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Safe, where no Critics damn, no Duns moleft,
Greatest and jufteft Sov'REIGN; know you this? "Alas! no more, than Thames' calm bead can know, "Whofe meads his arms drown, or whose corn o'erflow.
* See on ver. 146.
+ Charles Gildon, a writer of criticisms and libels of the last age, bred at St. Omer's with the Jefuits; but renouncing popery, he published Blount's books against the Divinity of Chrift, the Oracles of Reafon, etc. He fignalized himself as a critic, having written fome very bad plays; abused Mr. P. very scandaloufly in an anonymous pamphlet of the Life of Mr. Wycherley, printed by Curl; in another, called the New Rehearsal, printed in 1714; in a third, entitled the Complete Art of English Poetry, in two volumes; and others.
Hon. Edward Howard, author of the British Princes, and a great number of wonderful pieces, celebrated by the late earls of Dorfet and Rochester, duke of Buckingham, Mr. Waller, etc.
§ When the statute against gaming was drawn up, it was reprefented, that the king, by ancient custom, plays at Hazard one night in the year; and therefore a claufe was inferted, with an exception as to that particular. Under this pretence, the groom porter had a room appropriated to gaming all the fummer the court was at Kensington, which his majesty accidentally being acquainted with, with a juft indignation prohibited. It is reported the same practice is yet continued wherever the court resides, and the Hazard
Table there open to all the profeffed gamefters in town.
Donne to Queen Eliz.
O! when fhall rife a monarch all our own,
And all be fleep, as at an Ode of thine."
She ceas'd. Then fwells the chapel-royal throat:
"When Laureates make Odes, do you afk of what fort?
"You may judge- from the Devil they come to the court,
"And go from the court to the Devil."
The voices and inftruments ufed in the fervice of the Chapel-royal being also employed in the performances of the Birth day, and New-year Odes.
A matron of great fame, and very religious in her way; whose conftant prayer it was, that the might" get enough by her profeffion to leave it "off in time, and make her peace with God." But her fate was not fo happy; for being convicted, and fet in the pillory, the was (to the lasting fhame of all her great friends and votaries) fo ill used by the populace, that it put an end to her days
The Devil Tavern in Fleet-ftreet, where thefe Odes were usuallyrehearsed before they were performed at court. Upon which a Wit of those times made this Epigram,
See Ogilby's fop's Fables, where, in the story of the Frogs and their King, this excellent hemiftic is to be found.
Our author manifefts here, and elsewhere, a prodigious tenderness for the bad writers. We fee he felects the only good paffage, perhaps, in all that ever Ogilby writ; which fhews how candid and patient a reader he must have 6 been.
been. What can be more kind and affectionate than these words in the preface to his poems, where he labours to call up all our humanity and forgiveness toward these unlucky men, by the most moderate reprefentation of their cafe that has ever been given by any author? "Much may be said to exte"nuate the fault of bad poets: what we call a genius is hard to be distinguish"ed, by a man himself, from a prevalent inclination: and if it be never "fo great, he can at first discover it no other way than by that strong pro"penfity which renders him the more liable to be mistaken. He has no "other method but to make the experiment, by writing, and so appealing "to the judgment of others: and if he happens to write ill (which is cer❝tainly no fin in itself) he is immediately made the object of ridicule! I "wish we had the humanity to reflect, that even the worst authors might "endeavour to please us, and, in that endeavour, deserve something at our "hands. We have no caufe to quarrel with them, but for their obftinacy in "perfifting, and even that may admit of alleviating circumftances: for " their particular friends may be either ignorant, or unfincere; and the rest "of the world too well-bred to fhock them with a truth which generally "their booksellers are the firft that inform them of."
But how much all indulgence is loft upon thefe people may appear from the just reflection made on their constant conduct and constant fate, in the following Epigram:
"Ye little Wits, that gleam'd a while,
"To compafs Phœbus' car about,
Alas! thofe skies are not your sphere;
The END of the FIRST Book.
BOOK the SECOND.
THE King being proclaimed, the folemnity is graced with public games and fports of various kinds; not inftituted by the Hero, as by Æneas in Virgil, but for greater honour by the Goddess in person (in like manner as the games Pythia, Ifthmia, &c. were anciently said to be ordained by the Gods, and as Thetis herself appearing, according to Homer, Odyff. xxiv. propofed the prizes in honour of her fon Achilles.) Hither flock the Poets and Critics, attended, as is but juft, with their Patrons and Bookfellers. The Goddess is first pleased, for her difport, to propofe games to the Bookfellers, and fetteth up the phantom of a Poet, which they contend to overtake. The races described, with their divers accidents. Next, the game for a Poetefs. Then follow the exercises for the Poets, of tickling, vcciferating, diving: The firft holds forth the arts and practices of Dedicators, the fecond of Difputants and fuftian Poets, the third of profound, dark, and dirty Party-writers. Laftly, for the Critics, the Goddess proposes (with great propriety) an exereife, not of their parts, but their patience, in hearVOL. II. D d