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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 ;
s On Avon's bank, where flow'rs eternal blow, If I but afk, if any weed can grow?
One Tragic fentence 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 swear, 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,
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 it) fill the mouth of the Player. P.
Jam " Saliare Numae carmen qui laudat, et illud,
Quod mecum ignorat, folus vult fcire videri ;
Ingeniis non ille favet plauditque fepultis,
Noftra fed impugnat, nos noftraque lividus odit. * Quod fi tam Graecis novitas invifa fuiffet,
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 2 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,
Extols old Bards, or Merlin's Prophecy,
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 reftor'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 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.
Quid placet, aut odio eft, quod non mutabile credas?
Hoc paces habuere bonae, ventique fecundi.
• Romae dulce diu fuit et folemne, reclufa
Mane domo vigilare, clienti promere jura ;
Scriptos nominibus rectis expendere nummos;
Crefcere res poffet, minui damnofa libido.
VER. 149. Lely on animated Canvas ftole The fleepy Eye, etc.] This was the Characteristic of this excellent Colourift's expreffion; who was an exceffive Manierest.
VER. 153. On each enervate string, etc.] The Siege of Rhodes by Sir William Davenant, the firft Opera fung in England. P.
Then Marble, foften'd into life, grew warm,
And yielding Metal flow'd to human form:
The fleepy Eye, that spoke the melting foul.
But d Britain, changeful as a Child at play,
• Time was, a fober Englishman wou'd knock
And fend his Wife to church, his Son to school.
To teach their frugal Virtues to his Heir;
To prove, that Luxury could never hold;
VER. 158. Now all for Pleafure, now for Church and Stare;] The first half of Charles the Second's Reign was paffed in an abandoned diffoluteness of manners; the other half, in factious difputes about popish plots and French prerogative.