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To aid our cause, if Heav'n thou can'st not bend,
For new abortions, all ye pregnant fair!
Cyclops asks Ulysses his name, who tells him his name is Noman After his eye is put out, he roars and calls the brother Cyclops to his aid: they enquire, who has hurt him? he answers, Noman: whereupon they all go away again. Our ingenious translator made Ulysses answer, I take no name; whereby all that followed became unintelligible. Hence it appears that Mr. Cibber (who values himself on subscribing to the English translation of Homer's Iliad) had not that merit with respect to the Odyssey, or he might have been better instructed in the Greek Pun ology. WARBURTON.
VER. 308, 309. Faustus, Pluto, &c.] Names of miserable farces, which it was the custom to act at the end of the best tragedies, to spoil the digestion of the audience. WARBURTON.
VER. 312. ensure it but from fire.] In Tibbald's farce of Proserpine, a corn-field was set on fire; whereupon the other playhouse had a barn burnt down for the recreation of the spectators. They also rivalled each other in shewing the burnings of hell-fire, in Dr. Faustus. WARBURTON.
VER. 313. Another Eschylus appears!] It is reported of Eschylus, that when his tragedy of the Furies was acted, the audience were so terrified, that the children fell into fits, and the bigbellied women miscarried. WARBURTON.
Signs following signs lead on the mighty year!
VER. 323. See, see, our own, &c.] In the former edit.
And Pope's, translating three whole years with Broome.
VER. 325. On poets tombs see Benson's titles writ !] W-m Benson (surveyor of the buildings to His Majesty King George I.) gave in a report to the Lords, that their house and the paintedchamber adjoining were in immediate danger of falling. Whereupon the Lords met in a committee to appoint some other place to sit in, while the house should be taken down. But it being proposed to cause some other builders first to inspect it, they found it in very good condition. The Lords, upon this, were going upon an address to the King against Benson, for such a misrepresentation; but the Earl of Sunderland, then secretary, gave them an assurance that His Majesty would remove him, which was done accordingly. In favour of this man, the famous Sir Christopher Wren, who had been architect to the crown for above fifty years, who built most of the churches in London, laid the first stone of St. Paul's, and lived to finish it, had been displaced from his employment at the age of near ninety years. WARBURTON.
VER. 326. Ambrose Philips] " He was (saith Mr. JACOB) One of the wits at Button's, and a justice of the peace:" but he hath since met with higher preferment in Ireland; and a much greater character we have of him in Mr. Gildon's Complete Art of Poetry, vol. i. p. 157. "Indeed he confesses, he dares not set him quite on the same foot with Virgil, lest it should seem Battery: but he
See under Ripley rise a new White-hall,
is much mistaken if posterity does not afford him a greater esteem than he at present enjoys." He endeavoured to create some misunderstanding between our Author and Mr. Addison, whom also soon after he abused as much. His constant cry was, that Mr. P. was an enemy to the government; and in particular he was the avowed author of a report very industriously spread, that he had a hand in a party-paper called the Examiner: a falsehood well-known to those yet living, who had the direction and publication of it.
VER. 328. While Jones' and Boyle's united labours fall:] At the time when this poem was written, the banquetting-house of Whitehall, the church and piazza of Covent-garden, and the palace and chapel of Somerset-house, the works of the famous Inigo Jones, had been for many years so neglected, as to be in danger of ruin. The portico of Covent-garden church had been just then restored and beautified at the expence of the Earl of Burlington; who. at the same time, by his publication of the designs of that great master and Palladio, as well as by many noble buildings of his own, revived the true taste of architecture in this kingdom. WARBURTON.
