LONDON, Printed for L. DAVIS and C. REYMERS, against Gray's-Inn-Gate, Holborn, Printers to the Royal Society. MDCCLXIV.


I Address the following Remarks to you, not be­cause I pretend to guess at your Person, but because I think you are most interested in them; and I send you them plain and simple, without prefacing them either with Compliments or Acri­mony.

I entirely agree with you in your first general Observation, (P. 2.) that of most, if not ‘"all Arts or Exertions of human Faculty, those which Dr. Brown has chosen for his Subject are most liable to be influenced by a Variety of Causes; seem­ingly most remote and minute, and most difficult to be observed".’ But surely your Conclusion is not logical; ‘"That to think, by laying down one or a few Principles, to deduce the Progress of them systematically, is parallel to Almanack­makers foretelling the Weather."’ In my Opi­nion the present Question is not whether they can be solved systematically or not, but whether Dr. B—'s Solution is just or groundless: And if [Page 2] you apply this Conclusion to his Work, before you have examined it, your Determination must be ranked with the Judgments of those Coun­tries, where they behead a Man first and try after­wards whether he is Guilty.

Your second Observation is of the ‘"Unimpor­tance of such Investigations, as being mere amus­ing Gratifications of Curiosity."’Yet if you are really in earnest, how came you (who have affected to display so large a Fund of Reading) to have ‘"a employed so much of your Thoughts on a small Part of this very Subject? And b if ever you publish your Thoughts,"’I ap­peal to your own Heart, in what Estimation you would hold the Man who should tell you they were of ‘"no Importance to Mankind, or rank them, as you have done Dr. B—'s, with Alma­nack-making.

Your third Objection ‘"of the doctorial Man­ner and Air of Science with which it has been fashionable of late to advance Conjectures;"’ is at least not liberal. If Dr. B—'s Conjectures are false, it ought to be Triumph enough for you to prove them so; if on the contrary, notwith­standing your Arguments, they prove true, ought they not to be advanced with the Confidence of Truth, by a Man who knows them so."

I entirely acquiesce in your fourth Observa­tion ‘"that, since Truth is the principal Purpose these Investigations can answer, Misrepresentation [Page 3] or even Error in matter of Fact is less excusable in them than in any other Kind of Enquiry,"’ ex­cept in such as your's and mine, where if we mis­represent either thro' Prejudice or Partiality, or err in Matters of Fact when we would correct the Errors of others, then we are less excusable, be­cause we are less honest.

So much may suffice for your Preliminaries; The Body of your Work remains now to be exa­mined.

1. You say, ‘"I will not take the Advantage of the obvious Ridicule which arises from the searching the Seeds and Principles of all the most refined and transporting Poetry of Greece, in the dreary Wilds of North-America c."’—'Tis indeed out of the common road, for Dr. B. to carry us so far in Quest of Brutality, when he might have found it so much nearer Home, among the old Pelasgi of ancient Greece; who certainly were no better than the modern Iroquois. We know they were Acorn-Eaters and Man-Eaters:

Sylvestres Homines, Sacer Interpresque Deorum, Caedibus & Victu foedo deterruit ORPHEUS d

This is the most we know of them; and this we know of the modern Iroquois too, but then we know a great dealmore. Now, what we know of the mordern Iroquois, Dr. B. on the Foundation of Analogy, applies to the old Pelasgi: He attempts [Page 4] to prove by an easy Chain of Reasoning, that in Case of a supposed Civilization of Iroquois, such Consequences might naturally be expected to arise, as did actually arise in antient Greece; and viceversa, that as the old Pelasgi were once in the same State as the Iroquois are now, they actually did proceed by the same Steps as these would probably do upon a similar Civilization. The Argument is new I confess, but is not therefore to be treated with Contempt. If the Principles on which all Savage Tribes proceed are always simple, and nearly the same in all, making only some small Allowance for the Difference of Soil, and Cli­mate: If the Similarity of Causes and Effects be too clear and convincing to be denied; in a Word if, even where Variations of Character arise, they serve rather to illustrate than confound the Sub­ject, certainly any Conclusions properly drawn from so amazing an Analogy, must fall little short of Demonstration.—The Method then of Argu­mentation no rational Man can object to; let us therefore see whether Dr. B—has sustained it properly in those Parts which regard ancient Greece.

You begin with a very material Point, which if once made out would overthrow Dr. B—'s Hypothesis from the Foundation. You tell us, ‘"It is taken for granted all along, that the Poetry and Music, and Legislation, and Religion of Greece, were entirely the spontaneous Productions of that Climate"’ but that ‘"it is certain, the first Seeds [Page 5] of them were imported e."’You then appeal to ancient Authors, and affirm (from them) that Dr. B's System ‘"cannot hold, since their first Civilizers did certainly introduce foreign Gods, and were not the Object of Worship themselves f.’

