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Now to pure Space lifts her extatic stare,
Ver. 39. But fober History? History attends on Tragedy, Satire on Comedy, as their substitutes in the difcharge of their distinct functions; the one in high life, recording the crimes and punishments of the great; the other in low, exposing the vices or follies of the common people. But it may be asked, How came History and Satire to be admitted with impunity to minifter comfort to the Muses, even in the presence of the Goddess, and in the midst of all her triumphs ? A question, says Scriblerus, which we thus resolve : History was brought up in her infancy by Dulness herself; but being afterwards espoused into a noble house, the forgot (as is usual) the humility of her birth, and the cares of her early friends. This occasioned a long estrangement between her and Dulness. At length, in process of time, they met together, in a Monk's Cell, were reconciled, and became better friends than ever. After this they had a second quarrel, but it held not long, and are now again on reasonable terms, and so are likely to continue. This accounts for the connivance shewn to History on this occasion. But the boldness of SATIRE fpring's from a very different caufe ; for the reader ought to know, that she alone of all the fifters is unconquerable, never to be silenced, when truly inspired and animated (as should feem) from above, for this very
There sunk Thalia, nerveless, cold, and dead,
purpose, to oppose the kingdom of Dulness to her last breath.
Ver. 43. Nor coald'At thou, &c.] This Noble Person in the year 1737, when the A&t aforesaid was brought into the House of Lords, opposed it in an excellent speech (says Mr. Cibber) with a lively fpirit, and un
common eloquence.' This speech bad the honour to be answered by the said Mr. Cibber, with a lively spirit also, and in a manner very uncommon, in the 8th Chapter of his Life and Manners. And here, gentle Reader, would I gladly insert the other speech, whereby thou mightest judge between them; but I must defer it on account of some differences not yet adjusted between the noble Author, and myself, concerning the True Reading of certain passages.
Bentl, Ver. 45. When lo! a Harlot form] The Attitude given to this Phantom represents the nature and genius of the Italian Opera ; its affected airs, its effeminate sounds, and the practice of patching up these Operas with favourite Songs, incoherently put together. These things were supported by the subscriptions of the Nobility. This circumstance that OPERA should prepare for the opening of the grand Sessions, was prophesied of in Book iii. ver. 304. “ Already Opera prepares
By singing Peers up-held on either hand,
O Cara! Cara! silence all that train :
60 Another Phæbus, thy own Phæbus, reigns, Joys in my jiggs, and dances in my chains. But soon, ah soon, Rebellion will commence, If Music meanly borrows aid from Sense : Strong in new Arms, lo! Giant Handel stands, Like bold Briareus, with a hundred hands; To ftir, to rouze, to shake the Soul he comes, And Jove's own Thunders follow Mars's Drums.
Ver. 54. Let Division reign :) Alluding to the false taste of playing tricks in Music with numberless divisions, to the neglect of that harmony which conforms to the Sense, and applies to the Passions. Mr. Handel had introduced a great number of Hands, and more variety of Instruments into the Orchestra, and employed even Drums and Cannon to make a fuller Chorus
j which proved so much too manly for the fine Gentlemen of his age, that he was obliged to remove his Mufic into Ireland. After which they were reduced, for want of Composers, to practise the patch-work abovementioned,
Arrest him, Emprefs, or you fleep no more-
The gathering number, as it moves along,
Whate'er Ver. 76 to 101. It ought to be observed that here are three classes in this assembly: The first of men absolutely and avowedly dull, who naturally adhere to the Goddess, and are imagined in the simile of the Bees about their Queen. The second involuntarily drawn to her, though not caring to own her influence; from ver. 81 to 9o. The third of such, as though not members of her state, yet advance her service by flattering Dulness, cultivating mistaken talents, patronizing vile fcriblers, discouraging living merit, or setting up for wits, and Men of taste in arts they understand not; from ver. 91 to 101.
Whate'er of mungril no one class admits,
There march'd the bard and blockhead fide by fide, Who rhym'd for hire, and patroniz'd for pride. Narcissus, prais’d with all a Parson's power, Look'd a white lily sunk beneath a shower. There mov'd Montalto with superior air;
105 His stretch'd-out arm display'd a Volume fair ; Courtiers and Patriots in two ranks divide, Through both he pass’d, and bow'd from fide to side: But as in graceful act, with awful
eye, Compos'd he stood, bold Benson thrust him by :
Ver. 108.-bow'd from fide to side:] As being of no one party
Ver. 110. bold Benson] This man endeavoured to raise himself to Fame by erecting monuments, striking eoins, setting up heads, and procuring translations, of Milton; and afterwards by as great a passion for Arthur Johnston, a Scotch Physician's Version of the Pfalms, of which he printed many fine Editions. See more of him, Book iii, ver. 325.