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They are driven off by a band of young gentlemen rés turned from Travel with their Tutors; one of whom delivers to the Goddefs, in a polite oration, an account of the whole Conduct and Fruits of their Tra els: prefenting to her at the fame time a young Nobleman perfectly accomplished. She receives him graciously, and indues him with the happy quality of Want of Shame. She fees loitering about her a number of Indolent Perfons abandoning all business and duty, and dying with laziness: To thefe approaches the Antiquary Annius, intreating her to make them Virtuofos, and affign them over to him: But Mummius, another Antiquary, complaining of his fraudulent proceeding, fhe finds a method to reconcile their difference. Then enter a Troop of people fantastically adorned, offering her ftrange and exotic prefents: Amongst them, one stands forth and demands juftice on another, who had deprived him of one of the greatest Curiofities in nature: but he juftifies himself fo well, that the Goddess gives them both her approbation. She recommends to them to find proper employment for the Indolents before-mentioned, in the ftudy of Butterflies, Shells, Birds-nefts, Mofs, etc. but with particular caution, not to proceed beyond Trifles, to any ufeful or extenfive views of Nature, or of the Author of Nature. Against the last of these apprehenfions, the is fecured by a hearty Address from the Minute Philofophers and Freethinkers, one of whom speaks in the name of the rest. The Youth thus inftructed and principled, are delivered to her in a body, by the hands of Silenus; and then admitted to tafte the Cup of the Magus her High Prieft, which caufes a total oblivion of all Obligations, divine, civil, moral, or rational. To these her Adepts fhe fends Priefs, Attendants, and Comforters, of various kinds; confers on them Orders and Degrees; and then difmiffing them with a fpeech, confirming to each his Privileges, and telling what the expects from each, concludes with a Yawn of extraordinary virtue : The Progrefs and Effects whereof on all Orders of men, and the Confummation of all, in the Restoration of Night and Chaos, conclude the Poem.
YET, yet a moment, one dim Ray of Light
As half to fhew, half veil the deep Intent .
This book may properly be distinguished from the former, by the Name of the GREATER DUNCIAD, not fo indeed in Size, but in subject; and fo far contrary to the distinction anciently made of the Greater and Leffer Iliad. But much are they mistaken who imagine this Work in any wife inferior to the former, or of any other hand than of our Poet; of which I am much more certain than that the Iliad itfelf was the Work of Solomon, or the Batrachomomachia of Homer, as Barnes hath affirmed. BENT.
*This is an Invocation of much Piety. The Poet willing to approve himself a genuine Son, beginneth by fhewing (what is ever agreeable to Dulness) his high respect for Antiquity and a Great Family, how dead or dark foever Next declareth his paffion for explaining Myfteries; and lastly his Impatience to be re-united to her. SCRIBL.
Invoked, as the Restoration of their Empire is the Action of the Poem. This is a great propriety, for a dull Poet can never exprefs himself otherwife than by balves, or imperfectly. SCRIBL.
I understand it very differently; the Author in this work had indeed a deep Intent; there were in it Myfteries or amrippna which he durft not fully reveal, and doubtlefs in divers verfes (according to Milton)
more is meant than meets the ear.
Fair and foftly, good Poet! (cries the gentle Scriblerus on this place.) For fure, in spite of his unusual modetty, he shall not travel so fast toward Oblivion, as divers others of more Confidence have done: for when I revolve in my mind the Catalogue of thofe who have moft boldly promised to themselves Immortality, viz. Pindar, Luis Gongora, Ronfard, Oldham, Lyrics; Lycopbron, Statius, Chapman, Blackmore, Heroics; I find the one half to be
Sufpend a while your Force inertly ftrong *,
Now flam'd the Dog-ftar's unpropitious ray,
already dead, and the other in utter darkness. But it becometh not us, who have taken up the office of his Commentator, to fuffer our Poet thus pro digally to caft away his life; contrariwife, the more hidden and abftrufe is his work, and the more remote its beauties from common Understanding, the more is it our duty to draw forth and exalt the fame, in the face of Men and Angels. Herein fhall we imitate the laudable Spirit of those, who have (for this very reason) delighted to comment on dark and uncouth Authors, and even on their darker Fragments; preferred Ennius, to Virgil, and chosen to turn the dark Lanthorn of LYCOPHRON, rather than to trim the everlafling Lamp of Homer. SCRIBL.
* Alluding to the Vis inertia of Matter, which, though it really be no Power, is yet the Foundation of all the Qualities and Attributes of that Luggish Subftance.
The Poet introduceth this (as all great events are fuppofed by fage Hiftorians to be preceded) by an Eclipfe of the Sun; but with a peculiar propric ty, as the Sun is the Emblem of that intellectual light which dies before the face of Dulness. Very appofite likewife is it to make this Eclipfe, which is occafioned by the Moon's predominancy, the very time when Dulness and Madnefs are in Conjunction; whose relation and influence on each other the poet bath fhewn in many places, Book i, ver. 29. Book iii. ver. 5, & feq.
