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If Faith itself has diff'rent dresses worn,
What wonder modes in Wit should take their turn?
Oft, leaving what is natural and fit,
The current folly proves the ready wit ;

And

tiquary Mr. Antony Wood fadly laments the deformation, as he calls it, of that University by the King's Commisfiopers ; and even records the blafphemous speeches of one of them in his own Words“We have set Dunce in Brecar.lo, with all his blind Gloffers, fast nailed up upon polts in all common houses of easement. Upon which our venerable Antiquary thus exclaims : “If so be, the commiffioners had such disrespect for that most famous (or Author J. Duns, who was so much admired by our

predecessors, and so DIFFICULT TO BE UNDER

STOOD, that the Doctors of those times, namely Dr. William Roper, Dr. John Kynton, Dr. William Mowse, “ etc. profeied, that, in twenty eight years Rudy, they « could not understand him righ:ly, What then had they " for others of an inferior note?"-What indeed! But then, If so be, that most famous F. Duns was so difficult to be understood (for that this is a most classical proof of his great value, who doubts ?) I should conceive our good old Antiquary to be a little mistaken. And that the nailing up this Proteus was done by the Commissioners in honour of the most famous Duns : There being no other way of catching the sense of fo slippery an Author, who had eluded the pursuit of three of their moit renowned Doctors, in full cry after him, for twenty eight years together. And this Boccardo in which he was confined, Jeemed very proper for the purpose; it being observed, that men are never more serious and thoughtful than in that place. SCRIEL.

Ibid. Thomijis,] From Thomas Aquinas, a truly great Genius, who was, in those blind ages, the fame in Theology that Friar Bacon was in natural Philosophy : less happy than our Countryman in this, that he soon became furrounded with a number of dark Gloffers, who never left him till they had extinguished the radiance of that light which had pierced through the thickest night of

Monkery,

And authors think their reputation safe,

450 Which lives as long as fools are pleas'd to laugh.

Some valuing those of their own side or mind, Still make themselves the measure of mankind : Fondly we think we honour merit then, When we but praise ourselves in other men. 455 Parties in Wit attend on those of State, And public faction doubles private hate. Pride, Malice, Folly, against Dryden rose, In various shapes of Parsons, Critics, Beaus ; But sense surviv'd, when merry jests were past; For rising merit will buoy up at last.

461 Might he return, and bless once more our eyes, New Blackmores and new Milbourns must arise : Nay should great Homer lift his awful head, Zoilus again would start up from the dead. 465 Envy will merit, as its shade, pursue ; But like a shadow, proves the substance true;

Monkery, the thirteenth century, when the Waldenses were fuppressed, and Wickliffe not yet risen.

VER. 445. Duck-lane] A place where old and second. hand books were sold formerly, near Smithfield. P.

VARIATION s.
VER. 447. Between this and ver. 448.

The rhyming Clowns that gladded Shakespear's age,
No more with crambo entertain the stage.
Who now in Anagrams their Patron praise,
Or fing their Mistress in Acrostic lays ?
Ev'n pulpits pleas'd with merry puns of yore ;
Now all are banish'd to the Hibernian fhore !
Thus leaving what was natural and fit,
The current folly prov'd their ready wit ;
And authors thought their reputation fafe,

Which liv'd as long as fools were pleas'd to laugh.
VOL. I.

I

For

471

For envy'd Wit, like Sol eclips'd, makes known
Th' opposing body's grossness, not its own.
When first that sun too pow'rful beams displays,
It draws up vapours which obscure its rays;
But ev'n those clouds at last adorn its

way, Reflect new glories, and augment the day. Be thou the first true merit to befriend

; His praise is loft, who stays 'till all commend. 475 Short is the date, alas, of modern rhymes, And 'tis but just to let them live betimes. No longer now that golden age appears, When Patriarch-wits surviv'd a thousand years : Now length of Fame (our second life) is loft, 480 And bare threescore is all ev'n that can boast; Our sons, their fathers failing language see, And such as Chaucer is, shall Dryden be. So when the faithful pencil has defign'd Some bright Idea of the master's mind,

