Sivut kuvina
[ocr errors][merged small]

ARGUMENT The king being proclaimed, the solemnity is graced · with public games and sports of various kinds;

not instituted by the hero, as by Æneas in Virgil, but for greater honour by the goddess in persoa

(in like manner as the games Pythia, Isthmia, &c. 1 were anciently said to be ordained by the gods,

and as Thetis herself appearing, according to Ho. “ mer, Odyss. xxiv. proposed the prizes in honour

of her son Achilles). Hither flock the poets and critics, attended, as is but just, with their patrons and booksellers. The goddess is first pleased, for her disport, to propose games, to the booksellers, and setteth up the phantom of a poet, which they contend to overtake. The races described, with their divers 'accidents. Next, the game for å poetess. Then follow the exercises for the poets, of tickling, vociferating, diving. The first holds forth the arts and practices of dedicators, the se cond of disputants and fustian poets, the third of profound, dark; and dirty party-writers. Lastly, for the critics, the goddess proposes (with great propriety) an exercise, not of their parts, but their patjepoe, in hearing the works of two voluminous authors, one in yerse, and the other in prose, deliberately read, without sleeping: the various effects of which, with the several degrees and man

ners of their operation, are here set forth; till the whole number, not of critics only, but of spec. tators, actors, and all present, fall fast asleep; which naturally and necessarily ends the games.

BOOK II. H IGH on a gorgeous seat, that far out-shone 11 Henley's gilt tub, or Fleckno's Irish throne, Or that where on her Curlls the public pours, All bounteous, fragrant grains and golden showers,

REMARKS. Two things there are, upon the supposition of which the very basis of all verbal criticism is found. ed and supported: The first, that an author could never fail to use the best word on every occasion; the second, that a critic cannot choose but know which that is. This being granted, whenever any word doth not fully content us, we take upon us to conclude, first, that the author could never have used it; and, secondly, that he must have used that very one, which we conjecture, in its stead.

We cannot, therefore, enough admire the learned Scriblerus, for his alteration of the text in the last two verses of the preceding book, which in all the former editions stood thus:

Hoarse thunder to its bottom shook the bog,

And the loud nation croak’d'God save king Log! He has, with great judgement, transposed these two epithets; putting hoarse to the nation, and loud to the thunder; and this being evidently the true read. ing, he vouchsafed not so much as to mention the former; for which assertion of the just right of a critic he merits the acknowledgement of all sound commentators.

Great Cibber sat : the proud Parnassian sneer,
The conscious simper, and the jealous leer,

REMARKS. Ver. 2. Henley's gilt tub,] The pulpit of a dis senter is usually called a tub;- but that of Mr. Ora tor Henley was covered with velvet, and adorned with gold. He had also a fair altar, and over it thi extraordinary inscription: The primitive eucharist. See the history of this person, book iii.

Ver. 2. or Fleckno's Irish throne,] Richard Fleckno was an Irish priest, but had laid aside (as himself expressed it) the mechanic part of priesthood. He printed some plays, poems, letters, and travels. I doubt not, our author took occasion to mention him in respect to the poem of Mr. Dryden, to which this bears some resemblarice, though of a character more different from it than that of the Æneid from the Iliad, or the Lutrin of Boileau from the Defait de Bouts rimées of Sarazin.

It niay be just worth mentioning, that the emi. nence from whence the ancient sophists entertained their auditors, was called by the pompous name of a tbrone. Themistius, Orat. i.

Ver. 3. Or that whereon her Curlls the public pours.] Edmund Curll stood in the piliory at Charing-cross, in March 1727-8. "This,' saith Edmund Curll. is a false assertion--I had, indeed, the corporal punishment of what the gentlemen of the long robe are pleased jocosely to call mounting the ros. trum for one hour: but that scene of action was not in the month of March, but in February.' (Curliad, 12mo, p. 19.) And of the history of his being tast in a blanket, he saith,Here Scriblerus ! thou leesest in what thou assertest concerning the blanket: it was not a blanket, but a rug.' p. 25. Much in the same manner Mr. Cibber remonstrated, that his brothers, at Bedlam, mentioned Book i. were not brazen, but blocks; yet our author let it pass unal

Mix on his look : all eyes direct their rays
On him, and crowds turn coxcombs as they gaze.
His peers shine round him with reflected grace,
New edge their dulness, and new bronze their face.
So from the sun's broad beam, in shallow urns, 11
Heaven's twinkling sparks draw light, and point

their horns. Not with more glee, by hands pontific crown'd, · With scarlet hats wide-waving circled round, i Rome in her Capitol saw Querno sit,

Thron'd on seven hills, the antichrist of wit.

REMARKS. tered, as a trifle that no way altered the relationship.

We should think, gentle reader, that we but ill performed our part, if we corrected not as well our own errors now, as formerly those of the printer. Since what moved us to this work, was solely the love of truth, not in the least any vain glory, or desire to contend with great authors. And further, our mistakes, we conceive, will the rather be pardoned, as scarce possible to be avoided in writing of such persons and works as do ever shun the light. However, that we may not any way soften or exte nuate the same, we give them thee in the very words of our antagonists; not defending, but retracting them from our heart, and craving excuse of the par. ties offended: for surely in this work, it hath been above all things our desire to provoke no man.

SCRIBL. Ver. 15. Rome in her Capitol saw Querno sit,) Camillo Querno was of Apulia, who hearing the great encouragement which Leo X. gave to poets, travelled to Rome with a harp in his hand, and sung to it twenty thousand verses of a poem, called Alexias. He was introduced as a buffoon to Leo, and promoted to the honour of the laurel; a jest which the court of Rome and tbe pope himself en

And now the queen, to glad her sons, procial By herald hawkers, high heroic games. They summon all ber race: an endless band Pours forth, and leaves unpeopled half the land A motley mixture! in long wigs, in bags, In silks, in crapes, in garters, and in rags, From drawing-rooms, from colleges, from garret Op horse, on foot, in backs, and gilded chariots All who true Dunces in her cause appear'd, And all who knew those Dunces to reward.

Amid that area wide they took their stand, Where the tall may-pole once o'erlook'd the Stru But now (so Anne and piety ordain) A church collects the saints of Drury-lane. . With authors, stationers obey'd the call (The field of glory is a field for all). Glory and gain, th' industrious tribe provoke; And gentle Dulness ever loves a joke, A poet's form she plac'd before their eyes, And bade the nimblest racer seize the prize : No meagre, muse-rid mope, adust and thin, In a dun night-gown of his own loose skin, But such a bulk as no twelve bards could raise, Twelve starveling bards of these degen'rate days. All as a partridge plump, full-fed and fair, She forın'd this image of well-bodied air;


tered into so far, as to cause him to ride on an ele phant to the Capitol, and to hold a solemn festival on his coronation; at which it is recorded the poet himself was so transported as to weep for joy. He was ever after a constant frequenter of the pope's table, drank abundantly, and poured forth verses with out number. Paulus Jovius, Elog. Vir. doct. cap. lxxxiii. Some idea of his poetry is given by Fam. Strada, in his Prolusions.

• See Life of C.C. chap. vi. p. 149.

« EdellinenJatka »