1798 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Boscawen

Thomas James Mathias, in Pursuits of Literature (1798) 245 & n.



I never shar'd the profits of the gown,
Nor yet, with Horace and myself at war,
For rhyme and victuals left the starving Bar....

This was lately done by an ingenious Gentleman, educated at Eton school, William Boscawen, Esquire, a Commissioner of the Victualling Office, and (by an easy transition) Translator of Horace. He resigned his gown, as a Counsellor at law, to superintend the publick victuals, and to give himself up to the charms of poetry, and at last to present the hungry publick with Horace's works done into English verse. The translation has had the usual fate of mediocrity, and therefore I say no more. I can have no objection to any Gentleman's amusing himself with making verses in his morning rides. I think such a custom is recommended, as very wholesome, by Pliny in one of his letters. It may be tried, when other medicines fail. "Vitaeque et membris, si non opus utile famae." Mr. Boscawen, as an Etonian, may conjecture, but he never can know, from whom these observations came.