heathen god, the Pegasus, and the Monster, were not capable to choke a strong belief, let him blame any representation of ours hereafter. Those indeed were objects of delight; yet the reason is the same as to the probability; for he makes it not a ballet, or masque, but a play, which is to resemble truth. But for death, that it ought not to be represented, I have, besides the arguments alleged by Lisideius, the authority of Ben Jonson, who has forborne it in his tragedies; for both the death of Sejanus and Catiline are related; though, in the latter, I cannot but observe one irregularity of that great poet; he has removed the scene in the same act, from Rome to Catiline's army, and from thence again to Rome; and besides, has allowed a very considerable time after Catiline's speech, for the striking of the battle, and the return of Petreius, who is to relate the event of it to the senate; which I should not animadvert on him, who was otherwise a painful observer of τὸ πρεπὸν, or the _decorum_ of the stage, if he had not used extreme severity in his judgment on the incomparable Shakespeare for the same fault.[136] To conclude on this subject of relations, if we are to be blamed for shewing too much of the action, the French are as faulty for discovering too little of it; a mean betwixt both should be observed by every judicious writer, so as the audience may neither be left unsatisfied by not seeing what is beautiful, or shocked by beholding what is either incredible or undecent.

I hope I have already proved in this discourse, that though we are not altogether so punctual as the French, in observing the laws of comedy, yet our errors are so few, and little, and those things wherein we excel them so considerable, that we ought of right to be preferred before them. But what will Lisideius say, if they themselves acknowledge they are too strictly bounded by those laws, for breaking which he has blamed the English? I will allege Corneille's words, as I find them in the end of his Discourse of the three Unities: _Il est facile aux speculatifs d'estre severes_, &c. "It is easy for speculative persons to judge severely; but if they would produce to public view ten or twelve pieces of this nature, they would perhaps give more latitude to the rules than I have done, when, by experience, they had known how much we are limited and constrained by them, and how many beauties of the stage they banished from it." To illustrate a little what he has said:--by their servile observations of the unities of time and place, and integrity of scenes, they have brought on themselves that dearth of plot, and narrowness of imagination, which may be observed in all their plays. How many beautiful accidents might naturally happen in two or three days, which cannot arrive with any probability in the compass of twenty-four hours? There is time to be allowed also for maturity of design, which amongst great and prudent persons, such as are often represented in tragedy, cannot, with any likelihood of truth, be brought to pass at so short a warning. Farther, by tying themselves strictly to the unity of place, and unbroken scenes, they are forced many times to omit some beauties which cannot be shewn where the act began; but might, if the scene were interrupted, and the stage cleared for the persons to enter in another place; and therefore the French poets are often forced upon absurdities: for if the act begins in a chamber, all the persons in the play must have some business or other to come thither, or else they are not to be shewn that act; and sometimes their characters are very unfitting to appear there: as suppose it were the king's bed-chamber, yet the meanest man in the tragedy must come and dispatch his business there, rather than in the lobby, or court-yard, (which is fitter for him,) for fear the stage should be cleared, and the scenes broken. Many times they fall by it into a greater inconvenience; for they keep their scenes unbroken, and yet change the place; as in one of their newest plays, where the act begins in the street. There a gentleman is to meet his friend; he sees him with his man, coming out from his father's house; they talk together, and the first goes out: the second, who is a lover, has made an appointment with his mistress; she appears at the window, and then we are to imagine the scene lies under it. This gentleman is called away, and leaves his servant with his mistress: presently her father is heard from within; the young lady is afraid the serving-man should be discovered, and thrusts him into a place of safety, which is supposed to be her closet. After this, the father enters to the daughter, and now the scene is in a house: for he is seeking from one room to another for this poor Philipin, or French Diego, who is heard from within, drolling and breaking many a miserable conceit on the subject of his sad condition. In this ridiculous manner the play goes forward, the stage being never empty all the while: so that the street, the window, the two houses, and the closet, are made to walk about, and the persons to stand still. Now, what, I beseech you, is more easy than to write a regular French play, or more difficult than to write an irregular English one, like those of Fletcher, or of Shakespeare?

If they content themselves, as Corneille did, with some flat design, which, like an ill riddle, is found out ere it be half proposed, such plots we can make every way regular as easily as they; but whenever they endeavour to rise to any quick turns and counter-turns of plot, as some of them have attempted, since Corneille's plays have been less in vogue, you see they write as irregularly as we, though they cover it more speciously. Hence the reason is perspicuous, why no French plays, when translated, have, or ever can succeed on the English stage. For, if you consider the plots, our own are fuller of variety; if the writing, ours are more quick and fuller of spirit; and therefore 'tis a strange mistake in those who decry the way of writing plays in verse, as if the English therein imitated the French. We have borrowed nothing from them; our plots are weaved in English looms: we endeavour therein to follow the variety and greatness of characters, which are derived to us from Shakespeare and Fletcher; the copiousness and well-knitting of the intrigues we have from Jonson; and for the verse itself we have English precedents of elder date than any of Corneille's plays. Not to name our old comedies before Shakespeare, which were all writ in verse of six feet, or Alexandrines, such as the French now use,--[137] I can shew in Shakespeare, many scenes of rhyme together, and the like in Ben Jonson's tragedies: in "Catiline" and "Sejanus" sometimes thirty or forty lines,--I mean besides the chorus, or the monologues; which, by the way, shewed Ben no enemy to this way of writing, especially if you read his "Sad Shepherd," which goes sometimes on rhyme, sometimes on blank verse, like an horse who eases himself on trot and amble. You find him likewise commending Fletcher's pastoral of "The Faithful Shepherdess," which is for the most part rhyme, though not refined to that purity to which it hath since been brought. And these examples are enough to clear us from a servile imitation of the French.

But to return whence I have digressed: I dare boldly affirm these two things of the English drama;--First, that we have many plays of ours as regular as any of theirs, and which, besides, have more variety of plot and characters; and, secondly, that in most of the irregular plays of Shakespeare or Fletcher, (for Ben Jonson's are for the most part regular,) there is a more masculine fancy, and greater spirit in the writing, than there is in any of the French. I could produce even in Shakespeare's and Fletcher's works, some plays which are almost exactly formed; as the "Merry Wives of Windsor," and "The Scornful Lady:" but, because (generally speaking) Shakespeare, who writ first, did not perfectly observe the laws of comedy, and Fletcher, who came nearer to perfection, yet through carelessness made many faults; I will take the pattern of a perfect play from Ben Jonson, who was a careful and learned observer of the dramatic laws, and from all his comedies I shall select "The Silent Woman;" of which I will make a short examen, according to those rules which the French observe.

As Neander was beginning to examine "The Silent Woman," Eugenius, earnestly regarding him; I beseech you, Neander, said he, gratify the company, and me in particular, so far as, before you speak of the play, to give us a character of the author; and tell us frankly your opinion, whether you do not think all writers, both French and English, ought to give place to him?

I fear, replied Neander, that, in obeying your commands, I shall draw some envy on myself. Besides, in performing them, it will be first necessary to speak somewhat of Shakespeare and Fletcher, his rivals in poesy; and one of them, in my opinion, at least his equal, perhaps his superior.[138]

To begin then with Shakespeare. He was the man who of all modern, and perhaps ancient poets, had the largest and most comprehensive soul. All the images of nature were still present to him, and he drew them not laboriously, but luckily: when he describes any thing, you more than see it, you feel it too. Those who accuse him to have wanted learning, give him the greater commendation: he was naturally learned; he needed not the spectacles of books to read nature; he looked inwards, and found her there. I cannot say he is every where alike; were he so, I should do him injury to compare him with the greatest of mankind. He is many times flat, insipid; his comic wit degenerating into clenches, his serious swelling into bombast. But he is always great, when some great occasion is presented to him: no man can say, he ever had a fit subject for his wit, and did not then raise himself as high above the rest of poets,

_Quantum lenta solent inter viburna cupressi_.

The consideration of this made Mr Hales of Eton[139] say, that there was no subject of which any poet ever writ, but he would produce it much better done in Shakespeare; and however others are now generally preferred before him, yet the age wherein he lived, which had contemporaries with him, Fletcher and Jonson, never equalled them to him in their esteem: and in the last king's court, when Ben's reputation was at highest, Sir John Suckling, and with him the greater part of the courtiers, set our Shakespeare far above him.

Beaumont and Fletcher, of whom I am next to speak, had, with the advantage of Shakespeare's wit, which was their precedent, great natural gifts, improved by study; Beaumont especially being so accurate a judge of plays, that Ben Jonson, while he lived, submitted all his writings to his censure, and 'tis thought, used his judgment in correcting, if not contriving, all his plots. What value he had for him, appears by the verses he writ to him; and therefore I need speak no farther of it. The first play that brought Fletcher and him in esteem, was their "Philaster;" for before that, they had written two or three very unsuccessfully: as the like is reported of Ben Jonson, before he writ "Every Man in his Humour." Their plots were generally more regular than Shakespeare's, especially those which were made before Beaumont's death; and they understood and imitated the conversation of gentlemen much better; whose wild debaucheries, and quickness of wit in repartees, no poet before them could paint as they have done. Humour,[140] which Ben Jonson derived from particular persons, they made it not their business to describe: they represented all the passions very lively, but above all, love. I am apt to believe the English language in them arrived to its highest perfection; what words have since been taken in, are rather superfluous than ornamental. Their plays are now the most pleasant and frequent entertainments of the stage; two of theirs being acted through the year for one of Shakespeare's or Jonson's: the reason is, because there is a certain gaiety in their comedies, and pathos in their more serious plays, which suits generally with all men's humours. Shakespeare's language is likewise a little obsolete, and Ben Jonson's wit comes short of theirs.

As for Jonson, to whose character I am now arrived, if we look upon him while he was himself, (for his last plays were but his dotages,) I think him the most learned and judicious writer which any theatre ever had. He was a most severe judge of himself, as well as others. One cannot say he wanted wit, but rather that he was frugal of it. In his works you find little to retrench or alter. Wit and language, and humour also in some measure, we had before him; but something of art was wanting to the drama, till he came. He managed his strength to more advantage than any who preceded him. You seldom find him making love in any of his scenes, or endeavouring to move the passions; his genius was too sullen and saturnine to do it gracefully, especially when he knew he came after those who had performed both to such an height. Humour was his proper sphere; and in that he delighted most to represent mechanic people. He was deeply conversant in the ancients, both Greek and Latin, and he borrowed boldly from them: there is scarce a poet or historian among the Roman authors of those times, whom he has not translated in "Sejanus" and "Catiline." But he has done his robberies so openly, that one may see he fears not to be taxed by any law. He invades authors like a monarch; and what would be theft in other poets, is only victory in him. With the spoils of these writers he so represents old Rome to us, in its rites, ceremonies, and customs, that if one of their poets had written either of his tragedies, we had seen less of it than in him. If there was any fault in his language, it was, that he weaved it too closely and laboriously, in his comedies especially: perhaps too, he did a little too much Romanize our tongue, leaving the words which he translated almost as much Latin as he found them: wherein, though he learnedly followed their language, he did not enough comply with the idiom of ours. If I would compare him with Shakespeare, I must acknowledge him the more correct poet, but Shakespeare the greater wit.[141] Shakespeare was the Homer, or father of our dramatic poets; Jonson was the Virgil, the pattern of elaborate writing; I admire him, but I love Shakespeare. To conclude of him; as he has given us the most correct plays, so in the precepts which he has laid down in his "Discoveries," we have as many and profitable rules for perfecting the stage, as any wherewith the French can furnish us.

Having thus spoken of the author, I proceed to the examination of his comedy, "The Silent Woman."

_Examen of "The Silent Woman."_

To begin first with the length of the action; it is so far from exceeding the compass of a natural day, that it takes not up an artificial one. It is all included in the limits of three hours and an half, which is no more than is required for the presentment on the stage: a beauty perhaps not much observed; if it had, we should not have looked on the Spanish translation of "Five Hours" with so much wonder. The scene of it is laid in London; the latitude of place is almost as little as you can imagine; for it lies all within the compass of two houses, and after the first act, in one. The continuity of scenes is observed more than in any of our plays, except his own "Fox" and "Alchemist." They are not broken above twice, or thrice at most, in the whole comedy; and in the two best of Corneille's plays, the "Cid" and "Cinna," they are interrupted once. The action of the play is entirely one; the end or aim of which is the settling Morose's estate on Dauphine. The intrigue of it is the greatest and most noble of any pure unmixed comedy in any language: you see in it many persons of various characters and humours, and all delightful. As first, Morose, or an old man, to whom all noise, but his own talking, is offensive. Some, who would be thought critics, say this humour of his is forced: but to remove that objection, we may consider him first to be naturally of a delicate hearing, as many are to whom all sharp sounds are unpleasant; and secondly, we may attribute much of it to the peevishness of his age, or the wayward authority of an old man in his own house, where he may make himself obeyed; and to this the poet seems to allude in his name Morose. Beside this, I am assured from divers persons, that Ben Jonson was actually acquainted with such a man, one altogether as ridiculous as he is here represented. Others say, it is not enough to find one man of such an humour; it must be common to more, and the more common the more natural. To prove this, they instance in the best of comical characters, Falstaff. There are many men resembling him; old, fat, merry, cowardly, drunken, amorous, vain, and lying. But to convince these people, I need but tell them, that humour is the ridiculous extravagance of conversation, wherein one man differs from all others. If then it be common, or communicated to many, how differs it from other men's? or what indeed causes it to be ridiculous so much as the singularity of it? As for Falstaff, he is not properly one humour, but a miscellany of humours or images, drawn from so many several men: that wherein he is singular is his wit, or those things he says, _prœter expectatum_, unexpected by the audience; his quick evasions, when you imagine him surprised, which, as they are extremely diverting of themselves, so receive a great addition from his person; for the very sight of such an unwieldy old debauched fellow is a comedy alone. And here, having a place so proper for it, I cannot but enlarge somewhat upon this subject of humour into which I am fallen. The ancients had little of it in their comedies; for the τὸ γελοῖον of the old comedy, of which Aristophanes was chief, was not so much to imitate a man, as to make the people laugh at some odd conceit, which had commonly somewhat of unnatural or obscene in it. Thus, when you see Socrates brought upon the stage, you are not to imagine him made ridiculous by the imitation of his actions, but rather by making him perform something very unlike himself: something so childish and absurd, as by comparing it with the gravity of the true Socrates, makes a ridiculous object for the spectators. In their new comedy which succeeded, the poets sought indeed to express the ἦθος, as in their tragedies the πάθος of mankind. But this ἦθος contained only the general characters of men and manners; as old men, lovers, serving-men, courtezans, parasites, and such other persons as we see in their comedies; all which they made alike: that is, one old man or father, one lover, one courtezan, so like another, as if the first of them had begot the rest of every sort: _Ex homine hunc natum dicas_. The same custom they observed likewise in their tragedies. As for the French, though they have the word _humeur_ among them, yet they have small use of it in their comedies, or farces; they being but ill imitations of the _ridiculum_, or that which stirred up laughter in the old comedy. But among the English 'tis otherwise: where, by humour is meant some extravagant habit, passion, or affection, particular (as I said before) to some one person, by the oddness of which, he is immediately distinguished from the rest of men; which being lively and naturally represented, most frequently begets that malicious pleasure in the audience which is testified by laughter; as all things which are deviations from customs are ever the aptest to produce it: though by the way this laughter is only accidental, as the person represented is fantastic or bizarre; but pleasure is essential to it, as the imitation of what is natural. The description of these humours, drawn from the knowledge and observation of particular persons, was the peculiar genius and talent of Ben Jonson; to whose play I now return.

