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'Twas on the day, when ** 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)
Now night descending, the proud scene was o'er,
VER. 85 in the former editions,
'Twas on the day when Thorold, rich and grave. Sir George Thorold, Lord Mayor of London in the year 1720. WARBURTON.
VER. 85, 86. 'Twas on the day when ** rich and grave, like Cimon triumph'd] Viz. a Lord Mayor's Day, his name the author had left in blanks, but most certainly could never be that which the Editor foisted in formerly, and which no way agrees with the chronology of the poem. BENTLEY.
The procession of a Lord Mayor is made partly by land, and partly by water.-Cimon, the famous Athenian general, obtained a victory by sea, and another by land, on the same day, over the Persians and Barbarians. WARBURTON.
VER. 88. Glad chains,] The ignorance of these moderns! This was altered in one edition to gold chains, shewing more regard to the metal of which the chains of aldermen are made, than to the beauty of the Latinism and Græcism, nay of figurative speech itself: Latas segetes, glad, for making glad, &c. SCRIBLERUS.
VER. 90. But liv'd, in Settle's numbers, one day more.] A beautiful manner of speaking, usual with poets in praise of poetry, in which kind nothing is finer than those lines of Mr. Addison : "Sometimes, misguided by the tuneful throng,
I look for streams immortaliz'd in song,
That lost in silence and oblivion lie,
Dumb are their fountains, and their channels dry;
Ibid. But liv'd, in Settle's numbers, one day more.] Settle was poet to the city of London. His office was to compose yearly
Now may'rs and shrieves all hush'd and satiate lay,
panegyrics upon the Lord Mayors, and verses to be spoken in the Pageants but that part of the shows being at length frugally abolished, the employment of City-poet ceased; so that upon Settle's demise there was no successor to that place.
VER. 98. Jobn Heywood, whose Interludes were printed in the time of Henry VIII. WARBURTON.
VER. 104. And Eusden eke out, &c.] Laurence Eusden, Poet Laureate. Mr. Jacob gives a catalogue of some few only of his works, which were very numerous. Mr. Cook, in his Battle of Poets, saith of him,
"Eusden, a laurel'd bard, by fortune rais'd,
Mr. Oldmixon, in his Arts of Logic and Rhetoric, p. 413, 414, affirms, "That of all the Galimatia's he ever met with, none comes up to some verses of this poet, which have as much of the Ridiculum and the Fustian in them as can well be jumbled together, and are of that sort of nonsense, which so perfectly confounds all ideas, that there is no distinct one left in the mind." Further he
She saw slow Philips creep like Tate's poor page,
In each she marks her image full exprest, But chief in BAYS's monster-breeding breast;
says of him, "That he hath prophecied his own poetry shall be sweeter than Catullus, Ovid, and Tibullus; but we have little hope of the accomplishment of it, from what he hath lately published." Upon which Mr. Oldmixon has not spared a reflection," That the putting the laurel on the head of one who writ such verses, will give futurity a very lively idea of the judgment and justice of those who bestow'd it." Ibid. p. 417. But the well known learning of that noble person, who was then Lord Chamberlain, might have screen'd him from this unmannerly reflection. Nor ought Mr. Oldmixon to complain, so long after, that the laurel would have better become his own brows, or any others: it were more decent to acquiesce in the opinion of the Duke of Buckingham upon
In rush'd Eusden, and cry'd, Who shall have it,
But vow'd that til then he ne'er heard of his name.
Session of Poets. The same plea might also serve for his successor, Mr. Cibber; and is further strengthened in the following Epigram, made on that occasion :
"In merry Old England it once was a rule, The King had his poet, and also his fool:
But now we're so frugal, I'd have you to know it,
That Gibber can serve both for fool and for poet."
Of Blackmore, see Book ii. Of Philips, Book i. ver. 262. and Book iii. prope fin.
Nahum Tate was Poet Laureate, a cold writer, of no invention; but sometimes translated tolerably, when befriended by Mr. Dryden. In his second part of Absalom and Achitophel are above two hundred admirable lines together of that great hand, which strongly shine through the insipidity of the rest. Something parallel may 'be observed of another author here mentioned.
