Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

never

To rest, the Cushion and soft Dean invite,
Who never mentions Hell to ears polite.

15 But hark! the chiming Clocks to dinner call; A hundred footsteps scrape the marble Hall: The rich Buffet well-colour’d Serpents grace, And gaping Tritons spew to wash your face.

NOTE s. the genius of whose school was to debate de quolibet ente, and

come to a determination. Without the Circle, and behind the principal figures, are a number of young faces to denote the scholars and disciples of the several' fects. These are all before the apostle. Behind him are two other Figures : One regarding the Apostle's action, with his face turned upwards; in which the passions of malicious zeal and disappointed rage are so strongly marked that we needed not the red bonnet to see he was a Jewish Rabbi. The other is a pagan priest full of anxiety for the danger of the established Religion.

Thus has this great Master, in order to heighten the dignity of his subject, brought in the heads of every sect of philosophy and religion which were most averse to the principles, and most opposed to the success of the Gospel; so that one may truly esteem this carton as the greatest effort of his divine genius.

Ibid. Verrio or Laguerre.] Verrio (Antonio) painted many cielings, &c. at Windsor, Hampton-Court, &c. and Laguerre at Blenheim-castle, and other places. P.

VER. 150. IV ho never mentions Hell 10 cars polite.] This is a fact; a reverend Dean preaching at Court, threatned the finner with punilhment in “ a place which he thought it not " decent to name in so polite an assembly." P.

VER. 153. Taxes the incongruity of Ornaments (tho' sometimes practised by the ancients) where an open mouth ejects the water into a fountain, or where the shocking images of serpents, &c. are introduced in Grotto's or Buffets. P.

VER. 153. The rich Buffet well colour'd Serpents grace,] The circumstances of being well-colour'd shews this ornament

Is this a dinner? this a Genial room? 155 No, 'tis a Temple, and a Hecatomb.

le mysterongst the the most and would oweve

NOTES not only to be very absurd, but very odious too; and has a peculiar beauty, as, in one instance of falfe Taste, viz. an injudicious choice in imitation, he gives in the epithet employ'd) the suggestion of another, which is an injudicious manner of it. For those disagreeable objects which, when painted, give pleasure ; if coloured after nature, in relief, become shocking, as a toad, or dead carcase in wax-work : yet these things are the delight of all people of bad Taste. However, the Ornament itself pretends to science, and would justify its use by antiquity, tho' it betrays the most miserable ignorance of it. The Serpent amongst the ancients, was sacred, and full of venerable mysteries. Now things do not excite ideas so much according to their own natural impressions, as by fictitious ones, arising from foreign and accidental combinations; consequently the view of this animal raised in them nothing of that abhorrence which it is wont to do in us; but, on the contrary, very agreeable sensations, correspondent to those foreign associations. Hence, and more especially, because the Serpent was the peculiar Symbol of health, it became an extreme proper ornament to the genial rooms of the ancients. In the mean time, we who are strangers to all this fuperftition, yet make ourselves liable to one much more abfurd, which is, idolizing the very fashions that arose from it. But if these pretenders to Taste can so widely mistake, it is no wonder that those who pretend to none, I mean the verbal Critics, should a little hallucinate in this matter. I remember, when the short Latin inscription on Shakespear's monument was first set up, and in the very style of elegant and simple antiquity, the News-papers were full of these small critics; in which the only observation that looked like learning, was founded in this ignorance of Taste and Antiquity. One of these Critics obječted to the word Mors (in the inscription) because the Roman writers of the purest times scrupled to employ it ; but, in its stead, used an improper, that is, a figurative word, or otherwise a circumlocution. But had he considered that it was their Superstition of lucky and unlucky words which occasion'd this delicacy, he must have seen that a

A folemn Sacrifice, perform'd in state,
You drink by measure, and to minutes eat.
So quick retires each dying course, you'd swear
Sancho's dread Doctor and his Wand were there.
Between each Act the trembling falvers ring, 161
From soup to sweet-wine, and God bless the King.
In plenty starving, tantaliz’d in state,
And complaisantly help'd to all I hate,
Treated, caress’d, and tir’d, I take my leave, 165
Sick of his civil Pride from Morn to Eve;
I curse such lavish cost, and little skill,
And swear no Day was 'ever paft so ill.

