Abbildungen der Seite

'When Duluess smiting:—' Thus revive the wits! But murder first, and mince them all to bits; 120 As erst Medea (cruel, so to save!) A new edition of old jEaon gave; .Let standard-anthors, thus, like trophies borne, Appear more glorious, as more hack'd and torn. And you, my critics! in the chequer'd shade, Admire new light through holes yourselves have made.

'Leave not a foot of verse, a foot of stone, A page, a grave, that they can call their own; But spread, my sons, your glory thin or thick, On passive paper, or on solid brick. 130 So by each bard, an alderman shall sit, A heavy lord shall hang at ev'ry wit,


. Ver. 119. 'Thus revive', &c.] The goddess applands the practice of tacking the obscure names of persons not eminent in any branch of learning, to those of the most distinguished writers; either by printing editions of their works with impertinent alterations of their text, as in the former instances; or by setting up monuments disgraced with their own vile names and inscriptions, as in the latter.

Ver. 128. A page, a grave,] For what less than a grave can be granted to a dead anthor! or what less than a page can be allowed a living one!

Ibid. A page,] Pagina, not pedissequus. A page of a book, not a servant, follower, or attendant, no poet having had a page since the death of Mr Thomas Durfey. SCRIBL.

Ver. 131. So by each bard an alderman, &c.] Vide the Tombs of the Poets, editio WestmonaUcrierufU.

Ibid.—an alderman shall sit,] Allnding to the monument erected for Butler by alderman Barber.

Ver. 132. A heavy lord shall hang at ev'ry wit,] 1 How unnatural an image, and how ill supported 1* saith Aristarchus. Had it been,

And while on fame's trinmphal car they ride.

Some slave of mine be pinion'd to their side.*

Now crowds on crowds around the goddess press. Each eager to present the first address. Dunce scorning dunce beholds the next advance, But fop shows fop superior complaisance.

REMARKS. A heavy wit shall hang at ev'ry lord, something might have been said, in an age so distinguished forwell-jndging patrons. For lord, then, read load; that is, of debts here, and of commentaries hereafter. To this purpose, conspicnous is the case of the poor anthor of Hndibras, whose body, long since weighed down to the grave by a load of debts, has lately had a more unmerciful load of commentaries laid upon his spirit; wherein the editor has achieved more than Virgil himself, when he turned critic, could boast of, which was only, that he bad picked gold out of another man's dung; whereas the editor has picked it out of his own.


Aristarchus thinks the common reading right: and that the anthor himself had been struggling, and but just shaken off his load, when he wrote the following epigram:

My lord complains, that Pope, stark mad with gardens,

Has lopt three trees the value of three farthings:
But he's my neighbour, cries the peer polite,
And if he'll visit me, I'll wave my right.
What! on compulsion? and against my will,
A lord's acquaintance? Let him fife his bill.

Ver. 137, 138.
Dunce scorning dunce beholds the next advance,
But fop shows fop superior complaisance.]
This is not to be ascribed so much to the different
manners of a court and college, as to the different
When, lo ! a spectre rose, whose index hand
Held forth by virtue of the dreadful wand; 140
His beaver'd brow a birchen garland wears,
Dropping with infant's blood, and mother's tears.
0*er ev'ry vein a shndd'ring horror runs;
Baton and Winton shake through all their sons.
All flesh is humbled, Westminster's bold race
Shrink, and confess the genins of the place:
The pale boy-senator yet tingling stands,
And holds his breeches close with both his hands.

Then thus, since man from beast bywords is known,
Words are man's province, words we teach alone.
When reason doubtful, like the.Samian letter, 151
Points him two ways, the narrower is the better.
Plac'd at the door of learning, youth to guide,
We never surfer it to stand too wide.
To ask, to guess, to know, as they commence,
As fancy opens the quick springs of sense,
We ply the memory, we load the brain,
Bind rebel wit, and double chain on chain,
Confine the thought, to exercise the breath;
And keep them in the pale of words till death. 100


effects which a pretence to learning, and a pretence to wit, have 00 blockheads. For as jndgement consists in finding out the differences in things, and wit in finding out their likenesses, so the dunce is all discord and dissension, and constantly busied in reproving, examining, confuting, &c. while the fop flourishes in peace, with songs and hvmus of praise, addresses, characters, cpithalaminms, &c.

