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Soft creeping, words on words, the sease compose,
REMARKS. Ver. 397. Thrice Budgel aim'd to speak,] Famous for his speeches on many occasions about the South Sea scheme, &c. 'He is a very ingenious gentleman, and hath written some excellent epilogues to plays, and one small piece on Love, which is very pretty.' Jacob, Lives of Poets, vol. ii. p. 289. But this gen. tleman since made himself much more eminent, and personally well known to be the greatest statesman of all parties, as well as to all the courts of law in this nation.
Ver. 299. Toland and Tindal,] Two persons not so happy as to be obscure, who writ against the re. ligion of their country. Toland, the author of the atheists liturgy, called Pantheisticon, was a spy, in pay to lord Oxford. Tindal was author of the Rights of the Christian Church, and Christianity as old as the Creation. He also wrote an abusive pamphlet againt earl S--, which was suppressed while yet in MS. by an eminent person, then out of the ininistry, to whom he showed it, expecting his approbation. This doctor afterwards published the same piece, mutatis mutandis, against that very person.
Ver. 400. Christ's no kingdom,] This is said by Curll, Key to Dunc. to allude to a sermon of a reverend bishop
Who sat the nearest, by the words o'ercome, 401
REMARKS. Ver. 411. Centlivre) Mrs. Susanna Centlivre, wife to M. Centlivre, yeoman of the mouth to his majes ty. She writ many plays, and a song (says Mr. Jacob, vol. i. p. 32.), before she was seven years old. She also writ a ballad against. Mr. Pope's Homer, before he began it.
Ver. 413. Boyer the state, and Law the stage gave o'er,] A. Boyer, a voluminous compiler of annals, political collections, &C...William Law, A. M. wrote with great zeal against the stage; Mr. Dennis an. swered with as great: their books were printed in 1726. The same Mr. Law is author of a book enti. tled, An Appeal to all that doubt of or disbelieve the truth of the Gospel; in which he has detailed a system of the rankest Spinozism, for the most exalted theology; and amongst other things as rare, bas informed us of this, that sir Isaac Newton stole the principles of his philosophy from one Jacob Behmen, a German cobbler.
Ver. 414. Morgan] A writer against religion di. stinguished no otherwise from the rabble of his tribe, than by the pompousness of his title ; for having stolen his morality from Tindal, and his philosophy
Norton, from Daniel and Ostræa sprung,
Thus the soft gifts of sleep conclude the day,
490 Why should I sing, wliat bards the nightly mase Did slumb’ring visit, and convey to stews; Who prouder march'd with magistrates in state, To some fam'd round-house, ever-open gate! How Henley lay inspir'd beside a sink, And to mere mortals seem'd a priest in drink: While others, timely, to the neighb'ring Fleet (Haunt of the muses) inade their safe retreat.
REMARKS. from Spinosa, he calls himself, by the courtesy of England, a moral philosopher. • Ver. 414. Maudevil) This writer, who prided him. self in the reputation of an immoral philosopher, was author of a famous book called the Fable of the Bees; writton to prove, that moral virtue is the invention of knaves, and Christian virtue the imposition of fools; and that vice is necessary, and alone sufficient to render society flourishing and happy.
Ver. 415. Norton] Norton De Foe, offspring of the famous Daniel, fortes creantur fortibus. One of the authors of the Flying Post, in which wellbred work Mr.P. had some time the honour to be abused with his betters; and of many hired scurrili ties and daily papers, to which he never set his name,
Ver. 427. Fleet] A prison for insolvent debtors on the bank of the ditch.
BOOK THE THIRD.
After the other persons are disposed in their proper
places of rest, the goddess transports the king to her temple, and there lays him to slumber, with his head on her lap; a position of marvellous vir. tue, which causeth all the visions of wild enthusiasts, projectors, politicians, inamoratos, castle. builders, chemists, and poets. He is immediately carried on the wings of fancy, and led by a mad poetical sibyl, to the Elysian shade; where, on the banks of Lethe, the souls of the dull are dip. ped by Bavius, before their entrance into this world. There he is met by the ghost of Settle, and by him made acquainted with the wonders of the place, and with those which he himself is destined to perform. He takes him to a mount of vision, from whence he shows him the past triumphs of the empire of Dulness, then the present, and lastly the future: how small a part of the world was ever conquered by science, how soon those conquests were stopped, and those very nations again reduced to her dominion. Then distinguishing the island of Great Britain, shows by what aids, by what persons, and by what degrees, it shall be brought to her empire. Some of the persons he causes to pass in review before his eyes, describing each by his proper figurez character, and qualifications. On a sudden the scene shifts, and a vast number of miracles and prodigies appear, utterly surprising and unknown to the king himself, till they are explained to be the wonders of his own reign now commencing. On this subject Settle breaks into a congratulation, yet not unmixed with concern, that his own times were but the types of these. He prophesies how first the nation shall be over-run with farces, operas, and shows; how the throne of Dulness shall be advanced over the theatres, and set up even at court: then how her sons shall preside in the seats of arts and sciences; giving a glimpse, or Pisgah sight, of the future fulness of her glory, the accomplishment whereof is the subject of the fourth and last book.
BOOK III. Burin her temple's last recess
enclos'd, On Dulness' lap th' anointed head repos'd. Him close she curtains round with vapours blue, And soft besprinkles with Cimmerian dew, Then raptures high the seat of sense o'erflow, Which only heads refia'd from reason know.
REMARKS. Ver. 5, 6, &c.] Hereby is intimated that the following vision is no more than the chimera of the dreamer's brain, and not a real or intended satire on the present age, doubtless more learned, more en. lightened, and more abounding with great geniuses in divinity, politics, and whatever arts and sciences, than all the preceding. For fear of any such mistake of our poet's honest meaning, he hath again, at the end of the vision, repeated this monition, saying,