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Though my own aldermen conferr'd the bays,
The sure forerunner of her gentle sway:
And link the Mourning Bride to Proserpine.
And place it here! here all ye heroes bow!
This, this is he foretold by ancient rhymes,
v. 325. On poet's tombs see Benson's titles writ!] W.--m Benson (surveyor of the buildings to his majesty k ng George 1.) gave in a report to the Lords, that their house and the Painted Chamber adjoining were in immediate danger of falling; whereupon the Lords met in a committee to appoint some other place to sit in while the house should be taken down. But it being proposed to cause some other builders first to inspect it, they found it in very good condi tion. The Lords, upon this, were going upon an address to the king, against Benson for such a misrepresentation; but the Earl of Sunderland, then Secretary, gave them an assurance that his Ma jesty would remove him, which was done accordingly. In favour of this man, the famous Sir Christopher Wren, who had been archi tect to the Crown for above fifty years, who built most of the churches in London, laid the first stone of St. Paul's, and lived to finish it, had been displaced from his employment at the age of near ninety years.
v. 326. ---Ambrose Philips.]" He was (saith Mr. Jacob) one of the wits at Button's, aud a justice of the peace." But he hath since met with higher preferment in Ireland: and a much greater character we have of him in Mr. Gildon's Complete Art of Poetry, vol. i. p. 157. "Indeed, he confesses, he dares not set him quite on the same foot with Virgil, lest it should seem flattery, but he is much mistaken if posterity does not afford him a greater esteem than he at present enjoys." He endeavoured to create some misunderstanding between our author and Mr. Addison, whom also soon after he abused as much. His constant cry was, that Mr. P. was an enemy to the government; and in particular he was the avowed author of a report very industriously spread, that he had a hand in a party-paper called The Examiner; a falsehood well known to those, yet living, who had the direction and publication of it. W.
v. 330. Gay dies unpension'd, &c.] See Mr. Gay's fable of the Hare and many Friends. This gentleman was arly in the friend. ship of our author, which continued to his death. He wrote several works of humour with great success: The Shepherd's Week, Trivia, The What-d'ye-call it, Fables, and lastly, that prodigy of fortune, The Beggar's Opera.
Hibernian politics, O Swift! thy fate;
Enough! enough!" the raptur'd monarch cries! And through the ivory gate the vision flies.
v.333. Proceed, great days! &c.---Till Birch shall blush, &c.] Another great prophet of Dulness, on this side Styx, promiseth those days to be near at hand. "The devil (saith he) licensed bishops to license masters of schools to instruct youth in the knowledge of the heathen gods, their religion, &c. The schools and universities will soon be tired and ashamed of classics and such trumpery." Hutchinson's Use of Reason recovered. Scrib.
The Poet being in this book to declare the completion of the prophecies mentioned at the end of the former, makes a new Invocation; as the greater poets are wout, when some high and worthy matter is to be sung. He shews the goddess coming in her majesty, to destroy order and science, and to sub stitute the kingdom of the dull upon earth. How she leads captive the sciences, and silences the muses; and what they be wlio succeed in their stead. All her children, by a wonderful attraction, are drawn about her, and bear along with them divers others, who promote her empire by connivance, weak resistance, or discouragement of arts; such as half wits, tasteless admirers, vain pretenders, flatterers of dunces, or the patrons of them. All these crowd around her; one of them offering to approach her, is driven back by a rival, but she commends and encourages both. The first who speak in form are the geniuses of the schools, who assure her of their care to advance her cause by confining youth to words, and keeping them out of the way of real knowledge. Their address, and her gracious answer; with her charge to them and her universities. The universities appear by their proper deputies, and assure her, that the same method is observed in the progress of education. The speech of Aristarchus on this subject. They are driven off by a band of young gentlemen returned from travel with their tutors; one of whom delivers to the goddess, in a pelite oration, an account of the whole conduct and fruits of their travels: presenting to her at the same time a young nobleman perfectly accomplished. She receives him graciously, and erdues him with the happy quality of want of shame. She sees loitering about her a number of indolent persons abaudoning all bu siness and duty, and dying with laziness; to these approaches the antiquary Annius, intreating her to make them virtuosos, and assign them over to him; but Mummius, another antiquary, complaining of his fraudulent proceeding, she finds a method to reconcile their difference. Then enter a troop of people fantastically adorned, offering her strange and exotic presents: amongst them, one stands forth, and demands justice on another, who had deprived him of one of the greatest curiosities in nature; but he justifies himself sa well, that the goddess gives them both her approbation. She recommends to them to find proper employment for the indolents before mentioned, in the
study of butterflies, shells, birds-nests, moss, &c. but with particular caution not to proceed beyond triles, to any useful or extensive views of Nature, or of the Author of Nature. Against the last of these apprehensio is she is secured by a hearty address from the minute philosophers and free-thinkers, one of whom speaks in the uame of the rest. The youth thus instructed and principled, are delivered to her in a body, by the hands of Silenus; and then admitted to taste the cup of the Magus, her high-priest, which causes a total oblivion of all obligations, divine, civil, moral, or rational. To these her adepts she sends priests, attendants, and comforters of various kinds; confers on them orders and degrees; and then dismissing them with a speech, confirming to each his privileges, and telling what she expects from each, concludes with a yawn of extraordinary virtue; the progress and effect whereof on all orders of men, and the consummation of all, in the restoration of night and chaos, conclude the poem.
YET, yet a moment, one dim ray of light
Now flam'd the dog-star's unpropitious ray,
She mounts the throne: her head a cloud conceal'd,
In broad effulgence all below reveal'd,
v. 2.dread Chaos, and eternal Night!] Invoked, as the restoration of their empire is the action of the Poem.
v. 15. Of dull and venal.] The allegory continued; dull referring to the extinction of light or science; venal to the destruction of order and the truth of things.
Ibid. a new world.] In allusion to the Epicurean opinion, that from the dissolution of the natural world into night and chaos, a new one should arise: this the poet alluding to, in the production of a new world, makes it partake of its original principles.
There foam'd rebellious Logic, gagg'd and bound;
And dies when Dulness gives her Page the word. 30
Too mad for mere material chains to bind,
With mincing step, small voice, and languid eye;
She tripp'd and laugh'd, too pretty much to stand; 50 Cast on the prostrate Nine a scornful look,
Then thus in quaint recitativo spoke:
"O Cara! Cara! silence all that train;
Joy to great Chaos! let division reign:
Chromatic tortures soon shall drive them hence, 55
v.54. Joy to great Chaos!]
"Joy to great Cæsar!"
The beginning of a famous old song.