Besides Morose, there are at least nine or ten different characters and humours in the "Silent Woman;" all which persons have several concernments of their own, yet are all used by the poet, to the conducting of the main design to perfection. I shall not waste time in commending the writing of this play; but I will give you my opinion, that there is more wit and acuteness of fancy in it than in any of Ben Jonson's. Besides, that he has here described the conversation of gentlemen in the persons of True-Wit, and his friends, with more gaiety, air, and freedom, than in the rest of his comedies.[142] For the contrivance of the plot, 'tis extreme, elaborate, and yet withal easy; for the λύσις, or untying of it, 'tis so admirable, that when it is done, no one of the audience would think the poet could have missed it; and yet it was concealed so much before the last scene, that any other way would sooner have entered into your thoughts. But I dare not take upon me to commend the fabric of it, because it is altogether so full of art, that I must unravel every scene in it to commend it as I ought. And this excellent contrivance is still the more to be admired, because 'tis comedy where the persons are only of common rank, and their business private, not elevated by passions or high concernments, as in serious plays. Here every one is a proper judge of all he sees; nothing is represented but that with which he daily converses: so that by consequence all faults lie open to discovery, and few are pardonable. 'Tis this which Horace has judiciously observed:

_Creditur, ex medio quia res arcessit, habere Sudoris minimum; sed habet Comedia tanto Plus oneris, quanto veniæ minus_.

But our poet, who was not ignorant of these difficulties, has made use of all advantages; as he who designs a large leap, takes his rise from the highest ground. One of these advantages is that which Corneille has laid down as the greatest which can arrive to any poem, and which he himself could never compass above thrice in all his plays; viz. the making choice of some signal and long-expected day, whereon the action of the play is to depend. This day was that designed by Dauphine for the settling of his uncle's estate upon him; which, to compass, he contrives to marry him. That the marriage had been plotted by him long beforehand, is made evident, by what he tells True-Wit in the second act, that in one moment he had destroyed what he had been raising many months.

There is another artifice of the poet, which I cannot here omit, because by the frequent practice of it in his comedies, he has left it to us almost as a rule; that is, when he has any character or humour wherein he would shew a _coupe de maître_, or his highest skill, he recommends it to your observation, by a pleasant description of it before the person first appears. Thus, in "Bartholomew-Fair," he gives you the pictures of Numps and Cokes, and in this, those of Daw, Lafoole, Morose, and the Collegiate Ladies; all which you hear described before you see them. So that before they come upon the stage, you have a longing expectation of them, which prepares you to receive them favourably; and when they are there, even from their first appearance you are so far acquainted with them, that nothing of their humour is lost to you.

I will observe yet one thing further of this admirable plot; the business of it rises in every act. The second is greater than the first; the third than the second; and so forward to the fifth. There too you see, till the very last scene, new difficulties arising to obstruct the action of the play; and when the audience is brought into despair that the business can naturally be effected, then, and not before, the discovery is made. But that the poet might entertain you with more variety all this while, he reserves some new characters to shew you, which he opens not till the second and third act. In the second, Morose, Daw, the Barber, and Otter; in the third, the Collegiate Ladies; all which he moves afterwards in by-walks, or under-plots, as diversions to the main design, lest it should grow tedious, though they are still naturally joined with it, and somewhere or other subservient to it. Thus, like a skilful chess-player, by little and little he draws out his men, and makes his pawns of use to his greater persons.

If this comedy, and some others of his, were translated into French prose, (which would now be no wonder to them, since Moliere has lately given them plays out of verse, which have not displeased them,) I believe the controversy would soon be decided betwixt the two nations, even making them the judges.[143] But we need not call our heroes to our aid; be it spoken to the honour of the English, our nation can never want in any age such, who are able to dispute the empire of wit with any people in the universe. And though the fury of a civil war, and power, for twenty years together, abandoned to a barbarous race of men, enemies of all good learning, had buried the muses under the ruins of monarchy; yet, with the restoration of our happiness, we see revived poesy lifting up its head, and already shaking off the rubbish which lay so heavy on it. We have seen since his majesty's return, many dramatic poems which yield not to those of any foreign nation, and which deserve all laurels but the English. I will set aside flattery and envy; it cannot be denied but we have had some little blemish either in the plot or writing of all those plays which have been made within these seven years; and perhaps there is no nation in the world so quick to discern them, or so difficult to pardon them, as ours: yet if we can persuade ourselves to use the candour of that poet, who, though the most severe of critics, has left us this caution by which to moderate our censures--

----_ubi plura nitent in carmine, non ego paucis Offendar maculis_;----

if, in consideration of their many and great beauties, we can wink at some slight and little imperfections, if we, I say, can be thus equal to ourselves, I ask no favour from the French. And if I do not venture upon any particular judgment of our late plays, 'tis out of the consideration which an ancient writer gives me: _vivorum, ut magna admiratio, ita censura difficilis_: betwixt the extremes of admiration and malice, 'tis hard to judge uprightly of the living. Only I think it may be permitted me to say, that as it is no lessening to us to yield to some plays, and those not many, of our own nation, in the last age, so can it be no addition to pronounce of our present poets, that they have far surpassed all the ancients, and the modern writers of other countries.

This was the substance of what was then spoke on that occasion; and Lisideius, I think, was going to reply, when he was prevented thus by Crites:--I am confident, said he, that the most material things that can be said, have been already urged on either side; if they have not, I must beg of Lisideius, that he will defer his answer till another time: for I confess I have a joint quarrel to you both, because you have concluded, without any reason given for it, that rhyme is proper for the stage. I will not dispute how ancient it hath been among us to write this way; perhaps our ancestors knew no better till Shakespeare's time. I will grant it was not altogether left by him, and that Fletcher and Ben Jonson used it frequently in their pastorals, and sometimes in other plays. Farther, I will not argue whether we received it originally from our own countrymen, or from the French; for that is an inquiry of as little benefit as theirs, who, in the midst of the late plague, were not so solicitous to provide against it, as to know whether we had it from the malignity of our own air, or by transportation from Holland. I have therefore only to affirm, that it is not allowable in serious plays; for comedies, I find you already concluding with me. To prove this, I might satisfy myself to tell you, how much in vain it is for you to strive against the stream of the people's inclination; the greatest part of which are prepossessed so much with those excellent plays of Shakespeare, Fletcher, and Ben Jonson, which have been written out of rhyme, that except you could bring them such as were written better in it, and those too by persons of equal reputation with them, it will be impossible for you to gain your cause with them, who will still be judges. This it is to which, in fine, all your reasons must submit. The unanimous consent of an audience is so powerful, that even Julius Cæsar, (as Macrobius reports of him,) when he was perpetual dictator, was not able to balance it on the other side; but when Laberius, a Roman knight, at his request contended in the _Mime_ with another poet, he was forced to cry out, _Etiam favente me victus es, Laberi_. But I will not, on this occasion, take the advantage of the greater number, but only urge such reasons against rhyme, as I find in the writings of those who have argued for the other way. First then, I am of opinion, that rhyme is unnatural in a play, because dialogue there is presented as the effect of sudden thought.[144] For a play is the imitation of nature; and since no man, without premeditation, speaks in rhyme, neither ought he to do it on the stage. This hinders not but the fancy may be there elevated to an higher pitch of thought than it is in ordinary discourse; for there is a probability that men of excellent and quick parts may speak noble things _extempore_: but those thoughts are never fettered with numbers, or sound of verse, without study; and therefore it cannot be but unnatural to present the most free way of speaking in that which is the most constrained. For this reason, says Aristotle, 'tis best to write tragedy in that kind of verse which is the least such, or which is nearest prose: and this amongst the ancients was the iambic, and with us is blank verse, or the measure of verse kept exactly without rhyme. These numbers therefore are fittest for a play; the others for a paper of verses, or a poem; blank verse being as much below them, as rhyme is improper for the drama. And if it be objected, that neither are blank verses made _extempore_, yet, as nearest nature, they are still to be preferred. But there are two particular exceptions, which many besides myself have had to verse; by which it will appear yet more plainly, how improper it is in plays. And the first of them is grounded on that very reason for which some have commended rhyme; they say, the quickness of repartees in argumentative scenes receives an ornament from verse. Now what is more unreasonable than to imagine, that a man should not only light upon the wit, but the rhyme too, upon the sudden? This nicking of him who spoke before both in sound and measure, is so great an happiness, that you must at least suppose the persons of your play to be born poets: _Arcades omnes, et cantare pares, et respondere parati_; they must have arrived to the degree of _quicquid conabar dicere_, to make verses almost whether they will or no. If they are any thing below this, it will look rather like the design of two, than the answer of one: it will appear that your actors hold intelligence together; that they perform their tricks like fortune-tellers, by confederacy. The hand of art will be too visible in it, against that maxim of all professions--_Ars est celare artem_; that it is the greatest perfection of art to keep itself undiscovered. Nor will it serve you to object, that however you manage it, 'tis still known to be a play; and consequently, the dialogue of two persons, understood to be the labour of one poet. For a play is still an imitation of nature; we know we are to be deceived, and we desire to be so; but no man ever was deceived but with a probability of truth; for who will suffer a gross lie to be fastened on him? Thus we sufficiently understand, that the scenes which represent cities and countries to us, are not really such, but only painted on boards and canvass; but shall that excuse the ill painture or designment of them? Nay, rather ought they not to be laboured with so much the more diligence and exactness, to help the imagination? since the mind of man does naturally tend to truth; and therefore the nearer any thing comes to the imitation of it, the more it pleases.

Thus, you see, your rhyme is uncapable of expressing the greatest thoughts naturally, and the lowest it cannot with any grace: for what is more unbefitting the majesty of verse, than to call a servant, or bid a door be shut in rhyme? and yet you are often forced on this miserable necessity. But verse, you say, circumscribes a quick and luxuriant fancy, which would extend itself too far on every subject, did not the labour which is required to well turned and polished rhyme, set bounds to it. Yet this argument, if granted, would only prove, that we may write better in verse, but not more naturally. Neither is it able to evince that; for he who wants judgment to confine his fancy in blank verse, may want it as much in rhyme; and he who has it, will avoid errors in both kinds. Latin verse was as great a confinement to the imagination of those poets, as rhyme to ours: and yet you find Ovid saying too much on every subject. _Nescivit_ (says Seneca) _quod bene cessit relinquere_; of which he gives you one famous instance in his description of the deluge:

_Omnia pontus erat, deerant quoque litora ponto_.

Now all was sea, nor had that sea a shore.

Thus Ovid's fancy was not limited by verse, and Virgil needed not verse to have bounded his.

In our own language we see Ben Jonson confining himself to what ought to be said, even in the liberty of blank verse; and yet Corneille, the most judicious of the French poets, is still varying the same sense an hundred ways, and dwelling eternally on the same subject, though confined by rhyme. Some other exceptions I have to verse; but since these I have named are for the most part already public, I conceive it reasonable they should first be answered.

It concerns me less than any, said Neander, (seeing he had ended,) to reply to this discourse; because when I should have proved, that verse may be natural in plays, yet I should always be ready to confess, that those which I have written in this kind come short of that perfection which is required.[145] Yet since you are pleased I should undertake this province, I will do it, though with all imaginable respect and deference, both to that person from whom you have borrowed your strongest arguments, and to whose judgment, when I have said all, I finally submit. But before I proceed to answer your objections, I must first remember you, that I exclude all comedy from my defence; and next, that I deny not but blank verse may be also used, and content myself only to assert, that in serious plays, where the subject and characters are great, and the plot unmixed with mirth, which might allay or divert these concernments which are produced, rhyme is there as natural, and more effectual, than blank verse.

