In Background 1 from "Preface To Poetry"

The neo-classical horror of particularization is seen in a note by John Dennis to his translation of Boileau's Sixth Epistle. In the translation Boileau is made to refer to his 'fortieth rolling year', and Dennis explains in a footnote: 'Boileau, when he writ this, was about six and forty years old; but Poetry admits no odd numbers above nine.' Boileau was, in fact, forty-one. He had avoided the difficulty mentioned by Dennis by referring to his 'neuvième lustre' (Dennis, Miscellanies in Prose and Verse, 1693, p. 50 n.; cited by Spingarn, ii. 333).

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