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Or fay our Fathers never broke a rule;
Not that I'd lop the Beauties from his book,
The Mob of Gentlemen who wrote with Eafe;
VER. 98. And Sydney's verfe halts ill on Roman feet :] Sir Philip Sidney. He attempted to introduce the Roman hexameter and pentameter meafure into English verfe. Baif, a french poet in the time of their Hen. II, had attempted the fame thing before him, and with the fame fuccefs.
VER. 104. his defp'rate book] Alluding to the feveral paffages of Milton, which Bentley has reprobated, by including within hooks, fome with judgment, and fome
Inter quae verbum emicuit fi forte decorum,
Si verfus paulo concinnior unus et alter;
Indignor quidquam reprehendi, non quia craffe Compofitum, illepideve putetur, fed quia nuper; Nec veniam antiquis, fed honorem et praemia pofci. • Recte necne crocum florefque perambulet Attae Fabula, fi dubitem; clamant periiffe pudorem Cuncti pene patres: ea cum reprehendere coner, Quae gravis Aefopus, quae doctus Rofcius egit.
Vel quia nil v rectum, nifi quod placuit fibi, ducunt; Vel quia turpe putant parere minoribus, et, quae Imberbi didicere, fenes perdenda fateri.
VER. 113. gleams thro' many a page,] The image is taken from half-formed unripe lightening, which streams along the sky, and is juft fufficient to fhew the deformity of those black vapours to which it serves (as Milton expreffes it) for a filver lining.
VER. 119. On Avon's bank,] At Stratford in Warwickshire, where Shakespear had his birth. The thought of the Original is here infinitely improved. Perambulet is a low allufion to the name and imperfections of Atta.
VER. 121. One Tragic fentence if I dare deride,] When writers of our Author's rank have once effectually expofed turgid expreffion, and reduced it to its juft value,
One Simile, that P folitary shines
In the dry defert of a thousand lines,
Or a lengthen'd Thought that gleams through many a
Has fanctify'd whole poèms for an age.
When works are cenfur'd, not as bad but new ;
s On Avon's bank, where flow'rs eternal blow, If I but afk, if any weed can grow?
One Tragic sentence if I dare deride
which, hitherto, the fmall critics had mistaken for the fublime, thefe latter are now apt to fufpect all they do not understand, to be bombaft: like the Idiot in Cervantes, who having been beat for not distinguishing between a Cur and a Greyhound, imagined every dog he met, to be a Cur-dog.
VER. 124. A mufter roll of Names,] An abfurd custom of feveral Actors, to pronounce with emphafis the meer Proper Names of Greeks or Romans, which (as they call i) fill the mouth of the Player. P.
Saliare Numae carmen qui laudat, et illud,
Quod mecum ignorat, folus vult scire videri ;
Noftra fed impugnat, nos noftraque lividus odit.
> Ut primum pofitis nugari Graecia bellis Coepit, et in vitium fortuna labier aequa;
Nunc athletarum ftudiis, nunc arfit equorum;
VER. 129-130.] Much inferior to the original.
VER. 138. By learned Critics, of the mighty Dead?] A ridicule on the tribe of learned Critics, who think all wri ters but the ancient unworthy their care and attention. This came properly into a fatire, whose subject is the unreasonable fondnefs for antiquity in general.
VER. 140. with Charles reftor'd;] He fays, restored, because the luxury he brought in, was only the revival of that practifed in the reigns of his Father and Grandfather. VER. 142. A Verfe of the Lord Lansdown. P.
VER. 143. In Horfemanship t'excell, And ev'ry flow'ry Courtier writ Romance.] The Duke of Newcastle's book of Horfemanship: the Romance of Parthenia, by the
Who fcorn a Lad should teach his father skill,
y In Days of Eafe, when now the weary Sword Was fheath'd, and Luxury with Charles restor❜d; 140 In ev'ry taste of foreign Courts improv❜d,
"All, by the King's Example, liv'd and lov'd.”
Earl of Orrery, and most of the French Romances tranflated by Perfons of Quality. P.
VER. 146. And ev'ry flow'ry Courtier writ Romance.] A kind of heroical Romances, whofe fubject was fome celebrated story of antiquity. In thefe voluminous extravagancies, love and honour fupplied the place of life and manners, which were scarce ever thought of till Mr. De Marivaux in France, and Mr. Fielding in England introduced this fpecies of fable: and, by inriching it with the best part of the comic art, may be said to have brought it to perfection.