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Sudden, a burst of thunder shook the flood : Lo Smedley rose in majesty of mud ! Shaking the horrors of his ample brows, And each ferocious feature grim with ooze. Greater he looks, and more than mortal stares ; 305 Then thus the wonders of the deep declares.
First he relates, how sinking to the chin, Smit with his mien, the mud-nymphs suck'd him in : How young Lutetia, softer than the down, Nigrina black, and Merdamante brown, Vy'd for his love in jetty bow'rs below; As Hylas fair was ravish'd long ago. Then sung, how shown him by the nut-brown maids A branch of Styx here rises from the shades, That tinctur'd as it runs with Lethe's streams, 315 And wafting vapours from the land of dreams, (As under seas Alphaus' secret sluice Bears Pisa's off'ring to his Arethuse) Pours into Thames: each city bowl is full Of the mixt wave, and all who drink grow dull. 320 How to the banks where bards departed dose, They led him soft; how all the bards arose ; Taylor, sweet swan of Thames, majestic bows, And Shadwell nods the poppy on his brows; While Milbourn there, deputed by the rest, 325 Gave him the cassock, surcingle, and vest; And « Take (he said) these robes which once were
mine, Dulness is sacred in a sound divine."
He ceas'd, and show'd the robe ; the crowd confess The rev'rend Flamen in his lengthen'd dress. 330 Slow moves the Goddess from the sable flood, (Her priest preceding) thro' the gates of Lud. Her critics there she summons, and proclaims, A gentler exercise to close the games,
Here you! in whose grave heads, as equal scales, I weigh what author's heaviness prevails ; 336 Which most conduce to sooth the soul in slumbers, My Henley's periods, or my Blackmore's numbers ? Attend the trial we propose to make : If there be man who o’er such works can wake, 340 Sleep's all-subduing charms who dares defy, And boasts Ulysses' ear with Argus' eye ; To him we grant our amplest pow'rs to sit Judge of all present, past, and future wit, To cavil, censure, dictate, right or wrong, 345 Full, and eternal privilege of tongue. Three Cambridge sophs and three pert templars
came, The same their talents, and their tastes the same, Each prompt to query, answer, and debate, And smit with love of poesy and prate, 350 The pond'rous books two gentle readers bring, The heroes sit; the vulgar form a ring. The clam'rous crowd is hush'd with mugs of mum, Till all tun'd equal, send a gen'ral hum. Then mount the clerks, and in one lazy tone, 355 Thro’ the long, heavy, painful page drawl on ;
Soft creeping, words on words, the sense compose,
Hung silent down his never-blushing head; 385 And all was hush'd, as Folly's self lay dead.
Thus the soft gifts of sleep conclude the day, And stretch'd on bulks, as usual, poets lay. Why should I sing, what bards the nightly muse Did slumb’ring visit, and convey to stews : 390 Who prouder march’d, with magistrates in state, To some fam'd round-house, ever open gate : How Laurus lay inspir'd beside a sink, And to mere mortals seem'd a priest in drink : While others, timely, to the neighb'ring Fleet 395 (Haunt of the muses) made their safe retreat.
END OF THE SECOND BOOK.