Page images

All gaze with ardour : fome a poet's name, Others a sword-knot and lac'd fuit inflame. But lofty Lintot * in the circle rose: r. This prize is mine; who tempt it are my foes ; “ With me began this genius, and shall end." 55 He spoke : and who with Lintot shall contend?

Fear held them mute, Alone, untaught to fear, Stood dauntless Curl t; “ Behold that rival here !

66 The

thought a wit. Here is a viry strong instance attested by Mr. Sarage, son of the late earl Rivers, who having shewn some verses of his in manuscript to Mr. Moore, wherein Mr. Pipe was called forse of tbe runeful train, Mr. Moore the next morning sent to Mr. Savage to desire him to give chose verses anoother turn, to wit, “ That Pope might now be the first, because More had deft him unrival'd, in turning his style to Comedy.” This was during the rehearsal of the Rival Modes, his first and only work; the town condemned it in the action, but he printed it in 1726-7, with this modelt motto,

Hic cæslus, artemque repono. The smaller pieces which we have heard attributed to this author are, An Epigram on the Bridge at Blenbeim, by Dr. Evins : Cofmelia, by Mr. Pit, Mr. Jones, etc.

The Mock-marriage of a mad Divine, with a Cl. for a Parson, by Dr. W. The Saw-pit, a Simile, by a Friend. Certain Physical works on Sir James Baker; and some unown’d Letters, Advertisements, and Epigrams against our author in the Daily Journal.

Notwithstanding what is here collected of the person imagin`d by Cur/ to be meant in this place, we cannot be of that opinion : since our poet had certainly no need of vindicating half a dozen verses to himself, which every reader had done for him ; since the name itself is not spulled Moore, but More; and lastly, fince the learned Scribberus has so well proved the contrary.

It appears from hence, that this is not the name of a real person, but fi&titious. More from peãpos, foultus, Mcopic, ftultitia, to represent the folly of a plagiary. Thus Erasmus, Admonuit me Mori cognomen tibi, quod tam ad Moriæ vocabulum accedit quam es ipje a ne alienus. Dedication of Moriæ Encomium to Sir hó. More ; the farewel of which may be our author's to his plagiary, Vale, More! et moriam tuam graviter defende. Adieu, More! and be sure strongly to defend thyown folly.

SCRIBL, * We enter here upon the episode of the Booksellers ; persons, whose names being more known and famous in the learned world than those of the Autho's in this poena, do therefore need less explanation. The action of Mr. Lintot here imitates that of Dares in Virgil, rising just in this manner to lay hold on a Bull. This eminent book seller printed the Rival Modes before mentioned.

+ We come now to a character of much respect, that of Mr. Edmund Curl. As a'plain repetition of great actions is the best praise of them, we fhall only say of this eminent man, that he carried the trade many lengths

beyond If ever he owed two verses to any other, he owed Mr. Curl some thousands. He was every day extending his fame, and enlarging his writings: witness innumerable instances; but it shall suffice only to mention the Court Poems, which he meant to publish as the work of the true writer, a lady of quality ; but being first threatened, and afterwards punished for it by Mr, Pope, he generously transferred it from ber to bim, and ever since printed it in his namic.

“ The race by vigour, not by vaunts, is won;
66 So take the hindmost, Hell," (he faid) and run.

Swift as a bard the Bailiff leaves behind,
He left huge Lintot, and out-stript the wind.
As when a dab-chick waddles through the copre
On feet and wings, and flies, and wades, and hops ;
So lab'ring on, with shoulders, hands and head,
Wide as a wind-mill all his figure spread,
With arms expanded Bernard rows his state,
And left legg'd Jacob seems to emulate.
Full in the middle way there stood a lake,
Which Curt's Corinna * chanc'd that morn to make : 70



beyond what it ever before had arrived at; and that he was the envy

and admiration of all his profession. He possessed himself of a command over all authors whatever; he caused them to write what he pleased ; they could not call their very Names their own. He was not only famous among these; he was taken notice of by the State, the Church, and the Law, and received particular marks of distinction from each.