To prove that it was otherwise, you cite Hero­dotus; and you say, ‘"he assures us that the Pe­lasgi had no more than some general Notion of a superior Power who made the World g."’ Now, how can You, whose Work professes to be built on the Pillar of strict Quotation, how can You begin with so egregious an Untruth? In your Translation you have represented the PE­LASGI (Acorn-Eaters and Man-Eaters) as pure Theists; and it seems it was Orpheus who after­wards debased them into gross Idolaters h. Now Herodotus says nothing of all this. He men­tions not a superior Power; but expressly says Gods ( [...]) nor does he speak one Word of their making, but only of their governing the World i. And is not this a palmary Argument in Proof of their having no Religion, that ‘"they worshiped the Gods, who in their Opinion governed the World?"—Well: but it seems, ‘"they knew no Name for any Divinity; the Names of their Gods were brought from Egypt; and if their Gods had been their own Chiefs, their Names would have been better remembered than [Page 6] any Thing else k."’ Here, I confess with Pleasure, is some Appearance of good Reason­ing.

But to set this Matter in its true Light; and acquaint you whence it probably came to pass, that the savage Pelasgi had no Names for their Gods, I must (in Imitation of Dr. B.) carry you once more among your new Acquaintances, the Savages of America.—You must know, then, that the savage Tribes seldom retain the particular Name of the Chieftain whom they deify and wor­ship: and the Reason of this is, because he ge­nerally loses it even before be dies. When he is exalted to the Rank of Chief, his former Name is commonly dropped, and a new Appellation is giv­en him, suited to the Station he is raised to: This Title (rather than Name) is generally that of Father, Senior, or Sun of the Tribe. In Proof of this I might refer you to all the Writers on the Manners of savage Tribes: On this Subject, how­ever, LAFITAU and the Lettres Edifiantes, will give you ample Satisfaction. Under this State of Things, the savage Tribes offer Sacrifice, consult Oracles, and perform the general Acts of a na­tive Religion. This, then, seems to have been the idolatrous State of the old Pelasgi: They probably worshipped their first savage Chief­tains; for it is clear, on the Evidence of Hero­dotus himself, that they offered Sacrifice to their Gods, and consulted the Oracle of Dodona, whe­ther [Page 7] they should give the Egyptian Names to their own Deities l: two Circumstances which prove even to Demonstration, that they had Deities be­fore the Time of Orpheus.

You will say, ‘"what then did Orpheus intro­duce, if he introduced not the Gods of Greece?"’ Why, Herodotus tells us, as plain as Words can tell us: He introduced Mysteries ( [...]): and that he might distinguish the native Gods whom he found already established by a general Wor­ship, he appropriated particular Rites to each; and to this End, very properly distinguished each God by a particular Appellation, But sure, ne­ver was Critic so unlucky in his Remarks as You: For it has been made appear by a learned Wri­ter, that these [...], these very Mysteries which ORPHEUS introduced to Greece, were so far from being the Beginnings of Heroe Worship, that they were intended as a Detection (to the initiated) of the Errors of pre-established Polytheism m.

It appears then, that the oldest Gods of Greece were strictly native: I shall now prove that they were the Chiefs and first Civilizers of the savage Inhabitants. That they were such, is evident from the Testimony of several ancient Authors, found­ed on the Traditions of the Country, which are the only original Evidences that can be obtained in a Case of this Nature.—The first and chief of these was He, to whom Orpheus (it seems) gave [Page 8] the Name of JUPITER. This old Chieftain was born in Crete: and was brought young by his Mother into Greece n. He conquered the Ti­tans (probably another Tribe of Savages, at En­mity with the Pelasgi) and civilized the Inhabi­tants of the Country which he subdued o. Af­ter he had vanquished the Titans, he is said by some Authors to have instituted the Olympian Games, in Commemoration of his Victory p.

Another of these most ancient Gods of Greece, to whom ORPHEUS gave the Name of APOLLO, was a Chief who killed the Serpent Python, and the Tyrant Titius; taught the Inhabitants of Greece the Use of the Fruits of the Earth, and civilized the Inhabitants of several Districts q.

Two more of these ancient Gods of Greece, were the famed Brothers, CASTOR and POLLUX. They were Natives of the little Isle of Pephnos near Messene r; and taught the Lacedemonians the Arts of Dancing and of War s.

Now these four are the very ancient Gods whom Dr. B. has singled out, as being delivered down to Posterity under the Characters of Musi­cians, Singers, and Dancers. All of them Chiefs and Civilizers of ancient Greece, in some Depart­ment or other of Legislation.

But he might have added several more. Of this Class was MERCURY. He was born in [Page 9] Greece t; was the Inventor of the Lyre; and is said to have been deified for this Invention u.

