Abbildungen der Seite

They are driveri off by a band of young gentlemen tem turned from Travel with their Tutors; one of whom delivers to the Goddess, in a polite oration, an account of the whole Conduct and Fruits of their Tra els: presenting to her at the same time a young Nobleman perfectly accómplished. She receives him graciously, and indues him with the happy quality of Want of Shame. She sees loitering about her a number of Indolent Persons abandoning all business and duty, and dying with laziness : To these approaches the Antiqúary 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 tờ 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 so well, that the Goddess gives them both her approbation. She tecommends to them to find proper employment for the Indolents before-mentioned, in the study of Butterflies, Sbells, Birds-nefis, Moss, etc. but with particular caution, not to proceed beyond Trifles, to any useful or extensive views of Nature, or of the Author of Nature. Against the last of these apprehensions, she is secured by a hearty Address from the Minute Philofophers and Freethinkers, one of whom speaks in the name 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; con

fers 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 Effects whereof on all Orders of men, and the Consummation of all, · in the Restoration of Night and Chaos, conclude the Poem.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

VET, yet a moment, one dim Ray of Light *

* Indulge dread Chaos, and eternal Night +!
Of darkness visible so much be lent,
As half to shew, half veil the deep Intent.
Ye Pow'rs! whose Mysteries restor’d I fing,

5 To whom Time bears me on his rapid wing ll, VOL. II.

M m


[blocks in formation]

This book may properly be distinguished from the former, by the Name of the GREATIR DUNCIAD, not so indeed in Size, but in fubject; and fo far contrary to the distinction anciently made of the Greater and Leffer Iliada But much are they mistaken who imagine this work in any wise inferior to the former, or of any other hand than of our Poet; of which I am much more certain than that the Iliad itself was the Work of Solomon, or the Ba. frechomomachia of Homer, as Barnes hath affirmed.

Bent. * This is an Invocation of much Piery. The Poet willing to approve himself a genuine Son, beginneth by lewing (what is ever agreeable to Dulness) his high respect for Antiquiry and a Great Family, how dead or dark foever : Next declareth his passion for explaining Mysteries; and lastly his Imparience to be re-united to her.

SCRIBL. + Invoked, as the Restoration of their Empire is the Action of the Poem.

# This is a great propriety, for a duli Poet can never express himself others wise than by belves, or imperfectly.

SCRIBL. I understand it very differently; the Author in this work had indeed a deep Intent; there were in it Mysteries or å möppure which he durft not fully reveal, and doubtless in d'vers verses (according to Milton) “- more is meant than meets the ear.

Bent. | Fair and softly, good Poet! (cries the gentle Scriblerus on this place.) For sure, in spite of his unusual modetty, he shall not travel so fast toward Oblivion, as divers others of more Confidence have done: for when I revolve in my mind the Catalogue of those who have most boldly promised to themselves Immortality, viz. Pirdar, Luis Gongora, Ronsard, Odbom, Lyrics : Lycopbror, Statius, Chapman, Blackmore, Heroics ; I find the one half to be



Suspend a while your Force inertly strong *,
Then take at once the Poet and the Song,

Now flam'd the Dog-star's unpropitious ray,
Sinote cv'ry Brain, and wither'd ev'ry Bay;
Sick was the Sun, the Owl forsook his bow'r,
The moon-struck Prophet + felt the madding hour :
Thea role the Seed of Chaos, and of Night,
To hlot out Order I, and extinguish Light,
Of dull and venal || a new World to inold §,
And bring Saturnian days of Lead and Gold**. . is

already dead, and the other in utter darkness. But it becometh pòt us, wha have taken up the office of his Commentator, to suffer our Poet thus prodigally to cast away his life ; contrariwise, the more hidden and abstruse is his work, and the more remote its beauties from common Underftanding, the more is it our duty to draw forth and exalt the same, in the face of Men and Angels. Herein shall we imitate the laudable Spirit of those, who have (for this very reason) delighted to comment on dark and uncouth Authors, and even on their darker Fragments; preferred Ennius, to Virgil, and chosen to turn i he dark Lanthorn of LYCOPHRON, rather than to trim the everJailing Lamp of Homer.

SCRIBL.. Alluding to the Vis incrriæ of Matter, which, though it really be no Power, is yet the Foundation of all the Qualities and Attributes of that Nuggish Substance.

+ The Poet introducerb this (as all great events are supposed by fage Hir. torians to be preceded) by an Eclipse of ibe Sun; but with a peculiar propric. ty, as the Sun is the Emblem of that intellectual light which dies before the face of Dulness. Very apposite likewire is it to make this Eclipse, which is occasioned by the Moon's predominancy, the very time when Duinels and Mad. ne's are in Conjun&tion; whose relation and infuence on cach other the poet hath fewn in many places, Book i, ver. 29. Book iii. ver. 5, & leg.

I The two great Ends of her Mission ; the one in quality of Daughter of Crays, the other as Daughter of Nigbt. Order here is to be underslood ca. tenlively, bo:h as Civil and Moral; the distinctions between high and low in Society, and truc and false in Individuals s Light as Intellectual only, Wit, Şcicere, Arts.

|| 'The Allegory continued ; dull referring to the extinction of light or Science ; venal to the destruction of Order, and the Truth of Things.

