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Shall I, like Curtius, desp'rate in my zeal,
209 O'er head and ears plunge for the common-weal? Or rob Rome's ancient geese of all their glories, And cackling save the monarchy of tories? Hold-to the minister I more incline ; To serve his cause, O Queen! is serving thine. And see! thy very gazetteers give o'er,
215 Even Ralph repents, and Henley writes no more.
Ver. 211. Or rob Rome's ancient geese of all their glories,] Relates to the well-known story of the geese that saved the capitol; of which Virgil Æneid. viii.
« Atque hic auratis volitans argenteus anser
Porticibus, Gallos in limine adesse canebat." A passage I have always suspected. Who sees not the antithesis of auratis and argenteus to be unworthy the Virgilian majesty ? And what absurdity to say a goese sings canebat. Virgil gives a contrary character of the voice of this silly bird, in Ecl. ix.
argutos inter strepere anser olores.” Read it, therefore, adesse strepebat. And why auratis porticibus ? does not the very verse preceding this inform us,
“ Romuleoque recens horrebat regia culmo." Is this tbatch in one line, and gold in another, consistent? I scruple not (repugnantibus omnibus manuscriptis) to correct it auritis. Horace uses the same epithet in the same sense,
- Auritas fidibus canoris
SCRIBLERUS. VER. 213. Hold to the minister -] In the former edit.
Yes, to my country I my pen consign,
WARBURTON. VER. 215. Gazetteers] A band of ministerial writers, hired at the price mentioned in the note on book ii. ver. 316. who, on the very day their patron quitted his post, laid down their paper, and declared they would never more meddle in politics. WARBURTON.
What then remains ? Ourself. Still, still remain
O born in sin, and forth in folly brought ! 225
progeny! Unstain'd, untouch’d, and yet in maiden sheets; While all your smutty sisters walk the streets. ' 230 Ye shall not beg, like gratis-given Bland, Sent with a pass, and vagrant thro' the land;
VER. 225. O born in sin, &c ] In the former edit.
Adieu, my children!. better thus expire
WARBURTON. Ver. 225. O born in sin, &c.] This is a tender passionate apostrophe to his own works, which he is going to sacrifice, agreeable to the nature of man in great affliction; and reflecting like a parent on the many iniserable faces to which they would otherwise be subject.
Nor sail with Ward, to ape-and-monkey climes,
240 Soon to that mass of nonsense to return, Where things destroy'd are swept to things unborn.
With that, a tear (portentous sign of grace !) Stole from the master of the sev’nfold face : And thrice he lifted high the birth-day brand, 245 And thrice he dropt it from his quiv'ring hand; Then lights the structure with averted
eyes: The rolling smoke involves the sacrifice.
VER. 231. gratis-given Bland — Sent with a pass! It was a practice so to give the Daily Gazetteer and ministerial pamphlets (in which this B. was a writer), and to send them post. free to all the towns in the kingdom.
WARTON. VER. 233.
with Ward, to ape-and-monkey climes, ], " Edward Ward, a very voluminous poet in Hudibrastic verse, but best known by the London Spy, in prose. He has of late years kept a public house in the city, (but in a genteel way,) and with his wit, humour, and good liquor, (ale,) afforded his guests a pleasurable entertainment, especially those of the high-church party.” JACOB, Lives of Poets, vol. ii. p. 225. Great numbers of his works were yearly sold into the plantations.--Ward, in a book called Apollo's Maggot, declared this account to be a great falsity, protesting that his public house was not in the city, but in Moorfields.
WARBURTON. Ver. 238—240. TeteShadwell] Two of his predecessors in the laurel.
90 The op'ning clouds disclose each work by turns, Now flames the Cid, and now Perolla burns; 250
Ver. 250. Now flames the Cid, &c.] In the former edit.
Now flames old Memnon, nov Rodrigo burns,
When the last blaze, &c.
In one quick flash see Proserpine expire.) Memnon, a hero in the Persian Princess, very apt to take fire, as appears by these lines, with which he begins the play,
By Heav'n it fires my frozen blood with rage,
And makes it scald my aged trunk.” Rodrigo, the chief personage of the Perfidious Brother (a play writ. ten between Tibbald and a watch-maker.). The Rape of Proserpine, one of the farces of this author, in which Ceres setting fire to a corn-field, endangered the burning of the play-house.
WARBURTON. Var. And last, bis own cold Eschylus took fire.] He had been (to use an expression of our poet) about Eschylus for ten years, and had received subscriptions for the same, but then went about other books. The character of this tragic poet is fire and boldness in a high degree, but our author supposes it very much cooled by the translation; upon sight of a specimen of which was made this epigram,
« Alas! poor Eschylus ! unlucky dog!
Whom once a lobster kill'd, and now a log + But this is a grievous error, for Eschylus was not slain by the fall of a lobster on his head, but of a tortoise, teste Val. Max. I. ix.
SCRIBLERUS. Ver. 250. Now flames the Cid, &c.] In the first notes on the Dunciad it was said, that this author was particularly excellent at tragedy.“ This (says he) is as unjust as to say I could dance on a rope.
But certain it is that he had attempted to dance on this rope, and fell most shamefully, having produced no less than four tragedies, (the names of which the poet preserves in these few lines), the three first of them were fairly printed, acted, and damned; the fourth suppressed in fear of the like treatment.
Great Cæsar roars, and hisses in the fires :
Rouz'd by the light, old Dulness heard the head,
Her ample presence fills up all the place ; A veil of fogs dilates her awful face : Great in her charms ! as when on shrieves and may’rs She looks, and breathes herself into their airs. She bids him wait her to her sacred dome : 265 Well-pleas'd he enter'd, and confess’d his home.
VER. 253. the dear Nonjuror--Moliere's old stubble] A comedy threshed out of Moliere's Tartuffe, and so much the translator's favourite, that he assures us all our author's dislike to it could only arise from disaffection to the government :
« Qui meprise Cotin, n'estime point son Roi,
Et n'a, selon Cotin, ni Dieu, ni foi, ni loi.” Boil. He assures us, that " when he had the honour to kiss His Majesty's hand upon presenting his dedication of it, he was graciously pleased, out of his royal bounty, to order him two hundred pounds for it. And this he doubts not grieved Mr.P."
WARBURTON. Ver. 258. Thule] An unfinished poem of that name, of which one sheet was printed many years ago, by Ambrose Philips, a northern author. It is an usual method of putting out a fire, to cast wet sheets upon Some critics have been of opinion that this sheet was of the nature of the asbestos, which cannot be consumed by fire: but I rather think it an allegorical allusion to the coldness and heaviness of the writing.