ePub 版
[ocr errors]

Ye shall not beg, like gratis-given Bland,
Sent with a Pass, and vagrant through the land ;
Nor sail with Ward, to Ape-and-monkey climes,
Where vile Mundungus trucks for viler rhymes :
Not sulphur-tipt, emblaze an Alehouse fire ; 235
Not wrap up Oranges, to pelt your sire !
Oh! pass more innocent, in infant state,
To the mild Limbo of our Father Tate :
Or peaceably forgot, at once be blest
In Shadwell's bosom with eternal Rest!

240 Soon to that mass of Nonsense to return, Where things destroy'd are swept to things unborn.

REMARKS. dispassionate readers, that it is not a work abounding in curious anecdotes, and in characters nicely and accurately drawn, though in a style indeed singular and affected. Swift was so highly pleased with Cibber's Life, that he sat up all night to read it, and would not quit it till he had finished the volume; of which, when Cibber was informed, he shed tears of joy.

Ver. 231. gratis-given BlandSent 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. W.. • Bland was the Provost of Eton.

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 number 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. W.

Ver. 238—240. Tate-Shadwell] Two of his predecessors in the Laurel. W


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. 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 Ed.

Now flames old Memnon, now Rodrigo burns,
In one quick flash see Proserpine expire,
And last, his own cold Æschylus took fire.
Then gush'd the Tears, as from the Trojan's eyes,

When the last blaze, &c.
Vas. Now flames old Memnon, now Rodrigo burns,

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,


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. W.


Ver. 245. And thrice he lifted high the Birth-day brand,] Ovid, of Althea on a like occasion, burning her offspring :

“ Tum conata quater flammis imponere torrem,

Cepta quater tenuit."
Ver. 250. Now flames the Cid, &c.] :

-“ Jam Deiphobi dedit ampla ruinam,
Vulcano superante, domus ; jam proximus ardet


Great Cæsar roars, and hisses in the fires ;
King John in silence modestly expires :
No merit now the dear Nonjuror claims,
Moliere's old stubble in a moment flames.

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 written 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 Playhouse.

Var. And last, his own cold Æschylus took fire.] He had been (to use an expression of our Poet) about Æschylus 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 Æschylus ! unlucky Dog!

Whom once a Lobster kill'd, and now a Log !" But this is a grievous error, for Æschylus was not slain by the fall of a Lobster on his head, but of a Tortoise, teste Val. Max. l. ix. cap. 12. Scribl.




Ver. 252. King John] He has omitted a fifth tragedy written also by Cibber, Xerxes; which being rejected by the Patentées of Drury Lane, was condemned at Lincoln's Inn Theatre; though Betterton and Mrs. Barry acted in it.

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,” 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 donbts not grieved Mr. P."." W.And probably it did! 570.500 1988 1931


Tears gush'd again, as from pale Priam's eyes, 255 When the last blaze sent Ilion to the skies.

Rous’d by the light, old Dulness heav'd the head, Then snatch'd a sheet of Thulè from her bed ; Sudden she flies, and whelms it o'er the pyre ; Down sink the flames, and with a hiss expire. 260

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

She looks, and breathes herself into their airs.


Ver. 255. pale Priam's] Priam was informed of the fate of Troy, says Shakspeare, by a form so pale, so woe-begone : for which last epithet, said a certain critic, we should read Ucalegon. He was Priam's next neighbour,--proximus ardet Ucalegon. An absurdity of the very first class!

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 a usual method of putting out a fire, to cast wet sheets upon it. 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. W.

Philips certainly deserved not to be treated with such acrimonious contempt, if we consider his epistle from Denmark; his imitation of Strada; his translations of Sappho, and Pindar; and his Distrest Mother; though copied indeed from Racine. Pope himself commends the Epistle from Denmark in his Letters.

IMITATIONS. Ver. 263. Great in her charms! as when on Shrieves and May'rs

She looks, and breathes herself into their airs.] “ Alma parens confessa Deam; qualisque videri Cælicolis, et quanta solet"

Virg. Æn. ii. “ Et lætos oculis afflavit honores.”

Id. Æn. i.

[blocks in formation]

She bids him wait her to her sacred Dome : 265
Well pleas'd he enter'd, and confess'd his home.
So Spirits ending their terrestrial race,
Ascend and recognise their Native Place.
This the Great Mother dearer held than all 269
The clubs of Quidnuncs, or her own Guildhall :
Here stood her Opium, here she nurs'd her Owls,
And here she plann'd th' Imperial seat of fools.

Here to her Chosen all her works she shows;
Prose swell'd to verse, verse loit’ring into prose :
How random thoughts now meaning chance to find,
Now leave all memory of sense behind : 276
How Prologues into Prefaces decay,
And these to Notes are fritter'd quite away :
How Index-learning turns no student pale,
Yet holds the eel of science by the tail : 280


After Ver. 268, in the former Ed. followed these two lines,

Raptur'd, he gazes round the dear retreat,

And in sweet numbers celebrates the seat. Var. And in sweet numbers celebrates the seat.] Tibbald writ a Poem called the Cave of Poverty, which concludes with a very extraordinary wish, “ That some great genius, or man of distinguished merit, may be starved, in order to celebrate her power, and describe her Cave.” It was printed in octavo, 1715. W.


Ver. 280. 'eel of science] Is from the Tale of a Tub.


Ver. 269. This the Great Mother, &c.]

“ Urbs antiqua fuit-
Quam Juno fertur terris magis omnibus unam
Posthabita coluisse Samo: hic illius arma,
Hic currus fuit: hoc regnum Dea gentibus esse
(Si qua fata sinant) jam tum tenditque fovetque."

Virg. Æneid. i. b

« 上一頁繼續 »