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Page 3. MEAN while the author's words are
either removed entirely out of the way, or permitted a place in some remote note, loaden WITH MISREPRESENTATIONS and ABUSE, &c.]
Dr. Bentley's foul play in this respect is most notori. ous ; who, in order to make way for his emendations, will often drop the only, and true construction : the reader is mistaken if he thinks this done through ignorance. I will instance in a correction of a passage of Virgil, Aen. IV, 256. which, among many other corrections, I chiefly make choice of, because some have been deceiv'd into an opinion of its superior excellency: and I will give it in his own words, from a note on a paffage of Horace, Lib. I. od. 34.
Hic primum paribus nitens Gyllenius alis an
Conftitit : hinc toto praeceps se corpore ad undas 2.Mifit, avi fimilis, quae circum litora, circum
Pifcafos fcopulos humilis VOLAT aequora juxta.
Materno veniens ab avo Cillenia proles. ci ubi quam multa merito vituperanda fint vides. Volat, et “ mox vola's at : deinde in continuatis verfibus ingratum “ auribus ófondlenevlov, volabat, secabat : ad quod evitanos dum vetuftiffimi aliquot codices apud Pierium mutato “ ordine sic versus collocant,
Haud aliter terras inter caelumque volabat
Litus arenosum et Libyae ventofque fecabat. Sed nihil omnino proficiunt, aut locum adjuvant : adhuc á enim relinquitur visilm omuium deterrimum, fecabat littus
ventosque. Quid enim eft littus secare, nifi littus arare « et effodere ? Quid autem hoc ad Mercurium volantem? « Nullus dubito quin fic fcripferit princeps poëtarum :
Haud aliter, terras inter caelumque, legebat
fecabat Materno veniens ab avo Cyllenia proles. The first fault he finds is with VOLABAT coming so quick after voLAT. But this repetition is so far from a fault, that it has a peculiar beauty here ; for ’tis in the application of the fimile ; fo Milton IV, 189.
Or as a thief, &c.
More inftances might be added from Homer, and Milton, and Virgil.. The next fault is the rime volabat, fecabat : If there was any stop after volabat and secabat, fome answer or apology fhould be made. But there is actually no more jingle in those verses of Virgil, than in those of Milton, II, 220. This horror will grow mild, this darkness light; Besides what hope the never-ending Night
Far worse to bear
Go then, thou mightiest in thy father's might. For if the reader will turn to the places cited, he will find, that all this jingling found of like endings is avoided by the verses running one into the other : and I have cited them here in this unfair manner, as a parallel instance of
Dr. Bentley's misrepresentation : for the Dr. knew well
Haud aliter, terras inter coelumque, volabat
Materno veniens ab avo Gyllenia proles.
that nothing was more common than for the best authors, to ap, ply the verb properly to one substantive, and improperly often to the other.
As in Sophocles Elect. ¥. 437.
*Hyo inasw “Ιπποι αερσίποδες και ποικίλα τείχε' έκείο. Our Shakespeare, who imitated all the bold figures of antiquity, is not without like instances : as in King Lear, AC III.
« Since I was man, « Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder,
" Such groans of roaring wind and rain, I never “ Remember to have HEARD.” Had he told you this, I say, he could not have abus'd that phrase, littus et ventos fecabat, which he mifrepresenting cites, littus fecabat ventosque. So that whether you keep the old pointing, or change it, the Dr. cannot get one jot forward towards an emendation : not tho' you allowed him, which I somewhat question, the propriety of legebat littus, apply'd to Mercury flying directly from mount Atlas to the coast of Libya. This whole passage of Virgil, Milton has finely imitated in his 5th book. 3. 265. &c. where the Dr. is at his old work, hacking and hewing. Were I to give an instance of Bentley's critical skill, I should not forget that place in the Plutus of Aristophanes, 4. 1010. which puzzled the Grecian critics, being an old inveterate evil, juft glofled over, 'till Bentley probed it to the bottom, and recovered it's pristine beauty. No one did better than the Dr, when he met with a corrupt place ; but the mischief was, he would be medling with found places. The emendation is printed in a letter to Kufter, inserted at the end of his edition of Aristophanes : to which I rather refer the reader, than lengthen this note, too long already,
Page 3. Like the old Vice.]
The allusion here is to the vice, a droll character in our old plays, accoutred with a long coat, a cap with a pair of ass's ears, and a dagger of lath. Shakespeare alludes to his buffoon appearance in Twelfth Night, A& IV.
In a trice, like to the old Vice ;
In the second part of K. Henry IV. A& III. Falftaff compares Shallow to Vice's dagger of lath. In Hamlet, A& III. Hamlet calls his uncle, A Vice of Kings : i. e. a ridiculous representation of majesty. These passages the editors have very rightly expounded. I will now mention some others, which seem to have escaped their notice, the allusions being not quite so obvious.
THE INIQUITY was often the Vice in our old Moralities; and is introduced in B. Johnson's play called the Devil's an ass : and likewise mention'd in his Epigr. CXV.
Being no vitimus perfon, but the Vice
Of miming, gets th' opinion of a wit. But a passage cited from his play will make the following obfervations more plain. Act I. Pug asks the Devil 66 to lend him a Vice,
to Satan. What Vice ? 6 What kind wouldst thou have it of ?
" Pug. Why, any Fraud, « Or Covetoufnefs, or Lady Vanity, “ Or old Iniquity : I'll call him hither." Thus the paffage should be ordered. « Pug. Why any : Fraud, « Or Covetoufnessor Lady Vanity " Or old INIQUITY. 6. Satan. I'll call him hither.
“ Enter Iniquity, the Vice. « Ini. What is he calls upon me, and would seem to lack
à Vice ? - Ere his words be half spoken, I am with him in a trice.”