Abbildungen der Seite

Ut nihil anteferat, nihil illis comparet ; errat :

Si quaedam nimis i antique, si pleraque k dure

Dicere cedit eos, 'ignave multa fatetur ;

Et fapit, et mecum facit, et Jove judicat aequo.

[ocr errors][merged small]

Efe reor, memini quae" plagofum o mihi parva

Orbilium dictare;

fed emendata videri

Pulchraque, et exactis minimum diftantia, miror:


[ocr errors]

mour, one of the first printed Plays in English, and there. fore much valued by some Antiquaries. P.

Ibid. To Gammer Gurton, And yet deny, etc.] i. e. If they give the bays to one play because it is old, and deny it to another as good, because it is new; why then, I say, the Public acts a very foolish part.

VER. 97. Spencer himself affects the Obsolete,] This is certainly true ; he extended, beyond all reason, that precept of Horace,

Obscurata diu populo bonus eruet, atque
Proferat in lucem speciosa vocebula rerum. etc.

Or say our Fathers never broke a rule;
Why then, I say, the Public is a fool.
But let them own, that greater Faults than we 95
They had, and greater Virtues, I'll agree.
Spenser himself affects the Obsolete,
And Sydney's verse halts ill on * Roman feet:
Milton's strong pinion now not Heav'n can bound,
Now Serpent-like, in 'prose he sweeps the ground,
In Quibbles, Angel and Archangel join,
And God the Father turns a School-divine.
m Not that I'd lop the Beauties from his book,
Like " flashing Bentley with his desp'rate hook,
Or damn all Shakespear, like th' affected Fool 105
At court, who hates whate'er he o read at school.

But for the Wits of either Charles's days,
The Mob of Gentlemen who wrote with Ease;
Sprat, Carew, Sedley, and a hundred more,
(Like twinkling stars the Miscellanies o'er)




VER. 98. And Sydney's verse halts ill on Roman feet :) Sir Philip Sidney. He attempted to introduce the Roman hexameter and pentameter measure into English verse. Baif, a french poet in the time of their Hen. Il. had attempted the same thing before him, and with the same success.

VER. 104. his desprate hook] Alluding to the several passages of Milton, which Bentley has reprobated, by including within hooks, some with judgment, and soine without.

[ocr errors]

Inter quae P verbum emicuit fi forte decorum,
Si 9 versus paulo concinnior unus et alter;
Injuste totum ducit venitque poema.

Indignor quidquam reprehendi, non quia crasse Compofitum, illepideve putetur, fed quia nuper ; Nec veniam antiquis, fed honorem et praemia. pofci.

s Recte necne crocum floresque perambulet Attae Fabula, fi dubitem; clamant periisse pudorem Cuncti pene patres : ea cum reprehendere coner, Quae · gravis Aesopus, quae doctus Roscius egit. Vel quia nil v rectum, nisi quod placuit fibi, ducunt; Vel quia turpe putant parere minoribus, et, quae Imberbi didicere, fenes perdenda fateri.


Ver. 113. gleams thro' many a page,] The image is taken from half-formed unripe lightening, which streams adong the sky, and is just sufficient to shew the deformity of those black vapours to which it serves (as Milton expresses it) for a silver lining.

VER. 119. Or Avon's bank,] At Stratford in Warwickshire, where Shakespear had his birth. The thought of the Original is here infinitely improved. Perambulet is a low allusion to the name and imperfections of Atta.

VER. 121. One Tragic fentence if I dare deride,] When writers of our Author's rank have once effectually expared turgid expression, and reduced it to its just value,


One Simile, that P solitary shines
In the dry defert of a thousand lines,
Or a lengthen's Thought that gleams through many a

Has fanctify'd whole poems for an age.
* I lose my patience, and I own it too,
When works are censur'd, not as bad but new;
While if our Elders break all reason's laws,
These fools demand not pardon, but Applause.

s On Avon's bank, where flow'rs eternal blow, If I but ask, if any weed can grow?

I20 One Tragic fentence if I dare deride Which · Betterton's grave action dignify’d, Or well-mouth'd Booth with emphasis proclaims, (Tho' but, perhaps, a mufter-roll of Names) How will our Fathers rise up in a cge,

125 And swear, all shame is lost in George's Age! You'd think v no Fools disgrac'd the former reign, Did not some grave Examples yet remain,

Notes. which, hitherto, the small critics had mistaken for the sublime, these latter are now apt to suspect all they do not understand, to be bombast: like the Idiot in Cervantes, who having been beat for not distinguishing between a Cur and a Greyhound, imagined every dog he met, to be a Cur-dog

Ver. 124. A mufter roll of Names, ) An absurd custom of several Actors, to pronounce with emphasis the meer Proper Names of Greeks or Romans, which (as they call it) fill the mouth of the Player. P.


Jam Saliare Numae carmen qui laudat, et illud,

Quod mecum ignorat, folus vult fcire videri ;

Ingeniis non ille favet plauditque fepultis,

Nostra sed impugnat, nos noftraque lividus odit.

Quod fi tam Graecis novitas invisa fuisset,

Quam nobis; quid nunc esset vetus ? aut quid haberet,

Quod legeret tereretque viritim publicus usus ?

y Ut primum pofitis nugari Graecia bellis

Coepit, et in vitium fortuna labier aequa ;
Nunc athletarum ftudiis, nunc arsit 2 equorum;

VER. 129-130.] Much inferior to the original.

VER. 138. By learned Critics, of the mighty Dead?] A ridicule on the tribe of learned Critics, who think all wri. ters but the ancient unworthy their care and attention. This came properly into a satire, whose subject is the unreasonable fondu.efs for antiquity in general.

Ver. 140. with Charles restor'd;] He says, restored, because the luxury he brought in, was only the revival of that practised in the reigns of his Father and Grandfather.

VER. 142. A Verse of the Lord Lansdown. P.

VER. 143. In Horsemanship t'excell, And ev'ry flow'ry Courtier writ Romance.) The Duke of Newcastic's book of Horsemanship: the Romance of Parthenilla, by the

« ZurückWeiter »