A Discourse Concerning the Original
and Progress of Satire

John Dryden

Edited by Jack Lynch

From The Satires of Decimus Junius Juvenalis: Translated into English Verse by Mr. Dryden and Several Other Eminent Hands (London, 1693). The text follows the 1693 edition in spelling and capitalization, with only a few obvious typos corrected. I've added paragraph numbers and have footnoted some of the passages in classical languages and obscure allusions, but haven't tried to track down every reference. Greek words are transliterated. Whenever possible, I've used Dryden's own translations of Roman authors. This abridgment is about a third of the original; the paragraph numbers correspond to the original unabridged text, and show where omissions have been made. A very few omissions within paragraphs are noted by ellipses.

[32] And now, my Lord, to apply what I have said, to my present Business; the Satires of Juvenal and Persius, appearing in this New English Dress, cannot so properly be Inscrib'd to any Man as to Your Lordship, who are the First of the Age in that way of Writing. Your Lordship, amongst many other Favours, has given me Your Permission for this Address; and You have particularly Encourag'd me by Your Perusal and Approbation of the Sixth and Tenth Satires of Juvenal, as I have Translated them. My fellow Labourers, have likewise Commission'd me, to perform in their behalf this Office of a Dedication to you; and will acknowledge with all possible Respect and Gratitude, your Acceptance of their Work. Some of them have the Honour to be known to your Lordship already; and they who have not yet that happiness, desire it now. Be pleas'd to receive our common Endeavours with your wonted Candor, without Intitleing you to the Protection of our common Failings, in so difficult an Undertakeing. And allow me your Patience, if it be not already tir'd with this long Epistle, to give you from the Best Authors, the Origine, the Antiquity, the Growth, the Change, and the Compleatment of Satire among the Romans. To Describe, if not Define, the Nature of that Poem, with it's several Qualifications and Virtues, together with the several sorts of it. To compare the Excellencies of Horace, Persius and Juvenal, and shew the particular Manners of their Satires. And lastly, to give an Account of this New Way of Version which is attempted in our Performance. All which, according to the weakness of my Ability, and the best Lights which I can get from others, shall be the Subject of my following Discourse.

[37] There has been a long Dispute amongst the Modern Critiques, whether the Romans deriv'd their Satire from the Grecians, or first Invented it themselves. Julius Scaliger and Heinsius, are of the first Opinion; Casaubon, Rigaltius, Dacier, and the Publisher of the Dauphin's Juvenal maintain the Latter. If we take Satire in the general signification of the Word, as it is us'd in all Modern Languages, for an Invective, 'tis certain that it is almost as old as Verse; and tho' Hymns, which are praises of God, may be allow'd to have been before it, yet the defamation of others was not long after it. After God had Curs'd Adam and Eve in Paradise, the Husband and Wife excus'd themselves, by laying the blame on one another; and gave a beginning to those Conjugal Dialogues in Prose; which the Poets have perfected in Verse. The Third Chapter of Job is one of the first Instances of this Poem in Holy Scripture: Unless we will take it higher, from the latter end of the second; where his Wife advises him to curse his Maker.

[38] This Original, I confess, is not much to the Honour of Satire; but here it was Nature, and that deprav'd: When it became an Art, it bore better Fruit. Only we have learnt thus much already, that Scoffs and Revilings are of the growth of all Nations; and consequently that neither the Greek Poets borrow'd from other People their Art of Railing, neither needed the Romans to take it from them. But considering Satire as a Species of Poetry; here the War begins amongst the Criticks.

[39] Scaliger the Father will have it descend from Greece to Rome; and derives the word Satyre, from Satyrus, that mixt kind of Animal, or, as the Ancients thought him, Rural God, made up betwixt a Man and a Goat; with a Humane Head, Hook'd Nose, Powting Lips, a Bunch, or Struma under the Chin, prick'd Ears, and upright Horns; the Body shagg'd with hair, especially from the waste, and ending in a Goat, with the legs and feet of that Creature. But Casaubon, and his Followers, with Reason, condemn this derivation; and prove that from Satyrus, the word Satira, as it signifies a Poem, cannot possibly descend. For Satira is not properly a Substantive, but an Adjective; to which, the word Lanx, in English a Charger, or large Platter, is understood: So that the Greek Poem made according to the Manners of a Satyr, and expressing his Qualities, must properly be call'd Satyrical, and not Satire: And thus far 'tis allow'd, that the Grecians had such Poems; but that they where wholly different in Specie, from that to which the Romans gave the Name of Satire.

[40] Aristotle divides all Poetry, in relation to the Progress of it, into Nature without Art: Art begun, and Art Compleated. Mankind, even the most Barbarous have the Seeds of Poetry implanted in them. The first Specimen of it was certainly shewn in the Praises of the Deity, and Prayers to him: And as they are of Natural Obligation, so they are likewise of Divine Institution. Which Milton observing, introduces Adam and Eve, every Morning adoring God in Hymns and Prayers. The first Poetry was thus begun, in the wild Notes of Nature, before the invention of Feet, and Measures. The Grecians and Romans had no other Original of their Poetry. Festivals and Holydays soon succeeded to Private Worship, and we need not doubt but they were enjoyn'd by the true God to his own People; as they were afterwards imitated by the Heathens; who by the light of Reason knew they were to invoke some Superiour Being in their Necessities, and to thank him for his Benefits. Thus the Grecian Holydays were Celebrated with Offerings to Bacchus and Ceres, and other Deities, to whose Bounty they suppos'd they were owing for their Corn and Wine, and other helps of Life. And the Ancient Romans, as Horace tells us, paid their thanks to Mother Earth, or Vesta, to Silvanus, and their Genius, in the same manner. But as all Festivals have a double Reason of their Institution; the first of Religion, the other of Recreation, for the unbending of our Minds: So both the Grecians and Romans agreed, after their Sacrifices were perform'd, to spend the remainder of the day in Sports and Merriments; amongst which, Songs and Dances, and that which they call'd Wit, (for want of knowing better,) were the chiefest Entertainments. The Grecians had a notion of Satyres, whom I have already describ'd; and taking them, and the Sileni, that is the young Satyrs and the old, for the Tutors, Attendants, and Humble Companions of their Bacchus, habited themselves like those Rural Deities, and imitated them in their Rustick Dances, to which they join'd Songs, with some sort of rude Harmony, but without certain Numbers; and to these they added a kind of Chorus.

[41] The Romans also (as Nature is the same in all places) though they knew nothing of those Grecian Demi-Gods, nor had any Communication with Greece, yet had certain Young Men, who at their Festivals, Danc'd and Sung after their uncouth manner, to a certain kind of Verse, which they call'd Saturnian; what it was, we have no very certain light from Antiquity to discover; but we may conclude, that, like the Grecian, it was void of Art, or at least with very feeble beginnings of it. Those Ancient Romans, at these Holydays, which were a mixture of Devotion and Debauchery, had a Custom of reproaching each other with their Faults, in a sort of Extempore Poetry, or rather of tunable hobling Verse; and they answer'd in the same kind of gross Raillery; their Wit and their Musick being of a piece. The Grecians, says Casaubon, had formerly done the same, in the Persons of their petulant Satyrs: But I am afraid he mistakes the matter, and confounds the Singing and Dancing of the Satyrs, with the Rustical Entertainments of the first Romans. The Reason of my Opinion is this; that Casaubon finding little light from Antiquity, of these beginnings of Poetry, amongst the Grecians, but only these Representations of Satyrs, who carry'd Canisters and Cornucopias full of several Fruits in their hands, and danc'd with them at their Publick Feasts: And afterwards reading Horace, who makes mention of his homely Romans, jesting at one another in the same kind of Solemnities, might suppose those wanton Satyrs did the same. And especially because Horace possibly might seem to him, to have shewn the Original of all Poetry in general, including the Grecians, as well as Romans: Though 'tis plainly otherwise, that he only describ'd the beginning, and first Rudiments of Poetry in his own Country. The Verses are these, which he cites from the First Epistle of the Second Book, which was Written to Augustus.

Agricolæ prisci, fortes, parvoq; beati,
Condita post frumenta, levantes tempore festo
Corpus & ipsum animum spe finis dura ferentem,
Cum sociis operum, & pueris, & conjuge fidâ,
Tellurem Porco, Silvanum lacte piabant;
Floribus & vino Genium memorem brevis ævi:
Fescennina per hunc invent a licentia morem
Versibus alternis, opprobria rustica fudit.

Our Brawny Clowns of Old, who turn'd the soyl,
Content with little, and inur'd to toyl,
At Harvest home, with Mirth and Country Cheer
Restor'd their Bodies for another year:
Refresh'd their Spirits, and renew'd their Hope,
Of such a future Feast, and future Crop.
Then with their Fellow-joggers of the Ploughs,
Their little Children, and their faithful Spouse;
A Sow they slew to Vesta's Deity;
And kindly Milk, Silvanus, pour'd to thee.
With Flow'rs, and Wine, their Genius they ador'd;
A short Life, and a merry, was the word.
From flowing Cups defaming Rhymes ensue,
And at each other homely Taunts they threw.

[42] Yet since it is a hard Conjecture, that so Great a Man as Casaubon shou'd misapply what Horace writ concerning Ancient Rome, to the Ceremonies and Manners of Ancient Greece, I will not insist on this Opinion, but rather judge in general, that since all Poetry had its Original from Religion, that of the Grecians and Rome had the same beginning: Both were invented at Festivals of Thanksgiving: And both were prosecuted with Mirth and Raillery, and Rudiments of Verses: Amongst the Greeks, by those who Represented Satyrs; and amongst the Romans by real Clowns.

[49] Your Lordship has perceiv'd, by this time, that this Satyrique Tragedy, and the Roman Satire have little Resemblance in any of their Features. The very Kinds are different: For what has a Pastoral Tragedy to do with a Paper of Verses Satirically written? The Character and Raillery of the Satyres is the only thing that cou'd pretend to a likeness: Were Scaliger and Heinsius alive to maintain their Opinion. And the first Farces of the Romans, which were the Rudiments of their Poetry, were written before they had any Communication with the Greeks; or, indeed, any Knowledge of that People.

