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"O! when shall rise a monarch all our own, And I, a nursing-mother, rock the throne; 'Twixt prince and people close the curtain draw, Shade him from light, and cover him from law; Fatten the courtier, starve the learned band, And suckle armies, and dry-nurse the land : Till senátes nod to lullabies divine, And all be sleep, as at au ode of thine.'
She ceas'd. Then swells the chapel-royal throat: God save king Cibber! mounts in ev'ry note. 320 Familiar White's, God save kivg Colley! cries; God save king Colley! Drury-lane replies : To Needham's quick the voice triumphal rode, But pious Needham dropt the name of God; Back to the Devil the last echoes roll, And Coll! each butcher roars at Hockley-hole.
REMARKS. Ver. 319. chapel-royal]. The voices aod instre ments used in the service of the chapel-royal being also employed in the performance of the birth-day, and new-year odes.
Ver. 324. But pious Needham) A matron of great fame, and very religious in her way; whose constant prayer it was, that, she might get enough by her profession to leave it off in time, and make her peace with God.' But her fate was not so happy; for being convieted, and set in the pillory, she was (to the lasting shame of all her great friends and votaries) so ill used by the populace, that it put ar end to her days.
Ver. 325. Back to the Devil] The Devil Tavern in Fleet-street, where these odes are usually rehearsed before they are performed at court. Upon which a wit of those times made this epigram: When laureates make odes, do you ask of what sort?
Do you ask if they're good, or are evil? [court, You may judge--from the Devil they come to the
And go from the court to the devil.
So when Jove's block descended from on high (As sings thy great forefather Ogilby) Loud thunder to its bottom shook the bog,
329 And the hoarse nation croak’d, 'God save king Log!'
REMARKS. Ver. 328.-Ogilby--God save king Log!} See Ogilby's Esop's Fables, where, in the story of the Frogs and their king, this excelleni hemistich is to be found.
Our author manifests here, and elsewhere, a prodigious tenderness for the bad writers. We see he selects the only good passage, perhaps, in all that ever Ogilby writ! which shows how candid and pe tient a reader he must have been. What can be more kind and affectionate than the words in the preface to his poems, where he labours to call up all our humanity and forgiveness toward these unlucky men, by the most moderate representation of their case that has ever been given by any author!
But how much all indulgence is lost apon these people may appear from the just reflection made on their constant conduct and constant fate, in the føle lowing epigram:
Ye little wits, that gleam'd a-while,
When Pope rouchsaf'd a ray,
How soon ye fade away!
Thus empty vapours rise,
That reard him to the skies.
There he shall ever burn :
And must to earth returo,
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 Virgi', but for greater honour by the goddess in person (in like manner as the games Pythia, Isthmia, &c. 1. were anciently said to be ordained by the gods,
and as Thetis herself appearing, according to Ho mer, 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, foi 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 'accidents. Next, the game for å poetess. Then follow the exercises for the poets, of tickling, vociferating, diving. The first holds forth the arts and practices of dedicators, the se cond of disputants and fustian poets, the third of profound, dark; and dirty party-writers. Lastly, for the critics, the goddess proposes (with great propriety) an exercise, not of their parts, but their patjepce, in hearing the works of two voluminous authors, one in verse, and the other in prose, de liberately read, without sleeping: the various ef. fects of which, with the several degrees and man.
ners of their operation, are here set forth; till the whole number, not of critics only, but of spec. tators, actors, and all present, fall fast asleep; which naturally and necessarily ends the games.
Henley's gilt tub, or Fleckno's Irish throne,
REMARKS. Two things there are, upon the supposition of which the very basis of all verbal criticism is found. ed 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 judgement, transposed these two epithets ; putting hoarse to the wation, 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 ackpowledgement of all sound commentators.
Great Cibber sat: the proud Parnassian sneet,
REMARKS. Ver. 2. Henley's gilt tub,] The pulpit of a dis senter is usually called a tub;- but that of Mr. Ora tor 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.
Ver. 2. or Fleckno's Irish throne,] Richard Fleckno was an Irish priest, but had laid aside (as himself expressed it) the mechanic part of priesthood. He printed some plays, poems, letters, and travels. I doubt not, our author took occasion to mentica 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 emi. nence 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 piliory at Charing-cross, in March 1727-8. "This,' saith Edmund Curll, is a false assertion---I had, indeed, the cor. poral 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.' (Cuiliad, 12mo, p. 19.) And of the history of his being tast in a blanket, he saith,. Here ścriblerus ! 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 upal