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F all the paradoxes which the reftlefs vigour of his mind fti
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 monftroufly extravagant, and the compofition irregular and wild. Had it been the product of a dark age and a barbarous writer, we fhould have been content to have ranked it in the clafs of our modern Oriental fables, as a matter of no consequence: but when we confider it was wrote when Rome was in its meridian of politeness 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 fhocked at the grotefque 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 fupported by Quintilian, the most judicious critic of antiquity, who fpeaks 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 moft grand and regular plan, a popular hiftory of Providence, carried down from the creation to his own times, through the Egyptian, 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
Nec fuit arborei ftudiofior altera foetûs:
Unde tenet nomen. non fylvas illa, nec amnes;
Nec jaculo gravis eft, fed adunca dextera falce: 10