Ver. 140. the dreadful wand ;] A cane usually borne by schoolmasters, which drives the poor souls about like the wand of Mercury. SCRTBL.

Ver. 151. like the Samian letter,] The letter Y used by Pythagoras, as an emblem of the different roads of virtue and vice.

Et tibiquEB Samios diduxit litera ramos. Pera.

Whate'er the talents, or how e'er desisjn'd.

We hang one jingling padlock on the mind:

A poet the first day he dips liis quill;

And what the last? a very poet still.

Pity! the charm works only in onr wall,

Lost, lost too soon in yonder house or hall.

There truant Windham ev'ry muse gave o'er.

There Talbot sunk, and was a wit no more!

How sweet an Ovid, Murray was our boast!

How many Martials were in Pulteney lost! IT

Else sure some bard, to our eternal praise,

In twice tea thousand rhyming nights and days,

Had reach'd the work, the all that mortal can ,

And Sooth beheld that master-piece of man,

* Oh,' cried the goddess, ' for some pedant reifn . Some gentle James, to bless the land again;


Ver. 174b that master-piece of man.] Vis, an epigram. The famous Dr. South declared a perfect epigram to be as difficult a performance as an eptc poem. And the critics say, ' An epic poem is the greatest work human nature is capable of.'

Ver. 176. Some gentle James, &c.] Wilson tells us that this king, James the first, took upon himself to teach the Latm tongue to Car, earl of Somerset; and thatGondomar, the Spanish ambassador, would speak false Latin to him, on purpose to give him the pleasure of correcting it, whereby he wrought himself into his good graces.

This great prince was the first who assumed the title of sacred majesty, which his loyal clergy transferred from God to him. * The principles of passive obedience and non-resistance,' says the author of the Dissertation on Parties, Letter 8, 'which be. fore his time bad skulked, perhaps, in some old homily, were talked, written, and preached into vogue in that inglorious reign.

To stick the doctor's chair into the throne,

Give law to words, or war with words aloiie.

Senates and courts with Greek and Latin rule,

And turn the council to a grammar school! 180

For sure, if Dulness sees a grateful day,

Tis in the shade of arbitrary sway.

O! if my sons may learn one earthly thing,

Teach but that one, sufficient for a king;

That which my priests, and mine alone, maintain,

Which, as it dies, or lives, we fall, or reign:

May you, my Cam, and Isis, preach it long,

* The right divine of kings to govern wrong.'

Prompt at the call, around the goddess roll Broad hats, and hoods, and caps, a sable shoal: 190 Thick and mare thick the black blockade extends, A hundred head of Aristotle's friends. Nor wert thou, Isis! wanting to the day, [Though Christ-church long kept prndishly away.J Each stannch polemic, stubborn as a rock, Each fierce logician, still expelling Locke, Came whip and spur, and dash'd through thin and thick

On German Orouzaz, and Dutch Burgersdyck.


Ver. 1CJ4. Though Christ-church, &c.] This line is doubtless spurious, and foisted in by the impertinence of the editor; and accordingly we have put it in between hooks. For I affirm this college came as early as any other, by its proper deputies; nor did any college pay homage to Dulness in its whole body. BENTL.

Ver. I96. still expelling Locke,] In the year 1703 there was a meeting of the heads of the university of Oxford to censure Mr. Locke's Essay on Human Understanding, and to forbid the reading of it. See his Letters in the last edit.

Ver. 198. On German Crouzaz and Dutch Burgersdyck.] There seems to be an improbability that

« ZurückWeiter »