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Unlucky Welsted! thy unfeeling master,
The more thou ticklest, gripes his fist the faster. 210
A youth unknown to Phœbus, in despair,
As, taught by Venus, Paris learn'd the art
To touch Achilles' only tender part;
Secure, through her, the noble prize to carry,
'Now turn to different sports,' the goddess cries, And learn, my sons, the wondrous power of noise. To move, to raise, to ravish every heart, With Shakspeare's nature, or with Jonson's art, Let others aim: 'Tis yours to shake the soul With thunder rumbling from the mustard-bowl, With horns and trumpets now to madness swell, Now sink in sorrows with the tolling bell: Such happy arts attention can command, When fancy flags, and sense is at a stand. Improve we these. Three cat-calls be the bribe
Of him, whose chattering shames the monkey tribe': And his this drum, whose hoarse heroic bass Drowns the loud clarion of the braying ass."
Now thousand tongues are heard in one loud din, The monkey-mimics rush discordant in: "Twas chattering, grinning, mouthing, jabbering all, And noise and Norton, brangling and Breval,
Ver. 226. With thunder rumbling from the mustardbowl.] The old way of making thunder a d mustard were the same: but since, it is more advantageously performed by troughs of wood with stops in them. Whether Mr. Dennis was the inventor of that improvement, I know not; but it is certain, that being once at a tragedy of a new author, he fell into a great passion at hearing some, and cried, "Sdeath! that is my thunder.'
Lennis and dissonance, and captious art,
And snip-snap short, and interruption smart ;
And major, minor, and conclusion quick.
'Hold,' cried the queen, a cat-call each shall win Equal your merits! equal is your din!
But that this well-disputed game may end,
Ver. 238. Norton,] See ver. 417.-J. Durant Breval, author of a very extraordinary book of travels, and some poems. See before, note on ver. 126.
Ver. 258. Webster-and Whitfield] The one the writer of a newspaper called the Weekly Miscellany, the other a field-preacher. This thought the only means of advancing religion was by the new-birth of spiritual madness; that by the old death of fire and faggot; and therefore they agreed in this, though in no other earthly thing, to abuse all the soDer clergy. From the small success of these two extraordinary persons, we may learn how little hurtful bigotry and enthusiasm are, while the civil magistrate prudently forbears to lend his power to the one, in order to the employing it against the other.
Ver 263. Long Chancery-lane] The place where the
Thames wafts it thence to Rufus' roaring hall,
offices of chancery are kept. The long detention of clients in that court, and the difficulty of getting out, is humourously allegorized in these lines.
Ver. 268. Who sings so loudly, and who sings so long.] A just character of sir Richard Blackmore, knight, who (a Mr. Dryden expresseth it)
'Writ to the rumbling of his coach's wheels;'
and whose indefatigable muse produced no less than six epic poems; Prince and King Arthur, twenty books; Eliza, ten; Alfred, twelve; the Redeemer, six; besides Job, in folio; the whole book of Psalms; the Creation, seven books; Nature of Man, three books; and many more. It is in this sense he is styled afterwards the everlasting Blackmore. Notwithstanding all which, Mr. Gildon seems assured, 'that this admirable author did not think himself upon the same foot with Homer.'-Comp. Art of Poetry, vol. i. p. 108.
