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The great Alcides, ev'ry Labour past,
To thee, the World its present homage pays,
Just in one instance, be it yet confeft
of him who pretends to give a proof of what they are so willing to take for granted, to any thing but an eager concern for the public welfare. This, 'nothing better secures than the early damping that dangerous thing, Popularity ; which when joined to what is as easily abused, great Talents, may be productive of, one does not know what, mischief. SCRIBL.
Ver. 17. The great Alcides,] This instance has not the same grace here as in the original, where it comes in well after those of Romulus, Bacchus, Castor, and Pollux, tho' aukwardly after Edward and Henry. But it was for the sake of the beautiful thought in the next line ; which, yet, does not equal the force of his original.
Aestimat; et, nisi quae terris femota fuifque
Si, quia Graecorum funt antiquisfima quaequo
Pfallīmus, et p lu&tamur Achivis doetius unetis.
VER. 38. And beastly Skelton, etc.) Skelton, Poet Lau. reat to Hen. vul. à volume of whose verses has been lately reprinted, consisting almost wholly of ribaldry, obscenity, and scurrilous language. P.
Foès to all living worth except your own,
Chaucer's worst ribaldry is learn'd by rote,
Tho' justly " Greece her eldest sons admires, Why should not We be wiser than our fires ? ev'ry Public virtue we excell;
45 We build, we paint, we fing, we dance as well, And P learned Athens to our art must stoop, Could she behold us tumbling thro' a hoop.
If 9 Time improve our Wit as well as Wine, Say at what age a Poet grows divine ?
50 Shall we, or shall we not, account him fo, Who dy'd, perhaps, an hundred years ago End all dispute; and fix the year precise When British bards begin t' immortalize?
VER. 40. Chrif's Kirk o' the Green ;) A Ballad made by a King of Scotland. P.
VER. 42. met him at the Devil] The Devil Tavern, where Ben Johnson held his Poetical Club. P.
Ett vetus atque probus, ' centum qui perficit annos.
Utor permisso, caudaeque pilos ut ' equinae Paulatim vello: et demo unum, demo et item unum;
Dum cadat elufus ratione ruentis acervi,
Qui redit in * fastos, et virtutem aestimat annis,
? Ennius et sapiens, et fortis, et alter Homerus, Ut critici dicunt, leviter curare videtur Quo a promisa cadant, et fomnia Pythagorea.
NOTES. VER. 69. Shakespear.) Shakespear and Ben Johnson may truly be said not much to have thought of this Immortality, the one in many pieces composed in hafte for the Stages the other in his latter works in general, which Dryden call'd his Dotages, P.
Ibid. and ev'ry Playhouse bill] A ridicule on those who talk of Shakespear, because he is in fashion; who, if they 66 Who lasts a ' century can have no faw, " I hold that Wit a Claffic, good in law.
Suppose he wants a year, will you compound? And shall we deem him · Ancient, right and sound, Or damn to all eternity at once, At ninety nine, a Modern and a Dunce? 60
66 We shall not quarrel for a year or two; “ By courtesy of England, he may do.
Then, by the rule that made the Horse-tail bare, I pluck out year by year, as hair by hair, And melt w down Ancients like a heap of snow: 65 While you, to measure merits, look in * Stowe, And estimating authors by the year, Bestow a Garland only on a y Bier.
2 Shakespear (whom you and ev'ry Play-house bill Style the divine, the matchless, what you will) 70 For gain, not glory, wing’d his roving fight, And grew Immortal in his own despight. Ben, old and poor, as little seem'd to heed * The Life to come, in ev'ry Poet's Creed.
dared to do justice, either to their taste or their consci. ence, would own they liked Durfey better. VER. 74. The life to come, in ev'ry Poet's Creed.]
Quo promilla cadant, et fomnia Pythagorea. The beauty of this arises from a circumstance in Ennius's fory. But as this could not be imitated, our Poet endeavoured to equal it; and has succeeded.