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ARGUMENT The poet being, in this book, to declare the completion of
the prophecies mentioned at the end of the fariner, makes a new invocation; as the greater poets are wont, when some bigh and worthy matter is to be sung. He shows the goddess coming in her majesty, to destroy order and science, and to substitute the kingdom of the Dull upon earth. How she leads ca prive the Sciences, and silences the Muses ; and what they be wbo succeed in their stead. All her children, by a wonderfal attraction, are drawn about her ; and bear along with thein divers others, wbo promote her empire by connivance, weak resistance, or discouragement of arts; such as half-wits, tasteless admirers, 'vain pretenders, the flatterers of dnuces, or the patrons of them. All these crowd round her; one of themi offering to approach her, is driven back by a rival, but she commends and encourages both. The first who speak in form are the geninses of the schools, who assure ter of their care to advance her cause by confining youth to words, and keeping them out of the way of real knowledge. Their address, and her gracious answer ; with her charge to them and the universities. The universities appear by their proper deputies, and assure her that the same method is observed in the progress of ednication, The speech of Aristarchus on ihis subject. They are driven off by a band of young gentlemen returned from travel with their tutors; one of whom delivers to the god. dess, in a polite oration, an account of the whole conduct and fruits of their travels; presenting to her at the same time a young nobleman perfectly accomplished. She receives him graciously, and endures him with the bappy quality of want of shame. She sees loitering about her a nnmber of indolent persons abandoning all business and duty, and dying with laziness: to these approaches the antiquary Annius, intreating her to make them virtuosos, and assign them over to him : but Muinmius, anotber antiquary, complaining of his fraudulent proceetting, she finds a method to reconcile their difference. Then enter a troop of people fantastically adorned, offering her strange and exotic presents : among them, oue stands forth, and demands justice on another who had deprived bim of one of the greatest curiosities in nature ; but he justifies himself so well, that the goddess gives them both
her approbation. She recommends to them to find proper employment for the indolents before mentioned, in The study of butterflies, shells, virds nests, moss, &c. but with particular caution not to proceed beyond irities, to any useful or extensive views of nature, or of the Author of nature. Against the last of these apprehensions, she is secured by a hearty address for the primite philosophers and free-thinkers, one of whom speaks in the name of the rest. The youti thus instructed and principled, are delivered to her iu a body, by the hands of Silenus ; and tbeu admitted to taste the cap of the Magus, her high priest, which canses a total oblivion of all obligations, divine, civil, moral, or rational. To these her adepts she sends priests, attendants, and comforters, of various kinds : confers on them orders and degrees; and then dismissing them with a speech, confirming to each his privileges, and telling what she expects from each.concludes with a yawn of extraordinary virtue : the progress and effect whereof on all orders of men, and the consummation of all, in the restoration of Night and Chaos, conclude the poem.
YET, yet a moment, one dim ray of light
Now flanı'd the dog-star's unpropitious ray,
REMARKS. 2- Dread Chaos and eternal Night! Invoked, as the | restoration of their empire is the action of the poem. P. *
14 To blot out order, and extinguish light.] The two great ends of ber mission; the one in quality of daughter of
Of dull and venal a new world to mold,"
She mounts the throne: her bead a cloud cor
REMARKS. Chaos, the other as daugbter of Night. Order here is to be noderstood extensively, both as civil and moral; the distinctions between high and low in society, and true and false in individuals : light as intellectual only ; wit, science, arts.
P.. 15 Of dull and venal.] The allegory continued ; dull re. ferring to the extinction of light or science; venal to the destruction of order and the truth of things. & P..
15 -a new world.] In allusion to the Epicurean epinion, that from the dissolution of the mataral world into night and chaos, a new one should arise ; tbis the poet alluding to, in the production of a new world, makes it par take of its original principles.
P... 30 There was a judge of this pame, always ready to bang any man that came in his way.
P.. $1 Mad Mathesis.) Alluding to the strange conclusions some mathematicians have deduced from their principles, coucerning the real quantity of matter, the reality of space,&c.
But held in tenfold bonds the Muses lie,
When, lo! a harlot form soft sliding by,
10 Cara! Cara! silence all that train : Joy to great Chaos ! let division reigo : 54 Chromatic tortures soon shall drive them hence, Break all their nerves, and fritter all their sense: One trill shall harmonize joy, grief, and rage, Wake the dull church, and lull the ranting stage; To the same notes thy sons shall bum, or snore, And all thy yawning daughters cry encore. Another Phæbus, thy own Phæbus, reigns,
Joys in my jigs, and dances in my chains. - But soon, ah! soon, rebellion will commence, If music meanly borrows aid from sense :
IMITATIONS. 4 Jou to great Chaos !)
The beginning of a famous old song
Strong in new arms, lo! giant Handel stands,
And now had Fame's posterior trumpet blown,
The gathering number, as it moves along,
Nor absent they, no members of her state,