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One cell there is, conceal'd from vulgar eye,
REMARKS. Cibber, father of the poet-laureate. The two statues of the lunatics over the gates of Bedlam-hospital were done by him, and (as the son justly says of them) are no ill monuments of his fame as an artist.
Ver. 34. Poverty and poetry.] I cannot here omit a remark that will greatly endear our author to every one, who shall attentively observe that humanity and candour, which every where appears in him towards those unhappy objects of the ridicule of all mankind, the bad poets. He there imputes all scandalous rhymes, scurrilous weekly papers, base flatteries, wretched elegies, songs, and verses (even from those sung at court, to ballads in the street,) not so much to. malice or servility as to dulness, and not so much to dulness as to necessity. And thus, at the very commencement of his satire, makes an apology for all that are to be satirized.
Ver. 40. Curll's chaste press, and Lintot's rubric post :) Two booksellers, of whom see Book ii. The former wag fined by the Court of King's Bench for publishing obscene books; the latter usually adorned his shop with titles in red letters.
Ver. 41. Hence hymning Tyburn's elegiac lines.] It is an ancient English custom for the malefactors to sing a psalm at their execution at Tyburn; and no less customary to print elegies on their deaths, at the same time, or before.
Ver. 43. Sepulchral lies,]' is a just satire on the Hatteries and falsehoods admitted to be inscribed on the walls of churches, in epitaphs; which occasioned the following epigram :
'Friend! in your epitaphs, I'm grieved
So very much is said;
The other never read.'
In clouded majesty here Dulness shone; Four guardian virtues, round, support her throne. Fierce champion Fortitude, that knows no fears Of hisses, blows, or want, or loss of ears : Calm Temperance, whose blessings those partake, Who hunger and who thirst for scribbling' sake: 50 Prudence, whose glass presents the approaching jail: 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, on a warm third day, Calls forth each mass, a or a play: How hints, like spawn, scarce quick in embryo lie; How new-born nonsense first is taught to cry. 60 Maggots, half-form’d, in rhyme exactly meet, And learn to crawl upon poetic feet : Here one poor word a hundred clenches makes, And ductile Dulness new meanders takes , There motley images her fancy strike, Figures.ill-pair'd, and similes unlike. She sees a mob of metaphors advance, Pleased with the madness of the mazy dance;
REMARKS. for the time being, to be sung at court on every new-year's day, the words of which are happily drowned in the voices and instruments. The new-year odes of the hero of this work were of a cast distinguished from all that preceded him, and made a conspicuous part of his character as a writer, which doubtless induced our author to mention them here so particularly.
Ver. 45. In clouded majesty here Dulness shone.] See this cloud removed or rolled back, or gathered up to her head, Book iv. ver. 17, 18. It is worth while to compare his description of the majesty of Dulness in a state of peaco and tranquillity, with that more busy scene where she mounts the throne in triumph, and is not so much supported by her own virtues, as by the princely consciousness of having destroyed all other.
Ver. 57. Genial Jacob] Tonson. Tho famous race of booksellers of that name.
How tragedy and comedy embrace;
All these, and more, the cloud-compelling queen Beholds through fogs, that magnify the scene. 80 She, tinsel'd o'er in robes of varying hues, With self-applause her wild creation views; Sees momentary monsters rise and fall, And with her own fools' colours gilds them all.
'Twas on the day, when ** rich and grave, Like Cimon triumph'd 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, But lived in Settle's numbers, one day more. 90 Now mayors and shrieves all hush'd and satiate lay, Yet eat, in dreams, the custard of the day; While pensive poets painful vigils keep, Sleepless themselves, to give their readers sleep
REMARKS. Ver. 85, 86. "Twas on the day, when * * rich and grave -Like Cimon triumph'd] Viz. a lord mayor's day; his name the author had left in blanks, but most certainly could never be that which the editor foisted in formerly, and which no way agrees with the chronology of the poem.
Bentl. 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.
Ver. 90. But lived, in Settle's numbers, one day more A beautiful manne of speaking, usual with poets, in prallt of poetry.
Much to the mindful queen the feast recalls
REMARKS. Ibid. But lived, in Settle's numbers, one day more.] 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.
Ver. 98. John Heywood, whose interludes were printed in the time of llenry VIII.
Ver. 103. Old Pryn in restless Daniel.] The first edition
"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; as appears by the poem de Jure Divino, &c. of De Foe, and by some lines in Cowley's Miscellanies on the other. And both these authors had a resemblance in their fates as well as their writings, having been alike sentenced to the pillory.
Ver. 104. Anu Eusden eke out, &c.] Lawrence Eusden, poet laureate. Mr. Jacob gives a catalogue of some few unly of his works, which were very numerous. Mr. Cooke, in his Battle of Poets, saith of him,
'Eusden, a laureld bard by fortune rais'd,
By very few was read, by fewer praised.' Mr. Oldmison, in his Arts of Logic and Rhetoric, p. 413, 414, affirms, ' That of all the Galimatias he ever met with, none comes up to some verses of this poet, which have as much of the ridiculum and the fustian in them as can well be jumbled together, and are of that sort of nonsense, which so perfectly confounds all ideas, that there is no distinct one left in the mind.' Farther he says of him, 'That he hath prophesied his own poetry shall be sweeter than Catullus,
She saw slow Phillips creep like Tate's poor page
In rush'd Eusden, and cried who shall have it,
Session of Poets. The same plea might also serve for his successor, Mr. Cibber: and is further strengthened in the following epigram made on that occasion :
In merry Old England it once was a rule
That Cibber can serve both for fool and for poet.
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 Absolom and Achitophel are above two hundred admirable lines together, of ihat great hand, which strongly shine through the insipidits of the rest. Something parallel may be observed of another author here mentioned.
Ver. 105. And all the mighty mad in Dennis rage.) Mr. Theobald, in the Censor, vol. ii. No. 33, calls Mr. Dennis by the name of Furius. "The modern Furius is to be looked upon more as an object of pity, than of that which he daily provokes, laughter and contempt. Did we really know bow much this poor man' (I wish that reflection on poverty aad 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,