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In quibbles angel and archangel join,
101 And God the Father turns a school-divine. Not that I'd lop the beauties from his book, Like slashing Bentley with his desperate hook ; Or damn all Shakspeare, like the affected fool 105 At court, who hates whate'er he read at school.
But for the wits of either Charles's days, The mob of gentlemen who wrote with ease, Sprat, Carew, Sedley, and a hundred more, Like twinkling stars the Miscellanies o'er ; One simile, that solitary shines In the dry desert of a thousand lines, Or lengthen'd thought that gleams through many
a page, Has sanctified whole poems for an age. I lose my patience, and I own it too,
115 When works are censured, not as bad, but new; While, if our elders break all reason's laws, These fools demand not pardon, but applause.
On Avon's bank, where flowers eternal blow, If I but ask if any weed can grow;
120 One tragic sentence if I dare deride, Which Betterton's grave action dignified,
109 Sprat. In his last will, he gave thanks to God, that he, who had been bred at neither Eton nor Westminster, but at a little country school by the churchyard side, should come to be a bishop at last.' Warburton, who was in the same condition, sarcastically observes, “that the honor of being a Westminster schoolboy, some have at one age, and some at another, and some all their life long.'
122 Betterton's grave action. This celebrated actor was one of the earliest friends of Pope. Cibber, in his 'Life,' has given an interesting analysis of Betterton's powers: he was a man of honor and intelligence. Booth, who was second only to him, was a Westminster boy, whom Busby's praises of his performin a rage,
Or well-mouth'd Booth with emphasis proclaims,
125 And swear all shame is lost in George's age ! You'd think no fools disgraced the former reign, Did not some grave examples yet remain, Who scorn a lad should teach his father skill; And having once been wrong, will be so still. 130 He, who, to seem more deep than you or I, Extols old bards, or Merlin's prophecy, Mistake him not; he envies, not admires; And to debase the sons, exalts the sires. Had ancient times conspired to disallow 135 What then was new, what had been ancient now? Or what remain'd, so worthy to be read By learned critics of the mighty dead ?
In days of ease, when now the weary sword Was sheathed, and luxury with Charles restored ; In every taste of foreign courts improved, 141 • All, by the king's example, lived and loved.' Then peers grew proud in horsemanship to excel ; Newmarket's glory rose, as Britain's fell ; The soldier breathed the gallantries of France, 145 And every flowery courtier writ romance: Then marble, soften’d into life, grew warm; And yielding metal flow'd to human form: ance of the Pamphilus of Terence stimulated to try the stage. His chef d'auvre was Othello: yet the description of his figure seems singularly at variance with success. • His form was clumsy, his head was large, his arms were remarkably short, and his back was bowed.'
142 A verse of lord Lansdowne.
143 In horsemanship to excel,- And every flowery courtier writ romance. The duke of Newcastle's book of borsemanship, the romance of Parthenissa' by the earl of Orrery, and most of the French romances translated by persons of quality.-Pope. 149 Lely on animated canvas stole. Walpole says, that if • Wycherley had nature in his comedies, it was nature stark naked: the painters of his time veiled it but little more.' With his usual finesse, he observes that Lely's nymphs are too irregular in their appearance to be 'taken for any thing but maids of honor. When Cromwell sat to Lely, he characteristically said, -* Mr. Lely, I desire you would use all your skill to paint my picture truly like me, and not flatter me at all : but remark all those roughnesses, pimples, warts, and every thing as you see me; otherwise I shall not pay a farthing for it.'
Lely on animated canvas stole
But Britain, changeful as a child at play, 155
Time was, a sober Englishman would knock His servants up, and rise by five o'clock, Instruct his family in every rule, And send his wife to church, his son to school : To worship like his fathers was his care ; 165 To teach their frugal virtues to his heir; To
prove that luxury could never hold; And place on good security his gold.
152 The willing Muses. Warton quotes a letter from the duke of Ormond to Clarendon, in 1658, in which he strikingly says of Charles II.,I fear his immoderate delight in empty, effeminate, and vulgar conversations, is become an irresistible part of his nature; and will never suffer him to animate his own designs and others' actions with that spirit which is requisite for his quality, and much more for his fortune.'
Now times are changed, and one poetic itch
He served a 'prenticeship who sets up shop; Ward tried on puppies and the poor his drop; Ev’n Radcliffe's doctors travel first to France, Nor dare to practise till they've learn'd to dance. Who builds a bridge that never drove a pile ? 185 Should Ripley venture, all the world would smile: But those who cannot write, and those who can, All rhyme, and scrawl, and scribble, to a man.
Yet, sir, reflect, the mischief is not great ; These madmen never hurt the church or state : Sometimes the folly benefits mankind; 191 And rarely avarice taints the tuneful mind. Allow him but his plaything of a pen, He ne'er rebels, or plots, like other men :
186 Should Ripley venture. Ripley was the government architect; and, with the usual ill fate of favorites, contrived to please none but his employers. He built the Admiralty, which is still demonstrative of his taste; having all the disadvantages of massiveness without dignity, and elaborateness without elegance. The screen was erected by the Adamses. But Warton slightly vindicates his skill in the minor departments of his art, the disposition of rooms, &c., and cites Houghton, and lord Walpole's at Woollerton.
Flight of cashiers or mobs he 'll never mind; 195
200 Of little use the man, you may suppose, Who says in verse what others
195 Flight of cashiers. Coxe, in his Memoirs of Walpole,' narrates the national panic on the bankruptcy of the South-sea company. A committee of the house of commons having been chosen to examine all papers, &c., Knight, the cashier, fled the country, carrying with him his 'green book,' as was supposed, with the connivance of government: the committee reported this flight, and the commons ordered the doors to be locked, and the keys laid on the table. General Ross then stated, in the extravagant language, whether of art or terror, that the committee had discovered a train of the deepest villany and fraud hell had ever contrived to ruin a nation.' In consequence of this speech, four of the members, who were directors, were expelled the house, and taken into custody : the other directors shared the same fate; all their books, papers, and effects were seized ; and the royal assent was given to a bill for restraining them from leaving the kingdom, discovering their estates, and disqualifying them from office in any of the companies.