Another Deification I must not pass over: You have led me to it yourself: It is that of BAC­CHUS; whose Love of Wine, Dance, and Music, is too well known to need a Comment. You speak of his Mysteries, as being not of Grecian but foreign Original; and thence you conclude, that the God himself was so. I need hardly bid you turn back to the preceding Pages, to put you in Mind how inconclusive this Argument is. The old Chieftain himself was a Civilizer of Greece, tho' his Mysteries (introduced by ORPHEUS) were Egyptian. You will demand a Proof of the God being a Civilizer of Greece. Take the following Account, then; which unfortunately contains as ample a Confutation of all you have advanced on this Subject, as any Heart can wish. ‘"PHILO­NIDES informs us, that the Vine having been transplated from the Borders of the Red Sea into Greece, by BACCHUS;—the Greeks, when the unmixed Wine is brought to Table at Sup­per, invoke the good Genius or God, honouring (or worshipping) the Power who invented it: This God is BACCHUS x."’

Thus, your capital Objection to Dr. B's Sys­tem seems absolutely untenable, and void of all Foundation.

[Page 10] 3. You proceed, next, to object against his Account of the Origin of poetic Numbers y What you have advanced on this Subject, I shall only stile an Instance of your Power of Repre­sentation.—You confound the Origin of Poetry with the Origin of mere Rythm; nor perhaps is it necessary that a mere Critic should know the Difference.—You represent Savages, in their lowest State of Nature, to have no Leisure for Amusement; when, if you will read, you will find, they have more Leisure than any civilized Nations:—You charge Dr. B. with representing them as going formally to Work, with an a-priori Notion of Harmony and Measure, to adapt their Words to Music; when in Reality he tells you from Lafitau, that they dance and sing, and join their Words to their Music as well as they can; and to this End, that they ‘"even retrench and strike off some Syllables from their Words,"’that they ‘"may tally better with their Dance and Music; and hence the natural Origin of Rythm or Numbers"’—You own that the Dance cannot be totally without Measure; and yet you deny its Tendency to produce a correspondent Measure in the annexed Words:—You say that violent Emotions of the Mind naturally produce harmonious Periods, yet though you are very angry through your whole Work, you never produce one harmonious Period.—Such [Page 11] are the Materials of this Article, which I shall leave to the Reader's Contemplations.

4. But you have not yet done with the old Dei­ties of Greece: You say you remember a ‘"Pas­sage of ARISTOTLE full in the Teeth of Dr. B's System: wherein it is observed, that "the Poets never represent Jupiter singing z."’Truly, neither does Dr. B. for he only says (on the Authority of a very old Poet) that "Jupiter danced."’ 'Tis a little hard upon the Father of Gods and Men, thus to tie him Hand and Foot because he wanted an Ear, or happened to be hoarse: and because he did not sing, that you won't let him dance neither. Good Sir, be a lit­tle more ingenuous in your Application of ancient Authors.

But you affirm, that ‘"Arctinus mentions Ju­piter's Dancing as a Thing unusual a."’ Now, why did not you refer to the Passage in Athenaeus which you here allude to? Was it for Fear the Reader might consult it?—With some Trouble I have found it; and am sorry to say, I have detected you in what an illiberal Critic would call a downright Falsehood. The following is a literal Translation of the Passage. "Eumelus or Arctinus the Corinthian somewhere intro­duces Jupiter dancing; saying, "Among them danced the Sire of Gods and Men b."’ Not a Syllable occurs here, on its being either an usual or unusual Thing.

[Page 12]But it seems, ‘"the Character of the Poet should be ascertained whether serious or bur­lesque, &c. before any thing concerning the whole System of Grecian Religion be deter­mined by one Quotation at Second-hand from him c."’—You are a notable Logician.—But it happens, that the Proof of Dr. B's Sys­tem does not depend upon this one Quotation: he has (in the Course of his Dissertation) given twenty more, which are generally corroborative of This.

5. You next come to consider Dr. B's Account of the Origin of Poetic History: You charge Dr. B. with misquoting and misrepresenting the Author of the Life of Homer, in order to bring him to his own Purpose d. But in reality, all that Dr. B. has done, is to express that properly, which the Author of the Life of Homer had ex­pressed improperly: Both their Expressions imply the same Thing. You farther charge Dr. B. in­deed, with ‘"turning Spanish Works into Arabic ones e."’ Now these Spanish Fragments are indeed Arabic by Descent; and this is evidently Dr. B's Meaning. But You, I find, being igno­rant of their Original, did not comprehend his Meaning.