[51] The Grecians, besides these Satyrique Tragedies, had another kind of Poem, which they call'd Silli; which were more of kin to the Roman Satire: Those Silli were indeed Invective Poems, but of a different Species from the Roman Poems of Ennius, Pacuvius, Lucilius, Horace, and the rest of their Successors. They were so call'd, says Casaubon in one place, from Silenus, the Foster-Father of Bacchus; but in another place, bethinking himself better, he derives their Name apo tou sillainein, from their Scoffing and Petulancy. From some Fragments of the Silli, written by Timon, we may find, that they were Satyrique Poems, full of Parodies; that is, of Verses patch'd up from great Poets, and turn'd into another Sence than their Author intended them. Such amongst the Romans is the Famous Cento of Ausonius; where the words are Virgil's: But by applying them to another Sense, they are made a Relation of a Wedding-Night; and the Act of Consummation fulsomly describ'd in the very words of the most Modest amongst all Poets. Of the same manner are our Songs, which are turn'd into Burlesque; and the serious words of the Author perverted into a ridiculous meaning. Thus in Timon's Silli the words are generally those of Homer, and the Tragick Poets; but he applies them Satyrically, to some Customs and Kinds of Philosophy, which he arraigns. But the Romans not using any of these Parodies in their Satyres sometimes, indeed, repeating Verses of other Men, as Persius cites some of Nero's; but not turning them into another meaning, the Silli cannot be suppos'd to be the Original of Roman Satire. To these Silli consisting of Parodies, we may properly add, the Satires which were written against particular Persons; such as were the Iambiques of Archilocus against Lycambes, which Horace undoubtedly imitated in some of his Odes and Epodes, whose Titles bear sufficient witness of it: I might also name the Invective of Ovid against Ibis; and many others: But these are the Under-wood of Satire, rather than the Timber-Trees: They are not of General Extension, as reaching only to some Individual Person. And Horace seems to have purg'd himself from those Splenetick Reflections in those Odes and Epodes, before he undertook the Noble Work of Satires; which were properly so call'd.

[52] Thus, my Lord, I have at length disengag'd my self from those Antiquities of Greece; and have prov'd, I hope, from the best Critiques, that the Roman Satire was not borrow'd from thence, but of their own Manufacture: I am now almost gotten into my depth; at least by the help of Dacier, I am swimming towards it. Not that I will promise always to follow him, any more than he follows Casaubon; but to keep him in my Eye, as my best and truest Guide; and where I think he may possibly mislead me, there to have recourse to my own lights, as I expect that others should do by me.

[53] Quintilian says, in plain words, Satira quidem tota, nostra est: And Horace had said the same thing before him, speaking of his Predecessor in that sort of Poetry, Et Græcis intacti Carminis Author. Nothing can be clearer than the Opinion of the Poet, and the Orator, both the best Criticks of the two best Ages of the Roman Empire, than that Satire was wholly of Latin growth, and not transplanted to Rome from Athens. Yet, as I have said, Scaliger, the Father, according to his Custom, that is, insolently enough, contradicts them both; and gives no better Reason, than the derivation of Satyrus from sathu, Salacitas; and so from the Lechery of those Fauns, thinks he has sufficiently prov'd, that Satyre is deriv'd from them. As if Wantonness and lubricity, were Essential to that sort of Poem, which ought to be avoided in it. His other Allegation, which I have already mention'd, is as pitiful: That the Satyres carried Platters and Canisters full of Fruit, in their Hands. If they had enter'd empty-handed, had they been ever the less Satyres? Or were the Fruits and Flowers, which they offer'd, any thing of kin to Satyre? Or any Argument that this Poem was Originally Grecian? Causaubon judg'd better, and his Opinion is grounded on sure Authority; that Satyre was deriv'd from Satura, a Roman word, which signifies Full, and Abundant; and full also of Variety, in which nothing is wanting to its due Perfection. 'Tis thus, says Dacier, that we lay a full Colour, when the Wool has taken the whole Tincture, and drunk in as much of the Dye as it can receive. According to this Derivation, from Satar comes Satura, or Satira: According to the new spelling, as optamus and maxumus are now spell'd optimus and maximus. Satura, as I have formerly noted, is an Adjective, and relates to the word Lanx, which is understood. And this Lanx, in English a Charger, or large Platter, was yearly fill'd with all sorts of Fruits, which were offer'd to the Gods at their Festivals, as the Premices, or First Gatherings. These Offerings of several sorts thus mingl'd, 'tis true, were not unknown to the Grecians, who call'd them pankarpon thysian, a Sacrifice of all sorts of Fruits; and panspermion, when they offer'd all kinds of Grain. Virgil has mention'd these Sacrifices in his Georgiques.

Lancibus & pandis, fumantia reddimus Exta:

And in another place, Lancesq; & liba feremus. That is, we offer the smoaking Entrails in great Platters; and we will offer the Chargers, and the Cakes.

[54] This word Satura has been afterward apply'd to many other sorts of Mixtures; as Festus calls it a kind of Olla, or hotch-potch, made of several sorts of Meats. Laws were also call'd Leges Saturæ; when they were of several Heads and Titles; like our tack'd Bills of Parliament. And per Saturam legem ferre, in the Roman Senate, was to carry a Law without telling the Senatours, or counting Voices when they were in haste. Salust uses the word per Saturam Sententias exquirere; when the Majority was visibly on one side. From hence it might probably be conjectur'd, that the Discourses or Satyres of Ennius, Lucilius, and Horace, as we now call them, took their Name; because they are full of various Matters, and are also Written on various Subjects, as Porphyrius says. But Dacier affirms, that it is not immediately from thence that these Satyres are so call'd: For that Name had been us'd formerly for other things, which bore a nearer resemblance to those Discourses of Horace. In explaining of which, (continues Dacier) a Method is to be pursu'd, of which Casaubon himself has never thought, and which will put all things into so clear a light, that no farther room will be left for the least Dispute.

[55] During the space of almost four hundred years, since the Building of their City, the Romans had never known any Entertainments of the Stage: Chance and Jollity first found out those Verses which they call'd Saturnian, and Fescennine: Or rather Humane Nature, which is inclin'd to Poetry, first produc'd them, rude and barbarous, and unpolish'd, as all other Operations of the Soul are in their beginnings, before they are Cultivated with Art and Study. However, in occasions of Merriment they were first practis'd; and this rough-cast unhewn Poetry, was instead of Stage-Plays for the space of an hundred and twenty years together. They were made extempore, and were, as the French call them, Impromptus: For which the Tarsians of Old were much Renown'd; and we see the daily Examples of them in the Italian Farces of Harlequin, and Scaramucha. Such was the Poetry of that Salvage People, before it was tun'd into Numbers, and the Harmony of Verse. Little of the Saturnian Verses is now remaining; we only know from Authors, that they were nearer Prose than Poetry, without feet, or measure. They were enrhythmoi, but not emmetroi: Perhaps they might be us'd in the solemn part of their Ceremonies, and the Fescennine, which were invented after them, in their Afternoons Debauchery, because they were scoffing, and obscene.

[57] When they began to be somewhat better bred, and were entering, as I may say, into the first Rudiments of Civil Conversation, they left these Hedge Notes, for another sort of Poem, somewhat polish'd, which was also full of pleasant Raillery, but without any mixture of obscenity. This sort of Poetry appear'd under the name of Satire, because of its variety: And this Satire was adorn'd with Compositions of Musick, and with Dances: but Lascivious Postures were banish'd from it. In the Tuscan Language, says Livy, the word Hister signifies a Player: And therefore those Actors, which were first brought from Etruria to Rome, on occasion of a Pestilence; when the Romans were admonish'd to avert the Anger of the Gods by Plays, in the Year ab Urbe Condita, cccxc. Those Actors, I say, were therefore call'd Histriones: And that Name has since remain'd, not only to Actors Roman born, but to all others of every Nation. They Play'd not the former extempore stuff of Fescennine Verses, or Clownish Jests; but what they Acted, was a kind of civil cleanly Farce, with Musick and Dances, and Motions that were proper to the Subject.

[68] Having thus brought down the History of Satire from its Original, to the times of Horace, and shewn the several changes of it, I shou'd here discover some of those Graces which Horace added to it, but that I think it will be more proper to defer that Undertaking, till I make the Comparison betwixt him and Juvenal. In the mean while, following the Order of Time, it will be necessary to say somewhat of another kind of Satire, which also was descended from the Ancient: 'Tis that which we call the Varronian Satire, but which Varro himself calls the Menippean; because Varro, the most Learn'd of the Romans, was the first Author of it, who imitated, in his Works, the Manners of Menippus the Gadarenian, who profess'd the Philosophy of the Cyniques.

[69] This sort of Satire was not only compos'd of several sorts of Verse, like those of Ennius, but was also mix'd with Prose; and Greek was sprinkl'd amongst the Latin. Quintilian, after he had spoken of the Satire of Lucilius, adds what follows. There is another and former kind of Satire, Compos'd by Terentius Varro, the most Learn'd of the Romans: In which he was not satisfy'd alone, with mingling in it several sorts of Verse. The only difficulty of this Passage, is, that Quintilian tells us, that this Satire of Varro was of a former kind. For how can we possibly imagine this to be, since Varro, who was contemporary to Cicero, must consequently be after Lucilius? But Quintilian meant not, that the Satire of Varro was in order of Time before Lucilius; he wou'd only give us to understand, that the Varronian Satire, with mixture of several sorts of Verses, was more after the manner of Ennius and Pacuvius, than that of Lucilius, who was more severe, and more correct, and gave himself less liberty in the mixture of his Verses, in the same Poem.

[71] This we may believe for certain, That as his Subjects were various, so most of them were Tales or Stories of his own invention. Which is also manifest from Antiquity, by those Authors who are acknowledg'd to have written Varronian Satires, in imitation of his: Of whom the Chief is Petronius Arbiter, whose Satire, they say, is now Printing in Holland, wholly recover'd, and made compleat: When 'tis made publick, it will easily be seen by any one Sentence, whether it be supposititious, or genuine. Many of Lucian's Dialogues may also properly be call'd Varronian Satires; particularly his True History: And consequently the Golden Ass of Apuleius, which is taken from him. Of the same stamp is the Mock Deification of Claudius, by Seneca: And the Symposium or Cæsars of Julian the Emperour. Amongst the Moderns we may reckon the Encomium Moriæ of Erasmus, Barclay's Euphormio, and a Volume of German Authors, which my ingenious Friend Mr. Charles Killigrew once lent me. In the English I remember none, which are mix'd with Prose, as Varro's were: But of the same kind is Mother Hubbard's Tale in Spencer; and (if it be not too vain, to mention any thing of my own) the Poems of Absalom, and Mac Fleckno.

[72] This is what I have to say in General of Satire: Only as Dacier has observ'd before me, we may take notice, That the word Satire is of a more general signification in Latin, than in French, or English. For amongst the Romans it was not only us'd for those Discourses which decry'd Vice, or expos'd Folly; but for others also, where Virtue was recommended. But in our Modern Languages we apply it only to invective Poems, where the very Name of Satire is formidable to those Persons, who wou'd appear to the World, what they are not in themselves. For in English, to say Satire, is to mean Reflection, as we use that word in the worst Sense; or as the French call it, more properly, Medisance. In the Criticism of Spelling, it ought to be with i and not with y; to distinguish its true derivation from Satura, not from Satyrus. And if this be so, then 'tis false spell'd throughout this Book: For here 'tis written Satyr. Which having not consider'd at the first, I thought it not worth Correcting afterwards. But the French are more nice, and never spell it any other ways than Satire.

