« PreviousContinue »
* out of the prince's own flaggon, insomuch (says: " the historian) that thro' so great good eating and “ drinking he contracted a most terrible gout." Sorry I am to relate what follows, but that I can : not leave my reader's curiosity unsatisfied in the ca. 1 tastrophe of this extraordinary man. To use my au. It thor's words, which are remarkable, mortuo Leone, profligatisque poetis, etc. “ When Leo died, and poets “ were no more.” (for I would not understand protigatis literally, as if poets then were profligate) this unhappy Laureate was forthwith reduced to return to his country, where, oppressed with Old age and want, he miserably perished in a common hospital.
We fee from this sad conclusion (which may be of example to the poets of our time) that it were happier to meet with no encouragement at all, to remain at the plough, or other lawful occupation, than to be elevated above their.condition, and taken out of the common means of life, without a farer lupport than the teniporary, or at best, mortal favours of the great. It was doubtless for this considera. tion, that when the Royal Bounty was lately extende ed to a rural genius, care was taken to settle it upon him for life. And it hath been the practice of our Princes, never to remove from the Itation of Poet Laureate any man who hath once been chosen, tho rever.fo much greater Genius's might arise in hi
Es time. A noble instance, how much the charity of and your monarchs hath exceeded their love of fame.
To come now to the intent of this paper. We buruz have here the whole ancient ceremonial of the LauEcco reate. In the first place the crown is to be mixed
Tout with vine- leaves, as the vine is the plant of Bacchus, e, che and full as essential to the honour, as the but of sack
to the salary Ency the Secondly, the braffica must be made use of as 'a repeat qualifier of the former. It feems the cabbage was ob reaksie antiently accounted a remedy for drunkenness; a power Hidro the French now ascribe to the onion, and style a soup 1023 made of it, soupe d'Ivrogne. I would recommend a
large mixture of the bralica, if Mr. Dennis becho. fica sen ; but if Mr. TIBBALD, it is not so necessary,
unless the cabbage be supposed to signify the same 3: 24 thing with respect to poets as to taylors, viz. stealing. content I thould judge is not amiss to add another plant to 2, this garland, to wit, ivy: Not only as it anciently 20:42 belonged to poets in general ; but as it is emblemathe tical of the three virtụes of a court poet in particuculo lar; it is creeping, dirty, and dangling. 17 In the next place, a canticle must be composed Erk and sung in laud and praise of the new poet. If Et Mr. Cibber be laureated, it is my opinion no man 10 can write this but himself: And no man, I am sure ok can fing it so affectingly. But what this cancicie
fhould be, either in his or the other candidate's cafe, I shall not pretend to determine.
Thirdly, there ought to be a public show, or entry of the poet: To settle the order or procession of which, Mr.Anstis and Mr. Dennis ought to have a conference. I apprehend here two difficulties; one, of procuring an elephant; the other of teaching the poet to ride him: Therefore I should imagine the next animal in fize or dignity would do best: either a mule or a large ass; particularly if that noble one could be had, whose portraiture makes fo great an ornament of the Dunciad, and which (unless I am misinformed) is, yet in the park of a nobleman near this city, :—Unless Mr. CIBBER be the man; who may, with great propriety and beauty, ride on a dracon, if he goes by land ; or if he choose the water, upon one of his own fwans from Cæsar in Egypt.
We have spoken sufficiently of the ceremony; let us now speak of the qualifications and privileges of the Laureate. First, we see he must be able to make verses extempore, and to pour forth innumerable, if jequired. In this I doubt Mr. TIBBALD, Secondly, he ought to fing, and intrepidly, patulo ore: Here I confess the excellency of Mr. Cibber. Thirdly, he ought to carry a lyre about with him : If a large one be thought too cumbersome, a small one may be contrived to hang about the neck, like an order ; and be very much a grace to the person. Fourthly, he ought to have a good stomach, to eat and drink whatever his betters think fit; and therefore it is in this high office as in many others, no puny constitution can discharge it. I do not think Cibber or TibBALD here so happy: but rather a stanch, vigorous, season'd, and dry old gentleman, whom I have in my
I could also wish at this juncture, such a person as He is truly jealous of the honcur and dignity of poetry 5
no joker, or trifler; but a bard in good earnest ; nay, not amiss if a critic, and the better if a little objica nåte. For when we consider what great privileges have been lot from this office (as we see from the forecited authentick record of Jovius) namely those of feeding from the prince's table, drinking out of his own flaggor, becoming even his domestick and compo. nion ; it requires a man warm and resolute, to be able to claim and obtain the restoring of these high honours. I have cause to fear, most of the candidates would be liable, either through the influence of ministers, or for rewards or favours, to give up
the glorious rights of the Laureate : Yet I am not : He without hopes, there is one, from whom a serious and brus steady assertion of these privileges may be expected ;
and, if there be such a one, I must do him the juftiče to say, it is Mr. Dennis the worthy president of our society.
March 16, 1713..
THOUGH most things which are wrong in
I their own nature are at once confessed and absolved in that single word, the Custom ; yet there are some, which as they have a dangerous tendency, a thinking man will the less excuse on that very ac, count. Among these I cannot but reckon the common practice of Dedications which is of so much the worse consequence as 'tis generally used by people of politeness, and whom a learned education for the most part ought to have inspired with nobler and jufter sentiments. This prostitution of Praise is not only a deceit upon the gross of mankind, who take their notion of characters from the Learned; but also the better fort must by this means lose some part at, least of that defire of Fame which is the incentive to generous actions, when they find it promiscuously testowed on the meritorious and undeserving. Nay, the author himself, let him be supposed to have ever, so true a value for the patron, can find no terms to express it, but what have been already used, and