6. On the Subject of ‘"ancient Laws being written in Verse,"’you say, ‘"the Actions of their Gods and Heroes were such as could not [Page 13] be a Foundation for moral Exhortations to Imi­tation f."’ Here, I suspect, that instead of putting yourself in the Place of the Savages, you have put the Savages in your Place. Certainly, to a modern Englishman, the Actions of their Gods and Heroes could never have seemed a worthy Model for Imitation: Yet to an ancient savage Greek (an Acorn-Eater, and a Man-Eater) they might very well pass for such. ‘"Plunder and Revenge (as you observe g) being what the Savage chiefly values,"’ an Exhortation to this Purpose would naturally be included in the Song-Feast.—

7. You say, ‘"I would fain know why the Doctor should suppose the Practice of religious Dance and Song to have necessarily arisen from a false Religion, which, as he himself takes No­tice, made a Part of the true h."’ But where has the Doctor asserted, that they necessa­rily arose? That they naturally arose both among Pagans and Jews, he has made it very evident. Now, why should we have Recourse to a pedantic Principle of Imitation, void of Evi­dence, for a Practice which manifestly arises from Nature? I expect, you will prove in your next Work, that all Pagans learnt of the Jews, how to beget Children, and eat their Victuals.

8. You now come to the old poetic Oracles of GREECE: So far as the Affair of mere Reasoning [Page 14] is concerned, I shall again leave you to the natu­ral Penetration of the Reader. With Respect to the literary Part of the Argument, I at length give you Joy of a small Discovery: for you have detected Dr. B. in calling an ancient Priestess of Apollo by the Name of PHEMONOE instead of HEROPHILE. I wish you had been as successful in your next Attack.

For the main Point worth contending for an this Subject is, ‘"Whether the ancient Pythian Oracles were the Effect of Enthusiasm."’ To prove that they were not, you bring a Story from Homer, who tells us of a wonderful Feat of APOLLO, who 1st changed himself into a Dol­phin; 2dly, drove the Cretan Voyagers from their Course at Sea; 3dly, appeared to them (Qu. in his own Shape, or the Dolphin's?) and told them, they were to be his Sacrificers; 4thly, that the poor Fellows being hungry, he assured them, they need not fear for a Subsistence; for that he could foretel, they should live comfortably on the Sacrifices: on which, they believed him, and be­came his Priests.—Now, on this curious and au­thentic Trait of History, which you call rational and probable, you found the Rise of the Delphic Oracle. Believe your Creed who may, I shall not endeavour to shake his Faith: But in Respect to those who may think that any thing can possibly be fabulous which comes from that most scrupu­lous and true Historian, Old HOMER, I can only set against him the weak Authority of that poe­tical [Page 15] and lying Romancer, DIODORUS the Sicili­an. Now this Author tells us, in the most express Terms, that ‘"the Rise of this famed Oracle was from Enthusiasm: That the first Diviners being seized with this, began to prophecy, and were agitated with wild and frantic Gestures, which were so violent, that many of them leapt into the deep Cleft of the Earth, near the Place where now the Temple of Delphi stands: And that in Process of Time, the Diviner or Pythia, was confined to the Tripos, as the Means of pre­venting the like fatal Consequences i."’ This whole Account confirms all that Dr. B. has ad­vanced concerning the Origin of the old poetic Oracles of GREECE: it overturns all the Objec­tions you have mustered on this Subject: And as to the illiberal Misrepresentations of Dr. B's Method of Reasoning, which close your Argu­ment, I am quite ashamed of them, and might give you for Answer, a Maxim of your own; ‘"that a Buffoon always places Things in that Light which is most advantageous to his Satire k."’

9. On the Subject of the Greek Melody, you say, ‘"you have little to object:"’ and for the same Reason, perhaps, I have nothing to object; and I fear the Reason is, because we do not un­derstand it.—However, you are even with him in the next Paragraph; in which you prove your­self [Page 16] a greater Adept in Prosody, not only than Dr. B. but even than the learned Vossius himself: And here you have laid hold of a fair Opportu­nity of exposing Dr. B. for another Man's Igno­rance at least, if not for his own. On this im­portant Head, therefore I will lay down a Brace of Maxims, built on your most ingenious Criti­cism, which I defy him and all his Adherents to overturn. 1. That a Writer is answerable for any incidental Error of the Author whom he quotes, though it be not essential to his Subject. 2. That though the Author who made a trifling Mistake may be a Man of Sense and Learning, yet he who passes it unnoticed must be an ignorant Blockhead.

10. You own that ‘"the Power of the Greek Melody is justly attributed by Dr. B. to the Power of Association l."’"But,"—Ay, right or wrong, there must be a but— ‘"But this is in Effect owning, that it is in a great Measure un­accountable m."’ Let us see, now, how this Argument stands.—If we know that it is justly attributed to Association, then surely we know what Association means; and if so, then, I appre­hend, it is clearly accounted for.—Had I not been tolerably acquainted with you before I arrived at this logical Paragraph, I should have wondered to hear a Man saying and unsaying the same thing [Page 17] at a Breath.—Well; but we will pass over this as one of those Propositions you speak of, which are neither true nor false. We will suppose, that all you mean to assert is only what follows; ‘"that their particular Associations being unknown, the particular Nature of their Melody (which arose from these Associations) must be unknown like­wise:"—This is a Proposition which has both Sense and Truth in it: But then, unluckily for you, it is the very thing that Dr. B. asserts: For he tells you, even again and again, that notwith­standing all the Pretences of your whole critical Fraternity, we know nothing particular about the Matter.