[73] I am now arriv'd at the most difficult part of my Undertaking, which is, to compare Horace with Juvenal and Persius: 'Tis observ'd by Rigaltius, in his Preface before Juvenal, written to Thuanus, that these three Poets have all their particular Partisans, and Favourers: Every Commentator, as he has taken pains with any of them, thinks himself oblig'd to prefer his Author to the other two: To find out their Failings, and decry them, that he may make room for his own Darling. Such is the partiality of Mankind, to set up that Interest which they have once espous'd, though it be to the prejudice of Truth, Morality, and common Justice. And especially in the productions of the Brain. As Authors generally think themselves the best Poets, because they cannot go out of themselves, to judge sincerely of their Betters: So it is with Critiques, who, having first taken a liking to one of these Poets, proceed to Comment on him, and to Illustrate him; after which they fall in love with their own Labours, to that degree of blind fondness, that at length they defend and exalt their Author, not so much for his sake as for their own. [. . .]

[74] It had been much fairer, if the Modern Critiques, who have imbark'd in the Quarrels of their favourite Authors, had rather given to each his proper due; without taking from another's heap, to raise their own. There is Praise enough for each of them in particular, without encroaching on his Fellows, and detracting from them, or Enriching themselves with the Spoils of others. But to come to particulars: Heinsius and Dacier, are the most principal of those, who raise Horace above Juvenal and Persius. Scaliger the Father, Rigaltius, and many others, debase Horace, that they may set up Juvenal: And Casaubon, who is almost single, throws Dirt on Juvenal and Horace, that he may exalt Persius, whom he understood particularly well, and better than any of his former Commentators; even Stelluti who succeeded him. I will begin with him, who in my Opinion defends the weakest Cause, which is that of Persius; and labouring, as Tacitus professes of his own Writing, to divest my self of partiality, or prejudice, consider Persius, not as a Poet, whom I have wholly Translated, and who has cost me more labour and time, than Juvenal; but according to what I judge to be his own Merit; which I think not equal in the main, to that of Juvenal or Horace; and yet in some things to be preferr'd to both of them.

[75] First, then, for the Verse, neither Casaubon himself, nor any for him, can defend either his Numbers, or the Purity of his Latin. Casaubon gives this point for lost; and pretends not to justifie either the Measures, or the Words of Persius: He is evidently beneath Horace and Juvenal, in both.

[76] Then, as his Verse is scabrous, and hobbling, and his Words not every where well chosen, the purity of Latin being more corrupted, than in the time of Juvenal, and consequently of Horace, who writ when the Language was in the heighth of its perfection; so his diction is hard; his Figures are generally too bold and daring; and his Tropes, particularly his Metaphors, insufferably strain'd.

[79] To consider Persius yet more closely: He rather insulted over Vice and Folly, than expos'd them, like Juvenal and Horace. And as Chaste, and Modest as he is esteem'd, it cannot be deny'd, but that in some places, he is broad and fulsom, as the latter Verses of the Fourth Satire, and of the Sixth, sufficiently witness. And 'tis to be believ'd, that he who commits the same Crime often, and without Necessity, cannot but do it with some kind of Pleasure.

[80] To come to a conclusion, He is manifestly below Horace; because he borrows most of his greatest Beauties from him: And Casaubon is so far from denying this; that he has written a Treatise purposely concerning it; wherein he shews a multitude of his Translations from Horace, and his imitations of him, for the Credit of his Author; which he calls Imitatio Horatiana.

[81] To these defects, which I casually observ'd, while I was Translating this Author, Scaliger has added others: He calls him, in plain terms, a silly Writer, and a trifler; full of Ostentation of his Learning; and after all, unworthy to come into Competition with Juvenal and Horace.

[87] The Comparison betwixt Horace and Juvenal is more difficult; because their Forces were more equal: A Dispute has always been, and ever will continne, betwixt the Favourers of the two Poets. Non nostrum est tantas componere lites. I shall only venture to give my own Opinion, and leave it for better Judges to determine. If it be only argu'd in general, which of them was the better Poet; the Victory is already gain'd on the side of Horace. Virgil himself must yield to him in the delicacy of his Turns, his choice of Words, and perhaps the Purity of his Latin. He who says that Pindar is inimitable, is himself inimitable in his Odes. But the Contention betwixt these two great Masters, is for the Prize of Satire. In which Controversie, all the Odes, and Epodes of Horace are to stand excluded. I say this, because Horace has written many of them Satirically, against his private Enemies: Yet these, if justly consider'd, are somewhat of the Nature of the Greek Silli, which were Invectives against particular Sects and Persons. But Horace had purg'd himself of this Choler, before he enter'd on those Discourses, which are more properly call'd the Roman Satire: He has not now to do with a Lyce, a Canidia, a Cassius Severus, or a Menas; but is to correct the Vices and the Follies of his Time, and to give the Rules of a Happy and Virtuous Life. In a word, that former sort of Satire, which is known in England by the Name of Lampoon, is a dangerous sort of Weapon, and for the most part Unlawful. We have no Moral right on the Reputation of other Men. 'Tis taking from them, what we cannot restore to them. There are only two Reasons, for which we may be permitted to write Lampoons; and I will not promise that they can always justifie us: The first is Revenge, when we have been affronted in the same Nature, or have been any ways notoriously abus'd and can make our selves no other Reparation. And yet we know, that, in Christian Charity, all Offences are to be forgiven; as we expect the like Pardon for those which we daily commit against Almighty God. And this Consideration has often made me tremble when I was saying our Saviour's Prayer; for the plain Condition of the forgiveness which we beg, is the pardoning of others the Offences which they have done to us: For which Reason I have many times avoided the Commission of that Fault; ev'n when I have been notoriously provok'd. Let not this, my Lord, pass for Vanity in me: For 'tis truth. More Libels have been written against me, than almost any Man now living: And I had Reason on my side, to have defended my own Innocence: I speak not of my Poetry, which I have wholly given up to the Criticks; let them use it, as they please; Posterity, perhaps, may be more favourable to me: For Interest and Passion, will lye bury'd in another Age: And Partiality and Prejudice be forgotten. I speak of my Morals, which have been sufficiently aspers'd: That only sort of Reputation ought to be dear to every honest Man, and is to me. But let the World witness for me, that I have been often wanting to my self in that particular; I have seldom answer'd any scurrilous Lampoon: When it was in my power to have expos'd my Enemies: And being naturally vindicative, have suffer'd in silence; and possess'd my Soul in quiet.

[88] Any thing, tho' never so little, which a Man speaks of himself, in my Opinion, is still too much, and therefore I will wave this Subject; and proceed to give the second Reason, which may justifie a Poet, when he writes against a particular Person; and that is, when he is become a Publick Nuisance. All those, whom Horace in his Satires, and Persius and Juvenal have mention'd in theirs, with a Brand of infamy, are wholly such. 'Tis an Action of Virtue to make Examples of vicious Men. They may and ought to be upbraided with their Crimes and Follies: Both for their own amendment, if they are not yet incorrigible; and for the Terrour of others, to hinder them from falling into those Enormities, which they see are so severely punish'd, in the Persons of others: The first Reason was only an Excuse for Revenge: But this second is absolutely of a Poet's Office to perform: But how few Lampooners are there now living, who are capable of this Duty! When they come in my way, 'tis impossible sometimes to avoid reading them. But, good God, how remote they are in common Justice, from the choice of such Persons as are the proper Subject of Satire! And how little Wit they bring, for the support of their injustice! The weaker Sex is their most ordinary Theme: And the best and fairest are sure to be the most severely handled. Amongst Men, those who are prosperously unjust, are Intitled to a Panegyrick. But afflicted Virtue is insolently stabb'd with all manner of Reproaches. No Decency is consider'd, no fulsomness omitted; no Venom is wanting, as far as dullness can supply it. For there is a perpetual Dearth of Wit; a Barrenness of good Sense, and Entertainment. The neglect of the Readers, will soon put an end to this sort of scribling. There can be no pleasantry where there is no Wit: No Impression can be made, where there is no Truth for the Foundation. To conclude, they are like the Fruits of the Earth in this unnatural Season: The Corn which held up its Head, is spoil'd with rankness: But the greater part of the Harvest is laid along, and little of good Income, and wholesom Nourishment is receiv'd into the Barns. This is almost a digression, I confess to your Lordship; but a just indignation forc'd it from me. Now I have remov'd this Rubbish, I will return to the Comparison of Juvenal and Horace.

[89] I wou'd willingly divide the Palm betwixt them; upon the two Heads of Profit and Delight, which are the two Ends of Poetry in general. It must be granted by the Favourers of Juvenal, that Horace is the more Copious, and Profitable in his Instructions of Humane Life. But in my particular Opinion, which I set not up for a Standard to better Judgments, Juvenal is the more delightful Author. I am profited by both, I am pleas'd with both; but I owe more to Horace for my Instruction; and more to Juvenal, for my Pleasure. This, as I said, is my particular Taste of these two Authors: They who will have either of them to excel the other in both qualities, can scarce give better Reasons for their Opinion, than I for mine: But all unbiass'd Readers, will conclude, that my Moderation is not to be Condemn'd: To such Impartial Men I must appeal: For they who have already form'd their Judgment, may justly stand suspected of prejudice; and tho all who are my Readers, will set up to be my Judges, I enter my Caveat against them, that they ought not so much as to be of my Jury. Or, if they be admitted, 'tis but Reason, that they shou'd first hear, what I have to urge in the Defence of my Opinion.

[90] That Horace is somewhat the better Instructor of the two, is prov'd from hence, that his Instructions are more general: Juvenal's more limited. So that granting, that the Counsels which they give, are equally good for Moral Use; Horace, who gives the most various Advice, and most applicable to all Occasions, which can occurr to us, in the course of our Lives; as including in his Discourses, not only all the Rules of Morality, but also of Civil Conversation; is, undoubtedly, to be preferr'd to him, who is more circumscrib'd in his Instructions, makes them to fewer People, and on fewer Occasions, than the other. I may be pardon'd for using an Old Saying, since 'tis true, and to the purpose, Bonum que communius, eo melius. Juvenal, excepting only his first Satire, is in all the rest confin'd, to the exposing of some particuler Vice; that he lashes, and there he sticks. His Sentences are truly shining and instructive: But they are sprinkl'd here and there. Horace is teaching us in every Line, and is perpetually Moral; he had found out the Skill of Virgil, to hide his Sentences: To give you the Virtue of them, without shewing them in their full extent: Which is the Ostentation of a Poet, and not his Art: And this Petronius charges on the Authors of his Time, as a Vice of Writing, which was then growing on the Age. Ne Sententiæ extra Corpus Orationis emineant: He wou'd have them weav'd into the Body of the Work, and not appear emboss'd upon it, and striking directly on the Reader's view. Folly was the proper Quarry of Horace, and not Vice: And, as there are but few Notoriously Wicked Men, in comparison with a Shoal of Fools, and Fops; so 'tis a harder thing to make a Man Wise, than to make him Honest: For the Will is only to be reclaim'd in the one; but the Understanding is to be inform'd in the other. There are Blind-sides and Follies, even in the Professors of Moral Philosophy; and there is not any one Sect of them that Horace has not expos'd. Which as it was not the Design of Juvenal, who was wholly employ'd in lashing Vices, some of them the most enormous that can be imagin'd; so perhaps, it was not so much his Talent. Omne vafer vitium ridenti Flaccus amico, tangit, & admissus circum præcordia ludit. This was the Commendation which Persius gave him: Where by Vitium, he means those little Vices, which we call Follies, the defects of Humane Understanding, or at most the Peccadillos of Life, rather than the Tragical Vices, to which Men are hurri'd by their unruly Passions and exorbitant Desires. But in the word omne, which is universal, he concludes, with me, that the Divine Wit of Horace, left nothing untouch'd; that he enter'd into the inmost Recesses of Nature; found out the Imperfections even of the most Wise and Grave, as well as of the Common People: Discovering, even in the great Trebatius, to whom he addresses the first Satire, his hunting after Business, and following the Court, as well as in the Persecutor Crispinus, his impertinence and importunity. 'Tis true, he exposes Crispinus openly, as a common Nuisance: But he rallies the other, as a Friend, more finely. The Exhortations of Persius are confin'd to Noblemen: And the Stoick Philosophy, is that alone, which he recommends to them: Juvenal Exhorts to particular Virtues, as they are oppos'd to those Vices against which he declaims: But Horace laughs to shame, all Follies, and insinuates Virtue, rather by familiar Examples, than by the severity of Precepts.

