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Prudence, whose glass presents the approaching jail :
51 Poetic Justice, with her lifted scale, Where, in nice balance, truth with gold she
weighs, And solid pudding against empty praise.
Here she beholds the Chaos dark and deep, Where nameless Somethings in their causes
sleep, 'Till genial Jacob, or a warm Third day, Call forth each mass, a Poem, or a Play: How hints, like spawn, scarce quick in embryo
lie, How new-born nonsense first is taught to
cry, Maggots half formed in rhyme exactly meet, And learn to crawl upon poetic feet. Here one poor word an hundred clenches makes,
i That is to say, unformed things, which are either made into Poems or Plays, as the Booksellers or the Players bid most. These lines allude to the following in Garth's Dispensary, cant. vi. : “ Within the chambers of the globe they spy The beds where sleeping vegetables lie, Till the glad summons of a genial ray Unbinds the glebe, and calls them out to day.”—P. 2 Jacob Tonson, the bookseller.
3 When a new play was produced, it was usual for the author to receive the whole of the profits of the third, sixth, and ninth nights.
4 It may not be amiss to give an instance or two of these operations of Dulness out of the Works of her Sons, celebrated in the Poem. A great Critic formerly held these clenches in such abhorrence that he declared, “he that would pun, would pick a pocket.” Yet Mr. Dennis's works afford us notable examples in this kind : “ Alexander Pope hath sent abroad into the world as many bulls as his namesake Pope Alexander. Let us take the initial and final letters of his
And ductile Dulness new mæanders takes, 1. There motley images her fancy strike,
Figures ill paired, and Similes unlike. /
Queen Beholds through fogs, that magnify the scene. name, viz., A. P-E. and they give you the idea of an Ape.-Pope comes from the Latin word Popa, which signifies a little wart; or from poppysma, because he was continually popping out squibs of wit, or rather popysmata, or popisms.”—Dennis on Hom. and Daily Journal, June 11, 1728.-P. 1 A parody on a verse in Garth's Dispensary, cant. i.:
“How ductile matter new meanders takes.”—P.
Alludes to the transgressions of the Unities in the plays of such poets. For the miracles wrought upon Time, and Place, and the mixture of Tragedy and Comedy, Farce and Epic, see Pluto and Proserpine, Penelope, &c., if yet extant.-P.
3 In the Lower Egypt Rain is of no use, the overflowing of the Nile being sufficient to impregnate the soil.—These six verses represent the inconsistencies in the descriptions of poets, who heap together all glittering and gaudy images, though incompatible in one season, or in one scene.-P.
* From Homer's Epithet of Jupiter, vedel nyepéra Zeug.-P.
She, tinselled o'er in robes of varying hues, 81
grave, Like Cimon, triumphed both on land and wave : (Pomps without guilt, of bloodless swords and
maces, Glad chains, warm furs, broad banners, and
broad faces) Now Night descending, the proud scene was o'er,
89 But lived, in Settle's numbers, one day more.” Now Mayors and Shrieves all hushed and satiate
lay, 1 In the former editions : “ 'Twas on the day when Thorold, rich and grave.” Sir George Thorold, Lord Mayor of London in the year 1720. The procession of a Lord Mayor is made partly by land, and partly by water.-Cimon, the famous Athenian General, obtained a victory by sea, and another by land, on the same day, over the Persians and Barbarians.-P.
2 A beautiful manner of speaking, usual with poets in praise of poetry, in which kind nothing is finer than those lines of Mr. Addison :
“Sometimes, misguided by the tuneful throng,
Settle was poet to the City of London. His office was to compose yearly panegyrics upon the Lord Mayors, and verses to be spoken in the Pageants. But that part of the shows being at length frugally abolished, the employment of City-Poet ceased ; so that upon Settle's demise there was no successor to that place.-P.
Yet ate, in dreams, the custard of the day; While pensive Poets painful vigils keep, Sleepless themselves, to give their readers sleep. Much to the mindful Queen the feast recalls 95 What City Swans once sung within the walls; Much she revolves their arts, their ancient
praise, And sure succession down from Heywood's
days. She saw, with joy, the line immortal run, Each sire impressed, and glaring in his son : 100 So watchful Bruin forms, with plastic care, Each growing lump, and brings it to a Bear. She saw old Prynne in restless Daniel shine, And Eusden eke out Blackmore's endless line;' She saw slow Philips creep like Tate's poor page,
1 John Heywood, whose Interludes were printed in the time of Henry VIII.-P. 2 The first edition had it,
“She saw in Norton all his father shine :”. a great mistake ! for Daniel De Foe had parts, but Norton De Foe was a wretched writer, and never attempted Poetry. Much more justly is Daniel himself made successor to W. Pryn, both of whom wrote Verses as well as Politics. Ånd both these authors had a resemblance in their fates as well as writings, having been alike sentenced to the Pillory.-P.
William Prynne (1600-1669), was a most voluminous writer. He was placed in the pillory and fined £5,000 for his “ Histriomastix.”
3 Laurence Eusden, Poet Laureate. Mr. Jacob gives a catalogue of some few only of his works, which were very numerous. Of Blackmore, see Book ii. ; of Philips, Book i. 258, and Book iii. prope fin.-P.
4 Nahum Tate was Poet Laureate, a cold writer, of no invention ; but sometimes translated tolerably when befriended by Mr. Dryden. In his second part of Absalom and Achitophel are above two hundred admirable lines together of that great hand, which
strongly shine through the insipidity of the rest. Something parallel may be observed of another author here mentioned.-P. The other author was Ambrose Philips, who was supposed to have received assistance from Addison.
1 This is by no means to be understood literally, as if Mr. Dennis were really mad, according to the Narrative of Dr. Norris in Swift and Pope's Miscellanies, vol. iii. No-it is spoken of that excellent and divine Madness, so often mentioned by Plato; that poetical rage and enthusiasm, with which Mr. D. hath, in his time, been highly possessed ; and of those extraordinary hints and motions whereof he himself so feelingly treats in his preface to the Rem. on Pr. Arth. [See Notes on Book ii. ver. 268. ]—Scriblerus. -P.
Mr. Theobald, in the Censor, vol. ii. N. 33, calls Mr. Dennis by the name of Furius. "The modern Furius is to be looked upon as more an object of pity, than of that which he daily provokes, laughter and contempt. Did we really know how much this poor man (I wish that reflection on poverty had been spared) suffers by being contradicted, or, which is the same thing in effect, by hearing another praised ; we should, in compassion, sometimes attend to him with a silent nod, and let him go away with the triumphs of his ill-nature. Poor Furius (again) when any of his contemporaries are spoken well of, quitting the ground of the present dispute, steps back a thousand years to call in the succour of the Ancients. His very panegyric is spiteful, and he uses it for the same reason as some ladies do their commendations of a dead beauty, who would never have had their good word, but that a living one happened to be mentioned in their company. His applause is not the tribute of his Heart, but the sacrifice of his Revenge," &c. Indeed, his pieces against our poet are somewhat of an angry character, and as they are now scarce extant, a taste of his style may be satisfactory to the curious. “A young, squab, short gentleman, whose outward form, though it should be that of downright monkey, would not differ so much from human shape as his unthinking immaterial part does from human understanding. He is as stupid and as venomous as a hunch-backed