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Nec fas; non sic deficimus, nec talia tecum
INTERPOLATIONS IN TAUBMAN.
Essay, page 132.
Tune, ait, imperio regere omnia solus; et una
ego sim supplex ? ego ? quo præstantior alter
Ut nequeam relevare caput, colloque superbum
Essay, page 152. Throni, dominationes, principatus, virtutes, potestates, is said to be a line borrowed by Milton from the title-page of Heywood's “ Hierarchy of Angels.” But there are more words in Heywood's title; and, according to his own arrangement of his subjects, they should be read thus:--Seraphim, cherubim, throni, potestates, angeli, archangeli, prin- cipatus, dominationes.
These are my interpolations, minutely traced without any arts of evasion. Whether from the passages that yet remain, any reader will be convinced of
my general assertion, and allow, that Milton had recourse for assistance to any of the authors whose names I have mentioned, I shall not now be very diligent to enquire, for I had no particular pleasure in subverting the reputation of Milton, which I had myself once endeavoured to exalt* ; and of which, the foundation had always remained untouched by me, had not my credit and my interest been blasted,
* Virorum maximus_JOANNES Miltonus—Poeta celeberrimus—non Angliæ modo, soli natalis, verum generis humani ornamentum-cujus eximius liber, Anglicanis versibus conscriptus, vulgo PARADISUS Amissus, immortalis illud ingenii monumentum, cum ipsa ferè æternitate perennaturum est opus ! Hujus memoriam Anglorum primus, post tantum, proh dolor! ab tanti excessu poetæ intervallum, statua eleganti in loco celeberrimo, cænobio Westmonasteriensi, posita, regum, principum,
or thought to be blasted, by the shade which it cast from its boundless elevation.
About ten years ago, I published an edition of Dr. Johnston's translation of the “Psalms,” and having procured from the general assembly of the church of Scotland, a recommendation of its use to the lower classes of grammar-schools, into which I had begun to introduce it, though not without much controversy and opposition ; I thought it likely that I should, by annual publications, improve my little fortune, and be enabled to support myself in freedom from the miseries of indigence. But Mr. Pope, in his malevolence to Mr. Benson, who had distinguished himself by his fondness for the same version, destroyed all my hopes by a distich, in which he places Johnston in a contemptuous comparison with the author of “ Paradise Lost.” *
antistitum, illustriumque Angliæ virorum cæmeterio, vir ornatissimus, Gulielmus Benson prosecutus est.
Poetarum Scotorum Musæ Sacræ in præfatione, Edinb. 1739. A character, as high and honourable as ever was bestowed upon him by the most sanguine of his admirers ! and as this was my cool and sincere opinion of that wonderful man formerly, so I declare it to be the same still, and ever will be, notwithstanding all appearances to the contrary, occasioned merely by passion and resentment; which appear, however, by the Postscript to the Essay, to be so far from extending to the posterity of Milton, that I recommend his only remaining descendant, in the warmest terms, to the public.
* On two unequal crutches prop'd he tcame
Dunciad, Book IV. + Benson.] This man endeavoured to raise himself to fame, by erecting monuments, striking coins, and procuring translations of Milton; and afterwards by a great passion for Arthur Johnston,
From this time, all my praises of Johnston became ridiculous, and I was censured with great freedom, for forcing upon the schools, an author whom Mr. Pope had mentioned only as a foil to a better poet. On this occasion, it was natural not to be pleased, and my resentment seeking to discharge itself somewhere, was unhappily directed against Milton. I resolved to attack his fame, and found some passages in cursory reading, which gave me hopes of stigmatising him as a plagiary. The farther I carried my search, the more eager I grew for the discovery, and the more my hypothesis was opposed, the more I was heated with
passion, I need not relate; it has, by your detection, become apparent to mankind. Nor do I mention this provocation as adequate to the fury which I have shown, but as a cause of anger, less shameful and reproachful than fractious malice, personal envy, or national jealousy.
a Scots physician's version of the Psalms, of which he printed many fine editions. Notes on the Dunciad.
No fewer than six different editions of that useful and valuable book, two in quarto, two in octavo, and two in a lesser form, now lie like lumber in the hand of Mr. Vaillant, bookseller, the effects of Mr. Pope's ill-natured criticism.
One of these editions in quarto, illustrated with an interpretation and notęs, after the manner of the classic authors in usum Delphini, was by the worthy editor, anno 1741, inscribed to his Royal Highness Prince George, as a proper book for his instruction in principles of piety, as well as knowledge of the Latin tongue, when he should arrive at due maturity of age. To restore this book to credit was the cause that induced me to engage in this disagreeable controversy, rather than any design to depreciate the just reputation of Milton.
But for the violation of truth, I offer no excuse, because I well know, that nothing can excuse it. Nor will I aggravate my crime, by disingenuous palliations. I confess it, I repent it, and resolve, that my first offence shall be my last. More I cannot perform, and more therefore cannot be required. I intreat the pardon of all men, whom I have by any means induced to support, to countenance, or patronise my frauds, of which I think myself obliged to declare that not one of my friends was conscious. I hope to deserve, by better conduct and more useful undertakings, that patronage which I have obtained from the most illustrious and venerable names by misrepresentation and delusion, and to appear hereafter in such a character, as shall give you no reason to regret that your name is frequently mentioned with that of,
Your most humble servant,
December 20, 1750.