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DAVID MALLET. \ =====
TO THE FIRST ASD SECOND EDITIONS.
As the design of the following poem is to rally the abuse of verbal criticism, the author could not, without manifest partiality, overlook the editor of Milton, and the restorer of Shakspeare. With regard to the latter, he has read over the many and ample specimens with which that scholiast has already obliged the public: and of these, and these only, he pretends to give his opinion. But, whatever he may think of the critic, not bearing the least ill-will to the man, he deferred printing these verses, though written several months ago, till he heard that the subscription for a new edition of Shakspeare was closed. He begs leave to add likewise, that this poem was undertaken and written entirely without the knowledge of the gentleman to whom it is addressed. Only as it is a public testimony of his inviolable esteem for Mr. Pope, on that account, particularly, he wishes it may not be judged to increase the number of mean performances, with which the town is almost daily pestered.
Awowc the numerous fools, by Fate design'd
Oft to disturh, and oft divert, mankind,
The reading coxcomb is of special note,
By rnle a poet, and a judge by rote:
Grave son of idle Industry and Pride,
Whom learning but perverts, and books misguide.
O fam'd for judging, as for writing well, That rarest science, where so few excel; Whose life, severely scann'd, transcends thy lays, For wit supreme is but thy second praise:
Tis thine, O Pope, who choose the hetter part,
To tell how false, how vain, the scholiast's art,
Which nor to taste, nor genius has pretence,
And, if 'tis learning, is not common sense. In crrour ohstinate, in wrangling loud,
For trifles eager, positive, and proud;
Deep in the darkness of dull authors bred,
With all their refuse lumber'd in his head,
What every dunce from every dunghill drew
Of literary offals, old or new,
Forth steps at last the self-applauding wight,
Of points and letters, chaff and straws, to write:
Sagely resolv'd to swell each bulky piece
With venerable toys, from Rome and Greece;
How oft, in Homer, Paris curl'd his hair;
If Aristotle's cap were round or square;
If in the cave, where Dido first was sped,
To Tyre she turn'd her heels, to Troy her head. Such the choice anecdotes, profound and vain,
That store a Bentley's and a Burman's hrain:
Hence, Plato quoted, or the Stagyrite,
To prove that flame ascends, and snow is white:
Hence, much hard study, without sense or hreeding,
And all the grave impertinence of reading.
If Shakspeare says, the noon-day Sun is bright,
His scholiast will remark, it then was light;
Turn Caxton, Winkin, each old Goth and Hun,
To rectify the reading of a pun.
Thus, nicely trifling, accurately dull,
How one may toil, and toil—to be a fool!
But is there then no honour due to age?
No reverence to great Shakspeare's nohle page?
And he, who half a life has read him o'er,
His mangled points and commas to restore,
Meets he such slight regard in nameless lays,
Whom Bufo treats, and lady Would-be pays?
Pride of his own, and wonder of this age,
Who first created, and yet rules, the stage,
Bold to design, all-powerful to express,
Shakspeare each passion drew in every dress:
Great above rule, and imitating none;
Rich without borrowing, Nature was his own.
Yet is his sense dehas'd hy 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 soul awakes:
Now, low on earth, a kindred reptile creeps;
Sad Hamlet quibbles, and the hearer sleeps.
Such was the poet: next the scholiast view;
Faint through the colouring, yet the features true.
Condemn'd to dig and dung a barren soil,
Where hardly tares will grow with care and toil,
He, with low industry, goes gleaning on
From good,from bad,from mean, neglecting none:
His brother book-worm so, in shelf or stall,
Will feed alike on Woolston and on Paul.
By living clients hopeless now of bread,
He pettyfogs a scrap from authors dead:
See him on Shakspeare pore, intent to steal
Poor farce, by fragments, for a third-day meal.
Such that grave bird in northern seas is found,
Whose name a Dutchman only knows to sound.
Where'er the king of fish moves on before,
This humble friend attends from shore to shore;
With eye still earnest, and with bill inclin'd,
He picks up what his patron drops behind,
With those choice cates his palate to regale,
And is the careful Tibbald of a whale'.
Blest genius! who bestows his oil and pains
On each dull passage, each dull book contains;
The toil more grateful, as the task more low:
So carrion is the quarry of a crow.
Where his fam'd author's page is flat and poor,
There, most exact the reading to restore;
By dint of plodding, and by sweat efface,
A bull to change, a blunder to replace:
Whate'er is refuse critically gleaning,
And mending nonsense into doubtful meaning.
For this, dread Dennis, (and who can forbear,
Dunce or not dunce 2, relating it, to stare ?)