And now having laid down this as a foundation,--to begin with Crites,--I must crave leave to tell him, that some of his arguments against rhyme reach no farther than, from the faults or defects of ill rhyme, to conclude against the use of it in general. May not I conclude against blank verse by the same reason? If the words of some poets, who write in it, are either ill chosen, or ill placed, (which makes not only rhyme, but all kind of verse in any language unnatural,) shall I, for their vicious affectation, condemn those excellent lines of Fletcher, which are written in that kind? Is there any thing in rhyme more constrained than this line in blank verse?--

I heaven invoke, and strong resistance make;

where you see both the clauses are placed unnaturally; that is, contrary to the common way of speaking, and that without the excuse of a rhyme to cause it: yet you would think me very ridiculous, if I should accuse the stubbornness of blank verse for this, and not rather the stiffness of the poet. Therefore, Crites, you must either prove, that words, though well chosen, and duly placed, yet render not rhyme natural in itself; or that however natural and easy the rhyme may be, yet it is not proper for a play. If you insist on the former part, I would ask you, what other conditions are required to make rhyme natural in itself, besides an election of apt words, and a right disposition of them? For the due choice of your words expresses your sense naturally, and the due placing them adapts the rhyme to it. If you object, that one verse may be made for the sake of another, though both the words and rhyme be apt, I answer, it cannot possibly so fall out; for either there is a dependance of sense betwixt the first line and the second, or there is none: if there be that connection, then in the natural position of the words the latter line must of necessity flow from the former; if there be no dependance, yet still the due ordering of words makes the last line as natural in itself as the other: so that the necessity of a rhyme never forces any but bad or lazy writers to say what they would not otherwise. 'Tis true, there is both care and art required to write in verse. A good poet never establishes the first line, till he has sought out such a rhyme as may fit the sense, already prepared to heighten the second: many times the close of the sense falls into the middle of the next verse, or farther off, and he may often avail himself of the same advantages in English which Virgil had in Latin,--he may break off in the hemistick, and begin another line. Indeed, the not observing these two last things, makes plays which are writ in verse so tedious: for though, most commonly, the sense is to be confined to the couplet, yet nothing that does _perpetuo tenore fluere_, run in the same channel, can please always. 'Tis like the murmuring of a stream, which, not varying in the fall, causes at first attention, at last drowsiness. Variety of cadences is the best rule; the greatest help to the actors, and refreshment to the audience.

If then verse may be made natural in itself, how becomes it unnatural in a play? You say the stage is the representation of nature, and no man in ordinary conversation speaks in rhyme. But you foresaw, when you said this, that it might be answered--neither does any man speak in blank verse, or in measure without rhyme. Therefore you concluded, that which is nearest nature is still to be preferred. But you took no notice, that rhyme might be made as natural as blank verse, by the well placing of the words, &c. All the difference between them, when they are both correct, is the sound in one, which the other wants; and if so, the sweetness of it, and all the advantage resulting from it, which are handled in the preface to the "Rival Ladies," will yet stand good. As for that place of Aristotle, where he says plays should be writ in that kind of verse which is nearest prose, it makes little for you; blank verse being properly but measured prose. Now measure alone, in any modern language, does not constitute verse; those of the ancients in Greek and Latin consisted in quantity of words, and a determinate number of feet. But when, by the inundation of the Goths and Vandals into Italy, new languages were introduced, and barbarously mingled with the Latin, of which the Italian, Spanish, French, and ours, (made out of them and the Teutonic,) are dialects, a new way of poesy was practised; new, I say, in those countries, for in all probability it was that of the conquerors in their own nations: at least we are able to prove, that the eastern people have used it from all antiquity.[146] This new way consisted in measure or number of feet, and rhyme. The sweetness of rhyme, and observation of accent, supplying the place of quantity in words, which could neither exactly be observed by those barbarians, who knew not the rules of it, neither was it suitable to their tongues as it had been to the Greek and Latin. No man is tied in modern poesy to observe any farther rule in the feet of his verse, but that they be dissyllables; whether Spondee, Trochee, or Iambic, it matters not; only he is obliged to rhyme: neither do the Spanish, French, Italian, or Germans, acknowledge at all, or very rarely, any such kind of poesy as blank verse amongst them. Therefore, at most 'tis but a poetic prose, a _sermo pedestris_; and, as such, most fit for comedies, where I acknowledge rhyme to be improper. Farther, as to that quotation of Aristotle, our couplet verses may be rendered as near prose as blank verse itself, by using those advantages I lately named,--as breaks in an hemistick, or running the sense into another line,--thereby making art and order appear as loose and free as nature: or not tying ourselves to couplets strictly, we may use the benefit of the Pindaric way, practised in the "Siege of Rhodes;" where the numbers vary, and the rhyme is disposed carelessly, and far from often chyming. Neither is that other advantage of the ancients to be despised, of changing the kind of verse when they please, with the change of the scene, or some new entrance; for they confine not themselves always to iambics, but extend their liberty to all lyric numbers, and sometimes even to hexameter. But I need not go so far to prove, that rhyme, as it succeeds to all other offices of Greek and Latin verse, so especially to this of plays, since the custom of nations at this day confirms it; the French, Italian, and Spanish tragedies are generally writ in it; and sure the universal consent of the most civilized parts of the world, ought in this, as it doth in other customs, to include the rest.

But perhaps you may tell me, I have proposed such a way to make rhyme natural, and consequently proper to plays, as is unpracticable; and that I shall scarce find six or eight lines together in any play, where the words are so placed and chosen as is required to make it natural. I answer, no poet need constrain himself at all times to it. It is enough he makes it his general rule; for I deny not but sometimes there may be a greatness in placing the words otherwise; and sometimes they may sound better; sometimes also the variety itself is excuse enough. But if, for the most part, the words be placed as they are in the negligence of prose, it is sufficient to denominate the way practicable; for we esteem that to be such, which in the trial oftener succeeds than misses. And thus far you may find the practice made good in many plays: where you do not, remember still, that if you cannot find six natural rhymes together, it will be as hard for you to produce as many lines in blank verse, even among the greatest of our poets, against which I cannot make some reasonable exception.

And this, sir, calls to my remembrance the beginning of your discourse, where you told us we should never find the audience favourable to this kind of writing, till we could produce as good plays in rhyme, as Ben Jonson, Fletcher, and Shakespeare, had writ out of it. But it is to raise envy to the living, to compare them with the dead. They are honoured, and almost adored by us, as they deserve; neither do I know any so presumptuous of themselves as to contend with them. Yet give me leave to say thus much, without injury to their ashes, that not only we shall never equal them, but they could never equal themselves, were they to rise and write again. We acknowledge them our fathers in wit, but they have ruined their estates themselves, before they came to their children's hands. There is scarce an humour, a character, or any kind of plot, which they have not used. All comes sullied or wasted to us: and were they to entertain this age, they could not now make so plenteous treatments out of such decayed fortunes. This therefore will be a good argument to us either not to write at all, or to attempt some other way. There is no bays to be expected in their walks: _tentanda via est, quâ me quoque possum tollere humo_.

This way of writing in verse, they have only left free to us; our age is arrived to a perfection in it, which they never knew; and which (if we may guess by what of theirs we have seen in verse, as the "Faithful Shepherdess," and "Sad Shepherd") it is probable they never could have reached. For the genius of every age is different; and though ours excel in this, I deny not but that to imitate nature in that perfection which they did in prose, is a greater commendation than to write in verse exactly. As for what you have added,--that the people are not generally inclined to like this way,--if it were true, it would be no wonder, that betwixt the shaking off an old habit, and the introducing of a new, there should be difficulty. Do we not see them stick to Hopkins and Sternhold's Psalms, and forsake those of David, I mean Sandys his translation of them? If by the people you understand the multitude, the ὁι πολλοὶ, it is no matter what they think; they are sometimes in the right, sometimes in the wrong: their judgment is a mere lottery. _Est ubi plebs recté putat, est ubi peccat._[147] Horace says it of the vulgar, judging poesy. But if you mean the mixed audience of the populace and the noblesse, I dare confidently affirm, that a great part of the latter sort are already favourable to verse; and that no serious plays, written since the king's return, have been more kindly received by them, than "The Siege of Rhodes," the "Mustapha," "The Indian Queen," and "Indian Emperor."[148]

But I come now to the inference of your first argument. You said, that the dialogue of plays is presented as the effect of sudden thought, but no man speaks suddenly, or _extempore_, in rhyme; and you inferred from thence, that rhyme, which you acknowledge to be proper to epic poesy, cannot equally be proper to dramatic, unless we could suppose all men born so much more than poets, that verses should be made in them, not by them.

It has been formerly urged by you, and confessed by me, that since no man spoke any kind of verse _extempore_, that which was nearest nature was to be preferred. I answer you, therefore, by distinguishing betwixt what is nearest to the nature of comedy, which is the imitation of common persons and ordinary speaking, and what is nearest the nature of a serious play: this last is indeed the representation of nature, but 'tis nature wrought up to an higher pitch. The plot, the characters, the wit, the passions, the descriptions, are all exalted above the level of common converse, as high as the imagination of the poet can carry them, with proportion to verisimility. Tragedy, we know, is wont to image to us the minds and fortunes of noble persons, and to pourtray these exactly; heroic rhyme is nearest nature, as being the noblest kind of modern verse.

_Indignatur enim privatis, et prope socco Dignis, carminibus, narrari cæna Thyeste_,--

says Horace: and in another place,

_Effutire leves indigna tragœdia versus._

Blank verse is acknowledged to be too low for a poem, nay more, for a paper of verses; but if too low for an ordinary sonnet, how much more for tragedy, which is by Aristotle, in the dispute betwixt the epic poesy and the dramatic, for many reasons he there alleges, ranked above it?

But setting this defence aside, your argument is almost as strong against the use of rhyme in poems as in plays; for the epic way is every where interlaced with dialogue, or discoursive scenes; and therefore you must either grant rhyme to be improper there, which is contrary to your assertion, or admit it into plays by the same title which you have given it to poems. For though tragedy be justly preferred above the other, yet there is a great affinity between them, as may easily be discovered in that definition of a play which Lisideius gave us. The _genus_ of them is the same,--a just and lively image of human nature, in its actions, passions, and traverses of fortune: so is the end,--namely for the delight and benefit of mankind. The characters and persons are still the same, _viz._ the greatest of both sorts; only the manner of acquainting us with those actions, passions, and fortunes, is different. Tragedy performs it _viva voce_, or by action, in dialogue; wherein it excels the epic poem, which does it chiefly by narration, and therefore is not so lively an image of human nature. However, the agreement betwixt them is such, that if rhyme be proper for one, it must be for the other. Verse, 'tis true, is not the effect of sudden thought; but this hinders not that sudden thought may be represented in verse, since those thoughts are such as must be higher than nature can raise them without premeditation, especially to a continuance of them, even out of verse; and consequently you cannot imagine them to have been sudden either in the poet, or the actors. A play, as I have said, to be like nature, is to be set above it; as statues which are placed on high are made greater than the life, that they may descend to the sight in their just proportion.

Perhaps I have insisted too long on this objection; but the clearing of it will make my stay shorter on the rest. You tell us, Crites, that rhyme appears most unnatural in repartees, or short replies: when he who answers, (it being presumed he knew not what the other would say, yet) makes up that part of the verse which was left incomplete, and supplies both the sound and measure of it. This, you say, looks rather like the confederacy of two, than the answer of one.

This, I confess, is an objection which is in every man's mouth, who loves not rhyme: but suppose, I beseech you, the repartee were made only in blank verse, might not part of the same argument be turned against you? for the measure is as often supplied there as it is in rhyme; the latter half of the hemistick as commonly made up, or a second line subjoined, as a reply to the former; which any one leaf in Jonson's plays will sufficiently clear to you. You will often find in the Greek tragedians, and in Seneca, that when a scene grows up into the warmth of repartees, (which is the close fighting of it,) the latter part of the trimeter is supplied by him who answers; and yet it was never observed as a fault in them by any of the ancient or modern critics.[149] The case is the same in our verse as it was in theirs; rhyme to us being in lieu of quantity to them. But if no latitude is to be allowed a poet, you take from him not only his licence of _quidlibet audendi_, but you tie him up in a straiter compass than you would a philosopher. This is indeed _Musas colere severiores_. You would have him follow nature, but he must follow her on foot: you have dismounted him from his Pegasus. But you tell us, this supplying the last half of a verse, or adjoining a whole second to the former, looks more like the design of two, than the answer of one. Suppose we acknowledge it: How comes this confederacy to be more displeasing to you than in a dance which is well contrived? You see there the united design of many persons to make up one figure: after they have separated themselves in many petty divisions, they rejoin one by one into a gross: the confederacy is plain amongst them, for chance could never produce any thing so beautiful; and yet there is nothing in it that shocks your sight. I acknowledge the hand of art appears in repartee, as of necessity it must in all kind of verse. But there is also the quick and poignant brevity of it (which is an high imitation of nature in those sudden gusts of passion) to mingle with it; and this, joined with the cadency and sweetness of the rhyme, leaves nothing in the soul of the hearer to desire. It is an art which appears; but it appears only like the shadowings of painture, which being to cause the rounding of it, cannot be absent; but while that is considered, they are lost: so while we attend to the other beauties of the matter, the care and labour of the rhyme is carried from us, or at least drowned in its own sweetness, as bees are sometimes buried in their honey. When a poet has found the repartee, the last perfection he can add to it, is, to put it into verse. However good the thought may be, however apt the words in which it is couched, yet he finds himself at a little unrest, while rhyme is wanting. He cannot leave it till that comes naturally, and then is at ease, and sits down contented.