VER. 106. And all the mighty mad in Dennis rage.] Mr. Theobald, in the Censor, vol. ii. N. 33. calls Mr. Dennis by the name
Bays, form'd by nature stage and town to bless,
of Furius. "The modern Furius is to be looked upon as more an object of pity, than of that which he daily provokes, laughter and contempt. Did we really know how much this poor man [I wish that reflection on poverty had been spared] suffers by being contradicted, or, which is the same thing in effect, by hearing another praised; we should, in compassion, sometimes attend to him with a silent nod, and let him go away with the triumphs of his illnature. Poor Furius [again] when any of his cotemporaries are spoken well of, quitting the ground of the present dispute, steps back a thousand years to call in the succour of the ancients. very panegyric is spiteful, and he uses it for the same reason as some ladies do their commendations of a dead beauty, who would never have had their good word, but that a living one happened to be mentioned in their company. His applause is not the tribute of his heart, but the sacrifice of his revenge," &c. Indeed his pieces against our poet are somewhat of an angry character, and as they are now scarce extant, a taste of his style may be satisfactory to the curious. "A young, squab, short gentleman, whose outward form, though it should be that of downright monkey, would not differ so much from human shape as his unthinking immaterial part does from human understanding. He is as stupid and as venomous as a hunch-back'd toad.-A book through which folly and ignorance, those brethren so lame and impotent, do ridiculously look very big and very dull, and strut and hobble, cheek by jowl, with their arms on kimbo, being led and supported, and bully-back'd by that blind Hector, Impudence." Reflect. on the Essay on Criticism, p. 26. 29, 30.
It would be unjust not to add his reasons for this fury, they are so strong and so coërcive: "I regard him (saith he) as an enemy, not so much to me, as to my king, to my country, to my religion, and to that liberty which has been the sole felicity of my life. A vagary of fortune, who is sometimes pleased to be frolicksome, and the epidemic madness of the times have given him reputation, and reputation (as Hobbes says) is power, and that has made him dangerous. Therefore I look on it as my duty to King George, whose faithful subject I am; to my country, of which I have appeared a constant lover; to the laws, under whose protection 1 have so long lived; and to the liberty of my country, more dear to me than life, of which I have now for forty years been a constant assertor, &c. I look upon it as my duty, I say, to do-you shall
Dulness with transport eyes the lively dunce,
see what to pull the lion's skin from this little ass, which popular error has thrown round him; and to shew that this author, who has been lately so much in vogue, has neither sense in his thoughts, nor English in his expressions." DENNIS, Rem. on Hom. p. 2. 91, &c.
Besides these public-spirited reasons, Mr. D. had a private one; which, by his manner of expressing it in p. 92, appears to have been equally strong. He was even in bodily fear of his life from the machinations of the said Mr. P. "The story (says he) is too long to be told, but who would be acquainted with it, may hear it from Mr. Cur), my bookseller. However, what my reason has suggested to me, that I have with a just confidence said, in defiance of his two clandestine weapons, his slander and his poison." Which last words of his book plainly discover Mr. D.'s suspicion was that of being poisoned, in like manner as Mr. Curl had been before him; of which fact see A full and true account of a horrid and barbarous revenge, by poison, on the body of Edmund Curl, printed in 1716, the year antecedent to that wherein these Remarks of Mr. Dennis were published. But what puts it beyond all question, is a passage in a very warm treatise, in which Mr. Dennis was also concerned, price two-pence, called A true Character of Mr. Pope and his Writings, printed for S. Popping, 1716: in the tenth page whereof he is said "to have insulted people on those calamities and diseases which he himself gave them, by administring poison to them" and is called (p. 4) " a lurking way-laying coward, and a stabber in the dark." "Which (with many other things most lively set forth in that piece) must have rendered him a terror, not to Mr. Dennis only, but to all Christian people. This charitable warning only provoked our incorrigible Poet to write the following Epigram:
Should Dennis publish, you had stabb'd your brother,
For the rest; Mr. John Dennis was the son of a sadler, in Lon. don, born in 1657. He paid court to Mr. Dryden; and having