Page images
PDF
EPUB

Here all his suff’ring brotherhood retire,
And 'scape the martyrdom of jakes and fire :
A Gothic Library! of Greece and Rome 145
Well purg'd, and worthy Settle, Banks, and Broome.

VARIATIONS. Ver. 146. In the first Edit. it was,

Well purg'd, and worthy W-y, W-s, and Bl— And in the following altered to Withers, Quarles, and Blome, on which was the following note;

It was printed in the surreptitious editions, Wesley, Watts, who were persons eminent for good life; the one writ the Life of Christ in verse, the other some valuable pieces in the lyric kind on pious subjects. The line is here restored according to its original.

George Withers was a great pretender to poetical zeal against the vices of the times, and abused the greatest personages in power, which brought upon him frequent Correction. The Marshalsea and Newgate were no strangers to him." Winstanly. Quarles was as dull a writter, but an honester man. Blome's books are remarkable for their cuts. W.

REMARKS. scene written against Cambden's Britannia; her Grace thought, I suppose, that a geographic satire in the middle of a play, was mixing the utile with the dulci. Three volumes more, in folio, of her poems, are preserved in manuscript. Whoever has a mind to know more of this fertile pedant, will find a detail of her works in Ballard's Memoirs, from whence I have taken this account."

· Ver. 146. worthy Settle, Banks, and Broome.] The Poet has mentioned these three authors in particular, as they are parallel to our Hero' in his three capacities: 1. Settle was his Brother Laureat; only indeed upon half-pay, for the City instead of the Court; but equally famous for unintelligible flights in his poems on public occasions, such as Shows, Birth-days, &c. 2. Banks was his Rival in Tragedy (though more successful) in one of his Tragedies, the Earl of Essex, which is yet alive: Anna Boleyn, the Queen of Scots, and Cyrus the Great, are dead and gone. These he dressed in a sort of Beggar's Velvet, or a happy mixture of the thick 'Fustian, and thin Prosaic ; exactly imitated in Perolla and Isidora, Cæsar in Egypt, and the Heroic Daughter. 3.

But, high above, more solid Learning shone, The Classics of an Age that heard of none; There Caxton slept, with Wynkyn at his side, One clasp'd in wood, and one in strong cow-hide

[ocr errors]

REMARKS.

Broome was a serving man of Ben. Jonson, who once picked up a Comedy from his Betters, or from some cast scenes of his Master, not entirely contemptible. W.

Ver. 149. Caxton] A Printer in the time of Edw. IV. Rich. III. and Hen. VII. Wynkyn de Word, his successor, in that of Hen. VII. and VIII. The former, whom Bale entitles, Vir non omnino stupidus, translated into prose Virgil's Æneis, as a history; of which he speaks, in his Proeme, in a very singular manner, as of a book hardly known. “Happened that to my hande cam a lytyl book in frenche, whiche late was translated out of latyn by some noble clerke of fraunce, whiche booke is named Eneidos, (made in latyn by that noble poete & grete clerk Vyrgyle :) whiche booke I sawe over and redde therein, How after the general destruccyon of the grete Troy, Eneas departed berynge his old fader anchises upon his sholdres, his lytyl son yolas on his hande, his wyfe with moche other people followynge, and how he shipped and departed; wythe all thystorye of his adventures that he had er he came to the atchievement of his conquest of ytalye, as all alonge shall be shewed in this present booke. In whiche booke I had grete playsyr, by cause of the fayr and honest terms & wordes in frenche, whiche I never sawe to fore lyke, ne none so playsaunt ne so well ordred; whiche booke as me semed sholde be moch requsiyte to 'noble men to see, as wel for the eloquence as the hystoryes. How wel that many hondred yerys passed was the sayd booke of Eneydos wyth other workes made and lerned dayly in scholis, especyally in ytalye and other places, whiche historye the sayd Vyrgyle made in metre.Tibbald quotes a rare passage from him in Mist's Journal of March 16, 1728, concerning a straunge and mervyllouse beaste called Sagittarye, which he would have Shakspear to mean rather than Teucer, the Archer celebrated by Homer. W

An undeserved piece of ridicule, on an industrious man, whose labours introduced literature into this country. See what is said of hiin by one who was a real and rational lover of antiquity, in the History of English Poetry, vol. ii.

There, sav'd by spice, like Mummies, many a year, Dry Bodies of Divinity appear :

152 De Lyra there a dreadful front extends, And here the groaning shelves Philemon bends.

Of these twelve volumes, twelve of amplest size, Redeem'd from tapers and defrauded pies, 156 Inspir’d he seizes : these an altar raise : An hecatomb of pure, unsully'd lays That altar crowns : a 'folio Common-place Founds the whole pile, of all his works the base : Quartos, octavos, shape the less'ning pyre; 161 A twisted Birth-day Ode completes the spire.

