Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

As many quit the streams that murmuring fall
To lull the sons of Margaret aud Clare-hall,

200

REMARKS.

the doctors and heads of houses should ride on horseback, who of late days, being gouty or unwieldy, have kept their coaches. But these are horses of great strength, and fit to carry any weight, as their German and Dutch extraction may mani. fest; and very famous we may conclude, being honoured with names, as were the horses Pegasus and Bucephalus.

SCRIBL. Though I have the greatest deference to the penetratiou of this eminent scholiast, and must own that nothing can be more natural than that rule of criticism, which directs us to keep to the literal sense, when no apparent absurdity accompanies it (and sure there is no absurdity in supposing a logician on horseback), yet still I must needs think the hackneys here celebrated were not real horses, nor even Centaurs, which, for the sake of the learned Chiron, I should rather be inclined to think, if I were forced to find them four legs, but downright plain men, though logicians : and only thus metamorphosed by a rule of rhetoric, of which Cardinal Perron gives us an example, where he calls Clavius, Un esprit pesant, lourd, sans subtilite, ni gentil. lesse, un gros cheval d'Allemagne,

Here I profess to go opposite to the whole stream of commentators. I think the poet only aimed, though awkwardly, at an elegant Græcism in this representation; for in that language the word into (horse] was often prefixed to others, to denote greatness of strength; as innorámalov, i'nóyamooov, in mouégalgov, and particularly IDNOTN12MS2N, a great connoisseur, which comes nearest to the case in hand.

SCIP, MAFF. Ver. 199. the streams] The river Cam, running by

Where Bentley late tempestuous wont to sport
In troubled waters, but now sleeps in port.
Before them march'd that awful Aristarch;
Plow'd was his front with many a deep remark:
His hat, which never vail'd to human pride,
Walker with rev'rence took, and laid aside.
Low bow'd the rest: he, kindly, did but nod:
So upright quakers please both man and God.
. Mistress! dismiss that rabble from your throne:
Avaunt-----is Aristarchus yet unknown ? 210
The mighty scholiast, whose unwearied pains
Made Horace dull, and humbled Milton's strains.
Turn what they will to verse, their toil is vain,
Critics like me shall make it prose again.

REMARKS. the walls of these colleges, which are particularly famous for their skill in disputation.

Ver. 202. sleeps in port.] Viz. · Now retired into harbour, after the tempests that had long agitated his society.' So Scriblerus. But the learned Scipio Maffei understands it of a certain wine called port, from Oporto, a city of Portugal, of which this pro. fessor invited him to drink abundantly, Scip. Maff, De Compotation. Academicis. [And to the opinion of Maffei inclineth the sagacious annotator on Dr. King's Advice to Horace.) · Ver. 210. Aristarchus.] A famous commentator and corrector of Homer, whose name has been frequently used to signify a complete critic. The compliment paid by our author to this eminent professor, in applying to him so great a name, was the reason that he hath omitted to comment on this part which contains his own praises. We shall, therefore, supply that loss to our best ability. SCRIBL.

Ver. 214. Critics like me-) Alluding to two famous editions of Horace and Milton; whose richest veius of poetry he had prodigally reduced to the poorest and most beggarly prose....Verily the learn

Roman and Greek grammarians ! know your better:
Author of something yet more great than letter;
While tow'ring o'er your alphabet like Saul,
Stands our digamma, and o'ertops them all.
"Tis true, on words is still our whole debate,
Disputes of Me or Te, or Aut or At,

990

REMARKS. ed scholiast is grievously mistaken. Aristarchus is not boasting here of the wonders of his art in annihilating the sublime; but of the usefulness of it, in reducing the turgid to its proper class ; the words * make it prose again,' plainly showing that prose it was, though ashamed of its original, and therefore to prose it should return. Indeed, much it is to be lamented that Dulness doth not confine her critics to this useful task; and commission them to dismount what Aristophanes calls Ρημαθ ιπποβάμονα, all prose on horse-back.

