Daughter of Chaos, &c.] The beauty of this whole Allegory being purely of the Poetical kind, we think it not our proper business as a Scholiast to meddle with it; but leave it (as we shall in general all such) to the reader: remarking only, that Chaos (according to Hesiod’s ) was the Progenitor of all the Gods. Scribl.
Or praise the Court, or magnify Mankind.] Ironicè, alluding to Gulliver’s representations of both — The next line relates to the papers of the Drapier against the currency of Wood’s Copper Coin in Ireland, which upon the great discontent of the people, his Majesty was graciously pleased to recal.
From thy Baeotia.] Baeotia of old lay under the raillery of the neighbouring Wits, as Ireland does now; tho’ each of those nations produced one
of the greatest Wits, and greatest Generals, of their age.
Grieve not, my Swift! at ought our realm acquires.] Ironicè iterum. The Politicks of England and Ireland were at this time by some thought to be opposite, or interfering with each other: Dr. Swift of course was of the interest of the latter, our Author of the former.
A new Saturnian Age, of Lead.] The ancient golden Age is by Poets stiled Saturnian; but in the chymical language, Saturn is Lead.
Where wave the tatter’d Ensigns of Rag-Fair.] Rag-Fair is a place near the Tower of London, where old cloaths and frippery are sold.
V. 28, 31.
A yawning ruin hangs and nods in air.—
Here in one Bed two shiv’ring Sisters lie,
The Cave of Poverty and Poetry.]
Hear upon this place the forecited Critick on the Dunciad.
These lines (saith he) have no construction, or are nonsense. The two shivering Sisters must be the sister caves of Poverty and Poetry, or the bed and cave of Poverty and Poetry must be the same, (questionless, if they lie in one bed) and the two Sisters the lord knows who? O the Construction of grammatical heads! Virgil writeth thus: Aen. 1.
Fronte sub adversa scopulis pendentibus antrum: Intus aquae dulces, vivoq; sedilia saxo; Nympharum domus.――――
May we not say in like manner,
The Nymphs must be the waters and the stones, or the waters and the stones must be the houses of the Nymphs? Insulse! The second line, Intus aquae, &c. is in a parenthesis (as are the two lines of our Author, Keen