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And (last and worse) with all the cant of wit,
When Dulness smiling: Thus revive the wits !
Ver. 110.—bold Benson-) This man endeavoured to raise himself to fame by erecting monuments, striking coins, setting up heads, and procuring translations of Milton; and afterward by as great a passion for Arthur Johnston, a Scotch physician's Version of the Psalms, of which he printed many fine editions. See more of him, Book iii. ver. 325.
Ver. 113. The decent knight-] An eminent person, who was about to publish a very pompous edition of a great author at his own expense.
Ver. 115, &c.] These four lines were printed in a separate leaf by Mr. Pope in the last edition, which he himself gave, of the Dunciad, with directions to the printer, to put this leaf into its place as soon as Sir T. H's. Sbakspeare should be published.
Ver. 119.-'. Thus revive,' &c.] The goddess applauds the practice of tacking the obscure names of persons not eminent in any branch of learning, to those of the most distinguished writers; either by printing editions of their works with impertinent alterations of their text, as in the former instances; or by setting up monuments disgraced with their own vile names and inscriptions, as in the latter.
And you, my critics! in the chequer'd shade,
• Leave not a foot of verse, a foot of stone,
Now crowds on crowds around the goddess press, Each eager to present the first address. Dunce scorning dunce beholds the next advance, But fop shews fop superior complaisance.
REMARKS. Ver. 128. A page, à grave,] for what less than a grave can be granted to a dead author! or what less than a page can be allowed to a living one!
Ibid. A page,] Pagina, not pedissequus. A page of a book, not a servant, follower, or attendant; no poet having had a page since the death of Mr. Thomas Durfey.
--Scribl. Ver. 131. So by each bard an alderman, &c.] Vide the Tombs of the Poets, editio Westmonasteriensis.
Ibid. -an alderman shall sit,] Alluding to the monument erected for Butler by aluerman Barber.
Ver. 132. A heavy lord shall hang at every wit,] How unnataral an image, and how ill supported ! saith Aristarchus. Had it been,
A heavy wit shall hang at every lord, something might have been said, in an age so distinguished for well-judging patrons. For lord, then, read load ; that is, of debts here, and of commentaries hereafter. To this purpose, conspicuous is the case of the poor author of Hudibras, whose body, long since weighed down to the grave by a load of debts, has lately had a more unmerciful load of commentaries laid upon his spirit; wherein the editor has achieved more than Virgil himself, when he turned critic, could boast of, which was only that he had picked gold out of another man's dung; whereas the editor has picked it out of his own.-Scribl.
Aristarchus thinks the common reading right: apd that the author himself had been struggling, and but just shaken off his load, when he wrote the following epigram:
My lord complains, that Pope, stark mad with gardens, Has lopp'd three trees the value of three farthings : But be's my neighbour, cries the peer polite, And if he'll visit me, l'll wave my right. What! on compulsion! and against my will,
A lord's acquaintance! Let him file his bill. Ver. 137, 138. -Dunce scorning dunce beholds the next advance,
But fop shews fop superior complaisance.] This is not to be ascribed so much to the different manners of a court and college, as to the different effects which a pretence
When, lo! a spectre rose, whose index-hand
Then thus, Since man from beast by words is known,
REMARKS. to learning, and a pretence to wit, have on blockheads. For as judgment consists in finding out the differences in things, and wit in finding out their likenesses, so the dunce is all discord and dissension, and constantly busied in reproving, examining, confuting, &c. while the fop kourishes in peace, with songs and hymns of praise, addresses, characters, epithalamiums, &c. Ver. 140.
-the dreadful wand;) A cane usually borne by schoolmasters, which drives the poor souls about like the wand of Mercury.-Scribl.
Ver. 151. -like the Samian letter,] The letter Y used by Pythagoras, as an emblem of the different roads of virtue and vice,
• Et tibi quæ Samios diduxit litera ramos.Pers.