From replies, which are the most elevated thoughts of verse, you pass to those which are most mean, and which are common with this lowest of household conversation. In these, you say, the majesty of verse suffers. You instance in the calling of a servant, or commanding a door to be shut, in rhyme. This, Crites, is a good observation of yours, but no argument: for it proves no more but that such thoughts should be waved, as often as may be, by the address of the poet. But suppose they are necessary in the places where he uses them, yet there is no need to put them into rhyme. He may place them in the beginning of a verse, and break it off, as unfit, when so debased, for any other use; or granting the worst,--that they require more room than the hemistick will allow, yet still there is a choice to be made of the best words, and least vulgar, provided they be apt to express such thoughts. Many have blamed rhyme in general, for this fault, when the poet, with a little care, might have redressed it. But they do it with no more justice, than if English poesy should be made ridiculous for the sake of the Water-poet's rhymes.[150] Our language is noble, full, and significant; and I know not why he who is master of it may not clothe ordinary things in it as decently as the Latin, if he use the same diligence in his choice of words:

_Delectus verborum origo est eloquentiæ._

It was the saying of Julius Cæsar, one so curious in his, that none of them can be changed but for a worse. One would think, _unlock the door_, was a thing as vulgar as could be spoken; and yet Seneca could make it sound high and lofty in his Latin:--

_Reserate clusos regii postes laris._[151]

Set wide the palace gates.

But I turn from this exception, both because it happens not above twice or thrice in any play that those vulgar thoughts are used; and then too, were there no other apology to be made, yet the necessity of them, which is alike in all kind of writing, may excuse them. For if they are little and mean in rhyme, they are of consequence such in blank verse. Besides that the great eagerness and precipitation with which they are spoken, makes us rather mind the substance than the dress; that for which they are spoken, rather than what is spoke. For they are always the effect of some hasty concernment, and something of consequence depends on them.

Thus, Crites, I have endeavoured to answer your objections: it remains only that I should vindicate an argument for verse, which you have gone about to overthrow. It had formerly been said, that the easiness of blank verse renders the poet too luxuriant; but that the labour of rhyme bounds and circumscribes an over-fruitful fancy; the sense there being commonly confined to the couplet, and the words so ordered, that the rhyme naturally follows them, not they the rhyme. To this you answered, that it was no argument to the question in hand; for the dispute was not which way a man may write best, but which is most proper for the subject on which he writes.

First, give me leave, sir, to remember you, that the argument against which you raised this objection, was only secondary: it was built on this hypothesis,--that to write in verse was proper for serious plays. Which supposition being granted, (as it was briefly made out in that discourse, by shewing how verse might be made natural,) it asserted, that this way of writing was an help to the poet's judgment, by putting bounds to a wild overflowing fancy. I think therefore it will not be hard for me to make good what it was to prove on that supposition. But you add, that were this let pass, yet he who wants judgment in the liberty of his fancy, may as well shew the defect of it when he is confined to verse; for he who has judgment will avoid errors, and he who has it not, will commit them in all kinds of writing.

This argument, as you have taken it from a most acute person,[152] so, I confess, it carries much weight in it: but by using the word judgment here indefinitely, you seem to have put a fallacy upon us. I grant, he who has judgment, that is, so profound, so strong, or rather so infallible a judgment, that he needs no helps to keep it always poised and upright, will commit no faults either in rhyme, or out of it. And on the other extreme, he who has a judgment so weak and crazed, that no helps can correct or amend it, shall write scurvily out of rhyme, and worse in it. But the first of these judgments is no where to be found, and the latter is not fit to write at all. To speak therefore of judgment as it is in the best poets; they who have the greatest proportion of it, want other helps than from it, within. As for example, you would be loth to say, that he who is endued with a sound judgment, has no need of history, geography, or moral philosophy, to write correctly. Judgment is indeed the master-workman in a play; but he requires many subordinate hands, many tools to his assistance. And verse I affirm to be one of these: it is a rule and line by which he keeps his building compact and even, which otherwise lawless imagination would raise either irregularly or loosely; at least, if the poet commits errors with this help, he would make greater and more without it:--it is, in short, a slow and painful, but the surest kind of working. Ovid, whom you accuse for luxuriancy in verse, had perhaps been farther guilty of it, had he writ in prose. And for your instance of Ben Jonson, who, you say, writ exactly without the help of rhyme; you are to remember, it is only an aid to a luxuriant fancy, which his was not: as he did not want imagination, so none ever said he had much to spare. Neither was verse then refined so much, to be an help to that age, as it is to ours. Thus then the second thoughts being usually the best, as receiving the maturest digestion from judgment, and the last and most mature product of those thoughts being artful and laboured verse, it may well be inferred, that verse is a great help to a luxuriant fancy; and this is what that argument which you opposed was to evince.

Neander was pursuing this discourse so eagerly, that Eugenius had called to him twice or thrice, ere he took notice that the barge stood still, and that they were at the foot of Somerset-stairs, where they had appointed it to land. The company were all sorry to separate so soon, though a great part of the evening was already spent; and stood awhile looking back on the water, upon which the moon-beams played, and made it appear like floating quicksilver: at last they went up through a crowd of French people,[153] who were merrily dancing in the open air, and nothing concerned for the noise of guns, which had alarmed the town that afternoon. Walking thence together to the Piazze, they parted there; Eugenius and Lisideius to some pleasant appointment they had made, and Crites and Neander to their several lodgings.


[Footnote 106: The third of June, 1665. See the "Annus Mirabilis," and the Notes, Vol. IX. p. 108, 161. Our author, in his poem to the Duchess, mentions the circumstance of the cannon being heard at London:

When from afar we heard the cannon play, Like distant thunder on a shiny day.

Vol. IX. p. 79. ]

[Footnote 107: James Duke of York, afterwards James II.]

[Footnote 108: There is something very striking in this description, which was doubtless copied from reality.]

[Footnote 109: This is a favourable representation of the character of Sir Robert Howard, who is described by his contemporaries as very vain, obstinate, and opinionative, and as such was ridiculed by Shadwell under the character of Sir Positive Atall, in the "Impertinents."]

[Footnote 110: This was certainly Dr Robert Wild; an allusion to whose "_Iter Boreale_" occurs a little below. It is written in a harsh and barbarous style, filled with "clenches and carwhichets," as the time called them; which having been in fashion in the reign of James I. and his unfortunate son, now revived after the Restoration. One of these poets would perhaps have told us, in rugged verse, that the Muse having been long in mourning, it was no wonder that her gayer dress should appear unfashionable when resumed. The other scribbler, Mr Malone thinks, might be Flecnoe. Or it may have been Samuel Holland, a great scribbler on public occasions.]

[Footnote 111: Cleiveland, being a violent cavalier, had a sort of claim to become a model after the Restoration. He has such notable conceits as the following comparison of a weeping mistress, to the angel in the scripture, who moved the pool of Bethesda, the first passage which occurred at opening the book:

----pious Julia, angel-wise, Moves the Bethesda of her trickling eyes, To cure the spittal world of maladies.

_Cleveland's Vindiciæ_, 1677, p. 10. ]

[Footnote 112: This was an absurd and cruel doctrine of the English lawyers of the time, who had begun to disbelieve in witchcraft, and were yet willing to justify the execution of witches. One of them says, that if a man firmly believes that, by whirling his hat round his head, and crying _bo_, he could occasion the death of an enemy, he becomes, by performing that ceremony, guilty of murder. Observe that, unless in virtue of special statute, he could not be capitally punished, if, instead of this whimsical device, he had actually fired a gun, and missed the person he aimed at.]

[Footnote 113: A voluminous author of the reign of Charles I.]

[Footnote 114: The _Iter Boreale_.]

[Footnote 115: One mode of sale by auction.]

[Footnote 116: If CRITES be really Sir Robert Howard, as there is every reason to believe, Dryden here represents him as supporting a point which he gives up in his preface; for he censures both the plots and diction of the ancients, and concludes, that upon Horace's rules, "our English plays may justly challenge the pre-eminence." See Preface to his Plays in folio, 1665.]

[Footnote 117: "Now, that it should be one, and entire. One is considerable two ways; either, as it is only separate, and by itself; or as being composed of many parts, it begins to be one, as those parts grow, or are wrought together. That it should be one the first way alone, and by itself, no man that hath tasted letters ever would say, especially having required, before, a just magnitude, and equal proportion of the parts in themselves. Neither of which can possibly be, if the action be single and separate, nor composed of parts, which laid together in themselves, with an equal and fitting proportion, tend to the same end, which thing, out of antiquity itself, hath deceived many; and more this day it doth deceive."--_Jonson's Discoveries._]

[Footnote 118: Malone and Langbaine have both observed, that our author elsewhere uses the same image, applied indeed to the very same person:

Subtle was got by our Albumazar, That Alchemist by this Astrologer: Here he was fashioned; and we may suppose, He liked the fashion well, who wore the clothes. ]

[Footnote 119: Dorset gave an instance of the honour in which he held Ben Jonson, by an excellent epilogue, upon the reviving of "Every Man in his Humour." When the speaker of the epilogue has proceeded a good way in the usual style of rallying the piece and author, he is interrupted by

_Jonson's Ghost._

Hold, and give way, for I myself will speak: Can you encourage so much insolence, And add new faults still to the great offence Your ancestors so rashly did commit, Against the mighty powers of art and wit, When they condemned those noble works of mine, Sejanus, and my best loved Catiline? Repent, or on your guilty heads shall fall The curse of many a rhyming pastoral. The three bold Beauchamps shall revive again, And with the London-Prentice conquer Spain. All the dull follies of the former age Shall find applause on this corrupted stage. But if you pay the great arrears of praise, So long since due to my much injured plays, From all past crimes I first will set you free, And then inspire some one to write like me. ]

[Footnote 120: This objection, although stated against Crites the prototype of Howard, occurs in Sir Robert's own preface, who points out an additional advantage attending it. He observes, that the subjects of the ancients were usually the most known stories and fables; a circumstance which led them to compose their plays rather of speeches and chorus's, than of scenic action, and representation: Because, "Seneca making choice of Medea, Hippolytus, and Hercules Œtus, it was impossible to show Medea throwing the mangled limbs of Jason into her age-renewing kettle, or to present the scattered limbs of Hippolytus upon the stage, or show Hercules burning upon his own funeral pile."]

[Footnote 121: Our author has quoted from memory. The lines are--_At nostri proavi_, &c. and afterwards--_Ne dicam_ stulte, _mirati_.--MALONE.]

[Footnote 122: A mistake for eighth.]

[Footnote 123: This remark is unfounded; for the words are--_et longæ visent Capitolia pompæ_. Ovid. MET. l. i. In the preceding quotation, for _verbo_, we should read _verbis_; and for _metuam summi_,--_timeam magni_.--MALONE.]

[Footnote 124: The insurrection in Scotland, in Charles I.'s time, inflamed Cleiveland as much as the nation. We have often heard of poetic fire, but he is the only author who calls for a bucket of water to quench it:

Ring the bells backward, I am all on fire; Not all the buckets in a country quire Shall quench my rage-- ]

[Footnote 125: Our author (as Dr Johnson has observed) "might have determined this question upon surer evidence; for it [Medea] is quoted by Quintilian as Seneca's, and the only line which remains of Ovid's play, (for one line is left us,) is not found there."]

[Footnote 126: One of the old theatres, and of the lowest order among them.]

[Footnote 127: Although a zealous admirer of the author, I am at a loss to see much merit in the plot of "The Bloody Brother, or Rollo" of Fletcher. The hero is a Duke of Normandy, who first kills his brother in his mother's arms; then has his chancellor chopped to pieces, and thrown to the dogs; beheads his tutor, kills an officer of his guards for burying the reliques of his chancellor, and finally is stabbed by the captain of his guards, and succeeded in his dukedom by his cousin; a person of no note through the play, but who, being left alive when every other person is killed, is raised to the throne as a matter of necessity. This is the history of Geta and Caracalla, and a very disagreeable one it is, but certainly not the plot of a play. As for the farce mingled with it, there are three state criminals led to be hanged, who join in the old catch,

And three merry boys, And three merry boys, And three merry boys are we, As ever did sing Three parts in a string, All under the triple tree. ]

[Footnote 128: I thought I had discovered this ingenious person to be the honourable Edward Howard, author of the "British Princes," who, in the preface to the "Woman's Conquest," has this passage: "And here I cannot chuse but reflect on our mean imitation of French plays, by introducing of servants and waiting-women to have parts, without being essential characters; an error well avoided by our former writers, who never admitted any otherwise than as messengers and attendants, except on the account of being characters, as is to be seen by Numphs in "Bartholomew Fair," and Face in the "Alchymist;" the latter of which (notwithstanding what can be objected against him) may deservedly be granted one of the best parts on our English stage." But the passage does not quite correspond with the sentiment in the text; besides, the "Woman's Conquest" did not appear till 1670-1, two years after the Essay. The preface contains some oblique attacks upon Dryden.]

[Footnote 129: Our author's last play of "Love Triumphant" is winded up in the last act by the mere change of will on the part of Veramond.]

[Footnote 130: Velleius Paterculus, I. 17.]

[Footnote 131: Here the first edition has, "by Mr Hart." This play was first acted in 1661, under the title of "The Liar," and revived in 1685, under that of "The Mistaken Beauty."]

[Footnote 132: In 1642.]

[Footnote 133: "The Adventures of five Hours," is a comedy imitated from the Spanish of Calderon, by Sir Samuel Tuke, with some assistance from the Earl of Bristol. It was acted at court 1663, and received great applause. Cowley writes a laudatory poem, for which in the "Session of Poets" he is censured by Apollo; Diego is described, in the characters of the _dramatis personæ_, as "servant to Octavio, bred a scholar, a great coward, and a pleasant droll." It would seem from the preface, that this mode of affixing characters to the _dramatis personæ_ was then a novelty.]

[Footnote 134: The custom of placing an hour-glass before the clergyman was then common in England. It is still the furniture of a country pulpit in Scotland. A facetious preacher used to press his audience to _take another glass with him_.]

[Footnote 135: Most modern readers revolt at the incident, as a monstrous improbability.]

[Footnote 136: The insolence with which the dry and dogged Jonson used to carp at Shakespeare, is highly illustrative of that jealousy with which he is taxed by Drummond of Hawthornden. The most memorable attack on Shakespeare, on the score mentioned in the text, is the prologue to "Every Man in his Humour."

