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der imaginary perfons, is fhadowed fome real action, or inftructive moral, but in this poem no real action is shadowed; and, what is of more confequence, the piece is exceedingly deficient in moral, or rather is abfolutely immoral; for, by representing marriage in a fatyrical and falfe light, it seems intended to excite a general odium against that most happy connection. It is, indeed, lucky, that the Author poffeffes not much of the magic of poetry; for tho' there is ingenuity in the ftructure of fome parts of the fable, yet are not his numbers fo enchanting, as not to let the reader fee, that the poem, upon the whole, is as ill-conducted as it is ill-defigned. In the golden age reigned Cupid, and,
Infpir'd by him, the great paternal God (a),
The other Deries too, and man also, confeffed his sway;
A love he did not feel, for fordid gain;
No fair, by artful modefty with-held,
The love her anxious bofom own'd conceal'd.
But Gods and Men did not long enjoy this fupreme felicity. Hermaphroditus was the unhappy occafion of a fad reverfe of fate. All the Nymphs and Naids loved him; but he, infenfible to their charms, betook himself to fhady groves, and purling ftreams. In the courfe, however, of his peregrinations, he came to Salmacis, a river of Lycia, which flowing between embow'ring fhades, and being dimpled by a gentle breeze, the coolness and tranfparency invited him to bathe. Here the guardian Goddess of the filver flood,
Herfelf, unfeen, beheld the youth, admir'd
Nor hides his naked charms, nor ftrives to hide :
She plung'd into the stream, not mistress of her mind.
(a) Apollo, the father of Cupid.
She forc'd her way, and feiz'd the struggling boy,,
The more he ftruggl'd, ftill the more she prefs'd,
All this description is borrowed from Ovid; but our Au thor has over-looked fome of the moft ftriking beauties in that pleafing poet. What follows is, however, an improvement on the original;
So pray'd the nymph, neglecting in her prayer
Which fpring from union, and consent of hearts,
For the prayer being accepted, a monftrous union enfued,
The female o'er the motley union reigns;
And prays no iffue from their loins might come;
But his address was not granted, for in due time,
From thence (a) by Gods and Mortals Hymen nam'd,
Giv'n by the Goddess at his natal hour,
Sign of his fource, and emblem of his power.
For Jove and the Fates had decreed, that the son should avenge the fire, by binding the youths and virgins in chains which nothing but death could loofe.
But no fooner was Hymen known on earth, than the Fair, continues the Bard, either misled by pride, or affecting no
(6) In Ovid, when Hermaphroditus faw himself transformed into a monfter, neither woman nor boy, he prayed to his parents, Sed jam non voce virili
Quifquis in hos fontes vir venerit; exeat inde
Accordingly the antients believed that this river had a wonderful effect in enervating a man.
(c) Is there not fome impropriety in calling a double-fex'd monster a Nymph?
(d) We fee no connection between Hymen and this fuppofed manper of his birth. Hymen is derived from the Greek word vse, celebro. The antients more justly fuppofed Hymen to be the fon of Apollo and of Urania.
velty, deferted the God of Love, and placing Hymen in his tead, paid their adorations to him only.
And tho' the favour'd youth to love invite,
Nor are the Fair, fays this perfpicacious Bard, who fall in love, in a better fituation, for the hard-hearted fwains will not fatisfy their defires,
Till Hymen bids the blifs, and binds the chain."
Which if they refused, the confequence was, folitary virginity to the maids, or promifcuous love to the males.
Or if either fex yielded to marriage, as that God was wholly regardless of thofe tender fympathies which love requires,
He join'd as chance, or wayward fancy guides,
Indifferent bridegrooms, or reluctant brides.
But as Hymen was endowed with a brazen front, he tells his votaries, that if they loved before,
His chains would only bind their love the more,
At the fight of this change on earth, Cupid, with indignation, followed Aftrea to Heaven; Venus, however, remained below, and
Enchants the fhepherd till, and charms the fains.
But referve and modefty, the armour of beauty, being gone,
Far from her wonted haunts her course the bore,
(e) Of all faults in writing, there are few lefs pardonable than the giving the fame idea in different words. Our Author has many pleonafms.
(f) Had promifcuous love been the parent of the lues veneria, the antients had not been unacquainted with that direful malady. The truth is, the p- is an endemic difeafe, in the new world, and came to Europe by infection.
