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Or fay our Fathers never broke a rule;
Why then, I fay, the Public is a fool.
But let them own, that greater Faults than we
They had, and greater Virtues, I'll agree.
Spenfer himself affects the Obfolete,
And Sydney's verse halts ill on Roman feet:
Milton's ftrong pinion now not Heav'n can bound,
Now Serpent-like, in 1 prose he sweeps the ground,
In Quibbles, Angel and Archangel join,
And God the Father turns a School-divine.



Not that I'd lop the Beauties from his book,
Like" flashing Bentley with his defp'rate hook,
Or damn all Shakespear, like th' affected Fool
At court, who hates whate'er he read at school.
But for the Wits of either Charles's days,

The Mob of Gentlemen who wrote with Eafe;
Sprat, Carew, Sedley, and a hundred more,
(Like twinkling ftars the Miscellanies o'er)





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;
Injufte totum ducit venitque poema.

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.
* I lose my patience, and I own it too,

When works are cenfur'd, not as bad but new ;
While if our Elders break all reason's laws,
These fools demand not pardon, but Applaufe.

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 Betterton's grave action dignify'd,
Or well-mouth'd Booth with emphasis proclaims,
(Tho' but, perhaps, a mufter-roll of Names)
How will our Fathers rife up in a rage,
And fwear, all fhame is loft in George's Age!
You'd think v no Fools difgrac'd the former reign,
Did not fome grave Examples yet remain,


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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.

* K


Saliare Numae carmen qui laudat, et illud,

Quod mecum ignorat, folus vult scire videri ;
Ingeniis non ille favet plauditque fepultis,

Noftra fed impugnat, nos noftraque lividus odit.
Quod fi tam Graecis novitas invifa fuisset,
Quam nobis ; quid nunc effet vetus? aut quid haberet,
Quod legeret tereretque viritim publicus ufus?

> Ut primum pofitis nugari Graecia bellis Coepit, et in vitium fortuna labier aequa;

Nunc athletarum ftudiis, nunc arfit equorum;


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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

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Who fcorn a Lad should teach his father skill,
And, having once been wrong, will be fo ftill.
He, who to feem more deep than you or I,
Extols old Bards, or Merlin's Prophecy,
Miftake him not; he envies, not admires,
And to debase the Sons, exalts the Sires.
* Had ancient times confpir'd to dif-allow
What then was new, what had been ancient now?
Or what remain❜d, fo worthy to be read
By learned Critics, of the mighty Dead?


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.”
Then Peers grew proud in 2 Horsemanship t'excell,
New-market's Glory rofe, as Britain's fell;
The Soldier breath'd the Gallantries of France, 145
And ev'ry flow'ry Courtier writ Romance.


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.

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