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Like gentle Fanny's was my flow'ry theme,
A painted mistress, or a purling stream. 150
Yet then did Gildon draw his venal quill;
I wish'd the man a dinner, and fate still.
Yet then did Dennis rave in furious fret;
I never answer'd, I was not in debt.
If want provok’d, or madness made them print, 155
I wag'd no war with Bedlam or the Mint.

Did some more fober Critic come abroad;
If wrong, I smil'd; if right, I kiss’d the rod.
Pains, reading, study, are their just pretence,
And all they want is spirit, taste, and sense. 160
Comma's and points they set exactly right,
And 'twere a fin to rob them of their mite.
Yet ne'er one sprig of laurel grac'd these ribalds,
From Slashing Bentley down to pidling Tibalds :

Notes. managed, and artfully disposed, might be made to represent and illustrate the noblest objects in nature.

Ver. 150. A painted meadow, or a purling stream. is a verse of Mr. Addison.

P. Ver. 163. these ribalds,] How deservedly this title is given to the genius of PHILOLOGY, may be seen by a short account of the manners of the modern Scholiasts.

When in these latter ages, human learning raised its head in the West, and its tail, verbal criticism, was, of course, to rise with it; the madness of Critics soon became so offensive, that the sober stupidity of the monks might appear the more tolerable evil. 7. Argyropylus, a mercenary Greek, who came to teach school in Italy, after the sacking of Constantinople by the Turks,

Each wight, who reads not, and but scans and spells,
Each Word-catcher, that lives on syllables, 166.

Not e s.
used to maintain that Cicero understood neither Philosophy nor
Greek: while another of his Countrymen, 1. Lascaris by name,
threatened to demonstrate that Virgil was no Poet. Coun-:
tenanced by such great examples, a French Critic afterwards un--
dertook to prove that Aristotle did not understand Greek, nor
Titus Livius, Latin. It was the same discernment of spirit,
which has since discovered that 7ofephus was ignorant of He--
brew; and Er fmus fo pitiful a Linguist, that, Burman assures
us, were he now alive, he would not deserve to be put at the
head of a country school. For though time has strip'd the pre-
sent race of Pedants of all the real accomplishments of their pre-
decessors, it has conveyed down this spirit to them, unimpaired;
it being found much easier to ape their manners, than to imitate
their science. However, those earlier Ribalds raised an appe-
tite for the Greek language in the West: insomuch, that Her-,
molaus Barbarus, a paflionate admirer of it, and a noted Critic,
used to boast, that he had invoked and raised the Devil, and puz-
zled him into the bargain, about the meaning of the Aristotelian
ENTEAEXEIA. Another, whom Balzac speaks of, was as
eminent for his Revelations: and was wont to say, that the
meaning of such or such a verse, in Perfius, no one knew but
God and himself. While the celebrated Pomponius Latus, in
excess of Veneration for Antiquity, became a real Pagan, raised
altars to Romulus, and sacrificed to the Gods of Latium : in
which he was followed by our countryman, Baxter, in every
thing, but in the expence of his sacrifices.

But if the Greeks cried down Cicero, the Italian Critics knew how to support his credit. Every one has heard of the childish exceffes into which the ambition of being thought CICERONIANS carried the most celebrated Italians of this time, They abstained from reading the Scriptures for fear of spoiling their style: Cardinal Bembo used to call the Epistles of St. Paul by the contemptuous name of Epiftolaccias, great overgrown Epistles. But ERASMUS cured their frenzy in that waterpiece of good sense, his Ciceronianus. For which in the way Lunatics treat their Physicians) the elder Scaliger infulted him with all the brutal fury peculiar to his family and profefiion.

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Ev'n such small Critics some regard may claim,
Preserv'd in Milton's or in Shakespear's name.