SCRIBL. Ver. 216. Author of something yet more great than letter;) Alluding to those grammarians, such as Palamedes and Simonides, wbo invented single letters. But Aristarchus, who had found out a double one, was, therefore, worthy of double bo nour.

SCRIBL. Ver. 217, 218. While tow'ring o'er your alphabet, like Saul,-Stands our digamma,] Alludes to the boasted restoration of the Æolic digamma, in his long projected edition of Homer. He calls it some thing more than letter, from the enormous figure it would make among the other letters, being one gamma set upon the shoulders of another.

Ver. 220. of Me or Te, It was a serious dispute, about which the learned were much divided, and some treatises written: had it been about meum and tuum it could not be more contested, than whether at the end of the first Ode of Horace, to read, Me doctarum hederæ præmia frontium, or Te doctarum hedera.-By this the learned scholi.

To sound or sink in cano O or A,
Or give up Cicero to C or K.
Let Freind affect to speak as Terence spoke,
And Alsop never but like Horace joke :
For me, what Virgil, Pliny may deny,
Manilius or Solinus shall supply:
For Attic phrase in Plato let them seek,
I poach in Suidas for unlicens'd Greek.
In ancient sense if any needs will deal,
Be sure I give them fragments, not a meal;

230

REMARKS. ast would seem to insinuate that the dispute was not about meum and tuum, which is a mistake: for. as a venerable sage observeth, words are the counters of wise-men, but the money of fools ; so that we see their property was indeed concerned.

SCRIBL. Ver. 222. Or give up Cicero to C or K.] Gramma. tical disputes about the manner of pronouncing Ci. cero's name in Greek. It is a dispute whether in Latin the name of Hermagoras should end in as or a. Quintilian quotes Cicero as writing it Hermagora, which Bentley rejects, and says Quintilian must be mistaken, Cicero could not write it so, and that in this case he would not believe Cicero himself. These are his very words: Ego vero Ciceronem ita scripsisse ne Ciceroni quidem affirmanti crediderim. Epist. ad Mil. in fin. Frag. Menand. et Phil.

Ver. 223, 224. Freind--Alsop] Dr. Robert Freind, master of Westminster-school, and canon of Christchurch. Dr. Anthony Alsop, a happy imitator of the Horatian style.

Ver. 226. Manilius and Solinus] Some critics having had it in their choice to comment either on Virgil or Manilius, Pliny or Solinus, have chosen the worse author, the more freely to display their criti. cal capacity,

Ver. 228, &c. Suidas, Gellius, Stobæus] The first

What Gellius or Stobæus hash'd before,
Or chew'd by blind old scholiasts o'er and o'er,
The critic eye, that microscope of wit,
Sees hairs and pores, examines bit by bit:
How parts relate to parts, or they to whole;
The body's harmony, the beaming soul,
"Are things which Kuster, Burman, Wasse shall see,
When man's whole frame is obvious to a flea.

• Ah, think not, mistress ! more true Dulness lies
In Folly's cap, than Wisdom's grave disguise. 040
Like buoys, that never sink into the flood,
On learning's surface we but lie and nod,
Thine is the genuine head of many a house,
And much divinity without a Noïc.
Nor could a Barrow work on ev'ry block,
Nor has one Atterbury spoil'd the flock.
See! still thy own, the heary canon roll,
And metaphysic smokes involve the pole.
For thee we dim the eyes, and stuff the head
With all such reading as was never read :
For thee explain a thing till all men doubt it,
And write about it, goddess, and about it:
So spins the silk-worm small its slender store,
And labours, till it clouds itself all o'er.

REMARKS.

a dictionary-writer, a collector of impertinent facts and barbarous words; the second a minute critic; the third an author, who gave his common-place book to the public, where we happen to find much mince-meat of old books.

Ver. 245, 246. Barrow, Atterbury) Isaac Barrow, master of Trinity, Francis Atterbury, dean of Christchurch, both great geniuses and eloquent preachers; one more conversant in the sublime geometry, the other in classical learning; but who equally made it their care to advance the polite arts in their several societies,

« ZurückWeiter »