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Here pleas'd behold her mighty wings outspread
Close to those walls where folly holds her throne,
Keen, hollow winds howl thro' the bleak recess,
VER. 29. Close to those walls, &c.] In the former edit. thus,
A yawning ruin hangs and nods in air;
Keen, hollow winds howl through the bleak recess,
Emblem of music caus'd by emptiness;
Here in one bed two shiv'ring sisters lie,
Var. Where wave the tatter'd ensigns of Rag-fair,] Rag-fair is a place near the Tower of London, where old clothes and frippery are sold. WARBURTON.
VER. 31. By bis fam'd father's band,] Mr. Caius-Gabriel Cibber, father of the poet laureate. The two statues of the lunatics over the gates of Bedlam-hospital were done by him, and (as the son justly says of them) are no ill monuments of his fame as an artist. WARBURTON.
VER. 34. Poverty and Poetry.] I cannot here omit a remark that "will greatly endear our author to every one, who shall attentively observe that humanity and candor, which every where appears in him towards those unhappy objects of the ridicule of all mankind, the bad poets. He here imputes all scandalous rhymes, scurrilous weekly papers, base flatteries, wretched elegies, songs, and verses, (even from those sung at court, to ballads in the streets,) not so much to malice or servility, as to dulness; and not so much to dulness, as to necessity. And thus, at the very commencement of his satire, makes an apology for all that are to be satirized.
Hence bards, like Proteus long in vain ty'd down,
Hence Journals, Medleys, Merc'ries, MAGAZINES:
VER. 40. Curl's chaste press, and Lintot's rubric post :] Two booksellers, of whom see Book ii. The former was fined by the Court of King's Bench for publishing obscene books; the latter usually adorned his shop with titles in red letters. WARBURTON. VER. 41. In the former edit.
Hence hymning Tyburn's elegiac lay,
VER. 41. Hence hymning Tyburn's elegiac lines,] It is an ancient English custom, for the malefactors to sing a psalm at their execution at Tyburn; and no less customary to print elegies on their deaths, at the same time, or before. WARBURTON.
VER. 42. Alludes to the annual songs composed to music on St. Cecilia's feast. WARBURTON.
VER. 42. MAGAZINES:] The common names of those monstrous collections in prose and verse; where dulness assumes all the various shapes of folly to draw in and cajole the rabble. The eruption of every miserable scribbler; the dirty scum of every stagnant newspaper; the rags of worn-out nonsense and scandal, picked up from every dunghill; under the title of Essays, Reflec tions, Queries, Songs, Epigrams, Riddles, &c. equally the disgrace of wit, morality, and common sense.
VER. 43. Sepulchral lies,] Is a just satire on the flatteries and falsehoods admitted to be inscribed on the walls of churches, in epitaphs; which occasioned the following epigram':
"FRIEND! in your epitaphs, I'm griev'd
much is said:
One half will never be believ'd,
The other never read."
In clouded majesty here Dulness.shone ;
Where, in nice balance, truth with gold she weighs,
VER. 44. New-year odes,] Made by the Poet Laureate for the time being, to be sung at court on every New-year's day, the words of which are happily drowned in the voices and instruments. WARBURTON.
VER. 50. Who hunger and who thirst, c.] "This is an allusion to a text in scripture, which shews, in Mr. Pope, a delight in prophaneness," said Curl upon this place. But it is very familiar with Shakespear to allude to passages of scripture. Out of a great number I will select a few, in which he not only alludes but quotes, the very text from holy writ. In All's well that ends well, I am no great Nebuchadnezzar, I have not much skill in grass. Ibid. They are for the flowery way that leads to the broad gate and the great fire, Matt. vii. 13. In Much ado about nothing, All, all, and moreover God saw him when he was bid in the garden, Gen. iii. 8. (in a very jocose scene). In Love's Labour lost, he talks of Sampson carrying the gates on his back; in the Merry Wives of Windsor, of Goliah and the weaver's beam; and in Henry IV. Falstaff's soldiers are compared to Lazarus and the prodigal son -The first part of this note is Mr. CURL's, the rest is Mr. Theobald's, Appendix to Shakespear restor'd, p. 144.
How hints, like spawn, scarce quick in embryo lie,
Here one poor word an hundred clenches makes,
VER. 55. Here she beholds the chaos dark and deep,
That is to say, unform'd things, which are either made into poems or plays, as the booksellers or the players bid most. allude to the following in Garth's Dispensary, Cant. vi. "Within the chambers of the globe they spy The beds where sleeping vegetables lie, Till the glad summons of a genial ray Unbinds the glebe, and calls them out to day."
VER 63. Here one poor word an hundred clenches makes,] It may not be amiss to give an instance or two of these operations of Dulness out of the works of her sons, celebrated in the poem. A great critic formerly held these clenches in such abhorrence, that he declared," he that would pun, would pick a pocket." Yet Mr. Dennis's works afford us notable examples in this kind; " Alexander Pope hath sent abroad into the world as many bulls as his namesake Pope Alexander.Let us take the initial and final letters of his name, A. P-E, and they give you the idea of an Ape-Pope comes from the Latin word Popa, which signifies a little wart or from poppysma, because he was continually popping out squibs of wit, or rather Popysmata or Popysmus."-DENNIS on Hom. and Daily Journal, June 11, 1728.
VER. 64. And ductile Dulness, &c.] A parody on a verse in Garth, Cant. i.
"How ductile matter new meanders takes."
How Tragedy and Comedy embrace ;
VER. 70, &c. How Farce and Epic-How Time bimself, &c.] Allude to the transgressions of the Unities in the plays of such poets. For the miracles wrought upon Time and Place, and the mixture of Tragedy and Comedy, Farce and Epic, see Pluto and Proserpine, Penelope, &c. if yet extant. WARBURTON.
VER. 73. Egypt glads with show'rs,] In the Lower Egypt rain is of no use, the overflowing of the Nile being sufficient to impregnate the soil. These six verses represent the inconsistences in the descriptions of poets, who heap together all glittering and gaudy images, though incompatible in one season, or in one scene.
See the Guardian, No. 40. parag. 6. See also Eusden's whole works, if to be found. It would not have been unpleasant to have given examples of all these species of bad writing from these authors, but that it is already done in our Treatise of the Batbos.
VER. 79. The cloud-compelling Queen] From Homer's epithet ef Jupiter, νεφεληγερέτα Ζευς. WARBURTON.