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You; but if in any part of this, Your Modesty thinks me guilty of what I assure you I detest; continue to be what I believe You, and confirm as well the Judgment as the Opinion of,
By Mr. D RTD E N..
OR this last half Year I have been troubled with the disease (as 1 may call it) of Translation j the cold Prose-firs of it, (which are always the molt tedious with me) were spent in the History of the League > the hot, (which succeeded them) in Verse Miscellanies. The truth is, I fancied to my self a kind of ease in the change of the Paroxismy never suspecting but that the Humour/wou'd'havewasted itself in two or three Pastorals of "Theocritus, and as many Odes of Horace. But finding, or at least thinking I found, something that was more pleasing in them, than my ordinary Productions, 1 encourag'd my self to renew my old acquaintance with Lucretius and Virgil; and immediately fix'd upon some parts of them which had most affected me in the reading. These were my natural Impulses for the Undertaking: But there was an accidental Motive, which was full as forcible. It was my Lord Rofcommori's EJfay on Translated Verse, which made me uneasie 'till I try'd whether or no I was capable of following his Rules, and of reducing the speculation into practice. For many a fair Precept in Poetry, is like a seeming Demonstration in the Mathematicks j very specious in the Diagram, but failing in the Mechanick Operation. I think I have generally obferv'd his Instructions j I am sure my Reason is sufficiently convinc'd both of their truth and usefulness} which, in other words, is to confess no less a vanity than to pretend that I have at least in some places made Examples to his Rules.
Yet withal, I must: acknowledge, that I have many times exceeded my Commission; for I have both added and omitted, and even sometimes very boldly made such expositions of my Authors, as no Dutch Commentator will forgive me. Perhaps, in such particular passages, I have thought that I discovers some Beauty yet undiscover'd by those Pedants, which none but a Poet cou'd have found. Where I have taken away some of their Expressions, and cut them shorter, it may possibly be on this consideration, that what was beautiful in the Greek or Latin^ wou'd not appear so shining in the Englijh: And where 1 have enlarg'd them, I desire the false Criticks wou'd not always think, that those thoughts are wholly mine, but that either they are secretly in the Poet, or may be fairly dedue'd from him 5 or at least, if both those Considerations should fail, that my own is of a piece with his, and that if he were living, and an Englishman, they are