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Then gnaw'd his Pen, then dash'd it on the ground,
ported it with a wonderful mixture of Vivacity. This character is heightened according to his own defire, in a Letter he wrote to our author. Pert and dull at " least you might have allowed me. What! am I “ only to be dull, and dull still, and again, and for “ ever?” He then folemnly appealed to his own conscience, that “ he could not think himself so, nor be“ lieve that our poet did; but that he fpake worfe of “ him than he could possibly think; and concluded it “ must be merely to Thew his Wit, or for fome Profit
or Lucre to himself.” Life of C. C. chap. vii. and Letter to Mr. P. page 15. 40. 53.
And to fhew his claim to what the Poet was so unwilling to allow him, of being pert as well as dull, he declares he will have the last word; which occasioned the following Epi
'' gram : Quoth Cibber to Pope, « Tho' in Verse
foreclose, " I'll have the last word: for, by G-, I'll write
Prose.” Poor Colly, thy Reasoning is none of the strongeft, For know, the last Word is the Word that lasts longest,
Ver. 115. supperless the Hero fate.] It is amazing how the sense of this hath been mistaken by all the former commentators, who most idly suppose it to imply that the Hero of the poem wanted a fupper. In truth a great absurdity! Not that we are ignorant that the Hero of Homer's Odyssey is frequently in that circumstance, and therefore it can no way derogate from the grandeur of Epic Poem to represent such Hero under a calamity, to which the greatest not only of Critics and Poets, but of Kings and Warriors, have been subject. But much more refined, I will venture to say, is the meaning of
Plung'd for his sense, but found no bottom there,
125 Fruits of dull Heat, and Sooterkins of Wit.
Ver. 121. Round him much Embryo, &c.] In the former Editions thus,
He roll'd his eyes that witness'd huge dismay,
our author : It was to give us obliquely a curious precept, or what Boffu calls a disguised sentence, that “ Temperance is the life of Study." The language of poesy brings all into action; and to represent a Critic encompassed with books but without a supper, is a picture which lively expresseth how much the true Critic prefers the diet of the mind to that of the body, one of which he always castigates, and often totally neglects for the greater improvement of the other. SCRIBL.
But since the discovery of the true Hero of the poem, may we not add, that nothing was so natural, after lo great a loss of money at dice, or of Reputation by his Play, as that the Poet should have no great stomach to eat a supper? Besides, how well has the Poet consulted his Heroic Character, in adding that he swore all the time?
Next, o'er his Books his eyes began to roll,
Ver. 132. The Frippery] “ When I fitted up an old “play, it was as a good housewife will mend old linen, so when she has not better employment..” Life, p. 237, Otavo,
Ver. 133. hapless Shakespeare, &c.] It is not to be doubted but Bays was a subscriber to Tibbald's Shakefpeare. He was frequently liberal in this way; and, as he tells us, “ subscribed to Mr. Pope's Homer, out of
pure Generosity and Civility; but when Mr. Pope “ did fo to his Nonjuror, he concluded it could be no.
thing but a joke.” Letter to Mr. P. p. 24.
This Tibbald, or Theobald, published an edition of Shakespeare, of which he was so proud himself as to fay, in one of Mist's Journals, June 8, “ That to expose
any Errors in it was impracticable.” And in another, April 27, “ That whatever care might for the future be “ taken by any other Editor, he would still give above “ five hundred emendations, that shall escape them all."
Ver. 134. With'd he had blotted ) It was a ridiculous praile which the Players gave to Shakespeare, “ that “ he never blotted a line.” Ben Jonson honestly wished he had blotted a thousand ; and Shakespeare would cer: tainly have withed the fame, if he had lived to see those alterations in bis works, which, not the Actors only
The rest on Outside merit but prefume,
133 Or serve (like other Fools) to fill a room ; Such with their shelves as due proportion hold, Or their fond Parents dreft in red and gold; Or where the pictures for the page atone, And Quarles is fav’d by Beauties not his own. 140 Here swells the fhelf with Ogilby the great; There, stamp'd with arms, Newcastle shines complete :
REMARKS. (and especially the daring Hero of this Poem) have made on the Stage, but the presumptuous Critics of our days in their Editions.
Ver. 135. The rest on Outside merit, &c.] This Library is divided into three parts: the first consists of those authors from whom he stole, and whose works he mangled; the fecond of such as fitted the shelves, or were gilded for show, or adorned with pi&tures : the third class our author calls folid learning, old bodies of Divinity, old Commentaries, old English Printers, or old English Translations : all very voluminous, and fit to erect altars to Dulness.
Ver. 141. Ogilby the great;] “ John Ogilby was « one, who from a late initiation into literature, made s such a progress as might well style him the prodigy « of his time! fending into the world so many large « Volumes! His translations of Homer and Virgil done " to the life, and with such excellent sculptures : And “ (what added great grace to his works) he printed o them all on special good paper, and in a very good
letter.” WINSTANLY, Lives of Poets. Ver. 142. There, stainp'd with arms, Newcastle thines complete :) “ The Duchess of Newcastle was one
who buhed herself in the ravishing delights of Poetry; ^leaving to Posterity in print three ample Volumes of
Here all his suffering brotherhood retire,
145 Well purg'd, and worthy Settle, Banks, and Broome.
But, VARIATIONS. Ver. 145. in the first Edit. it was A Gothic Vatican ! of Greece and Rome
Well purg'd, and worthy W-y, Wasand BIa, And in the following altered to Withers, Quarles, and Blome, on which was the following note.
It was printed in the furreptitious editions, W-ly, W-s, who were persons eminent for good life; the one writ the Life of Christ in verse, the other some valuable pieces in the lyric kind on pious subjects. The line is here restored according to its original.
“ George Withers was a great pretender to poetical “ zeal against the vices of the times, and abuses the “ greatest personages in power, which brought upon him “ frequent Correction. The Marshalsea and Newgate “ were no strangers to him.” WINSTANLY. Quarles was as dull a writer, but an honest dull man.
Blome's books are remarkable for their cuts.
REMARKS. “ her studious endeavours." WINSTANLY, ibid. Lange baine reckons up eight Folios of her Grace's; which were usually adorned with gilded covers, and had her coat of arms upon them.
Ver. 146. Worthy Settle, Banks, and Broome.] The Paet has mentioned these three authors in particular, as they are parallel to our Hero in his three capacities: 1. Settle was his Brother Laureate; only indeed upon half-pay, for the City instead of the Court; but equally famous for unintelligible flights in his poems on public occasions, such as Thows, Birth-days, &c. 2. Banks VOL. III.