But how different is the judgment of the author of Characters of the Times? p. 25, who says, 'Sir R. Blackmore is unfortunate in happening to mistake his proper talents; and that he has not for many years been so much as named, or even thought of among writers.' Even Mr. Dennis differs greatly from his friend Mr. Gildon: Blackmore's action,' saith he, has neither unity, nor integrity, nor morality, nor universality; and consequently he can have no fable, and no heroic poem: his narration is neither probable, delightful, nor wonderful; his characters have none of the necessary qualifications; the things contained in his narration are nei ther in their own nature delightful, nor numerous enough, nor rightly disposed, nor surprising, nor pathetic.' Nay, he proceeds so far as to say sir Richard has no genius; first laying down, that genius is caused by a furious joy and pride of soul, on the conception of an extraordinary hint. Many men,' says he, have their hints, without those motions of fury and pride of soul, because they want fire enough to agitate their spirits; and these we call cold writers. Others who have a great deal of fire, but have not excellent organs, feel the fore-mentioned motions, without the extraordinary hints; and these we call fustian writers.' But he declares, that sir Richard had neither the hints nor the motions.'-Remarks on Pr. Arth. octavo, 1696. Preface. This gentleman in his first works abused the character of Mr. Dryden; and in his last, of Mr. Pope, accusing him in very high and sober terms of profaneness and immorality
This labour past, by Bridewell all descend
'Here strip, my children, here at once leap in, Here prove who best can dash through thick and thin; And who the most in love of cirt excel,
Or dark dexterity of groping well
(Essay on Polite Writing, vol. ii. p. 270) on a mere report from Edm. Curil, that he was author of a travestie on the first Psalm. Mr. Dennis took up the same report, but with the addition of what sir Richard had neglected, an argument to prove it; which being very curious, we shall here transcribe. It was he who burlesqued the Psalms of David. It is apparent to m that psalm was burlesqued by a popish rhymester. Let rhyming persons who have been brought up protestants be otherwise what they will, let them be rakes, let them be scoundrels, let them be atheists, yet education has made an invincible impression on them in behalf of the sacred writings. But a popish rhymester has been brought up with a contempt for those sacred writings; now show me another popish rhymester but he.' This manuer of argumentation is usual with Mr. Denns; he has employ ed the same against sir Richard himself, in a like charge of impiety and irreligion. All Mr. Blackmore's celestial machines, as they cannot be defended so much us by common received opinion, so are they directly contrary to the doctrine of the church of England; for the visible descent of an angel mus: be a miracle. Now it is the doctrine of the church of England that miracles had ceased a long time be fore prince Arthur came into the world. Now if the doctrine of the church of England be true, as we are obliged to believe, then are all the celestial machines in Prince Arthur unsufferable, as wanting not only human, but divine probability. But if the machines are sufferable, that is, if they have so much as divine probability, then it follows of necessity that the doctrine of the church is false. So I leave it to every impartial clergyman to consider,' &c. Preface to the Remarks on Prince Arthur.
Ver. 270. (As morning prayers and flageliation end.)] It is between eleven and twelve in the morning, after church service, that the criminals are whipped in Bridewell. This is to mark punctually the time of the day: Homer docs it by the circumstance of the judges rising frem court, or of VOL. 11.
Who flings most filth, and wide pollutes around
the labourers' dinner: our author by one very proper both to the persons and the scene of his poem, which we may remember commenced in the evening of the lord-mayor's day. The first book passed in that night; the next morning the games begin in the Strand, thence along Fleet-street (places Inhabited by booksellers,) then they proceed by Bridewell toward Fleet-ditch, and lastly through Ludgate to the city, and the temple of the goddess.
Ver. 280. The Weekly Journals] Papers of news and scandal intermixed, on different sides and parties, and frequently shifting from one side to the other, called the London Journal, British Journal, Daily Journal, &c., the concealed writers of which for some time were Oldmixon, Roome, Arnall, Concanen, and others; persons never seen by our author.
Ver. 283. In naked majesty Oldmixon stands,] Mr. John Oldmixon, next to Mr. Dennis, the most ancient critic of our nation; an unjust censurer of Mr. Addison in his prose Essay on Criticism, whom also in his imitation of Bouhours (called the Arts of Logic and Rhetoric) he misrepresents in plain matter of fact; for in p. 45, he cites the Spectator as abusing Dr. Swift by name, where there is not the least hint of it; and in p. 304, is so injurious as to suggest that Mr. Addison himself writ that Tatler, No. 43, which says of his own simile, that, "Tis as great as ever entered into the mind of man.'
In poetry he was not so happy as laborious, and therefore characterized by the Tatler, No. 62, by the name of 'Omicron the Unborn Poet.' Curll, Key, p. 13. He writ dramatic works, and a volume of poetry, consisting of heroic epistles, &c. some whereof are very well done,' said the great judge, Mr. Jacob, in his Lives of Poets, vol. ii. p. 303.
In his Essay on Criticism, and the arts of Logic and Rhetoric, he frequently reflects on our author. But the top of his character was a perverter of history, in that scandalous one of the Stuarts, in folio, and his Critical History of England, two volumes octavo. Being employed by bishop Kennet, in publishing the historians in his collection, he falsified Daniel's Chronicle in numberless places. Yet this very man, in the preface to the first of these books, advanced particular fact to charge three eminent persons of falsify