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But here, in justice both to the poet and the hero, let us farther remark, that the calling her his whore, implieth she was his own, and not his neighbour's. Truly a commendable continence! and such as Scipio himself must have applauded. For how much selfdenial was exerted not to covet his neighbour's whore? and what disorders must the coveting her have occasioned in that society, where (according to this political calculator) nine in ten of all ages have their concubines !
We have now, as briefly as we could devise, gone through the three constituent qualities of either hero. But it is not in any, nor in all of these, that heroism properly or essentially resideth. It is a lucky result rather from the collision of these lively qualities against one another. Thus, as from wisdom, bravery, and love, ariseth magnanimity the object of admiration, which is the aim of the greater epic; so from vanity, impudence, and debauchery, springeth buffoonry, the source of ridicule, that “ laughing ornament,” as the owner well termeth it , of the little epic.
He is not ashamed (God forbid he ever should be ashamed !) of this character ; who deemeth, that not reason but risibility distinguisheth the human species from the brutal. “ As nature (saith this profound philosopher) distinguished our species from the mute creation by our risibility, her design must have beer by that faculty as evidently to raise our happiness, as by our os sublime, OUR ERECTED FACES, to lift the dignity of our form above them." All this considered, how complete a hero must he be, as well as how happy a man, whose risibility lieth not barely in his muscles, as in the common sort, but (as himself informeth us) in his very spirits? And whose os sublime is not simply an ERECT FACE, but a brazen head;
& Colly Cibber's Letter to Mr. P. P. 31. > Cibber's Life, p. 23, 24.
as should seem by his preferring it to one of iron, said to belong to the late king of Sweden '.
But whatever personal qualities a hero may have, the examples of Achilles and Æneas shew us, that all these are of small avail, without the constant assistance of the Gods: for the subversion and erection of empires have never been adjudged the work of man. How greatly soever then we may esteem of his high talents, we can hardly conceive his personal prowess alone sufficient to restore the decayed empire of Dul
So weighty an atchievement must require the particular favour and protection of the GREAT; who being the natural patrons and supporters of letters, as the ancient Gods were of Troy, must first be drawn off, and engaged in another interest, before the total subversion of them can be accomplished. To surmount, therefore, this last and greatest difficulty, we have, in this excellent man, a professed favourite and intimado of the GREAT. And look, of what force ancient piety was to draw the Gods into the party of Æneas, that, and much stronger is modern incense, to engage
great in the party of Dulness. Thus have we essayed to pourtray or shadow out 'this noble imp of fame. But now the impatient. reader will be apt to say, if so many and various graces go to the making up a hero, what mortal shall suffice to bear his character ? Ill hath he read, who seeth not, in every trace of this picture, that individual ALL-ACCOMPLISHED PERSON, in whom these rare virtues and lucky circumstances have agreed to meet and concentre, with the strongest lustre and fullest harmony.
The good Scriblerus indeed, nay the world itself, might be imposed on, in the late spurious editions, by I can't tell what sham hero, or phantom : but it was not so easy to impose on him whom this egregious error most of all concerned. For no sooner had the
i Letter, page 8.
fourth book laid open the high and swelling scene, but he recognized his own heroic acts : and when he came to the words,
Soft on her lap her laureat son reclines, (though laureat imply no more than one crown'd with laurel, as befitteth any associate or consort in empire) he loudly resented this indignity to violated majesty. Indeed not without cause, he being there represented as fast asleep; so misbeseeming the eye of empire, which, like that of Jove, should never doze nor slumber.
“ Hah! (saith he) fast asleep, it seems! that's a little too strong.
Pert and dull at least you might have allowed me, but as seldom asleep as any fool.” However, the injured laureat may comfort himself with this reflection, that tho' it be a sleep, yet it is not the sleep of death, but of immortality. Here he will' live at least, tho' not awake ; and condition than many an enchanted hero before him. The famous Durandarte, for instance, was, like him, cast into a long slumber by Merlin the British bard and necromancer : and his example, for submitting to it with a good grace, might be of service to our hero. For that disastrous knight being sorely pressed or driven to make his answer by several persons of quality ", only replied with a sigh, Patience, and shuffle the cards ".