[91] This last Consideration seems to incline the Ballance on the side of Horace, and to give him the preference to Juvenal, not only in Profit, but in Pleasure. But, after all, I must confess, that the Delight which Horace gives me, is but languishing. Be pleas'd still to understand, that I speak of my own Taste only: He may Ravish other Men; but I am too stupid and insensible, to be tickl'd. Where he barely grins himself, and, as Scaliger says, only shews his white Teeth, he cannot provoke me to any Laughter. His Urbanity, that is, his Good Manners, are to be commended, but his Wit is faint; and his Salt, if I may dare to say so, almost insipid. Juvenal is of a more vigorous and Masculine Wit, he gives me as much Pleasure as I can bear: He fully satisfies my Expectation, he Treats his Subject home: His Spleen is rais'd, and he raises mine: I have the Pleasure of Concernment in all he says; He drives his Reader along with him; and when he is at the end of his way, I willingly stop with him: If he went another Stage, it wou'd be too far, it wou'd make a Journey of a Progress, and turn Delight into Fatigue. When he gives over, 'tis a sign the Subject is exhausted; and the Wit of Man can carry it no farther. If a Fault can be justly found in him; 'tis that he is sometimes too luxuriant, too redundant; says more than he needs, like my Friend the Plain Dealer, but never more than pleases. Add to this, that his Thoughts are as just as those of Horace, and much more Elevated. His Expressions are Sonorous and more Noble; his Verse more numerous, and his Words are suitable to his Thoughts; sublime and lofty. All these contribute to the Pleasure of the Reader, and the greater the Soul of him who Reads, his Transports are the greater. Horace is always on the Amble, Juvenal on the Gallop: But his way is perpetually on Carpet Ground. He goes with more impetuosity than Horace; but as securely; and the swiftness adds a more lively agitation to the Spirits. The low Style of Horace, is according to his Subject; that is generally groveling. I question not but he cou'd have rais'd it. For the First Epistle of the Second Book, which he writes to Augustus, (a most instructive Satire concerning Poetry,) is of so much Dignity in the Words, and of so much Elegancy in the Numbers, that the Author plainly shews, the Sermo Pedestris, in his other Satires, was rather his Choice than his Necessity. He was a Rival to Lucilius his Predecessor; and was resolv'd to surpass him in his own Manner. Lucilius, as we see by his remaining Fragments, minded neither his Style nor his Numbers, nor his purity of words, nor his run of Verse. Horace therefore copes with him in that humble way of Satire. Writes under his own force, and carries a dead Weight, that he may match his Competitor in the Race. This I imagine was the chief Reason, why he minded only the clearness of his Satire, and the cleanness of Expression, without ascending to those heights, to which his own vigour might have carri'd him. But limiting his desires only to the Conquest of Lucilius, he had his Ends of his Rival, who liv'd before him; but made way for a new Conquest over himself, by Juvenal his Successor. He cou'd not give an equal pleasure to his Reader, because he us'd not equal Instruments. The fault was in the Tools, and not in the Workman. But Versification, and Numbers, are the greatest Pleasures of Poetry: Virgil knew it, and practis'd both so happily; that for ought I know, his greatest Excellency is in his Diction. In all other parts of Poetry, he is faultless; but in this he plac'd his chief perfection. And give me leave, my Lord, since I have here an apt occasion, to say, that Virgil, cou'd have written sharper Satires, than either Horace or Juvenal, if he wou'd have employ'd his Talent, that way. I will produce a Verse and half of his, in one of his Eclogues, to justifie my Opinion: And with Comma's after every Word, to shew, that he has given almost as many lashes, as he has written Syllables. 'Tis against a bad Poet; whose ill Verses he describes. Non tu, in triviis, indocte, solebas, stridenti, miserum, stipula, disperdere carmen? But to return to my purpose, when there is any thing deficient in Numbers, and Sound, the Reader is uneasie, and unsatisfi'd; he wants something of his Complement, desires somewhat which he finds not: And this being the manifest defect of Horace, 'tis no wonder, that finding it supply'd in Juvenal, we are more Delighted with him. And besides this, the Sauce of Juvenal is more poignant, to create in us an Appetite of Reading him. The Meat of Horace is more nourishing; but the Cookery of Juvenal more exquisite; so that, granting Horace to be the more general Philosopher; we cannot deny, that Juvenal was the greater Poet. I mean in Satire. His Thoughts are sharper, his Indignation against Vice is more vehement; his Spirit has more of the Commonwealth Genius; he treats Tyranny, and all the Vices attending it, as they deserve, with the utmost rigour: And consequently, a Noble Soul is better pleas'd with a Zealous Vindicator of Roman Liberty; than with a Temporizing Poet, a well Manner'd Court Slave, and a Man who is often afraid of Laughing in the right place: Who is ever decent, because he is naturally servile. After all, Horace had the disadvantage of the Times in which he liv'd; they were better for the Man, but worse for the Satirist. 'Tis generally said, that those Enormous Vices, which were practis'd under the Reign of Domitian, were unknown in the Time of Augustus Cæsar. That therefore Juvenal had a larger Field, than Horace. Little Follies were out of doors, when Oppression was to be scourg'd instead of Avarice: It was no longer time to turn into Ridicule, the false Opinions of Philosophers; when the Roman Liberty was to be asserted. There was more need of a Brutus in Domitian's Days, to redeem or mend, than of a Horace, if he had then been Living, to Laugh at a Fly-Catcher. This Reflection at the same time excuses Horace, but exalts Juvenal. I have ended, before I was aware, the Comparison of Horace and Juvenal, upon the Topiques of Instruction and Delight; and indeed I may safely here conclude that common-place: For if we make Horace our Minister of State in Satire, and Juvenal of our private Pleasures: I think the latter has no ill bargain of it. Let Profit have the preheminence of Honour, in the End of Poetry. Pleasure, though but the second in degree, is the first in favour. And who wou'd not chuse to be lov'd better, rather than to be more esteem'd? But I am enter'd already upon another Topique; which concerns the particular Merits of these two Satirists. However, I will pursue my business where I left it: And carry it farther than that common observation of the several Ages, in which these Authors Flourish'd. When Horace writ his Satires, the Monarchy of his Cæsar was in its newness; and the Government but just made easie to the Conquer'd People. They cou'd not possibly have forgotten the Usurpation of that Prince upon their Freedom, nor the violent Methods which he had us'd, in the compassing of that vast Design: They yet remember'd his Proscriptions, and the Slaughter of so many Noble Romans, their Defendors. Amongst the rest, that horrible Action of his, when he forc'd Livia from the Arms of her Husband, who was constrain'd to see her Marry'd, as Dion relates the Story; and, big with Child as she was, convey'd to the Bed of his insulting Rival. The same Dion Cassius gives us another instance of the Crime before mention'd: That Cornelius Sisenna, being reproach'd in full Senate, with the Licentious Conduct of his Wife, return'd this Answer; That he had Marry'd her by the Counsel of Augustus: Intimating, says my Author, that Augustus had oblig'd him to that Marriage, that he might, under that covert, have the more free access to her. His Adulteries were still before their Eyes, but they must be patient, where they had not power. In other things that Emperor was Moderate enough: Propriety was generally secur'd; and the People entertain'd with publick Shows, and Donatives, to make them more easily digest their lost Liberty. But Augustus, who was conscious to himself, of so many Crimes which he had committed, thought in the first place to provide for his own Reputation, by making an Edict against Lampoons and Satires, and the Authors of those defamatory Writings, which my Author Tacitus, from the Law-Term, calls famosos libellos.

[94] Thus I have treated in a new Method, the Comparison betwixt Horace, Juvenal, and Persius; somewhat of their particular manner belonging to all of them is yet remaining to be consider'd. Persius was Grave, and particularly oppos'd his Gravity to Lewdness, which was the Predominant Vice in Nero's Court, at the time when he publish'd his Satires, which was before that Emperour fell into the excess of Cruelty. Horace was a Mild Admonisher, a Court Satirist, fit for the gentle Times of Augustus, and more fit, for the Reasons which I have already given. Juvenal was as proper for his Times, as they for theirs. His was an Age that deserv'd a more severe Chastisement. Vices were more gross and open, more flagitious, more encourag'd by the Example of a Tyrant; and more protected by his Authority. Therefore, wheresoever Juvenal mentions Nero, he means Domitian, whom he dares not attack in his own Person, but Scourges him by Proxy. Heinsius urges in praise of Horace, that according to the Ancient Art and Law of Satire, it shou'd be nearer to Comedy, than to Tragedy; Not declaiming against Vice, but only laughing at it. Neither Persius, nor Juvenal were ignorant of this, for they had both study'd Horace. And the thing it self is plainly true. But as they had read Horace, they had likewise read Lucilius, of whom Persius says secuit Urbem; & genuinum fregit in illis; meaning Mutius and Lupus: And Juvenal also mentions him in these words, Ense velut stricto, quoties Lucilius ardens Infremuit, &c. So that they thought the imitation of Lucilius was more proper to their purpose than that of Horace. They chang'd Satire, says Holiday; but they chang'd it for the better; For the business being to Reform great Vices, Chastisement goes farther than Admonition; whereas a perpetual Grinn, like that of Horace, does rather anger than amend a Man.

