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And blunt the sense, and fit it for a skull
25 Of solid proof, impenetrably dull : Inftant, when dipt, away they wing their flight, Where Brown and Mears * unbar the gates of Light, Demand new bodies, and in Calf's array, Rush to the world, impatient for the day.
30 Millions and millions on these banks he views, Thick as the stars of night, or morning dews, As thick as bees o'er vernal blossoms fly, As thick as eggs at Ward in pillory +.
Wond'ring he gaz’d: When lo! a Sage appears, 35 By his broad shoulders known, and length of ears 1 VOL. II.
Mr. Dennis warmly contends, that Bavius was no inconsiderable author; nay, that " He and Mævius bad (even in Augustus's days) a very formida“ ble party at Rome, who thought them much fuperior to Virgil and Ho.
race : For (faith he) I cannot believe they would have fixed that eternal 66 brand upon them, if they bad not been coxcombs in more than ordinary s6 credit." Rem. on Pr. Arthur, part ii. c. i. An argument which, if this poem Mould last, will conduce to the honour of the gentlemen of the Dunciad.
* Booksellers, Printers for any body. The allegory of the souls of the dull coming forth in the forır. of hooks, dressed in calf s leather, and being let abroad in valt numbers by Bookfellers, is furficiently intelligibie.
+ Juhn Ward of Hackney, Eiq; Member of Parliament, being convicted of forgery, was first expelled the House, and then sentenced to the Pillory on the 17th of February 1727. Mr. Curl (haring likewise stood there) looks upon the mention of such a Gentleman in a satire, as a great a&t of barbarisy, Key to the Dunc. 3d edit, p. 16. And another author reasons thus upon it, Durgen, évo. p. 11, 12, “ How unwor!hy is it of Christion Charily to ani“ mate the rabble to abuse a xoriby man in fuch a situation? What could move “ the Poet thus to mention a brave sufferer, a gallant prisoner, exposed to the “ view of all mankind! It was laying aside his Senses, it was committing a “ Crims, for which the Law is deficient not to punith him! nay, a Crime " which Man can scarce forgive, or Time efface! nothing surely could have “ induced him to it but being bribed by a great Lady," etc. to whom this brave, honest, worthy gentleman was guilty of no offence but forgery, proved in open court.) But it is evident, this verse could not be meant of him ; it being notorious, that no eggs were thrown at that gentleman. Pere haps therefore it might be intended of Mr. Edward Ward the poet, when he food there.
# This is a 'Sophisticated riading. I think I may venture to affirm all the Copyists are mistaken here : ! b:liqve I may fay the fame of the Critics,
Known by the band and suit which Settle * wore
Oh born to see what none can see awake!
Dennis, Oldmixon, Wellted have passed it in silence. I have also fumbled at it, and wondered how an error fo manifest could escape such accurate persons. I dare assert it proceeded originally from the inadvertency of fome Transcriber, whose head ran on the pillory, mentioned two lines before; it is therefore amazing that Mr. Curl himself Mould overlook it! Yet that Scboliase takes not the least notice hereof. That the learned Mist also read it thus, is plain from his ranging this passage among those in which our author was blamed for personal Satire on a Man's face (whereof doubtless he might take the ear to be a part;) so likewise Concannen, Ralph, the Flying Post, and all the herd of Commentators.-Tota armenta fequuntur.
A very little fagacity (which all these gentlemen therefore wanted) will restore us to the true sense of the Poet, thus,
By bis broed shoulders known, and length of years. See how easy a change; of one single letter! That Mr. Settle was old, is most certain ; but he was (happily) a stranger to the Pillory. This nele partly Mr. THEOBALD's, partly SCRIBL.
Elkanah Settle was once a writer in vogue as well as Cibber, both for Dramatic Poetry and Politics. Mr. Dennis tells us, that “ he was a formid“ able rival to Mr. Dryden, and that in the University of Cambridge there or were those who gave him the preference.” Mr. Welfted goes yet farther in his behalf : “ Poor Settle was formerly the migbey rival of Dryden ; nay, “ for many years, bore his reputation above him.” Pref. to his Poems, 8vo. p. 31. And Mr. Milbourne cried out, “ How little was Dryden able, even so when his blood run high, to defend himself against Mr. Settle!” Notes: on Dryd. Virg. p. 175. These are comfortable opinions! and no wonder fome authors indulge them.