His head though jealous, and his years fourscore,
Ev'n Dennis praises *, who ne'er prais'd before!
For this, the scholiast claims his share of fame,
And, modest, printshisown with Shakspeare'sname:
How justly, Pope, in this short story view;
Which may be dull, and therefore should 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 crowd remain'd behind,
And freely, man or woman, spoke their mind:
All said they lik'd the lecture from their soul,
And each, remembering something, prais'd the
At last an honest sexton join'd the throng; [whole.
(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."
1 This remarkable bird is called the StrundtJager. Here you see how he purchases his food: and the same author, from whom this account is taken, tells us further, how he comes by his drink. You may see him, adds the Dutchman, frequently pursuing a sort of sea-mew, called Kulge-Gehef, whom he torments incessantly to make him void an excrement; which, being liquid, serves him, I imagine, for drink. See a Collection of Voyages to the North.
1 Quis taiia fando
Myrmidonum, Dolopumve, &c. Virg.
3 See the Dedication of his Remarks on the Dun- ciad to Mr. Lewis Theobald.
MALLETS POEMS.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;
Hrm-elf with poring erudition blind,
Unknowing, as unknown of human kind;
That writer he selects, with aukward aim
His sense, at once, tomimic and to maim.
So Florio is a fop, with half a nose:
So fat West Indian planters dress as beaux.
Thus, gay Petronius was a Dutchman's choice,
And Horace, strange to say. tun d "cntley's voice.
Horace, whom all the Graces taught to please,
Mix'd mirth with morals, eloquence with ease;
His genius social, as his judgment clear;
When frolic, prudent; smiling when severe;
Secure, each temper, and each taste to hit,
His was the curious happiness of wit.
Skill'd in that noblest science, how to live;
Which learning may direct, but Heaven must give;
Grave with Agrippa, with Maecenas gay;
Among the fair, hut just as wise 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, tups his part:
Holds high the scourge o'er each fam'd author'*
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 Muse arraigns his mangling pen;And Paradise, by him, is lost agan*.
Such was his doom impos'd by Heaven's decree,
With ears that hear not, eyes that shall not see.
The low to swell, to level the sublime,
To blast all beauty, and beprose all rhyme.
Great eldest-born of Dullness, blind and bold!
Tyrant! more cruel than Procrustes old;Who, to his iron-bed, by torture, fits,
Their nobler part, the souls of suffering wits.
Such is the man, who heaps his head with bays.
And calls on human kind to sound his praise,
For points transplac'd with curious want of skill.
For flatten'd sounds, and sense amended ill.
So wise Caligula, in days of yore,
His helmet fill'd with pebbles on the shore,
Swore he had rifled Ocean's rich spoils,
And claim'd a trophy for his martial toils.
Yet be his merits, with his faults, confest:
Fair-dealing, as the plainest, is the liest.
Long lay the critic's work, with trifles stor'd,
Admir'd in Latin, but in Greek ador'd.
* This sagacious scholiast is pleased to create an imaginary editor of Milton; who, he says, by his blunders, interpolations, and vile alterations, lost Paradise a second time. This is a postulatum 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 person of this phantom, fool, ignorant, idiot, and the like critical compellations, which he plentifully bestows on him. But, though he had no taste in poetry, he was otherwise a man of very considerable abilities, and of great erudition.
VERSES TO THE PRINCE OF ORANGE.
Men, so well read, who confidently wrote,
Their readers could have sworn, were men of note:
To pass upon the crowd 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 mch clear light the serious folly plac'd,
Ev'n tbou, Browne Willis, thou may'st see the jest.
But what can cure our vanity of mind,
Deaf to reproof, and to discovery blind?
Let Crooke, a brother scholiast Shakspeare call,
Tibbild, to Hesiod-Cooke returns the ball.
So runs the circle still: in this, we see
The lackies of the great and leamM agree.
If Britain's nobles mix in high debate,
Whence Europe, in suspense, attends her fate;
In mimic session their grave footmen meet,
Reduce an army, or equip a fleet:
And, rivalling the critic's lofty style,
Mere Tom and Dick are Stanhope and Argyll.
Yet those, whom pride and dulness join to blind,
To narrow cares in narrow space confiii'd,
Though with big titles each his fellow greets,
Are but to wits, as scavengers to streets:
The humble black-guards of a Pope or Gay,
To brush off dust, 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 obscene, The scholiast speaks out broadly what they mean. Disclosing each dark vice, well lost to fame, And adding fuel to redundant flame, He, sober pimp to Lechery, explains What Cnprcae's Isle, or V—'s Alcove contains: Why Paulus, for his sordid temper known, Was lavish, to his father's wife alone: Why those fond female visits duly paid To tuneful Incuba; and what her trade: Hot modern love has made so many martyrs, And which keeps oftenest, lady C—, or Chartres.
