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BOOK THE SECOND.
ARGUMENT. The king being proclaimed, the solemnity is graced with public games and sports of various kinds; not instituted by the hero, as by Æneas in Virgil, but for greater honour by the goddess in person (in like manner as the games Pythia, Isthmia, &c. were anciently said to be ordained by the gods, and as Thetis herself appearing, according to Homer, Odyss. xxiv. proposed the prizes in honour of her son Achilles). 'Hither flock the poets and critics, attended, as is but just, with their patrons and booksellers. The goddess is first pleased, for her disport, to propose games to the booksellers, and setteth up the phantom of a poet, which they contend to overtake. The races described, with their divers ac cidents. Next, the game for a poetess. Then follow the exercises for the poets, of tickling, vociferating, diving. The first holds forth the arts and practices of dedicators, the second of disputants and fustian poets, the third of profound, dark, and dirty party-writers. Lastly, for the crities, the goddess proposes (with great propriety) an exercise, not of their parts, but their patience in hearing the works of two voluminous authors, one in verse, and the other in prose, deliberately read, without sleeping: the various effects of which, with the several degrees and manners of their operation, are here set forth; till the whole number not of critics only, but of spectators, actors, and all present, fall fast asleep; which naturally and necessarily ends the games.
High on a gorgeous seat, that far outshone
Thus empty vapours rise,
That rear'd him to the skies.
There he shall ever burn:
And must to earth return. Two things there are, upon the supposition of which the very basis of all verbal criticism is founded and supported : The first, that an author could never fail to use the best word on every occasion; the second, that a critic cannot choose but know which that is. This being granted, whenever any word doth not fully content us, we take upon us to conclude, first, that the author could never have used it; and, secondly, that he must have used that very one, which we conjecture, in its stead.
We cannot, therefore, enough admire the learned Scriblerus, for his alteration of the text in the last two verses of the preceding book, which in all the former editions stood thus:
Hoarse thunder to its bottom shook the bog,
And the loud nation croak'd, 'God save king Log !! He has, with great judgment, transposed these two epithets ;
Great Cibber sat: the proud Parnassian sneer,
shine round him with reflected grace,
REMARKS. putting hoarse to the nation, and loud to the thunder; and this being evidently the true reading, he vouchsafed not so much as to mention the former; for which assertion of the just right of a critic he merits the acknowledgment of all sound commentators.
Ver. 2. Henley's gilt tub,] The pulpit of a dissenter is usually calied a tub; but that of M. Orator Henley was covered with velvet, and adorned with gold. He had also a fair altar, and over it this extraordinary inscription : "The primitive Eucharist.' See the history of this person, book iii.
Ibid.-or Fleckno's Irish throne,] Richard Fleckno was an Irish priest, but had laid aside (as himself expressed it) the mechanie part of priesthood. He printed some plays, poems, letters, and travels. 'I doubt not, our author took occasion to mention him in respect to the poem of Mr. Dryden, to which this bears some resemblance, though of a character more different from it than that of the Æneid from the Iliad, or the Lutrin of Boileau from the Defait de Bouts rimées of Sarazin.
It may be just worth mentioning, that the eminence from whence the ancient sophists entertained
their auditors, was called by the pompous name of a throne. Themistius, Orat. i.
Ver. 3. Or that whereon her Curlls the public pours,] Edmund Curll stood in the pillory at Charing-cross, in March
1727-8. *This,' saith Edmund Curll,' is a false assertion. I had, indeed, the corporal punishment of what the gentlemen of the long robe are pleased jocosely to call mounting the rostrum for one hour: but that scene of action was not in the month of March, but in February.' (Curliad, 12mo. p. 19.) And of the history of his being tossed in a blanket, he saith, 'Here, Scriblerus! thou leesest in what thou assertest concerning the blanket : it was not a blanket, but a rug.' p. 25. Much in the same manner Mr. Cibber remonstrated, that his brothers, at Bedlam, mentioned Book i. were not brazen, but blocks; yet our author let it pass unaltered, as a trifle that no way altered the relationship.
We should think, gentle reader, that we but ill performed our part, if we corrected not as well our own errors now, as formerly those of the printer: since
what moved us to this work, was solely the love of truth, not in the least any vain glory, or desire to contend with great authors. And farther, our mistakes, we conceive, will the rather be pardoned, as scarce possible to be avoided in writing of such persons and works as do ever shun the light. Howeyer, that we may not any way soften or extenuate the same, we give them thee in the very words of our antagonists; not defend ing, but retracting them from our heart, and craving excuse of the parties offended : for surely in this work, it hath been above all things our desire to provoke no man.-Scribl.
Not with more glee, by hands pontific crown'd,
And now the queen, to glad her sons, proclaims,
Amid that area wide they took their stand, Where the tall May-pole once o’erlook'd the Strand, But now (so Anne and piety ordain) A church collects the saints of Drury-lane.