But now, as nothing in this world, no not the most sacred or perfect things either of religion or government, can escape the stings of envy, methinks I al. ready hear these carpers objecting to the clearness of our hero's title.
It would never (say they) have been esteemed suf. ficient to make an hero for the Iliad or Æneis, that
Achilles was brave enough to overturn one empire, or Æneas pious enough to raise another, had they not been goddess-born, and princes-bred. What then did this author mean, by erecting a player instead of one of his patrons (a person,
“ never a hero even on the stageo") to this dignity of colleague in the empire of Dulness; and atchiever of a work that neither old Omar, Attila, nor John of Leiden, could entirely bring to pass.
To all this we have, as we conceive, a sufficient answer from the Roman historian, Fabrum esse sua quemque fortunæ : That every man is the carver of his own fortune. The politic Florentine, Nicholas Machiavel, goeth still further, and affirmeth that a man needeth but to believe himself a hero to be one of the worthiest that ever breathed. “ Let him (saith he) but fancy himself capable of high things, and he will of course be able to atchieve the highest. From this principle it followeth, that nothing can exceed our hero's prowess; as nothing ever equalled the greatness of his conceptions. Hear how he constantly paragons himself; at one time, to ALEXANDER the Great and CHARLES the XII. of Sweden, for the excess and delicacy of his ambition P; to HENRY the IV. of FRANCE, for honest policy"; to the first Brutus, for love of liberty"; to Sir ROBERT WALPOLE, for good government while in power s: at another time, to the godlike SOCRATES, for his diversions and amusements'; to HORACE MONTAIGNE, and Sir WILLIAM TEMPLE, for an elegant vanity that maketh them for ever read and admired u; to Two Lord CHANCELLORS, for law, from whom, when confederate against him at the bar, he carried away the prize of eloquence *; and, to say all in a word, to the
• See Cibber's Life, p. 148. 9 Ibid. p. 424.
Ibid. p. 366. + Ibid. p. 18.
u Ibid. p. 425.
p Ibid. p. 149.
s Ibid. p. 457 * Ibid. p. 436, 437.
right reverend the Lord Bishop of London himself, in the art of writing pastoral letters ".
Nor did his actions fall short of the sublimity of his conceit. In his early youth, he met the revolution face to face in Nottingham; at a time when other patriots contented themselves to follow her. It was here he got acquainted with Old Battle-array, of whom he hath made so honourable mention in one of his immortal odes. But he shone in courts as well as camps : he was called up when the nation fell in labour of this revolution : and was a gossip at her christen. ing, with the Bishop and the ladies 6.
As to his birth, it is true he pretendeth no relation either to heathen god or goddess; but what is as good, he was descended from a maker of both. And that he did not pass himself on the world for a hero, as well by birth as education, was his own fault : for, his lineage he bringeth into his life as an anecdote, and is sensible he had it in his power to be thought nobody's son at alld: And what is that, I pray you, but coming into the world a hero ?
But be it (the punctilious laws of epic poesy so requiring) that a hero of more than mortal birth must needs be procured for this atchievement : even for this we have a resource. We can easily derive our hero's pedigree from a goddess of no small power and au. thority amongst men; and legitimate and install him after the right classical and authentic fashion : for, like as the ancient sages found a son of Mars in a mighty warrior; a son of Neptune in a skilful seaman; a son of Phæbus in a harmonious poet; so have we here, if need be, a son of ForTUNE in an artful
gamester. And who, I pray you, fitter than the offspring of Chance, to assist in restoring the empire 8f night and chaos ?
z Ibid. 47. y See Cibber's Life, p. 52.
Ibid. 58, 59.
¿ A statuary. a Ibid. p. 57. dCibber's Life, p. 6.