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Why deck'd with all that land and sea afford,
Or let us glory gain, or glory give." Warburton. This passage was the first specimen our author gave
of his translation of Homer; and it appeared first in the sixth volume of Dryden's Miscellanies.
But since, alas ! frail beauty must decay, 25
fail. Beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll; Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul.
So spoke the Dame, but no applause ensu'd; 35 Belinda frown'd, Thalestris call'd her Prude. To arms, to arms! the fierce Virago cries, And swift as lightning to the combat flies. All side in parties, and begin th' attack; Fans clap, silks rustle, and tough whalebones crack; Heroes' and Heroines' shouts confus’dly rise, And base and treble voices strike the skies. No common weapons in their hands are found, Like Gods they fight, nor dread a mortal wound.
Ver. 26. Curld or uncurld,] Fontenelle writes a gallant and pleasant letter to a beautiful young lady on discovering one grey hair on her head.
Ver. 37. To arms, to arms !] From hence the first edition
goes on to the conclusion, except a very few short insertions added, to keep the Machinery in view to the end of the poem. .
Ver. 35. So spoke the Dame,] It is a verse frequently repeated in Homer after any speech,
“So spoke-and all the Heroes applauded." P. VOL. III.
So when bold Homer makes the Gods engage, 45 And heav'nly breasts with human passions rage; 'Gainst Pallas, Mars; Latona, Hermes arms; And all Olympus rings with loud alarms: Jove's thunder roars, heav'n trembles all around, Blue Neptune storms, the bellowing deeps resound: Earth shakes her nodding tow'rs, the ground gives
way, And the pale ghosts start at the flash of day!
Ver. 45. So when bold Homer] Homer, Il. xx.
The ridicule is most artfully heightened by introducing one of the most sublime passages in Homer :
« 'Αμφι δ' εσαλπιγξεν μεγας ερανος, ελυμπος τε
Εδδιισιν δ' υπενερθεν αναξ ενερων Αιδωνεις, ,
Σμερδαλε', ευρωενία, τα τε συγε8σι θεοι περ.” Well might Longinus exclaim, “Do you see, O my friend, how the earth bursts asunder to its centre, Tartarus itself is laid open and naked, all things mortal and immortal combat together, and share the danger of this tremendous conflict ?"
In none of his many imitations has Virgil shewn his inferiority to Homer so much as in this passage:
“ Non secus ac si qua penitus vi terra dehiscens
Æneid, vii. v. 243. For not to mention that what is part of the Action in Homer, is only a simile in Virgil, how tame is
immane barathrum (even though a magnificent image) to
Δεισας δ' εκ θρονο αλτο και ιαχεHow or where has terror ever been so strongly painted as by this circumstance of Pluto himself, suddenly leaping from his throne and shrieking aloud ?
Triumphant Umbriel on a sconce's height Clapp'd his glad wings, and sate to view the fight: Propp'don their bodkin spears, the Sprites survey 55 The growing combat, or assist the fray.
While through the press enrag'd Thalestris flies, And scatters death around from both her eyes, A Beau and Witling perish'd in the throng, One dy'd in metaphor, and one in song.
60 “O cruel Nymph! a living death I bear,” Cry'd Dapperwit, and sunk beside his chair. A mournful glance Sir Fopling upwards cast, “Those eyes are made so killing"-was his last. Thus on Mæander's flow'ry margin lies'
65 Th' expiring Swan, and as he sings he dies.
Ver. 55. Propp'd on their] Like the heroes in Homer, when they are spectators of a combat.
Warton. Ver. 64.
Those eyes] It was the common cant of all the wits and poets of this time to depreciate and laugh at Italian operas. See what Addison has said of them, Spectator 18. They would have been of a different opinion, if they could have read what Dr. Burney has said on this subject in his History of Music. Warton.
VARIATIONS Ver. 53. Triumphant Umbriel] These four lines added, for the reason before mentioned.
P. Added with great dexterity, beauty, and propriety! Warton.
IMITATIONS. Ver. 53. Triumphant Umbriel] Minerva in like manner, during the battle of Ulysses with the Suitors in the Odyss. perches on a beam of the roof to behold it.
P. Ver. 64. “ Those eyes are made so killing”] The words of a song in the Opera of Camilla.
P. Ver. 65. Thus on Mæander's flow'ry margin lies]
“ Sic ubi fata vocant, udis abjectus in herbis,
Ad vada Mæandri concinit albus olor.” Ov. Ep. P.
When bold Sir Plume had drawn Clarissa down, Chloe stepp'd in, and kill'd him with a frown; She smild to see the doughty hero slain, But, at her smile, the Beau reviv'd again. 70
Now Jove suspends his golden scales in air, Weighs the Men's wits against the Lady's hair; The doubtful beam long nods from side to side; At length the wits mount up, the hairs subside. See fierce Belinda on the Baron flies,
75 With more than usual lightning in her eyes : Nor feard the Chief th' unequal fight to try, Who sought no more than on his foe to die. But this bold Lord with manly strength endu’d, She with one finger and a thumb subdu'd; 80 Just where the breath of life his nostrils drew, A charge of snuff the wily virgin threw, The Gnomes direct, to ev'ry atom just, The pungent grains of titillating dust.
Ver. 71. Now Jove, &c.] Vid. Homer, Il. viii. and Virg. Æn. xii.
P. Ver. 74. At length the wits] This parody from Homer and Virgil is admirable. Milton improved on this fine fiction in Paradise Lost, Book iv. v. 997, by saying, that when “the Almighty weighed Satan in such scales, the mounting of his scales denoted ill success ;" and also by alluding artfully to the sign of Libra in the heavens.
Wurton. Ver. 84. titillating dust.] Boileau and Garth have also each of them enlivened their pieces with a mock-fight. But Boileau has laid the scene of his action in a neighbouring bookseller's shop; where the combatants encounter each other by chance.
Ver. 83. The Gnomes direct,] These two lines added, for the above reason.