ET, yet a moment, one dim Ray of Light

Indulge, dread Chaos, and eternal Night! Of darkness visible so much be lent, As half to Thew, half veil the deep Intent. Ye Pow'rs! whose Mysteries restor'd I sing, 5 To whom Time bears me on his rapid wing,

REMARKS. The DUNCIAD, Book ]V.] This Book may properly be die stinguished from the former, by the Name of the GREATER DUNCIAD, not fo indeed in Size, but in Subject; and so far contrary to the distinction anciently made of the Greater a:d Lesser Iliad. But much are they mistaken who imagine this Work in any wise inferior to the former, or of


other hand than of our Poet; of which I am much more certain than that th: liad itself was the Work of Solomon, or the Batrachomuemachia of Homer, as Barnes hath affirmed. BENT.P. W.

VER. I, &c. This is an Invocation of much Piety. The Poet willing to approve himself a genuine Son, beginneth by Thewing (what is ever agreeable to Dulness) his high respect for Antiqui y and a Great Family, how dead or dark soever : Next declareth his passion for explaining Mysteries ; and lastly his Impatience to be re-united to her.

SCRIBL. P. W. VER. 2. dread Chaos, and eternal Night!) Invoked, as the Restoration of their Empire is the Action of the Poem. P. W.

Ver. 4. half to fhew, half veil the deep Intent] This is a great propriety, for a dull Poet can never express himself ocherwise than by halves, or imperfectly.

SCRIBL. P. W. I understand it very differently; the Author in this work had indeed a deep Intent; there were in it Mysteries or apójśnia which he durst not fully reveal, and doubtleis in divers verses (according to Milton)

more is meant than meets the ear. Bent, P. W. Vol. V.


[ocr errors]

Suspend a while


Force inertly strong, Then take at once the Poet and the Song.

Now flam'd the Dog-star's unpropitious ray, Smote ev'ry Brain, and wither'd ev'ry Bay ; Sick was the Sun, the Owl forsook his bow'r, The moon-struck Prophet felt the madding hour:


REMARKS. VER. 6. To whom Time bears me on his rapid wing,] Fair and foftly, good Poet! (cries the gentle Scriblerus on this place.) For sure in spite of his unusual modesty, he shall not travel so fast toward Oblivion, as divers others of more Confidence have done: For when I revolve in my mind the Catalogue of those who have most boldly promised to themselves Immortality, viz. Pindar, Luis Gongora, Ronsard Oldham, Lyrics ; Lycophron, Statius, Chapman, Blackmore, Heroics; I find the one half to be already dead, and the other in utter darkness. But it becometh not us, who have taken up the office of his Commentator, to suffer our Poet thus prodigally to cast away his Life; contrariwise, the more hidden and abstruse is his work, and the more remote its beauties from common Understanding, the more is it our duty to draw forth and exalt the same, in the face of Men and Angels. Herein shall we imitate the laudable Spirit of those, who have (for this very reason) delighted to comment on dark and uncouth Authors, and even on their darker Fragments; preferred Ennius to Virgil, and chofen to turn the dark Lanthorn of LyCUPHRON, rather than to trim the everlasting Lamp of Homer.

SCRIBL. P. W. Ver. 7. Force inertly strong,] Alluding to the Vis inertiæ of Matter, which, tho' it really be no Power, is yet the Foundation of all the Qualities and Attributes of that sluggith Substance.

P. IV. VER. Ii, 12. Sick was the Sun,-The moon-struck Prophet] The Poet introduceth this (as all great events are supposed by fage Historians to be preceded) by an Eclit fe of the Sun; but with a peculiar propriety, as the Sun is the Emblem of that intellectual light which dies before the face of Dulness. Very apposite likewise is it to make this Eclipse, which is occasioned by

Then rose the Seed of Chaos, and of Night,
To blot out Order, and extinguish Light,
Of dull and venal a new World to mold,

15 And bring Saturnian days of Lead and Gold. She mounts the Throne : her head a Cloud con

cealid, In broad Effulgence all below reveald,


REMARKS. the Moon's predominancy, the very time when Dulness and Madnefs are in Conjunction; whofe relation and influence on each other the poet hath shewn in many places, Book i. V. 29. Book iii. v. 5. & feq.

VER. 54. To blot cut Order, and extinguish Light ] The two great Ends of her Mission; the one in quality of Daughter of Chaos, the other as Daughter of Night. Order here is to be understood extensively, both as Civil and Moral; the distinctions between high and low in Society, and true and false in Individuals: Ligh, as Intellectual only, Wit, Science, Arts. P. W.

