« PreviousContinue »
kind of abortive birth. I used to make it one good part of my amusement in reading the English poets, those of them I mean whose vein flows regularly and constantly, as well as clearly, to trace them to their sources; and observe what oar, as well as what slime and gra. vel they brought down with them. Dryden I observe borrows for want of leisure, and Pope for want of genius: Milton out of pride, and Addison out of modesty. And now I speak of this latter, that you and Mr. Theobald may see of what kind these idle collections are, and likewise to give you my notion of what we may safely pronounce an imitation, for it is not I presume the same train of ideas that follow in the same description of an ancient and a modern, where nature when attended to, always supplys the same stores, which will autorise us to pronounce the latter an imitation, for the most judicious of all poets, Terence, has observed of his own science Nihil est dictum, quod non sit dictum prius: For these reasons I say I give myselfe the pleasure of setting down some imitations I observed in the Cato of Addison : Addison. A day, an hour of virtuous liberty
Is worth a whole eternity in bondage., Act 2, Sc Tully. Quod si immortalitas consequeretur præsentis periculi fu
gam, tamen eo magis ea fugienda esse videretur, quodiu
turnior esset servitus. Philipp. Or. 10a Addison. Bid him disband his legions
Restore the commonwealth to liberty
Bid him do this and Cato is his friend.
Neminem equiorem reperiet quam me. Philipp. 5a
'Tis not to stalk about and draw fresh air
Life grows insipid and has lost its relish. Sc. 3.
vienti. Philipp. 10a
The gen'rous plan of power deliver'd down
O never let it perish in your hands. Act 3, Sc. 5.
quam vobis, tanquam hereditatem, majores nostri reli
querunt. Philipp. 4a Addison. The mistress of the world, the seat of empire,
The nurse of Heros the Delight of Gods. Tully. Roma domus virtutis, imperii dignitatis, domicilium glo
riæ, lux orbis terrarum, de oratore. " The first half of the 5 Sc. 3 Act, is nothing but a transcript from the 9 book of lucan between the 300 and the 700 line. You see by this
specimen the exactness of Mr. Addison's judgment who wanting sentiments worthy the Roman Cato sought for them in Tully and Lucan. When he wou'd give his subject those terrible graces which Dion. Halicar: complains he could find no where but in Homer, he takes the assistance of our Shakspeare, who in his Julius Cæsar has painted the conspirators with a pomp and terrour that perfectly astonishes, hear our British Homer.
Between the acting of a dreadful thing
The nature of an insurrection.
O think what anxious moments pass between
Filled up with horror all, & big with death. I have two things to observe on this imitation. 1. the decorum this exact Mr. of propriety has observed. In the Conspiracy of Shakespear's description, the fortunes of Cæsar and the roman Empire were concerned. And the magnificent circumstances of
“ The genius and the mortal instruments
“ Are then in council.” is exactly proportioned to the dignity of the subject. But this wou'd have been too great an apparatus to the desertion of Syphax and the rape of Sempronius, and therefore Mr. Addison omits it. II. The other thing more worthy our notice is, that Mr. A. was so greatly moved and affected with the pomp of Sh:s description, that insteado copying his author's sentiments, he has before he was aware given us only the marks of his own impressions on the reading him. For,
"O'tis a dreadful interval of time
“ Filled up with horror all, and big with death." are but the affections raised by such lively images as these
all the Int’rim is
" The nature of an insurrection.” Again when Mr. Addison would paint the softer passions he has recourse to Lee who certainly had a peculiar genius that way. thus his Juba
" True she is fair. O how divinely fair !" coldly imitates Lee in his Alex:
“ Then he wou'd talk: Good Gods how he would talk! I pronounce the more boldly of this, because Mr. A. in his 39 Spec. expresses his admiration of it. My paper fails me, or I should
now offer to Mr. Theobald an objection agt. Shakspeare's acquaintance with the ancients. As it appears to me of great weight, and as it is necessary he shou'd be prepared to obviate all that occur on that head. But some other opportunity will present itselfe. You may now, Sr, justly complain of my ill manners in deferring till now, what shou'd have been first of all acknowledged due to you, which is my thanks for all your favours when in town, particularly for introducing me to the knowledge of those worthy and ingenious Gentlemen that made up our last night's conversation. I am, Sir, with all esteem your most obliged friend and humble servant
W. Warburton. Newarke Jan. 2. 1726
[The superscription is thus:] For
Mr. M. Concanen at
The foregoing Letter was found about the year 1750, by Dr. Gawin Knight, first librarian to the British Museum, in fitting up a house which he had taken in Crane Court, Fleet Street. The house had, for a long time before, been let in lodgings, and in all probability, Concanen had lodged there. The original letter has been many years in my possession, and is here most exactly copied, with its several little peculiarities in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. April 30, 1766. M. A.
The above is copied from an indorsement of Dr. Mark Akenside as is the preceding letter from a copy given by him to Mr. Steevens. I have carefully retained all the peculiarities above mentioned.
Malone. Dr. Joseph Warton, in a note on Pope's Dunciad, Book II, observes, that at the time when Concanen published a pamphlet enti. tled, A Supplement to the Profund, (1728) he was intimately acquainted with Dr. Warburton. Steevens.