But who their various follies can explain? The tale is infinite, the task were vain. Trere to read new-year odes in search of thought; To sum the libels Pryn or Withers wrote; To guess, ere one epistle saw 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 steal a trope. That be the part of persevering Wass 6, Wrth pen of lead; or, Arnall, thine of brass; A text for Henley, or a gloss for Hearne, Who loves to teach, what no man can's to learn.
Bow little, knowledge reaps from toils like these! Too doubtful to direct, too poor to please. Vet, critics, would your tribe deserve a name, And, fairly useful, rise to honest fame; First, from the head, a load of lumber move, And, from the volume, all yourselves approve: For patch'd and pilfer'd fragments, give us sense, Or learning, clear from learn'd impertinence,
'See a poem published some time ago under that title, said to be the production of several inpmom and prolific heads; one contributing a siBile, another a character, and a certain gentleman im shrewd lines wholly made up of asterisks.
• See the preface to his edition of Sallust; and read, if you are able, the Scholia of sixteen annoi by him collected, besides his own.
Where moral meaning, or where taste presides,
And wit enlivens but what reason guides:
Great without swelling, without meanness plain,
Serious, not silly; sportive, but not vain;
On trifles slight, on things of use profound,
In quoting sober, and in judging sound.
PRESENTED TO THE PRINCE OF 0RANCE, ON HIS VISITINO
OXFORD, IN THE YEAR 113i.
Receive, lov'd prince, the tribute of our praise,
This hasty welcome, in unfinish'd lays.
At best, the pomp of song, the paint of art,
Display the genius, but not speak the heart;
And oft, as ornament must truth supply,
Are but the splendid colouring of a lie.
These need not here; for to a soul like thine,
Truth, plain and simple, will more lovely shine.
The truly good but wish the verse sincere:
They court no flattery, who no censure fear. Such Nassau is, the fairest, gentlest mind,
In blooming youth the Titus of mankind,
Crowds, who to hail thy wish'd appearance ran,
Forgot the prince, to praise and love the man.
Such sense with sweetness, grandeur niix'il with easel
Our nobler youth will learn of thee to please:
Thy bright example shall our world adorn,
And charm, in gracious princes, yet unborn.
Nor deem this verse from venal art proceeds,
That vice of courts, the soil for baneful weeds.
Here Candour dwells; here honest truths are taught,
To guide and govern, not disguise, the thought.
See these enlighten'd sages, who preside
O'er Learning's empire; see the youth they guide:
Behold, all faces are in transport drest!
But those most wonder, who discern thee best.
At sight of thee, each free-born heart receives
A joy, the sight of princes rarely gives;
From tyrants sprung, and oft themselves design'd,
By Fate, the future Neroes of their kind:
But though thy blood, we know, transmitted, springs
From laurell'd heroes, and from warrior-kings,
Through that high series, we, delighted, trace
The friends of liberty, and human race!
Oh, born to glad and animate our isle!
For thee,our heavens look pleas'd, our seasons smile:
For thee, late object of our tender fears,
When thy life droop'd, and Britain was in tears,
All-cheering Health, the goddess rosy-fair,
Attended by soft suns, and vernal air, [hour.
Sought those fam'd springs', where, each afflictive
Disease, and Age, and Pain, invoke her power:
She came; and, while to thee the current flows,
Pour'd all herself, and in thy cup arose.
Hence, to thy cheek, that instant bloom deriv'd:
Hence, with thy health, the weeping world reviv'd 1
Proceed to emulate thy race divine:
A life of action, and of praise, be thine.
Assert the titles genuine to thy blood,
By nature, daring; but by reason, good.
So great, so glorious thy forefathers shone,
No son of theirs must hope to live unknown:
Their deeds will place thy virtue full in sight;
Thy vice, if vice thou hast, in stronger light.
If to thy fair beginnings nobly true,
Think what the world may claim, and thou must do:
The honours, that already grace thy name,
Have fix'd thy choice, and force thee into fame.
Ev'n she, bright Anna, whom thy worth has won,
Inspires thee what to seek and what to shun:
Rich in all outward grace, th' exalted fair
Makes the soul's beauty her peculiar care.
O, be your nuptials crown'd with glad increase
Of sons, in war renown'd, and great in peace;
Of daughters, fair and faithful, to supply
The patriot-race, till Nature's self shall die!
• CCASIONED BV DR. FRAZER S REBUILDING PART OP THE
UNIVERSITY OF ABERDEEN.