It will be owned that he is here introduced with all possible dignity: he fpeaks like the intrepid Diomed; he runs like the swift-footed Achilles; if he falis, 'tis like the beloved Nisus; and (what Homer makes to be the chief of all praises) he is favoured of tbe Gods; he says but three words, and his prayer is heard ; a Goddess conveys it to the seat of Jupiter : Though he Boses the prize, he gains the victory; the great Mother herself comforts him, the inspires him with expedients, the honours him with an immortal present, (such as Achilles receives from Thetis, and Æneas from Venus) at once initructive and prophetical : After this he is unrivalled and triumphant.

The tribute our author here pays him is a grateful return for several unmerited obligations : many weighty animadversions on the public affairs, and many excellent and diverting pieces on private persons, has he given to his 75

The single time that ever he spoke 1o C. was on that affair, and to that happy incident he owed all the favours since received from him : So true is the saying of Dr. Sydenham, " that any one shall be, at fome “ time or other, the better or the worse, for having but seen or spokon to a good or bad man." This name, it seems, was taken by one M Town, who procured



(Such was her wont, at early dawn to drop
Her ev’ning cates before his neighbour's shop)
Here fortun'd Curl to slide ; loud shout the band,
And Bernard ! Bernard ! rings thro' all the Strand.
Obscene with filth * the miscreant lies bewray'd,
Fall’n in the plash his wickedness had laid :
Then first (if poets aught of truth declare)
The caitiff Vaticide conceiv'd a pray'r.

Hear Jove ! whose name my bards and I adore,
As much at least as any God's, or more ;
And him and his, if more devotion warms,
Down with the Bible, up with the Pope's arms to

[ocr errors]


some private letters of Mr. Pope, while almost a boy, to Mr. Cromwell, and sold them without the consent of either of those gentlemen to Curl, who printed them in 12mo, 1727. He discovered her to be the publisher in his Key, p. 11. We only take this opportunity of mentioning the manner in which those letters got abroad, which the author was ashamed of as very trivial things, full not only of levities, bút of wrong judgments of men and books, and only excusable from the youth and inexperience of the writer.

* Though this incident may seem too low and base for the dignity of an epic poem, the learned very well know it to be bat a copy of Homer and Virgil ; the very words of and fimus are used by them, though our poet (in compliance with modernļnicety) has remarkably enriched and coloured his language, as well as raised the versification, in this Episode, and in the following one to Eliza. Mr. Dryden, in Mack. Fleckno, has not scrupled 10 mention the Morning Toast at which the fishes bite in the Thames, Pissing Alley, Reliets of tbe Bum, etc. but our author is more grave, and (as a fine writer says of Virgil in his Georgics) toples about bis Dung with an air of Majesty. If we consider that the exercises of his Authors could with justice be no higher than tickling, chattering, braying, or diving, it was no easy matter to invent such games as were proportioned to the meaner degree of Booksellers, In Homer and Virgil, Ajax and Nisus, the persons drawn in this plight, are Heroes; whereas here they are such with whom it had been great impropriety to have joined any but vile ideas; besides the narural connection there is between Libellers and common Nuisances. Nevertheless I have heard our author own,

that this part of his poem was (as it frequently happens) what coft him moft trouble and pleased him least ; but that he hoped it was ex. cusable, since levelled at such as understand no delicate satire: Thus the po.. litest men are sometimes obliged to swear, when they happen to have to do with porters and oyster wenches,

+ The Bible, Curl's lign; the Cross-Keys, Lintet's.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

A place there is, betwixt earth, air, and seas*,
Where from Ambrosia, Jove retires for ease.
There in his feat two spacious vents appear,
On this he fits, to that he leans his ear,
And hears the various vows of fond mankind,
Some beg an eaftern, fome a western wind :
All vain petitions, mounting to the sky,
With reams abundant this abode supply;
Amus'd he reads, and then returns the bills
Sign'd with that ichor which from Gods distils t.

