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Thrond on the centre of his thin designs,
One dedicates in high heroic profe,
110 One from all Grubftreet will my fame defend, And more abusive, calls himself
For song, for filence some expect a bribe;
Yet each declares the other fool or knave. They both spin; not from the bead (reason] but from the guts (passions and prejudices) and such a thread that can entangle none but creatures weaker than themselves.
VER. 98. free-mafons Moor?] He was of this society, and frequently headed their proceffions,
their court: 115
This prints my Letters, that expects a bribe,
There are, who to my person pay
Just so immortal Maro held his head :" And when I die, be sure you let me know Great Homer dy'd three thousand years ago.
Why did I write ? what fin to me unknown 125 Dipt me in ink, my parents', or my own? As yet a child, oor yet a fool to fame, I lifp'd in numbers, for the numbers came.
But friend, this hape, which You and Curl * admire,
Had heir'd as well the virtues of the mind. • Curl set up his head for a sign. His father was crooked: • His Mother was much afflicted with head-achs.
VER, 118. Sir, you have an Eye] It is remarkable that among these compliments on his infirmities and deformities, he mentions his
eyes which was fine, sharp, and piercing. It was done to intimate, that Aattery was as odious to him when there was some ground for commendation, as when there was none.
I left no calling for this idle trade,
But why then publish? Graxville the polite, 135 And knowing Walse, would tell me I could write ; Well-natur'd Garth inflam'd with early praise, And Congreve lov'd, and Swift endur'd my lays; The courtly Talbot, Somers, Sheffield read, Ev'n mitred Rochester would nod the head,
140 And St. John's self (great Dryden's friends before) With open arms receiv’d one Poet more. Hapry my studies, when by these approv'd! Happier their author, when by thefe belor'd! From these the world will judge of men and books, Not from the Burnets, Oldmixons, and Cooks, 146
VER. 139. Talbot, &c.] All thefe were Patrons or Admirers of Mr. Dryden ;, though a scandalous libel against him, entitled, Dryden's Satyr to. bis Muse, has been printed in the name of the Lord Somers, of which he was wholly ignorant.
These are the perfons to whofe account the Author charges the publication of his first pieces: persons, with whom he was conversant (and he adds beloved) at 16 or 17 years of age ; an carly period for such acquaintance. The catalogue might be made yet more illuftrious, had he not confined it to that time when he writ the Paftorals and Windfor Forest, on which he pafles a ført of Censare in the lines following,
While puse Description beld the place of Senfe : &c.
Soft were my numbers; who could take offence : While pure Description held the place of Sense ? Like gentle Fanny's was my flow'ry theme, A painted mistress, or a parling stream. 150 Yet then did Gildon draw his venal quill; I wifh'd the man a dinner, and fate fill. Yet then did Dennis rave in furious fret ; I never answer'd, I was not in debt. If want provokd, or madness made them print, 155 I wag'd no war with Bedlam or the Mint.
Did some more fober Critic comę abroad; If wrong, I fmild; if right, I kiss'd the rod.
I Pains, reading, study, are their juft pretence, And all they want is fpirit, tafte, and fenfe. 160 Comma's and points they set exactly right, And 'twere a fin to rob them of their mite. Yet ne'er one fprig of laurel grac'd these ribalds, From flashing Bentley down to pidling Tibalds : Each wight, who reads not, and but fcans and spells, Each Word-catcher, that lives on fyllables,
166 Ev'n fuch fmall Critics fome regard may claim, Preserv'd in Milton's or in Shakespear's name.
VER. 150. A painted meadow, or a purling Pream, is a verse of Mr. Addison.
VER. 164. Balbing Bentley] This great man, with all his faults, deserved to be put into better company. The following worda of ( icero describe him not amiss. « Habuit à natura gec
nus quoddam acuminis, quod etiam arte limaverat, quod erat « in reprehendendis verbis versurum et follers : fed fæpe fto. “ machosum, nonnunquam frigidum, interdum etiam facetum."
Pretty! in amber to observe the forms
Were others angry: I excus'd them too;
180 Just writes to make his barrenncss appear, And strains from hard-bound brains, eight lines a
year, He, who still wanting, tho' he lives on theft, Steals much, spends little, yet has nothing left: 184
Ver, 169. Pretty in amber, &c] The wit and imag'ry of this passage has been much and juftly admired. The most detestable things in nature, as a toad, or a beetle, become pleafing when well represented in a work of Art. But it is no less eminent for the beauty of the thought. For though a seribler exifts by being thus incorporated, yet be exists intombed, a lasting monument of the wrath of the Muses.
Ver. 173. Were otbers angry :] The Poets.
Ver. 174.I gave tbem but their due.] Our Author always found those he commended less fenfible than those he reproved. The reason is plain. He gave the latter but their due; and the other thought they had no more. - VER. 180. -a Persian tale.] Amb. Philips tranlated a Book called the Perfian tales.