« AnteriorContinuar »
DESIGNED FOR MR. D’URFEY'S LAST PLAY.
(From Pope and Swift's Miscellanies.) [Poor Tom D'URFEY, who stood the force of so much wit, was a playwright and song-writer. He appears to have been an inoffensive, goodhumoured, thoughtless character, and was endured and laughed at by Dryden, and by Steele, who recommended his benefit nights to the attention of the public, through the medium of the Tatler and Guardian, and at length by Pope, who in a spirit betwixt contempt and charity, wrote a prologue for his last play.)—Sir Walter Scott. GROWN old in rhyme, 'twere barbarous to discard Your persevering, unexhausted bard; Damnation follows death in other men, But your damn’d poet lives and writes again. The adventurous lover is successful still, Who strives to please the fair against her will : Be kind, and make him in his wishes easy, Who in your own despite has strove to please ye. He scorn'd to borrow from the wits of yore, But ever writ, as none e'er writ before. You modern wits, should each man bring his claim, Have desperate debentures on your fame; And little would be left you, I'm afraid, If all your debts to Greece and Rome were paid. From this deep fund our author largely draws, Nor sinks his credit lower than it was. Though plays for honour in old time he made, 'Tis now for better reasons—to be paid. Believe him, he has known the world too long, And seen the death of much immortal song. He says, poor poets lost, while players won, As pimps grow rich while gallants are undone. Though Tom the poet writ with ease and pleasure, The comic Tom abounds in other treasure. Fame is at best an unperforming cheat ; But 'tis substantial happiness, to EAT.
Let ease, his last request, be of your giving,
THREE HOURS AFTER MARRIAGE.”.
(This was the celebrated farce tripartite, in which Pope, Gay, and Arbuthnot engaged, in order to ridicule Dr. Woodward, and which was most meritoriously damned at the first representation. See Cibber's Letter to Pope.]-Sir Walter Scott. AUTHORS are judged by strange capricious rules; The great ones are thought mad, the small ones fools : Yet sure the best are most severely fated; For fools are only laugh'd at, wits are hated. Blockheads with reason men of sense abhor; But fool ’gainst fool, is barbarous civil war. Why on all authors then should critics fall ? Since some have writ, and shown no wit at all. Condemn a play of theirs, and they evade it; Cry, “Damn not us, but damn the French, who made
it.” By running goods these graceless owlers gain; Theirs are the rules of France, the plots of Spain : But wit, like wine, from happier climates brought, Dash'd by these rogues, turns English common
How shall our author hope a gentler fate,
spare old England, lest you hurt a friend.
Poets make characters, as salesmen clothes ;
Gallants, look here! this fool's cap' has an air,
OR, A PROPER NEW BALLAD ON THE NEW OVID'S
AS IT WAS INTENDED TO BE TRANSLATED BY PERSONS OF QUALITY.
[Sir Samuel Garth, who published the Metamorphoses of Ovid, translated by “ Dryden, Addison, Garth, Mainwaring, Congreve, Rowe, Pope, Gay, Eusden, Croxal, and other eminent hands," had himself no other share in the undertaking, than engaging the various translators in their task, and putting their labours into some order. The work was intended to supersede the ancient translation.
George Sandys, the old translator, (whose ghost is introduced in the verses,) was a man of great accomplishment, and pronounced by Dryden to be the best versifier of his age.' The curious reader will find many particulars respecting him, and his translation of Ovid, in the Censura Literaria, volumes 4th, 5th, and 6th. He died in 1643.]—Sir Walter Scott.
Ye Lords and Commons, men of wit
And pleasure about town,
Of books of high renown.
1 Shows a cap with cars.
Flings down the cap, and exit.
Beware of Latin authors all,
Nor think your verses sterling, Though with a golden pen you scrawl,
And scribble in a Berlin:
For not the desk with silver nails,
Nor bureau of expense,
To writing of good sense.
With saucer eyes of fire,
A wit and courtly 'squire.
Rare imp of Phoebus, hopeful youth!
Like puppy tame, that uses To fetch and carry in his mouth
The works of all the Muses.
Ah! why did he write poetry,
That hereto was so civil;
To rhyming and the devil ?
With glittering studs about;
Though Ovid lay without. Now, as he scratch'd to fetch up thought,
Forth popp'd the sprite so thin,
All upright as a pin.
And ruff composed most duly,
pen While as the light burnt bluely.
Ho! master Sam, quoth Sandys' sprite,
Write on, nor let me scare ye; Forsooth, if rhymes fall not in right,
To Budgel seek or Carey.
I hear the beat of Jacob's' drums,
Poor Ovid finds no quarter! See first the merry
P-? comes In haste without bis garter.
Then lords and lordlings, 'squires and knights,
Wits, witlings, prigs, and peers : Garth at St. James's, and at White's,
Beats up for volunteers.
What Fenton will not do, nor Gay,
Nor Congreve, Rowe, nor Stanyan, Tom Burnet, or Tom D'Urfey may,
John Dunton, Steele, or any one.
If justice Philips' costive head
Some frigid rhymes disburses: They shall like Persian tales be read,
And glad both babes and nurses.
Let Warwick's Muse with Ash-t join,
And Ozel's with Lord Hervey's, Tickel and Addison combine,
And Pope translate with Jervas.
L- himself, that lively lord,
Who bows to every lady,
And be like Tate and Brady.
| Old Jacob Tonson, the editor of the Metamorphoses. 2 Pembroke, probably.