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O Muse! relate (for you can tell alone, Wits have short Memories, and Dunces none) 620 Relate, who first, who last refignd to reft; Whose Heads the partly, whose completely blest ; What Charms could Faction, what Ambition lull, The Venal quiet, and intrance the Dull; Till drown'd was Sense, and Shame, and Right, and Wrong
625 O fing, and hush the Nations with thy Song !
Ver. 620. Wits bave short Memories,] This seems to be the reason why the Poets, when they give us a Catalogue, conftantly call for help on the Muses, who, as the Daughters of Memory, are obliged not to forget any thing. So Homer, Iliad ii.
Πληθυν δ' έκ αν εγώ μυθήσομαι εδ' όνομήνα,
Et meministis enim, Diva, & memorare poteftis:
Ad nos vix tenuis famæ perlabitur aura. But our Poet had yet another reason for putting this Task upon the Muse, that, all besides being asleep, the only could relate what paffed.
SCRIBL. VER. 624. The Venal quiet, and &c.] It were a Problem
Ver. 621. Relate who first, who last refign'd to rest;
Whose beads she partly, whose completely bleft. ]
In vain, in vain, the all-compofing Hour Refiftless falls : the Muse obeys the Pow'r. She comes ! she comes ! the fable Throne behold Of Night Primæval, and of Chaos old!
630 Before her, Fancy's gilded clouds decay, And all its varying Rain-bows die away. Wit Thoots in vain its momentary fires, The meteor drops, and in a flash expires.
REMA R K S.
worthy the solution of that profound Scholiaft, Mr. Upton himself (and perhaps not of less importance than some of those so long disputed amongst Homer's) to inform us, which required the greatest effort of our Goddess's power, to intrance the Dull, or to quiet the Venal. For though the Veral may be more unruly than the Dull, yet, on the other hand, it demands a much greater expence of her Virtue to intrance than barely to quiet.
VER. 629. She comes! Me comes ! &c.] Here the Muse, like Jove's Eagle, after a sudden stoop at ignoble game, foareth again to the skies. As Prophecy hath ever been one of the chief provinces of Poesy, our poet here foreteils from what we feel, what we are to fear; and in the style of other prophets, hath used the future tense for the preterit: fince what he says shall be, is already to be seen, in the writings of some even of our most adored authors, in Divinity, Chilosophy, l'hysics, Metaphysics, &c. who are too good indeed to be named in such company
Ibid. The fable Throne behold] The fable Thrones of Night and Chaos, here represented as advancing to extinguish the light of the Sciences, in the first place blot out the Colours of Fancy and damp the Fire of Wit, before they proceed to their work,
As one by one, at dread Medea's strain,
635 The fick’ning stars fade off th' ethereal plain ; As Argus' eyes, by Hermes? wand oppreft, Clos'd one by one to everlasting rest; Thus at her felt approach, and secret might, Art after Art goes out, and all is Night, 640 See skulking Truth to her old cavern fied, Mountains of Cafuiftry heap'd o'er her head ! Philosophy, that lean'd on Heav'n before, Shrinks to her second cause, and is no more.
Plililophy, that reach'd the Heav'ns before,
Sbrinks to her bidden cause, and is no more. And this was intended as a censure of the Newtonian philosophy. For the poet had been misled by the prejudices of foseigners, as if that philosophy had recurred to the occult qualities of Aristotle. This was the idea he received of it: from a man educated much abroad, who had read every thing, but every thing superficially. Had his excellent friend Dr. A. been consulted in this matter, it is certain that so unjust a reflection had. never discredited ro noble a satire. When I hinted to him how he had been imposed upon, he changed the lines with great pleasure into a compliment (as they now stand) on that divine genius, and a satire on the folly by which he the Poet himself had been milled.
REMARKS, VER. 641. Truth to her old Cavern fled.] Alluding to the saying of Democritus, That Truth lay at the bottom of a deep well, from whence he had drawn her: Though Butler says, He first put ber in, before be drew ber out.
Ver. 643. Philofophy, that lean'd on Heav'n] Philosophy has at length brıught things to that país, as to have it esteem
Physic of Metaphyfic begs defence,
RIMAR K S.
Pulsantes equidem vires intelligo nusquam
Pro caufis, unoque fecans problemata verbo. Anti-Lucr. To avoid which imaginary discredit to the new theory, it was thought proper to seek for the cause of gravitation in a certain elastic fluid, which pervaded all body. By this means, instead of really advancing in natural enquiries, we were brought back
Et quamvis sopor oft oculorum parte receptus,
-Vidit Cyllenius omn.es
Şee Mystery to Mathematics fy !
REMARKS. again, by this
nious pedient, an unfatisfactory second caufe:
Philosophy, that lean'd on Heav'n before,
Shrinks to her second cause, and is no more. For it might still, by the fame kind of objection, be asked, what was the cause of that elasticity ? See this folly censured, v. 475.
VIR, 645, 646. Phyfic of Metaphysic, &c.And Metaphy, fic calls, &c.] Certain writers, as Malbranche, Norris, and on thers, have thought it of importance, in order to secure the existence of the soul, to bring in question the reality of body; which they have attempted to do by a very refined metapbysical reasoning: While others of the fame party, in order to persuade us of the necessity of a Revelation which promises immortality, have been as anxious to prove that those qualities which are commonly supposed to belong only to an immaterial Being, are but the result from the sensations of matter, and the soul naturally mortal. Thus, between these different reasonings, they have left us neither Soul nor Body; nor, the Sciences of Physics and Metaphyfics the least support, by making them depend upon, and go a begging to, one another.
VER. 647. See Mystery to Mathematics fly!] A sort of men, who make human reason the adequate measure of all Truth, hay. ing pretended that whatsoever is not fully comprehended by it, is contrary to it; certain defenders of Religion, who would not be outdone in a paradox, have gone as far in the opposite folly, and attempted to shew that the mysteries of Religion may be mathematically demonstrated; as the authors of Philosopbic, or Aftronomic Principles of Religion, natural and revealed; who have much prided themselves on reflecting a fantastic light upon religion from the frigid subtilty of school moonshine.
VER. 679. Religion blushing veils ker sacred fires,] Blushing as