[95] Thus far that Learned Critick, Barten Holiday, whose Interpretation, and Illustrations of Juvenal are as Excellent, as the Verse of his Translation and his English are lame, and pitiful. For 'tis not enough to give us the meaning of a Poet, which I acknowledge him to have perform'd most faithfully; but he must also imitate his Genius, and his Numbers; as far as the English will come up to the Elegance of the Original. In few words, 'tis only for a Poet to Translate a Poet. Holiday and Stapylton had not enough consider'd this, when they attempted Juvenal: But I forbear Reflections; only I beg leave to take notice of this Sentence, where Holiday says, A perpetual Grinn, like that of Horace, rather angers than amends a Man. I cannot give him up the Manner of Horace in low Satire so easily: Let the Chastisements of Juvenal be never so necessary for his new kind of Satire; let him declaim as wittily and sharply as he pleases, yet still the nicest and most delicate touches of Satire consist in fine Raillery. This, my Lord, is your particular Talent, to which even Juvenal could not arrive. 'Tis not Reading, 'tis not imitation of an Author, which can produce this fineness: It must be inborn, it must proceed from a Genius, and particular way of thinking, which is not to be taught; and therefore not to be imitated by him who has it not from Nature: How easie it is to call Rogue and Villain, and that wittily? But how hard to make a Man appear a Fool, a Blockhead, or a Knave, without using any of those opprobrious terms? To spare the grossness of the Names, and to do the thing yet more severely, is to draw a full Face, and to make the Nose and Cheeks stand out, and yet not to employ any depth of Shadowing. This is the Mystery of that Noble Trade; which yet no Master can teach to his Apprentice: He may give the Rules, but the Scholar is never the nearer in his practice. Neither is it true, that this fineness of Raillery is offensive. A witty Man is tickl'd while he is hurt in this manner and a Fool feels it not. The occasion of an Offence may possibly be given, but he cannot take it. If it be granted that in effect this way does more Mischief; that a Man is secretly wounded, and though he be not sensible himself, yet the malicious World will find it for him: Yet there is still a vast difference betwixt the slovenly Butchering of a Man, and the fineness of a stroak that separates the Head from the Body, and leaves it standing in its place. A man may be capable, as Jack Ketche's Wife said of his Servant, of a plain piece of Work, a bare Hanging; but to make a Malefactor die sweetly, was only belonging to her Husband. I wish I cou'd apply it to my self, if the Reader wou'd be kind enough to think it belongs to me. The Character of Zimri in my Absalom, is, in my Opinion, worth the whole Poem: 'Tis not bloody, but 'tis ridiculous enough. And he for whom it was intended, was too witty to resent it as an injury. If I had rail'd, I might have suffer'd for it justly: But I manag'd my own Work more happily, perhaps more dextrously. I avoided the mention of great Crimes, and apply'd my self to the representing of Blind-sides, and little Extravagancies: To which, the wittier a Man is, he is generally the more obnoxious. It succeeded as I wish'd; the Jest went round, and he was laught at in his turn who began the Frolick.

[96] And thus, My Lord, you see I have preferr'd the Manner of Horace, and of your Lordship, in this kind of Satire, to that of Juvenal; and I think, reasonably. Holiday ought not to have Arraign'd so Great an Author, for that which was his Excellency and his Merit: Or if he did, on such a palpable mistake, he might expect, that some one might possibly arise, either in his own Time, or after him, to rectifie his Error, and restore to Horace, that Commendation, of which he has so unjustly robb'd him. And let the Manes of Juvenal forgive me, if I say, that this way of Horace was the best, for amending Manners, as it is the most difficult. His was, an Ense rescindendum; but that of Horace was a Pleasant Cure, with all the Limbs preserv'd entire: And as our Mountebanks tell us in their Bills, without keeping the Patient within Doors for a Day. What they promise only, Horace has effectually Perform'd: Yet I contradict not the Proposition which I formerly advanc'd: Juvenal's Times requir'd a more painful kind of Operation: But if he had liv'd in the Age of Horace, I must needs affirm, that he had it not about him. He took the Method which was prescrib'd him by his own Genius; which was sharp and eager; he cou'd not Rally, but he cou'd Declame: And as his provocations were great, he has reveng'd them Tragically. This notwithstanding, I am to say another Word, which, as true as it is, will yet displease the partial Admirers of our Horace. I have hinted it before; but tis time for me now to speak more plainly.

[97] This Manner of Horace is indeed the best; but Horace has not executed it, altogether so happily, at least not often. The Manner of Juvenal is confess'd to be Inferior to the former; but Juvenal, has excell'd him in his Performance. Juvenal has rail'd more wittily than Horace has rally'd. Horace means to make his Reader Laugh; but he is not sure of his Experiment. Juvenal always intends to move your Indignation; and he always brings about his purpose. Horace, for ought I know, might have tickl'd the People of his Age; but amongst the Moderns he is not so Successfull. They who say he Entertains so Pleasantly, may perhaps value themselves on the quickness of their own Understandings, that they can see a Jest farther off than other men. They may find occasion of Laughter, in the Wit-battel of the Two Buffoons, Sarmentus and Cicerrus: And hold their sides for fear of bursting, when Rupilius and Persius are Scolding. For my own part, I can only like the Characters of all Four, which are judiciously given: But for my heart I cannot so much as smile at their Insipid Raillery. I see not why Persius shou'd call upon Brutus, to revenge him on his Adversary: And that because he had kill'd Julius Cesar, for endeavouring to be a King, therefore he shou'd be desir'd to Murther Rupilius, only because his Name was Mr. King. A miserable Clench, in my Opinion, for Horace to Record: I have heard honest Mr. Swan make many a better, and yet have had the Grace to hold my Countenance. But it may be Puns were then in Fashion, as they were Wit in the Sermons of the last Age, and in the Court of King Charles the Second. I am sorry to say it, for the sake of Horace; but certain it is, he has no fine Palate who can feed so heartily on Garbidge.

[98] But I have already wearied my self, and doubt not but I have tir'd your Lordships Patience, with this long rambling, and I fear, trivial Discourse. Upon the one half of the Merits, that is, Pleasure, I cannot but conclude that Juvenal was the better Satirist: They who will descend into his particular Praises, may find them at large, in the Dissertation of the Learned Rigaltius to Thuanus. As for Persius, I have given the Reasons, why I think him Inferior to both of them. Yet I have one thing to add on that Subject.

[99] Barten Holiday, who Translated both Juvenal and Persius, has made this distinction betwixt them, which is no less true than Witty; that, in Persius the difficulty is to find a Meaning; in Juvenal, to chuse a Meaning: So Crabbed is Persius, and so Copious is Juvenal: So much the Understanding is employ'd in one; and so much the Judgment in the other. So difficult it is, to find any Sense in the former, and the best Sense of the latter.

[100] If, on the other side, any one suppose I have commended Horace below his Merit, when I have allow'd him but the Second Place, I desire him to consider, if Juvenal, a Man of Excellent Natural Endowments, besides the advantages of Diligence and Study, and coming after him, and Building upon his Foundations might not probably, with all these helps, surpass him? And whether it be any dishonour to Horace, to be thus surpass'd; since no Art, or Science, is at once begun and perfected, but that it must pass first through many hands, and even through several Ages? If Lucilius cou'd add to Ennius, and Horace to Lucilius, why, without any diminution to the Fame of Horace, might not Juvenal give the last perfection to that Work? Or rather, what disreputation is it to Horace, that Juvenal Excels in the Tragical Satyre, as Horace does in the Comical? I have read over attentively, both Heinsius and Dacier, in their Commendations of Horace: But I can find no more in either of them, for the preference of him to Juvenal, than the Instructive Part; the Part of Wisdom, and not that of Pleasure; which therefore is here allow'd him, notwithstanding what Scaliger and Rigaltius have pleaded to the contrary for Juvenal. And to shew I am Impartial, I will here Translate what Dacier has said on that Subject.

[101] I cannot give a more just Idea of the Two Books of Satires, made by Horace, than by compairing them to the Statues of the Sileni, to which Alcbiades compares Socrates, in the Symposium. They were Figures, which had nothing of agreeable, nothing of Beauty on their out side: But when any one took the Pains to open them, and search into them, he there found the Figures of all the Deities. So, in the Shape that Horace Presents himself to us, in his Satires, we see nothing at the first View, which deserves our Attention. It seems that he is rather an Amusement for Children, than for the serious consideration of Men. But when we take away his Crust, and that which hides him from our sight; when we discover him to the bottom, then we find all the Divinities in a full Assembly: That is to say, all the Virtues, which ought to be the continual exercise of those, who seriously endeavour to Correct their Vices.

[102] 'Tis easy to Observe, that Dacier, in this Noble Similitude, has confin'd the Praise of his Author, wholly to the Instructive Part: The commendation turns on this, and so does that which follows.

[103] In these Two Books of Satire, 'tis the business of Horace to instruct us how to combat our Vices, to regulate our Passions, to follow Nature, to give Bounds to our desires, to Distinguish betwixt Truth and Falshood, and betwixt our Conceptions of Things, and Things themselves. To come back from our prejudicate Opinions, to understand exactly the Principles and Motives of all our Actions; and to avoid the Ridicule, into which all men necessarily fall, who are Intoxicated with those Notions, which they have received from their Masters; and which they obstinately retain, without examining whether or no they are founded on right Reason.

[104] In a Word, he labours to render us happy in relation to our selves, agreeable and faithful to our Friends, and discreet, serviceable, and well bred in relation to those with whom we are oblig'd to live, and to converse. To make his Figures Intelligible, to conduct his Readers through the Labyrinth of some perplex'd Sentence, or obscure Parenthesis, is no great matter. And as Epictetus says, there is nothing of Beauty in all this, or what is worthy of a Prudent Man. The Principal business, and which is of most Importance to us, is to shew the Use, the Reason, and the Proof of his Precepts.

[105] They who endeavour not to correct themselves, according to so exact a Model; are just like the Patients, who have open before them a Book of Admirable Receipts, for their Diseases, and please themselves with reading it, without Comprehending the Nature of the Remedies; or how to apply them to their Cure.

[106] Let Horace go off with these Encomiums, which he has so well deserv'd.

[107] To conclude the contention betwixt our Three Poets, I will use the Words of Virgil, in his Fifth Æneid, where Æneas proposes the Rewards of the Foot-Race, to the Three first, who shou'd reach the Goal Tres præmia primi, accipient; flavaque Caput nectentur Olivâ: Let these Three Ancients be preferr'd to all the Moderns; as first arriving at the Goal: Let them all be Crown'd as Victours; with the Wreath that properly belongs to Satire. But, after that, with this distinction amongst themselves, Primus equum phaleris insignem, Victor habeto. Let Juvenal Ride first in Triumph. Alter Amazoniam, pharetram; plenamque Sagittis Threiciis, lato quam circumplectitur auro Balteus, & tereti Subnectit Fibula gemmâ. Let Horace who is the Second, and but just the Second, carry off the Quivers, and the Arrows; as the Badges of his Satire, and the Golden Belt, and the Diamond Button. Tertius, Argolico hoc Clypeo contentus abito. And let Persius, the last of the first Three Worthies, be contented with this Grecian Shield, and with Victory not only over all the Grecians, who were Ignorant of the Roman Satire, but over all the Moderns in Succeeding Ages; excepting Boileau and your Lordship.