30 With authors, stationers obey'd the call (The field of glory is a field for all). Glory and gain th’industrious tribe provoke ; And gentle Dulness ever loves a joke. A poet's form she placed before their eyes, And bade the nimblest racer seize the prize; No meager, muse-rid mope, adust and thin, In a dun night-gown of his own loose skin, But such a bulk as no twelve bards could raise, Twelve starveling bards of these degenerate days. 40
REMARKS. Ver. 15. Rome in her Capitol saw Querno sit,] Camillo Querno was of Apulia, who hearing the
great encouragement which Leo X. gave to poets, travelled to Rome with a harp in his hand, and sung to it twenty thousand verses of a poem called Alexias. He was introduced as a buffoon to Leo, and promoted to the honour of the laurel; a jest which the court of Rome and the pope himself entered into so far, as to cause him to ride on an elephant to the Capitol, and to hold a solemn festival on his coronation; at which it is recorded the poet himself was so transported as to weep for joy.* He was ever after a constant frequenter of the pope's table, drank abundantly, and poured forth verses without number. Paulus Jovius, Elog. Vir. doct. cap. lxxxiii. Some idea of his poetry is given by Fam. Strada, in his Prolusions.
Ver. 34. And gentle Dulness ever loves a joke.) This species of mirth, called a joke, arising from a mal-entendu, may be well supposed to be the delight of Dulness. * See Life of C. C. chap. vi. p. 149.
All as a partridge plump, full-fed and fair,
All gaze with ardour: some a poet's name,
REMARKS. Ver. 47. Never was dash'd out, at one lucky hit,] Our author here seems willing to give some account of the possibility of Dulness making a wif (which could be done no other way than by chance). The fiction is the more reconciled to probabílity by the known story of Apelles, who, being at a loss to express the foam of Alexander's horse, dashed his pencil in despair at the picture and happened to do it by that fortunate stroke.
Ver. 50. --and call'd the phantom More.] Curll, in his Key to the Dunciad, affirmed this to be James Moore Smith, Esq. and it is probable considering what is said of him in the testimonies) that some might fancy our author obliged to represent this gentlemap as a plagiary, or to pass for one himself. His case, indeed, was like that of a man I have heard of, who, as he was sitting in company, perceived his next neighbour had stolen his handkerchief; Sir, said the thief, finding himself detected, do not expose me; I did it for mere want. Be so good but to take it privately out of my pocket again, and say nothing.' The honest man did so, but the other cried out, “See, gentlemen, what a thief we have among us! Look, he is stealing my handkerchief!'
Some time before, he had borrowed of Dr. Arbuthnot a paper called a Historico-physical account of the South Sea, and of Mr. Pope, the Memoirs of a Parish Clerk, which for two years he kept, and read to the Rev. Dr. Young, F. Billers, Esq. and many others, as his own. Being applied to for them, he pretended they were lost; but there happening to be another copy of the letter, it came out in Swift's and Pope's Miscellanies. Upon this, it seems, he was so far mistaken as to confess his proceeding by au endeavour to hide it; unguardedly printing (in the Daily Journal of April 3, 1723),'That the contempt which he and others had for those pieces,'(which only himself had shewn, and handed about as his own),'occasioned their being lost, and for that cause only not returned.' A fact, of which as none but he conld be conscious, none but he could be the publisher of it. The plagiarisms of this person gave occasion to the following epigram :
Moore always smiles whenever he recites;
A modest man may like what's not his own.' This young gentleman's whole misfortune was too inordinate a passion to be thought a wit. Here is a very strong instance at
But lofty Lintot in the circle rose :
Fear held them mute. Alone, untaught to fear,
· Hîc cæstus, artemque repono.' The smaller pieces which we have heard attributed to this author are, An Epigram on the Bridge at Blenheim, by Dr. Evans; Cosmelia, by Mr. Pit, Mr. Jones, &c.; The Mock Marriage of a mad Divine, with a Cl- for a Parson, by Dr. W.; The Saw-pit, a Simile, by a friend; Certain Physical Works on Sir James Baker; and some unowned Letters, Advertisements, and Epigrams against our author in the Daily Journal.
Notwithstanding what is here collected of the person imagined by Curll to be meant in this place, we cannot be of that opinion ; since our poet had certainly no need of vindicating half a dozen verses to himself, which every reader had done for him : since the name itself is not spelled Moore, but More; and, lastly, since the learned Scriblerus has so well proved the contrary.
Ver. 50. -the phantom More.] It appears from hence, that this is not the name of a real person, but fictitious. More from Mūpos, stultus, uwpía, stultitia, to represent the folly of a pla giary. Thus Erasmus ; Admonuit me Mori cognomen tibi, quod tam ad Morie vocabulum accedit quam es ipse a re alienus, Dedication of Morie Encomium to Sir Thomas More; the farewell of which may be our author's to his plagiary, Vále, More! et moriam tuam gnaviter defende. Adieu, More! and be sure strongly to defend thy own folly Scribl.
Ver. 53. But lofty Lintot-). We enter here upon the episode of the booksellers ; persons, whose names being more known and famous in the learned world than those of the authors in this poem, do therefore need less explanation. The action of Mr. Lintot here imitates that of Dares in Virgil, rising just in this manner to lay hold on a bull. This eminent bookseller printed the Rival Modes before mentioned.
Ver. 58. Slood dauntless Curll:) We come now to a character of much respect, that of Mr. Edmund Curll. As a plain repetition of great actions is the best praise of them, we shall only say of this eminent man, that he carries the trade many lengths beyond what it ever before had arrived at; and that he was the envy and admiration of all his profession. He possessed himself of a command over all authors whatever: he caused them to