Sivut kuvina

But, high above, more folid Learning shone,
The Classics of an age that heard of none;
There Caxton Dept, with Wynkyn at his fide,
One clasp?d in wood, and one in strong cow-hide ; 150
There, fav'd by spice, like Mummies, many a year,
Dry Bodies of Divinity appear :

Ver. 352. Old Bodies of Philosophy appear.



was his rival in Tragedy (though more successful) in one of his Tragedies, the Earl of Essex, which is yet alive : Anna Boleyn, the Queen of Scots, and Cyrus the Great, are dead and gone. These he drest in a sort of Beggar's Velvet, or a happy mixture of the thick Fustian and thin Prosaic; exactly imitated in Perolla, and Ifidora, Cæsar in Ægypt, and the Heroic Daughter. 3. Broome was a serving-man of Ben Jonson, who once picked up a Comedy from his Betters, or from some cast icenes of his Master, not entirely contemptible.

Ver. 147. More folid Learning] Some have objected, that books of this sort suit not so well the library of our Bays, which they imagined consisted of Novels, Plays, and obscene books; but they are to consider, that he furnished his shelves only for ornament, and read these books no more than the Dry bodies of Divinity, which, no doubt, were purchased by his Father when he designed him for the Gown. See the note on ver. 200.

Ver. 149. Caxton) A Printer in the time of Edw. IV. Rich. III. and Hen. VII; Wynkyn de Word, his fucceflor, in that of Hen. VII. and VIII. The former, translated into prose Virgil's. Æneis, as a history; of which he speaks, in his proeme, in a very fingular manner, as of a book hardly known. Tibbald quotes a rare passage from him in Mift's Journal of March 16, 1728, concerning a Itraunge and marvayllouse beafte


1 a

De Lyra there a dreadful front extends,
And here the groaning shelves Philemon bends.

Of these twelve volumes, twelve of amplest fize, 15$
Redeem'd from tapers and defrauded pies,
Inspir'd he feizes : These an altar raise :
An hecatomb of pure unsully'd lays
That altar crowns : A folio Common-place
Founds the whole pile, of all his works the base : 160
Quartos, octavos, shape the lessening pyre;
A twisted Birth-day Ode completes the spire.

Then he : Great Tamer of all human art ! First in my care, and ever at my heart; Dulness! whose good old cause I yet defend, 165 With whom my Muse began, with whom shall end,



Ver. 162. A twisted, &c.] In the former Edit.

And last, a little Ajax tips the fpire. Var. a little Ajax] in duodecimo, translated from Sophocles by Tibbald.

REMARKS. called Sagittarye, which he would have Shakespeare to mean rather than Teucer, the Archer celebrated by Homer.

Ver. 153. Nich. de Lyra, or Harpsfield, a very voluminous commentator, whose works, in five vaft folios, were printed in 1472.

Ver. 154. Philemon Holland, Doctor in Physic. “ He « translated so many books, that a man would think he R had done nothing else; insomuch that he might be “ called Translator general of his age. The books " alone of his turning into English are sufficient to « make a Country Gentleman a compleat Library." WINSTANLY.

E’er since Sir Fopling's Periwig was Praise,
To the last honours of the Butt and Bays :
O thou! of Business the directing foul !
To this our head like byafs to the bowl,

170 Which, as more ponderous, made its aim more true, Obliquely waddling to the mark in view: 0! ever gracious to perplex'd mankind, Still spread a healing mist before the mind;

Ver. 167, 168. Not in the first editions.
Ver. 170. To human heads, &c.
Ver. 171. Makes their aim.


Ver. 167. E'er since Sir Fopling's Periwig] The first visible cause of the passion of the Town for our Hero, was a fair Alaxen full-bottomed Periwig, which, he tells us, he wore in his first play of the Fool in Fashion. It attracted, in a particular manner, the Friendship of Col. Brett, who wanted to purchase it.