11. But now you hasten into the midst of things; and, to confess the Truth, take such Strides in Absurdity, that it requires some Pains to follow you.—Dr. B. says, ‘"Their Songs were of a legislative Cast, and being drawn chiefly from the Fables or History of their own Coun­try, contained the essential Parts of their reli­gious, political, and moral Systems."’—This it seems you cannot digest; and yet, I fear, you will be compelled to swallow it.—

First, you acknowledge, that the Songs of Orpheus and Amphion were of this legislative Cast: that ‘"they employed them to perswade the Savages to live together sociably, and with­out injuring each other, and to worship the [Page 18] Gods n."’ So far we go together.—‘"But as soon as the Conveniencies of Life began to abound, they began to seek Amusement; and then, it is in the Light of pleasing and charm­ing, not sage or useful, we find them consider­ed o."’ Now, with all due Deference to the contrary Opinion and Practice of a learned Critic, who lards his Sentences with Scraps of Greek, may not a Work be at once pleasing and instruc­tive? Or to express myself in a Way more suit­able to the Taste of certain Writers (because less intelligible to Half their Readers) may not the Utile and the Dulce be joined together? As a full Proof, that this was the Fact in the Poems of the ancient Greeks, I need only refer to what Dr. B. has quoted from Plato p. There it appears at large, that the Poems of their Bards were taught to their Children, as the Foundation both of their Opinions and their Manners. And the very Rea­son is assigned by Plato why this Method of In­struction was used, ‘"Because the youthful Mind is not apt to attend to serious Study, therefore the pleasing Vebicle of Song is to be administered."’

But you urge further, ‘"that the Bard's Profession was not of that Dignity, which Dr. B. ascribes to it;"’ ‘"and as for his ranking the Bard next to Kings, I can quote him two Pas­sages where he is ranked with Carpenters q."’ [Page 19] —You might have saved yourself the Trouble: because Dr. B. himself has produced an Instance from another Country, (Ireland) where the Bards had thought proper to rank themselves with Thieves and Robbers r. Yet in this very Country, there had been a time, when they were ranked with Kings and Gods s. This shrewd Observa­tion, therefore, arises only from your being un­fairly carried off your Ground, and obliged to talk on a Subject you are not acquainted with: You suppose the Dignity of the Bard's Character to have been always stationary and the same, whereas indeed, it appears from Dr. B's Work, that it was generally fluctuating, according to the accidental Changes in Civilization, Arts, and Manners.

Again, you say, ‘"Had Homer's Work been legislative, his Business would have been to deliver a more perfect and improved System in each Kind t."’ How do you know that? Has Homer himself told you so? Upon what Authority do you make Homer wiser than he was, and wiser than the Times had made him? ‘"He painted what he saw and believed (says Dr. B.) and painted truly: the Fault lay in the Opinions and Manners of the Times: In the Defects of an early and barbarous Legisla­tion, which had but half-civilized Mankind u."’

[Page 20] But now, after having granted, that Homer did not deliver a perfect and improved System of Doctrines, you proceed (like a profound Phi­losopher) to prove that he did x. Your Argu­mentation on this Head I shall leave to the na­tural and common Sense of the Reader; only adding this Remark, that Homer's Fables were such a Picture of Life and Morals, as Plato (in a more refined Period) thought proper to banish from his Republic, lest they should de­stroy all good Morals.—Dr. B. has particularized some of the Chief of them, which sufficiently justify Plato's Censure y.

You next proceed to Pindar: and here, when I found you allowed that ‘"the poetic Songs must abound with Reflections on what was laudable, or the contrary; and with Pictures and Recom­mendations of what that Age and Nation re­puted Virtue;"and also that ‘"Fables built on the current Traditions, at once struck the Imagination, soothed the Vanity, and excited the awful Respect of the Hearers a:"’ Now, said I, we are happily agreed: But see the Vanity of human Hopes! In the very next Line we are all broke to Pieces. For it seems ‘"Pin­dar's intermixed Fables were so far from being [Page 21] necessary to his Odes, that in his first Ode he wrote without mixing Fables at all, until an elder and more experienced Artist, Corinna, told him how necessary they were b."’—I durst hold an even Wager, that this same Corinna was a sensible old Woman: You see, she was instruct­ing a young Greek Divine in the Art of Preach­ing: You tell us too, that ‘"he followed her Advice."’ Marry, and with good Reason: for it appears, from Dr. B's Dissertation, as well as Corinna's Advice, that Fables were regarded as an essential Part of the Performance c.

