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How fluent nonsense trickles from his tongue !
REMARKS. points to account, he was impatient under those fetters of the free-born mind. Being admitted to priest's orders, he found the examination very short and superficial, and that it was not necessary to conform to the Christian religion, in order either to deaconship or priesthood.' He came to town, and, after baving for some years been a writer for booksellers, he had an ambition to be so for ministers of state. The only reason he did not rise in the church, we are told,' was the envy of others, and a disrelish entertained of him, because he was not qualified to be a complete spaniel. However, he offered the service of his pen to two great men, of opinions and interests directly opposite; by both of whom being rejected, he set up a new project, and styled himself the Restorer of ancient Eloquence. He thought it as lawful to take a licence from the king and parliament in one place as another; at Hicks's Hall, as at Doctor's Commons; so set up his oratory in Newport-market, Butcher-row. There, says his friend, he had the assurance to form a plan, which no mortal ever thought of; he had success against all opposition challenged his adversaries to fair disputations, and none would dispute with him: writ, read, and studied twelve hours a-day; composed three dissertations a-week on all subjects; undertook to teach in one year what schools and universities teach in five; was not terrified by menaces, insults, or satires, but still proceeded, matured his old scheme, and put the church, and all that, in danger.'-- Welsted, Narrative in Orat. Transact.'No. 1.
After having stood some prosecutions, he turned his rhetoric to buffoonery upon all public and private occurrences. All this passed in the same room, where sometimes be broke jests, and sometimes that bread which he called the primitive eucharist. -This wonderful person struck medals, which he dispersed as tickets to his subscribers : the device, a star rising to the meridian, with this motto, AD SVMMA; and below, INVENIAM VIAM AVT FACIAM. This man had a hundred pounds a-year given him for the secret service of a weekly paper of unintelligible nonsense, called tbe Hyp-Doctor. Ver. 204. -Sherlock,
Hare, Gibson,] Bishops of Salisbury, Chi. chester, and London ; whose sermons and pastoral letters did honour to their country as well as stations.
Ver. 212. Of Toland, and Tindal, see Book it. Tho. Woolston was an impious madman, who wrote in a most insolent style against the miracles of the Gospel, in the year 1926, &c.
Yet oh, my sons, a father's words attend (So may the fates preserve the ears you lend): 'Tis yours, a Bacon or a Locke to blame, A Newton's genius, or a Milton's flame : But, oh! with One, immortal One, dispense, The source of Newton's light, of Bacon's sense. Content, each emanation of his fires That beams on earth, each virtue he inspires, 220 Each art he prompts, each charm he can create, Whate'er he gives, are given for you to hate, Persist by all divine in man unawed, But, Learn, ye Dunces; not to scorn your God.'
REMARKS. Ver. 213.-Yet oh, my sons, &c.] The caution against blasphemy here given by a departed son of Dulness to his yet existing brethren, is, as the poet rightly intimates, not out of tenderness to the ears of others, but their own. And so we see, that when that danger is removed, on the open establishment of the goddess in the fourth book, she encourages her sons, and they beg assistance to pollute the source of light itself, with the same virulence they had before done the purest emanations from it. Ver. 215. 'Tis yours, a Bacon or a Locke to blame,
A Newton's genius, or a Milton's flame: Thankfully received, and freely used, is this gracious licence by the beloved disciple of that prince of cabalistic dunces, the tremendous Hutchinson.-Hear with what honest plainness he treateth our great geometer. As to mathematical demonstration,' saith he, founded upon the proportions of lines and circles to each other, and the ringing of changes upon figures, these have po more to do with the greatest part of philosophy, than they have with the man in the moon. Indeed, the zeal for this sort of gibberish (mathematical principles] is greatly abated of late: and though it is now upwards of twenty years that the Dagon of
modern philosophers, Sir Isaac Newton, has lain with his face on upon the ground before the ark of God, Scripture philosophy;
for so long Moses's Principia have been published; and the Treatise of Power Essential and Mechanical, in which Sir Isaac Newton's philosophy is treated with the utmost contempt, has been published a dozen years; yet is there not one of the whole society who hath had the courage to attempt to raise him up. And so let him lie. --The Philosophical Principles of Moses asserted, &c. p. 2, by Julius Bate, A. M. chaplain to the right honourable the Earl of Harrington. London, 1744, 8vo.-Scribl.
Ver. 224. But, . Learn ye Donces! not to scorn your God.') The hardest lesson a dunce can learn. For being bred to scorn what he does not understand, that which he understands least he will be apt to scorn most. Of which, to the disgrace of all government, and, in the poet's opinion, even of that of Dulness herself, we have had a late example, in a book entitled Philosophical Essays concerning Human Understanding.
Ver. 224. --not to scorn your God.') See this subject pursued in Book iv.
Thus he, for then a ray of reason stole
His never-blushing head he turn'd aside
Joy fills his soul, joy innocent of thought; • What power,' he cries,‘what power these wonders wrought?
250 REMARKS. Ver. 232. (Not half so pleased, when Goodman prophesied);] Mr. Cibber tells us, in his Life, p. 149, that Goodman being at the rehearsal of a play, in which he had a part, clapp'd him on the shoulder, and cried, If he does not make a good actor, I'll be d-d. And,' says Mr. Cibber, I make it a question, whether Alexander himself, or Charles the Twelfth of Sweden, when at the head of their first victorious armies, could feel a greater transport in their bosoms than I did in mine.'
Ver.233.-a sable sorc'rer-] Dr. Faustus, the subject of a set of farces, which lasied in vogue two or three seasons, in which both playhouses strove to outdo each other for some years. All the extravagancies in the sixteen lines following, were introduced on the stage, and frequented by persous of the first quality in England, to the twentieth and thirtieth time.
Ver. 237. Hell rises, heaven descends, and dance on earth :) This monstrous absurdity was actually presented in Tibbald's Rape of Proserpine.
Ver. 248. Loone vast egg-] In another of these farces Harlequin is hatched upon the stage out of a large egg.
Son; what thou seek'st is in thee! Look, and find
But lo! to dark encounter in mid air, New wizards rise ! I see my Cibber there! Booth in his cloudy tabernacle shrined, On grinning dragons thou shalt mount the wind. Dire is the conflict, dismal is the din, Here shouts all Drury, there all Lincoln's-inn; 270
REMARKS, Ver. 261. Immortal Rich!] Mr. John Rich, master of the theatre-royal in Covent-garden, was the first that excelled this way.
Ver. 266. -I see my Cibber there !] The history of the foregoing absurdities is verified by himself, in these words; (Life, chap. xv.) Then sprang forth that succession of monstrous med leys that have so long infested the stage, which arose upon one another alternately at bath houses, outvying each other in expense.' He then proceeds to excuse his own part in them, as follows: 'If I am asked why I assented! I have no better excuse for my error than to confess, I did it against my conscience, and had not virtue enough to starve. Had Henry IV. of France a better for changing his religion? I was still in my heart, as much as he could
be, on the side of truth and sense : but with this difference, that I had their leave to quit them when they could not support me. But let the question go which way it will, Harry IVth has always been allowed a great man.'. This must be confessed a full answer; only the question still seems to be, 1. How the doing a thing against one's conscience is an excuse for it! and 2dly, It will be hard to prove how he got the leave of truth and sense to quit their service, unless he can produce à certificate that he ever was in it.
Ver. 266, 267. Booth and Cibber were joint managers of the theatre in Drury-laue.
Ver. 268. On grinning dragons thou shalt mount the wind.) In his letter to Mr. P. Mr. c. solemnly declares this not to be literally true. We hope, therefore, the reader will understand it allegorically only.
Contending theatres our empire raise,
And are these wonders, son, to thee unknown?
streets, The needy poet sticks to all he meets,
290 Coach'd, carted, trod upon, now loose, now fast, And carried off in some dog's tail at last. Happier thy fortunes! like a rolling stone, Thy giddy dulness still shall lumber on, Safe in its heaviness, shall never stray, But lick up every blockhead in the way. Thee shall the patriot, thee the courtier taste, And every year be duller than the last,
REMARKS. Ver. 282. Annual trophies on the lord-mayor's day; and monthly wars in the Artillery-ground.
Ver. 283. Though my long party-- Settle, like most partywriters, was very uncertain in his political principles. He was employed to hold the pen in the character of a popish successor, but afterward printed his narrative on the other side.--He had managed the ceremony of a famous pope-burning on Nov. 17, 1680 : then became a trooper in King James's army,
at Hounslowheath. After the Revolution he kept a booth at Bartholomewfair, where, in the droll called St. George for England, he acted. in his old age in a dragon of green-leather of his own invention; he was at last taken into the Charter-house, and there died, aged sixty years.
Ver. 297. T'hee shall the patriot, thee the courtier taste,) It stood in the first edition with blanks, * * and **. Concanen was sure they must needs mean nobody but King George and Queen Caroline;' and said he would insisi it was so, till the poet cleared