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Till raised from booths, to theatre, to court,
Now, Bavius, take the poppy from thy brow,
This, this is he, foretold by ancient rhymes: Th’Augustus born to bring Saturnian times. 320
REMARKS. himself by filling up the blanks otherwise, agreeably to the context, and consistent with his allegiance. Pref. to a collection of verses, letters, &c. against Mr. P. printed for A. Moor, p. 6.
Ver, 305. -Polypheme-} He translated the Italian opera of Polifemo; but unfortunately lost the whole jest of the story. The Cyclops asks Ulysses his name, who tells him his name is Noman: after his eye is put out, he roars and calls the brother Cyclops to his aid: they inquire who has hurt bim ! he answers Noman: whereupon they all go away again. Our ingenious translator made Ulysses answer, I take no name;' whereby all that followed became unintelligible. Hence it appears that Mr. Cibber (who values himself on subscribing to the English translation of Homer's Iliad) had not that merit with respect to the Odyssey, or he might have been better instructed in the Greek punnology.
Ver. 308, 309.-Faustus, Pluto, &c.] Names of miserable farces which it was the custom to act at the end of the best tragedies, to spoil the digestion of the audience. . Ver. 312. -ensure it but from fire.) In Tibbald's farce of Proserpine, a corn-field was set on fire: whereupon the other play. house had a barn burnt down for the recreation of the spectators. They also rivalled each other in shewing the burnings of hell-fire, in Dr. Faustus.
Ver. 313. Another Æschylus appears !] It is reported of Æschylus, that when his tragedy of the Furies was acted, the audience were so terrified, that the children fell into fits, and the bigbellied women miscarried.
Signs following signs lead on the mighty year;
330 REMARKS. Ver. 325. -On poets' tombs see Benson's titles writ!) W-m Benson (surveyor of the buildings to his majesty King George 1.) gave in a report to the lords, that their house and the Painted chamber adjoining were in immediate danger of falling. Where. upon the lords met in a committee to appoint some other place to sít in, while the house should be taken down. But it being proposed to cause some other builders first to inspect it, they found it in very good condition. The lords, upon this, were going upon an address to the king against Benson, for such a misrepresentation; but the Earl of Sunderland, then secretary, gave them an assurance that his majesty would remove him, which was done accordingly. In favour of this man, the famous Sir Christopher Wren, who had been architect to the crown for above fifty years, who built most of the churches in London, laid the first stone of St. Paul's, and lived to finish it, had been displaced from his employment at the age of near ninety years.
Ver. 326. -Ambrose Philips-He was,' saith Mr. Jacob, one of the wits at Button's, and a justice of the peace:' but he hath since met with higher preferment in Ireland : and a much greater character we have of him in Mr. Gildon's Complete Art of Poetry, vol. i. p. 157. Indeed he confesses, he dares not set him quite on the same foot with Virgil, lest it should seem flattery, but he is much mistaken if posterity does not afford him a greater esteem than he at present enjoys. He endeavoured to create some misunderstanding between our author and Mr. Addison, whom also soon after he abused as much. His coustant cry was, that Mr. P. was an enemy to the government; aud in particular he was the avowed author of a report very industriously spread, that he had a hand in a party-paper called the Examiner: á falsehood well known to those yet living, who had the direction and publication of it.
Ver. 328. While Jones' and Boyle's united labours fall:) At the time when this poem was written, the banqueting-house of Whitehall, the church and piazza of Covent-garden, and the palace and chapel of Somerset-house, the works of the famous Inigo Jones, had been for many years só neglected, as to be in danger of ruin. The portico of Covent-garden church had been just then restored and beautified, at the expense of the Earl of Burlington; who, at the same time, by his publication of the designs of that great master and Palladio, as well as by many noble buildings of his own, revived the true taste of architecture in this kingdom.
Ver. 330. Gay dies unpension’d, &c.] See Mr. Gay's fable of the Hare and many Friends. This gentleman was early in the friendship of our author, which continued to his death. He wrote
Hibernian politics, O Swift! thy fate ;
Proceed, great days! till learning fly the shore,
REMARKS. several works of humour with great success, the Shepherd's Week, Trivia, the What d’ye call it, Fables, and lastly, the celebrated Beggar's Opera; a piece of satire which hit all tastes and de grees of men, from those of the highest quality to the very rabble: that verse of Horace,
Primores populi arripuit, populumque tributim,' could never be so justly applied as to this. The vast success of it was unprecedented, and almost incredible : what is related of the wonderful effects of the ancient music or tragedy hardly came up to it: Sophocles and Euripides were less followed and famous. It was acted in London sixty-three days, uninterrupted; and renewed the next season with equal applauses. It spread into all the great towns of England, was played in many places to the thirtieth and fortieth time, and at Bath and Bristol fifty, &c. It made its progress into Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, where it was performed twenty-four days together; it was last acted in Minorca, The fame of it was not confined to the author only; the ladies carried about with them the favourite songs of it in fans; and houses were furnished with it in screens. The person who acted Polly, till then obscure, became all at once the favourite of the town: her pictures were engraved, and sold in great numbers, her life written, books of letters and verses to her published; and pamphlets made even of her sayings and jests,
Furthermore, it drove out of England, for that season, the Italian opera, which had carried all before it for ten years. That idol of the nobility and people, which the great critic Mr. Dennis, by the labours and outcries of a whole life could not overthrow, was demolished by a single coke of this man's pen. This happened in the year 1728. Yet so great was his modesty, that he constantly prefixed to all the editions of it this motto: Nos hæc novimus esse nihil.
