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Beneath her footstool, Science groans in Chains, And Wit dreads Exile, Penalties, and Pains. There foam'd rebellious Logic, gagg’d and bound, There, stript, fair Rheťric languish'd on the ground;
well considered, to seem strange in our days, when so many Kingconsorts have done the like. Scribl. P. *
“ When I find my Name in the satirical works of this Poet, I never look upon it as any malice meant to me, but PROFIT to himself. For he considers that my Face is more known than most in the nation ; and therefore a Lick at the Laureat will be a sure bait ad captandum vulgus, to catch little readers.” Life of Colley Cibber, ch, ii. W.
Now if it be certain, that the works of our Poet have owed their success to this ingenious expedient, we hence derive an unanswerable argument, that this Fourth DUNCIAD, as well as the former three, hath had the Author's last hand, and was by him intended for the press : or else to what purpose hath he crowned it, as we see, by this finishing stroke, the profitable Lick at the Laureat ? Bentl. P. Surely it is not right that the hero should take no part in
any thing that was transacted about him in the second book; and that in the third book he should be in a profound sleep.
Ver. 21, 22. Beneath her footstool, &c.) We are next presented with the pictures of those whom the Goddess leads in captivity. Science is only depressed and confined so as to be rendered useless; but Wit or Genius, as a more dangerous and active ene. my, punished, or driven away; Dulness being often reconciled in some degree with Learning, but never 'upon any terms with Wit. And accordingly it will be seen that she admits something like each Science, as Casuistry, Sophistry, &c. but nothing like Wit, Opera alone supplying its place. P. *
Though there are many passages in this fourth book of great splendour and spirit, yet there are many also that are disjointed, ununiform, and obscure ; occasioned by their
being taken from materials and fragments of a work he once designed to write, on True and False Learning. In the very same proportion that he was peculiarly happy and judicious in the fine additions he made to his Rape of the Lock, he was unfortunate and foiled in the additions he made to his Dunciad.
His blunted Arms by Sophistry are borne, 25
35 Watch'd both by Envy's and by Flatt’ry's eye:
Ver. 30. gives her Page the word.] There was a Judge of this name, always ready to hang any man that came in his way; of which he was suffered to give a hundred miserable examples during a long life, even to his dotage-Though the candid Scriblerus imagined Page here to mean no more than a Page or Mute, and to allude to the custom of strangling State Criminals in Turkey by Mutes or Pages. A practice more decent than that of our Påge, who, before he hanged any one, loaded him with re. proachful language. Scribl. P.
Ver. 31. Mad Máthesis] Alluding to the strange Conclusions some Mathematicians have deduced from their principles concerning the real Quantity of Matter, the Reality of Space, &c. P. *
Is it allowable to make the second syllable of Mathěsis short? though Prudentius indeed has done so.
Ver. 34. running round the Circle, finds its square.] Regards the wild and fruitless attempts of squaring the circle. P.
Ver. 36. Watch'd both by Envy's and by Flatt’ry's eye.] One of the misfortunes falling on Authors, from the Act for subjecting Plays to the power of a Licenser, being the false representations to which they were exposed, from such as either gratified their envy to Merit, or made their court to Greatness, by perverting general reflections against Vice into Libels on particular Persons
There to her heart sad Tragedy addrest
Muse. When lo! a Harlot form soft sliding by, 45 With mincing step, small voice, and languid eye:
Ver. 43. Nor couldst thou, &c.] This Noble Person, in the year 1737, when the Act aforesaid was brought into the House of Lords, opposed it in an excellent speech (says Mr. Cibber), “ with a lively spirit, and uncommon eloquence." This speech had the honour to be answered by the said Mr. Cibber, with a lively spirit also, and in a manner very uncommon, in the 8th Chapter of his Life and Manners. And here, gentle Reader, would I gladly insert the other speech, whereby thou mightest judge between them : but I must defer it on account of some differences not yet adjusted between the Noble Author and myself, concerning the True Reading of certain passages. Bentl. P. *
Ver. 45. When lo! a Harlot form] The Attitude given to this Phantom represents the nature and genius of the Italian Opera; its affected airs, its effeminate sounds, and the practice of patching up these Operas with favourite songs, incoherently put together. These things were supported by the subscriptions of the Nobility. This circumstance, that OPERA should prepare for the opening of the grand Sessions, was prophesied of in Book iii.
“ Already Opera prepares the way,
The sure forerunner of her gentle sway.” P. * Our author had not seen the charming Dramas of Metastasio; who is indeed a very fine tragic poet; the plans of some of his pieces are conducted with the truest art and judgment, which can
Foreign her air, her robe's discordant pride
O Cara! Cara! silence all that train :
not be surprising to those who know that this enchanting writer has been excelled by few moderns in genius and in learning. Hear a very serious philosopher asserting, “ that nothing can be more deeply affecting than the interesting scenes of the serious Opera; when to good poetry and good music, to the Poetry of Metastasio and the music of Pergolese, is added the execution of a good actor." Essays of Adam Smith, p. 159.
See also p. 167, of the Musical Imitations in the same work. Voltaire thinks more highly of the opera
than Pope: “ Ou les beaux vers, la danse, la musique, L'art de tromper les yeux par les couleures, L'art plus heureux de seduire les caurs;
De cent plaisirs font un plaisir unique.” If Pope therefore had lived to read the operas of Metastasio, he would probably have altered his opinion of this species of poetry. And he seems to have not been acquainted with those of Quinault ; or perhaps took his opinion concerning them from Boileau. Some are far above love stories; see the incantations of Medea; the opening of Pluto; the speeches of Medusa, Ceres, and Alceste.
Ver. 54. let Division reign:] Alluding to the false taste of playing tricks with Music with numberless divisions, to the neglect of that harmony which conforms to the Sense, and applies to the Passions. Mr. Handel had introduced a great number of Hands,
Ver. 54. Joy to great Chaos !]
Chromatic tortures soon shall drive them hence, 55
REMARKS. and more variety of Instruments into the Orchestra, and employed even Drums and Cannon to make a fuller Chorus; which proved so much too manly for the fine Gentlemen of his age, that he was obliged to remove his Music into Ireland. After which they were reduced for want of Composers to practise the patch-work above mentioned. P. *
This subject is treated with accuracy and taste in Avison's Essay on Musical Expression; and the superiority of Expression to execution, insisted on and demonstrated.
Ver. 55. Chromatic tortures] The judicious and elegant author of the General History of Music has given us accurate accounts of every species of this art, and enriched his work with a variety of curious particulars concerning it, unknown before. Ver. 61. thy own Phæbus, reigns,]
“ Tuus jam regnat Apollo.” Virg. Not the ancient Phæbus, the God of Harmony, but a modern Phæbus of French extraction, married to the Princess Galima, thia, one of the handmaids of Dulness, and an assistant to Opera. Of whom see Bouhours, and other Critics of that nation. Scribl. P. *
Ver. 65. Giant Handel] The honour paid to this truly sublime genius, by the repeated performances of his noblest works at