[108] And thus, I have given the History of Satire, and deriv'd it as far as from Ennius, to your Lordship; that is, from its first Rudiments of Barbarity, to its last Polishing and Perfection: Which is, with Virgil, in his Address to Augustus;

nomen famâ tot ferre per annos,
Tithoni primâ quot abest ab origine Cæsar.

I said only from Ennius; but I may safely carry it higher, as far as Livius Andronicus; who, as I have said formerly, taught the first Play at Rome in the Year ab urbe conditâ, 514. I have since desir'd my Learn'd Friend, Mr. Maidwell, to compute the difference of Times, betwixt Aristophanes, and Livius Andronicus; and he assures me, from the best Chronologers, that Plutus, the last of Aristophanes's his Plays, was Represented at Athens, in the Year of the 97th Olympiad; which agrees with the Year Urbis Conditæ 364: So that the difference of Years betwixt Aristophanes and Andronicus is 150; from whence I have probably deduc'd, that Livius Andronicus, who was a Grecian, had read the Plays of the Old Comedy, which were Satyrical, and also of the New; for Menander was fifty Years before him, which must needs be a great light to him, in his own Plays; that were of the Satirical Nature. That the Romans had Farces before this, 'tis true; but then they had no Communication with Greece: So that Andronicus was the first, who wrote after the manner of the Old Comedy, in his Plays; he was imitated by Ennius, about Thirty Years afterwards. Though the former writ Fables; the latter, speaking properly, began the Roman Satire. According to that Description, which Juvenal gives of it in his First; Quicquid agunt homines votum, timor, ira, voluptas, gaudia, discursus, nostri est farrago libelli. This is that in which I have made bold to differ from Casaubon, Rigaltius, Dacier, and indeed, from all the Modern Critiques, that not Ennius, but Andronicus was the First; who by the Archæa Comedia of the Greeks, added many Beauties to the first Rude and Barbarous Roman, Satire: Which sort of Poem, tho' we had not deriv'd from Rome, yet Nature teaches it Mankind, in all Ages, and in every Country.

[109] 'Tis but necessary, that after so much has been said of Satire, some Definition of it should be given. Heinsius, in his Dissertations on Horace, makes it for me, in these words; Satire is a kind of Poetry, without a Series of Action, invented for the purging of our Minds; in which Humane Vices, Ignorance, and Errors, and all things besides, which are produc'd from them, in every Man, are severely Reprehended; partly Dramatically, partly Simply, and sometimes in both kinds of speaking; but for the most part Figuratively, and Occultly; consisting in a low familiar way, chiefly in a sharp and pungent manner of Speech; but partly, also, in a Facetious and Civil way of Jesting; by which, either Hatred, or Laughter, or Indignation is mov'd. — Where I cannot but observe, that this obscure and perplex'd Definition, or rather Description of Satire, is wholly accommodated to the Horatian way; and excluding the Works of Juvenal and Persius, as foreign from that kind of Poem: The Clause in the beginning of it (without a Series of Action) distinguishes Satire properly from Stage-Plays, which are all of one Action, and one continu'd Series of Action. The End or Scope of Satire is to purge the Passions; so far it is common to the Satires of Juvenal and Persius: The rest which follows, is also generally belonging to all three; till he comes upon us, with the Excluding Clause (consisting in a low familiar way of Speech) which is the proper Character of Horace; and from which, the other two, for their Honour be it spoken, are far distant. But how come Lowness of Style, and the Familiarity of Words to be so much the Propriety of Satire, that without them, a Poet can be no more a Satirist, than without Risibility he can be a Man? Is the fault of Horace to be made the Virtue, and Standing Rule of this Poem? Is the Grande Sophos of Persius, and the Sublimity of Juvenal to be circumscrib'd, with the meanness of Words and vulgarity of Expression? If Horace refus'd the pains of Numbers, and the loftiness of Figures, are they bound to follow so ill a Precedent? Let him walk a Foot with his Pad in his Hand, for his own pleasure; but let not them be accounted no Poets, who choose to mount, and shew their Horsmanship. Holiday is not afraid to say, that there was never such a fall, as from his Odes to his Satires, and that he, injuriously to himself, untun'd his Harp. The Majestique way of Persius and Juvenal was new when they began it; but 'tis old to us; and what Poems have not, with Time, receiv'd an Alteration in their Fashion? Which Alteration, says Holiday, is to after-times, as good a Warrant as the first. Has not Virgil chang'd the Manners of Homer's Hero's in his Æneis? certainly he has, and for the better. For Virgil's Age was more Civiliz'd, and better Bred; and he writ according to the Politeness of Rome, under the Reign of Augustus Cæsar; not to the Rudeness of Agamemnon's Age, or the Times of Homer. Why shou'd we offer to confine free Spirits to one Form, when we cannot so much as confine our Bodies to one Fashion of Apparel? Wou'd not Donn's Satires, which abound with so much Wit, appear more Charming, if he had taken care of his Words, and of his Numbers? But he follow'd Horace so very close, that of necessity he must fall with him: And I may safely say it of this present Age. That if we are not so great Wits as Donn, yet, certainly, we are better Poets.

[110] But I have said enough, and it may be, too much on this Subject. Will your Lordship be pleas'd to prolong my Audience, only so far, till I tell you my own trivial Thoughts, how a Modern Satire shou'd be made. I will not deviate in the least from the Precepts and Examples of the Ancients, who were always our best Masters. I will only illustrate them, and discover some of the hidden Beauties in their Designs, that we thereby may form our own in imitation of them. Will you please but to observe, that Persius, the least in Dignity of all the Three, has, notwithstanding, been the first, who has discover'd to us this important Secret, in the designing of a perfect Satire; that it ought only to treat of one Subject; to be confin'd to one particular Theme; or, at least, to one principally. If other Vices occur in the management of the Chief, they shou'd only be transiently lash'd, and not be insisted on, so as to make the Design double. As in a Play of the English Fashion, which we call a Tragecomedy, there is to be but one main Design: And tho' there be an Under-plot, or Second Walk of Comical Characters and Adventures, yet they are subservient to the Chief Fable, carry'd along under it, and helping to it; so that the Drama may not seem a Monster with two Heads. Thus the Copernican Systeme of the Planets makes the Moon to be mov'd by the motion of the Earth, and carry'd about her Orb, as a Dependant of hers: Mascardi in his Discourse of the Doppia favola, or Double-tale in Plays, gives an Instance of it, in the famous Pastoral of Guarini, call'd Il Pastor Fido; where Corisca and the Satyre are the Under-parts: Yet we may observe, that Corisca is brought into the Body of the Plot, and made subservient to it. 'Tis certain, that the Divine Wit of Horace, was not ignorant of this Rule, that a Play, though it consists of many parts, must yet be one in the Action, and must drive on the Accomplishment of one Design; for he gives this very Precept, Sit quodvis simplex duntaxat & unum; yet he seems not much to mind it in his Satires, many of them consisting of more Arguments than one; and the second without dependance on the first. Casaubon has observ'd this before me, in his Preference of Persius to Horace: And will have his own belov'd Author to be the first, who found out, and introduc'd this Method of confining himself to one Subject. I know it may be urg'd in defence of Horace, that this Unity is not necessary; because the very word Satura signifies a Dish plentifully stor'd with all variety of Fruits and Grains. Yet Juvenal, who calls his Poems a Farrago, which is a word of the same signification with Satura; has chosen to follow the same Method of Persius, and not of Horace. And Boileau, whose Example alone is a sufficient Authority, has wholly confin'd himself, in all his Satires, to this Unity of Design. That variety which is not to be found in any one Satire, is, at least, in many, written on several occasions. And if Variety be of absolute necessity in every one of them, according to the Etymology of the word; yet it may arise naturally from one Subject, as it is diversly treated, in the several Subordinate Branches of it; all relating to the Chief. It may be illustrated accordingly with variety of Examples in the Subdivisions of it; and with as many Precepts as there are Members of it; which altogether may compleat that Olla, or Hotchpotch, which is properly a Satire.

[111] Under this Unity of Theme, or Subject, is comprehended another Rule for perfecting the Design of true Satire. The Poet is bound, and that ex Officio, to give his Reader some one Precept of Moral Virtue; and to caution him against some one particular Vice or Folly: Other Virtues, subordinate to the first, may be recommended, under that Chief Head; and other Vices or Follies may be scourg'd, besides that which he principally intends. But he is chiefly to inculcate one Virtue, and insist on that. Thus Juvenal in every Satire, excepting the first, tyes himself to one principal Instructive Point, or to the shunning of Moral Evil. Even in the Sixth, which seems only an Arraignment of the whole Sex of Womankind; there is a latent Admonition to avoid Ill Women, by shewing how very few, who are Virtuous and Good, are to be found amongst them. But this, tho' the Wittiest of all his Satires, has yet the least of Truth or Instruction in it. He has run himself into his old declamatory way, and almost forgotten, that he was now setting up for a Moral Poet.

[113] I have already declar'd, who are the only Persons that are the Adequate Object of Private Satire, and who they are that may properly be expos'd by Name for publick Examples of Vices and Follies; and therefore I will trouble your Lordship no farther with them. Of the best and finest manner of Satire, I have said enough in the Comparison betwixt Juvenal and Horace: 'Tis that sharp, well-manner'd way, of laughing a Folly out of Countenance, of which your Lordship is the best Master in this Age. I will proceed to the Versification, which is most proper for it, and add somewhat to what I have said already on that Subject. The sort of Verse which is call'd Burlesque, consisting of Eight Syllables, or Four Feet, is that which our Excellent Hudibras has chosen. I ought to have mention'd him before, when I spoke of Donn; but by a slip of an Old Man's Memory he was forgotten. The Worth of his Poem is too well known to need my Commendation, and he is above my Censure: His Satire is of the Varronian kind, though unmix'd with Prose. The choice of his Numbers is suitable enough to his Design, as he has manag'd it. But in any other Hand, the shortness of his Verse, and the quick returns of Rhyme, had debas'd the Dignity of Style. And besides, the double Rhyme, (a necessary Companion of Burlesque Writing) is not so proper for Manly Satire, for it turns Earnest too much to Jest, and gives us a Boyish kind of Pleasure. It tickles aukwardly with a kind of pain, to the best sort of Readers; we are pleas'd ungratefully, and, if I may say so, against our liking. We thank him not for giving us that unseasonable Delight, when we know he cou'd have given us a better, and more solid. He might have left that Task to others, who not being able to put in Thought, can only make us grin with the Excrescence of a Word of two or three Syllables in the Close. 'Tis, indeed, below so great a Master to make use of such a little Instrument. But his good Sense is perpetually shining through all he writes; it affords us not the time of finding Faults: We pass through the Levity of his Rhyme, and are immediately carri'd into some admirable useful Thought. After all, he has chosen this kind of Verse; and has written the best in it: And had he taken another, he wou'd always have excell'd. As we say of a Court-Favourite, that whatsoever his Office be, he still makes it uppermost, and most beneficial to himself.

