Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

content to steal from others, but dost rob thy poor wretched self too."

Now was Settle's time to take his revenge. He wrote a vindication of his own lines; and, if he is forced to yield any thing, makes reprisals upon his enemy. To say that his answer is equal to the censure, is no high commendation. To expose Dryden's method of analysing his expressions, he tries the same experiment upon the description of the ships in the Indian Emperor, of which however he does not deny the excellence; but intends to shew, that by studied misconstruction every thing may be equally represented as ridiculous. After so much of Dryden's elegant animadversions, justice requires that something of Settle's should be exhibited. The following observations are therefore extracted from a quarto pamphlet of ninety-five pages:

"Fate after him below with pain did move,
"And victory could scarce keep pace above.

"These two lines, if he can shew me any sense or "thought in, or any thing but bombast and noise, "he shall make me believe every word in his observations on Morocco sense.

"In The Empress of Morocco were these lines:

"Ill travel then to some remoter sphere,

"Till I find out new worlds, and crown you there."

On which Dryden made this remark:

*I believe our learned author takes a sphere for

a country: the sphere of Morocco; as if Moroccowere the globe of earth and water; but a globe is

no sphere neither, by his leave,' &c. So sphere must not be sense, unless it relate to a circular motion about a globe, in which sense the astronomers use it. I would desire him to expound those lines in Granada:

"I '11 to the turrets of the palace go,

And add new fire to those that fight below.

Thence, Hero-like, with torches by my side,

(Far be the omen tho1) my Love 111 guide.

No, like his better fortune 1 *11 appear, \

With open arms, loose veil, and flowing hair, \

Just flying forward from my rowling sphere. j

"I wonder, if he be so strict, how he dares make so bold with sphere himself," and be so critical in other men's writings. Fortune is fancied standing on a globe, not on a sphere, as he told us in the first act.

"Because Elkanalis Similies are the most unlike things to what they are compared in the world, I '11 venture to start a simile in his Annus Mirabilis: he gives this poetical description of the ship called the London:

"The goodly London in her gallant trim,

The Phcenix-daughter of the vanquisht old,

Like a rich bride does to the ocean swim,

And on her shadow rides in floating gold.

Her flag aloft spread ruffling in the wind,

And sanguine streamers seem1d the flood to fire:

The weaver, charnVd with what his loom design'd,

Goes on to sea, and knows not to retire.

With roomy decks, her guns of mighty strength,

Whose low-laid mouths each mounting billow laves,

Deep in her draught, and warlike in her length,

She seems a sea-wasp flying on the waves.

"What a wonderful pother ishere, to make all these "poetical beautifications of a ship; that is a phoenix in the first stanza, and but a wasp in the last: nay, to make his humble comparison of a wasp "more ridiculous, he does not say it flies upon the waves as nimbly as a wasp, or the like, but it "seemed a wasp. But our author at the writing of "this was not in his altitudes, to compare ships to "floating palaces: a comparison to the purpose, was "a perfection he did not arrive to till his Indian Emperor's days. But perhaps his similitude has more in it than we imagine; this ship had a great "many guns in her, and they, put all together, "made the sting in the wasp's tail: for this is all the reason I can guess, why it seem'd a wasp. But, because we will allow him all we can to help out, let it be a phoenix sea-wasp, and the rarity of such an animal may do much towards heightening the fancy.

"It had been much more to his purpose, if he had designed to render the senseless play "little, to have searched for some such pedantry "as this:

"Two ifs scarce make one possibility,If justice will take all, and nothing give,
"Justice, methinks, is not distributive.
"To die or kill you is the alternative.
"Rather than take your life, I will not live.

"Observe how prettily our author chops logick in heroic verse. Three such fustian canting words "as distributive, alternative, and two ifs, no man but himself would have come within the noise of. But he's a man of general learning, and all comes into his play.

"'Twould have done well too if he could have met with the rant or two, worth the observation; such as,

"Move swiftly, Sun, and fly a lover's pace,
Leave months and weeks behind thee in thy race.

"But surely the Sun, whether he flies a lover's "or not a lover's pace, leaves weeks and months, "nay years too, behind him in his race."Poor Robin, or any other of the Philo-mathe"maticks, would have given him satisfaction in the point.

"If I could kill thee now, thy fate "s so low,
"That I must stoop, ere I can give the blow.
"But mine is fixt so far above thy crown,
"That all thy men,
"Piled on thy back, can never pull it down.

"Now where that is, Almanzor's fate is fixt, I "cannot guess: but, wherever it is, I believe Almanzor, and think that all Abdallas subjects, "piled upon one another, might not pull down his "fate so well as without piling: besides I think "Abdalla so wise a man, that, if Almanzor had "told him piling his men upon his back might do the feat, he would scarcely bear such a weight, "for the pleasure of the exploit; but it is a huff, and let Abdalla do it if he dare.

"The people like a headlong torrent go,
And every dam they break or overflow.
But, unoppos'd, they either lose their force,
"Or wind in volumes to their former course:

"a very pretty allusion, contrary to all sense or reason. Torrents, I take it, let them wind never so much, Vol. vi. z

can never return to their former course, "unless he can suppose that fountains can go upwards, which is impossible; nay more, in the foregoing page he tells us so too; a trick of a very unfaithful memory.

"But can no more than fountains upward flow;

"which of a torrent, which signifies a rapid stream, "is much more impossible. Besides, if he goes to "quibble, and say that it is impossible by art water "maybe made return, and the same water run twice "in one and the same channel: then he quite confutes what he says; for it is by being opposed, "that it runs into its former course; for all engines "that make water so return, do it by compulsion and opposition. Or, if he means a headlong torrent for a tide, which would be ridiculous, yet "they do not wind in volumes, but come fore-right back (if their upright lies straight to their former course), and that by opposition of the sea-water, that drives them back again.

"And for fancy, when he lights of any thing like it, 'tis a wonder if it be not borrowed. As here, for example of, I find this fanciful thought in his Ann. Mir ah.

"Old father Thames rais'd up his reverend head;
But fear'd the fate of Simoeis would return:
Deep in his ooze he sought his sedgy bed :And shrunk his waters back into his urn.

"This is stolen from Cowley's Davideis, p. 9.

"Swift Jordan started, and strait backward fled,
"Hiding amongst thick reeds his aged head.
"And when the Spaniards their assault begin,
"At once beat those without and those within.

« AnteriorContinuar »