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in the imagery of Ever-greens. I proceed to his catalogue, Adam and Eve in Yew; Adam, a little shattered by the
fall of the Tree of Knowledge in the great storm ; Eve
and the Serpent very flourishing. Noah's ark in Holly, the ribs a little damaged for want
of water. The Tower of Bable, not yet finished. St. George in Box; his arm scarce long enough, but will
be in a condition to stick the Dragon by next April. А green Dragon of the fame, with a tail of Ground-Ivy for the present.
N. B. Those two not to be sold separately. Edward the Black Prince in Cypress. A Lauruftine Bear in Bloffom, with a Juniper Hunter in
Berries. A pair of Giants, ftunted, to be sold cheap, A Queen Elizabeth in Phyllirea, a little inclining to the
green-sickness, but of full growth. Another Queen Elizabeth in Myrtle, which was very
forward, but miscarried by being too near a Savine. An old maid of Honour in Wormwood. A topping Ben Johnson in Laurel. Divers eminent modern Poets in Bays, somewhat blight
ed; to be disposed of a pennyworth. A quick-set Hog shot up into a porcupine, by being
forgot a week in rainy weather. A Lavender Pig, with Sage growing in his belly, A pair of Maidenheads in Fir in great forwardness.
He also cutteth family-pieces of men, women, and children, so that any gentleman may have his lady's effigy in Myrtle, or his own in Horn-beam.
Thy Wife shall be as the fruitful Vine, and thy Children as Olive branches round thy table.
P R E F A A C E
H O M E R's
E R’s ILI A D.
HOMER is universally allowed to have had the
greateit Invention of any writer whatever. The praise of Judgment Virgil has juftly contested with him, and others may have their pretensions as to particular excellencies; but his Invention remains yet unrivalled. Nor is it a wonder if he has ever been acknowledged the greatcit of poets, who moft excelled in that which is the very foundation of poetry. It is the invention that in dif. ferent degrees diftinguishes all great Geniuses : The uta most stretch of human ftudy, learning, and industry, which mafter every thing besides, can never attain to this. It furnishes Art with all her materials, and without it, Judgment itself can at best but fteal wisely: for Art is only like a prudent fteward that lives on managing the riches of Nature. Whatever praises may be given to works of Judgment, there is not even a single beauty in them, to which the Invention must not contribute. As in the most regular gardens, Art canonly reduce the beauties of Nature to more regularity, and such a figure, which the common eye may better take in, and is there. fore more entertained with. And perhaps the reason why comipon Critics are inclined to prefer a judicious and methodical genius to a great and fruitful one, is, because they find it eafier for themselves to pursue their observations through an uniform and bounded walk of Art, than to comprehend the vast and various extent of Na
Our Author's work is a wild paradise, where if we cannot see all the beauties lo distinctly as in an ordered
garden, it is only because the number of them is infinitely greater. 'Tis like a copious nursery which contains the feeds and first productions of every kind, out of which those who followed him have but fele&ted some particular plants, each according to his fancy, to cultivate and beautify. If some things are too luxuriant, it is owing to the richness of the soil ; and if others are not arrived to perfection or maturity, it is only because they are overrun and oppressed by those of a stronger Nature.
It is to the strength of this amazing invention we are to attribute that unequalled fire and rapture, which is so forcible in Homer, that no man of a true poetical fpirit is master of himself while he reads him. What he writes, is of the most animated nature imaginable; every thing moves, every thing lives, and is put in action. If a council be called, or a battle fought, you are not coldly informed of what is said or done, as from a third person; the reader is hurried out of himself by the force of the Poet's imagination, and turns in one place to a hearer, in another to a spectator. The course of his verses relembles that of the army he describes,
oidas roar, woei te augi xowo ažca s'flecslom They pour along like a fire that sweeps the whole earth before it. 'Tis however remarkable that his fancy, which is everywhere vigorous, is not discovered immediately at the beginning of his poem in its fullest splendor: It grows in the progress both upon himself and others, and becomes on fire like a chariot-wheel, by its own rapidity. Exact disposition, juft thought, correct elocution, polished numbers, may have been found in a thousand; but this poetical fire, this Vivida vis Animi in a very few. Even in works where all those are imperfe& or neglected, this can overpower criticism, and make us admire even while we disapprove. Nay, where this appears, though attended with absurdities, it brightens all the rubbish about it, till we see nothing but its own splendor. This Fire is discerned in Virgil, but discerned as through a glass reficated from Homer, more shining than fierce, but every
where equal and constant: in Lucan and Statius, it bursts out in sudden, short, and interrupted flashes: In Milton it glows like a furnace kept up to an uncommon ardor by the force of art : In Shakespear, it strikes before we are aware, like an accidental fire from heaven: But in Homer, and in him only, it burns every where clearly, and every where irresistibly.
I shall here endeavour to show, how this vaft Invention exerts itself in a manner superior to that of any poet, through all the main constituent parts of his work, as it is the great and peculiar characteristick which diftinguishes him from all other authors.
This strong and ruling faculty was like a powerful ftar, which, in the violence of its course, drew all things within its vortex, It seemed not enough to have taken in the whole circle of arts, and the whole compass of nature to fupply his maxims and reflexions; all the inward paffions and affections of mankind, to furnish his characters; and all the outward forms and images of things for his descriptions; but wanting yet an ampler sphere to expatiate in, he opened a new and boundless walk for his imagination, and created a world for himself in the invention of Fable. That which Aristotle calls the Soul of poetry, was first breathed into it by Homer. I shall begin with considering him in this part, as it is naturally the first, and I speak of it both as it means the design of the poem, and as it is taken for fiction.
Fable may be divided into the probable, the allegorical, and the marvellous. The probable fable is the recital of such actions as though they did not happen, yet might, in the common course of nature : Or of such as though they did, become fables by the additional episodes and manner of telling them. Of this sort is the main story of an Epic poem, the return of Ulysses, the settlement of the Trojans in Italy, or the like. That of the Iliad is the anger of Achilles, the most short and single subject that ever was chosen by any Poet. Yet this he has supplied with a vafter variety of incidents and events, and croud
ed with a greater number of councils, speeches, battles,
If he gives his hero a suit of celestial armour, Virgil and Tasso make the same present to theirs. Virgil has not only observed this close imitation of Homer, but where he had not led the way, supplied the want from other Greek authors. Thus the story of Sinon, and the taking of Troy, was copied (says Macrobius) almoft word for word from Pisander, as the Loves of Dido and Æneas are taken froin those of Medea and Jason in Apollonius, and several others in the same manner.
To proceed to the allegorical fable: If we reflect upon those innumerable knowledges, those secrets of nature