Yet hence the Poor are cloath'd, the Hungry fed;
Health to himself, and to his Infants bread 170

Notes.
Christian writer, in a Christian inscription, acted with great
judgment in avoiding so senseless an affectation of, what he
miscalls, classical expression.

VER. 155. Is this a dinner, &c.] The proud Festivals of
some men are here set forth to ridicule, where pride destroys
the ease, and formal regularity all the pleasurable enjoyment
of the entertainment. P.

VER. 156. - a Hecatomb.] Alluding to the hundred footsteps
before.

Ver. 160. Sancho's dread Doctor] See Don Quixote, chap.
xlvii. P.

Ver. 169. Yet hence the Poor, &c.] The Moral of the
whole, where Providence is justified in giving Wealth to
those who squander it in this manner. A bad Taste employs
more hands, and diffuses Expence more than a good one.
This recurs to what is laid down in Book I. Ep. ii. x 230---7,
and in the Epistle preceding this, 4161, &c. P.

Vol. III.

[ocr errors]

The Lab'rer bears : What his hard Heart denies, His charitable Vanity supplies.

Another age shall see the golden Ear · Imbrown the Slope, and nod on the Parterre, Deep Harvests bury all his pride has plannd, 175 And laughing Ceres re-assume the land."

COMMENTARY. VER. 173. Another age, &c.] But now a dificulty sticks with me, (answers an objector) this load of evil ftill remains a monument of folly to future ages ; an incumbrance to the plain on which it stands; and a nuisance to the neighbourhood round about, filling it

a with imitating fools. For men are apt to take the example next at hand; and aptest of all to take a bad one. No fear of that, replies the poet, (from * 172 to 177.) Nothing absurd or wrong is exempt from the jurisdiction of Time, which is always sure to do full justice on it;

Another age shall see the golden Ear
Imbrown the Slope, and nod on the Parterre,
Deep Harvests bury all his pride has plann’d,

And laughing Ceres re-assume the land,
For the prerogative of

Time shall make it grow, is only due to the designs of true Taple joined to Uje: And

'Tis Use aione that fanctifies Expence; and nothing but the sanctity of that can arrest the justice of Time. And thus the second part concludes; which consist

NOTE S. VER. 173. Another age, &c.] Had the poet lived but three years longer, he had seen his general prophecy against all illjudged magnificence fulfilled in a particular instance.

VER. 176. And laughing Ceres re-assume the land.] The great beauty of this line is an instance of the art peculiar to our poct; by which he has so disposed a trite claffical figure,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Who then shall grace, or who improve the Soil? Who plants like Bathurst, or who builds like

Boyle.
"Tis Use alone that fanctifies Expence,
And splendor borrows all her rays from Sense. 180

His Father's Acres who enjoys in peace,
Or makes his Neighbours glad, if he encrease:

COMMENTARY.
ing of an example of false Taste in every attempt to Magnifi-
cence, is full of concealed precepts for the irue : As the first
part, which contains precepts for true Taste, is full of exam-
ples of the falfe.

III. VER. 177. Who then mall grace, &c.] We come now to the third and last part, (from x 176 to the end) and, as in the first, the poet had given examples of wrong judged Magnificence, in things of Taste without Sense; and, in the second, an example of others without either Sense or Taste; so the third is employed in two examples of Magnificence in Planting and Building; where both Sense and Taste highly prevail: The one in him, to whom this Epistle is addresled; and the other, in the truly noble person whose amiable Character bore so con{picuous a part in the foregoing.

Who then shall grace, or who improve the Soil ?

Who plants like BATHURST, or who builds like Boyle. Where, in the fine description he gives of these two species of Mugnificence, he artfully insinuates, that tho', when executed in

NOT E S. as not only to make it do its vulgar office, of representing a very plentiful harvest, but also to allume the Image of Nature, re-establishing herself in her rights, and mocking the vain efforts of falle magnificence, which would keep her out of them.

VER. 179, 180. 'Tis Use alone that sanctifies Expence, And Splendor Lorrows all her rais from Senfe.] Here the poet, to

[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »