Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Du tb pert flat eyes she window'd well its head;

gerbrain of feathers, and a heart of lead ; and empty words she gave, and sounding strain,

sht sepseless, lifeless! idol void and vain!

ever was daslı'd out at one lucky hit, ist fool, so just a copy of a wit;

My like, that critics said, and courtiers swore, up wit it was, and call’d the phantom More. 50

REMARKS. Ver. 34. And gentle Dulness ever loves a joke.) chis species of mirth, called a joke, arising from a malentendu, may be well supposed to be the delight of Dulness.

Ver. 47. Never was dash'd out, at one lucky hit,} **Our author here seems willing to give some account

of the possibility of Dulness making a wit (which could be done no other way than by chance). The fiction is the more reconciled to probability by the known story of Apelles, who, being at a loss to express the foam of Alexander's horse, dash'd his pen. cil in despair at the picture, and happened to do it by that fortunate stroke.

- Ver. 50. and call'd the phantom More.] Curll, in his Key to the Dunciad, affirmed this to be JamesMoore Smith, Esq. and it is probable (considering what is said of him in the testimonies) that some might fancy our author obliged to represent this gentleman as a plagiary, or to pass for one himself. His case, indeed, was like that of a man I have heard of, who, as he was sitting in company, perceived his next neighbour had stolen his handkerchief; • Sir,' said the thief, fiuding himself detected, 'do not expose me, I did it for mere want; be so good but to take it privately out of my pocket again, and say nothing. The honest man did so, but the other cried out, "See, gentlemen, what a thief we have among us! look, he is stealing my handkerchief!'

Some time before, he had borrowed of Dr. Ar.

All gaze with ardour: some a poet's name, Others a sword-knot and lac d suit inflames

REMARKS

buth not a paper, called a Historico-physical account of the South Sea ; aud of Mr. Pope the Memoirs of a Parish Clerk, which for two years he kept, and read to the Rev. Dr. Young, F. Billers, Esq. and many others, as his own. Being applied to for them, he pretended they were lost, but there happening to be another copy of the letter, it came out in Swift and Pope's Miscellanies. Upon this, it seems, he was so far mistaken as to confess his proceeding by an endeavour to hide it: udguardedly printing (in the Daily Journal of April 3, 1728), • That the contempt which he and others had for those pieces.' (which only himself had shown, and handed about as his own) occasioned their being lost, and for that cause only not returned.' A fact, of which, as node but he could be conscious, none but he could be the publisher of it. The plagiarisms of this person gave occasion to the following epigram : Moore always smiles whenever he recites;

He smiles (you think) approving what he writes. * And yet in this no vanity is shown;

A modest man may like what's not his own. This young gentleman's whole misfortune was too inordinate a passion to be thought a wit. Here is a very strong instance attested by Mr. Savage, son of the late earl Rivers; who having show some verses of his in manuscript to Mr. Moore, wherein Mr. Pope was called first of the tuneful train, Mr. Moore the next morning sent to Mr. Savage to de sire him to give those verses another turn, to wit, .That Pope might now be the first, because Moore had left him unrivalled, in turning his style to comedy.' This was during the rehearsal of the Rival Modes, his first and only work; the town cox

But lofty Lintot in the circle rose:
• This prize is mine; who tempt it are my foes;

REMARKS. demned it in the action, but he printed it in 1726-7, with this modest motto:

Hic cæstus, artemque repono.' ' The smaller pieces which we have heard attributed to this author are, An Epigram on the Bridge at Blenheim, by Dr. Evans: Cosmelia, by Mr. Pit, Mr. Jones, &c. The Mock Marriage of a mad Divine, with a Cl. for a Parson, by Dr. W. The Saw-pit, a Simile by a Friend. Certain Physical Works on Sir James Baker; and some unowned Letters, Adver. tisements, and Epigrams against our author in the Daily Journal.

Notwithstanding what is here collected of the person imagined by Curll to be meant in this place, we cannot be of that opinion; since our poet had certainly no need of vindicating half a dozen verses to himself, which every reader had done for him : since the name itself is not spelled Moore, but More ; and, lastly, since the learned Scriblerus has so well proved the contrary.

Ver. 50. the phantom More.] It appears from hence, that this is not the name of a real person, but fictitious. More from uãgos, stultus, uogia, stultitia, to represent the folly of a plagiary. Thus Erasmus : Admonuit me Mori cognomen tibi, quod tam ad Moriæ vocabulum accedit quam es ipse a re alienus. Dedication of Moriæ Encomium to sir Thomas More; the farewel of which may be our author's to his plagiary, Vale, More! et moriam tuam gnaviter defende. Adieu ! More! and be sure strongly to defend thy own folly. SCRIBL.

Ver. 53. But lofty Lintot] We enter here upon the episode of the booksellers; persons, whose names being more kuown and famous in the learned

With me began this genius, and shall end."
He spoke; and who with Lintot shall contend?

Fear held them mute. Alone, untaught to fear, Stood dauntless Curll: Behold that rival here.

REMARKS. world than those of the authors in this poem, do, therefore, need less explanation. The action of Mr. Lintot here imitates that of Dares in Virgil, rising just in this manner to lay hold on a bull. This emident bookseller printed the Rival Modes before mentioned.

Ver. 58. Stood dauntless Curll:) We come now to a character of much respect. that of Mr. Edmund Curll. As a plain repetition of great actions is the best praise of them, we shall oply say of this emi. nent man, that he carried the trade many lengths beyond what it ever before had arrived at; and that he was the envy and admiration of all his profession. He possessed himself of a contmand over all authors whatever; he caused them to write what he pleased; they could not call their very names their own. He was not only famous among these ; he was taken notice of by the state, the church, and the law, andre ceived particular marks of distinction from each.

It will be owned that he is here introduced with all possible dignity. He speaks like the intrepid Diomede; he runs like the swift-footed Achilles : if he falls, 'tis like the beloved Nisus; and (what Homer makes to be the chief of all praises) he is favoured of the gods: he says but three words, and his prayer is heard; a goddess conveys it to the seat of Jupiter : though he loses the prize, he gains the victory; the great mother berself romforts him, she inspires him with expedients, she honours him with an immortal present (such as Achilles receives from Thetis, and Æneas from Venus), at once instructive and prophetical: after this he is unrivalled, and ti#mphant.

The race by vigour, not by vaunts, is won :
So take the hindmost, Hell,' he said, and run
Swift as a bard the bailiff leaves behind,
He lett huge Lintot, and out-stript the wind.
As when a dab-chick waddles through the copse
On feet and wings, and flies, and wades, and hops :
So labouring on, with shoulders, hands, and head,
Wide as a wind-mill all his fingers spread,
With arms expanded Bernard rows his state,
And left-legg'd Jacob seems to emulate.
Full in the middle way there stood a lake,
Which Curll's Corinna chanc'd that morn to make :

REMARKS. The tribute our author here pays him is a grateful return for several unmerited obligations : many weighty animadversions on the public affairs, and many excellent and diverting pieces on private persons, has he given to his name. If ever he owed two verses to any other, he owed Mr. Curll some thousands. He was every day extending his fame, and enlarging his writings: witness innumerable in. stances; but it shall suffice only to mention the Court Poems, which he meant to publish as the work of the true writer, a lady of quality; but being first threatened, and afterwards punished for it by Mr. Pope, he generously transferred it from her to him, and ever since printed it in his name. The single time that ever he spoke to C. was on that af. fair, and to that happy incident he owed all the favour since received from him : 80 true is the saying of Dr. Sydenham, that any one shall be, at some time or other, the better or the worse, for having but seen or spoken to a good or bad man. - Ver. 70. Curli's Corinna] This name, it seems, was taken by one Mrs. Thomas, who procured some private letters of Mr. Pope, while almost a boy, to Mr. Cromwell, and sold them, without the consent of either of those gentlemen, to Curll, who printed

« ZurückWeiter »