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Norton, from Daniel and Ostroea sprung,
Thus the soft gifts of sleep conclnde the day,
from Spinosa, he calls himself, by the courtesy of England, a moral philosopher.
Ver. 414. Mandevil] Tais writer, who prided bimsel f in the reputation of an immoral philosopher, was anthor of a famous book called the Fable of the Bees; written to prove, that moral virtue is the invention of knaves, and Christian virtue the imposition of fools; and that vice is necessary, and alone sufficient to render society flourishing and happy.
the famous Daniel, fortes creantur fortibus. One of the anthors of the Flying Post, in which wellbred work Mr. P. had some time the honour to he abused with his betters; and of many hired scurrilities and daily papers, to which he never set bis name.
Ver. 427. Fleet] A prison for insolvent debtors on the bank of the ditch.
Ver. 415; Norton]
BOOK THE THIRD.
After the other persons are disposed in their proper places of rest, the goddess transports the king to her temple, and there lays him to slumber, with his head on her lap; a position of marvellous virtue, which canseth all the visions of wild enthusiasts, projectors, politicians, inamoratos, castlebuilders, chemists, and poets. He is immediately carried on the wings of fancy, and led by a mad poetical sibyl, to the Elysian shade; where, on the banks of Lethe, the souls of the dull are dipped by Bavins, before their entrance into this world. There he is met by the ghost of Settle, and by him made acquainted with the wonders, of the place, and with those which he himself ii destined to perform. He takes him to a mount of vision, from whence he shows him the past triumphs of the empire of Bulness, then the present, and lastly the future: how small a part of the world was ever conquered by science, how soon those conquests were stopped, and those very nations again reduced to her dominion. Then distinguishing the island of Great Britain, shows by what aids, by what persons, and by what degrees, it shall be brought to her empire. Some of the persons he canses to pass in review before hii eyes, describing each by his proper figure, character, and qualifications. On a sadden the scene shifts, and a vast number of miracles and prodigies appear, utterly surprising and unknowi to the king himself, till they are explained to he the wonders of his own reign now commencing' On this subjectSettle breaks into a congratulation, yet not unmixed with concern, that his own times were but the types of these. He prophesies ho* first the nation shall be over run with farces, operas, and shows; how the throne of Dulness shall be advanced over the theatres, and set up even at court: then how her sons shall preside in the seats of arts and sciences; giving a glimpse, or Pisgah sight, of the future fulness of her glory, the accomplishment whereof is the subject of the fourth and last book.
BUT in her temple's last recess enclos'd.
Ver. 5, 6> &c] Hereby is intimated that the following vision is no more than the chimera of the dreamer's brain, and not a real or intended satire on the present age, doubtless more learned, more enlightened, and more abounding with great geninses in divinity, politics, and whatever arts and sciences, than all the preceding. For fear of any such mistake of our poet's honest meaning, he hath again, at the end of the vision, repeated this monition, sajin&
Hence from the straw where Bedlam's prophet nods,
And now on fancy's easy wing convey'd,
A slip-shod Sibyl led his steps along,.
Xn lofty madness meditating song;
that it all passed through the ivory gate, which (according to the ancients) denoteth falsity.
How much the good Scriblerus was mistaken, may be seen from the fourth book, which, it is plain from hence, he had never seen. BENTL.
Ver. 15. A slip-shod sibyl] This allegory is extremely just, no confirmation of the mind so much subjecting it to real madness, as that which produces real dulness. Hence we find the religious (as well as the poetical) enthusiasts of all ages were ever, in their natural state, most heavy and lumpish; but on the least application of heat, they rau like lead4, which of al^metals falls quickest into fusion. Whereas fire in a genins is truly Promethean; it hurts not its constituent parts, but only fits it (as it does well-tempered steel) for the necessary impressions of art. But the common people have been taught (I do not knowon what foundation) to regard lunacy as a mark of wit, just as the Turks and our modern methodists do of holiness. Butif thecauseof madness assigned by a great philosopher be true, it will unavoidably fall upon the dunces. He supposes it to be the dwelling over long on one object or idea. Now as this attention is occasioued either by grief or study, it will be fixed by dulness; which hath not quickness enough to comprehend what it seeks, nor
Her tresses staring from poetic dreams,
force and vigour enough to divert the imagination from the object it laments.
Ver. 19. Taylor,] John Taylor, the water-poet, ■ honest man, who owns he learned not so much U the accidence: a rare example of modesty in * poet!
I must confess I do want eloquence, And never scarce did learn my accidence: For having got from possum to posset, I there was gravell'd, could no farther get. He wrote fourscore books in the reign of James I. and Charles I. and afterwards (like Edward Ward} kept an ale-heuse in Long-acre. He died in l65ft.
Ver. 21. Benlowes,] A country gentleman, famous for his own bad poetry, and for patroniaing ban poets, as may be seen from many dedications 0! Quarles and others to him. Some of these anagramcJ his name Benlowes into Benevolus: to verify which, he spent his whole estate upon them.
Ver. 22. And Shadwell nods, the poppy, Sec.) Shad' well took opinm for many years; and died of too large a dose, in the year 1692.
Ver. 2t. Old Bavins, sits,] Bavins was an ancien: poet, celebrated by Virgil for the like canses as Bay* by our anthor, though not in so Christianlike a manner: for heathenishly it is declared by Virgil of Bavins, that he ought to be hated and detested for iu>