VER. 330. Gay dies unpension'd, c.] See Mr. Gay's fable of the Hare and many Friends. This gentleman was early in the friendship of our Author, which continued to his death. He wrote several works of humour with great success; the Shepherd's Week, Trivia, the What-d'ye call-it, Fables; and lastly, the celebrated Beggar's Opera; a piece of satire which hit all tastes and degrees of men, from those of the highest quality to the very rabble: That verse of Horace,
"Primores populi arripuit, populumque tributim,"
could never be so justly applied as to this. The vast success of it was unprecedented, and almost incredible: what is related of the wonderful effects of the ancient music or tragedy hardly came up to it: Sophocles and Euripides were less followed and famous. It was acted in London sixty-three days, uninterrupted; and renewed the next season with equal applauses. It spread into all the great towns of England, was played in many places to the thirtieth and
Hibernian politics, O Swift! thy fate;
fortieth time, at Bath and Bristol fifty, &c. It made its progress into Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, where it was performed twentyfour days together: it was at last acted in Minorca. The fame of it was not confined to the author only; the ladies carried about with them the favourite songs of it in fans; and houses were furnished with it in screens. The person who acted Polly, till then obscure, became all at once the favourite of the town; her pictures were engraved, and sold in great numbers; her life written, books of letters and verses to her published; and pamphlets made even of her sayings and jests.
Furthermore, it drove out of England, for that season, the Italian Opera, which had carried all before it for ten years. That idol of the nobility and people, which the great critic Mr. Dennis, by the labours and outcries of a whole life, could not overthrow, was demolished by a single stroke of this gentleman's pen. This happened in the year 1728. Yet so great was his modesty, that he constantly prefixed to all the editions of it this motto, Nos bac WARBURTON.
novimus esse nibil.
VER. 331. in the former edition thus:
O Swift! thy doom,
And Pope's, translating ten whole years with Broome. On which was the following note: "He concludes his irony with a stroke upon himself: for whoever imagines this a sarcasm on the other ingenious person, is surely mistaken. The opinion our Author had of him was sufficiently shewn by his joining him in the undertaking of the Odyssey; in which Mr. Broome having en gaged without any previous agreement, discharged his part so much to Mr. Pope's satisfaction, that he gratified him with the full sum of five hundred pounds, and a present of all those books for which his own interest could procure him subscribers, to the value of ane hundred more. The author only seems to lament that he was employed in translation at all. WARBURTON.
VER. 332. And Pope's, ten years to comment and translate.] The Author here plainly laments that he was so long employed in translating and commenting. He began the Iliad in 1713, and finished it in 1719. The edition of Shakespear (which he undertook merely because nobody else would) took up near two years more
Proceed, great days! till learning fly the shore,
in the drudgery of comparing impressions, rectifying the scenery, &c. and the translation of half the Odyssey employed him from that time to 1725. WARBURTON.
VER. 333. Proceed, great days! T.] It may perhaps seem incredible, that so great a revolution in learning as is here prophesied, should be brought about by such weak instruments as have been [hitherto] described in our poem: but do not thou, gentle reader, rest too secure in thy contempt of these instruments. Remember what the Dutch stories somewhere relate, that a great part of their provinces was once overflowed, by a small opening made in one of their dykes by a single water-rat.
However, that such is not seriously the judgment of our Poet, but that he conceiveth better hopes from the diligence of our schools, from the regularity of our universities, the discernment of our great men, the accomplishments of our nobility, the encouragement of our patrons, and the genius of our writers in ali kinds (notwithstanding some few exceptions in each), may plainly be seen from his conclusion; where, causing all this vision to pass through the ivory gate, he expressly, in the language of poesy, de clares all such imaginations to be wild, ungrounded, and fictitious. SCRIBLERUS. VER. 333. Proceed, great days! Sc.-Till Birch shall blush, Another great prophet of Dulness, on this side Styx, promiseth those days to be near at hand. "The Devil (saith he) licensed bishops to license masters of schools to instruct youth in the knowledge of the heathen gods, their religion, &c. The schools and universities will soon be tired and ashamed of classics, and such trumpery."-HUTCHINSON's Use of Reason recovered.
After ver. 338 in the first edit. were the following lines: