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The Argument.

The King being proclaimed, the solemnity is graced with public games and eports of various kinds; not instituted by the Hero, as by Aenias in Virgil, but for greater honour by the Goddess in person (in like man ner as the games Pithia, Isthmia, &c. were anciently said or dained by the gods, and as Thetis herself appearing, according to Homer, Odyssy XXIV. proposed the prizes in honour of her son Achilles). Hither flock the Poets and Critics, attended, as is but just, with their Patrons and Booksellers. The Goddess is first pleased, for her disport, to propose games to the Booksellers, and settuth up the phantom of a poet, which they contend to overtake. he races described, with their d vers accidents. Next the game for a Poetess. Then follow the exercises for the Poets, of tickling, vociferating, diving the first holds forth the arts and practices of Dedicators, the second of Disputants and fustian Poets, the third of profound, dark, and dirty party-writers. Lastly, for the Critics the Goddess proposes (with great propriety) an exercise, not of their parts, but their patience, in hearing the works of two voluminous authors, the one in verse, and the other in prose, deliberately read, without sleeping; the various effects of which, with the several degrees and manners of their operation, are here set forth, till the whole number, not of Critics only, but of Spectators, Actors, and all present, fall fast asleep; which naturally and necessarily ends the Games.

HIGH on a gorgeous seat, that far outshone
Henley's gilt tub, or Fleckno's Irish throne,

v. 2.---or Fleckno's Irish throne.] Richard Fleckno was an Irish priest, but had laid aside (as himself expressed it) the mechanic part of priesthood. He printed some plays, poems, letters, and travels. I doubt not our Author took occasion to mention him in respect to the poem of Mr. Dryden, to whom this bears some resemblance, though of a character more different from it than that of the Æneid from the Iliad, or the Lutrin of Boileau from the Defait de Bouts rimees of Sarazin.


Or that where on her Curls the Public pours,
All-bounteous, fragrant grains and golden show'rs,
Great Cibber sate: the proud Parnassian sneer,
The conscious simper, and the jealous leer,
Mix on his look: all eyes direct their rays
On him, and crowds turn coxcombs as they gaze.
His peers shine round him with reflected grace,
New edge their dulness, and new bronze their face.
So from the sun's broad beam, in shallow urns,
Heaven's twinkling sparks draw light, and point their

Not with more glee, by hands pontific crown'd,
With scarlet hats wide waving circled round,
Rome in her Capitol saw Querno sit,

Thron'd on seven hills, the antichrist of wit.


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. 15. Rome in her Capitol saw Querno sit.] Camillo Querno was of Apulia, who, hearing the great encouragement which Leo X. gave to poets, travelled to Rome with a harp in his hand, and sung to it twenty thousand verses of a poem called Alexias. He was introduced as a buffoon to Leo, and promoted to the honour of the Laurel; a jest which the Court of Rome and the Pope himself entered into so far, as to cause him to ride on an elephant to the Capitol, and to hold a solemn festival on his coronation; at which, it is



v.1. High on a gorgeous seat.] Parody of Milton, Book II. High on a throne of royal state, that far "Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind, "Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand "Show'rs on her kings Barbaric pearl and gold, "Satan exalted sate."

And now the Queen, to glad her sons, proclaims By herald hawkers, high heroic games.

They summon all her race: an endless band

Pours forth, and leaves unpeopled half the land.
A motley mixture! in long wigs, in bags,
In silks, in crapes, in garters, and in rags,
From drawing-rooms, from colleges, from garrets,
On horse, on foot, in hacks, and gilded chariots;
All who true Dunces in her cause appear'd,
And all who knew those Dunces to reward.

Amid that area wide they took their stand,



Where the tall May-pole once o'erlook'd the Strand, But now (so Anne and Piety ordain)

A church collects the saints of Drury-lane.

With authors, stationers obey'd the call, (The field of glory is a field for all).


Glory and gain, th' industrious tribe provoke,
And gentle dulness ever loves a joke.


A poet's form she plac'd before their eyes,
And bade the nimblest racer seize the prize;


recorded, the poet himself was so transported, as to weep for joy. He was ever after a constant frequenter of the Pope's table, drank abundantly, and poured forth verses without number. Paulus Jovius, blog. Vir. doct. cap. xxxii. Some idea of his poetry is given by Fam. Strada in his Prolusions.


.35. A poet's form she plac'd before their eyes. This is what Juno does to deceive Turnus, Æn. X.

*See life of C. C. chap. vi. p. 149.

No meagre, muse-rid mope, adust and thin,
In a dun night-gown of his own loose skin;
But such a bulk as no twelve bards could raise,
Twelve star'ling bards of these degen'rate days.
All as a partride plump, full-fed, and fair,
She form'd this image of well-body'd air;
With pert flat eyes she window 'd well its head,
A brain of feathers, and a heart of lead;


And empty words she gave, and sounding strain, 45
But senseless, lifeless! idol void and vain!
Never was dash'd out, at one lucky hit,

A fool, so just a copy of a wit;

So like, that critics said, and courtiers swore,
A wit it was, and call'd the phantom More.

All gaze with ardour: some a poet's name,
Other's a sword-knot and lac'd suit inflame:



"Tum Dea nube cava, tenuem sine viribus umbram
"In faciem Aeneae (visu mirabile moustrum!)
"Dardaniis ornat telis, clypeumque jubasque
"Divini assimilat capitis-----

----Dat inania verba,

"Dat sine mente sonum-----"

The reader will observe how exactly some of these verses suit with their allegorical application here to a plagiary. There seems to me a great propriety in this episode, where such a one is imagined by a phantom that deludes the grasp of the expecting bookseller.

v. 39. But such a bulk as no twelve bards could raise.]
Vix illud lecti bis sex-----

"Qualia une hominum producit corpora tellus."
Virg. Æn. XII.

But lofty Lintot in the circle rose,

"This prize is mine, who tempt it are my foes;
"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 Curl; "Behold that rival here!



v. 53. Butlofy Liniot.] We enter here upon the Episode of the Booksellers; persons, whose names being more known and famous in the learned 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.

v. 58. Stood dauntless Curl. We come now to a character of much respect, that of Mr. Edmund Curl. As a plain repetition of great actions is the best praise of them, we shall only say of this eminent 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 command 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 Dionede; he runs like the swift-footed Achilles; if he falls, 'tis 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 herself comforts him, she inspires him with expedients, she honours him with an immortal

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