In times long past, ere Wealth was Learning's foe,
And dar'd despise the worth he would not know;
Ere mitred Pride, which arts alone had rais'd,
Those very arts, in others saw, unprais'd;
Friend to mankind', a prelate, good and great,
The Muses courted to this safe retreat:
Fix'd each fair virgin, decent, in her cell,
With learned Leisure, and with Peace to dwell.
The fabric finish'd, to the sovereign's fame ',
His own neglecting, he transferred his claim.
Here, by successive worthies, well was taught
Whate'er enlightens, or exalts the thought.
With labour planted, and improv'd with care,
The various tree of knowledge Aourish'd fair:
Soft and serene the kindly seasons roll'd,
And Science long enjoy'd her age of gold.
Now, dire reverse! impairM by lapse of years,
A falling waste the Muses' seat appears.
O'er her gray roofs, with baneful ivy bound,
Time, sure destroyer, walks his hostile round:
Silent, and slow, and ceaseless in his toil,
He mines each wall, he moulders every pile!
Ruin hangs hovering o'er the fated place:
And dumb Oblivion comes with mended pace.
Sad learning's genius, with a father's fear,
Beheld the total desolation near:
Beheld the Muses stretch the wing to fly;
And fix'd on Heaven his sorrow-streaming eye!
From Heaven, in that dark hour, commission'd Mild Charity, ev'n there the foremost name, [came Swift Pity flew before her, softly bright; At whose felt influence, Nature smil'd with light.
"Hear, and rejoice:"—the gracious power begun— "Already, fir'd by me, thy favourite son This ruin'd scene remarks with filial eyes; And, from its fall, bids fairer fabrics rise. Ev'n now, behold! where crumbling fragments gray, In dust deep-bury'd, lost to memory lay, The column swells, the well-knit arches bend, The round dome widens, and the roofs ascend!
"Nor ends the bounty thus: by him bestow'd, Here, Science shall her richest stores unload. Whate'er, long-hid, Philosophy has found; Or the Muse sung, with living laurel crown'd; Or History descry'd, far-looking sage, In the dark doubtfulness of distant age;
1 Bishop Elphinstone.
* Calling it King's College, in compliment to James II.
These, thy best wealth, with curious choice com bin'd.
Now treasur'd here, shall form the studious mind:
To wits unborn the wanted succours give,
And fire the bard, whom Genius means to live.
"But, teach thy sons the gentle laws of peace;
Let low Self-love and pedant Discord cease:
Their object truth, utility their aim,
One social spirit reign, in all the same.
Thus aided arts shall with fresh vigour shoot;
Their cultur'd blossoms ripen'd into fruit;
Thy faded star dispense a brighter ray,
And each glad Muse renew her noblest lay."'
TO THE SIEGE OF DAMASCUS.
SPOKEN BY LORD SANDWICH.
When arts and arms, beneath Eliza's smile, Spread wide their influence o'er this happy isle;A golden reign, uncurst with party rage, That foe to taste, and tyrant of our age;Ere all our learning in a libel lay, And all our talk, in politics, or play:The statesman oft would soothe his toils with wit, What Spenser sung, and Nature's Shakspeare writ;Or to the laurell'd grove, at times, retire, There, woo the Muse, and wake the moving lyre.
As fair examples, like ascending morn,
The world at once enlighten and adorn;
From them diffus'd, the gentle arts of peace
Shot brightening o'er the land, with swift increase:
Rough Nature soften'd into grace and ease;
Sense grew polite, and Science sought to please.
Reliev'd from yon rude scene of party-din,
Where open Baseness vies with secret Sin,
And safe embowcr'd in Woburn'a3 airy groves.
Let us recall the times our taste approves; Awaken to our aid the mourning Muse; Through every bosom tender thought infuse; Melt angry Faction into moral sense, And to his guests a Bedford's soul dispense.
And now, while Spring extends her smiling reigi^
Green on the mountain, flowery in the plain;While genial Nature breathes, from hill and dalev
Health, fragrance, gladness, in the living gale; The various softness, stealing through the heart.
Impressions sweetly social, will impart. When sad Eudocia pours her hopeless woe, The tear of pity will unbidden flow!When erring Phocyas, whom wild passions blind,
Holds up himself, a mirror for mankind;An equal eye on our own hearts we turn, Where frailties lurk, where fond affections burn;
And, conscious, Nature is in all the same, We mourn the guilty, while the guilt we blame!
TO THE BROTHERS,
A TRAGEDY, BY DR. YOUNG.
To woman, sure, the most severe affliction Is, from these fellows, point-blank contradiction.
