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Deeds which might blot the sun,—their horrour lost, By alchymy of hell become
boast. Go, true Lycaons! execrable race ! Remain no more humanity's disgrace ; But, howling in your forests, bide the storm, 2975 And, with the hearts of wolves, assume the form !5
O thou SUPREME, whose majesty unseen Directs the movements of this vast machine, By thee, man, heaven, and earth, and air, and sea, Form'd and sustain'd alone, all bend to thee; 2980 Let flaming comets in the skies appear, Let earthquakes rock the globe, or tempests tear; Each loosen'd orb forget its station'd seat; All nature's germins in confusion meet ; But O this pity to our sons afford,
2985 Preserve their reverence for thy sacred word! Parent of life and sense, Eternal Power, Ruling the final, as the natal hour,
s Fit lupus, et veteris servat vestigia formæ;
Canities eadem est, eadem violentia vultu ;
In the last terrors of thine awful day,
Great Lord of all, keep worthy of thy smiles,
devotion of these menaced isles !6
• In this sketch of the time of Augustus, I have omitted to mention the most interesting and awful of all events to the universe ; the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ ; not from irreverence, but from absolute despair of being able to satisfy my own mind, or the reader's, by announcing it with any suitable elevation of diction and sentiment. It is a theme too great for rhymes. The powers of the human mind sink under it. Even the mighty genius of Milton seems at times to be depressed by its grandeur and simplicity. A God of peace, propitiation, and mercy, may be contemplated with silent devotion and gratitude; or the ways and end of his Providence may be inculcated in pious discourses; but to be a proper subject for poetry, the Messiah must be represented in wrath and in action, with the attributes of Homer's Jupiter, “ grasping ten thousand thunders,” and hurling from the battlements of heaven the prince of darkness, and his host of perverted angels.
ADDITIONAL NOTE S.
NOTE [A.] p. 96.
Middleton's Life of Cicero is supposed after its appearance to have disappointed the previous expectations of the reverend author's admirers. As it is impossible to fix limits to expectation, it is equally so to determine whether the fault be in the work itself, or in the unreasonableness of those who profess to have been disappointed. Some without doubt would rather concur in this sort of indistinct censure, than take the trouble of examining into the grounds of it, and to such I imagine the following remarks may not be unacceptable.
It is certainly a very useful and learned work. The author shews great knowledge of ancient historians, and of Roman antiquities; and is perfectly acquainted with all the different writings of Cicero, of which his account is always distinct, candid, and satisfactory. They contain in themselves no inconsiderable body of Pagan erudition. About a third part of the work consists of quotations and translations from Cicero himself; which last (he says in his Preface) he found not the least troublesome part of his undertaking. He acknowledges that the History of Fabricius, prefixed to several editions of Cicero's works, (which is no more than a bare detail of his acts and writings, digested into exact chronological order,) together with the Annals of Pighius, which he always consulted, saved him much unentertaining investigation, which otherwise would have been necessary. The very curious work of Bellendenus de Tribus Luminibus Romanorum, (as Dr. Warton has observed) was also probably of much use to him, though he has not mentioned it.