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Intervalla vides humane commoda. “Verum
'Ingenium, sibi quod vacuas desumsit Athenas,
Je reçois vingt airs qui me glacent d'effroy,
Epistre 6. v. 45. Compare also the sixth satire of Boileau, containing the Description of Les Embarras de Paris, from verse 3, to verse 82 ; particularly verse 45.
Ver. 112. Blackmore himself,] In the Battle of the Books, we are surprised to find Swift preferring Blackmore to Dryden.
Ver. 113. Tooting - Earl's-Court.] Two villages within a few miles of London. P.
Ver. 123. court, and city roars,] Not so strong as the original metaphor;
“Fluctibus in mediis, et tempestatibus urbis.” Milton wrote his Paradise Lost in London, as did Thomson his three last Seasons, and his charming Castle of Indolence; and
Before the Lords at twelve my Cause comes on-
105 And Peers give way, exalted as they are, Ev’n to their own S-r-v-nce in a Car?
* Go, lofty Poet! and in such a crowd, Sing thy sonorous verse-but not aloud. Alas! to Grottos and to Groves we run, 110 To ease and silence, ev'ry Muse's son: Blackmore himself, for any grand effort, Would drink and doze at Tooting or Earl's-Court. How shall I rhyme in this eternal roar? 114 How match the bards whom none e'er match'd before?
The man, who stretch'd in Isis’ calm retreat, To books and study gives sev’n years complete. ! See! strew'd with learned dust, his nightcap on, He walks, an object new beneath the sun? . 119. The boys flock round him, and the people stare : So stiff, so mute! some statue you would swear, Stept from its pedestal to take the air! And here, while town, and court, and city, roars, With mobs, and duns, and soldiers, at their doors;
NOTES. Armstrong his Art of Preserving Health, a fine classical poein, omitted in the Collection of English Poets.
Fluctibus in mediis, et tempestatibus urbis,
Frater erat Romæ consulti rhetor; ut alter
* Carmina compono, hic elegos ; mirabile visu,
Notes. Ver. 132. And shvok his head at MURRAY, as a Wit.] It is the silly consolation of blockheads in all professions, that he, whom Nature has formed to excel, does it not by his superior knowledge, but his wit; and so they keep themselves in countenance as not fairly outdone, but only outwitted.—The miserable glory of knowing nothing but in their own trade, M. de Voltaire has well exposed, where, speaking of a great French Lawyer, of the like genius and talents with our admirable countrymen, he says, “ Il faisoit ressouvenir la France de ces tems, où les plus austères Magistrats, consommés comme lui dans l'etude des Loix, se delassoient des fatigues de leur état, dans les travaux de la literature. Que ceux qui meprisent ces travaux amiables ; que ceux qui mettent je ne sai quelle miserable grandeur à se renfermer dans le cercle étroit de leurs emplois, sont à plaindre! ignorent ils que Ciceron, après avoir rempli la première place du monde, plaidoit encore les causes des Citoyens, écrivoit sur la nature des Dieux, conferoit avec des Philosophes ; qu'il alloit au Théatre; qu'il daignoit cultiver l'amitié d'Esopus et de Roscius, et laissoit aux petits esprits, leur constante gravité, qui n'est que la masque de la mediocrité ?"
The miserable malice of the human heart has been always backward to confess that great Parts and great Science were to be found together. The eminent Person, here mentioned, hath long triumphed over so vile a prejudice. Bacon was not so happy. The blemishes in his moral character disabled him from stemming and subduing it. Indeed, Enty was ever unwilling to allow any man to excel in more than one accomplishment. As to the particular application of this wayward judgment, it is sometimes right and sometimes wrong. Thus, for instance, when the Public would not allow the great Lawyer, Coke, to be a Classic Scholar and a
Shall I, in London, act this idle part?
125 Composing songs, for Fools to get by heart?
The Temple late two brother Serjeants saw, Who deem'd each other Oracles of Law; With equal talents, these congenial souls, One lull’d the Exchequer, and one stunn'd the Rolls; Each had a gravity would make you split, 131 And shook his head at MURRAY, as a Wit. . “ 'Twas, Sir, your law,”—and “ Sir, your elo
quence.” “ Yours, Cowper's manner-and yours, Talbot's
Thus we dispose of all poetic merit, 135 Yours Milton's genius, and mine Homer's spirit.
NOTES. Wit too (though he had given so many delectable specimens of both), they were perhaps in the right. But when they assumed (though they spoke by the Organ of Q. Elizabeth herself) that Bacon, a great Philosopher, was yet no Lawyer, they were certainly in the wrong. W.
Ver. 132. MURRAY, as a Wit.] Alluding to the common cant of that time, as if this eminent and accomplished person was more of a polite scholar than a profound lawyer; as if law and literature were incompatible; a notion that might easily be confuted by the examples of Lords Somers and Hardwicke, Mr. Yorke and Judge Blackstone, and many others.
Ver. 135. all poetic merit,] The words of the Original alluded to, contain a beautiful metaphor of a work, Cælatum Musis Novem, polished and finished by the hands of the Muses themselves. Bentley has wantonly and tastelessly altered the word to Sacratum; as he has done the word alterius, ver. 176, to alternis, and the word contracta, ver. 80, to non tacta; and in ver. 90, he has changed cexat for versat ; and in ver. 87, frater for pactus ; and would have procul repeated, ver. 199.
Pauperies immunda procul, procul
Cælatumque novem Musis opus. aspice primum,
oRidentur mala qui componunt carmina : verum Gaudent scribentes, et se venerantur, et ultro,
NOTES. Ver. 140. but Stephen,] Mr. Stephen Duck, a modest and wors thy man, who had the honour (which many who thought themselves his betters in poetry had not) of being esteemed by Mr. Pope.- Queen Caroline, who moderated in a Sovereign between the two great Philosophers, Clarke and Leibnitz, in the most sublime points in Metaphysics and Natural Philosophy, chose this man for her favourite Poet. W.
By the interest of Mr. Spence, who had a sincere regard for Stephen Duck, whose life he wrote, and published his poems, he obtained the living of Byfleet, in Surrey. He was unfortunately drowned at Reading, 1756.
Ver. 145. allow me Dryden's strains,] The older he grew, the better Dryden wrote. We may apply to him, what Oppian says of the spirited horses of Cappadocia; κραιπνότεροι δε πέλουσιν όσω μάλα γηράσκουσι.
Lib. i. Cynegytic. ver. 201.