Though need make many poets, and some such As art and nature have not bettered much; Yet ours, for want, hath not so loved the stage, As he dare serve the ill customs of the age, Or purchase your delight at such a rate, As, for it, he himself must justly hate: To make a child new swaddled, to proceed Man, and then shoot up in one beard and weed, Past threescore years; or with three rusty swords, And help of some few foot, and half-foot words, Fight over York, and Lancaster's long jars, And in the tyring-house bring wounds to scars. He rather prays, you will be pleased to see One such to day, as other plays should be; Where neither chorus wafts you o'er the seas, Nor creaking throne comes down, the boys to please, Nor nimble squib is seen, to make afeard The gentlewomen; nor rolled bullet heard To say, it thunders; nor tempestuous drum Rumbles, to tell you when the storm doth come; But deeds, and language, such as men do use, And persons, such as comedy would chuse; When she would shew an image of the times, And sport with human follies, not with crimes; Except we make them such, by loving still Our popular errors, as you'll all confess, By laughing at them, they deserve no less: Which when you heartily do, there's hope left, then You, that have so graced monsters, may like men.

In "Every Man Out of his Humour," the same sneer is directed against the same quarter:

"_Mit._ He cannot alter the scene without crossing the seas.

"_Cor._ He need not, having a whole island to run through, I thinke.

"_Mit._ No! how comes it then that _in some one play we see so many seas, countries, and kingdoms passed over with such admirable dexteritie_?

"_Cor._ O, that but shews how well the authors can travaile in their vocation, and outrun the apprehension of their auditorie."]

[Footnote 137: Our old poets saw something peculiarly ludicrous in the anapoestic canter of these doggrel Alexandrines. The old comedy of "Gammer Gurton's Needle" is composed entirely of them. Shakespeare often uses them where the dialogue is carried on by his clowns, or comic characters; as in "Love's Labour's Lost," act III.; in most of the quaint skirmishes of wit and punning, in the "Comedy of Errors;" and in the "Taming of the Shrew." Other examples from low comedy of that early age are given in Reed's edition of Shakespeare, Vol. xx. p. 462. After all, this same Alexandrine is only the common ballad-stanza of "Chevy Chace," written in two lines at length, instead of being subdivided into four. Mr Malone remarks, that the assertion in the text is too general.]

[Footnote 138: Mr Malone justly observes, that the caution observed in this decision, proves the miserable taste of the age. In fact, Jonson, by dint of learning and arrogance, fairly bullied the age into receiving his own character of his merits; and he was not the only person of the name that has done so.]

[Footnote 139: The learned John Hales of Eton, whom Wood calls a _walking library_, and Clarendon pronounces the least man and greatest scholar of his time. Gildon tells the anecdote to which Dryden seems to allude, in an essay addressed to Dryden himself on the vindication of Shakespeare, and he quotes our author as his authority. "The matter of fact, if my memory fail me not, was this: Mr Hales of Eton affirmed, that he would show all the poets of antiquity out-done by Shakespeare, in all the topics and common places made use of in poetry. The enemies of Shakespeare would by no means yield him so much excellence; so that it came to a resolution of a trial of skill upon that subject. The place agreed on for the dispute, was Mr Hales's chamber at Eton. A great many books were sent down by the enemies of this poet; and on the appointed day, my Lord Falkland, Sir John Suckling, and all the persons of quality that had wit and learning, and interested themselves in the quarrel, met there; and upon a thorough disquisition of the point, the judges chosen by agreement out of this learned and ingenious assembly, unanimously gave the preference to Shakespeare; and the Greek and Roman poets were adjudged to veil at least their glory in that to the English hero." GILDON'S _Essays_.

Tate, in the preface to the "Loyal General," and Rowe, in his "Life of Shakespeare," quote the same anecdote.]

[Footnote 140: _Humour_, in the ancient dramatic language, signified some peculiar or fantastic bias, or habit of mind, in an individual. See Vol. X. p. 396, 456.]

[Footnote 141: Dryden here understands _wit_ in the enlarged sense of invention, or genius.]

[Footnote 142: This conversation, however, appears formidably stiff in the present age.]

[Footnote 143: I should be sorry to see the comparative merits of the stages tried upon that issue: Moliere, in natural comedy, is as far superior to Jonson, as Shakespeare is to both.]

[Footnote 144: The reasons against rhyme,--and very weighty our author at last found them,--are taken from the Preface to Sir Robert Howard's plays, the Crites of the dialogue.

"Another way of the ancients, which the French follow, and our stage has now lately practised, is, to write in rhyme; and this is the dispute betwixt many ingenious persons, whether verse in rhyme, or verse without the sound, which may be called _blank_ verse, (though a hard expression,) is to be preferred. But take the question largely, and it is never to be decided; but, by right application, I suppose it may; for in the general, they are both proper, that is, one for a play, the other for a poem or copy of verses; a blank verse being as much too low for one, as rhyme is unnatural for the other. A poem, being a premeditated form of thoughts upon designed occasions, ought not to be unfurnished of any harmony in words or sound; the other is presented as the present effect of accidents not thought of: so that it is impossible it should be equally proper to both these, unless it were possible that all persons were born so much more than poets, that verses were not to be composed by them, but already made in them. Some may object, that this argument is trivial, because, whatever is shewed, it is known still to be but a play; but such may as well excuse an ill scene, that is not naturally painted, because they know it is only a scene, and not really a city or country.

"But there is yet another thing which makes verse upon the stage appear more unnatural; that is, when a piece of a verse is made up by one that knew not what the other meant to say, and the former verse answered as perfectly in sound as the last is supplied in measure; so that the smartness of a reply, which has its beauty by coming from sudden thoughts, seems lost by that which rather looks like a design of two, than the answer of one. It may be said, that rhyme is such a confinement to a quick and luxuriant fancy, that it gives a stop to its speed, till slow judgment comes in to assist it; but this is no argument for the question in hand: for the dispute is not, which way a man may write best in, but which is most proper for the subject he writes upon; and, if this were let pass, the argument is yet unsolved in itself: for he that wants judgment in the liberty of his fancy, may as well shew the defect of it in its confinement: and, to say truth, he that has judgment will avoid the errors, and he that wants it will commit them both. It may be objected, it is improbable that any should speak _extempore_ as well as Beaumont and Fletcher makes them, though in blank verse: I do not only acknowledge that, but that it is also improbable any will write so well that way. But if that may be allowed improbable, I believe it may be concluded impossible that any should speak as good verses in rhyme, as the best poets have writ; and therefore, that which seems nearest to what it intends, is ever to be preferred. Nor is great thoughts more adorned by verse, than verse unbeautified by mean ones; so that verse seems not only unfit in the best use of it, but much more in the worse, when a servant is called, or a door bid to be shut, in rhyme. Verses (I mean good ones) do in their height of fancy declare the labour that brought them forth, like majesty, that grows with care; and Nature, that made the poet capable, seems to retire, and leave its offers to be made perfect by pains and judgement. Against this I can raise no argument but my Lord of Orrery's writings, in whose verse the greatness of the majesty seems unsullied with the cares, and his inimitable fancy descends to us in such easy expressions, that they seem as if neither had ever been added to the other, but both together flowing from a height; like birds got so high, that use no labouring wings, but only with an easy care preserve a steadiness in motion. But this particular happiness, among those multitudes which that excellent person is owner of, does not convince my reason, but employ my wonder: yet I am glad such verse has been written for our stage, since it has so happily exceeded those whom we seemed to imitate. But while I give these arguments against verse, I may seem faulty that I have not only written ill ones, but written any: but, since it was the fashion, I was resolved, as in all indifferent things, not to appear singular, the danger of the vanity being greater than the error; and therefore I followed it as a fashion, though very far off."]

[Footnote 145: This makes it obvious, that Neander is Dryden himself.]

[Footnote 146: Vide Daniel, his _Defence of Rhyme_. DRYDEN.]

[Footnote 147: Accurately,

_Interdum vulgus recté videt est ubi peccat_.]

[Footnote 148: "The Siege of Rhodes," by Sir William D'Avenant; "Mustapha," by Lord Orrery; "The Indian Queen," by Sir Robert Howard and Dryden; and "The Indian Emperor," by Dryden alone.]

[Footnote 149: There is this great difference, that, from the mode of pronouncing, the rhythm of the blank verse does not necessarily obtrude itself on the audience: that of the couplet indubitably must.]

[Footnote 150: John Taylor, the Water-poet as he called himself, from his profession of a waterman, was, according to Wood, a man who, having a prodigious _genie_ to poetry, wrote eighty books, which not only made much sport at the time, but were thought worthy of being remitted into a large folio. He was a staunch cavalier, which might in some degree bribe Anthony's judgment of his poetry. His poetry is very like that which Skelton wrote a century before him. Among other pieces, there are some comical addresses to his subscribers, whom he divides into those who had received and paid their books; those who had done neither; and those who, having received, were unable to pay. To the first class he abounds in gratitude; the second he addresses as between hope and despair; the third he treats civilly, as they were defaulters from inability, and had always given him plenty of sack and fair promises: But, as was reason, he reserves the extremity of his displeasure for a fourth class of subscribers, who, having received his books, refused to pay the subscription.]

[Footnote 151: This Sir Robert Howard quoted, in his preface to the "Duke of Lerma;" and unluckily translated it, "Shutting the palace gates," for which Dryden severely animadverts on him, Vol. II. p. 278.]

[Footnote 152: Meaning Sir Robert Howard himself.]

[Footnote 153: From the conduct of Louis XIV., who gradually retrenched until he altogether abolished the edict of Nantes, there was a constant emigration to England of his Huguenot subjects.]




Thomas Rymer, distinguished as the editor of the _Fœdera_ of England, was in his earlier years ambitious of the fame of a critic. In 1678, he published a small duodecimo, entitled, "The Tragedies of the last Age considered and examined by the practice of the Ancients, and the common Sense of all Ages, in a Letter to Fleetwood and Shepherd." The criticisms apply chiefly to the tragedies of the latter part of the reigns of Elizabeth, and James I.; out of which he has singled, as the particular subjects of reprehension, those of "Rollo," "The Maid's Tragedy," and "King and no King." In this criticism, there was "much malice mingled with a little wit;" obvious faults and absurdities were censured as disgusting to common sense, on the one hand; on the other, licenses unpractised by the ancients were condemned as barbarous and unclassical.

A severe critic, if able but plausibly to support his remarks by learning and acumen, strikes terror through the whole world of literature. It is in vain to represent to such a person, that he only examines the debtor side of the account, and omits to credit the unfortunate author with the merit that he has justly a title to claim. Instead of a fair accounting between the public and the poet, his cause is tried as in a criminal action, where, if he is convicted of a crime, all the merit of his work will not excuse him. There must be something in the mind of man favourable to a system which tends to the levelling of talents in the public estimation, or such critics as Rymer could never have risen into notice. Yet Dryden, in the following projected answer to his Remarks, has treated him with great respect; and Pope, according to Spence, pronounced him "one of the best critics we ever had."

That Dryden should have been desirous to conciliate the favour of an avowed critic, was natural enough; but that Pope should have so spoken of Rymer, only argues, either that he was prejudiced by the opinions which his youth had sucked in from Walsh, Wycherly, and Trumbull, or that his taste for the drama was far inferior to his powers in every other range of poetry.

If Dryden had arranged and extended the materials of his answer, it is possible that he would have treated Rymer with less deference than he shewed while collecting them; for in the latter years of Dryden's life they were upon bad terms. See Vol. xii. p. 45, and Epistle to Congreve, Vol. xi. p. 57.

To a reader of the present day, when the cant of criticism has been in some degree abandoned, nothing can be more disgusting than the remarks of Rymer, who creeps over the most beautiful passages of the drama with eyes open only to their defects, or their departure from scholastic precept; who denies the name of poetry to the "Paradise Lost," and compares judging of "Rollo" by "Othello," to adjusting one crooked line by another. But I would be by no means understood to say, that there is not sometimes justice, though never mercy, in his criticism.

Dryden had intended to enter the lists with Rymer in defence of the ancient theatre, and with this view had wrote the following Heads of an Answer to the Remarks. They were jotted down on the blank leaves of a copy of the book presented to Dryden by Rymer. The volume falling into the hands of the publisher of Beaumont and Fletcher's works, in 1711, they prefixed Dryden's observations, as furnishing an apology for their authors. They were again published by Dr Johnson, into whose hands they were put by Garrick, who had the original in his collection. The arrangement is different in the two copies; that of Dr Johnson has been adopted, as preferred by Mr Malone.






That we may the less wonder why pity and terror are not now the only springs on which our tragedies move,[154] and that Shakespeare may be more excused, Rapin confesses, that the French tragedies now all run on the _tendre_; and gives the reason, because love is the passion which most predominates in our souls; and that therefore the passions represented become insipid, unless they are conformable to the thoughts of the audience. But it is to be concluded, that this passion works not now amongst the French so strongly, as the other two did amongst the ancients. Amongst us, who have a stronger genius for writing, the operations from the writing are much stronger; for the raising of Shakespeare's passions is more from the excellency of the words and thoughts, than the justness of the occasion; and if he has been able to pick single occasions, he has never founded the whole reasonably; yet, by the genius of poetry in writing, he has succeeded.

Rapin attributes more to the _dictio_, that is, to the words and discourse of a tragedy, than Aristotle has done, who places them in the last rank of beauties; perhaps, only last in order, because they are the last product of the design, of the disposition or connection of its parts, of the characters, of the manners of those characters, and of the thoughts proceeding from those manners. Rapin's words are remarkable:--It is not the admirable intrigue, the surprising events, and extraordinary incidents, that make the beauty of a tragedy; it is the discourses, when they are natural and passionate.--So are Shakespeare's.

The parts of a poem, tragic or heroic, are,

1. The fable itself.

2. The order or manner of its contrivance, in relation of the parts to the whole.

3. The manners, or decency of the characters, in speaking or acting what is proper for them, and proper to be shewn by the poet.