1 The Siege of Damascus was acted at Woburn, by the duke of Bedford, the earl of Sandwich, aud
Our hard, without—I wish he would appear—
Vi! I would give it him—but you shall hear—
"Good sir!" quoth I—and curtsey'd as I spoke—
"Our pit, you know, expects and loves a joke—
Twere fit to humour them: for, right or wrong,
True Britons never like the same thing long.
To day is fair—they strut, huff, swear, harangue:—
To morrow's foul—they sneak aside, and hang:
Is there a war—peace! peace! is all their cry:
The peace is made—then, blood! they 'U fight
and die." Gallants, in talking thus, I meant no treason:
I would have brought, you see, the man to reason.
But with some folks, 'tis labour lost to strive:
A reasoning mule will neither lead nor drive.
He humm'd, and haw'd; then, waking from his
dream, Cry'd, I must preach to you his moral scheme.
A scheme, forsooth! to benefit the nation!
Some queer, odd whim of pious propagationi!
lord! talk so, here—the man must be a widgeon:—
Drury may propagate—but not Religion. Yet, after all, to give the Devil his due,
Our author's scheme, though strange, is wholly new:
Well, shall the novelty then recommend it?
If not from liking, from caprice befriend it.
For drums and routs, make him a while your passion,
A little while let virtue be the fashion:
And, spite of real or imagin'd hlunders,
Er a let him live, nine days, like other wonders.
PROLOGUE TO MR. THOMSON'S AGAMEMNON
Wmrs this decisive night, at length, appears,
The night of every author's hopes and fears,
What shifts to bribe applause, poor poets try!
In all the forms of wit they court and lie:
These meanly beg it, as an alms; and those,
By hoastful hluster dazzle and impose. Nor poorly fearful, nor securely vain,
Ours would, by honest ways, that grace obtain;
Would, as a free-horn wit, be fairly try'd:And then—let Candour, fairly too, decide.
He courts no friend, who blindly comes to praise;He dreads no foe—but whom his faults may raise. Indulge a generous pride, that bids him own,
He aims to please, hy nohle means alone;
By what may win the judgment, wake the heart,
Inspiring Nature, and directing Art;
Br somes, so wrought, as may applause command
More from the judging head, than thundering hand. Important is the moral we would teach—
Oh may this island practise what we preach—
Vice in its first approach with care to shun;The wretch, who once engages, is undone.
Crimes lead to greater crimes, and link so strait,
What first was accident, at last is fate:
some other persons of distinction, in the month of May, I743.
i The profits arising from this play were intended to be given, by the author, to the Society for propagating Christian Knowledge.
2 See the prologue to Sophonisha, a joint production of Pope and Mallet's, in the twelfth volume of tha collection.
Guilt's hapless servant sinks into a slave;
And Virtue's last sad strugglings cannot save.
"As such our fair attempt, we hope to see
Our judges,—here at least—from influence free:
One place,—unhiass'd yet hy party-rage,—
Where only Honour votes—the British stage.
We ask for justice, for indulgence sue:
Our last hest licence must proceed from you."
ON A LADY, WHO HAD PASSED SOME TrME IS PLAYtNO
WITH A VERY YOUNG CHILD.
Whv, on this least of little misses,
Did Celia waste so many kisses?
Quoth Love, who stood hehind and smil'd,
"She kiss'd the father in the child."
ON SEEING TWO PERSONS PASS BY IN VERY DIFFERENT EQUIPAGES.
In modern as in ancient days,
See what the Muses have to hrag on:
The player in his own post-chaise;
The poet in a carrier's waggon!
ON A CERTAIN LORD'S PASSION FOR A fciNGUL
Nerina's angel-voice delights;
Nerina's devil-face affrights:
How whimsical her Strephon's fate,
Condetnn'd at once to like and hate!But be she cruel, be she kind, Love! strike her dumb, or make him blind.
A SIMILE IN PRIOR,
APPLIED TO THE SAME PERSON.
Dear Thomas, didst thou never pop
Thy head into a tinman's shop?
There, Thomas, didst thou never see—
Tis hut hy way of simile—
A squirrel spend its little rage,
In jumping round a rolling cage?
Mov'd in the orb, pleas'd with the chimes,
The foolish creature thinks it climbs;
But here or there, turn wood or wire,
It never gets two inches higher.
So fares it with this little peer,
So busy and so bustling here;
For ever flirting up and down,
And frisking round his cage, the town.
A world of nothing in his chat,
Of who said this, and who did that:
With similies, that never hit;
Vivacity, that has no wit;
Schemes laid this hour, the next forsaken;
Advice oft ask'd, hut never taken: