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BOOK THE FOURTH.
The Poet being, in this Book, to declare the completion of the pro
phecies mentioned at the end of the former, makes a new Invocation; as the greater Poets are wont, when some high and worthy matter is to be sung. He shows the Goddess coming in her Majesty, to destroy Order and Science, and to substitute the Kingdom of the Dull upon earth. How she leads captive the Sciences, and silenceth the Muses; and what they be who succeed in their stead. All her Children, by a wonderful attraction, are drawn about her, and bear along with them divers others, who promote her Empire by connivance, weak resistance, or discouragement of Arts, such as Half-wits, tasteless Admirers, vain Pretenders, the Flatterers of Dunces, or the Patrons of them. All these crowd around her; one of them offering to approach her, is driven back by a Rival, but she commends and encourages
both. The first who speak in form are the Geniuses of the Schools, who assure her of their care to advance her Cause by confining Youth to Words, and keeping thenu out of the way of real Knowledge. Their Address, and her gracious Answer; with her Charge to them and the Universities. The Universities appear by their proper Deputies, and assure her that the same method is observed in the progress of Education. The speech of Aristarchus on this subject. They are driven off by a bund of young Gentlemen returned from Travel with their Tutors; one of whom delivers to the Goddess, in u polite oration, an account of the whole conduct and fruits of their Travels; presenting to her at the same time a young Nobleman perfectly accomplished. She receives him graciously, and endues him with the happy quality of Want of Shame. She sees loitering about her a number of indolent persons abandoning all business and duty, and dying with laziness. To these, approaches the Antiquary Annius, intreating her to make them Virtuosos, and assign them over to him ; but Mummius, another Antiquary, complaining of his
fraudulent proceeding, she finds a method to reconcile their difference. Then enter a troop of people fantastically adorned, offering her strange and exotic presents. Amongst them, one stands forth and demands justice on another, who had deprived him of one of the greatest Curiosities in nature ; but he justifies himself so well, that the Goddess gives them both her approbation. She recommends to them to find proper employment for the Indolents before-mentioned, in the study of Butterflies, Shells, Birds-nests, Moss, &c. but with particular caution, not to proceed beyond Trifles, to any useful or extensive views of Nature, or of the Author of Nature. Against the last of these apprehensions, she is secured by a hearty Address from the Minute Philosophers and Freethinkers, one of whom speaks in the name of the rest. The Youth, thus instructed and principled, are delivered to her in a body by the hands of Silenus; and then admitted to taste the cup of the Magus her High Priest, which causes a total oblivion of all 0bligations, divine, civil, moral, or rational. To these her Adepts, she sends Priests, Attendants, and Comforters, of various kinds ; confers on them Orders and Degrees; and then dismissing them with a speech, confirming to each his Privileges, and telling what she expects from each, concludes with a Yawn of extraordinary virtue ; the progress and effects whereof on all orders of men, and the consummation of all, in the restoration of Night and Chaos, conclude the Poem.
Yet, yet a moment, one dim ray of light
The Dunciad, Book IV.] This Book may properly be distinguished from the former, by the name of the GREATER DunCIAD, not so indeed in size, but in subject; and so far, contrary to the distinction anciently made of the Greater and Lesser Iliad. But much are they mistaken who imagine this work to be in any wise inferior to the former, or of any other hand than of our poet; of which I am much more certain than that the Iliad itself was the work of Solomon, or the Batrachomyomachia of Homer, as Barnes hath affirmed. Bentley.
P.P Ver. 1. &c.] This is an invocation of much piety. The poet, willing to approve himself a genuine Son, beginneth by shewing (what is ever agreeable to Dulness) his high respect for antiquity 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. SCRIBLERUS.
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. 3. Of darkness visible so much be lent,
As half to shew, half veil the deep intent.] This is modelled from Par. Lost, i. 63. as every reader of English poetry will immediately recollect :
“ No light, but rather darkness visible,
Serv'd only to discover sights of woe.” Wakefield. Ver. 4. half to shew, half veil the deep intent.] This is a great