$ In allusion to the Epicurean opinion, that from the Dissolution of the narural World into Night and Chaos a new one should arise; this the Poet alluding io, in the Production of a new moral World, makes įt partake of its original Principles. *1. 4. Pull and vepal,


She mounts the Throne : her head a Cloud conceald, In broad Effulgence all below reveal'd *, ('Tis thus aspiring Dulness ever shines) Soft on her lap her Laureate son + reclines.

• 20 Beneath her footstool 1, Science groans in Chains, . And Wit dreads Exile, Penalties and Pains. M m 2


* It was the opinion of the Antients, that the Divinities manifested themfelves to Men by their Back-parts. Virg. Æn. et avertens, rarea cervice rem fulfir. But this passage may admit of another exposition. - Vet. Adag. the higher you climb, the more pou fhew pour a . Verified in no instance more than in Dulnels aspiring. Emblematize also by an Ape climbing and exposing his posteriors.

SCRIBL. † With great judgment it is imagined by the Poet, that such a Colleague as Dulness had elected, should seep on the 'Throne, and have very little share in the Action of the Poem. Accordingly he hath done little or nothing from the day of his Anointing ; having past thro'the second book without taking part in any thing that was transacted about him; and through the third in profound Sleep. Nor ought this, well considered, to seem strange in our days, when so many King-conforts have done the like.

SCR'BL. This vesse our excellent Laureate cook so to heart, that he appealed to all mankind, “ if he was not as feld.m afkeep as any fool!" But it is hoped the Poet has not injured him, but rather verihed his Prophecy (p. 243, of his own Life, 8vo. ch. ix.) where he says, "ibe reader will be as much pleafed so find me a Dunce in my Old Age, as be was to prove me a brilk blockhead in my Youth.” Wherever there was any room for Briskness, or Alacrity of any fort, even in finking, he hath had it allowed; but here, where thire is no:hi:g for him to do but to take his natural rett, he must permit his Historian to be Silent. It is from their a&tions only thit Princes have their character, and Poets from their works: And if in those he be as much ajleep as any iod, the Poet must leave him and them to feep so all eterniry.

BENTL Ibid. “ When I find my Name in the satirical works of this Poct, I ne" ver look upon it as any malice meant to me, but PROFIT to himlelt For " he considers that my Face is more known than most in the nation ; aud is therefore a Lick ar obe Larreare will be a sure bait ad captandum vulgus, io os catch little readers." Lise of Colley Cibber, ch. ii.

Now if it be certain, that the works of our Poet hare owed their success to this ingenious expedient, we hence derive an unanswerable Argument,

that this Fourth DUNCIAD, as well as the former thrce, hath have the AuOthor's latt hand, and was by him intended for the Press : Or ello lo what

purpose hath he crown'd it, as we fee, by this finishing firoke, the riofitable Lick atebe Laureale?

BENT. We are next presented with the pictures of those whom the Goddess leads in Caprivity. Science is only depressed and confined as to be rendered useless; but Wit or Genius, as a more dangerous and aliys enimy, pun

ished 25

There foam'd rebellious Logic, gagg'd and bound; .
There, stript, fair Rhet'ric languish'd on the ground ; -
His blunted Arms by Sophiftry are born, ..
And shameless Billingsgate her Robes adorn,
Morality *, by her false Guardians drawn,
Chicane in Furs, and Casuistry in Lawn,
Gasps, as they straiten at each end the cord,
And dies, when Dulness gives her Page f the word. 30.
Mad Mathesis 1 alone was unconfin’d,
Too mad for mere inaterial chains to bindi,
Now to pure Space || lifts her extatic ftare,
Now running round the Circle, finds it square S.
But held in tenfold bonds the Muses lie,

35 Watch'd both by Envy's and by Flatt'ry's ** eye ;


ilhed, or driven away : Dulness being often reconciled in some degree with Learning, but never upon any terms with Wit. And accordingly it will be feen that she admits something like cach Science, as Casuistry, Sophistry, etc. but nothing like Wit, Opera alone supplying its plaee.

* Moralisy is the Daughter of Afræa. This alludes to the Mythology of the ancient Poets; who tells us that in the Gold and Silver ages, or in the State of Nature, the Gods cohabited with men here on earth ; but when by reason of human degeneracy men were forced to have recourse to a Magistrate, and that the Ages of Brass and Iron came on ; (that is, when Laws were wrote on bräzen tablets inforced by the Sword of Justice) the Celestials foon retired from Earth, and Astræa last of all; and then it was she left this her Orphan Daughter in the hands of the Guardians aforesaid. SCRIBL.

# There was a Judge of this name, always ready to hang any man that came before him, of which he was suffered to give a hundred miserable examples during a long life, even to his dotage - Tho' the candid Scriblerus imagined Page here to mean no more than a Page or Mute, and to allude to the custom of strangling State Criminals in Turkey by Mutes or Pages. A practice more decent than that of our Page, who before he hanged any one, loadcd him with reproachful language.

SCRIBL. † Alluding to the strange Conclusions some Mathematicians have deduced from their principles, concerning the real Quantity of Matter, the Reality of Space, etc.

oll I. e. Pure and defæcated from Matter.- Extatic fiare, the action of Mex who look about with full assurance of seeing what does not exist, such as those who expect to find Space a real being.

& Regards the wild and fruitless attempts of Squaring the Circle.

** One of the misfortunes falling on Authors, from the set for subjecting Plays to the power of a Licenfer, being the fallę representations to which


« ZurückWeiter »