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Like gentle Fanny's was my flow'ry theme,
Did some more fober Critic come abroad;
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,
Not e s.
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.
Ev'n such small Critics some regard may claim,
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
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.