[114] The quickness of your Imagination, my Lord, has already prevented me; and you know before-hand, that I wou'd prefer the Verse of ten Syllables, which we call the English Heroique, to that of Eight. This is truly my Opinion. For this sort of Number is more Roomy. The Thought can turn it self with greater ease, in a larger compass. When the Rhyme comes too thick upon us; it streightens the Expression; we are thinking of the Close, when we shou'd be employ'd in adorning the Thought. It makes a Poet giddy with turning in a Space too narrow for his Imagination. He loses many Beauties without gaining one Advantage. For a Burlesque Rhyme, I have already concluded to be none; or if it were, 'tis more easily purchas'd in Ten Syllables than in Eight: In both occasions 'tis as in a Tennis-Court, when the Strokes of greater force, are given, when we strike out, and play at length. [. . .]

[128] Thus, my Lord, having troubl'd You with a tedious Visit, the best Manners will be shewn in the least Ceremony. I will slip away while Your Back is turn'd, and while You are otherwise employ'd: with great Confusion, for having entertain'd You so long with this Discourse; and for having no other Recompence to make You, than the Worthy Labours of my Fellow Undertakers in this Work; and the Thankful Acknowledgments, Prayers, and perpetual good Wishes of,

My Lord,

Your Lordships,

Most Obliged, Most Humble,

and Most Obedient Servant.

John Dryden.


