Page images

Next, o'er his Books his eyes began to roll,
In pleafing memory of all he stole,

How here he fip'd, how there he plunder'd fnug,
And fuck'd all o'er, like an industrious Bug.
Here lay poor Fletcher's half-eat scenes, and here
The Frippery of crucify'd Moliere:


There hapless Shakespeare, yet of Tibbald fore,
Wifh'd he had blotted for himself before.



Ver. 131. poor Fletcher's half-eat scenes.] A great number of them taken out to patch up his Plays.

Ver. 132. The Frippery] "When I fitted up an old "play, it was as a good housewife will mend old linen, "when he has not better employment.." Life, p. 217, Octavo.

Ver. 133. hapless Shakespeare, &c.] It is not to be doubted but Bays was a fubfcriber to Tibbald's Shakefpeare. He was frequently liberal in this way; and, as he tells us, “fubfcribed to Mr. Pope's Homer, out of "pure Generofity 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 fo proud himself as to fay, in one of Mift's Journals, June 8, "That to expofe 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 ftill give above "five hundred emendations, that shall escape them all.”

Ver. 134. Wifh'd he had blotted] It was a ridiculous praise which the Players gave to Shakespeare, “that " he never blotted a line." Ben Jonfon honeftly wished he had blotted a thousand; and Shakespeare would cer tainly have wifhed the fame, if he had lived to see those alterations in his works, which, not the Actors only


[ocr errors]


The reft on Outside merit but prefume,
Or ferve (like other Fools) to fill a room;
Such with their fhelves as due proportion hold,
Or their fond Parents drest in red and gold;
Or where the pictures for the page atone,
And Quarles is fav'd by Beauties not his own.
Here fwells the fhelf with Ogilby the great;
There, stamp'd with arms, Newcastle fhines complete :




(and especially the daring Hero of this Poem) have made on the Stage, but the prefumptuous Critics of our days in their Editions.

Ver. 135. The reft on Outside merit, &c.] This Library is divided into three parts: the firft confifts of thofe authors from whom he stole, and whofe works he mangled; the fecond of such as fitted the shelves, or were gilded for fhow, or adorned with pictures: the third clafs 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 fuch a progrefs as might well ftyle him the prodigy of his time! fending into the world fo many large "Volumes! His tranflations of Homer and Virgil done to the life, and with fuch excellent fculptures: And "(what added great grace to his works) he printed them all on fpecial good paper, and in a very good "letter." WINSTANLY, Lives of Poets.

Ver. 142. There, ftainp'd with arms, Newcastle hines complete:] "The Duchefs of Newcastle was one "who bufied herself in the ravishing delights of Poetry; leaving to Pofterity in print three ample Volumes of


Here all his fuffering brotherhood retire,

And 'fcape the martyrdom of jakes and fire:

A Gothic Library! of Greece and Rome

Well purg'd, and worthy Settle, Banks, and Broome.




Ver. 145. in the firft Edit. it was

A Gothic Vatican! of Greece and Rome

Well purg'd, and worthy W-y, Ws and BI-. 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,


-S, who were perfons eminent for good life; the one writ the Life of Chrift in verfe, the other fome valuable pieces in the lyric kind on pious fubjects. 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 abufes the "greatest personages in power, which brought upon him frequent Correction. The Marfhalfea 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.


"her ftudious endeavours." WINSTANLY, ibid. Langbaine reckons up eight Folios of her Grace's; which were ufually adorned with gilded covers, and had her coat of arms upon them.

Ver. 146. Worthy Settle, Banks, and Broome.] The Pet has mentioned thefe 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 inftead of the Court; but equally famous for unintelligible flights in his poems on public occafions, such as fhows, Birth-days, &c. 2. Banks.




[ocr errors]

But, high above, more folid Learning shone,
The Claffics of an age that heard of none ;
There Caxton flept, with Wynkyn at his fide,

One clafp'd in wood, and one in strong cow-hide; 150
There, fav'd by spice, like Mummies, many a year,
Dry Bodies of Divinity appear:


Ver. 152. Old Bodies of Philofophy appear.



was his rival in Tragedy (though more fuccessful) in one of his Tragedies, the Earl of Effex, which is yet alive Anna Boleyn, the Queen of Scots, and Cyrus the Great, are dead and gone. Thefe he dreft in a fort of Beggar's Velvet, or a happy mixture of the thick Fustian and thin Profaic; exactly imitated in Perolla, and Ifidora, Cæfar in Egypt, and the Heroic Daughter. 3. Broome was a ferving-man of Ben Jonfon, who once picked up a Comedy from his Betters, or from fome caft Icenes of his Mafter, not entirely contemptible.

Ver. 147. More folid Learning] Some have objected, that books of this fort fuit not fo well the library of our Bays, which they imagined confifted of Novels, Plays, and obfcene books; but they are to confider, that he furnished his fhelves only for ornament, and read these books no more than the Dry bodies of Divinity, which, no doubt, were purchased by his Father when he designed him for the Gown. See the note on ver. 200.

Ver. 149. Caxton] A Printer in the time of Edw. IV. Rich. III. and Hen. VII; Wynkyn de Word, his fucceffor, in that of Hen. VII. and VIII. The forme tranflated into profe Virgil's Aneis, as a hiftory; of which he speaks, in his proeme, in a very fingular manner, as of a book hardly known. Tibbald quotes a rare paffage from him in Mift's Journal of March 16, 1728, concerning a ftraunge and marvayllouse beaste


De Lyra there a dreadful front extends,

And here the groaning fhelves Philemon bends.

Of these twelve volumes, twelve of ampleft fize, 155 Redeem'd from tapers and defrauded pies, Infpir'd he feizes: Thefe an altar raife: An hecatomb of pure unfully'd lays

That altar crowns: A folio Common-place

Founds the whole pile, of all his works the base:
Quartos, octavos, fhape the leffening pyre;
A twifted Birth-day Ode completes the fpire.
Then he Great Tamer of all human art!


First in my care, and ever at my heart;
Dulnefs! whofe good old caufe I yet defend,

With whom my Musfe began, with whom shall end,


Ver. 162. A twisted, &c.] In the former Edit.
And last, a little Ajax tips the fpire.



Var. a little Ajax] in duodecimo, tranflated from Sophocles by Tibbald.


called Sagittarye, which he would have Shakespeare to mean rather than Teucer, the Archer celebrated by Homer.

Ver. 153. Nich. de Lyra, or Harpsfield, a very voluminous commentator, whofe works, in five vast folios, were printed in 1472.

Ver. 154. Philemon Holland, Doctor in Phyfic. "He "tranflated fo many books, that a man would think he

had done nothing elfe; infomuch that he might be "called Tranflator general of his age. The books "alone of his turning into English are fufficient to "make a Country Gentleman a compleat Library." WINSTANLY.

« PreviousContinue »