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THE THE BA I S.

Pope, in a brief notice at the head of this translation, states that, with some others from the Latin, it was written in his boyhood. If its command of poetic language belonged to him at 'fourteen or fifteen years of age,' later years must have added much less to his powers than to his fame. But he has the candor to acknowlege that he gave it some corrections a few years afterwards,'—an acknowlegement which reduces the whole question within ordinary bounds, and gives us a matured poem instead of an infant miracle.

Warton rather arrogantly pronounces that Pope could have adopted Statius only in his boyhood; and in the same spirit wishes, that no youth of genius should ever be suffered to look into Statius, Lucan, Claudian, or Şeneca the tragedian, from their tendency to dazzle by forced conceits, violent metaphors,' &c. Yet we may justly dispute the critical authority of a judge, who ranks Propertius, Tibullus, and Phædrus, among the perfect poets of Rome,' or, as he terms it, the legitimate models of just thinking and writing. If Statius exhibited the degenerate feelings of an age in which fear made Domitian a god, or if his theme revelled in the horrors of ancient story ; he yet gives proof of poetic energy equal to any one of the eight whom Warton niches in unapproachable excellence. Lucan alone is not inferior to their ablest, in all that constitutes the great poet, in rich invention, fervid imagery, bold personification, and that intensity of thought which strikes the idea into the soul. Of all the poets of antiquity, Lucan has been the

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most defrauded, and the most tastelessly defrauded, of his

renown.

5

O sacer, et magnus vatum labor, omnia fato
Eripis.

Pharsalia nostra
Vivet, et a nullo tenebris damnabitur ævo.

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