Imagens das páginas

The hafiy spouse of Juno faw
With beard prelix, and familh'd jaw,
Dare to transmigrare, and become
A Bull, for that enormous fum,
Would not the jealous God appal
The wretch in some new shape, or call
The herald MERCURY at once,
To serve him like that PHRYGIAN dunce,
That jobber in the stocks of old
Whole touch turn'd every thing to gold?
And would not MERCURY himself
Look sharp, and tremble for his pell,
Soon as the Israelite he found
With solemn.pace go lowing round,
Contriving ev'ry base device
To raise the stocks, and mend their price,
Could hear how oft' the monster tries,
To furnish us with new allies,
With peace how often to regale us-
And victories can never fail us-
How ofta finking State he save!,
By friendly aid of winds and waves ?

Oh! treacherous Bull, from hell deriv'd,
Worse than e'er Phalaris contriv'd,
Tho', that for cursed gold can't find
Such methods to distress mankind,
And seed a nation's hopes in vain,

To fell thy bargain out again!'
In the same stile of painting are the Bear and the Lame
Duck. But, perhaps, the most exquisite picture in the whole
piece is the Birth of the Taxes.

• But turn, my gentle Muse, nor deign
To dwell with that unhallow d train;
Thy kindred bards demand thy song,
To them ihy grateful noies prolong,
Who quirting Bath's ador'd retreat,
Her fro.ic sports, and pastimes fweer,
And purer joys which verse inspires,
Suspend their soft harmonious lyres,
* To-day all hastening to attend
The groaning of their much-lov'd friend,
A Lad: whole exalted station
Demands their uimolt veneration,
And whose unmerited distress
Their piry and regret no less ;
For me, i mult acknowledge fairly,
I visit at her house but rarely,
She always has so large a crowd
Of well bred men, who talk so loud,

The twenty fifth day of November lall, at which time this poem was written,

Yet do I feel most truly for her,
And look


her case with horror,
'Tis now, as ihe herself has reckon'd,
Five months, and upwards, fince the quicken'd,
And every moment, as ’ris said,
Is waiting to be brought to bed ;
Poor soul! whai sorrow and vexation
She fuff'red through the whole geftation!
And now but very ill sustains
The thought of her approaching pains;
So many children she has had,
And most of them curn'd out so bad,
Have quarrell'd with her dearest neighbours,
And marrid her honest tenants labours,
Their darken'd dwellings fill’d with strife,
And grudg'd them every joy of life,
Kept such a prodigal retinue,
Their wages eat up her revenue,
And all at such a lhameful race
Encreas'd the debt on her estate,
The thoughts of adding to the number
Deprive her of her balmy Number;
The same MAX-MIDWIFE who, I hear,
Attended at her Couche last year,
Speaks like a sensible physician,
And shakes his head at her condition ;
A stubborn acrimonious humour,
Which daily haftens to consume her,
Corrupts her pancreatic juices,
And choler without end produces,
And when upon her brain ’ris pitch'd,
'Twill make her talk like one bewitch'd;
That when, in hopes some good to do her,
The Doctor puts a question to her,
And thinks, perhaps, that change of diet
Might help to keep her spirits quiet,
Or purgatives her heat afswage,
She'll fly into a dreadful rage,
And all the answer she'll beiłow
Is-Aye, Aye, Aye, or No, No, No.

Such symptoms make her friends begin
To think there's something wrong within,
That needs, muft rake before the summer
The use of all her members from her,
Which in a broken conftitution
Must soon bring on her diffolution.

Then say, Oh! say, ye learned leeches,
Whose fashionable doctrine teaches
That infants bear no mark nor sign
Of things for which their mothers pine,
And evils which am at the parent
Are never in the child inherent,


Say, from this lady so affected
What progeny can be expected ?
For me, (although 'uis rarely found
That poets are for truth renown'd)
I'll boldy venture to suppose
She'll bring with strong convulsive throws
Some ill-lap'd brat, of mien molt horrid,
With marks of blood upon it's forehead,
An odious imp, whose bleared light
Abhors the window's chearful light,
Will squint at every human soul
And long to sconce him on the poll ;
Will pine for ev'ry thing it fees,
E’en for a bit of dirt will teaze,
And rather than that bit refuse,
Will eat it from a ploughman's shoes ;
Long of his half-pence to unload
The meanest traveller on the road;
A horse, a carriage, or a servant
Will tear and Matter every nerve on't,
And fight of every little tit
Will give it a convulsion fit;

And when the nurse has cloath'd and fed it
With pap, the borrows on the credit
Of Doctor Loan, whose famous tickets
Kill kpawing worms, and cure the rickets,
And given it a charm she locks
Securely up in velvet box,
Which makes it neither purge nor vomit,
Nor cast the least corruption from it,
I truft she'll bring her baby forth,
And much commend its parts and worsh,
Will smile with joy and admiration,
And call the monster-SPECULATION.