Your subsequent Remark is a downright Tri­umph. For here you prove irrefragably, that Dr. B. has called Pindar's Chair, a Chair of Gold; when in Reality, it was only a Chair of Iron. This is the second Error you have luckily hit; by which you have more than made good the ancient Proverb, that ‘"once a blind Man killed a Batt."’ I cannot conceive how Dr. B. will bring himself off here; unless he should perversely affirm, that he speaks metapho­rically; and calls Pindar's a Chair of Gold, in the same Manner, as if he were to speak of the Chair in which certain modern Critics sit and write, he would call it a Chair of Lead.

[Page 22]You go on: ‘"The three Greek Tragedians, says the Doctor, are the last of this illustrious Catalogue of legislative Bards."’‘"Wo is me!"’—For ‘"in the most private Conversations I h [...]ve had, they never gave me a Hint of their being Legislators, or legislative Writers d."’ No Wonder they never whispered the Secret to You, who seem only to have been counting your Fingers, and scanning Verses. If they had whis­pered any thing to you, I think I can guess what it would have been. But you have set me an Example of Politeness; and therefore, notwith­standing all the friendly Freedoms I take with you, I will not so much as hint, what it was the Reeds whispered to Midas.—Yet you allow that ‘"they hold forth the leading Principles of the Greek Religion, Polity, and Morals; and their Subjects are the Grecian Gods and Heroes e."’ Here then you seem to carry about you more Truth than you are aware of. You remember what grave Creature it was that formerly carried the Mysteries, and yet was never the wiser: But I make no ill-natured Applications.

But Solon (you say) does not seem to have ‘"had that high Idea of the tragic Writers, as use­ful Servants of the State f."’ What Tragic Writers? The three that Dr. B. speaks of? So­lon was dead long before they existed. You shall take your Choice, whether you will have [Page 23] this set down to the Account of your Learning or your Modesty.— But ‘"Plutarch informs us, that he expressed a great Dislike of their Art, in the Practice of Thespis g."’ True; he did so: And you tell us yourself, in another Place, what it was that Solon disliked: It was ‘"the new Circumstance of dramatic Representation h."’ But this was not the Place for you to bring that Circumstance into View; because it would have unmasked your Battery. Solon was alarmed at a a Change in their poetic and musical Contests, which hitherto had maintained their simpler Form; and it was probably his high Idea of their pre­established Utility, which induced him so severe­ly to censure this Innovation. Thus, in the End, this Affair of Solon and Thespis tends to con­firm Dr. B's Opinion, rather than to confute it.

But now you suddenly come round, and become quite good-humoured; nay you are willing to lend Dr. B. a Lift; and produce a Passage which tends to the Confirmation of his System i: For you tell us, ‘"Euripides himself is introduced, affirming that the Reason why Poets are to be honoured is for their Ingenuity, salutary Admo­nitions, and bettering their Fellow-Citizens."’ This is a Method of Confutation altogether new, and very ingenious: To confirm an Adversary's System by Proofs which he himself was ig­norant [Page 24] of; and thus to demonstrate your Su­periority.

And now to close this Article in your own Manner, I will also produce some additional Evi­denees in Favour of Dr. B's System; and then I think we shall have humbled him sufficiently between us.

The Doctor must know then (for to be sure if he had known it, he would have said it) that in the ancient Times of Greece, there was no other Code, either religious, moral, or political, but the Songs of their Bards. If there was even one let Dr. B. produce it at his Peril. These Songs or Poems, then, were indeed the great Re­pository of their Principles: having no real Reve­lation or Guide from Heaven, they took up with the best they could find; and hence laid hold of the Examples of their fabulous Gods and Heroes, as the Means of fixing the fluctuating Principles of their refpective Societies by a certain Stan­dard, however defective. These Songs, there­fore, may, on this Foundation, be properly stiled legislative, because they actually stood in the Place of Law.

In farther Proof of this, I will give Dr. B. two or three Authorities. ‘"Hesiod and Homer (says Herodotus) were they who formed a Theogony for the Greeks, giving Names to their Gods, and fixing their Shapes or Figures k."’As a [Page 25] Consequence of this, a respectable Modern tells us, that ‘"the Writings of Homer became the Standard of private Belief, and the grand Di­rectory of public Worship l."’—Another learn­ed Modern expresses himself in still stronger Terms. For speaking of the ancient Greeks, he affirms that ‘"Homer was their Bible: and what­soever was not read therein, nor could be ex­pressly proved thereby, passed with them for apo­cryphal m."’Again, He calls Homer and He­siod ‘"the popular and only authorized Books of Divinity amongst the Greeks; which assign the Names, the Attributes, and the Form, to each God n."’ How it happened, that these Fables which were swallowed in Times of Ignorance, came to be established in a more knowing Age, this learned Person likewise inform us. ‘"The great Poets of Greece, who had most contributed to refine the public Taste and Manners, and were now grown into a Kind of sacred Autho­rity, had sanctified these silly Tales in their Writings, which Time had now consigned to Immortality o."’

