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The sturdy Squire to Gallic masters stoop,
More she had spoke, but yawn'd-All Nature nods :
Then catch'd the Schools; the Hall scarce kept awake ; ;
* An ancient amusement of Sovereign Princes, (viz.) Achilles, Alexander, Nero; though despied by Themistocles, who was a Republican. t Either after their Prince, or to Pontoise, or Siberia.
This verse is truly Homerical; as is the conclusion of the Action, where the great Mother composes all, in the same manner as Minerva at the period of the Odyssey.- It may indeed seem a very singular Epi:asis of a Poem, to end as th s does, with a Great Yawn; but we must consider it as the Town of a God, and of powerful effects. It is not out of Naturc, most long and grave counsels concluding in this very manner : Nor without Authority, the, incomparable Spencer having ended one of the most considerable of his works with Roar ; but then it is the Roar of a Lion, the effects whereof arc described as the Catastrophe of the Poem.
ụ The Progress of this Yawn is judicious, natural, and worthy to be noted. First it feizeth the Churches and Chapels; then catcheth the Schools, where, tho' the boys be unwilling to sleep, the Masters are not : Next Westminster. hall, much more hard indeed to subdue, and not totally put to fi. lence even by the Goddess : Then the Convocation, which tho' extremely desirous to speak, yet cannot : Even the House of Commons, justly called the Sense of the Nation, is lose (that is to say suspended) during the Yawn (far be it from our Author to suggest it could be lost any longer !) but it spreadeth at large over all the rest of the Kingdom, to such a degree, that. Palinurus himself (though as incapable of Neeping as Jupiter) yet noddeth for a moment; the effect of which, though ever so momentary, could not but cause some Relaxation, for the time, in all public affairs. SCRIBL. $ implying a great desire so to do, as the learned Scholiait on the plac
Loft was the Nation's Sense, nor could be found,
O Muse! relate (for you can tell alone,
625 O fing, and hush the Nations with thy Song !
rightly observes. Therefore, beware Reader, left thou take this Gape for a Yawn, which is attended with no de fire but to go to rest : by no means the disposition of the Convocation ; whose melancholy case in short is this : She was, as is reported, infeted with the general influence of the Goddess; and while she was yawning carelesly at her case, a wanton Courtier took her at advantage, and in the very nick clap'da Gag into her chops. Well therefore may we know her meaning by her gaping; and this distressful posture our poet here describes, just as she stands at ihis day, a fad example of the effects of Dulness and Malice uncheck d, and despised.
BENTL. * VER. 015, 618.) These Verses were writien many years ago, and may be found in the State Poems of that time. So that Scriblerus is mistaken, or whoeverelse have imagined this Poem of a fresher date.
+ This seems to be the reason why the Poets, when they give us a Cata. logue, conftantly call for help on-the Muses, who, as the Daughters of Memory, are obliged not to forget any thing. So Homer, Iliad ii. and Virgil, Æn vii. But our Poet had yet another reason for putting this Talk upon the Muse, that, all besides being asleep, The only could relate what posled.
SCRIBL. It were a Problem worthy the solution of Mr. Ralph and his Patron, who had lights that we know nothing of;- Which required the greatest effort of our Goddess's power, to intrance obe Dull, or to quiet tbe Venal. For though the Venal may be more unruly than the Dull, yet, on the other hand, il demands a much greater expence of her Virtue to intrance than barely to guiet.
In vain, in vain,-the all-composing Hour
* Here the Muse, like Jove's Eagle, after a sudden stoop at ignoble game, foareth again to the skies. As Prophecy hath ever been one of the chief provinces of Poesy, our poet here foretells from what we feel, what we are to fear; and in the style of other prophets, hath used the future tense for the preterit : since what he says shall be, is already to be seen, in the writings of fome even of our most adored authors, in Divinity, Philosophy, Physics, Metaphysics, etc. who are too good indeed to be named in such company.
+ The fable Thrones of Night'and Chaos, here represented as advancing to extinguish the light of the Sciences, in the first place blot out the Colours of Fancy and damp the Fire of Wil, before they proceed to their work.
# Alluding to the saying of Democritus, That Truth lay at the bottom of a deep well, from whence hc had drawn her : Though Burler says, He firfe put ber in, before be drew ber out.
|| Philosophy has at length brought things to that pass, as to have it esteemed unphilosophical to rest in the first Cause; as if its ends were an endless indagation of cause after cause, without ever coming to the first. So that to avoid this unlearned disgrace, some of the propagators of our best philofophy have had recourse to the contrivance here hinted at. For this Philoro. phy, which is founded in the principle of Gravitation, first considered that property in matter, as something extrinsical to it, and impressed immediately by God upon it. Which fairly and modestly coming up to the first Cause, was pushing natural enquiries as far as they should go. But this stopping,
Physic of Metaphysic begs defence,
though at the extent of our ideas, and on the maxim of the great founder
" Pulsantes equidem vires intelligo nusquam
Anti-Luer. To avoid which imaginary discredit to the new theory, it was thought proper to seek for the cause of gravitaticn in a certain elastic fluid, which pervaded all body. By this means, instead of really advancing in natural enquiries, we were brought back again, by this ingenious expedient, to an unsatisfacto. ry second cause.
Philosophy that lean'd on Heav'n before,
Shrinks to her second cause, and is no more. For it might still, by the same kind of objection, be asked, what was the cause of that elasticity ? See this folly censured, v. 475.
* Certain wri'ers, as Malbranche, Norris, and others, liave thought it of importance, in order to secure the existence of the foul, to bring in question the reality of busly; which they have attempted to do by a very refined metapbysical reasoning : While others of the fame party, in order to persuade us of the necessity of a Revelation which promises immortality, have been as anxious to prove that those qualities which are commonly supposed to belong only to an immaterial Being, are but the result from the sensations of matter, and the soul naturally mortal. Thus, between these different rea. fonings, they have left us neither Soul nor Body; nor, the Sciences of Phyfics and Metaphysics the least support, by making them depend upon, and go a begging to, one another.
+ A sort of men, who make human reason the adequate measure of all Truth, having pretended that whatsoever is not fully comprehended by it, is contrary to it ; certain defenders of Religion, who would not be outdone in a paradox, have gone as far in the opposite folly, and attempted to thew that the mysteries of Religion may be mathematically demonstrated; as the authors of Pbilosopbic, or Astronomic Principles of Religion, natural and revealed; who have much prided themselves on reficcting a fantastic light upon religion from the frigid fubtilty of school moonshi
Religion * blushing veils her sacred fires,
* Blushing as well at the memory of the past overflow of Dulness, when the barbarous learning of so many ages was wholly employed in corrupting the simplicity, and defiling the purity of Religion, as at the view of these her false supports in the prefert; of which it would be endless to recount the particulars. However, amidst the extinction of all other Lights, she is said only to withdraw hers; as hers alone in its own nature is unextinguishable and eternal.
+ It appears from hence that our Poet was of very different sentiments from the Author of the Characteristics, who has written a formal treatise on Virtue, to prove it not only real but durable, without the support of Religion. The word unawares alludes to the confidence of those men, who suppose that Morality would Aourish best without it, and consequently to the furprize such would be in (if any such there are) who indeed love Virtue, and Yet do all they can to root out the Religion of their Country,
The End of the FOURTH Book.