Meanwhile some goffips that attend it Outrageous to the devil would send it, Will reprobate the odious creature, And militare 'gainst every feature, And when the nurse begins to cram it, Will one and all conspire to damn it: With might and main will crowd and clamber To get into the inward chamber, And should they gain admittance there, (For ought I'll venture to declare) Might take the baby in their arms, And hit upon some secret charms, Some latent Je ne sçai quoi, or grace Which hitherto they ne'er could trace, Might kiss the monster and caress it, And try in some new mode to dress it, And then declare it looks so smugly 'Twas strange they ever thought it ugly,

Might call it Pretty dear, and Honcy,
And o'er a gridir'n count its money ;
But though they chang'd its dress and name,
Its nature would remain the same,
Would still defy their best endeavour,
And squint as horribly as ever.

But nurse (as all have done before)
Will set ber foot against the door,
And spite of all the pains they take
To taste the caudle and the cake,
Will find no kind of inclination

To let them in, on-SPECULATION.' The same chastised pleasantry and eale, the same dry humour and classical elegance and allufion, which have in general diftinguilhed Mr. Anstey’s performances, are conspicuous in the present: and if, perhaps, it had been less diffufive and more attentively finished, it might have been no way inferior to the happiest production of his exquisite pen.


ART. XIII. Remarks on Johnson's Life of Milton,

To which are added, Milcon's Tractate on Educacion, Small 8vo.

2 s, 6 d. fewed. Dilly. 1780.

Prefatory Advertisement to this publication informs us,

that the following Remarks are a small part of a work lately given to the Public *, wherein occasion is incidentally taken to exhibit some instances of the manner in which Milion's character has bee treated by some of his former biographers and others. About the time that specimen was closed, Dr. Johnson's New Narrative was thrown in the way of the editors, and could not be overlooked without leaving some of the more candid and capable judges of Milton's prose-writings to suffer by the illiberal reflections of cer. tain (perhaps well-meaning) men, who may be led to think thac truth, judgment, and impartiality are small matters, when contrasted with what Dr. Johnson's admirers have thought fit to call, an inimitable elegance of stile and composition. Our countrymen are certainly interested, that wrong representations of the character of fo capital a writer as John Milion should be corrected, and properly censured ; and therefore as the work from which the following Remarks are extracted may fall into the hands of very few of the numerous readers of Dr. Johnson's Prefaces, we hope the public will approve of our republishing these strictures on the Doctor's account of Milton, in a form to which may be had an eafier and more general access.'

The acrimony with which Dr. Johnson has permitted himself to treat the character of Milton is well known. Those parts of his Narrative which seemed to be more particularly ob

Memoirs of Thomas Hollis, Esq; 2 vol. 4to, of which an account will speedily be given in this Review. 1


noxious were pointed out, so far at lealt as the nature of our work and the limits afligned to each individual article would admit of, in tlie Review for August 1779. The present Writer takes a larger field. He enters into a minute and ample vindication of the injured bard, not without recrimination on his learned historian. If, perhaps, he may be less acrimonious, his Remarks are not without a due portion of asperity: he has certainly given bis antagonist a Rowland for his Oliver.

He enters into the detail of Dr. Johnson's particular malevolence to Milton, from its first appearance to its consummation in the history of his life. It first appeared, as this Writer tells vs, in his connexion with Lauder, the mean calumniator of Milton's poctical fame. What share Dr. Johnson had in that dirty business, will at this dittance of time be perhaps difficult to discover. Charity, however, inclines us to hope that his share was not so great as this Remarker seems willing to attribute to him.

That part of Milton's conduct, on which Dr. Johnson lay's considerable stress, and which some of his warmest admirers have thought reprehensible, is his attachment to Cromwell. What is advanced on this subject by the present Writer seems to be a reasonable juftification of him.

" Milton's attachment to Cromwell has been imputed to him as a blot in his character long before it was taken up by Dr. Johnson ; who, to give him his due, has made the most of it in a small compass.

* Milion,” fay's he," having taited the honey of public employ

ment, would not return to hunger and philosophy ; but, continue “ing to exercise his office under a manifest ufurpation, betrayed to “ his power that liberty which he had defended.,

• It is hardly necessary to apprize a reader of Milton's prose-works that his ideas of ufurpation and public liberty were very different from those of Dr. Johnson. In the Doctor's system of government, public liberty is the free grace of an hereditary monarch, and limited in kind and degree by his gracious will and pleasure; and confequently to controul his arbitrary acts by the interposition of good and wholesome laws, is a manifeft ufurpation upon his prerogative. Milton allotted to the people a considerable and important Mare in political government, founded upon original fipulations for the rights and privileges of free subjects, and called the monarch who fould infringe or encroach upon these, however qualified by lineal fuccellion, a tyrant and an ulurper, and freely consigned him to the vergeance of an injured people. Upon Johnson's plan, there can be no such thing as public liberty. Upon Milton's, where the laws are duly executed, and the people protected in the peaceable and legal enjoyinent of their lives, properties, and municipal rights and privileges, there can be no such thing as usurpation, in whole hands Joever the executive power mould be lodged. From this doctrine Milion never fuerved ; and in that noble a postrophe to Cromwell, in his second Defense of the People of England, he spares not to

« AnteriorContinuar »