The Works of Virgil (Dryden)/Poem 4

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3109783The Works of Virgil — To Mr. Dryden on his VirgilJames Wright

To Mr. Dryden on his VIRGIL.

TIS said that Phidias gave such living Grace,
To the carv'd Image of a beauteous Face,
That the cold Marble might even seem to be
The Life, and the true Life, the Imag'ry.

You pass that Artist, Sir, and all his Powers,
Making the best of Roman Poets ours;
With such Effect, we know not which to call
The Imitation, which th' Original.

What Virgil lent, you pay in equal Weight,
The charming Beauty of the Coin no less;
And such the Majesty of your Impress,
You seem the very Author you translate.

Tis certain, were he now alive with us,
And did revolving Destiny constrain,
To dress his Thoughts in English o'er again,
Himself cou'd write no otherwise than thus.

His old Encomium never did appear
So true as now; Romans and Greeks submit,
Something of late is in our Language writ,
More nobly great than the fam'd Iliads were.