The two great Ends of her Miffion; the one in quality of Daughter of Chass, the other as Daughter of Night. Order here is to be underflood extenfively, both as Civil and Moral; the distinctions between high and low in Society, and true and falfe in Individuals: Light as Intellectual only, Wit, Science, Arts.
The Allegory continued; dall referring to the extinction of Light or Science; venal to the deftruction of Order, and the Truth of Things.
In allufion to the Epicurean opinion, that from the Diffolution of the natural World into Night and Chaos a new one fhould atife; this the Poet alluding to, in the Production of a new moral World, makes it partake of its original Principles.
** 1.. Pull and venal.
She mounts the Throne: her head a Cloud conceal'd, In broad Effulgence all below reveal'd*, ('Tis thus afpiring Dulness ever fhines) Soft on her lap her Laureate fon † reclines. Beneath her footstool, Science groans in Chains, And Wit dreads Exile, Penalties and Pains. M m 2
* It was the opinion of the Antients, that the Divinities manifested themfelves to Men by their Back-parts. Virg. Æn. et avertens, rafea cervice refulfit. But this paffage may admit of another exposition.-Vet. Adag. the higher you climb, the more pou shew pour a ———. Verified in no instance more than in Dulness afpiring. Eniblematize alfo by an Ape climbing and expofing his pofteriors.
+ With great judgment it is imagined by the Poet, that such a Colleague as Dulness had elected, should fleep on the Throne, and have very little share in the Action of the Poem. Accordingly he hath done little or nothing from the day of his Anointing; having paft thro' the second book without taking part in any thing that was tranfacted about him; and through the third in profound Sleep. Nor ought this, well confidered, to feem ftrange in our days, when fo many King-conforts have done the like. SCRIBL.
This verse our excellent Laureate took fo to heart, that he appealed to all mankind, "if he was not as feldom asleep as any fool!" But it is hoped the Poet has not injured him, but rather verified his Prophecy (p. 243, of his own Life, 8vo. ch. ix.) where he fays, "the reader will be as much pleafed to find me a Dunce in my Old Age, as be was to prove me a brifk blockhead in my Youth." Wherever there was any room for Brifknefs, or Alacrity of any fort, even in finking, he hath had it allowed; but here, where there is nothing for him to do but to take his natural reft, he must permit his Hiftorian to be filent. It is from their actions only that Princes have their character, and Poets from their works: And if in thofe he be as much afleep as any fool, the Poet muft leave him and them to fleep to all eternity.
Ibid. "When I find my Name in the fatirical works of this Poet, I never look upon it as any malice meant to me, but PROFIT to him felf For "he confiders that my Face is more known than most in the nation; and
therefore a Lick at the Laureate will be a fure bait ad captandum vulgus, 10 "catch little readers." Life of Colley Cibber, ch. ii.
Now if it be certain, that the works of our Poet have owed their fuccefs to this ingenious expedient, we hence derive an unanswerable Argument, that this Fourth DUNCIAD, as well as the former three, hath had the Author's laft hand, and was by him intended for the Prefs: Or elfe to what purpose hath he crown'd it, as we fee, by this finishing stroke, the profitable Lick at the Laureate?
We are next prefented with the pictures of those whom the Goddefs leads in Captivity. Science is only depreffed and confined as to be rendered useless; but Wit or Genius, as a more dangerous and active enemy, punifhed
There foam'd rebellious Logic, gagg'd and bound;
Too mad for mere material chains to bind,
ished, or driven away: Dulness being often reconciled in some degree with Learning, but never upon any terms with Wit. And accordingly it will be feen that she admits fomething like each Science, as Cafuistry, Sophistry, etc. but nothing like Wit, Opera alone fupplying its place.
* Morality is the Daughter of Aßiræa. This alludes to the Mythology of the ancient Poets; who tells us that in the Gold and Silver ages, or in the State of Nature, the Gods cohabited with men here on earth; but when by reafon of human degeneracy men were forced to have recourse to a Magistrate, and that the Ages of Brafs and Iron came on; (that is, when Laws were wrote on brazen tablets inforced by the Sword of Juftice) the Celestials foon retired from Earth, and Aftræa last of all; and then it was she left this her Orphan Daughter in the hands of the Guardians aforefaid. SCRIBL.
There was a Judge of this name, always ready to hang any man that came before him, of which he was suffered to give a hundred miferable examples during a long life, even to his dotage-Tho' the candid Scriblerus imagined Page here to mean no more than a Page or Mute, and to allude to the cuftom of ftrangling State Criminals in Turkey by Mutes or Pages. A practice more decent than that of our Page, who before he hanged any one, loaded him with reproachful language.
Alluding to the strange Conclufions fome Mathematicians have deduced from their principles, concerning the real Quantity of Matter, the Reality of Space, etc.
I. e. Pure and defecated from Matter.-Extatic ftare, the action of Mex who look about with full affurance of feeing what does not exist, fuch as those who expect to find Space a real being.
Regards the wild and fruitless attempts of squaring the Circle.
One of the misfortunes falling on Authors, from the A for fubjecting Plays to the power of a Licenser, being the false representations to which