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DUNC I A D.
ARGUMENT TO BOOK THE SECOND.
THE King being proclaimed, the solemnity is graced with
public games and sports of various kinds; not instituted by the Hero, as by Æneas in Virgil, but for greater honour by the Goddess in person (in like manner as the games Pythia, Isthmia, &c. were anciently said to be by the Gods, and as Thetis herself appearing, according to Homer Odyss. 24, proposed the prizes in honour of her son Achilles). Hither flock the Poets and Critics, attended, as is but just, with their Patrons and Booksellers. The Goddess is first pleased for her disport to propose games to the Booksellers, and setteth up the phantom of a Poet, which they contend to overtake. The Races described, with their divers accidents: next, the Game for a Poetess: then follow the exercises for the Poets, of tickling, vociferating, diving : the first holds forth the arts and practices of Dedicators, the second of Disputants and fustian Poets, the third of profound, dark, and dirty Authors. Lastly, for the Critics, the Goddess proposes (with great propriety) an exercise not of their parts, but their patience; in hearing the works of two voluminous
authors, one in verse and the other in prose, deliberately read, without sleeping: the various effects of which, with the several degrees and manners of their operation, are here set forth: till the whole number, not of critics only, but of spectators, actors, and all present, fall fast asleep, which naturally and necessarily ends the games.
ut of which
High on a gorgeous seat, that far out-shone
direct their rays
To grace this honour'd day, the Queen proclaims
Amid that Area wide she took her stand,
25 A church collects the saints of Drury-lane.
With authors, Stationers obey'd the call,
30 A Poet's form she plac'd before their eyes, And bade the nimblest racer seize the prize; No meagre, muse-rid
adust and thin, In a dun night-gown of his own loose skin, But such a bulk as no twelve bards could raise, 35 Twelve starveling bards of these degen’rate days. All as a partridge plump, full-fed, and fair, She form'd this image of well-bodied air, With pert flat eyes she window'd well its head, A brain of feathers, and a heart of lead,
40 And empty words she gave, and sounding strain, But senseless, lifeless! idol void and vain ! Never was dash'd out, at one lucky hit, A fool, so just a copy of a wit; So like, that critics said, and courtiers swore, 45 A Wit it was, and call’d the phantom More. All gaze
with ardour: some, a poet's name, Others, a sword-knot and lac'd suit inflame. But lofty Lintot in the circle rose; “ This prize is mine; who tempt it, are my foes : With me began this genius, and shall end.” 51 He spoke, and who with Lintot shall contend !
Fear held them mute. Alone untaught to fear Stood dauntless Curl, “ Behold that rival here ! The race by vigour, not by vaunts, is won; 55 So take the hindmost, Hell-He said, and run. Swift as a bard the bailiff leaves behind, He left huge Lintot, and outstripp'd the wind.
As when a dab-chick waddles thro’ the copse,
Hear Jove! whose name my bards and I adore,
A place there is, betwixt earth, air, and seas,
In office here fair Cloacina stands,