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Now will I hence again retrace my path,
Nor seek Religion's foes to fire my wrath.
Foes of another kind are mine to choose,
The foes of Sense, and outcasts of the Muse.
Appear, “ dread Anarch !” then, in ev'ry form 485
Thy self-created essence loves to warm:
Not more my theme, when, with thy spirit full,
Nods the momentum of a Witling's scull,
Than, when, with murd'rous hand and torpid pow'rs,
The Commentator o'er his victim low'rs.
Hold! whence arose this commentating rage* ?
This fell consumer of the letter'd page,

490

NOTES.

pure and excellent religion of my ever blessed Redeemer, through whose merits alone, I, one of the greatest of sinners, do yet hope for mercy and forgiveness."

* Among the literary excesses of the present day, there are none that have been carried to a greater excess than the rage of commentating and editing. The black-letter of antiquity from the libraries of the great and of the learned, the play-wrights of

Which, after bleeding Shakspeare* nearly dead,
On Jonson, Beaumont, Massinger hath fed,
Then prompted Weber, in one single word, 495
To prove his ignorance of sense and Ford;

NOTES.

a later period, and the deceased Poets of our own day, have all had their separate editors and commentators.

It has now, I think, reached its nadir point; unless Mr. Weber, to his edition of the Arabian Nights in 5 vols. price 3). 18s., and of Popular Tales, including Sinbad the Sailor, &c. &c., should add a selection for infants, (worthy his genius) and collect and comment upon Mother Hubbard and Robin Hood, &c. &c.

* The last“ variorum” edition of Shakspeare exhibits his works as a beautiful ornament, defaced and patched by the attempts of those who would improve them. Jonson and Massinger have fallen into better hands; and Mr. Gifford's Massinger will be held up by future ages as a model to commentators. He has elicited the obscure passages of his author, and rejected the errors and absurdities of Coxeter and Monck Mason : in fact, he has performed for Massinger what some future editor must perform for Ford.

And show himself (what none but he will think)
Of commentating Editors — “ The Pink * !"

NOTES.

* The unfortunate and palpable mistake here alluded to, is but one of an iminense number that pervade the pages of Weber's Ford :" The fellow 's a shrewd fellow at a pink.

The Lady's Trial, Act 3. Scene 1.

Mr.Weber's note.—"Pink. It is difficult to guess at the precise meaning of this expression. Pink is used in the sense of supremely excellent, but that cannot apply here: for that reason, I strongly suspect we should read Punk !!!” Well done, Mr. Weber! supremely excellent! egad, you're a shrewd fellow at a Pink. Let us see how Dr. Johnson explains it.

Pink - to pierce in small holes. The real meaning of the sentence is now sufficiently obvious, as it was indeed before.

There is another error, if possible still more ludicrous, in which Mr. W. has altered the original text:

Forsooth they say the king has mowed
All his grey beard, instead of which is budded
Auother.

" Mowed: Old Copy, Mewed-to mew is well known by those

And one there is, of more enlighten'd mind, Whom ʼmid this poor, this mongrel herd we find; One, who should write with more exalted view Than thoughts t explain, or quibbles to renew! Scott, “ the fam'd Minstrel of Monastic Times," Turns Commentator too on Seward's rhymes. Seward,-- a well known name, whose lines diffuse Just so much interest as Hayley's Muse:

NOTES.

conversant in obsolete words as meaning—to shed --and is applied chiefly to the moulting of birds—Let us again refer to Johnson :

Mew-to shed the feathers.

I should discourse of hawks, and then treat of their ayries, mewings custings, and renovation of their feathers.

WALTON.

The suu hath mewed his beams from off his lamp.

CLEVELAND.
Nine times the moon had mewed her horns.

Dryden.

This not only proves want of sense, but want of attention, as Johnson's Dictionary, with notes, is in the hands of almost every

one,

F

Soft, smooth, and polish'd, all her numbers flow,
Sweet as her “ Sweet Jar,” prolix as her woe;
Yet, sometimes bursting from the tinsell’d clouds,
Whose cumb'rous ornament her genius shrouds, 510
She soars above her lov'd Darwinian sphere,
And hovers brilliant for a moment there.

Yet, while her numbers' general course we blame,
Languidly smooth, effeminately tame,
Tho' sometimes beaming sweetness all her own, 516
Each beauty feminine combined in one,-
That careless Elegance, so formed to please,
Its purport hidden in the grace of ease,
How shall we praise the cultivated mind,
Judgment so nice, and Taste so well refin'd, 520
That all her letters in succession breathe,-
Claiming for her a better, brighter wreath,
Than either Montague, or grave Chapone,
Nay.-even Della Cruscan Dames shall own!

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