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She, tinsel'd o'er in robes of varying hues,
'Twas on the day, when Thorold, rich and grave, Like Cimon, triumph'd both on land and wave : (Pomps without guilt, of bloodless swords and maces, Glad chains, warm furs, broad banners, and broad faces)
86 Now night descending, the proud scene was o'er, But liv’d, in Settle's numbers, one day more. Now may’rs and shrieves all hush'd and satiate lay, Yet eat, in dreams, the custard of the day ; While pensive poets painful vigils keep, Sleepless themselves to give their readers sleep. Much to the mindful Queen the feast recalls What city swans once sung within the walls ; Much she revolves their arts, their ancient praise, 95 And sure succession down from Heywood's days. She saw with joy the line immortal run, Each sire imprest and glaring in his son ; So watchful Bruin forms with plastic care Each growing lui/p, and brings it to a bear. She saw old Pryn in restless Daniel shine, And Eusden eke out Blackmore's endless line; She saw slow Philips creep like Tate's poor page, And all the mighty mad in Dennis rage.
In each she marks her image full exprest, 105 But chief, in Tibbald's monster-breeding breast;
Sees gods with dæmons in strange league engage,
She ey'd the bard, where supperless he sate,
that witness'd huge dismay, 115 Where yet unpawn'd, much learned lumber lay : Volumes, whose size the space exactly fill'd, Or which fond authors were so good to gild, Or where, by sculpture made for ever known, The page
admires new beauties not its own. Here swells the shelf with Ogilby the great: There, stamp'd with arms, Newcastle shines compleat: Here all his suff'ring brotherhood retire, And 'scape the martyrdom of jakes and fire; A Gothic Vatican ! of Greece and Rome
125 Well purg'd, and worthy Withers, Quarles, and Blome.
But, high above, more solid learning shone, The classics of an age that heard of none; There Caxtor slept, with Wynkin at his side, 129 One clasp'd in wood, and one in strong cow-hide, There, sav'd by spice, like mummies, many a year, Old bodies of philosophy appear : 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
136 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 pyle, of all his works the base ; Quarto's, octavo's, shape the less'ning pyre;
141 And last, a little Ajax tips the spire.
Then he. Great Tamer of all human art ! First in my care, and nearest at my
heart : Dulness ! whose good old cause I yet defend, 145 With whom my muse began, with whom shall end! Othou! of business the directing soul, To human heads like byass to the bowl, Which as more pond'rous makes their aim more true, Obliquely wadling to the mark in view.
150 O, ever gracious to perplex'd mankind ! Who spread a healing mist before the mind, And, lest we err by wit's wild, dancing light, Secure us kindly in our native night. Ah! still o'er Britain stretch that peaceful wand, 155 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 : 160 Here studious I unlucky moderns save, Nor sleeps one error in its father's grave,
puns restore, lost blunders nicely seek, And crucify poor Shakespear once a week. For thee I dim these eyes, and stuff this head, 165 With all such reading as was never read ;. For the supplying, in the worst of days, Notes to dull books, and prologues to dull plays; For thee explain a thing till all men doubt it, And write about it, Goddess, and about it ; 170 So spins the silk-worm small its slender store, And labours, 'till it clouds itself all o'er. Not that my quill to critiques was confin’d, My verse gave ampler lessons to mankind; So gravest precepts may successless prove,
175 But sad examples never fail to move. As forc'd from wind-guns, lead itself can fly, And pond'rous slugs cut swiftly thro' the sky: As clocks to weight their nimble motion owe, The wheels above urg'd by the load below;
18 Me, emptiness and dulness could inspire, And were my elasticity and fire. Had Heav'n decreed such works a longer date, Heav'n had decreed to spare the Grubstreet-state. But see great Settle to the dust descend, 185 And all thy cause and empire at an end ! Could Troy be sav'd by any single hand, His grey-goose weapon must have made her stand. But what can I? my Flaccus cast aside, Take up th' attorney's (once my better) guide ? 190 VOL. IV. AA
Or rob the Roman geese of all their glories,
children! better thus expire Unstall’d, unsold, thus glorious mount in fire Fair without spot; than greas'd by grocer's hands, Or ship’d with Ward to ape and monkey lands, 200 Or wafting ginger, round the streets to go, And visit alehouse where ye first did grow.
With that, he lifted thrice the sparkling brand, And thrice he dropt it from his quiv'ring hand : Then lights the structure, with averted eyes; 205 The rowling smokes involve the sacrifice. The opening clouds disclose each work by turns, Now flames old Memnon, now Rodrigo burns, In one quick flash see Proserpine expire, And last, his own cold Æschylus took fire. Then gush'd the tears, as from the Trojan's eyes When the last blaze sent Ilion to the skies,
Rouz'd by the light, old Dulness heav'd the head; Then snatch'd a sheet of Thulè from her bed, Sudden she flies, and whelms it o'er the pyre, 215 Down sink the flames, and with a hiss expire.
Her ample presence fills up all the place; A veil of fogs dilates her awful face ;