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Thron'd on the centre of his thin designs,
One dedicates in high heroic prose,
For song, for silence some expect a bribe :
Yet each declares the other fool or knave. They both spin ; not from the beod (reason) but from the guts [passions and prejudices] and such a thread that can entangle none but creatures weaker than themselves.
Ver. 98. free-masons Moor?] He was of this society, and frequently headed their processions:
This prints my Letters, that expects a bribe,
There are, who to my person pay their court : 115 I cough like Horace, and, tho' lean, am short, Amnon's
great son one shoulder had too high,
Just so immortal Maro held his head :"
But friend, this shape, which You and Curl a admire,
Had heir'd as well the virtues of the mind. a Curl set up his head for a fign. b His father was crooked. c His Mother was much afflicted with head-achs.
VER. 181. Sir, you have an Eye) It is remarkable that amongst these compliments on his infirmities and deformities, he mentions his eye, which was fine, sharp, and pierce ing. It was done to intimate, that flattery was as odieus 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 Granville the polite, 155 And knowing Wallin, would tell me I could write ; Well-natur'd Garth inflam'd with carly praise, And Congreve lov’d, and Swift endur'd my lays ; The courtly Talbot, Somers, Shefield read, Ev'n mitred Rochester would nod the head, 140 And St. John's felf (great Dryden's friends before) With
open arms receiv'd one Poet more. Happy my studies, when by these approv'd ! Happier their author, when by these belov'd ! From these the world will judge of men and books, Not from the Burnets, Oldmixons, and Cocks.
146 *Vưr. 139. Talbot, &c.] All these 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 ig
These are the persons to whose account the Author charges the publication of his first pieces: persons, with whom he was conversant (and be adds beloved) at 16 or 17 years of age; an early period for such acquaintance. The catalogue might be made yet more illustrious, had he not confined it to that time when he writ the Pastorals and Windsor Forest, on which lie pafies a sort of Censure in the lines following,
While pure Description held the place of Sense ? &c.
Soft were my numbers; who could take offence While pure Description held the place of fenfe? Like gentle Fanny's was my flow'ry theme, A painted mistress, or a purling Itream.
150 Yet then did Gildon draw his venal quill ; I wish'd the man a dinner, and fate still. Yet then did Dennis rave in furious fret; I never answer'd, I was not in debt. If want provokd, or madness inade them print, 155 I wag'd no war with Bedlam or the Mint.
Did some more fober Critic come abroad; If wrong, I smild; if right, I kiss’d the rod. Pains, reading, study, are their just pretence, And all they want is fpirit, taste, and sense. Comma's and points they set exactly right, And 'twere a fin to rob them of their mite. Yet ne'er one sprig of laurel grac'd those ribalds, From flashing Bentley down to pidling Tibaids : Each wight, who reads not, and but scans and spells, Each Word-catcher, that lives on fyllables, Ev'n such small Critics some regard may claim, Preserv'd in Milton's or in Shakejjear's name.
VER, 150. A painted meadow, or a purling stream, is a verse of Mr. Addison.
VER, 164. Sashing Bentley] This great man, with all his faults, deserved to be put into better company. The fol. lowing words of Cicero describe him not amiss.
“ Haboit " à natura genus quoddam acuminis, quod etiam arte li
maverat, quod erat in reprehendendis verbis versutum et “ follers : fed fæpe stomachosum, nonnunquam frigidum, « interdum etiam facetum."
Pretty! in amber to observe the forms
Were others angry: I excus'd them too ;
year, He, who fill wanting, tho' he lives on theft, Steals much, spends little, yet has nothing left: 124
VIR. 169. Pretty in amber, &c.] The wit and imag'ry of this pallage has been much and justiy admired. The most deteltable thing in nature, as a toad, or a beetle, become pleasing when well represented in a work of Art. Bat it is no less eminent for the beauty of the thought. For though a scribler exists by being thus incorporated, yet he exifts ixtombed, a lasting monument of the wrath of the Muses.
VER. 173. Were orbers angry :) The Poets.
VER. 174.---I gave tvem but their due.] Our Author always found those he commerded less sensible than those he reproved. The reason is plain. He gave the latter but obeir due ; and the other thought they had no more.
Ver. 380.--- a Perfion tale.} Amb. Philips translated a Book called the Persian iales,