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BOOK THE SECOND.
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 person (in like manner as the games Pythia, Isthmia, &c., were anciently said to be ordained by the Gods, and as Thetis herself appearing, according to Homer, 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 a Poetess. Then follow the Exercises for the poets, of tickling, vociferatiny, diving : the first holds forth the arts and practices of Dedicators, the second of Disputants and fustian Poets, the third of profound, dark, and dirty Partywriters. Lastly, for the Critics, the Goddess proposes (with great propriety) an Exercise, not of their parts, but their patience, in hearing the works of two voluminous Authors, one in verse and the other in prose, deliberately read, without sleeping: the various effects of which, with the several degrees and manners of their operation, are here set forth; till the whole number, not of Critics only, but of spectators, actors, and all present, fall fast asleep; which naturally and necessarily ends the games.
High on a gorgeous seat, that far out-shone' Henley's gilt tub,' or Fleckno's Irish throne," Or that where on her Curls the Public pours,
1 Parody of Milton, Book ii. :
“ High on a throne of royal state, that far
Satan exalted sate.”—P. 2 The pulpit of a Dissenter is usually called a tub; but that of Mr. Orator Henley was covered with velvet, and adorned with gold. He had also a fair altar, and over it is this extraordinary inscription, The Primitive Eucharist. See the history of this person, Book iii. --P.
3 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 resemblance, though of a character more different from it than that of the Æneid from the Iliad, or the Lutrin of Boileau from the Défait des Bouts rimées of Sarazin.-P.
4 Edmund Curl stood in the pillory at Charing Cross, in March, 1727-8. “This (saith Edmund Curl) 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 Rostrum 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 tost in a Blanket, he saith, “Here, Scriblerus! thou leeseth 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
All-bounteous, fragrant Grains and Golden
showers, Great Cibber sate : the proud Parnassian
sneer, The conscious simper, and the jealous leer, 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 Heaven's twinkling Sparks draw light, and
point their horns. Not with more glee, by hands pontific crowned, With scarlet hats wide-waving circled round, Rome in her Capitol saw Querno sit, 15 Throned on seven hills, the Antichrist of wit. And now the Queen, to glad her sons, pro
our author let it pass unaltered, as a trifle that no way altered the relationship.-Scribl.-P. W.
i 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 the Pope himself entered into so far, as to cause him to ride on an elephant 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 without number. PAULUS JOVIUS, Elog. Vir. doct., cap. lxxxii. Some idea of his poetry is given by Fam. Strada, in his Prolusions. --P.
See Life of C. C., chap. vi. p. 149.
By herald Hawkers, high heroic games.
garrets, On horse, on foot, in hacks, and gilded chariots : All who true Dunces in her cause appeared, 25 And all who knew those Dunces to reward.
Amid that area wide they took their stand, Where the tall may-pole once o'er-looked the
Strand. But now (so ANNE and Piety ordain) A Church collects the saints of Drury-lane. 30
With Authors, Stationers obeyed the call, (The field of glory is a field for all.) Glory and gain, the industrious tribe provoke; And gentle Dulness ever loves a joke. A Poet's form she placed before their eyes, 35 And bade the nimblest racer seize the prize;
1 St. Mary-le-Strand, built by James Gibbs in 1717.
* This is what Juno does to deceive Turnus, Æn. X. : “ Tum Dea nube cava, tenuem sine viribus umbram In faciem Æneæ (visu mirabile monstrum !) Dardaniis ornat telis, clypeumque jubasque Divini assimilat capitis
— Dat inania verba, Dat sine mente sonum." The reader will observe how exactly some of these verses suit with their allegorical application here to a Plagiary: there seems to me a great propriety in this Episode, where such an one is imaged by a phantom that eludes the grasp of the expecting Bookseller.-P.
BOOK II.] THE DUNCIAD.
173 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 starv’ling bards of these degenerate days.
40 All as a partridge plump, full-fed, and fair, She formed this image of well-bodied air; With pert flat eyes she windowed well its
head; A brain of feathers, and a heart of lead; And empty words she gave, and sounding
strain, But senseless, lifeless! idol void, and vain ! Never was dashed out, at one lucky hit, A fool, so just a copy of a wit ; So like, that critics said, and courtiers swore, A Wit it was, and called the phantom More.: 50
1 " Vix illud lecti bis sexQualia nunc hominum producit corpora tellus."
Virg. Æn. xii.-P. 2 Our author here seems willing to give some account of the possibility of Dulness making a Wit (which could be done no other way than by chance). The fiction is the more reconciled to probability, by the known story of Apelles, who, being at a loss to express the foam of Alexander's horse, dashed his pencil in despair at the picture, and happened to do it by that fortunate stroke.-P.
3°Curl, in his Key to the Dunciad, affirmed this to be James-Moore Smythe, Esq., and it is probable (considering what is said of him in the Testimonies) that some might fancy our author obliged to represent this gentleman as a plagiary, or to pass for one himself. His case, indeed, was like that of a man I have heard of, who, as he was sitting in company, perceived his next neighbour had stolen his handkerchief. “Sir (said the thief, finding himself detected), do not expose me, I did it for mere want; be so good as to take it privately out of my pocket again and say nothing.” The honest man did so, but the other