« ForrigeFortsæt »
HE following Tranflations were felected from many others done by the Author in his Youth; for the most part indeed but a fort of Exercises, while he was improving himself in the Languages, and carried by his early Bent to Poetry to perform them rather in Verse than Profe. Mr. Dryden's Fables came out about that time, which occafioned the Tranflations from Chaucer. They were first separately printed in Mifcellanies by J. Tonfon and B. Lintot, and afterwards collected in the Quarto Edition of 1717. The Imitations of English Authors, which are added at the end, were done as early, fome of them at fourteen or fifteen years old; but having alfo got into Miscellanies, we have put them here together to complete this Juvenile Volume. P.
HE hint of the following piece was taken from Chaucer's Houfe of Fame. The defign is in a manner entirely altered, the descriptions and most of the particular thoughts my own: yet I could not fuffer it to be printed without this acknowledgement. The reader who would compare this with Chaucer, may begin with his third Book of Fame, there being nothing in the two first books that answers to their title: wherever any hint is taken from him, the paffage itself is fet down in the marginal notes. P.
It was thought proper to preserve the following note, which was prefixed to the first edition of this poem:
Some modern critics, from a pretended refinement of taste, have declared themselves unable to relish allegorical poems. It is not eafy to penetrate into the meaning of this criticifm; for if fable. be allowed one of the chief beauties, or, as Aristotle calls it, the very foul of poetry, it is hard to comprehend how that fable should be the less valuable for having a moral. The ancients constantly made use of allegories. My Lord Bacon has compofed an express treatise in proof of this, entitled, The Wisdom of the Ancients; where the reader may fee feveral particular fictions exemplified and explained with great clearness, judgement, and learning. The incidents, indeed, by which the allegory is conveyed, must be varied according to the different genius or manners of different times; and they fhould never be spun too long, or too much clogged with trivial circumftances, or little particularities. We find an uncommon charm in truth, when it is conveyed by this fideway to our understanding; and it is obfervable, that even in the most ignorant ages this way of writing has found reception. Almost all the poems in the old Provençal had this turn; and from thefe it was that Petrarch took the idea of his poetry. We have his Trionfi in this kind; and Boccace purfued in the fame track. E 4 Soon