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F all the paradoxes which the reftless vigour of his mind stimulated Warburton to maintain, the following is one of the moft ftriking and unaccountable: "There is not," he says, (Divine Legation, b. iii. p. 337.) "a more extraordinary book than the Metamorphofes of Ovid, whether we regard the matter or the form. The tales appear monftrously extravagant, and the compofition irregular and wild. Had it been the product of a dark age and a barbarous writer, we should have been content to have ranked it in the class of our modern Oriental fables, as a matter of no confequence: but when we confider it was wrote when Rome was in its meridian of politenefs and knowledge, and by an author who, as appears from his acquaintance with the Greek tragic writers, knew well what belonged to a work or compofition, we cannot but be shocked at the grotesque affemblage of its parts. One would rather diftrust one's judgement, and conclude the deformity to be only in appearance, which perhaps, on examination, we shall find to be the cafe; though it must be owned, the common opinion feems to be supported by Quintilian, the moft judicious critic of antiquity, who speaks of our author and his work in these words: "Ut Ovidius lafcivire in Metamorphofi folet, quem tamen excufare neceffitas poteft, res diverfiffimas in fpeciem unius corporis colligentem." And again, p. 343.: "Ovid gathered his materials from the mythological writers, and formed them into a poem on the most grand and regular plan, a popular history of Providence, carried down from the creation to his own times, through the Ægyptian, Phoenician, Greek, and Roman hiftories; and this in as methodical a manner as the graces of poetry would allow.”— It was referved therefore for Dr. Warburton to discover what none of the ancients, not even the penetrating and judicious. Quintilian, who lived so much nearer the time of the author, could poffibly perceive, the deep meaning, and the accurate method, of the Metamorphofes of Ovid. As Boileau faid of fome of the forced interpretations of Dacier in his Horace, that they were the Revelations of Dacier, it will not be uncandid or unjust to fay, that this remark on Ovid is one of Warburton's Revelations. It is remarkable that the great Barrow preferred Ovid to Virgil, as Corneille did Lucan.
VERTUMNUS ET POMONA,
EGE fub hoc Pomona fuit: qua nulla Latinas Inter Hamadryadas coluit solertius hortos, Nec fuit arborei ftudiofior altera foetûs :
Unde tenet nomen. non fylvas illa, nec amnes;