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THE Proposition, the Invocation, and the Inscription. Tbor tbe
Original of the great Empire of Dulness, and cause of the continuance thereof. The beloved seat of the Goddess is described, with ber chief attendants and officers, ber functions, operations, and effects. Then the Poem bastes into the midst of things, presenting ber on the evening of a Lord Mayor's day, revolving tbe long succession of ber sons, and the glories past and to come. Sbe fixes ber eye on Tibbald to be the instrument of that great event wbicb is the subject of the Poem. He is described pensive in bis study, giving up the cause, and apprebending the period of ber empire from the old age of the present monarcb Settle: Wberefore debating whether to betake bimself to Low or Politichs, be raises en eltar of proper books, and (making first bis solemn prayer and declaration) purposes thereon to sacrifice all bis unsuccessful writings. As the pile is kindled, the Goddess beholding the flame from ber seat, flies in person, and puts it out, by casting upon it the poem of Thule. She fortbwith reveals berself to bim, transports bim to ber Temple, unfolds ber arts, and initiates bim inte ber mysteries ; then announcing the death of Settle that night, anoints, and proclaims bim Successor.
BOOKS and the Man I sing, the first who bringe
The Smithfield muses to the ear of kings.
In eldest time, e'er mortals writ or read,
Still her old empire to confirm, she tries, 15 For born a goddess, Dulness never dies.
O THOU! whatever title please thine ear,
From thy Bæotia tho’ her pow'r retires,
Where wave the tatter'd ensigns of Rag-fair,
'Twas here in clouded majesty she shone ; Four guardian virtues, round, support her throne ; Fierce champion Fortitude, that knows no fears 45 Of hisses, blows, or want, or loss of ears : Calm Temperance, whose blessings those partake Who hunger, and who thirst, for scribling sake : Prudence, whose glass presents th' approaching jayl: Poetic Justice, with her lifted scale ;
Where, in nice balance, truth with gold she weighs, And solid pudding against empty praise.
Here she beholds the chaos dark and deep, Where nameless somethings in their causes sleep, Till genial Jacob, or a warm third-day
55 Call forth each mass, a poem, or a play : How hints, like spawn, scarce quick in embryo lie, How new-born nonsense first is taught to cry, Maggots half-form'd in rhyme exactly meet, And learn to crawl upon poetic feet.
60 Here one poor word an hundred clenches makes, And ductile Dulness new meanders takes; There motley images her fancy strike, Figures ill-pair'd, and similies unlike. She sees a mob of metaphors advance,
65 Pleas'd with the madness of the
dance : How Tragedy and Comedy embrace ; How Farce and Epic get a jumbled race ; How Time himself stands still at her command, Realms shift their place, and ocean turns to land. 70 Here gay Description Ægypt glads with show'rs, Or gives to Zembla fruits, to Barca flow'rs; Glitt'ring with ice here hoary hills are seen, There painted vallies of eternal green, On cold December fragrant chaplets blow, 75 And heavy harvests nod beneath the snow.
All these and more, the cloud-compelling Queen Beholds thro' fogs, that magnify the scene :