Else sure some bard, to our eternal praise,
« Oh,' cried the goddess, 'for some pedant reiga! Some gentle James, to bless the land again ; To stick the doctor's chair into the throne, Give law to words, or war with words alone. Senates and courts with Greek and Latin rule, And turn the council to a grammar-school ! 180 For sure, if Dulness sees a grateful day, "Tis in the shade of arbitrary sway. 0! if my sons may learn one earthly thing, Teach but that one, sufficient for a king; That which my priests, and mine alone, maintain, Which, as it dies, or lives, we fall, or reign : May you, my Cam, and Isis, preach it lung, “The right divine of kings to govern wrong.”'
Prompt at the call, around the goddess roll Broad hats, and hoods, and caps, a sable shoal: 190 Thick and more thick the black blockade extends, A hundred head of Aristotle's friends. Nor wert thou, Isis! wanting to the day, [Though Christ-church long kept prudishly away.) Each staunch polemic, stubborn as a rock, Each fierce logician, still expelling Locke,
REMARKS. Ver. 174. that master-piece of man.] Viz. an epigram. The famous Dr. South declared a perfect epigram to be as difficult a performance as an epic poem. And the critics say, 'An epic poem is the greatest work human nature is capable of
Ver. 176. Some gentle James, &c.] Wilson tells us that this king, James the First, took upon himself to teach the Latin tongue to Car, earl of Somerset; and that Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador, would speak false Latin to him, on purpose to give him the pleasure of correcting it, whereby he wrought himself into his good graces.
This great prince was the first who assumed the title of Sacred Majesty, which his loyal clergy transferred from God to him. . The principles of passive obedience and non-resistance,' says the author of the Dissertation on Parties, Letter 8, which before his time had skulked, perhaps, in some old homily, were talked, written, and preached into vogue in that inglorious reign.
Ver. 194. [Though Christ-churclı, &c.] This line is doubtless spurious, and foisted in by the impertinence of the editor; and accordingly we have put it in between hooks. For I affirm this college came as early as any other, by its proper deputies; nor did any college pay homage to Dulness in its whole body.-Bentl.
Came whip and spur, and dash'd through thin and
REMARKS. Ver. 196. still expelling Locke.] In the year 1703 there was a meeting of the heads of the university of Oxford to censure Mr. Locke's Essay on Human Understanding, and to forbid the reading of it. See his Letters in the last edition.
Ver. 198, On German Crouzaz, and Dutch Burgersdyck.] There seems to be an improbability that the doctors and heads of houses should ride on horseback, who of late days, being gouty or unwieldy, have kept their coaches. But these are horses of great strength, and fit to carry any weight, as their German and Dutch extraction may manifest; and very famous we may conclude, being honoured with names, as were the horses Pegasus and Bucephalus.-Scribl.
Though I have the greatest deference to the penetration of this eminent scholiast, and must own that nothing can be more natural than his interpretation, or juster than that rule of criticism, which directs us to keep to the literal sense, when no apparent absurdity accompanies it (and sure there is no absurdity in supposing a logician on horseback), yet still I must needs think the hackneys here celebrated were not real horses, nor even Centaurs, which, for the sake of the learned Chiron, I should rather be inclined to think, if I were forced to find them four legs, but downright plain men, though logicians: and only thus metamorphosed by a rule of rhetoric, of which Cardinal Perron gives us an example, where he calls Clavius, Un esprit pesant, lourd,
sans subtilité, ni gentillesse, un gros cheval d'Allemagne. Here I profess to go opposite to the whole stream of commentators. I think the poet only aimed, though awkwardly, at an elegant Grecism in this representation; for in that language the word (Amos (horse) was often prefixed to others, to denote greatness of strength; as ιππολάπαθον, ιππόγλωσσον, ιππομάpa pov, and particularly InnorNMAN, a great connoisseur, which comes nearest to the case in hand.-Scip. Maff:
Ver. 199. —the streams-] The river Cam, running by the walls of these colleges, which are particularly famous for their skill in disputation.
Ver. 202. -sleeps in port.] Viz. 'Now retired into harbour, after the tempests that had long agitated his society.' So Scriblerus But the learned Scipio Maffei understands it of a certain wide called Port, from Oporto, a city of Portugal, of which this professor invited him to drink abundantly. Scip. Maff. De Compotationibus Academicis. [And to the opinion of Maffei inclineth the sagacious annotator on Dr. King's Advice to Horace.]