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Safe where no critics damn, no duns molest,
Where wretched Withers, Ward, and Gildon rest,
And high-born Howard, more majestic sire,
With fool of quality completes the quire.
Thou, Cibber, thou his laurel shalt support;
Folly, my son, has still a friend at court.
Lift up your gates, ye princes, see him come!
Sound, sound ye viols, be the catcall dumb!
Bring, bring the madding bay, the drunken vine,
The creping, dirty, courtly ivy join.



And thou! his aid-de-camp, lead on my sons,
Light-arm'd with points, antitheses and puns.
Let Bawdry, Billingsgate, my daughters dear,
Support his front, and Oaths bring up the rear:
And under his, and under Archer's wing,
Gaming and Grub-street skulk behind the king. 310
O! when shall rise a monarch all our own,
And I, a nursing-mother, rock the throne;
'Twixt prince and people close the curtain draw,
Shade him from light, and cover him from law;
Fatten the courtier, starve the learned band,
And suckle armies, and dry-nurse the land:
Till senates nod to lullabies divine.

And all be sleep, as at an ode of thine!"


She ceas'd. Then swells the Chapel-royal throat; God save king Cibber!" mounts in every note. 320


v. 296. Withers was a great pretender to poetical zeal against the vices of the times, and abused the greatest personages in power, which brought upon him frequent correction, The Marshalsea and Newgate were no strangers to him. Winstanley.

v. 296. Gildon.] Charles Gildon, a writer of criticisms and libels, of the last age, bred at St. Omer's with the Jesuits; but renouncing popery, he published Blunt's books against the divinity of Christ, the oracles of reason, &c. He signalized himself as a critic, having written some very bad plays; abused Mr. P. very scandalously in an anonymous pamphlet of the Life of Mr. Wycherley, printed by Curl; in another called The New Rehearsal, printed in 1714; in a third, intitled The Complete Art of English Poetry, in two_volumes; and others.


v. 297. Howard.] Hon. Edward Howard, author of the British Princes, and a great number of wonderful pieces, celebrated by the late Earls of Dorset and Rochester, Duke of Buckingham, Mr. Waller, &c.

Familiar White's, " God save king Colley!” cries;
"God save king Colley!" Drury-lane replies:
To Needham's quick the voice triumphal rode,
But pious Needham dropt the name of God;
Back to the Devil the last echoes roll,


And "Coll!" each butcher roars at Hockley-hole. So when Jove's block descended from on high (As sings thy great forefather Ogilby)

Loud thunder to its bottom shook the bog,


And the hoarse nation croak'd," God save king Log!"


v. 324. But pious Needham.] A matron of great fame, and very religious in her way; whose constant prayer it was, that she might 46 get enough by her profession to leave it off in time, and make her peace with God." But her fate was not so happy; for being convicted and set in the pillory, she was (to the lasting shame of all her great friends and votaries) so ill-used by the populace, that it put an end to her days.


v. 325. The Devil-tavern in Fleet-street, where the court-odes were usually rehearsed.



The King being proclaimed, the solemnity is graced with public games and sports of various kinds; not instituted by the hero, as by Eneas in Virgil, but for greater honour by the goddess in person (in like manner as the games Pythia, Isthmia, &c. were anciently said to be ordained by the gods, and as Thetis herself appearing, according to Homer, Odyssey 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 setteth up the phantom of a poet, which they contend to overtake. The races described, with their divers 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 mechanical part of priesthood. He printed some plays, poems, letters, and travels.


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,
Heav'n'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.



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. 20 A motley mixture! in long wigs, in bags, in silks, in crapes, in garters, and in rags,


v. 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 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, Elog. Vir. Doct. cap. xxxii. Some idea of his poetry is given by Fam. Strada in his Prolusions.


.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."

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From drawing-rooms, from colleges, and 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;
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 starv'ling bards of these degenerate days.
All as a partridge 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;
But lofty Lintot in the circle rose,

"This prize is mine, who tempt it are my foes;



v. 53. But lofty Lintot.] 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 of a bull. This eminent bookseller printed the Rival Modes before mentioned.


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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!
The race by vigour, not by vaunts, is won ;


So take the hind most, hell," he said, and run. 60 Swift as a bard the bailiff leaves behind,

He left huge Lintot, and outstript the wind.

As when a dab-chick waddles through the copse
On feet and wings, and flies, and wades, and hops;
So labouring on, with shoulders, hands, and head, 65
Wide as a windmill all his figure spread,


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 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.

The tribute our author here pays him is a grateful return for several unmerited obligations: many weighty animadversions on the public affairs, and many excellent and diverting pieces on private persons has he given to his name. If ever he owed two verses to any other, he owed Mr. Curl some thousands. He was every day extending his fame, and enlarging his writings; witness innumerable instances: but it shall suffice only to mention the Court Poems, which he meant to publish as the work of the true writer, a lady of quality; but being first threatened, and afterwards punished for it by Mr. Pope, he generously transferred it from her to him, and ever since printed it in his name. The single time that ever he spoke to C. was on that affair, and to that happy incident he owed all the favours since received from him.



v. 61, &c.] Something like this is in Homer, Iliad X. ver. 220. of Diomed. Two different manners of the same author in his similes are also imitated in the two following: the first, of the bailiff, is short, unadorned, and (as the critics well knew) from familiar life; the second, of the water-fowl, more extended, picturesque, and from rural life. The 59th verse is likewise a literal translation of one in Homer.

v. 64, 65.] On feet and wings, and flies, and wades, and hops;
So lab'ring on with shoulders, hands, and head.]
"So eagerly the fiend

O'er boz, o'er steep, through streight, rough, dense, or rare,
With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues his way,

And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies."

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Milton, Book II.

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