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must demand. Besides this, as much more time was now elapsed since I had perused the copy, my own eye was become more open to its defects. I found the rule which my author had given to his painter full as useful to a writer:
, (Ast ubi consilium deerit sapientis amici,
Id tempus dabit, atque mora intermissa labori.)
And I may say with truth, that having become from this circumstance, as impartial, if not as fastidious, to my own work, as any other critic could possibly have been, I hardly left a single line in it without giving it, what I thought, an emendation. It is not, therefore, as a juvenile work that I now present it to the public, but as one which I have improved to the utmost of my mature abilities, in order to make it more worthy of its annotator.
In the preceding Epistle I have obviated, I hope, every suspicion of arrogance in attempting this work after Mr. Dryden. The single consideration that his version was in prose were in itself sufficient; because, as Mr. Pope has justly observed, verse and even rhyme is the best mode of conveying preceptive truths, “ as in this way they are more shortly expressed and more easily retained."* Still less need I make an apology for undertaking it after Mr. Wills, who in the year 1754 published a translation of it in metre without rhyme.t : · This gentleman, a painter by profession, assumed for his motto,
* See his advertisement before his Essay on Man.
Tractant fabrilia fabri; but however adroit he might be in handling the tools of his own art, candour must own that the tools of a poet and a translator were beyond his management: attempting also a task absolutely impossible, that of expressing the sense of his author in an equal number of lines, he produced a version, which (if it was ever read through by any person except himself) is now totally forgotten. Nevertheless I must do him the justice to own, that he understood the original text; that he detected some errors in Mr. Dryden's translation, which had escaped Mr. Jervas (assisted, as it is said, by his friend Mr. Pope) in that corrected edition which Mr. Graham inscribed
+ I call it so rather than blank verse, because it was devoid of all harmony of numbers. The beginning, which I sball here insert, is a sufficient proof of the truth of this assertion :
As Painting, Poesy, so similar
Mute verse is this, that speaking picture called. From this little specimen the reader will easily form a judgment of the whole.
to the Earl of Burlington; and that I have myself sometimes profited by his labours. It is also from his edition that I reprint the following Life of the Author, which was drawn up from Felibien and other biographers, by the late Dr. Birch, who, with his usual industry, has collected all they have said on Fresnoy's subject.
CHARLES ALPHONSE DU FRESNOY was born at Paris in the year 1611. His father, who was an eminent apothecary in that city, intending him for the profession of physic, gave him as good an education as possible. During the first year, which he spent at the college, he made a very considerable progress in his studies : but as soon as he was raised to the higher classes, and began to contract a taste of poetry, his genius for it opened itself, and he carried all the prizes in it which were proposed to excite the emulation of his fellow-students. His inclination for it was heightened by exercise; and his earliest performances showed, that he was capable of becoming one of the greatest poets of his age, if his love of painting, which equally possessed him, had not divided his time and application. At last he laid
aside all thoughts of the study of physic, and declared absolutely for that of painting, notwithstanding the opposition of his parents, who, by all kinds of severity, endeavoured to divert him from pursuing his passion for that art, the profession of which they unjustly considered in a very contemptible light. But the strength of his inclination defeating all the measures taken to suppress it, he took the first opportunity of cultivating his favourite study.
He was nineteen or twenty years of age when he began to learn to design under Francis Perier ; and having spent two years in the school of that painter, and of Simon Voüet, he thought proper to take a journey into Italy, where he arrived in the end of 1633, or the beginning of 1634.. .
As he had, during his studies, applied himself very much to that of geometry, he began upon his coming to Rome, to paint landscapes, buildings, and ancient ruins. But, for the first two years of his residence in that city, he had the utmost difficulty to support himself, being abandoned by his parents, who resented his having rejected their advice in the choice of his profession; and the little stock of money which he had provided before he left France, proving scarce sufficient for the expences of his journey to Italy. Being destitute, therefore, of friends and acquaintance at Rome, he was reduced to such distress, that his chief subsistence for the greatest