4. The thoughts, which express the manners.

5. The words, which express those thoughts.

In the last of these, Homer excels Virgil; Virgil all other ancient poets; and Shakespeare all modern poets.

For the second of these, the order: the meaning is, that a fable ought to have a beginning, middle, and an end, all just and natural; so that that part, _e.g._ which is the middle, could not naturally be the beginning or end, and so of the rest: all depend on one another, like the links of a curious chain. If terror and pity are only to be raised, certainly this author follows Aristotle's rules, and Sophocles' and Euripides's example; but joy may be raised too, and that doubly, either by seeing a wicked man punished, or a good man at last fortunate; or perhaps indignation, to see wickedness prosperous, and goodness depressed: both these may be profitable to the end of tragedy, reformation of manners; but the last improperly, only as it begets pity in the audience; though Aristotle, I confess, places tragedies of this kind in the second form.

He who undertakes to answer this excellent critique of Mr Rymer, in behalf of our English poets against the Greek, ought to do it in this manner: either by yielding to him the greatest part of what he contends for, which consists in this, that the μύθος _i.e._ the design and conduct of it, is more conducing in the Greeks to those ends of tragedy, which Aristotle and he propose, namely, to cause terror and pity; yet the granting this does not set the Greeks above the English poets.

But the answerer ought to prove two things: First, that the fable is not the greatest master-piece of a tragedy, though it be the foundation of it.

Secondly, that other ends, as suitable to the nature of tragedy, may be found in the English, which were not in the Greek.

Aristotle places the fable first; not _quoad dignitatem, sed quoad fundamentum_: for a fable, never so movingly contrived to those ends of his, pity and terror, will operate nothing on our affections, except the characters, manners, thoughts, and words, are suitable.

So that it remains for Mr Rymer to prove, that in all those, or the greatest part of them, we are inferior to Sophocles and Euripides; and this he has offered at, in some measure; but, I think, a little partially to the ancients.

For the fable itself: it is in the English more adorned with episodes, and larger than in the Greek poets; consequently more diverting. For if the action be but one, and that plain, without any counter-turn of design or episode, _i.e._ under-plot, how can it be so pleasing as the English, which have both under-plot and a turned design, which keeps the audience in expectation of the catastrophe? whereas in the Greek poets we see through the whole design at first.

For the characters, they are neither so many nor so various in Sophocles and Euripides, as in Shakespeare and Fletcher; only they are more adapted to those ends of tragedy which Aristotle commends to us, pity and terror.

The manners flow from the characters, and consequently must partake of their advantages and disadvantages.

The thoughts and words, which are the fourth and fifth beauties of tragedy, are certainly more noble and more poetical in the English than in the Greek, which must be proved by comparing them somewhat more equitably than Mr Rymer has done.

After all, we need not yield, that the English way is less conducing to move pity and terror, because they often shew virtue oppressed and vice punished; where they do not both, or either, they are not to be defended.

And if we should grant that the Greeks performed this better, perhaps it may admit of dispute, whether pity and terror are either the prime, or at least the only ends of tragedy.

It is not enough that Aristotle has said so, for Aristotle drew his models of tragedy from Sophocles and Euripides; and if he had seen ours, might have changed his mind. And chiefly we have to say, (what I hinted on pity and terror, in the last paragraph save one,) that the punishment of vice and reward of virtue are the most adequate ends of tragedy, because most conducing to good example of life. Now pity is not so easily raised for a criminal, (and the ancient tragedy always represents its chief person such,) as it is for an innocent man; and the suffering of innocence and punishment of the offender is of the nature of English tragedy: contrarily, in the Greek, innocence is unhappy often, and the offender escapes. Then we are not touched with the sufferings of any sort of men so much as of lovers, and this was almost unknown to the ancients: so that they neither administered poetical justice, of which Mr Rymer boasts, so well as we; neither knew they the best common-place of pity, which is love.

He therefore unjustly blames us for not building on what the ancients left us; for it seems, upon consideration of the premises, that we have wholly finished what they began.

My judgment on this piece is this; that it is extremely learned, but that the author of it is better read in the Greek than in the English poets; that all writers ought to study this critique, as the best account I have ever seen of the ancients; that the model of tragedy he has here given is excellent, and extreme correct; but that it is not the only model of all tragedy, because it is too much circumscribed in plot, characters, &c.; and lastly, that we may be taught here justly to admire and imitate the ancients, without giving them the preference, with this author, in prejudice to our own country.

Want of method in this excellent treatise, makes the thoughts of the author sometimes obscure.

His meaning, that pity and terror are to be moved, is, that they are to be moved as the means conducing to the ends of tragedy, which are pleasure and instruction.

And these two ends may be thus distinguished. The chief end of the poet is to please; for his immediate reputation depends on it.

The great end of the poem is to instruct, which is performed by making pleasure the vehicle of that instruction; for poesy is an art, and all arts are made to profit. Rapin.

The pity which the poet is to labour for, is for the criminal, not for those or him whom he has murdered, or who have been the occasion of the tragedy. The terror is likewise in the punishment of the same criminal, who, if he be represented too great an offender, will not be pitied; if altogether innocent, his punishment will be unjust.

Another obscurity is, where he says, Sophocles perfected tragedy by introducing the third actor;[155] that is, he meant, three kinds of action; one company singing, or speaking; another playing on the music; a third dancing.

To make a true judgment in this competition betwixt the Greek poets and the English, in tragedy:

Consider, first, how Aristotle has defined a tragedy. Secondly, what he assigns the end of it to be. Thirdly, what he thinks the beauties of it. Fourthly, the means to attain the end proposed.

Compare the Greek and English tragic poets justly, and without partiality, according to those rules.

Then, secondly, consider whether Aristotle has made a just definition of tragedy; of its parts, of its ends, and of its beauties; and whether he, having not seen any others but those of Sophocles, Euripides, &c. had, or truly could determine what all the excellencies of tragedy are, and wherein they consist.

Next shew in what ancient tragedy was deficient; for example, in the narrowness of its plots, and fewness of persons; and try whether that be not a fault in the Greek poets, and whether their excellency was so great, when the variety was visibly so little; or whether what they did was not very easy to do.

Then make a judgment on what the English have added to their beauties; as, for example, not only more plot, but also new passions, as, namely, that of love, scarce touched on by the ancients, except in this one example of Phædra, cited by Mr Rymer; and in that how short they were of Fletcher.

Prove also that love, being an heroic passion, is fit for tragedy, which cannot be denied, because of the example alleged of Phædra; and how far Shakespeare has out-done them in friendship, &c.

To return to the beginning of this enquiry; consider, if pity and terror be enough for tragedy to move; and I believe, upon a true definition of tragedy, it will be found, that its work extends farther, and that is to reform manners, by a delightful representation of human life in great persons, by way of dialogue. If this be true, then not only pity and terror are to be moved, as the only means to bring us to virtue, but generally love to virtue, and hatred to vice, by shewing the rewards of one, and punishments of the other; at least, by rendering virtue always amiable, though it be shewn unfortunate, and vice detestable, though it be shewn triumphant.

If then, the encouragement of virtue, and discouragement of vice, be the proper ends of poetry in tragedy, pity and terror, though good means, are not the only. For all the passions, in their turns, are to be set in a ferment; as joy, anger, love, fear, are to be used as the poet's common-places, and a general concernment for the principal actors is to be raised, by making them appear such in their characters, their words, and actions, as will interest the audience in their fortunes.

And if, after all, in a larger sense, pity comprehends this concernment for the good, and terror includes detestation for the bad, then let us consider whether the English have not answered this end of tragedy, as well as the ancients, or perhaps better.

And here Mr Rymer's objections against these plays are to be impartially weighed, that we may see whether they are of weight enough to turn the balance against our countrymen.

It is evident, those plays which he arraigns, have moved both those passions in a high degree upon the stage.

To give the glory of this away from the poet, and to place it upon the actors, seems unjust.[156]

One reason is, because whatever actors they have found, the event has been the same, that is, the same passions have been always moved; which shews, that there is something of force and merit in the plays themselves, conducing to the design of raising these two passions: and suppose them ever to have been excellently acted, yet action only adds grace, vigour, and more life, upon the stage, but cannot give it wholly where it is not first. But secondly, I dare appeal to those who have never seen them acted, if they have not found these two passions moved within them; and if the general voice will carry it, Mr Rymer's prejudice will take off his single testimony.

This, being matter of fact, is reasonably to be established by this appeal; as if one man says it is night, when the rest of the world conclude it to be day, there needs no farther argument against him, that it is so.

If he urge, that the general taste is depraved, his arguments to prove this can at best but evince, that our poets took not the best way to raise those passions; but experience proves against him, that those means which they have used have been successful, and have produced them.

And one reason of that success is, in my opinion, this, that Shakespeare and Fletcher have written to the genius of the age and nation in which they lived; for though nature, as he objects, is the same in all places, and reason too the same, yet the climate, the age, the disposition of the people, to whom a poet writes, may be so different, that what pleased the Greeks would not satisfy an English audience.

And if they proceeded upon a foundation of truer reason to please the Athenians, than Shakespeare and Fletcher to please the English, it only shews, that the Athenians were a more judicious people; but the poet's business is certainly to please the audience.

Whether our English audience have been pleased hitherto with acorns, as he calls it, or with bread, is the next question; that is, whether the means which Shakespeare and Fletcher have used in their plays to raise those passions before named, be better applied to the ends by the Greek poets than by them. And perhaps we shall not grant him this wholly: let it be yielded, that a writer is not to run down with the stream, or to please the people by their own usual methods, but rather to reform their judgments,--it still remains to prove, that our theatre needs this total reformation.

The faults which he has found in their designs, are rather wittily aggravated in many places, than reasonably urged; and as much may be returned on the Greeks by one who were as witty as himself.

2. They destroy not, if they are granted, the foundation of the fabric, only take away from the beauty of the symmetry: for example, the faults in the character of the "King and no King"[157] are not as he makes them, such as render him detestable, but only imperfections which accompany human nature, and are for the most part excused by the violence of his love; so that they destroy not our pity or concernment for him. This answer may be applied to most of his objections of that kind.

And Rollo[158] committing many murders, when he is answerable but for one, is too severely arraigned by him, for it adds to our horror and detestation of the criminal; and poetic justice is not neglected neither, for we stab him in our minds for every offence which he commits; and the point which the poet is to gain on the audience is not so much in the death of an offender, as the raising an horror of his crimes.

That the criminal should neither be wholly guilty, nor wholly innocent, but so participating of both as to move both pity and terror, is certainly a good rule, but not perpetually to be observed; for that were to make all tragedies too much alike; which objection he foresaw, but has not fully answered.

To conclude, therefore; if the plays of the ancients are more correctly plotted, ours are more beautifully written. And if we can raise passions as high on worse foundations, it shews our genius in tragedy is greater; for, in all other parts of it, the English have manifestly excelled them.


[Footnote 154: Rymer sets out with the old dogma, that no source of tragedy was legitimate, except that springing from pity or terror.]

[Footnote 155: "After much new-modelling, many changes, and alterations, Æschylus came with a second actor on the stage, and lessened the business of the chorus proportionably. But Sophocles adding a third actor and painted scenes, gave, in Aristotle's opinion, the utmost perfection to tragedy." RYMER'S _Remarks_, p. 13.]

[Footnote 156: Alluding to the following remarks of Rymer transferring the pleasing effect of the plays, which he censures, to the lively representation. "Amongst those who will be objecting against the doctrine I lay down, may peradventure appear a sort of men who have remembered so and so; and value themselves upon their experience. I may write by the book (say they) what I have a mind, but they know what will please. Those are a kind of stage-quacks and empirics in poetry, who have got a receipt to please; and no collegiate like them for purging the passions.

"These say (for instance) a "King and no King" pleases. I say the comical part pleases.

"I say that Mr Hart pleases; most of the business falls to his share, and what he delivers, every one takes upon content; their eyes are prepossessed and charmed by his action, before aught of the poet's can approach their ears; and to the most wretched of characters, he gives a lustre and brilliance, which dazzles the sight, that the deformities in the poetry cannot be perceived."--_Remarks_, p. 5.

He has a similar observation in page 138:--"We may remember, however we find this scene of Melantius and Amintor written in the book, that at the theatre we have a good scene acted. There is work cut out, and both our Æsopus and Roscius are on the stage together: whatever defect may be in Amintor and Melantius, Mr Hart and Mr Mohun are wanting in nothing. To these we owe for what is pleasing in the scene; and to this scene we may impute the success of the "Maid's Tragedy."]

[Footnote 157: After laying it down as a necessary rule, that a king in tragedy is, _ex jure_, a hero, Rymer proceeds to arraign the character of Arbaces, for his vain glory, presumption, incestuous passion for his sister, and extravagance of language. He sums his character up in the words of the Irish inscription:

For fierceness and for furiousness, Men call me the queen's mortar-piece. ]

[Footnote 158: "When Rollo has murdered his brother, he stands condemned by the laws of poetry; and nothing remains but that the poet see him executed, and the poet is to answer for all the mischief committed afterwards. But Rollo we find has made his escape, and woe be to the chancellor, to the school-master, and to the chancellor's man; for those are to be men of this world no longer. Here is like to be poetical justice, so many lives taken away, and but the life of one guilty person to answer for all; and is not this a strange method of killing? If the planets had contrived him for a cock of thirteen, his first victory should not have been the most important; he should first have practised on his subjects, and have risen by degrees to the height of iniquity. His brother sovereign was his top-murder; nothing remained after that, unless it were his lady-mother."]






The following effusion of spleen, which is altogether unworthy of Dryden, took its rise in the animosity of literary rivalship.

