Obrázky na stránke

Like a big wife at fight of loathfome meat
Ready to caft, I yawn, I figh, and fweat.
Then as a licens'd fpy, whom nothing can
Silence or hurt, he libels the great Man;

Swears ev'ry place entail'd for years to come,


In fure fucceffion to the day of doom:

He names the price for ev'ry office paid,
And fays our wars thrive ill, because delay'd:

Nay hints, 'tis by connivance of the Court,
That Spain robs on, and Dunkirk's ftill a Port. 165
Not more amazement seiz'd on Circe's guests,
To see themselves fall endlong into beasts,
Than mine, to find a subject stay'd and wife
Already half turn'd traytor by furprize.

I felt th' infection flide from him to me,

As in the pox, fome give it to get free;
And quick to fwallow me, methought I saw
One of our Giant Statues ope its jaw.

In that nice moment, as another Lie


Stood juft a-tilt, the Minister came by.


To him he flies, and bows, and bows again,

Then, close as Umbra, joins the dirty train.
Not Fannius' felf more impudently near,
When half his nofe is in his Prince's ear.

I quak'd at heart; and still afraid, to fee
All the Court fill'd with ftranger things than he,


Ran out as fast, as one that pays his bail

And dreads more actions, hurries from a jail.

And fays, Sir, can you fpare me-? I faid, Willingly;
Nay, Sir, can you spare me a crown? Thankfully I
Gave it, as ransom; but as fidlers, still,

Though they be paid to be gone, yet needs will
Thrust one more jig upon you: fo did he
With his long complimented thanks vex me.
But he is gone, thanks to his needy want,
And the Prerogative of my Crown; fcant
His thanks were ended, when I (which did fee
All the Court fill'd with more strange things than he)
Ran from thence with fuch, or more hafte than one
Who fears more actions, doth hafte from prison.
At home in wholesome folitariness

My piteous foul began the wretchedness

Of fuitors at court to mourn, and a trance

Like his, who dreamt he faw hell, did advance



VER. 184. Bear me,] These four lines are wonderfully fublime, His impatience in this region of vice, is like that of Virgil in the region of heat. They both call out, as if they were half ftifled by the fulphury air of the place,

"O qui me gelidis—”

"Oh quickly bear me hence—”


The next twenty-two lines are not only far superior to the Original, but, perhaps, equal to any Pope ever wrote, or to any our language in rhyme. The 188th and 189th lines in the first Edition ran thus,

Here still reflection led on fober thought,

Which Fancy colour'd and a Vision wrought.

It may indeed be urged, that these lines, though containing exquifite poetry, are not of an uniform tone with the rest of the piece. But fuch a frigid objection ought to vanifh before fo much excellence.

VER. 192. Not Dante dreaming] It is only within a few years that the merits of this great and original Poet were attended to,



Bear me, fome God! oh quickly bear me hence To wholesome Solitude, the nurse of sense: Where Contemplation prunes her ruffled wings, And the free foul looks down to pity Kings! There fober thought purfu'd th' amufing theme, Till Fancy colour'd it, and form'd a Dream.

A Vifion hermits can to Hell transport,


And forc'd ev'n me to see the damn'd at Court.

Not Dante dreaming all th' infernal state

Beheld fuch scenes of envy, fin, and hate.



and made known in this country. And this feems to be owing to a translation of the very pathetic ftory of Count Ugolino; to the judicious and fpirited fummary given of this poem, in the 3rft fection of the Hiftory of English Poetry; and to Mr. Hayley's elegant translation of three cantos of the Inferno. Notwithstanding the feeble and tasteless attacks of Voltaire, real judges will ever think that it abounds in many ftrokes of the true fublime, and the pathetic, though mixed with the strongest traits of the satiric.. With what vigour and vehemence has he justly lashed the profligacy, the tyranny, and the corruptions of the Church of Rome, being one of the very firft writers that called her the Great Harlot in the Apocalypfe, canto 19, of the Inferno. Nor has he been lefs fevere on cruel and defpotic princes; and in one place makes Hugh Capet confefs that his father was a butcher: Figliuol d' un' Beccaio di Parigi. Purgat. canto 20. and own himself the caufe and origin of much mischief to Christendom:

I fui radice de la mala pianta,

Che la terra Chriftiana tutta aduggià,

Si che buon frutto rado se ne schianta.

I only just add, that Mr. Addison appears not to have read Dante, from his never once referring to him in his Criticisms on Milton, who was such an admirer and imitator of this great Italian Poet. Algarotti juftly laments the lofs of an ineftimable treasure, a copy of Dante, which Michael Angelo had enriched with defigns drawn with his pen, on the margin of each leaf. juftly ftyled, Il poeta dell' avidenza.

These first stanzas of the 24th canto of the Inferno, Dodfley's Mufæum, No. 2. page 57. is by Mr. Spence. abfurdly calls Il Inferno, "Ce Salmigondis."

Dante was

printed in


Itself o'er me: fuch men as he faw there

Low fear

I faw at court, and worse and more.
Becomes the guilty, not th' accufer: Then,
Shall I, none's flave, of highborn or rais'd men
Fear frowns; and my miftrefs Truth, betray thee
For th' huffing, bragart, puft nobility?

No, no, thou which since yesterday hast been,
Almost about the whole world, haft thou seen,
O Sun, in all thy journey, vanity,

Such as fwells the bladder of our court? I
Think he which made your Waxen* garden, and
Tranfported it from Italy, to ftand

With us at London, flouts our Courtiers; for
Just such gay painted things, which no fap, nor
Taft have in them, ours are; and natural

Some of the stocks are †; their fruits bastard all.
'Tis ten a Clock and paft; all whom the mues,
Baloun, or tennis, diet, or the stews

Had all the morning held, now the second
Time made ready, that day, in flocks are found
In the Prefence, and I (God pardon me)
As fresh and sweet their Apparels be, as be
Their fields they fold to buy them. For a king
Those hose are, cry the flatterers; and bring
Them next week to the theatre to fell.
Wants reach all states: me feems they do as well



A fhow of the Italian Garden in Waxwork, in the time of

King James the Firft.

ti. e. of wood.



VER. 206. Court in wax!] A famous fhew of the Court of France in Waxwork.





Bafe Fear becomes the guilty, not the free;
Suits Tyrants, Plunderers, but fuits not me:
Shall I, the Terror of this finful town,
Care, if a liv'ry'd Lord or smile or frown?
Who cannot flatter, and deteft who can,
Tremble before a noble Serving-man?
O my fair mistress, Truth! fhall I quit thee
For huffing, braggart, puff'd Nobility?
Thou, who fince yesterday haft roll'd o'er all
The bufy, idle blockheads of the ball,
Haft thou, oh Sun! beheld an emptier fort,
Than fuch as fwell this bladder of a court?
Now pox on those who fhew a Court in wax!
It ought to bring all Courtiers on their backs:
Such painted puppets! fuch varnish'd a race
Of hollow gewgaws, only drefs and face!
Such waxen nofes, ftately ftaring things-
No wonder fome folks bow, and think them Kings.
See where the British youth, engag'd no more
At Fig's, at White's, with felons, or a whore,
Pay their last duty to the Court, and come
All fresh and fragrant to the drawing-room;
In hues as gay, and odours as divine,
As the fair fields they fold to look fo fine.





VER. 213. At Fig's, at White's,] White's was a noted gaminghoufc: Fig's, a Prize-fighter's Academy, where the young Nobility received inftruction in those days: It was alfo customary for the Nobility and Gentry to vifit the condemned criminals in New



« PredošláPokračovať »