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A Purgatory, such as fear'd Hell is
NOT E s.
To be particular in them would require the invention of that great Writer, or, what would be fill more useful, the patience of his readers. I shall therefore confine myself to our own Island; where we have no need to fear a scarcity of slaughter. It is observed, by our politer neighbours, that we delight in blood; and have our killing Heroes of every species : no wonder then that our Schools hould be full of murders like our Stage. Who has not heard how Milton flew Salmafius? and how Charles the first, though a King, condefcended, with equal arms, to give the death's wound to Henderson? In our own times, Locke New Bishop Stillingfeet; and still later, Clarke, without a sufficient reason, dispatched the philosopher Leibnitz. The last, yet not the leat confiderable of these scenes of Naugher, was the fall of Pope under the conquering hand of Cibber : which truly, I regard in no other light than a decisive victory obtained by Profe over Poetry.
I just before took notice of one difference in this species of Murder from all others, that we have not observed it to be pursued either by divine or civil justice: There is yet another, which is, that these Murders walk the town, to use Milton's expression, without even the slender attendance of a G'oft. It is true, that this fingularity seems but the consequence of the other; for when neither divine nor civil justice will take notice of the crime, of what use is a Ghost? who has ever been understood as the harbinger to quicken the re. fentment of the one, and to denounce the coming vengeance of the other. In a word, all these unhappy victims of literary rage, for ought I could ever learn, may be truly said to have given up the choft, and to have slept very quietly with their Fathers.
To this perhaps it may be objected, That it is well known some of them have risen again ; and to the infinite vexation of their Murderers. This is not to be denied : but then it is as true, that these were not properly Ghosts
I've had my Purgatory here betimes,
5 And paid for all my fatires, all my
rhimes. The Poet's hell, its tortures, fiends, and flames, To this were trifles, toys and empty names.
NOT E s. but only what the French call, Revenans. To explain myself. Cardan, as unsubstantial and as difficult to be laid hold on as a School Subt.ly, had been so hacked and mangled by Julius Cæsar Scaliger, that he expired under his pen. Julius, in the preface to his next book, had the fingular humanity to wcep. over the ashes of his slaughtered enemy, and to curse the fatal stroke which had deprived the world of fo incomparable a man. But what was his surprise, when six years afterwards he heard all Italy resounding with the praises of their returning Hero; who, to prove himself alive, had just published a new piece of Philosophy. Not Banquo's Ghost,
“ With twenty mortal murders on his Crown," could more affray the bloody-minded Macbeth, than did this appearance of his Rival disorder our victorious Prince of Verona, so unexpectedly pushed again from his fool of Science.
Another instance was nearer home. The learned Bickerstaffe had pronounced the death of Partridge the Almanacmaker; who deceased accordingly: Bnt having been long well with the Stars, he was allowed, and accordingly took the advantage to come back with them, in their annual revolutions; though in no very good humour, as you may well suppose, with his murderer. But it was truly edifying to see with what temper that rare Schwlar bore the seeming impeachment of his art, under all the insults of an incensed Philoma'h, double dipt both in Styx and Lethe. He answered
none of his unpolite cavils ; but, with great meekness, en· deavoured to account philosophically for fo odd a phænome. non as the post existence of an Almanac-maker.
The use to be made of all that has been said is only this; to try at length to civilize Letters, and to cultivate Learning with humanity. Our ideas have lately undergone a great
My mind, neither with pride's itch, nor hath
go To Mafs in jest, catch'd, was fain to disburse Two hundred markes, which is the Statutes curse, Before he scap'd; so it pleas'd my destiny (Guilty of
my sin of going) to think me As prone to all ill, and of good as forgetfull, as proud, lustfull, and as much in debt, As vain, as witless, and as false, as they Which dwell in Court, for once going that way.
Therefore I suffer'd this; towards me did run A thing more strange, than on Nile's slime the Sun E’er bred, or all which into Noah's Ark came: A thing which would have pos’d Adam to name:
NOTE s. change. Why then should not our tempers ? Formerly every fancy was an article of faith ; and every defence bore the air of an Auto de Fé. At present all things are beheld with a philosophic eye. Heresies are now treated as blunders; and Blasphemies as mere barbarities of Speech. Our Genius like. wise concurs with our Tajie to soften the ferocity of Polemics, to banish the combats a outrance, and to fit us for that gentler kind of skirmish which courteous Knights-errant used to call FER EMOUCE'.
ARIST. Ver. 7. The Poet's hell,] He has here with great prudence corrected the licentious expresion of his Original.
VERSIFIED. 267 With foolish pride my heart was never fir'd, Nor the vain itch t'admire, or be admir'd; I hop'd for no commission from his Grace; I bought no benefice, I begg’d no place ; Had no new verses, nor new suit to fhow; Yet went to Court!-the Dev'l would have it fo. But, as the Fool that in reforming days
15 Would go to Mass in jest (as story says) Could not but think, to pay his fine was odd, Since 'twas no form’d design of serving God; So was I punish’d, as if full as proud As prone to ill, as negligent of good, As deep in debt, without a thought to pay, As vain, as idle, and as false, as they Who live at Court, for going once that way! Scarce was I enter'd, when, behold! there came A thing which Adam had been pos’d to name; 25 Noah had refus'd it lodging in his Ark, Where all the Race of Reptiles might embark:
NOT E s. VER. 10. Nor the vain itch t'admire, or be admir'd;] Courtiers have the same pride in admiring which Poets have in being atmired. For Vanity is as often gratified in paying our Court to our fuperiors, as in receiving it from our inferiors.
VER. 13. Had no new verses nor new suit to show ;] Insinuating that Court-poetry and Court-clothes only come thither in honour of the Sovercign; and only serve to supply a day's conversation,
Stranger than seven Antiquaries studies,
cry, Sir, by your Priesthood, tell me what you are? His cloathes were strange, tho' coarse, and
black, tho' bare. Sleeveless his jerkin was, and it had been Velvet, but 'twas now (so much ground was seen) Become Tufftaffaty; and our children shall See it plain rash a while, then nought at all.
The thing hath travail'd, and, faith, speaks
And only knoweth what to all States belongs,