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In ancient sense if any needs will deal,
book to the public, where we happen to find much mince-meat of good old authors.
P. W. All these three writers abound in useful and elegant remarks, and in facts, which, but for their collections, would have been lost and unknown; and therefore deserved not this ridicule, especially from a poet, who, as Dr. Jortin observes, knew very little of their works. Burman, Kuster, and Wasse, mentioned verse 237, were men of real and useful erudition.
Warton. Ver. 228. 231. I poach on Suidas for unlicens’d Greek
What Gellius or Stobæus hash'd before,] On which verses thus Pope and Warburton ; " The first a dictionary writer, of impertinent facts and barbarous words, &c."Now, if we should deduct from the compilation of Suidas all his chronological, historical, and biographical communications, which are very copious and important, as they consist of extracts from the best authors of antiquity; and should leave only his philological information with its concomitant examples; a mass of literature would remain, of much the same value as Johnson's dictionary, if a general wreck of English authors should be produced by casualty and time: but how inestimably valuable such a repository would then be, it is easy for any man to discover. Considering, therefore, this strange and ignorant decision of Warburton, what can possibly be conceived more unseasonable and out of place, than Toup's critical epistle, as addressed to this prelate?
Wakefield. Ver. 232. Or chew'd by blind old Scholiasts o'er and o'er.] These men taking the same things eternally from the mouth of one another,
Are things which Kuster, Burman, Wasse shall see, When man's whole frame is obvious to a Flea.
“Ah, think not, Mistress! more true dulness lies In Folly's cap, than Wisdom's grave disguise. 240 Like buoys that never sink into the flood, On Learning's surface we but lie and nod. Thine is the genuine head of many a house, And much divinity without a Nows.
Ver. 239, 240. " Ah, think not, Mistress ! &c.— In Folly's cap, &c.] By this it appears, that the Dunces and Fops mentioned ver. 139, 140, had a contention for the Goddess's favour on this great day. Those got the start ; but these make it up by their Spokesman in the next speech. It seems as if Aristarchus here first saw him advancing with his fair Pupil.
P. W. Ver. 241, 242. Like buoys, &c.-On Learning's surface, &c.] So that the station of a Professor is only a kind of legal Noticer to inform us where the shattered hulk of Learning lies sunk and foundered; which after so long unhappy navigation, and now without either Master or Patron, we may wish, with Horace, may lie there still.
Nonne vides, ut
non tibi sunt integra lintea;
Quamvis pontica pinus,
Sylvæ filia nobilis,
Jactes et genus, et nomen inutile. Hor. W. Ver. 243. Thine is the genuine] It has been suggested that Dr. Warburton inserted some lines of his own composition in this fourth book of the Dunciad, which the poet wrote at his earnest request; and these two verses, as containing some common cant words peculiar to the university, are mentioned as some of them; as also the following,
“ As erst Medea, cruel so to save,
A new edition of old Æson gave.” And the calling the members of the University of Oxford, “Apollo's May'r and Aldermen,
Nor could a BARRow work on ev'ry block, 245
REMARKS. is said to be one of Dr, Warburton's witticisms. For the truth of this assertion I cannot vouch.
Warton. Ver. 244. And much divinity without a Noüs.] A word much affected by the learned Aristarchus in common conversation, to signify genius or natural acumen. But this passage has a farther view: Nãs was the Platonic term for Mind, or the first cause; and that system of Divinity is here hinted at which terminates in blind Nature, without a Nõs: such as the Poet afterwards describes, speaking of the dream of one of these later Platonists,
Or that bright image to our fancy draw,
P. W. Ver. 245, 246. Barrow, Atterbury] Isaac Barrow, Master of Trinity; Francis Atterbury, Dean of Christ-church; both great geniuses and eloquent preachers; one more conversant in the sublime geometry; the other, in classical learning ; but who equally made it their care to advance the polite arts in their several societies.