Ver. 332. And Pope's, ten years to comment and translate.] The author here plainly laments, that he was so long employed in translating and commenting. He began the Iliad in 1713, and finished it in 1719. The edition of Shakspeare (which he under took merely because nobody else would) took up near two years more in the drudgery of comparing impressions, rectifying the scenery, &c. and the translation of half the Odyssey employed him from that time to 1725.
Ver. 333. Proceed, great days! &c.] It may, perhaps, seem incredible, that so great a revolution in learning as is here prophesied, should be brought about by such weak instruments as have been [hitherto) described in our poem; but do not thou, gentle reader, rest too secure in thy contempt of these instru: ments. Remember what the Dutch stories somewhere relate, that a great part of their provinces was once overflowed, by a small opening made in one of their dykes by a single water-rat.
However, that such is not seriously the judgment of our poet, but that he conceiveth better hopes from the diligence of our schools, from the regularity of our universities, the discernment of our great men, the accomplishments of our nobility, the en
Till Thames see Eton's sons for ever play,
• Enough! enough!' the raptured monarch cries, And through the ivory gate the vision flies. 340
REMARKS. couragement of our patrons, and the genius of our writers of all kinds (notwithstanding some few exceptions in each), may plainly be seen from his conclusion; where, causing all this vision to pass through the ivory gate, he expressly, in the language of poesy, declares all such imaginations to be wild, ungrounded, and fictitious.-Scribl.
BOOK THE FOURTH.
ARGUMENT. The poet being, in this book, to declare the completion of the prophecies mentioned at the end of the former, makes a new invocation; as the greater poets are wont, when some high and worthy matter is to be sung. He shews the goddess coming in her majesty, to destroy order and science, and to substitute the kingdom of the Dull upon earth. How she leads captive the sciences, and silences the muses: and what they be who succeed in their stead. All her children, by a wonderful attraction, are drawn about her; and bear along with them divers others, who promote her empire by connivance, weak resistance, or discouragement of arts; such as half-wits, tasteless admirers, vain pretenders, the flatterers of dunces, or the patrons of them. All these crowd round her; one of them, offering to approach her, is driven back by a rival, but she commends and encourages both. The first who speak in form are the geniuses of the schools, who assure her of their care to advance her cause by confining youth to words, and keeping them out of the way of real knowledge. Their
address, and her gracious answer; with her charge to them and the universities. The universities appear by their proper deputies, and assure her that the same method is observed in the progress of education. The speech of Aristarcbus on this subject. They are driven off by a band of young
gentlemen returned from travel with their tutors; one of whom delivers to the goddess, in a polite oration, an account of the whole conduct and fruits of their travels : presenting to her at the same time a young nobleman perfectly accomplished. She receives him graciously, and endues him with the happy quality of want of shame. She sees loitering about her a number of indolent persons abandoning all business and duty, and dying with laziness: to these approaches the antiquary Annius, entreating her to make them virtuosos, and assign them over to him: but Mummius, another antiquary, complaining of his fraudulent proceeding, she finds a method to reconcile their difference. Then enter a troop of people fantastically adorned, offering her strange and exotic presents: amongst them, one stands forth and demands justice on another, who had deprived him of one of the greatest curiosities in nature; but he justifies himself so well, that the goddess gives them both her approbation. She recommends to them to find proper employment for the indolents before mentioned, in the study of butterflies, shells, birds'-nests, moss, &c. but with particular caution, not to proceed beyond trifles, to any useful or extensive views of nature, or of the author of nature. Against the last of these apprehensions, she is secured by a hearty address from the minute philosophers and free-thinkers, one of whom speaks in the name of the rest. The youth, thus instructed and principled, are delivered
to her in a body, by the hands of priest, which causes a total oblivion of all obligations, divine, civil, moral, or rational. To these, her adepts, she sends priests, attendants, and comforters, of various kinds; confers on them orders and degrees; and then dismissing them with a speech, confirming to each his privileges, and telling what she expects
concludes a yawn of extraordinary virtue : the progress and effects whereof on all orders of men, and the consummation of all, in the restoration of night and chaos, conclude