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For this, dread Dennis (* and who can forbear,
Dunce or not Dunce, relating it, to ftare?)
His head though jealous, and his years fourfcore,
Ev'n Dennis praises, who ne'er prais'd before!
For this, the Scholiaft claims his fhare of fame,
And, modeft, prints his own with Shakespeare's name:
How juftly, Pope, in this short story view;
be dull, and therefore fhould be true.
A Prelate, fam'd for clearing each dark text,
Who fense with found, and truth with rhetoric mixt,
Once, as his moving theme to rapture warm'd,
Inspir'd himself, his happy hearers charm'd.
The fermon o'er, the croud remain'd behind,
And freely, man or woman, spoke their mind:
All faid they lik'd the lecture from their foul,
And each, remembering fomething, prais'd the whole.
At last an honeft fexton join'd the throng
(For as the theme was large, their talk was long);
Neighbours, he cry'd, my confcience 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,
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;
Myrmidonum, Dolopumve," &c.
V. 92. See the Dedication of his Remarks on the
Dunciad to Mr. Lewis Theobaid.
That Writer he felects, with aukward aim
His fenfe, at once, to mimic and to maim.
So Florio is a fop, with half a nose:
So fat Weft Indian Planters dress at Beaux.
Thus, gay Petronius was a Dutchman's choice,
And Horace, ftrange to say, tun'd Bentley's voice.
Horace, whom all the Graces taught to please,
Mix'd mirth with morals, eloquence with ease;
His genius focial, as his judgement clear;
When frolic, prudent; fmiling when severe;
Secure, each temper, and each taste to hit,
His was the curious happiness of wit.
Skill'd in that nobleft Science, How to live;
Which Learning may direct, but Heaven must give:
Grave with Agrippa, with Mecenas gay;
Among the Fair, but just as wife as they :
First in the friendships of the Great enroll'd,
The St. Johns, Boyles, and Lytteltons, of old.
While Bentley, long to wrangling schools confin'd,
And, but by books, acquainted with mankind,
Dares, in the fulness of the pedant's pride,
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 fcourge o'er each fam'd author's head;
Nor are their graves a refuge for the dead.
To Milton lending sense, to Horace wit,
He makes them write what never Poet writ:
The Roman Mufe arraigns his mangling pen;
And Paradife, by him, is loft again.
Such was his doom impos'd by heaven's decree, 145
With ears that hear not, eyes that shall not fee,
The low to fwell, to level the fublime,
To blast all beauty, and beprofe all rhyme.
Great eldeft-born of Dulness, blind and bold!
Tyrant! more cruel than Procruftes old;
Who, to his iron-bed, by torture, fits,
Their nobler part, the fouls of fuffering Wits.
Such is the Man, who heaps his head with bays, And calls on human kind to found his praise,
For points tranfplac'd with curious want of fkill, 155 For flatten'd founds, and fenfe amended ill.
So wife Caligula, in days of yore,
His helmet fill'd with pebbles on the fhore,
Swore he had rifled ocean's richest spoils,
And claim'd a trophy for his martial toils.
Yet be his merits, with his faults, confeft:
Fair-dealing, as the plaineft, is the best.
V. 144. This fagacious Scholiaft is pleased to create an imaginary editor of Milton; who, he fays, by his blunders, interpolations, and vile alterations, loft Paradife a fecond time. This is a poftulatum which furely none of his readers can have the heart to deny him; because otherwife he would have wanted a fair opportunity of calling Milton himfelf, in the perfon of this phantom, fool, ignorant, ideot, and the like critical compellations, which he plentifully bestows on him. But, though he had no tatte in poetry, he was otherwife a man of very confiderable abilities, and of great erudition.
Long lay the Critic's work, with trifles ftor'd,
Admir'd in Latin, but in Greek ador'd.
Men, fo well read, who confidently wrote,
Their readers could have fworn, were men of note:
To pass upon the croud for great or rare,
Aim not to make them knowing, make them stare.
For these blind votaries good Bentley griev'd,
Writ English notes-and mankind undeceiv'd:
In fuch clear light the ferious folly plac'd,
Ev'n thou, Browne Willis, thou may'st fee the jeft.
But what can cure our vanity of mind,
Deaf to reproof, and to difcovery blind?
Let Crooke, a Brother-Scholiaft Shakespeare call, 175
Tibbald, to Hefiod-Cooke returns the ball.
So runs the circle ftill in this, we fee
The lackies of the Great and Learn'd agree.
If Britain's nobles mix in high debate,
Whence Europe, in fufpenfe, attends her fate;
In mimic feffion their grave footmen meet,
Reduce an army, or equip a fleet:
And, rivaling the critic's lofty stile,
Mere Tom and Dick are Stanhope and Argyll.
Yet thofe, whom pride and dulness join to blind, 189
To narrow cares in narrow space confin'd,
Though with big titles each his fellow greets,
Are but to wits, as fcavengers to streets :
The humble black-guards of a Pope or Gay,
To brush off duft, and wipe their spots away.
Or, if not trivial, harmful is their art;
Fume to the head, or poison to the heart.
Where ancient Authors hint at things obfcene,
The Scholiaft fpeaks out broadly what they mean.
Disclosing each dark vice, well-loft to fame,
And adding fuel to redundant flame,
He, fober pimp to lechery, explains
What Capreæ's Ifle, or V *'s Alcove contains:
Why Paulus, for his fordid temper known,
Was lavish, to his father's wife alone:
Why thofe fond female vifits duly paid
To tuneful Incuba; and what her trade:
How modern love has made fo many martyrs,
And which keeps oftneft, Lady C *, or Chartres.
But who their various follies can explain?
The tale is infinite, the task were vain.
'Twere to read new-year odes in search of thought; To fum the libels Pryn or Withers wrote;
To guefs, ere one epiftle faw the light,
How many dunces met, and club'd their mite;
To vouch for truth what Welsted prints of Pope,
Or from the brother-boobies fteal a trope.
That be the part of perfevering Waffe,
With pen of lead; or, Arnall, thine of brass;
V. 209. See a Poem published some time ago under that title, faid to be the production of feveral ingenious and prolific heads; one contributing a fimilé, another a character, and a certain gentleman four fhrewd lines wholly made up of asterisks.
V. 213. See the Preface to his edition of Salluft; and read, if you are able, the Scholia of fixteen annotators by him collected, befides his own.