About 1673, the Earl of Rochester, who had been formerly on good terms with Dryden, had received a dedication from him, and made a suitable return of compliment,[159] became his bitter opponent and enemy. This was probably owing to Dryden's intimacy with Sheffield, Earl Mulgrave, who had challenged Rochester, and publicly branded him with cowardice for his refusal to fight him.[160] The witty and profligate courtier turned that resentment against the poet, which he durst not shew to the patron, and endeavoured to injure him on every opportunity.

Elkanah Settle, whom we have had former opportunities to commemorate, was now rising into notice. He was the son of Joseph Settle, of Dunstable, in Bedfordshire, and had distinguished himself by a tragedy, called "Cambyses, King of Persia," which was acted for three weeks together. Emboldened by this success, he produced a second play, entitled "The Empress of Morocco." Upon this tragedy, and its author, Rochester fixed, as the implements of his plan, to humble and mortify Dryden. He made use of his influence to introduce Settle at court as a poet greatly superior to our bard; and he was received at least upon equal terms with him. Even Sheffield contributed to Dryden's mortification, and, perhaps in obedience to the king, graced "The Empress of Morocco" with a prologue of his own writing, which was spoken by Lady Betty Howard, when the piece was presented at Whitehall, by the gentlemen and ladies of the court. Rochester wrote a second prologue, which was spoken by the same lady, on a second representation of the same distinguished kind. The bookseller contributed his share of celebrity to the piece, by decorating it with four engravings, each representing a scene in the play; an honour which had not hitherto been conferred on any single play: with these decorations it sold for two shillings, being double the common price. Lastly, the public bought up the edition with great rapidity, and very naturally employed themselves in weighing the merits of the new bard against those of our author, who had hitherto reigned paramount over the drama.

All these circumstances combined to vex the spirit of Dryden. There was not only a vile bombastic production publicly weighed against his most laboured plays, but the author, presuming upon the countenance of a numerous party among the public, had openly bid him defiance, by sundry irreverend sneers at him in the prefatory epistle of his garnished and bedizened performance. This Dryden termed, "a most arrogant, calumniating, ill-natured, and scandalous preface."[161]

It had been undoubtedly wise in Dryden to have disdained to enter the arena with such an antagonist. Settle must soon have sunk by his own weight, to the dishonour and confusion of his supporters; but the spirit of controversy and party were to buoy him up a little longer. Our author, irritated and imprudent, entered into a league with Shadwell, (afterwards a hostile name,) and with John Crowne, another dramatist of the day, to humble at once the pride of Settle, by such a criticism as should make his party ashamed of their poet, and the poet of his own production. Accordingly, "The Notes and Observations on the Empress of Morocco," the work of the three allies, came forth in 4to, in 1674. None of the consequences followed which Dryden had probably expected. Settle retorted, and stupid and vulgar as he was, it was hardly possible for him to fall beneath the Billingsgate with which he had been assailed.[162] On the contrary, he rather gained reputation by the contest, and fairly divided with Dryden the applauses of the court and of the universities. It was not until the controversy subsided, that Elkanah lost his unnatural and unmerited literary importance. In the mean time, the feud between Dryden and him was inflamed by political hatred, and at length procured Elkanah the bitter distinction, of being described in "Absalom and Achitophel," under the name of Doeg. Vol. IX. pages 331, 373.

It were to be wished, our author could be exculpated from any share in the coarse and illiberal invective which follows these introductory remarks. But it is too certain, from the evidence of Dennis, as well as Settle's affirmation, that Dryden did stoop to revise the pamphlet, and probably to write the preface and postscript. These cannot therefore be rejected from a full edition of his works; but I willingly follow Mr Malone's authority in rejecting the rest of the pamphlet, excepting a small specimen.

Morally considered, the piece affords an useful lesson, how much irritation can debase even the composition of genius. The best satirist, like a fencer, loses the skill of his art when he loses his temper; and if Dryden afterwards succeeded in making a ridiculous portrait of Elkanah Settle, it was because he had lost apprehension of him as a rival, and cooled his indignation with a proportion of contempt suitable to its object.


[Footnote 159: See Vol. IV. p. 235.]

[Footnote 160: See the story as told by Sheffield himself, p. 215.]

[Footnote 161: It is addressed to Henry Earl of Norwich, and is obviously levelled against the manner of our author's dedications. "The impudence of scribblers in this age has so corrupted the original design of dedications, that before I dare tell you this trifle begs your lordship's protection, I ought first to examine on what grounds I make the attack; for now every thing that ere saw the stage, how modest soever it has been there, without daring to shew its face above three days, has yet the arrogance to thrust itself into the world in print, with a great name before it: When the fawning scribbler shall compendiously say,--The factions of critics, the ill time of the year, and the worse acting of the players, has prejudiced his play; but he doubts not, but his grace, or his honour's more impartial judgment will find that pardonable, which the world has so maliciously censured; that is as much as to say,--Sir, you are the only person at court, whose blind side I dare venture on; not doubting, but your good nature will excuse what all the world (except the author) has justly condemned. Thus a dedication, which was formerly a present to a person of quality, is now made a libel on him; whilst the poet either supposes his patron to be so great a sot to defend that in print, which he hist off the stage; or else makes himself a greater, in asking a favour from him, which he never expects to obtain. However, that which is abuse to the patron, is a compliment to the bookseller, who whispers the poet, and tells him, sir, your play had misfortune, and all that--but if you'd but write a dedication, or preface.--The poet takes the hint, picks out a person of honour, tells him he has a great deal of wit, gives us an account who writ sense in the last age, supposing we cannot be ignorant who writes it in this; disputes the nature of verse, answers a cavil or two, quibbles upon the court, huffs the critics, and the work's done. 'Tis not to be imagined how far a sheet of this goes to make a bookseller rich, and a poet famous.

"But, my lord, whilst I trouble you with this kind of discourse, I beg you would not think I design to give rules to the press, as some of our tribe have done to the stage; or that I find fault with their dedications, in compliment to my own: no, that's a trick I do not pretend to."]

[Footnote 162: He thus characterizes his three antagonists.

"Thereupon, with very little conjuration, by those three remarkable qualities of _railing_, _boasting_, and _thieving_, I found a Dryden in the frontispiece; then going through the preface, I observed the drawing of a fool's picture to be the design of the whole piece; and reflecting on the painter, I considered that probably the pamphlet might be like his plays, not to be written without help: and according to expectation, I discovered the author of "Epsom Wells," and the author of "Pandion and Amphigenia," lent their assistance. How! Three to one, thought I! and three gentlemen of such disagreeing qualifications in one club! The first, a man that has had wit, but is past it; the second, that has it, if he can keep it; and the third, that neither has, nor is ever like to have it. Then boldly on I went, and fortified with patience (as I found it required) for a full perusal, I wondered the less at the deformity of the piece, when such different heads went to the composure. The first of these is the only person that pretends an injury, received from a satiric line or two in the "Epistle to Morocco;" and consequently I conclude him the promoter of so ill-natured a retort. The second, I suppose only putting his comical hand, to help forward with the mirth of so ridiculous a libel; and the third, perhaps out of a vain glory of being in print, knowing himself to be such a reptile in poetry, that he's beholding to lampoon for giving the world to know that there is such a writer in being."]






When I first saw "The Empress of Morocco," though I found it then to be a rhapsody of nonsense, I was very well contented to have let it pass, that the reputation of a new author might not be wholly damned; but that he might be encouraged to make his audience some part of amends another time. In order to this, I strained a point of conscience to cry up some passages of the play, which I hoped would recommend it to the liking of the more favourable judges; but the ill report it had from those that had seen it at Whitehall, had already done its business with judicious men. It was generally disliked by them; and but for the help of scenes, and habits, and a dancing tree, even the Ludgate audience had forsaken it.[163]

After this ill success, one would have thought the poet should have been sufficiently mortified; and though he were not naturally modest, should at least have deferred the showing of his impudence till a fitter season: but instead of this, he has written before his play the most arrogant, calumniating, ill-mannered, and senseless Preface I ever saw. This upstart illiterate scribbler, who lies more open to censure than any writer of the age, comes amongst the poets, like one of the earth-born brethren; and his first business in the world is to attack and murder all his fellows. This, I confess, raised a little indignation in me, as much as I was capable of for so contemptible a wretch, and made me think it somewhat necessary that he should be made an example, to the discouragement of all such petulant ill writers; and that he should be dragged out of that obscurity to which his own poetry would for ever have condemned him. I knew, indeed, that to write against him was to do him too great an honour; but I considered Ben Jonson had done it before to Dekker, our author's predecessor, whom he chastised in his "Poetaster," under the character of Crispinus; and brought him in vomiting up his fustian and nonsense.[164] Should our poet have been introduced in the same manner, he must have disgorged his whole play, ere he had been cleansed. Never did I see such a confused heap of false grammar, improper English, strained hyperboles, and downright bulls. His plot is incoherent, and full of absurdities, and the characters of his persons so ill chosen, that they are all either knaves or fools; only his knaves are fools into the bargain, and so must be of necessity, while they are in his management. They all speak alike, and without distinction of character; that is, every one rants, and swaggers, and talks nonsense abundantly. He steals notoriously from his contemporaries, but he so alters the property, by disguising his theft in ill English and bad applications, that he makes the child his own by deforming it:--_male dum recitas, incipit esse tuus_. A poet, when he sees his thoughts in so ill a dress, is ashamed to confess they ever belonged to him. For the Latin and Greek authors, he had certainly done them the same injury he has done the English, but that he has the excuse of Aretine for not railing against God;--he steals not from them, because he never knew them. In short, he is an animal of a most deplored understanding, without reading and conversation: his being is in a twilight of sense, and some glimmering of thought, which he can never fashion either into wit or English. His style is boisterous and rough-hewn; his rhyme incorrigibly lewd, and his numbers perpetually harsh and ill sounding. That little talent which he has, is fancy. He sometimes labours with a thought, but with the pudder he makes to bring it into the world, it is commonly still-born; so that, for want of learning and elocution, he will never be able to express any thing either naturally or justly. This subjects him on all occasions to false allusions, and mistaken points of wit. As for judgment, he has not the least grain of it; and therefore all his plays will be a mere confusion. What a beastly pattern of a king, whom he intends virtuous, has he shewn in his Muly Labas? Yet he is the only person who is kept to his character; for he is a perpetual fool; and I dare undertake, that if he were played by Nokes, who acted just such another monarch in "Macbeth,"[165] it would give new life to the play, and do it more good than all its devils. But of all women, the Lord bless us from his Laula! nobody can be safe from her: she is so naturally mischievous, that she kills without the least occasion, for the mere lechery of bloodshed. I suspect he took her character from the poisoning-woman, who, they say, makes almost as little ceremony of a murder as that Queen.

It were endless to run over the rest; but they are all of the same stamp. He has a heavy hand at fools, and a great felicity in writing nonsense for them. Fools they will be in spite of him. His king, his two empresses, his villain, and his sub-villain, nay his hero, have all a certain natural cast of the father; one turn of the countenance goes through all his children. Their folly was born and bred in them; and something of the Elkanah will be visible. Our poet, in writing fools, has very much in him of that sign-post painter, who was famous only for drawing roses: when a vintner desired him to paint a lion, he answered, he would do it to content him, but he was sure it would be like a rose. Yet since the common audience are much of his level, and both the great vulgar and the small (as Mr Cowley calls them) are apt to admire what they do not understand, (_omne ignotum habent pro magnifico_,) and think all which rumbles is heroic, it will be no wonder if he pass for a great author amongst town fools and city wits. With these men, they who laugh at him will be thought envious; for they will be sure to rise up in arms for nonsense, and violently defend a cause in which they are engaged by the ties of nature and education. But it will be for the benefit of mankind hereafter to observe what kind of people they are who frequent this play, that men of common sense may know whom to shun. Yet I dare assure the reader, that one half of the faults and absurdities are not shewn; what is here is only selected fustian, impertinence, and false grammar. There is as much behind, as would reasonably damn as many plays as there are acts; for I am sure there are no four lines together, which are free from some error, and commonly a gross one. But here is enough to take a taste of him; to have observed all, were to have swelled a volume, and have made you pay as dear for a fool's picture, as you have done for his tragedy with sculptures.

* * * * *

"As men in incense send up vows to heaven."

_Empress of Morocco_, Act II.