Then he : Great Tamer of all human art! First in my care, and ever at my heart;

VARIATIONS.
Ver. 162. A twisted, &c.] In the former Ed.

And last, a little Ajax tips the Spire. W.
Altered for the worse.

Var. A little Ajax] In duodecimo, translated from Sophocles by Tibbald.

REMARKS. Ver. 152. Dry Bodies of Divinity] The impropriety of placing such sort of books in the library of Cibber, is not to be vindicated..

Ver. 153. De Lyra there] He was born in Normandy of Jew. ish parents, educated under some learned Rabbis, and for many years devoted to Judaism. He afterward was converted to Christianity, and became a Cordelier at Verneuil, 1291. He taught with great reputation at Paris, and was made executor to the will of King Philip's Queen. He died in an advanced age, 1340.

Ver. 154. Philemon Holland, Doctor in Physic. “He translated so many books, that a man would think he had done nothing else ; insomuch that he might be called Translator general of his age. The books alone of his turning into English are sufficient to make a Country Gentleman a complete Library.Winstanly. W

Dulness ! whose good old cause I yet defend, 165
With whom my Muse began, with whom shall end,
E'er since Sir Fopling's Perriwig was Praise,
To the last honours of the Butt and Bays:
O thou! of Bus’ness the directing soul! ..
To this our head like byass to the bowl, 170
Which, as more pond'rous, made its aim more true,
Obliquely waddling to the mark in view :
Oh! ever gracious to perplex'd mankind,
Still spread a healing mist before the mind;
And, lest we err by Wit's wild dancing light, 175
Secure us kindly in our native night.

REMARKS.

Ver. 167. E'er since Sir Fopling's Periwig] The first visible cause of the passion of the Town for our Hero, was a fair flaxen full-bottomed Periwig, which, he tells us, he wore in his first play of the Fool in Fashion. It attracted, in a particular manner, the Friendship of Col. Brett, who wanted to purchase it. “Whatever contempt (says he) Philosophers may have for a fine Periwig, my friend, who was not to despise the world, but to live in it, knew very well that so material an article of dress upon the head of a man of sense, if it became him, could never fail of drawing to him a more partial Regard and Benevolence, than could possibly be hoped for in an ill made one. This, perhaps, may soften the grave censure, which so youthful a purchase might otherwise have laid upon him. In a word, he made his attack upon this Periwig, as your young fellows generally do upon a lady of pleasure, first by a few familiar praises of her person, and then a civil inquiry into the price of it'; and we finished our bargain that night over a bottle." See Life, octavo, p. 303. This remarkable Periwig usually made its entrance upon the stage in a sedan, brought in by two chairmen with infinite approbation of the audience. W.

IMITATIONS.
Ver. 166. With whom my Muse began, with whom shall end, 1

A te principium, tibi desinet.”. Virg. Ecl. viii.
«Εκ Διός αρχώμεσθα, και εις Δία λήγετε, Μοϊσαι.. Τheoc.
“Prima dicte mihi, summa dicende Camæna.". Hor.

Or, if to Wit a Coxcomb make pretence,
Guard the sure barrier between that and Sense;
Or quite unravel all the reas’ning thread,
And hang some curious cobweb in its stead ! 180
As, forc'd from wind-guns, lead itself can fly,
And pond'rous slugs cut swiftly through the sky;

VARIATIONS.

Ver. 177. Or, if to Wit, &c.] In the former Ed.

Ah! still o'er Britain stretch that peaceful wand,
Which lulls th' Helvetian and Batavian land;
Where rebel to thy throne if Science rise,
She does but shew her coward face and dies :
There thy good Scholiasts with unweary'd pains
Make Horace flat, and humble Maro's strains :
Here studious I unlucky moderns save,
Nor sleeps one error in its father's grave,
Old puns restore, lost blunders nicely seek,
And crucify poor Shakspeare once a week.
For thee supplying, in the worst of days,
Notes to dull books, and prologues to dull plays;
Not that my quill to critics was confin'd
My verse gave ampler lessons to mankind :
So gravest precepts may successless prove,
But sad examples never fail to move.

As, forc'd from wind-guns, &c.
These lines appear to be better than those in the present text.

Var. And crucify poor Shakspeare once a week.] For some time, once a week or fortnight, he printed in Mist's Journal a single remark or poor conjecture on some word or pointing of Shak. speare, either in his own name, or in letters to himself as from others without name. Upon these somebody made this Epigram:

“ 'Tis gen'rous, Tibbald ! in thee and thy brothers
To help us thus to read the works of others :
Never for this can just returns be shewn;

For who will help us e'er to read thy own?” Var. Notes to dull books, and prologues to dull plays ;] As to Cook's Hesiod, where sometimes a note, and sometimes even half a note, are carefully owned by him : and to Moore's Comedy of the Rival Modes, and other authors of the same rank: these were people who writ about the year 1726. W.

W.

« PreviousContinue »