Notes.
His son Joseph, and Salmafius had indeed such endowments of
nature and art, as might have raised modern learning to a rival-
ship with the ancient. Yet how did they and their adversaries
tear and worry one another? The choiceft of foseph's flowers
of speech were, Stercus Diaboli, and Lutum fiercore maceratum,
It is true, these were lavithed upon his enemies; for his friends
he had other things in store. In a letter to Thuanus, speaking
of two of them, Clavius and Lipfius, he calls the first, a monster
of ignorance ; and the other, a slave to the Jesuits, and an idiot.
But so great was his love of sacred amity at the same time, that
he says, I fill keep up my correspondence with him, notwithstanding
his Idiotry, for it is my principle to be constant in my friendships -
Je ne reste de luy escrire, nonobstant jön Idioierie, d'autant que
je suis constant en amitié. The character he gives of his own
Chronology, in the same letter, is no less extraordinary: Vous
VOUS pouvez allurer que noftre Eusebe sera un trésor des merveilles
de la doctrine Chronologique. But this modeft account of his
own work, is nothing in comparison of the idea the Father gives
his Bookseller of his own Person. Who, when he was prepar-
ing something of Julius Scaliger's for the Press, desired the Au-
thor would give him directions concerning his picture, which
was to be set before the book. Whose answer (as it stands in
his collection of Letters) is, that if the engraver could collect
together the several graces of Maslinifla, Xenophon, and Plato,
he might then be enabled to give the public fome faint and im-
perfect resemblance of his Peison. Nor was Salmafius's judge
ment of his own parts less favourable to himself; as Mr.
Colomies tells the story. This Critic, on a time, meeting two
of his brethren, Mesl. Gaulmin and Maussac, in the Royal Li-
brary at Paris, Gaulmin, in a virtuous consciousness of their Im-
portance, told the other two, that he believed, they three could
make head against all the learned in Europe: To which the
great Salmafius fiercely replied, “ Do you and M. Maussac join
56 yourselves to all that are learned in the world, and you shall
“ find that I alone am a match for you all.”

Vojsius tells us, that when Laur. I'alla had snarld at every name of the first order in antiquity, such as Aristotle, Cicero. and one

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Pretty! in amber to observe the forms 169 Of hairs, or straws, or dirt, or grubs, or worms!

NOTES. whom I should have thought this Critic the likeliest to spare, the redoubtable PRISCIAN, he impiously boasted that he had arms even against Chrift himself. But Codrus Urcæus went further, and actually used those arms the other only threatened with. This man while he was preparing some trifling piece of Criticism for the press, had the misfortune to hear his papers were destroyed by fire : On which he is reported to have broke out-" Quodnam ego tantum scelus concepi, O Christe! quem “ego tuorum unquam læsi, ut ita inexpiabili in me odio debacso cheris? Audi ea quæ tibi mentis compos, et ex animo dicam. Si “ forte, cum ad ultimum vitæ finem pervenero, fupplex accedam « ad te oratum, neve audias, neve inter tuos accipias oro ; cum “ Infernis Diis in æternum vitam agere decrevi.” Whereupon, fays my author, he quitted the converse of men, threw himself into the thickest of a forest, and wore out the wretched remainder of his life in all the agonies of despair.

Ver. 164. pafhing Bentley) This great man, tho' with all his faults, deserved to be put into better company. The following words of Cicero describe him not amiss.“ Habuit à “ natura genus quoddam acuminis, quod etiam arte limaverat, “ quod erat in reprehendendis verbis versutum et sollers : fed " fæpe ftomachofum, nonnunquam frigidum, interdum etiam “ facetum.”

Ver. 169. Pretty! in amber to ohserve the forms, &c.] Our Poet had the full pleasure of this amurement foon after the publication of his Shakespear. Nor has his Friend been lefs entertained since the appearance of his cdition of the same poet. The liquid Amber of whose Wit has lately licked up, and enrolled such a quantity of these Insects, and of tribes so grotesque and various, as would have puzzled Reaumur to give names to. Two or three of them it may not be amiss to preserve and keep alive. Such as the Rev. Mr. 7. Upton, Thomas Edwards, Esq. and, to make up the Triumvirate, their learned Coadjutor, that very respectable personage, Mr. THEOPHILUS CIBBER.

As to the poetic imagery of this passage, it has been niuch and juitly admired; for the most detestable things in nature,

The things we know, are neither rich nor rare, 171 But wonder how the devil they got there.

Were others angry: I excus'd them too ; Well might they rage, I gave them but their due. A man's true merit ʼtis not hard to find; 175 But each man's secret standard in his mind, That Casting-weight pride adds to emptiness, This, who can gratify? for who can guess ? The Bard whom pilfer'd Pastorals renown, Who turns a Persian tale for half a Crown, 180 Just writes to make his barrenness appear, And strains from hard-bound brains, eight lines a

year ; He, who still wanting, tho' he lives on theft, Steals much, spends little, yet has nothing left:184 And He, who now to sense, now nonsense leaning, Means not, but blunders round about a meaning:

NOTE S. as a toad, or a beetle, become pleasing when well represented in a work of Art. But it is no less eminent for the beauty of the thought. For though a scribler exists by being thus incorporated, yet he exists intombed, a latting monument of the wrath of the Muses.

Ver. 173. Were others angry :) The Poets.

Ver. 174. --- I gave them but their due.] Our Author always found those he commended less sensible than those he reproved. The reason is plain. He gave the latter but their due; and the other thought they had no more.

Ver. 180. --- a Persian tale.] Amb. Philips translated a Book called the Persian tales.

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