Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FOREGOING CRITICISM, IN ENGLISH VERSE, by JOHN BYROM

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE FOREGOING CRITICISM, IN ENGLISH VERSE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The whole design of this horatian strain
Last Line: Read—fruge lares, avidasque parcas.
Subject(s): Critics & Criticism; Horace (65-8 B.c.)

THE whole design of this Horatian strain
Is so exceeding obvious and plain,
That one would wonder how correcting eyes
Could overlook a blot of such a size,
As avidâqae Poreâ; when the line,
So read, quite ruins Horace's design.

He, as the verse begins, and as it ends,
This point to rustic Phydile commends,
That innocence to gifts the gods prefer,
And frugal off'rings would suffice from her;
That want of victims was in her no fault;
She might present fruit, incense, cake, and salt.

With what connexion could he add to these
A greedy swine, in order to appease
Those very deities, whom ode is meant
To paint with cheap and bloodless gifts content,
From pious hands receiv'd, tho' e'er so small?—
But avidâ Poreâ spoils it all.

What moral meant, if they requir'd, in fine,
From rustic Phydile, a great fat swine?
Why little gods and little matters nam'd,
If such a sacrifice as this was claim'd?
Porcâ is wrong, Sirs, whether we regard
The gods, the countrywoman, or the bard.

What must be done in such a case as this?
One must amend, tho' one should do't amiss.
I'll tell you the correction, frank and free,
That upon reading first occurr'd to me;
And seem'd to suit the bard's intention better,
With small mutation of the printed letter.

Tho' avidaque Porca runs along
With verb, and case, and measure of the song,
Yet, if the poet is to be renown'd
For something more, than mere Italian sound,
For life and sense, as well as shell and carcass;
Read—Fruge Lares, avidasque Parcas.

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