He was author or publisher of many noted pamphlets in the time of king Charles II, He answered all Dryden's political poems, and being cried up on one side, succeeded not a little in his Tragedy of the Empress of Morocco (the first that was ever printed with Cuts.) “ Upon this he grew insolent, ď the Wits writ against his Play, he replied, and the Town judged he had " the better. In short, Settle was then thought a very formidable rival to “ Mr. Dryden; and not only the Town, but the University of Cambridge, “ was divided which to prefer; and in both places the younger fort inclined: Go to Élkanah," Dennis, Pref. to Rem. on Hom.
Thou, yet unborn, haft touch'd this sacred shore; 45
65 And let the past and future fire thy brain.
Ascend this hill t, whose cloudy point commands
* Bæotia lay under the ridicple of the Wits formerly, as Ireland does now; tho' it produced one of the greatest Poets and one of the greatest Generals of Greece.
+ The scenes of this vision are remarkable for the order of their appearance. First, from v. 67 to 73, those places of the globe are hewn where Science never rose; then from rer. 74 to 83, those where she was destroyed by Tyranny ; from ver. 85 to 95, by inundations of Barbarians ; from ver. 96 to 106, by Superftition, Then Rome, the Mistress of Arts, described in her degeneracy; and lastly Britain, the scene of the action of the poem ; which furnishes the occasion of drawing out the Progeny of Dulness in review.
I Almost the whole Southern and Northern Continent wrapt in igngo
(Earth's wide extremes) her sable flag display'd,
Far eastward * cast thine eye, from whence the Sun
Thence to the south extend thy gladden'd eyes;
How little, mark! that portion of the ball,
Our author favours the opinion that all Sciences came from the Eastern dations.
+ Chi Ho-am-ti emperor of China, the same who built the great wall between China and Tartary, destroyed all the books and learned men of that empire.
# The caliph, Omar I. having conquerid Agypt, caus'd his general to burn the Ptolomean library, on the gates of which was this inscription, YXHË IATPEION, The Physick of the Soul.
ll Phænicia, Syria, &c. where letters are said to have been invented. In these countrics Mahomet began his conquests. 4
Book III. THE
Lo! Rome herself, proud mistress now no more
* A strong instance of this pious rage is plac'd to pope Gregory's account. John of Salisbury gives a very odd encomium of this pope, at the same time that he mentions one of the strangest effects of this excess of zeal in him. Dostor fansiifimus ille Gregorius, qui melleo prædicationis imbre totam r'gavi & in:briavit ecciesiam, non modo Mathelin juffit ab a!i; sedut traditur a majoribus, incendio debit probatæ le&tionis feripta, Palasinus quæcurque tenebat Apollo. And in another place: Fertur b:aius Gregorius bibliorkecam combullille gentilen: ; quo divinæ pagince gratior eller locus, & major authoritas, & diligentia feudisfier. Deliderius, archbishop of Vienna, was sharply reproved by him for teaching grammar and literature, and explaining the poets ; because (says this pope) in uno se ore cum Jevis laudibus, Cbriti laudes i.on capiunt ; Er quam grave nefandumque fit, Episspis conere quod nec Laico religioso conveniai, ipse considera. He is faid,' among the rest, to have burned Livy; Quia in fuperftitionibus & facris Romanorum perpituộ verfarur.
The same pope is ac. cused by Vossius and others of having cans'd the nolie monuments of the old Roman magnificence to be destroyed, left those who came to Rome should give more attention to triumplial arches, etc. than to holy things. Bayle Dict.
† After the government of Rome devolved to the popes, their zeal was for some time exerted in demolining the heathen temples and statues, so that the Goths scarce diftroyed more monuments of antiquity out of rage than these out of devotion. At length they spared some of the temples by converting them into churches, and fome of the statues, by modifying them into images of faints. In much later times it was thought necessary to change the ftatues of Apollo and Pallas on the tomb of Sannazarius, ' into David and Judith; the lyre easily became a harp, and the Gorgon's head turn'd to that of Holofernes.