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lump of salt: every verse hath something in it that piques; and then the dart in the last line is certainly as pretty a sting in the tail of an epigram (for so I think your crities call it) as ever entered into the thought of a poet.' 'Dear Mr. Bickerstaffe, (says he) shaking me by the hand, every body knows you to be a judge of these things; and to tell you truly, I read over Roscommon's translation of Horace's Art of Poetry three several times, before I sat down to write the sonnet which I have shown you. But you shall hear it again, and pray observe every line of it, for not one of them shall pass without your approbation.
• When dress'd in laurel wreaths you shine.' That is, (says he) when you have your garland on; when you are writing verses.? To which I replied, 'I know your meaning a metaphor!' The same, 'ssaid he, and went on :
* And tune your soft melodious notes.'
* Pray observe the gliding of that verse; there is scarce a consonant in it: I took care to make it run upon liquids. Give me your opinion of it.” “Truly, (said I) I think it is as good as the former.' 'I am very glad to hear you say so, (says he :) but mind the next:'
You seem a sister of the Nine.'
• That is, (says he) you seem a sister of the Muses ; for if you look into ancient authors, you will find it was their opinion, that there were nine of them.' 'I remember it very well, (said I:) but pray proceed.'
'Or Phoebus' self in petticoats.'
Phæbus (says he) was the god of poetry. These little instances, Mr. Bickerstaffe, show a gentleman's reading. Then to take off from the air of learning, which Phæbus and the Muses have given to this first stanza, you may observe, how it falls all of a sudden into the familiar; in petticoats !
Or Phoebus' self in petticoats.'
Let us now, (says I) enter upon the second stanza. I find the first line is still a continuation of the metaphor.
'I fancy when your song you sing.' It is very right, (says he ;) but pray observe the turn of words in those two lines. I was a whole hour in adjusting of them, and have still a doubt upon me, whether in the second line it should be, 'Your song you sing;' or, You sing your song.' You shall hear them both;'
'I fancy when your song you sing,
(You sing your song with so much art.)' Truly, (said I) the turn is so natural either way, that you have made me almost giddy with it.' 'Dear sir, (said he, grasping me by the hand,) you have a great deal of patience; but
think of the next verse ?'
pray what do
*Your pen was pluck'd from Cupid's wing.'
Think! (says I ;) I think you have made Cupid look like a little goose.' "That was my meaning, (says he) I think the ridicule is well enough hit off. But we now come to the last, which sums up the whole matter.'
For ah! it wounds me like his dart.'
'Pray how do you like that ah? doth it not make a pretty figure in that place ? Ah! it looks as if I felt the dart, and cried out at being pricked with it.'
'For ah! it wounds me like his dart.'
My friend Dick Easy (continued he) assured me, he would rather have written that ah! than to have been the author of the Æneid. He indeed objected, that I made Mira's
pen quill in one of the lines, and like a dart in the other. But as to that-Oh! as to that, (says I) it is but supposing Cupid to be like a porcupine, and his quills and darts will be the same thing. He was going to embrace me for the hint; but half a dozen critics coming into the room, whose faces he did not like, he conveyed the sonnet into his pocket, and whispered me in the ear, he would show it me again as soon as his man had written it over fair.b
No. 165. SATURDAY, APRIL 29, 1710.
From my own Apartment, April 28. It has always been my endeavour to distinguish between realities and appearances, and to separate true merit from the pretence to it. As it shall ever be my study to make discoreries of this nature in human life, and to settle the proper
distinctions between the virtues and perfections of mankind, and those false colours and resemblances of them that shine alike in the eyes of the vulgar; so I shall be more particularly careful to search into the various merits and pretences of the learned world. This is the more neces
cessary, because there seems to be a general combi. nation among the pedants to extol one another's labours, and cry
* To should be left out.
• The humour of this paper is fine; but not original. Ned Softly is a slip of Bays, in the rehearsal:
Parva sub ingenti matris so subjicit umbr3." (and both probably of the sonueteering Marquis in the Misanthrope.-G.)
up one another's parts; while men of sense, either through that modesty which is natural to them, or the scorn they have for such trifling commendations, enjoy their stock of knowledge like a hidden treasure with satisfaction and silence. Pedantry, indeed, in learning, is like hypocrisy in religion, a form of knowledge without the power of it, that attracts the eyes of the common people, breaks out in noise and show, and finds its reward, not from any inward pleasure that attends it, but from the praises and approbations which it receives from men.
Of this shallow species there is not a more importunate, empty, and conceited animal, than that which is generally known by the name of a critic. This, in the common acceptation of the word, is one that, without entering into the sense and soul of an author, has a few general rules, which, like mechanical instruments, he applies to the works of every writer, and as they quadrate with them, pronounces the author perfect or defective. He is master of a certain set of words, as Unity, Style, Fire, Phlegm, Easy, Natural, Turn, Sentiment, and the like; which he varies, compounds, divides, and throws together, in every part of his discourse, without any thought or meaning. The marks you may know him by are, an elevated eye, and dogmatical brow, a positive voice, and a contempt for every thing that comes out, whether he has read it or not. He dwells altogether in generals. He praises or dispraises in the lump. He shakes his head very frequently at the pedantry of universities, and bursts into laughter when you mention an author that is known at Will's.” He hath formed his judgment upon Homer, Horace, and Virgil, not from their own works, but from those of Rapin and Bossu. He
• Finds its reward from. He should have said "in,” the proper preposi. tion, after “find : " what determined his choice of " from " was the jingle of—" in any inward”—But the sentence might have been turned differently.
60. F. That is not known at Will's.-N.
knows his own strength so well, that he never dares praise any thing in which he has not a French author for his voucher.
With these extraordinary talents and accomplishments, Sir Timothy Tittle' puts men in vogue, or condemns them to obscurity, and sits as judge of life and death upon every author that appears in public. It is impossible to represent the pangs, agonies, and convulsions, which Sir Timothy expresses in every feature of his face, and muscle of his body, upon the reading of a
About a week ago I was engaged at a friend's house of mine in an agreeable conversation with his wife and daughters, when in the height of our mirth, Sir Timothy, who makes love to my friend's eldest daughter, came in amongst us puffing and blowing as if he had been very much out of breath. He immediately called for a chair, and desired leave to sit down, without any further ceremony. I asked him, 'Where he had been ? Whether he was out of order?' He only replied, that he was quite spent, and fell a cursing in soliloquy. I could hear him cry, 'A wicked rogue !- An execrable wretch !—Was there ever such a monster !'—The young ladies upon this began to be affrighted, and asked, “Whether any one had hurt him ?' He answered nothing but still talked to himself. "To lay the first scene (says he) in St. James's Park, and the last in Northamptonshire!'
Is that all! (says I ;) Then I suppose you have been at the rehearsal of a play this morning.' 'Been ! (says he;) I have been at Northampton, in the Park, in a lady's bed-chamber, in a diningroom, every where; the rogue has led me such a dance !Though I could scarce forbear laughing at his discourse, I told him I was glad it was no worse, and that he was only metaphorically weary. 'In short, sir, (says he) the author has not observed a single unity in his whole play: the scene shifts in every
· Henry Cromwell.–V. Nichols.-G.