VER. 15. Of dull and venal] The Altegory continued ; dull referring to the extinction of Light or Science ; venal to the destruction of Order, or the Truth of Things.

P. W. Ibid. a new World] In allusion to the Epicurean opinion, that from the Dissolution of the natural World into Night and Chaos a new one should arise ; this the Poet alluding to, in the Production of a new moral World, makes it partake of its original Principles.

P. W: VER. 16. Lead and Gold.] i. e. dull and venal. P. W.

VER. 18. all below reveald,] It was the opinion of the An, cients, that the Divinities manifefted themselves to Men by their Back-parts. Virg. Æn. i. et avertens, rosea cervice refulfir But this passage may admit of another exposition. - Vet. Adag: The higher paul climh, the more you thew pour l.. Verihed in no instance more than in Dulness aspiring. Emblematized also by an Ape climbing and exposing his posteriors.


('Tis thus aspiring Dulness ever shines) Soft on her lap her Laureat son reclines.


REMARKS. VER. 20. her Laureat fon reclines] With great judgment it is imagined by the Poet, that such a Collegue as Dulness had elected, should seep on the Throne, and have very little share in the Action of the Poem. Accordingly he hath done little or nothing from the day of his Anointing ; having past through the second book without taking part in any thing that was transacted about him; and through the third in profound Sleep. Nor ought this, well consider'd, to seem ftrange in our days, when so many King-consorts have done the like. SCRIBL. P. W.

This verse our excellent Laureat took so to heart, that he appealed to all mankind, “ if he was not as seldom asleep as any « fool ?But it is hoped the Poet hath not injured him, but rather verified his Prophecy (p. 243. of his own Life, 8vo. ch. ix.) where he says the reader will be as much pleafed to find me a Dunce in my Old Age, as he was to prove me a « brisk blockhead in my Youth.” Wherever there was any room for Briskness, or Alacrity of any sort, even in finking, he hath had it allowed; but here, where there is nothing for him to do but to take his natural reft, he must permit his Hiftorian to be filent. It is from their actions only that Princes have their character, and Poets from their works : And if in those he be as m:c! asleep as any fool, ch: Poet must leave him and them to peep to all eternity.

Bent. P. Ibid. her Laureat] - When I find my Name in the satirical

works of t.is Poét, I never look upon it as any malice meant "s to me, but PR Fit to himself. For he confiders that my “ Face is more known than most in the nation; and there« fore a Lick at the Laureate will be a fure bait ad captandum

vulgus, to catch little readers". Life of Colley Cibber, ch. ii.

Now if it be certain, that the works of our Poet have owed their fuccef to this ingenious expedient, we hence derive an unanswerable Argument, that this Fourth DUNCIAD, as well as the former three, hath had the Author's laft hand, and was by him intended for the Press : Or else to what purpose hath he crown'd it, as we see, by this finishing stroke, the profitable Lick at the Laureate?


Beneath her foot-stool, Science groans in Chains, And Wit dreads Exile, Penalties and Pains. There foam'd rebellious Logic, gagg’d and bound, There, stript, fair Rhet'ric languish'don the ground; His blunted Arms by Sophistry are born, 25 And shameless Billingsgate her Robes adorn. Morality, by her false Guardians drawn, Chicane in Furs, and Casuistry in Lawn, Gasps, as they straiten at each end the cord, 29 And dies, when Dulness gives her Page the word,


VER. 21, 22. Beneath her foot-fool, &c.] We are next presented with the pictures of those whom the Goddess leads in Cap. tivity. Science is only depressed and confined so as to be ren. dered useless; but Wit or Genius, as a more dangerous and active enemy, punished, or driven away: Dulness being often re. conciled in fome degree with Learning, but never upon any terms with Wit. And accordingly it will be seen that the admits something like each Science, as Cafuiftry, Sophistry, &c. but nothing like Wit, Opera alone fupplying its place. P. W.

Ver. 27. by her falfe Guard'ans drawn,] Morality is the Daughter of Åsrca. This alludes to the Mythology of the ancient Poets ; who tell us that in the Gold and Silver ages, or in the State of Nature, the Gods cohabited with men here on Earth; but when by reason of human degeneracy men were forced to have recourse to a Magistrate, and that the Ages of Brass and Iron came on (that is, when Laws were write on brazen tablets inforced by the Sword of Justice) the Celestials soon retired from Earth, and Aftræa last of all; and then it was the left this her Orphan Daughter in the hands of the Guardians aforesaid.

SCRIBL. W. VER. 30. gives 'her Page the word.] There was a Judge of this name, always ready to hang any man that came before him, of which he was suffered to give a hundred miserable examples

« 前へ次へ »