« AnteriorContinuar »
Τ Η Ε
D UN CI A D:
BOOK the SECOND.
ARGU M E N T.
The King being proclaimed, the folemnity is graced
with public Games and Sports of various kinds; not instituted by the Hero, as by Æneas in Virgil, but for greater honour by the Goddess in perfon (in like manner as the games Pythia, Isthmia, &c. were ana ciently said to be ordained by the Gods, and as Thetis herself appearing, according to Homer, Odyll. xxiv. proposed the prizes in honour of her fon Achilles.) Hither flock the Poets and Critics attended, as is but juft, with their Patrons and Booksellers. The Goddess is first pleafed, for her difport, to propose games to the Booksellers, and setteth up the Phantom of a Poet, which they contend to overtake. The Races described, with their divers accidents. Next the game for a Poetels. Then follow the Exercises for the Poets of tickling, vociferating, diving : The first holds forth the arts and practices of Dedicators, the second of Disputants and fustian Poets, the third of profound, dark, and dirty Party. writers. Lastly, for the Critics, the Goddess proposes (with great propriety) an Exercise not of their parts, but their patience in hearing the works of two voluminous Authors, one in verse, and the other in prose, deliberately read, without sleeping : The various effects of which, with the several degrees and manners of their operation, are here set forth; till the whole number, not of Critics only, but of Spectators, actors, and all present, fall fast asleep; which naturally and necessarily ends the games.
IG H on a gorgeous seat, that far outfhone,
Henley's gilt tub, or Fleckno's Irish throne,
REM A R K 3. TWO things there are, upon the supposition of which the very basis of all verbal criticism is founded and supported: The first, that an Author could never fail to use the best word on every occasion; the second, that a Critic cannot chufe but know which that is. This being granted, whenever any word doth not fully content us, we take upon us to conclude, first, that the au- ! thor could never have used it; and, secondly, that he must have used that veryone, which we conjecture in its stead.
We cannot, therefore, enough admire the learned Scriblerus for his alteration of the text in the two last verses of the prece. diog book, which in all the former editions stood thus:
Hoarse thunder to its bortom shook the bog,
And the loud nation croak’d, God save king Log. He has, with great judgment, transposed these two epithets; putting hoarse to the nation, and loud to the thunder: And this being evidently the true reading, he vouch safed not so much as to mention the former; for which assertion of the just right of a Critic, he merits The acknowledgment of all sound Commentators
VER. 2. Henley's gilt tub,] The pulpit of a Dissenter is usually called a tub; but that of Mr Orator Henley was covered with velvet, and adorned with gold. He had also a fair altar, and over it is his extraordinary inscription, The primitive Eucharift. See the history of this person, book iii.
High on a throne of royal state, that far