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synalæpha, which is the cutting off one vowel immediately before another, I will give an example of it from Chapman's Homer, which lies before me, for the benefit of those who understand not the Latin prosodia. 'Tis in the first line of the argument to the first Iliad

Apollo's priest to th’ Argive fleet doth bring, &c. There we see he makes it not the Argive, but thArgive, to shun the shock of the two vowels, immediately following each other. But in his second argument, in the same page, he gives a bad example of the quite 10 contrary kind,

Alpha the pray'r of Chryses sings :

The army's plague, the strife of kings. In these words, the army's, the ending with a vowel, and army's beginning with another vowel, without 15 cutting off the first, which by it had been th' army's, there remains a most horrible ill-sounding gap betwixt those words. I cannot say that I have everywhere observed the rule of the synalæpha in my translation; but wheresoever I have not, 'tis a fault in sound. The 20 French and the Italians have made it an inviolable precept in their versification; therein following the severe example of the Latin poets. Our countrymen have not yet reformed their poetry so far, but content themselves with following the licentious practice of the 25 Greeks; who, though they sometimes use synalæphas, yet make no difficulty, very often, to sound one vowel upon another; as Homer does, in the very first line of Alpha

Μήνιν άειδε, θεά, Πηληϊάδεω Αχιλλος It is true, indeed, that, in the second line, in these words, μυρί'Αχαιούς, and άλγε' έθηκε, the synalepha, in revenge, is twice observed. But it becomes us, for the sake of euphony, rather Musas colere severiores, with the Romans, than to give into the looseness of the Grecians. 35

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I have tired myself, and have been summoned by the press to send away this Dedication; otherwise I had exposed some other faults, which are daily committed

by our English poets; which, with care and observa5 tion, might be amended. For after all, our language

is both copious, significant, and majestical, and might be reduced into a more harmonious sound. But for want of public encouragement, in this Iron Age, we are

so far from making any progress in the improvement 10 of our tongue, that in few years we shall speak and write as barbarously as our neighbours.

Notwithstanding my haste, I cannot forbear to tell your Lordship, that there are two fragments of Homer

translated in this Miscellany; one by Mr. Congreve, 15 (whom I cannot mention without the honour which is

due to his excellent parts, and that entire affection which I bear him,) and the other by myself. Both the subjects are pathetical; and I am sure my friend has

added to the tenderness which he found in the original, 20 and without flattery, surpassed his author. Yet I must

needs say this in reference to Homer, that he is much more capable of exciting the manly passions than those of grief and pity. To cause admiration is, indeed, the

proper and adequate design of an Epic Poem; and in 25 that he has excelled even Virgil. Yet, without presum

ing to arraign our master, I may venture to affirm, that he is somewhat too talkative, and more than somewhat too digressive. This is so manifest, that it cannot be

denied in that little parcel which I have translated, 30 perhaps too literally: there Andromache, in the midst

of her concernment and fright for Hector, runs off her bias, to tell him a story of her pedigree, and of the lamentable death of her father, her mother, and her

seven brothers. The devil was in Hector if he knew 35 not all this matter, as well as she who told it him; for she had been his bedfellow for many years together: and if he knew it, then it must be confessed, that Homer, in this long digression, has rather given us his own character, than that of the fair lady whom he paints. His dear friends the commentators, who never 5 fail him at a pinch, will needs excuse him, by making the present sorrow of Andromache to occasion the remembrance of all the past; but others think, that she had enough to do with that grief which now oppressed her, without running for assistance to her 10 family. Virgil, I am confident, would have omitted such a work of supererogation. But Virgil had the gift of expressing much in little, and sometimes in silence; for, though he yielded much to Homer in invention, he more excelled him in his admirable judg. 15 ment. He drew the passion of Dido for Æneas, in the most lively and most natural colours that are imaginable. Homer was ambitious enough of moving pity, for he has attempted twice on the same subject of Hector's death; first, when Priam and Hecuba beheld 20 his corpse, which was dragged after the chariot of Achilles; and then in the lamentation which was made over him, when his body was redeemed by Priam; and the same persons again bewail his death, with a chorus of others to help the cry. But if this last excite com- 25 passion in you, as I doubt not but it will, you are more obliged to the translator than the poet; for Homer, as I observed before, can move rage better than he can pity. He stirs up the irascible appetite, as our philosophers call it; he provokes to murder, and the 30 destruction of God's images; he forms and equips those ungodly man-killers, whom we poets, when we flatter them, call heroes; a race of men who can never enjoy quiet in themselves, till they have taken it from all the world. This is Homer's commendation; and, 35 such as it is, the lovers of peace, or at least of more moderate heroism, will never envy him. But let Homer and Virgil contend for the prize of honour betwixt

themselves; I am satisfied they will never have a third 5 concurrent. I wish Mr. Congreve had the leisure to

translate him, and the world the good nature and justice to encourage him in that noble design, of which he is more capable than any man I know. The Earl

of Mulgrave and Mr. Waller, two of the best judges of 10 our age, have assured me, that they could never read

over the translation of Chapman without incredible pleasure and extreme transport. This admiration of theirs must needs proceed from the author himself;

for the translator has thrown him down as low as harsh 15 numbers, improper English, and a monstrous length of

verse could carry him. What then would he appear in the harmonious version of one of the best writers, living in a much better age than was the last ? I mean

for versification, and the art of numbers; for in the do drama we have not arrived to the pitch of Shakespeare

and Ben Johnson. But here, my Lord, I am forced to break off abruptly, without endeavouring at a compliment in the close. This Miscellany is, without dispute,

one of the best of the kind which has hitherto been 25 extant in our tongue. At least, as Sir Samuel Tuke

has said before me, a modest man may praise what is not his own. My fellows have no need of any protection; but I humbly recommend my part of it, as much

as it deserves, to your patronage and acceptance, and 30 all the rest to your forgiveness.

I am,

My LORD,
Your Lordship's most obedient servant,

John DRYDEN.

1893

A DISCOURSE CONCERNING THE

ORIGINAL AND PROGRESS OF SATIRE:

DEDICATED TO

THE RIGHT HONOURABLE

CHARLES, EARL OF DORSET AND MIDDLESEX

LORD CHAMBERLAIN OF THEIR MAJESTIES' HOUSEHOLD, KNIGHT

OF THE MOST NOBLE ORDER OF THE GARTER, ETC.

My LORD, The wishes and desires of all good men, which have attended your Lordship from your first appearance in the world, are at length accomplished, in your obtaining those honours and dignities which you have so long 5 deserved. There are no factions, though irreconcilable to one another, that are not united in their affection to you, and the respect they pay you. They are equally pleased in your prosperity, and would be equally concerned in your afflictions. Titus Vespasian was not 10 more the delight of human-kind. The universal Empire made him only more known, and more powerful, but could not make him more beloved. He had greater ability of doing good, but your inclination to it is not less; and though you could not extend your beneficence 13 to so many persons, yet you have lost as few days as that excellent Emperor; and never had his complaint

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