" Whatever con“ tempt (fays he) Philosophers may have for a fine Periwig, my friend, who was not to despise the world “ but live in it, knew very well that so material an ar“ ticle of dress upon the head of a man of sense, if it “ became him, could never fail of drawing to him a

more partial Regard and Benevolence, than could pos“ libly be hoped for in an ill-made one. This, perhaps, may

foften the grave censure, which so youthful a pur“ chase might otherwise have laid upon him. In a " word, he made his attack upon this periwig, as your “young fellows generally do upon a lady of pleasure, « first by a few familiar praises of her person, and then a “ civil inquiry into the price of it; and we finished our “ bargain that night over a bottle.” See Life, octavo, p. 303. This remarkable Periwig usually made its entrance upon the Itage in a sedan, brought in by two chairmen, with infinite approbation of the audience.


And, left we err by Wit's wild dancing light, 175
Secure us kindly in our native night.
Or, if to Wit a Coxcomb make pretence,
Guard the sure barrier between that and Sense;

Ver. 177. Or, if to Wit, &c.] In the former Ed.

Ah! still o'er Britain stretch that peaceful wand,
Which lulls th' Helvetian and Batavian land;
Where rebel to thy throne if Science rise,
She does but show' her coward face and dies :
There thy good Scholiasts with unwearied pains
Make Horace flat, and humble Maro's strains :
Here studious I unlucky moderns save,
Nor sleeps one error in its father's grave,
Old puns restore, loft blunders nicely seek,
And crucify poor Shakespeare once a week.
For thee I dim these eyes, and stuff this head,
With all such reading as was never read;
For thee supplying, in the worst of days,
Notes to dull books, and prologues to dull plays ;
For thee explain a thing till all men doubt it,
And write about it, Goddess, and about it,
So spins the Silkworm small its slender store,
And labours, till it clouds itself all o'er.
Not that my quill to critiques was confin’d,
My verse gave ampler lessons to mankind;
So gravest precepts may successless prove,
But sad examples never fail to move.
As, forc'd from wind-guns, &c.

Var. Nor sleeps one error-Old puns restore, loft blunders, &c.] As where he [Tibbald) laboured to prove Shakespeare guilty of terrible Anachronisms, or low Conundrums, which Time had covered ; and conversant in such authors as Caxton and Wynkyn, rather than in Homer or Chaucer.. Nay so far had he loft his reve

н 13


Or quite unravel all the reas'ning thread,
And hang some curious cobweb in its stead!
As, forc'd from wind-guns, lead itself can fly,
And ponderous Augs cut swiftly through the sky;




rence to this incomparable author, as to say in print, He deserved to be whipt. An insolence which nothing fure can parallel ! but that of Dennis, who can be proved to have declared before company, that Shakespeare was a Rascal. O Tempora ! O Mores !

Var. And crucify poor Shakespeare once a week. ] For some time, once a week or fortnight he printed in Mist's Journal a single remark or poor conjecture on some word or pointing of Shakespeare, either in his own name, or in letters to himself, aş from others, without pame. Upon these somebody made this Epigram :

“ 'Tis generous, Tibbald ! in thee and thy brothers, “ To help us thus to read the works of others : “ Never for this can just returns be shown; “ For who will help us e'er to read thy own?”

Var. Notes to dull books, and prologues to dull plays;] As to Cook's Hefiod, where sometimes a note, and sometimes even half a note, are carefully owned by him: And to Moore's Comedy of the Rival Modes, and other authors of the fame rank: These were people who writ about the year 1726.

[ocr errors]


Ver. 178, 179. Guard the sure barrier Or quite unravel, &c.] For Wit or Reasoning are never greatly hurtful to Dulness, but when the first is founded in Truth, and the other in Usefulness.

Ver. 181. As, forc'd from wind-guns, &c.] The thought of these four verses is founded in a poem of our Author's of a very early date (namely written at fourteen years old, and soon after printed) to the Author of a poem called Succeffio.

« EdellinenJatka »