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But, high above, more solid learning shone, The Classics of an age that heard of none; There Caxton slept, with Wynkyn at his side, One clasp'd in wood, and one in strong cow-hide;
Ver. 147. More solid learning] Some have objected that books of this sort suit not so well the Library of our Bays, which they imagined consisted of Novels, Plays, and obscene books; but they are to consider that he furnished his shelves only for ornament, and read these books no more than the dry bodies of Divinity, which, no doubt, were purchased by his father, when he designed him for the gown. See note on ver. 200.
Po Ver. 149. Caxton] A Printer in the time of Edw. IV. Rich. III. and Hen. VII. Wynkyn de Worde, his successor, in that of Hen. VII. and VIII. The former, whom Bayle intitles, Vir non omnino stupidus, translated into prose, Virgil's Æneis, as a history; of which he speaks in his Proeme, in a very singular manner, as of a book hardly known. “Happened that to my hande cam a lytyl book in frenche, whiche late was translated out of latyn by some noble clerke of fraunce, whiche booke is named Eneydos, (made in latyne by that noble poete & grete clerk Vyrgyle): whiche booke I sawe over and redde therein, How after the generall destruccyon of the grete Troy, Eneas departed berynge his old fader anchises upon his sholdres, his lytyl son yolas on his hande, his wyfe with moche other people followynge, and how he shipped and departed; wythe all thystorye of his adventures that he had er he came to the atchievement of his conquest of ytalye, as all alonge shall be shewed in this present booke. In whiche booke I had grete playsyr, by cause of the fayr and honest termes & wordes in frenche, whiche I never sawe to fore lyke, ne none so playsaunt ne so well ordred; whiche booke as me semed sholde be moch requysite to noble men to see, as wel
VARIATIONS. power, which brought upon him frequent correction. The Mare shalsea and Newgate were no strangers to him.” WINSTANLY.
Quarles was a dull writer, but an honester man. Blome's books are remarkable for their cuts.
There, sav'd by spice, like mummies, many a year,
Of these twelve volumes, twelve of amplest size,
for the eloquence as the historyes. How wel that many hondred yeryes passed was the sayd booke of Eneydos wyth other workes made and lerned dayly in scolis, especyally in ytalye and other places, which hystorye the sayd Vyrgyle made in metre.” Tibbald quotes a rare passage from him in Mist's Journal of March 16, 1728, concerning a straunge und meroyllouse beaste called Sagittarye, which he would have Shakespear to mean rather than Teucer, the archer celebrated by Homer.
P. An undeserved piece of ridicule, on an industrious man, whose labours introduced literature into this country. See what is said of him by one who was a real and rational lover of antiquity, in the History of English Poetry, vol. ii.
Warton, Ver. 152. Dry bodies of divinity] The impropriety of placing such sort of books in the library of Cibber, is not to be vindicated.
Warton.* Ver. 153. De Lyra there] A very voluminous Commentator, whose works, in five vast folios, were printed in 1472. P.
He was born in Normandy, of Jewish parents, educated under some learned Rabbis, and for many years devoted to Judaism. He afterwards was converted to Christianity, and became a Cordelier at Verneuil, 1291. He taught with great reputation at Paris, and was made executor to the will of King Philip's Queen. He died in an advanced age, 1340.
Warton. Ver. 154. Philemon Holland, Doctor in Physic. “He translated
* But see note on ver. 147.
Quartos, octavos, shape the less'ning pyre;
Then he: Great Tamer of all human art !
REMARKS. so many books, that a man would think he had done nothing else ; insomuch that he might be called Translator general of his age. The books alone of his turning into English are sufficient to make a Country Gentleman a complete Library._WINSTANLY. P.
Ver. 167. E'er since Sir Fopling's periwig] The first visible cause of the passion of the Town for our Hero, was a fair flaxen full-bottomed periwig, which, he tells us, he wore in his first play of the Fool in Fashion. It attracted, in a particular manner, the friendship of Col. Brett, who wanted to purchase it. “Whatever contempt (says he) philosophers may have for a fine periwig, my friend, who was not to despise the world, but to live in it, knew very well that so material an article of dress upon the head of a man of sense, if it became him, could never fail of drawing to him a more partial regard and benevolence, than could possibly be hoped for in an ill-made one. This, perhaps, may soften the grave censure, which so youthful a purchase might otherwise have
· Ver. 162. A twisted, &c.] In the former Edd. And last a little Ajax tips the Spire.
W. Var. a little Ajax] In duodecimo, translated from Sophocles by Tibbald.
. P. IMITATIONS. Ver. 166. With whom my Muse began, with whom shall end,]
“ A te principium, tibi desinet.-" Virg. Ecl. viii. “ 'Ex Aids ágzóueobe, xar sis Aba asyale, Mõoan.” Theoc. “ Prima dicte mihi, summa dicende Camæna.” Hor. P.
O thou! of bus’ness the directing soul!
REMARKS. laid upon him. In a word, he made his attack upon this periwig, as your young fellows generally do upon a lady of pleasure, first by a few familiar praises of her person, and then a civil inquiry into the price of it; and we finished our bargain that night over a bottle.” See Life, octavo, p. 303. This remarkable periwig usu. ally made its entrance upon the stage in a sedan, brought in by two chairmen, with infinite approbation of the audience. Pot Ver. 170. To this our head like bias to the bowl,
Which, as more pond'rous, made its aim more true,
Obliquely waddling to the mark in diew.] An improvement on Dryden's Mac-Flecknoe :
“ This is that boasted bias of the mind;
By which, one way, to Dulness 'tis inclin’d;
Ah! still o'er Britain stretch that peaceful wand,
Or quite unravel all the reas'ning thread,
REMARKS. Ver. 181. As forc'd from wind-guns, &c.] The thought of these four verses is found in a poem of our author's of a very early date (namely, written at fourteen years old, and soon after printed) to the author of a poem called Successio.
Here studious I unlucky moderns save,
W. These lines appear to be better than those in the present text.
Warton. Var. And crucify poor Shakespear once a week.] For some time, once a week or fortnight, he printed in Mist's Journal a single remark or poor conjecture on some word or pointing of Shakespear, either in his own name, or in letters to himself as from others, without name. Upon these somebody made this Epigram:
“ 'Tis gen'rous, Tibbald! in thee and thy brothers,
To help us thus to read the works of others :
P. Var. Notes to dull books, and prologues to dull plays ;] As to Cook's Hesiod, where sometimes a note, and sometimes even half a note are carefully owned by him: and to Moore's Comedy of the Rival Modes, and other authors of the same rank. These were people who writ about the year 1726.