Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

With me began this genius, and shall end."
He spoke; and who with Lintot shall contend?

Fear held them mute. Alone, untaught to fear, Stood dauntless Curll: • Behold that rival here,

REMARKS. 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. Stood 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 emi. nent man, that he carried 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 contmand over all authors whatever; he caused them to write what he pleased; they could not call their very names their own. He was not only famous among these ; he was taken notice of by the state, the church, and the law, and received particular marks of distinction from each.

It will be owned that he is here introduced with all possible dignity. He speaks like the intrepid Diomede; he runs like the swift-footed Achilles : if he falls, 'uis like the beloved Nisus; and (what Homer makes to be the chief of all praises) he is favoured of the gods: he says but three words, and his prayer is heard; a goddess conveys it to the seat of Jupiter: though he loses the prize, he gains the victory; the great mother berself romforts him, she inspires him with expedients, she honours him with an immortal present (such as Achilles receives from Thetis, and Æneas from Venus), at once instructive and prophetical: after this he is unrivalled, and ai#mphant.

The race by vigour, uot by vaunts, is won:
So take the hindmost, Hell,' he said, and run. 60
Swift as a bard the bailiff leaves behind,
He left huge Lintot, and out-stript the wind.
As when a dab-chick waddles through the copse
On feet and wings, and fies, and wades, and hops :
So labouring on, with shoulders, hands, and head,
Wide as a wind-mill all his fingers spread,
With arms expanded Bernard rows his state,
And left-legg'd Jacob seems to emulate.
Full in the middle way there stood a lake,
Which Curll's Corinna chanc'd that morn to make ;

REMARKS. The tribute our author here pays him is a grateful return for several unmerited obligations : many weighty animadversions on the public affairs, and many excellent and diverting pieces on private per. sons, has he given to his name. If ever he owed two verses to any other, he owed Mr. Curll some thousands. He was every day extending his fame, and enlarging his writings: witness innumerable in. stances; but it shall suffice only to mention the Court Poems, which he meant to publish as the work of the true writer, a lady of quality; but being first threatened, and afterwards punished for it by Mr. Pope, he generously transferred it from her to him, and ever since printed it in his name. The single time that ever he spoke to C. was on that affair, and to that happy incident he owed all the fa-, vour since received from him : 80 true is the saying of Dr. Sydenham, that any one shall be, at some time or other, the better or the worse, for having but seen or spoken to a good or bad man. - Ver. 70. Curll's Corinna] This name, it seems, was taken by one Mrs.

Thomas, who procured some private letters of Mr. Pope, while almost a boy, to Mr. Cromwell, and sold them, without the consent of either of those gentlemen, to Curll, who printed

(Such was her wont, at early dawn to drop 71
Her evening cates before his neighbour's shop)
Here fortun'd Curll to slide; loud shout the band,
And Bernard ! Bernard ! rings thro' all the Strand.
Obscene with filth the miscreant lies bewray'd,
Fall'n in the plash his wickedness had laid :
Then first (if poets aught of truth declare)
The caitiff vaticide conceiv'd a prayer:

Hear, Jove! whose name my bards and I adore, As much at least as any gods, or more ;

80 And him and his if more devotion warms, Down with the Bible, up with the pope's arms.

A place there is, betwixt earth, air, and seas, Where, from ambrosia, Jove retires for ease. There in his seat two spacious vents appear, On this he sits, to that he leans his ear, And hears the various vows of fond mankind; Some beg an eastern, some a western wind; All vain petitions, mounting to the sky, With reams abundant this abode supply; 90 Amus'd he reads, and then returns the bills Sign'd with that ichor which from gods distills.

In office here fair Cloacina stands, And ministers to Jove with purest hands. Forth from the heap she pick'd her votry's pray'r, And plac'd it next him, a distinction rare !

REMARKS. them in 12mo, 1727. He discovered her to be the publisher, in his Key, p. 11. We only take this opportunity of mentioning the manner in which those letters got abroad, which the author was ashamed of as very trivial things, full not only of levities, but of wrong judgements of men and books, and only excusable from the youth and inexperience of the writer.

Ver. 82. Down with the Bible, up with the pope's arms.] The Bible, Curll's sign; the cross keys, Lintot's.

Oft had the goddess heard her servant's call,
From her black grottos near the Temple-wall,
Listening delighted to the jest unclean
Of link-boys vile, and watermen obscene; 100
Where, as he fish'd her nether realms for wit,
She oft had favour'd him, and favours yet.
Renew'd by ordure's sympathetie force,
As oil'd with magic juices for the course,
Vigorous he rises; from the effluvia strong,
Imbibes new life, and scours and stinks along;
Re-passes Lintot, vindicates the race,
Nor heeds the bro dishonours of his face.

And now the victor stretch'd his eager hand
Where the tall nothing stood, or seem'd to stand ;
A shapeless shade, it melted from his sight, 111
Like forms in clouds, or visions of the night.
To seize his papers, Curll; was next thy care ;
His papers light, fly diverse, tost in air;
Songs, sonnets, epigrams, the winds uplift,
And wbisk them back to Evans, Young, and Swift.
Th' embroider'd suit at least he deem'd his prey,
That suit an uopaid tailor snatch'd away.

REMARKS. Ver. 101. Where, as he fish'd, &c.] See the preface to Swift's and Pope's Miscellanies.

Ver. 116. Evans, Young, and Swift.] Some of those persons, whose writings, epigrams, or jests he had owned. See note on ver. 50.

Ver. 118. an unpaid tailor] This line has been loudly complained of in Mist, June 8. Dedic. to Sawney, and others, as a most inhuman satire on the poverty of poets: but it is thought our author will be acquitted by a jury of tailors. To me this instance seems unluckily chosen; if it be a satire on any body, it must be on a bad pay-master, since the person to whom they have here applied it, was a man of fortune. Not but poets may well be jea. lous of so grcat a prerogative as non-payment;

No rag, no scrap, of all the beau, or wit,
That once so flutter'd, and that once so writ. 180

Heaven rings with laughter: of the laughter vain,
Dulness, good queen, repeats the jest again.
Three wicked imps, of her own Grub-street choir,
She deck'd like Congreve, Addison, and Prior;
Mears, Warner, Wilkins run: delusive thought!
Breval, Bond, Besaleel, the varlets caught.

REMARKS. which Mr. Dennis so far asserts, as boldly to pro nounce, that ' if Homer himself was not in debt, it was because nobody would trust him.'-.Pref. to Rem. on the Rape of the Lock, p. 15.

Ver. 124. like Congrere, Addison, and Prior;] These authors being such whose names will reach posterity, we shall not give any account of them, but proceed to those of whom it is necessary...-Besaleel Morris was author of some satires on the translators of Homer, with many other things printed in news-papers... Bond writ a satire against Mr. PCapt. Breval was author of The Confederates, as ingenious dramatic performance to expose Mr. P., Mr. Gay, Dr. Arbuthnot, and some ladies of quality,' says Curll, Key, p. 11.

Ver. 125. Mears, Warner, Wilkins] Booksellers and printers of much anonymous stuff

Ver. 126. Breval, Bond, Besaleel,] I foresee it will be objected from this line, that we were in an error in our assertion on ver. 50 of this book, that More was a fictitious name, since those persons are equally represented by the poet as phantoms. So at first sight it may be seen; but be not deceived, reader; these also are not real persons. 'Tis true, Curll declares Breval a captain, author of a piece called The Confederates ; but Curll first said it was written by Joseph Gay. Is his second assertion to be credited any more than his first? He likewise affirms Bond to be one who writ a satire on our

« AnteriorContinuar »