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ABOUT this time it became fashionable among the wits at

Button's, the mob of gentlemen that wrote with eafe, to translate Ovid. Their united performances were published in form by Garth, with a preface written in a flowing and lively ftyle, but full of ftrange opinions. He declares that none of the claffic poets had the talent of expreffing himself with more force and perfpicuity than Ovid; that the Fiat of the Hebrew Lawgiver is not more fublime than the juffit et extendi campos of the Latin Poet; that he excels in the propriety of his fimiles and epithets, the perfpicuity of his allegories, and the inftructive excellence of his morals. Above all, he commends him for his unforced tranfitions, and for the ease with which he flides into fome new circumftances, without any violation of the unity of the ftory; the texture, fays he, is fo artful, that it may be compared to the work of his own Arachne, where the fhade dies fo gradually, and the light revives fo imperceptibly, that it is hard to tell where the one ceafes and the other begins. But it is remarkable that Quintilian thought very differently on this fubject of the tranfitions; and the admirers of Ovid would do well to confider his opinion: "Illa vero frigida et puerilis eft in fcholis affectatio, et hujus velut præftigiæ plaufum petat." Garth was a most amiable and benevolent man: It was faid of him, "that no physician knew his art more, nor his trade lefs." Pope told Mr. Richardfon, that there was hardly an alteration, of the innumerable corrections that were made throughout every edition of the Dispensary, that was not for the better. The vivacity of his converfation, the elegance of his manners, and the sweet. nefs of his temper, made Garth an univerfal favourite, both with Whigs and Tories when party-rage ran high.

The notes which Addison wrote on thofe parts of Ovid which he tranflated are full of good fenfe, candour, and inftruction. Great is the change in paffing from Statius to Ovid; from force to facility of ftyle, from thoughts and images too much studied and unnatural, to fuch as are obvious, careless, and familiar.

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Voltaire has treated Augustus with pointed, but just severity, for banishing Ovid to Pontus, and affigning for a reafon his having written The Art of Love; a work even of decency compared with feveral parts of Horace, whom Auguftus so much praised and patronized; and which contained not a line at all comparable to fome of the grofs obfcenities of Auguftus's own verses. Laying many circumstances together, he thinks the real cause of this banishment was, that Ovid had feen and detected Auguftus in fome very criminal amour, and, in fhort, been witness to an act of inceft. himself says,

"Cur aliquid vidi?””


And Minutianus Apuleius fays, "Pulfum quoq. in exitium quod Augufti inceftum vidiffet." Voltaire adds, "That Ovid himself deferves almoft equal reproaches for having fo lavishly and naufeoufly flattered both that emperor and his fucceffor Tiberius.”

Vol. v. p. 297

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