As if incense could carry up thoughts, or a thought go up in smoke: he may as well say, he will roast or bake thoughts, as smoke them. And the allusion too is very agreeable and natural: he compares thunder, lightning, and roaring of guns, to incense; and says thus,--he expresses his loud joys in a concert of thundering guns, as men send up silent vows in gentle incense. If this description is not plentifully supplied with nonsense, I will refer myself to the reader. No doubt it was worth our poet's pains to cut a river up to Morocco, for the sake of such a description of ships as this. A rare and studied piece it is. The poet has employed his art about every line, that it may be esteemed a curiosity in its kind, and himself a person endowed with a peculiar talent in writing new and exact nonsense. And for this no doubt it was, that our poet was so much courted, sent for from place to place, that you could hardly cross a street but you met him puffing and blowing, with his fardel of nonsense under his arm, driving his bulls in haste to some great person or other to shew them, as if he had lately come out of Asia or Africa with strange kinds of dromedaries, rhinoceroses, or a new Cambyses, a beast more monstrous than any of the former. Nay, both the playhouses contended for him, as if he had found out some new way of eating fire. No doubt their design was to entertain the town with a rarity. People had been long weary of good sense that looked like nonsense, and now they would treat them with nonsense which yet looked very like sense. But as he that pretended he would shew a beast which was very like a horse, and was no horse, set people much admiring what strange animal it should be, but when they came in, and found it was nothing but a plain grey mare, laughed a while at the conceit, but were ready after to stone the fellow for his impudence; so it must needs fare with our poet, when his upper-gallery fools discover they have tricks put upon them, and all that they have so ignorantly clapped is downright nonsense. And for my part, I cannot but admire, that not only to those who know, or at least have had time enough to learn, what sense is, but also to a people who, of all nations in the world, pretend to understand best what belongs to shipping, our poet should dare to offer this fustian for sense and a description of ships; a description so ridiculous, that Mulylabas, as errant a fool, and as ignorant of ships as he is, must needs discover, that he is abused, and that ships cannot be such things as the poet makes them. But the poet has not only been so impudent to expose all this stuff, but so arrogant to defend it with an Epistle; like a saucy booth-keeper, that when he had put a cheat upon the people, would wrangle and fight with any that would not like it, or would offer to discover it; for which arrogance our poet receives this correction; and to jerk him a little the sharper, I will not transpose his verse, but by the help of his own words trans-nonsense sense, that, by my stuff, people may judge the better what his is:

Great Boy, thy tragedy and sculptures done, From press and plates, in fleets do homeward run: And in ridiculous and humble pride, Their course in ballad-singers' baskets guide; Whose greasy twigs do all new beauties take From the gay shows thy dainty sculptures make. Thy lines a mess of rhyming nonsense yield, A senseless tale, with fluttering fustian filled. No grain of sense does in one line appear; Thy words big bulks of boisterous bombast bear; With noise they move, and from players' mouths rebound, When their tongues dance to thy words' empty sound. By thee inspired, thy rumbling verses roll, As if that rhyme and bombast lent a soul; And with that soul they seem taught duty too; To huffing words does humble nonsense bow, As if it would thy worthless worth enhance, To the lowest rank of fops thy praise advance,

To whom by instinct all thy stuff is dear; Their loud claps echo to the theatre. From breaths of fools thy commendation spreads, Fame sings thy praise with mouths of loggerheads; With noise and laughing each thy fustian greets, 'Tis clapped by choirs of empty-headed cits, Who have their tribute sent, and homage given, _As men in whispers send loud noise to heaven_.[166]

Thus I have daubed him with his own puddle. And now we are come from aboard his dancing, masquing, rebounding, breathing fleet; and as if we had landed at Gotham, we meet nothing but fools and nonsense.

Order and harmony in each appear, Their lofty bulks the flaming billows bear; In state they move, and on the waves rebound, As if they danced to their own trumpets' sound: By winds inspired, with lively grace they roll, As if that breath and motion lent a soul; And with that soul they seem taught duty too, Their topsails lowered, their heads with reverence bow, As if they would their general's worth enhance, From him by instinct taught allegiance. Whilst the loud cannons echo to the shore, Their flaming breaths salute you emperor; From their deep mouths he does your glory sing, With thunder and with lightning greets his King. Thus to express his joys, in a loud choir, And concert of winged messengers of fire, He has his tribute sent, and homage given, As men in incense send up vows to heaven.


Some who are pleased with the bare sound of verse, or the rumbling of robustious nonsense, will be apt to think Mr Settle too severely handled in this pamphlet; but I do assure the reader, that there are a vast number of errors passed by, perhaps as many, or more, than are taken notice of, both to avoid the tediousness of the work, and the greatness. It might have occasioned a volume upon such a trifle. I dare affirm, that no objections in this book are fruitless cavils: but if, through too much haste, Mr Settle may be accused of any seeming fault, which may reasonably be defended, let the passing by many gross errors without reprehension compound for it. I am not ignorant, that his admirers, who most commonly are women, will resent this very ill; and some little friends of his, who are smatterers in poetry, will be ready for most of his gross errors to use that much mistaken plea of _poetica licentia_, which words fools are apt to use for the palliating the most absurd nonsense in any poem. I cannot find when poets had liberty, from any authority, to write nonsense, more than any other men. Nor is that plea of _poetica licentia_ used as a subterfuge by any but weak professors of that art, who are commonly given over to a mist of fancy, a buzzing of invention, and a sound of something like sense, and have no use of judgment. They never think thoroughly, but the best of their thoughts are like those we have in dreams, imperfect; which though perhaps we are often pleased with sleeping, we blush at waking. The licentious wildness and extravagance of such men's conceits have made poetry contemned by some, though it be very unjust for any to condemn the science for the weakness of some of the professors.

Men that are given over to fancy only, are little better than madmen. What people say of fire, viz. that it is a good servant, but an ill master, may not unaptly be applied to fancy; which, when it is too active, rages, but when cooled and allayed by the judgment, produces admirable effects. But this rage of fancy is never Mr Settle's crime; he has too much phlegm, and too little choler, to be accused of this. He has all the pangs and throes of a fanciful poet, but is never delivered of any more perfect issue of his phlegmatic brain, than a dull Dutchwoman's sooterkin is of her body.

His style is very muddy, and yet much laboured; for his meaning (for sense there is not much) is most commonly obscure, but never by reason of too much height, but lowness. His fancy never flies out of sight, but often sinks out of sight:--but now I hope the reader will excuse some digression upon the extravagant use of fancy and poetical licence.

Fanciful poetry and music, used with moderation, are good; but men who are wholly given over to either of them, are commonly as full of whimsies as diseased and splenetic men can be. Their heads are continually hot, and they have the same elevation of fancy sober, which men of sense have when they drink. So wine used moderately does not take away the judgment, but used continually, debauches men's understandings, and turns them into sots, making their heads continually hot by accident, as the others are by nature; so, mere poets and mere musicians are as sottish as mere drunkards are, who live in a continual mist, without seeing or judging any thing clearly.

A man should be learned in several sciences, and should have a reasonable, philosophical, and in some measure a mathematical head, to be a complete and excellent poet; and besides this, should have experience in all sorts of humours and manners of men; should be thoroughly skilled in conversation, and should have a great knowledge of mankind in general. Mr Settle having never studied any sort of learning but poetry, and that but slenderly, as you may find by his writings, and having besides no other advantages, must make very lame work on't; he himself declares, he neither reads, nor cares for conversation; so that he would persuade us he is a kind of fanatic in poetry, and has a light within him, and writes by an inspiration; which (like that of the heathen prophets) a man must have no sense of his own when he receives; and no doubt he would be thought inspired, and would be reverenced extremely in the country where Santons are worshipped. But some will, I doubt not, object, that poetry should not be reduced to the strictness of mathematics; to which I answer, it ought to be so far mathematical as to have likeness and proportion, since they will all confess that it is a kind of painting. But they will perhaps say, that a poem is a picture to be seen at a distance, and therefore ought to be bigger than the life. I confess there must be a due distance allowed for the seeing of any thing in the world; for an object can no more be seen at all too near, than too far off the eye: but granting that a poem is a picture to be viewed at a great distance, the distance and the bigness ought to be so suited, as though the picture be much bigger than the life, yet it must not seem so; and what miserable mistakes some poets make for want of knowing this truly, I leave to men of sense to judge; and by the way, let us consider that dramatic poetry, especially the English, brings the picture nearer the eye, than any other sort of poetry.

But some will say after this, what licence is left for poets? Certainly the same that good poets ever took, without being faulty, (for surely the best were so sometimes, because they were but men,) and that licence is fiction; which kind of poetry is like that of landscape-painting; and poems of this nature, though they be not _vera_, ought to be _verisimilia_.

The great art of poets is either the adorning and beautifying of truth, or the inventing pleasing and probable fictions. If they invent impossible fables, like some of Æsop's, they ought to have such morals couched under them, as may tend to the instruction of mankind, or the regulation of manners, or they can be of no use; nor can they really delight any but such as would be pleased with Tom Thumb, without these circumstances. But there are some pedants, who will quote authority from the ancients for the faults and extravagancies of some of the moderns; who being able to imitate nothing but the faults of the classic authors, mistake them for their excellencies. I speak with all due reverence to the ancients; for no man esteems their perfections more than myself, though I confess I have not that blind implicit faith in them which some ignorant schoolmasters would impose upon us, to believe in all their errors, and own all their crimes: to some pedants every thing in them is of that authority, that they will create a new figure of rhetoric out of the fault of an old poet. I am apt to believe the same faults were found in them, when they wrote, which men of sense find now; but not the excellencies which schoolmasters would persuade us: yet I must say now,

_Nobis non licet esse tam disertis, Musas qui colimus severiores._

MARTIAL. Epipgr. ix. 12.


[Footnote 163: There was a royal theatre at Whitehall, where this play was twice acted. This playhouse was burned in 1697. The _dancing tree_, refers to this stage direction in the second act: "A Moorish dance is presented by Moors in several habits, who bring in an artificial palm-tree, about which they dance to several antique instruments of music."]

[Footnote 164: For Ben Jonson's controversy with Dekker, See Vol. X. p. 451. Dekker was as far superior to Settle, as Dryden was to Jonson.]

[Footnote 165: This seems, as conjectured by Mr Malone, to have been some parody on Macbeth, which, strange to tell! had been converted into a sort of opera by D'Avenant. Such burlesque performances were fashionable about this time.]

[Footnote 166: These lines are a parody on the following passage in "The Empress of Morocco," (act ii. sc. 1.) which, we are told in the Remarks, was much admired.

_The scene opened, is represented the prospect of a large river, with a glorious fleet of ships, supposed to be the navy of Muly Hamet. After the sound of trumpets, and the discharging of guns,_

_Enter King, young Queen_, HAMETALHAZ, _and Attendants._

_Hamet._ Great Sir, your royal father's general Prince Muly Hamet's fleet does homeward sail, And in a solemn and triumphant pride Their course up the great river Tensift guide, Whose gilded currents do new glories take From the reflexion his bright streamers make. The waves a masque of martial pageants yield, A flying army on a floating field. ]


_This play was written by John Dryden, our author's second son, and is said to have been founded on a real incident which happened at Rome. It was dedicated to Sir Robert Howard, the author's uncle, and acted in 1696, with the advantages of a Prologue from Congreve, and an Epilogue from our author._ See Vol. X. p. 423.

I have thought convenient to acquaint the reader with somewhat concerning this comedy, though perhaps not worth his knowledge. It was sent me from Italy some years since, by my second son, to try its fortune on the stage; and being the essay of a young unexperienced author, to confess the truth, I thought it not worthy of that honour. It is true, I was not willing to discourage him so far, as to tell him plainly my opinion, but it seems he guessed somewhat of my mind, by my long delays of his expectation; and therefore, in my absence from the town last summer, took the boldness to dedicate his play to that person of honour whose name you will find before his Epistle. It was received by that noble gentleman with so much candour and generosity, as neither my son nor I could deserve from him. Then the play was no longer in my power; the patron demanding it in his own right, it was delivered to him: and he was farther pleased, during my sickness, to put it into that method in which you find it; the loose scenes digested into order, and knit into a tale.

As it is, I think it may pass amongst the rest of our new plays: I know but two authors, and they are both my friends,[167] who have done better since the Revolution. This I dare venture to maintain, that the taste of the age is wretchedly depraved in all sorts of poetry; nothing almost but what is abominably bad can please. The young hounds, who ought to come behind, now lead the pack; but they miserably mistake the scent. Their poets, worthy of such an audience, know not how to distinguish their characters; the manners are all alike inconsistent, and interfering with each other. There is scarce a man or woman of God's making in all their farces, yet they raise an unnatural sort of laughter, the common effect of buffoonery; and the rabble, which takes this for wit, will endure no better, because it is above their understanding. This account I take from the best judges; for I thank God, I have had the grace hitherto to avoid the seeing or reading of their gallimaufries. But it is the latter end of a century, and I hope the next will begin better.

This play, I dare assure the reader, is none of those; it may want beauties, but the faults are neither gross, nor many. Perfection in any art is not suddenly obtained: the author of this, to his misfortune, left his country at a time when he was to have learned the language. The story he has treated, was an accident which happened at Rome, though he has transferred the scene to England. If it shall please God to restore him to me, I may perhaps inform him better of the rules of writing; and if I am not partial, he has already shewn that a genius is not wanting to him. All that I can reasonably fear is, that the perpetual good success of ill plays may make him endeavour to please by writing worse, and by accommodating himself to the wretched capacity and liking of the present audience, from which heaven defend any of my progeny! A poet, indeed, must live by the many; but a good poet will make it his business to please the few. I will not proceed farther on a subject which arraigns so many of the readers.

For what remains, both my son and I are extremely obliged to my dear friend, Mr Congreve, whose excellent Prologue was one of the greatest ornaments of the play. Neither is my Epilogue the worst which I have written; though it seems, at the first sight, to expose our young clergy with too much freedom. It was on that consideration that I had once begun it otherwise, and delivered the copy of it to be spoken, in case the first part of it had given offence. This I will give you, partly in my own justification, and partly too because I think it not unworthy of your sight; only remembering you, that the last line connects the sense to the ensuing part of it.--Farewell, reader: if you are a father, you will forgive me; if not, you will when you are a father.

Time was, when none could preach without degrees, And seven-years toil at Universities; But when the canting saints came once in play, The spirit did their business in a day: A zealous cobler, with the gift of tongue, If he could pray six hours, might preach as long. Thus, in the primitive times of poetry, The stage to none but men of sense was free; But thanks to your judicious taste, my masters, It lies in common, now, to poetasters. You set them up, and till you dare condemn, The satire lies on you, and not on them. When mountebanks their drugs at market cry, Is it their fault to sell, or yours to buy? 'Tis true, they write with ease, and well they may; } Fly-blows are gotten every summer's day; } The poet does but buz, and there's a play. } Wit's not his business, &c.


[Footnote 167: Probably, Southerne and Congreve.]


Edinburgh, Printed by James Ballantyne & Co.

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+------------------------------------------------------------------+ | Transcriber notes: | | | | P.132. 'daar' is 'dart' in other copy. Changed. | | Footnote 124: 'Cleveland' is 'Cleiveland' in other copy, changed.| | P.378. 'houshold' changed to 'household'. | | | | Underscore before and after text indicates italics. | | Fixed various punctuation. | | | +------------------------------------------------------------------+