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The Poetical Works of John Dryden
Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: PREFACE CONCERNING OVID'S EPISTLES. JL HE life of Ovid being already written in our language before the tranflation of his Metamorphofes, I will not prefume fo...
Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: PREFACE CONCERNING OVID'S EPISTLES. JL HE life of Ovid being already written in our language before the tranflation of his Metamorphofes, I will not prefume fo far upon myfelf, to think I can add any thing to Mr. Sandys his undertaking. The Englifh reader may there be fatisfied, that he flou- rifhed in the reign of Auguftus Crefar; that he was extrafited from an ancient family of Roman Knights; that he was born to the inheritance of a fplendjd fortune ; that he was defigned to the itudy of the lav, and had made conliderable progrefs in it, before he quitted that profeffion, for this of Poetry, to which he was more naturally formed. The caufe of his baiiitliini ut is unknown; becaufe he was himfelf unwilling further to provoke the emperor, by afcribing it to any other reafon, than what was pretended by Auguftus, which was, the lafcivioufiiefs of his Elegies, and his Art of Love. It is true, they are not to be excufed in the feverity of manners, as being able to corrupt a larger empire, if there were any, than that of Rome: yet this may be faid in behalf of Ovid, that no man has ever treated the paffion of love with fo much delicacy of thought, and of expref- fion, or fearched into the nature of it more philofo- phicaily than he. And the emperor, who condemned him, had as little reafon as another man to punifh that fault with fo much feverity, if at leaft he were the author of a certain Epigram, which is afcribed to him, relating to the caufe of the firft civil war betwixt himfelf and Mark Antony the triumvir, which is more fulfome than any pafiage I have met with in our Poet. To pafs by the naked familiarity of his expreffions to Horace, which are cited in that author's life, I need only mention one notorious act of his, in taking Livia to his bed, when me was not only ...
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