Titus Vespasian
Titus Vespasian, Roman Emperor from A.D. 69 to 79, known as a beloved ruler.
René Descartes formulated his famous dictum, Cogito ergo sum — I think, therefore I am — in an attempt to arrive at one proposition that cannot be doubted.
Essay of Dramatick Poesy
Dryden's Essay of Dramatic Poesy is one of his most important works of criticism.
Ben Jonson, playwright and contemporary of Shakespeare.
Referring to Horace's Ars Poetica, or The Art of Poetry, a first-century A.D. treatise on the rules of writing.
Lodestone is a magnet.
An Essay
The word essay means "an attempt."
Shakespeare was known in the seventeenth century as a "natural" genius, one who wrote great works without the benefit of knowing the "rules" of the drama.
A great Athenian military commander.
Longo, sed proximi Intervallo
Aeneid, 5.320: "The next, but tho' the next, yet far disjoin'd" (Dryden's translation).
Parnassus was the traditional home of the Muses, and therefore associated with poetry and the arts.
Johnson's Verses
Ben Jonson included a poem on his friend Shakespeare in the First Folio of 1623, seven years after Shakespeare's death.
John Donne, though now known for his "Metaphysical" lyric poems, was known in the late seventeenth century primarily as a writer of satires and sermons. His versification was widely criticized as irregular.
"Verses; poetry" (Johnson); compare Pope, "I lisp'd in numbers, for the numbers came." Dryden is suggesting that Donne's irregular meter might be "translated" into regular verse.
The Roman poet Virgil was renowned above all for his elegance and decorum.
Abraham Cowley, another seventeenth-century poet, also routinely grouped as a "Metaphysical" poet.
A reference to Cowley's irregular poems known as Pindarics, named for Pindar, the ancient Greek writer of odes.
Shot at Rovers
A term from archery, meaning to shoot at a distant target.
The Rehearsall
A satirical play by Buckingham that satirized Dryden in a character called Bays.
One of the three great Roman satirists, along with Horace and Juvenal.
Lord Chamberlain
The Lord Chamberlain was authorized to censor stage plays.
Clipt Poetry, and false Coyn
Alluding to the practice of "coin-clipping," shaving bits of precious metal from silver and gold coins. At the time there were debates over the source of value in money, whether it was the inherent value of the metal or the arbitrary value assigned by the government.
A writer of Latin epigrams.
Particular Ages
The fifth and fourth centuries B.C. were the golden age of Greek drama.
Virgil, Horace, Varius, Ovid
These Roman poets lived in the first century B.C.
Famous Age
References to the fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Florentines, associated with the flowering of arts in the Italian Renaissance.
A widely admired seventeenth-century French critic and poet.
Homer . . . Tasso
Dryden considers various epic poets after Virgil, from ancient Rome to sixteenth-century Italy.
Spencer to Fleckno
Edmund Spenser, author of The Faerie Queen, which Dryden admired, and Richard Flecknoe. He often satirized Flecknoe, a second-rate poet, most famously in his satirical poem Mac Flecknoe.
Saint Lewis, their Pucelle, or their Alarique
Referring to three French plays of the seventeenth century: Pierre Lemoyne, Saint Louis ou la Sainte Couronne reconquise sur les infidèles (1653); Jean Chapelain, La Pucelle ou la France delivrée: Poëme heroique par M. Chapelain (1656); and M. de Scudéry, Alaric ou Rome Vaincuë: Poëme heroïque (1654).
Milton died in 1674, just nineteen years before the Discourse was published.
The Design of Spencer
Spenser's multiple and interlaced plots in The Faerie Queene bothered many later critics, who favored the unified action recommended by Aristotle.
To finish his Poem
The Faerie Queene consists of six books, but Spenser had planned twelve.
Obsolete Language, and the ill choice of his Stanza
Spenser affected an obsolete style in his poems, and a complicated nine-line stanza. Both were attacked by later critics.
Edmund Waller, a seventeenth-century English poet celebrated for his smooth versification.
The Losing of our Happiness
Referring to Paradise Lost.
Mr. Rymer's Work
Thomas Rymer, a critic contemporary with Dryden.
Tho' he will not allow his Poem for Heroick
In other words, "Though he won't admit it's a heroic poem."
Blank Verse
Milton famously wrote Paradise Lost in blank verse — iambic pentameter without rhyme — rejecting what he called "the troublesome modern bondage of rime." Dryden was a master of the heroic couplet, or rhyming iambic pentameter.
"Supernatural agency in poems" (Johnson) — in other words, the intervention of gods and other supernatural beings in the action.
Lodovico Ariosto, author of Orlando Furioso, a sixteenth-century Italian epic or romance.
Torquato Tasso, another sixteenth-century Italian epic poet, most famous for Gierusalemme Liberata.
"Knowledge natural or moral" (Johnson).
"Any art or species of knowledge" (Johnson).
Those Texts of Daniel
See Daniel 10:13.
In traditional Christian cosmology, each sphere of the heavens was assigned an "intelligence," or angel.
Ne, forte, pudori . . . Apollo
From Horace's Ars Poetica: "So don't blush for the Muse skilled in the lyre, and for Apollo, god of song."
Curiosa felicitas
"Happy knack" or "felicity of expression"; it comes from Petronius Arbiter.
Ut sibi quivis speret idem, sudet multum, frustraque laboret, ausus idem
"That anybody may hope for the same success, may sweat much and yet toil in vain when attempting it."
"A storehouse, commonly an arsenal or armoury, or repository of provisions" (Johnson). Only in 1730, after Dryden's death, did the word magazine come to be applied to periodical publications.
Coenia dubia
"Puzzling dinner," from Terence's Phormio.
This new English Dress
The whole "Discourse" appeared as a preface to the translation of Juvenal and Persius by Dryden with several collaborators.
New Way of Version
In other words, "this new kind of translation."
Referring to Aristotle's Poetics. Aristotle argued that tragedy was greater than epic because it was more concentrated. In the next paragraph, Dryden disagrees.
Dryden lists several critics on the epic, both ancient and modern.
Important editions of and commentaries on the classical texts of Horace, Juvenal, and Persius.
Scaliger the Father
Julius Caesar Scaliger, father of Joseph Scaliger, both sixteenth-century critics.
Rural God, made up betwixt a Man and a Goat
In other words, a satyr.
A noun.
Allowed here means "admitted."
Poetic feet, that is, the units of meter.
To rail, "To use insolent and reproachful language; to speak to, or to mention in opprobrious terms" (Johnson).
Libertasque . . . redacti
"And the freedom, welcomed every eturning year, was innocently gay, till jokes, now becoming cruel, became outright frenzy, and stalked amid the homes of honest folk, fearless in its threatening. Those who were bitten by a tooth that drew blood were stung to the quick; even those untouched felt concern for the common cause, and at last a law was passed with a penalty, forbidding the abusive portrayal of anyone. Men changed their ways, and terror of the cudgel led them back to goodly and gracious ways of speaking." Horace, Epistles, 2.1.
Siquis . . . este
"It shall be a capital offense to deliver or write verses which bring another into disrepute or shame."
Thespis, the legendary inventor of drama, from whom the word thespian is derived.
The Latin form of the name Odysseus. Dryden is referring to a famous episode in the Odyssey.
In other words, "outcome."
Apo tou sillainein
From sillainein, "to ridicule."
A poem in which every line is taken from another poem, but the meaning is different because of the arrangement.
"Jocular; tending to raise laughter, by unnatural or unsuitable language or images" (Johnson).
Satira quidem tota, nostra est
"Satire is entirely ours," that is, the Romans'. From the ancient critic Quintilian.
Et Græcis intacti Carminis Author
From Horace's Satires, 1.10: "One who was creating a new style, entirely untouched by the Greeks."
Salacitas, "lust."
That is, lewdness or obscenity.
Lancibus . . . feremus
"On the curved dish we lay the smoking entrails," and "We'll take cakes and dishes to him."
Olla, more commonly spelled olio, is a stew; it often means a mixture or hodgepodge.
Leges Saturæ
"Mixed laws."
Per Saturam Sententias exquirere
"To take a vote on an omnibus bill."
Scaramouch, "A buffoon in motly dress" (Johnson).
A common spelling for savage.
Enrhythmoi, but not emmetroi
That is, rhythmical but not metrical.
Cæsar Gallias subegit
"Caesar conquered the Gauls, and Nicomedes conquered Caesar. Behold, Caesar, who conquered the Gauls, now triumphs; Nicomedes, who conquered Caesar, doesn't triumph."
Clown, "A rustick; a country fellow; a churl," or "A coarse ill-bred man" (Johnson).
The Tuscan Language
That is, Etruscan, a language now not understood.
Ab Urbe Condita, cccxc
That is, 390 years after the founding of the city of Rome.
Livius Andronicus
Livius Andronicus is held to be the first Latin dramatist. None of his works survive.
The Year 514
That is, 514 ab urbe condita, or 241 B.C.
Aristophanes satirizes Socrates in The Clouds.
Postulate or axiom.
That is, scions, or branches.
"Correspondent" (Johnson).
Margites is a comic poem traditionally (but probably falsely) attributed to Homer.
Hexameters with Iambique Trimeters; or with Trochaique Tetrameters
Dactylic hexameter was the meter of Homer's epic poems; iambic trimeter was used for tragic and satirical poetry.
The Soul of Homer was transfus'd into him
Pythagoras and his followers believed in the transmigration of souls from the dead to the living.
Quid cum est Lucilius ausus Primus in hunc operis componere carmina morem
"When Lucilius dared to be the first to compose this sort of verse."
Satira quidem tota nostra est, in qua primus insignem laudem adeptus est
"Satire, on the other hand, is all our own. The first of our poets to win renown in this field was Lucilius."
The Latin Tongue
It was conventional wisdom that the Latin language achieved its greatest heights in the works of Cicero and other writers of his age in the first century B.C. Dryden is referring to the language from an earlier period.
Cozened, that is, cheated or tricked.
Varronian Satire, but which Varro himself calls the Menippean
Dryden's discussion of Menippean or Varronian satire was very influential, but even today there's no clear sense of the characteristics of this strange variety of satire. Since none of Varro's satires have survived, it is difficult to know what to make of the genre, and the term "Menippean satire" has been applied indiscriminately to many kinds of writing.
Marcus Tullius Cicero was often known in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as "Tully."
"Mixing laughter with serious matter."
Encomium Moriæ of Erasmus
That is, Desiderius Erasmus, The Praise of Folly.
Mother Hubbard's Tale
A sixteenth-century work by Edmund Spenser, author of The Faerie Queene.
The Poems of Absalom, and Mac Fleckno
Dryden alludes to his own poems, Absalom and Achitophel and Mac Flecknoe.
"Scandal" or "malicious gossip."
Its true derivation from Satura, not from Satyrus
That is, since Dryden argues the word comes from satura lanx and not from satyr, the word should now be spelled satire, not satyre.
"Delicate; scrupulously and minutely cautious" (Johnson).
"Offensive" or "difficult to handle."
Trope, "A change of a word from its original signification" (Johnson).
Fear of his safety under Nero
Nero reigned during Persius's career, and Dryden speculates that Persius may have been cautious in his satires to avoid drawing the wrath of the emperor.
Imitatio Horatiana
That is, Horatian Imitation.
Non aptissimus ad jocandum
"Silly, but not persuading to laughter."
Ostendere, but not ostentare
Ostendere, "to show"; ostentare, "to display." Perhaps it's the difference between "to show" and "to show off."
Se defendendo
In self-defense.
Barten Holyday, an English critic.
At, si unctus cesses, &c.
The beginning of a passage in Persius's fourth Satire.
The author known as Longinus wrote On the Sublime, an influential treatise on the aesthetic experience of the grand and overwhelming.
Plebeium sapere
"Understand the common man."
A witty Friend of mine
Dryden refers to the playwright William Wycherley.
Non nostrum est tantas componere lites
"It's not our job to settle such disputes."
All the Odes, and Epodes
Horace's poems are divided into Odes, Epodes, Epistles, and Satires. Dryden is explaining that he plans to focus only on the Satires.
"The humour, which, by its super-abundance, is supposed to produce irascibility" (Johnson).
"A personal satire; abuse; censure written not to reform but to vex" (Johnson).
I have seldom answer'd any scurrilous Lampoon
It's instructive to compare these comments with Dryden's own satirical poems, especially Mac Flecknoe.
Extravagant praise.
Wanting here means "lacking."
Profit and Delight
In the Ars Poetica, Horace famously argued that the two ends of poetry are to instruct and to delight.
Bonum que communius, eo melius.
"The more general a good thing is, the better."
Ne Sententiæ extra Corpus Orationis emineant
"One must take care that the thoughts do not stand out from the body of the speech."
Omne vafer . . . ludit
Persius, Satire 1: "Unlike in method, with conceal'd design,/ Did crafty Horace his low Numbers joyn:/ And, with a sly insinuating Grace,/ Laugh'd at his Friend, and look'd him in the Face" (Dryden's translation).
"The milt; one of the viscera, of which the use is scarcely known. It is supposed the seat of anger and melancholy"; "Anger; spite; ill-humour" (Johnson).
Plain Dealer
The Plain Dealer is a play by William Wycherley, whom Dryden mentioned above.
"Metrically regular."
Sermo Pedestris
Pedestrian style (from Horace, Ars Poetica).
Non tu . . . carmen?
Virgil, Eclogues, 3.26–27: "Wasn't it you, you dunce, who, at the crossroads, used to ruin a miserable song on a squealing reed pipe?"
The Reign of Domitian
Horace lived in the first century B.C., under Augustus Caesar, commonly held to be the greatest age of Rome. Juvenal lived about a century later, in the first century A.D., under the emperor Domitian, said to be a degenerate age.
The ten rulers of Rome.
Fasces were a bundle of rods bound together, which served as a symbol of Roman authority. The word fascist comes from a modern attempt to regain that authority.
Fecit id Augustus in speciem . . . infamaretur
"Augustus acted under color [of law], and as if to gratify the Roman people and the leaders of the city; but in truth[he acted] in behalf of his own interests, for he had in mind to suppress certain people's excessive impudence in pseech, impudence by which he himself was not touched. Now to check them on his own authority would have been spiteful, but to do it on someone else's was easy and effective. Therefore he dealt with the matter on a legal pretext, as though the majesty of the Roman people had been insulted."
Omnia Cæsar erat
"Cæsar was all."
Prior læsit
"He hit first."
Secuit Urbem; & genuinum fregit in illis
Persius, Satires, 1: he "lash'd the City, and dissected Crimes" (Dryden's translation).
Ense velut stricto, quoties Lucilius ardens Infremuit
Juvenal, Satires, 1.165–66: "When Lucilius passionately rages, as if with drawn sword."
Jack Ketche
Jack Ketch was the name of a notorious hangman, and became a proverbial name for all hangmen.
My Absalom
A reference to Dryden's satire Absalom and Achitophel.
"Ghost" or "spirit."
Ense rescindendum
"It may be cut off with the sword."
Mountebank, "A doctor that mounts a bench in the market, and boasts his infallible remedies and cures"; "Any boastful and false pretender" (Johnson).
A pun. Late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century critics had very little patience for wordplay.
Receipt, "[From recipe.] Prescription of ingredients for any composition"; recipe, "A medical prescription" (Johnson).
Tres præmia primi . . . Olivæ
"The foremost three have Olive Wreaths decreed" (Dryden's translation).
Primus equum phaleris insignem, Victor habeto
"The first of these obtains a stately steed,/ Adorn'd with trappings" (Dryden's translation).
Alter Amazoniam, pharetram . . . gemmæ
"The next in Fame,/ The quiver of an Amazonian Dame;/ With feather'd Thracian Arrows well supply'd,/ A Golden Belt shall gird his Manly side;/ Which with a sparkling Diamond shall be ty'd" (Dryden's translation).
Tertius, Argolico hoc Clypeo contentus abito
"Let the third part go content with his Argive Shield."
Nomen famâ . . . Cæsar
"And though more Ages bear my Soveraign's Praise;/ Than have from Tithon past to Cæsar's Days" (Dryden's translation).
Ab urbe conditâ, 514
That is, 238 B.C.
Quicquid agunt homines votum . . . libelli
Juvenal, Satires, 1: "What Humane Kind desires, and what they shun,/ Rage, Passions, Pleasures, Impotence of Will,/ Shall this Satyrical Collection fill" (Dryden's translation).
Archæa Comedia
The Old Comedy.
If Horace refus'd the pains of Numbers
That is, "If Horace didn't work hard on his meter."
Donn's Satires
That is, John Donne, who was well known for his irregular meter and dense metaphors.
What we'd call a subplot.
Sit quodvis simplex duntaxat & unum
"It can be whatever you like, as long as it's simple and one."
A medley or mixture.
Ex Officio
"From the office," in other words, as part of his duty as a satirist.
"Calmness of look; composure of face" (Johnson).
Hudibras is a seventeenth-century mock epic poem by Samuel Butler. The lines are iambic tetrameter, rhyming in couplets: "For rhetoric, he could not ope/ His mouth, but out there flew a trope."
The Varronian kind
That is, Dryden calls Hudibras an example of Menippean satire.
Double Rhyme
Butler often plays with "double rhyme," or rhymes of more than one syllable.
Verse of ten Syllables
The pentameter line — ten syllables — was usually used in English for serious or dignified poetry; tetrameter, with eight syllables, was more common in light verse.
"Space; room; limits" (Johnson).
"Makes narrow."
Nec tibi Diva Parens . . . Cruaté
"False as thou art, and more than false, forsworn:/ Not sprung from Noble Blood, nor Goddess-born,/ But hewn from hardned Entrails of a Rock;/ And rough Hyrcanian Tygers gave thee suck" (Dryden's translation).
Admiranda tibi levium spectacula rerum . . . dicam
"Mæcenas, read this other part, that sings/ Embattel'd Squadrons and advent'rous Kings:/ A mighty Pomp, tho' made of little Things./ Their Arms, their Arts, their Manners I disclose,/ And how they War, and whence the People rose" (Dryden's translation).
Sed Genus immortale manet . . . avorum
"Th' immortal Line in sure Succession reigns,/ The Fortune of the Family remains:/ And Grandsires, Grandsons the long List contains" (Dryden's translation).
The turns of Mr. Waller, and Sir John Denham
In the seventeenth century, Denham and Waller were regarded as the two originators of the modern decorous style of poetry.
Abraham Cowley, a "Metaphysical" poet.
Delicate, & bien tourné
"Delicate and well-turned."
Heu quantum scelus est . . . leto
"How horrible a Sin,/ That entrailes bleeding entrailes should intomb!/ That greedy flesh, by flesh should fat become!" (George Sandys's seventeenth-century translation).
Tum jam nulla viro . . . curant
"Now no woman listens to man's words of love, or looks to find there his love-bond: as long as they itch for it they will say anything, do anything; but when lust is satisfied, the soft words are forgotten, the promises are nothing."
Si nisi quæ formâ . . . est
"If unless she seems to you worthy in her beauty none is to be yours, none is to be yours." The "extraordinary turn upon the words" is the unusual construction, "if unless."
Cum subita incantum . . . Manes
"When strong Desires th' impatient Youth invade;/ By little Caution and much Love betray'd:/ A fault which easy Pardon might receive,/ Were Lovers Judges, or cou'd Hell forgive" (Dryden's translation).
Betwixt a Paraphrase and Imitation
In his edition of Ovid's Epistles, Dryden distinguishes three kinds of translation: "Metaphrase, or turning an author word by word, and line by line, from one language to another. . . . Paraphrase, or translation with latitude, where the author is kept in view by the translator, so as never to be lost, but his words are not so strictly followed as his sense. . . . Imitation, where the translator (if now he has not lost that name) assumes the liberty, not only to vary from the words and sense, but to forsake them both as he sees occasion."
Pulverulenta putrem sonitu quatit ungula Campum
"The Neighing Coursers answer to the sound:/ And shake with horny Hoofs the solid ground" (Dryden's translation).