P. W. No compositions can be more different than the sermons of these two eminent divines. If there be more eloquence and taste in the discourses of Atterbury, there is certainly more matter, more penetration, more knowledge of human nature, in those of Barrow.
Warton. Ver. 245. Nor could a Barrow work on co’ry block,] An allusion to the Latin proverb : “ Non ex quovis ligno fit Mercurius.”
Wakefield. Ver. 247. the heavy Canon] Canon here, if spoken of Artillery, is in the plural number; if of the Canons of the House, in the singular, and meant only of one : in which case I suspect the Pole to be a false reading, and that it should be the Poll, or Head of that Canon. It may be objected, that this is a mere Paranomasia or Pun. But what of that? Is any figure of speech more apposite to our gentle Goddess, or more frequently used by her and her Children, especially of the University? Doubtless it better suits
For thee we dim the eyes, and stuff the head
“ What tho' we let some better sort of fool 255 Thrid ev'ry science, run through ev'ry school ?
REMARKS. the character of Dulness, yea, of a Doctor, than that of an Angel ; yet Milton feared not to put a considerable quantity into the mouths of his. It hath indeed been observed, that they were the Devil's Angels, as if he did it to suggest that the Devil was the author as well of false wit, as of false religion, and that the father of lies was also the father of puns. But this is idle; it must be owned to be a Christian practice; used in the primitive times by some of the Fathers, and in the latter by most of the Sons of the Church; till the debauched reign of Charles the Second, when the shameful passion for wit overthrew every thing; and even then the best writers admitted it, provided it was obscene, under the name of the Double entendre. SCRIBLERUS. P. W.
Ver. 248. And metaphysic smokes, &c.] Here the learned Aristarchus ending the first member of his harangue in behalf of Words, and entering on the other half, which regards the teaching of Things, very artfully connects the two parts in an encomium on METAPHYSICS, a kind of Middle nature between words and things : communicating, in its obscurity, with Substance, and, in its emptiness, with Names. SCRIBL.
W. Ver. 255 to 271. “ What tho' we let some better sort of fool, &c.] Hitherto Aristarchus hath displayed the art of teaching his pupils words, without things. He shews greater skill in what follows, which is to teach things without profit. For with the better sort of fool the first expedient is, ver. 254 to 258, to run him so swiftly through the circle of the sciences that he shall stick at nothing, nor nothing stick with him; and though some little, both of words and things, should by chance be gathered up in his passage, yet he shews, ver. 259 to 261, that it is never more of the one than just to enable him to persecute with rhyme, or of the other
Never by tumbler through the hoops was shown
may indeed, (if sober all this time,
265 Show all his paces, not a step advance.
than to plague with dispute. But if, after all, the pupil will needs learn a science, it is then provided by his careful directors, ver. 261, 262, that it shall either be such as he can never enjoy when he comes out into life, or such as he will be obliged to divorce: And to make all sure, ver. 263 to 267, the useless or pernicious sciences, thus taught, are still applied perversely; the man of wit petrified in Euclid, or trammelled in metaphysics ; and the man of judgment married, without his parents' consent, to a Muse. Thus far the particular arts of modern education, used partially, and diversified according to the subject and the occasion. But there is one general method, with the encomium of which the great Aristarchus ends his speech, ver. 267 to 270, and that is AuthoRITY, the universal CEMENT, which fills the cracks and chasms of lifeless matter, shuts up all the pores of living substances, and brings all human minds to one dead level. For if Nature should chance to struggle through all the entanglements of the foregoing ingenious expedients to bind rebel wit, this claps upon her one sure and entire cover.
So that well may Aristarchus defy all human power to get the Man out again from under so impenetrable a
The poet alludes to this master-piece of the Schools in ver. 501, where he speaks of Vassals to a name.
P.P. Ver. 257. Never by tumbler] These two verses are verbatim from an epigram of Dr. Evans, of St. John's College, Oxford; given to my father twenty years before the Dunciad was written. The parenthesis, in ver. 259, (if sober all this time,) is a poor expletive.