The two laft lines are the beft. in the poem; but the picture that follows of the Dæmon, is not only difguftful beyond fufferance, but falfe in fome of its colourings. Nor are we much more entertained with the description of those ills which the p- produces in the world. And if Longinus (g) blames Hefiod for the odioufnefs of the following image, in that poet's perfonification of darkness, (aλus) (αχλύς)
Της εκ μεν ρίνων μυξάν ρεον (b).
what would that delicate critic have faid of this part of the prefent poem? Fracaftorius was aware of this objection, and has with great dexterity avoided it, tho' his fubject (i) most naturally led him into an enumeration of the symptoms of the venereal difeafe. His portraiture of a youth languishing under the effects of this diforder, excites our pity for the melancholy fufferer, but raises not our averfion to the cause (*). These things discover the genuine poet. But to proceed.
The afflicted immediately apply for affiftance, to the profeffors of phyfic, who addreffed Apollo and Æfculapius to teach them the method of cure: but the Gods of medicine could afford them no aid: the diforder baffled their science. Cyllenus laughed, and alarmed Apollo by calling him a wretched quack, and his art a jeft.
Left, as th' harmonius lyre Cyllenius ftole,
The Dæmon yields to Mercury alone.
Parturiunt montes! What a wretched pun is this! Nor is it true; for tho' Mercury is the grand antifiphylic, yet are there other remedies more effectual than even that mineral, in fome of the symptoms of this disease.
At this place, however, the allegory, fuch as it is, fhould have ended; but the Author drags on through twenty-eight lines more, at the end of which we have an impertinent conclufion to a moft impertinent poem: the worthy moral of which is, If you live fingle, the p- is your deftiny; and, if you marry, there is an end of all felicity!
However, as the Author is not entirely deftitute of poetical merit, we hope, the next time he publishes, that he will be more attentive to his plan, as well as more careful of his numbers.
(g) Sect. 7. (b) The fhield of Hercules, 1. 267. (i) Syphilis. (k) Sub. finem, lib. prim. () Do these two lines agree? What an impotent fatyr is this, upon phyfic!
For, AUGUST, 1756.
1. MR. Archibald Bower's Affidavit in Answer to the false
Accufations brought against him by Papifts. Το which are added, 1. A circumftantial Narrative of what hath fince paffed between Mr. Bower and Sir Henry Bedingfield in relation thereto. 2. Copies of the faid pretended Letters fent him by Sir Henry Bedingfield, and of a fubfequent Affidavit made by Mr. Bower of their not being wrote by him, or with his Privity. With fome short Obfervations on those pretended Letters, proving them to be fpurious. 8vo. 1s. Sandby:
In this finall pamphlet we have, firft, Mr. Bower's Affidavit fworn in the court of King's-Bench, May 31, 1756, before copies of the Letters mentioned in our laft Number were delivered to him by Sir Henry Bedingfield. In this Affidavit Mr. Bower maketh oath, That he came into England in or about the month of June or July, 1726, and that for upwards of twenty-nine years Jaft paft, he hath not been prefent at any religious worship or ceremony of the Romish religion; or practifed, repeated, or used any of the ceremonies, offices, prayers, or devotions, peculiar to that church, either in public or private; or been in any manner, or by any act whatsoever, reconciled to, or expreffed his approbation of, the Popish religion, or any of the errors or te nets of that church condemned by Proteftants; but doth now believe, and for upwards of twenty-nine years last past hath believed and esteemed, the principal tenets maintained by the church of Rome, in oppofition to the Proteftants, to be impious and heretical ;-that he hath for upwards of twenty-four years laft joined with the church of England as by law established in this kingdom, and, during that time, used his utmost endeavours to convince several of his relations, and others, who were edueated in the Romish religion, of the errors thereof; and that the contents of the Letters are entirely falfe, fcandalous, and groundless, and a wicked contrivance and forgery of the Papists to blacken his good name, and hurt the Proteftant caufe, &c.
What weight Mr. Bower's Affidavit may have with the public, we know not. As to the Letters being a contrivance of the Pa pifts to blacken his name, there feems to be little, if any, foundation for fuch a pretence. It is well known to those who have been at pains to enquire into this matter, that the Papists have endeavoured to throw obstructions in the way of fuch enquiry, inftead of being defirous to promote it. And for this conduct of theirs, a very obvious reafon may be affigned. They are very fenfible that a full and impartial enquiry into this affair, would bring to light a great many circumftances, which it is their undoubted intereft to conceal. But we must not enlarge.