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And scream thyself as none e'er screamed be
fore! To aid our cause, if Heaven thou canst not
bend, Hell thou shalt move; for Faustus is our
friend: Pluto with Cato thon for this shalt join, And link the Mourning Bride to Proserpine.' Grubstreet! thy fall should men and Gods
conspire, Thy stage shall stand, ensure it but from Fire.? Another Æschylus appears ! prepare For new abortions, all ye pregnant fair ! In flames, like Semele's, be brought to bed,4 315 While opening Hell spouts wild-fire at your
Cyclops asks Ulysses his name, who tells him his name is Noman : After his eye is put out, he roars and calls the brother Cyclops to his aid. They inquire, who has hurt him? he answers, Noman; whereupon they all go away again. Our ingenious translator made Ulysses answer, I take no name, whereby all that followed became unintelligible. Hence it appears that Mr. Cibber (who values himself on subscribing to the English Translation of Homer's Iliad) had not that merit with respect to the Odyssey, or he might have been better instructed in the Greek Pun-nology. -P. W.
1 Names of miserable Farces, which it was the custom to act at the end of the best Tragedies, to spoil the digestion of the audience.-P.
*2 In Tibbald's Farce of Proserpine, a corn-field was set on fire: whereupon the other play-house had a barn burnt down for the recreation of the spectators. They also rivalled each other in showing the burnings of hell-fire, in Dr. Faustus. -P.
3 It is reported of Æschylus, that when his tragedy of the Furies was acted, the audience were so terrified, that the children fell into fits, and the big-bellied women miscarried.-P.
4 See Ovid, Met. iii.-P.
“Now, Bavius, take the poppy from thy brow, And place it here! here all ye Heroes bow ! This, this is he, foretold by ancient rhymes : The Augustus born to bring Saturnian times." Signs following signs lead on the mighty
year! See! the dull stars roll round and re-appear. See, see, our own true Phoebus wears the bays ! Our Midas sits Lord Chancellor of Plays ! On Poets' Tombs see Benson's titles writ! 2 325 Lo! Ambrose Philips is preferred for Wit! 3 1 “Hic ver, hic est! tibi quem promitti sæpius audis,
Augustus Cæsar, divum genus; aurea condet
Saturno quondam."-Virg. Æn. vi.
2 W--m Benson (Surveyor of Buildings to his Majesty King George I.) gave in a report to the Lords, that their House and the Painted Chamber adjoining were in immediate danger of falling. Whereupon the Lords met in a committee to appoint some other place to sit in, while the house should be taken down. But it being proposed to cause some other builders first to inspect it, they found it in very good condition. The Lords, upon this, were going upon an address to the King against Benson, for such a misrepresentation ; but the Earl of Sunderland, then Secretary, gave them an assurance that his Majesty would remove him, which was done accordingly. In favour of this man, the famous Sir Christopher Wren, who had been Architect to the Crown for above fifty years, who built most of the Churches in London, laid the first stone of St. Paul's, and lived to finish it, had been displaced from his employment at the age of near ninety years.-P.
In 1737 Benson erected a monument to Milton in Westminster Abbey, and inscribed his own name on it as founder.-Courthope.
3. “He was (saith Mr. JACOB) one of the wits at Button's, and a justice of the peace.” But he hath since met with higher preferment in Ireland : and a
See under Ripley rise a new Whitehall,
much greater character we have of him in Mr. Gildon's Complete Art of Poetry, vol. i. p. 157. “Indeed he confesses, he dares not set him quite on the same foot with Virgil, lest it should seem flattery; but he is much mistaken if posterity does not afford him a greater esteem than he at present enjoys." He endeavoured to create some misunderstanding between our Author and Mr. Addison, whom also soon after he abused as much. His constant cry was, that Mr. P. was an Enemy to the Government, and in particular he was the avowed author of a report very industriously spread, that he had a hand in a party-paper called the Examiner: a falsehood well known to those yet living, who had the direction and publication of it.-P.
See Moral Essays, iv. 18. ? At the time when this poem was written, the banqueting-house of Whitehall, the church and piazza of Covent-garden, and the palace and chapel of Somerset-house, the works of the famous Inigo Jones, had been for many years so neglected, as to be in danger of ruin. The portico of Covent-garden church had been just then restored and beautified at the expense of the Earl of Burlington ; who at the same time, by his publication of the designs of that great Master and Palladio, as well as by many noble buildings of his own, revived the true taste of Architecture in this Kingdom.-P.:
3 See Mr. Gay's fable of the Hare and many Friends. This gentleman was early in the friendship of our author, which continued to his death. He wrote several works of humour with great success, the Shepherd's Week, Trivia, the What-d'ye-call-it, Fables; and lastly, the celebrated Beggar's Opera; a piece of satire which hit all tastes and degrees of men, from those of the highest quality to the very rabble : That verse of Horace,
“Primores populi arripuit, populumque tributim," could never be so justly applied as to this. The vast
Hibernian Politics, O Swift! thy fate;? 331 And Pope's, ten years to comment and trans
success of it was unprecedented, and almost incredible : What is related of the wonderful effects of the ancient music or tragedy hardly came up to it: Sophocles and Euripides were less followed and famous. It was acted in London sixty-three days, uninterrupted ; and renewed the next season with equal applauses. It spread into all the great towns of England, was played in many places to the thirtieth and fortieth time, at Bath and Bristol fifty, &c. It made its progress into Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, where it was performed twenty-four days together : It was last acted in Minorca. The fame of it was not confined to the author only; the ladies carried about with them the favourite songs of it in fans; and houses were furnished with it in screens. The person who acted Polly, till then obscure, became all at once the favourite of the town; her pictures were engraved, and sold in great numbers ; her life written, books of letters and verses to her published ; and pamphlets made even of her sayings and jests.
Furthermore, it drove out of England, for that season, the Italian Opera, which had carried all before it for ten years. That idol of the Nobility and people, which the great Critic Mr. Dennis by the labours and outcries of a whole life could not overthrow, was demolished by a single stroke of this gentleman's pen. This happened in the year 1728. Yet so great was his modesty, that he constantly prefixed to all the editions of it this motto, Nos hoc novimus esse nihil.-P.
? See Book i. v. 26.-P. W.
2 The author here plainly laments that he was so long employed in translating and commenting. He began the Miad in 1713, and finished it in 1719. The edition of Shakespear (which he undertook merely because nobody else would) took up near two years more in the drudgery of comparing impressions, rectifying the Scenery, &c., and the Translation of half the Odyssey employed him from that time to 1725.--P.
“Proceed, great days ! till Learning fly the
shore, Till Birch shall blush with noble blood no
more, Till Thames see Eton's sons for ever play, 335 Till Westminster's whole year be holiday, Till Isis’ Elders reel, their pupils sport, And Alma Mater lie dissolved in Port!” “Enough! enough!” the raptured Monarch
cries; And through the Ivory Gate the Vision flies.' 340
1 “Sunt geminæ Somni portæ; quarum altera fertur
Virg. Æn. vi.-P.