Now all these Authorities, every one of them tending to confirm his System, Dr. B. hath igno­rantly omitted; and (with an a-priori Notion, as [Page 26] you elegantly stile it) has pretended to be wiser than his Neighbours, and gone about to prove with the most consummate Arrogance that it must be so; and that from the natural Progression of sa­vage Manners, it could not be otherwise.

Having thus sufficiently humbled Dr. B. by bringing Arguments in his Favour which he knew nothing of; we will now take Leave of this Ar­ticle, and proceed to Number

12. You preface your Criticisms on this Article, by stiling them ‘"loose Observations p;"’which we must take without much ‘"Order, for you have not Time enough to methodize them."’—And yet you have been a whole Year in throwing up your Crudities.

Your first loose Observation on the 12th Article is this; ‘"that although the Greeks regarded Music as a necessary Part of a liberal Educa­tion, yet this only implies that it was an Accom­plishment parallel to Dancing in present Times:"’ and in Proof of this, you add, that ‘"one (modern) Author intitles his Book on the Subject, the Rudiments of genteel Education q."’ I could have furnished you with an Instance still more to your Purpose, of a Dancing Master who writ a Treatise to prove, that all the Vices of the present Age are owing to the Neglect of Dancing. —You go on: ‘"Even the abstracted Locke and [Page 27] Rousseau insist on it, in their Treatises on Edu­cation.—May we not then conjecture, the Cases were in some Measure alike r?"’ Truly, we might conjecture as we pleased, if the clear Evi­dence of Antiquity was not against us. But un­luckily again, Dr. B. has proved from various an­cient Authors, that their Poems were the Bible of ancient Greece: that these Poems were sung, both in public and private; and not only so, but that their Children were taught to sing them to the Lyre, as the very first Foundation of a virtuous Education t: He has proved that all this was done, even before they learnt the gymnastic Arts: And these (if you had been properly con­versant with ancient Manners) were what you would have compared to modern dancing. "Mu­sic (says Plato, in a Passage quoted by Dr. B.) relates to the Mind, the Gymnastic to the Im­provement of the Body u."’

Well: But ‘"Plato gives Notice, that when he speaks of Music, he includes the Subject, Words, or Song; and by the Passage quoted from the Alcibiades it appears, that this was not the popular Sense x."’ Very true, but very consistent with, nay corroborative of, all that Dr. B. has said. He has observed, that in the Time of Plato, the Separation of Poetry and [Page 28] Music had commenced: Therefore it was proper and natural in Plato, to explain himself particular­ly, whenever he writ on this Subject; and to in­form his Readers that he spoke of Music in the ancient Sense, and not in the new. In his Alcibi­ades too, he writ altogether according to Charac­ter: For it was natural for Alcibiades (a young Debauche) to adopt the new Sense, and for So­crates to put him in Mind of the old.

You next charge Dr. B. with writing in that Stile which ‘"is neither true nor false, because he has not precisely fixed the Point which separates what he calls the early from the late Periods of Antiquity, with regard to the Use of Music merely instrumental (y)." In this Point you not a little resemble an honest Lawyer at the Bar, who was examining a Witness to a Fact: The Witness said, it happened between Nine and Ten in the Morning. ‘"Was it at five Minutes, or ten Minutes, or a Quarter, or Half, or three Quarters after Nine?"’ said the honest Lawyer. The Witness declaring he could not fix it to a few Minutes, the Man of Logic turned about to the Jury, and said, ‘"Now Gentlemen, I hope you are convinced that the Fellow talks in a Stile that is neither true nor false, and that he knows nothing of the Matter."’

[Page 29]But it seems, you have at length discovered a Passage, ‘"where Dr. B. speaks of a particular Pe­riod as an early one, in which I will prove that a Separation had taken Place. In a Passage from Strabo, he speaks of something done after the Crissaean War, as done in ancient Times y."’ Dr. B. says no such Thing: Pray, exa­mine his Book once again: He says exactly what Strabo says: but unluckily, you understand neither Dr. B. nor Strabo. That Author says, ‘"that in ancient Times, there was a Contest of Musici­ans:"’and then he tells us farther ‘"that this was established at Delphi, after the Crissaean War."’ This Dr. B. translates literally from Strabo z, who manifestly speaks of two distinct Periods; but the first of these happening to lie beyond the Depth of your chronological Plum­met, you have learnedly jumbled them into one. The ancient Times that Dr. B. (after Strabo) speaks of here, were the Times of Apollo, and his immediate Followers.—But of this you will hear more in due Time.