485

Where

Ver. 468. For envy'd Wit, like Sol eclips'd, etc.] This fimilitude implies a fact too often verified ; and of which we need not seek abroad for examples. It is, that fre. quently those very Authors, who have at first done all they could to obscure and depress a rising genius, have at length, in order to keep themselves in some little credit, been reduced to borrow from him, imitate his manner, and reflect what they could of his splendor. Nor hath the poet been less artful, to infinuate also what is sometimes the cause. A youthful genius, like the Sun rising towards the Meridian, displays too frong and powerful beams for the dirty genius of inferior writers, which occasions their gathering, condensing, and blackening. But as he descends from the Meridian (the time when the Sun gives its gilding to the surrounding clouds) his rays grow milder, his heat more benign, and then

-ev'n those Clouds at last adorn its way, Reflect new glories, and augmort-the day.

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Where a new world leaps out at his command,
And ready Nature waits upon his hand;
When the ripe colours soften and unite,
And sweetly melt into just shade and light ;
When mellowing years their full perfection give,
And each bold figure just begins to live, 491:
The treach'rous colours the fair art betray,
And all the bright creation fades away!

Unhappy Wit, like most mistaken things,
Atones not for that envy which it brings. 495
In youth alone its empty praise we boast,
But soon the short-liv'd vanity is lost :
Like some fair How'r the early spring supplies,
That gayly blooms, but ev’n in blooming dies. ,
What is this Wit, which must our cares employ?
The owner's wife, that other men enjoy ; 500
Then most our trouble still when most admir'd, -
And still the more we give, the more requir’d;
Whose fame with pains we guard, but lose with ease,
Sure fome to vex, but never all to please; 505
'Tis what the vicious fear, the virtuous shun,
By fools 'tis hated, and by knaves undone !

If Wit so much from Ign'rance undergo, Ah let not Learning too commence its foe! Of old, those met rewards who could excell, 510 And such were prais'd who but endeavour'd well ; Tho? triumphs were to gen’rals only due, Crowns were reserv'd to grace the soldiers too.

Now,

I 2

VER. 507. by knaves undone!). By which the Poet would insinuate, à common but fhameful truth, That Men in power, if they got into it by illiberal arts, gene. rally left Wit and Science to starve,

Now, they who reach Parnassus’ lofty crown,
Employ their pains to fpurn some others down;
And while self-love each jealous writer rules,
Contending wits become the sport of fools :
But still the worst with most regret commend,
For each ill Author is as bad a Friend.

520
To what base ends, and by what abject ways,
Are mortals urg'd thro' sacred luft of praise !
Ah ne'er so dire a thirst of glory boast,
Nor in the Critic let the Man be loft.
Good-nature and good-sense must ever join ; 525
To err is human, to forgive, divine.

But if in noble minds some dregs remain Not yet purg'd off, of spleen and four disdain ; Discharge that rage on more provoking crimes, Nor fear a dearth in these flagitious times. 539 No pardon vile Obscenity should find, Tho' wit and art conspire to move your mind; But Dulness with Obscenity must prove As shameful fure as Impotence in love.

In

Ver. 519. But fill the Worfit with most regret commend,

For each ill Author is as bad a Friend.) As. Igrorance, when joined with Humility, produces stupid admiration, on which account it is so commonly observed to be the mother of Devotion and blind homage ; so whea' joined with Vanity (as it always is in bad Critics) it gives birth to every iniquity of impudent abuse and Nander. See an example (for want of a better) in a late worthless and now forgotten thing, called the Life of Socrates Where the bead of the Author (as a man of wit observed on reading the book) had just made a shift to do the office of a Camera obscura, to represent things in an inverted order : himself above, and Sprat, Rollin, Voltaire, and every other Author of reputation, below.

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