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Thus, nicely trifling, accurately dull,
But is there then no honour due to age ?
Pride of his own, and wonder of this age, Who first created, and yet rules, the stage, Bold to design, all-powerful to express, Shakespeare each passion drew in every dress: Great above rule, and imitating none; Rich without borrowing, Nature was his own. Yet is his sense debas'd by gross allay: As gold in mines lies mix'd with dirt and clay. Now, eagle-wing'd, his heavenward flight he takes; The big stage thunders, and the foul awakes : 56 Now, low on earth, a kindred reptile creeps ; Sad Hamlet quibbles, and the hearer sleeps.
Such was the Poet: next the Scholiast view;
Condemn'd to dig and dung a barren soil,
See him on Shakespeare pore, intent to steal
Blest genius! who bestows his oil and pains
V.78. This remarkable bird is called the Strundt-Jager. Here you see how he purchases his food: and the same author, from whom this account is taken, tells us farther how he comes by his drink. You may see him, adds the Dutchman, frequently pursuing a sort of seamew, called Kulge-Gehef, whom he torments incessantly to make him void an excrement; which being liquid, serves him, I imagine, for drink. See a Cola lection of Voyages to the North.
For this, dread Dennis (* and who can forbear,
95 Which may be dull, and therefore Mould be true.
A Prelate, fam'd for clearing each dark text, Who sense with sound, and truth with rhetoric mixt, Once, as his moving theme to rapture warm’d, Inspir’d himself, his happy hearers charm’d. The sermon o'er, the croud remain'd behind, And freely, man or woman, spoke their mind : All faid they lik'd the lecture from their soul, And each, remembering something, prais'd the whole, At last an honest fexton join'd the throng 105 (For as the theme was large, their talk was long); Neighbours, he cry'd, my conscience bids me tell, Though 'twas the Doctor preach'd, I toll’d the bell.
In this the Critic's folly most is shown : Is there a Genius all-unlike his own,
119 With learning elegant, with wit well bred, And, as in books, in men and manners read; Himself with poring erudition blind, Unknowing, as unknown, of human kind;
That *.!! Quis talia fando Myrmidonum, Dolopumve," &c.- . VIRG. V.92. See the Dedication of his Remarks on the Dunciad to Mr. Lewis Theobaid,
That Writer he selects, with aukward aim 115
Horace, whom all the Graces taught to please,
While Bentley, long to wrangling schools confin'd, And, but by books, acquainted with mankind, Dares, in the fulness of the pedant's pride,
135 Rhyme, though no genius ; though no judge, decide. Yet he, prime pattern of the captious art, Out-tibbalding poor Tibbald, tops his part: Holds high the scourge o'er each fam'd author's head; Nor are their graves a refuge for the dead. 140 To Milton lending sense, to Horace wit, He makes them write what never Poet writ:
The Roman Muse arraigns his mangling pen ;
Such is the Man, who heaps his head with bays,
Yet be his merits, with his faults, confest:
V. 144. This fagacious Scholiaft is pleased to create an imaginary editor of Milton; who, he lays, by his blunders, interpolations, and vile alterations, loft Pa. radife a second time. This is a poftulatum which surely none of his readers can have the heart to deny him; because otherwise he would have wanted a fair opportunity of calling Milton himself, in the perton of this phantom, fool, ignorant, ideot, and the like critical compellations, which he plentifully bestows on him. But, though he had no taite in poetry, he was otherwise a fan of very considerable abilities, and of great erudition,