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Our author manifests here, and elsewhere, a prodigious tenderness for the bad writers. We see he selects the only good passage, perhaps, in all that ever Ogilby writ; which shews how candid and patient a reader he must have been.
But how much all indulgence is lost upon these people may appear from the just reflection made on their constant conduct and constant fate, in the following epigram:
"Ye little wits, that gleam'd a while,
"To compass Phœbus' car about,
"Alas! those skies are not your sphere;
THE END OF THE FIRST BOOK.
ARGUMENT OF THE SECOND BOOK.
THE King being proclaimed, the solemnity is graced with public Games and sports of various kinds; not instituted by the Hero, as by Eneas in Virgil, but for greater bonour by the Goddess in person (in like manner as the games Pythia, Isthmia, &c. were anciently said to be ordained by the Gods, and as Thetis herself appearing, according to Homer, Odyss. xxiv. proposed the prizes in honour of her son Achilles). Hither flock the Poets and Critics, attended, as is but just, with their Patrons and Booksellers. The Goddess is first pleased, for her disport, to propose games to the Booksellers, and setteth up the phantom of a Poet, which they contend to overtake. The Races described, with their divers accidents. Next, the game for a Poetess. Then follow the exercises for the Poets, of tickling, vociferating, diving: The first holds forth the arts and practices of Dedicators, the second of Disputants and fustian Poets, the third of profound, dark, and dirty Party-writers. Lastly, for the Critics, the Goddess proposes (with great propriety) an exercise, not of their parts, but their patience, in hearing the works of two voluminous Authors, the one in verse, and the other in prose, deliberately read, without sleeping: The various effects of which, with the several degrees and manners of their operation, are here set forth; till the whole number, not of Critics only, but of spectators, actors, and all present, fall fast asleep; which naturally aud necessarily ends the games.
HIGH on a gorgeous seat, that far outshone
Henley's gilt tub, or Fleckno's Irish throne, Or that where on her Curls the public pours, All-bounteous, fragrant grains and golden show'rs, Great
Two things there are, upon the supposition of which the very basis of all verbal criticism is founded and supported: The first, that an author could never fail to use the best word on every occasion; the second, that a critic cannot chuse but know which that is. This being granted, whenever any word doth not fully content us, we take upon us to conclude, first, that the author could never have used it; and, secondly, that he must have used that very one, which we conjecture, in its stead.
We cannot, therefore, enough admire the learned Scriblerus for his alteration of the text in the two last verses of the preceding book, which in all the former editions stood thus:
"Hoarse thunder to its bottom shook the bog,
And the loud nation croak'd, God save king Log!"
He has, with great judgment, transposed these two epithets; putting boarse to the nation, and loud to the thunder: and this being evidently the true reading, he vouchsafed not so much as to mention the former; for which assertion of the just right of a critic, he merits the acknowledgment of all sound commentators.
VER. 1. High on a gorgeous seat,] Parody of Milton, book ii. "High on a throne of royal state, that far
Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
VER. 2. Henley's gilt tub,] The pulpit of a dissenter is usually called a tub; but that of Mr. Orator Henley was covered with