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In further support of the alteration proposed, I might obe serve, that the figure, asyndeton, supersedes the necessity of a conjunction in the passage under consideration. But as I am writing to the Literati, it would be a needless labour.
To make the emendation I offer more intelligible, I beg leave, (though I am prolix, if not tedious, already), to add a paraphrase on a passage
Si quid novisti rectius istis
J. LEWIS. Ludlow, Free-School, Oct. 26, 1780.
P. Š. Alluding to the wars between the Carthaginians and Romans, Silius Italicus thus harmoniously and sublimely sings :
Gens Cadnæa super regno certamina movit
Terrarum Fortuna caput.
LXXIII. Pope's Epitaph on Gay borrowed.-Hammond's Elegies. Mr. URBAN,
August, 1781. The quaintness of the concluding line of Pope's Epitaph "on Gay;
"_That the worthy and the good may say,
Striking their pensive bosoms, here lies GAY,". has been deservedly censured; but the thought, whether good or bad, was not his own. Dr. Warton, in The Adventurer, No. 63, supposes that it was copied from an old Latin Elegy on Henry Prince of Wales; but I have no doubt
that the following lines of Crashaw (a favourite author of Pope's) furnished him with this puerile conceit:
“ Enough;-if thou canst, pass on,
Is he entomb'd, but in thy heart." I believe it is not generally known, that the elogium on the Hon. Simon Harcourt:
Who ne'er knew joy but friendship might divide,
Or gave his father grief but when he died, is likewise stolen from some one of the following epitaphs.
"_Complete in all but days, resign'd her breath,
In St. Mary Magdalen’s, Bermondsey,
On Miss Lucy Hippesley, in St. Thou
mas's Church, Salisbury,
Nisi quod mortua est." I do not know the exact date of the two English epitaphs above quoted, perhaps therefore they may have been bortowed from Pople; but the Latin one he might have found in Montfaucon's Antiquities.
Before I conclude, let me add a word or two more on the subject of imitation. Dr. Johnson, in his late admirable Lives of the English Poets, speaking of Mr. Hammond, observes, that his elegies, “have neither passion, nature, or manners." They certainly have neither of the latter; and whatever of the former they contain is the passion of a Roman, not of an Englishman. It is surprising, that the cause of this defect escaped this classical and most judicious critic. In short, these elegies are almost all, if not translations, very close imitations of Tibullus. In the whole number there are but four original. Of this any one may be convinced who will take the trouble to compare these poems with those of the Roman Knight. For the satisfaction of your classical readers, I will subjoin a list of those elegies which Hammond bas copied.
Lib. II. EI. IV. 1–38.
Lib. II. El. VI. 3.
Lib. II. El. IV. 39-50. 4.
"Lib. III. El. V. 5.
Lib. I. El. II. 6.
Lib. II. EI. VII.
Lib. II. EI. III. 8.
Lib. III. EI. III.
Lib. III. El. II.
Lib. I. EI. I. 45-52
Lib. III. El. VII. 13
Lib. I. El. 1.
Lib. I. El. V.31.-34. By the foregoing table the reader will observe, that of Hammond's Elegies the 10th, 14th, 15th, and 16th, alone appear to have been unborrowed. It is, however, but just to add, that this unfortunate and amiable poet, though he has no pretensions to the title of an original writer, must be acknowledged to have been a very harmonious and elegant versifier.
Yours, &c. 1781, Aug.
U. A. F:
LXXIV. Addition to Gray's Church-yard Elegy.
March 3. THE late Mr. Edwards, author of the Canons of Criticism, who, though an old bachelor, was more attentive to the fair sex than the Pindaric Mr. Gray, endeavoured to supply what he thought a defect in the admired Church-yard Elegy, by adding the two following stanzas (which I do not remember to have seen in print) immediately after
• Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country's blood.' « Some lovely fair, whose unaffected charms
Shone with attraction to herself unknown,
And virtue cast a lustre on the throne:
* That humble beauty warm'd an honest heart,
And cheard the labours of a faithful spouse;
The healthful offspring that adorn'd their house." 1782, March.
LXXV. Origin of the Word Firm.
March 16. PLEASE to inform your Nottinghamshire Correspondent, who desires to know the etymology of the word Firm, that it is originally Spanish, and perhaps is no where else used in the sense ascribed to it but by them and the English. It is obvious that language, in its progress, admits of some variation in its meaning, and is either enlarged or contracted by accident. The word, in the original, signifies nothing more than subscription, or signing. So Nebrissensis explains the word. Firma de Escritura. Subscriptio, Signatio. Firmar escritura. Subscribo. Signo. In this sense it is constantly used by Cervantes, and the several places are pointed out in the first Indice of the edition of 1781, and is explained in the Annotaciones.---Antwerp having been for a long time under the dominion of the Spaniards, and a great staple of cornmerce, it is natural to suppose that we may have adopted it from thence. As it may be proper for a trading company to have one signature, it may have been confined to such. The Portuguese affix the same meaning to the word with their neighbours. But it occurs not in the Italian or French. Franciosini, in his Dictionary, renders Firma, La Sottoscrizione di propria mano. Sobrino, Firma, Signature. Firmar, Sige
LXXVI. Observations on Warton's Essay on Pope,
MR. URBAN, I SEND you some observations, that occurred to me on reading the second volume of the Essay on the Life and Writings of Pope, Such as point out errors in that very
entertaining work will, I doubt not, meet with pardon from the learned and candid author of it.
P. 10. Nor was the work įmpair'd by storms alone,
But felt th' approaches of too warm a sun:
Not more by envy than excess of praise. These lines are censured by the author of the Essay, as containing a puerile and far-fetched conceit: the allusion, however, seems suitable to the fanciful form of the poem. As all the circumstances in the imagery of the temple are emblematic of those that attend on fame; why may not heat and storm represent praise and envy; why may not the accidents, that affect the rock of ice, express those to which fame is exposed? Surely here is no vicious ornament or false thought.
P. 36, The author'exerts a manly indignation against the puny efforts of Voltaire to depreciate the father of poetry. The quotation in the note from the Greek writer is apposite and well pointed against the uncandid critic of Homer and Shakespeare. The author is mistaken in supposing Dion Chrysostom to be a fatḥer of the Church;
à sophist and heather, and lived in the reign of Domitian; the name of the celebrated father was Joha Chrysostom.
P. 131. The accommodation of our senses to our condi. tion is eloquently illustrated in a sermon of Bentley, at Boyle's lecture. There is so remarkable a resemblance of thought and expression between the
poet and divine, that one is almost tempted to think, that Pope condescended to consult the writings of the slashing and satirised Bentley. That truly great man writes thus on the subject :-“ If the eye were so acute, as to rival the finest microscopes, and to discern the smallest hair upon the leg of a gnat, it would be a curse and not a blessing to us; it would make all things appear rugged and deformed; the sight of our own selves would affright us: the smoothest skin would be set over with ragged scales and bristly hairs. And, 'beside, we could not see at one view above what is now the space of an inch, and it would take a considerable time to survey the then mountainous bulk of our own bodies. --So likewise if our sense of hearing were exalted proportionably to the former, what a miserable condition would mankind be in! Whither could we rerire from perpetual humming and buzzing? every breath of wind would incommode and disturb