In office here fair Cloacina ftands,
And ministers to Jove with purest hands :
Forth from the heap she pick'd her Vot’ry's pray'r, 95
And plac'd it next him, a distinction rare !
Oft had the Goddess heard her servant's call,
From her black grottos near the Temple-wall,
Lift'ning delighted to the jeft unclean
Of link-boys vile, and watermen obscene ;
Where as he fish'd || her nether realms for wit,
She oft had favour'd him, and favours yet.
Renew'd by ordure's sympathetic force,
As oild with magic juices ş for the course,
Vig'rous he rises ; from the effluvia strong

105 Imbibes new life, and scours and stinks along ; Re-passes Lintot, vindicates the race, Nor heeds the brown dishonours of his face.

And now the victor stretch'd his eager hand Where the tall Nothing stood, or seem'd to stand ; I DO


* See Lucian's Icaro-Menippus, where this fiction is more extended.
+ Alludes to Homer, Iliad v.

'έε δ' άμβροτον αίμα Θέριο,
Ιχωρ, οίς περ τε ρέει μακαρεσσι Θεοίσιν.
"A stream of nett'rous humour issuing Aow'd,
“ Sanguine, such as celestial sp'rits may bleed."

Milton. # The Roman goddess of the common fewers.

See the preface to Swift's and Pope's Miscellanies. $ Alluding to the opinion that there are ointments us'd by witches to en. able them to fly in the air, &c.

A shapetels

A shapeless shade, it melted from his fight,
Like forms in clouds, or visions of the night.
To seize his papers, Curl, was next thy care ;
His papers light, Ay diverse, toft in air;
Songs, fonnets, epígrams the winds uplift,

And whilk'em back to Evans, Young, and Swift*.
Th' embroider'd fuit at least he deem'd his prey,
That suit an unpay'd taylor + snatch'd away.
No rag, no scrap, of all the beau, or wit,
That oncé só flutter'd, and that once fo writ. 120

Heav'n rings with laughter : Of the laughter vain, Dulness, good queen, repeats the jest again. Three wicked' imps, of her own Grub-ftreet choir, She deck'd like Congreve, Addison, and Prior ; Mears, Warner, Wilkins || run : delusive thought! 125 Breval, Bond, Besaleel §, the varlets caught.

Ee 2


[ocr errors]

* Some of those persons, whose writings, epigrams, or jefts he had owped. See Note on ver. 50.

† This line has been loudly complain'd of in Mift, June 8, Dedic. lo Sawney, and others, as a' molt inhuman fatire on the poverty of poers : but it is thought our author will be acquitted by a jury of Taylors. To me this instance seems unluckily chosen; if it be a fatire on any body, it must be on a bad paymasıer, since the person to whom they have here apply'd it was a man of fortune. Not but poets may well be jealous of fo great a prerogative as non-payment ; which Mr. Dennis so far asferes, as boldly' to pronounce, that "if Homer himself was not in debt, it was because nobody would trust him.” (Pref. to Rem on the Rape of the Lock, p: 15.)

# These authors being such whose names will reach posterity, we shall not give any account of them, but proceed those of whom' it is neceffary.-Befaleel Morris was author of some satire's on the translators of Homer, with many

other things printed in news-papers. " Bond writ' a satire against «' Mr. P-- Capt. Breval was author of The Confederates, an ingenious “ dramatic performance, to expose Mr. P-, Mr. Gay, Dr. Arb. and some " ladies of quality,” says Curl, Key, p. I'r. Il Booksellers and printers of much anonymous

fuff. $ I foresce it will be objected from this line, that we were in an error in our affertion on ver. 50, of this book, that More was a fi&titious name, since these persons are equally represented by the poet as phantoms. So al forft fight is may seem; but be not deceived, reader ; these alío are not real perfons, ''Tis true, Curl declares Breval, a captain, author of a piece called The Conféderates; but the fame Gurl first said it was written by Joseph Gay: Is his


« PreviousContinue »