However, an early Period you are resolved to find, though it make never so much against you. ‘"If this should not satisfy the Doctor; Pausanias, in his History of the Pythian Contentions, will tell him of one Eleutheres, whom he mentions before Hesiod, that gained the Prize for mere [Page 30] Execution, singing a Composition not his own. He will tell him likewise, that Hesiod did not play on the Harp; so that there was a Sepa­ration of the Poet's and Musician's Character very early a."’—Certain Stars there are, which ray out Light; and others I have read of in a pro­found Author, which are said to ray out Dark­ness. Of this latter Kind is the Paragraph before us, which in this Sense may be stiled of the first Magnitude. It requires no common Genius for Absurdity, to crowd so much of it into so small a Compass, as you have put into this short Para­graph. The Point in Question is, whether at this early Period, there was an allowed Separation of vocal and instrumental Music, in the public Con­tests? Dr. B. affirms there was not; and You bring this Passage to prove that there was. Now whoever will look into Pausanias, will find from this very Passage, 1st, that Eleutheres, because he could join the vocal with instrumental Music, was allowed to sing the Composition of another; and Hesiod, because he could not join them, was not allowed to sing his own b. His not being able to join the vocal and instrumental Melody was regarded as such a Defect in this Poet, as all his eminent Talents could not make up for. Thus the very Passage which you bring in Confutation of Dr. B's System, when fairly and honestly given [Page 31] to the Reader, is a collateral Proof of the Truth of all he has said on the Subject.

These Cavils arise manifestly from your Power of Representation. The next, to give You your Due, is chiefly the Effect of pure Ignorance. This relates to the second Instance which Dr. B. has alledged, concerning the Power of ancient Music: On this You observe, ‘"that the Instru­ment in Question was the Flute, both Quintili­an and Iamblicus agree: and how the most able Musician could play on this Instrument and sing too, I do not well conceive, except it could be proved, that the [...] was that truly respec­table and ancient Instrument the Scottish Bag­pipe c."’ Right sorry I am, to lie under a Ne­cessity of exposing the Errors of a learned Critic, who piques himself on a Familiarity with all an­cient Authors.—Now, that the Instrument was the [...] or Tibia, these Authors do both agree. But did they agree to give you Leave to translate or transform it into a Flute? A Pipe, if you please: But the Name and Fashion of a Flute are so con­nected in the Idea of a Modern, that by this Trans­ition you carry your Cause at once, even before your Argument comes on. Every Flute is indeed a Pipe; but every Pipe is not a Flute. And here lies the whole Mystery of the Matter. For in the first Place, you will see, from the Passage [Page 32] you have quoted from Pausanias, that Echem­brotus gained the Prize at the Pythian Games for singing and playing on the Pipe; ‘"There was the Song to the Harp, as formerly; there was the Song to the Pipe; and there was the Pipe itself, without Song. Cephalon won the Prize among those who sung and played on the Harp; Echembrotus, among those who sung and played on the Pipe; Sacadas, among those who played on the Pipe only e."’—That the same Person sung and played on the Pipe, is evident; 1st, from the Greek Name, [...], which is com­pound, and implies both: 2dly, from the Circum­stance recorded of Hesiod, that he was not admitted to the Pythian Contest, because he could not both sing and play.—Farther, it is evident, from many Passages in Theocritus, particularly from his 8th Eidyllium, that the Shepherds both sung and play­ed on their pastoral Pipe at the same Time. In their Contention, they are represented as accom­panying their Song with the Pipe; and to pre­pare us for this Union, we are told in the Open­ing of the Pastoral, that they were ‘"both skilled in playing on the Pipe, both skilled in sing­ing."’—In Virgil's Eclogues, this Union of the Shepherd's Pipe and Song is no less clearly al­luded to. [Page 33]

Sylvestrem tenui Musam meditaris Avena:—
Formosam resonare doces Amaryllida Sylvas f.

In which Passage we have the Subject of his Song, and the Instrument with which he accompanies it. —Again,

An mihi cantando victus non redderet ille,
Quem mea Carminibus meruisset Fistula, Caprum g?

Once more, in the same Eclogue, the Union is expressly declared,

Cantando tu illum? aut unquam tibi Fistula Cera
Juncta fuit? non tu in Triviis, indocte, solebas
Stridenti miserum Stipula disperdere Carmen?

There is a Hint at it in the following Lines, which however I give you chiefly for the Sake of a Picture it contains, which perhaps you may know the next Time you look in your Glass:

Aut hic ad veteres Fagos, quum Daphnidis Arcum
Fregisti & Calamos; quae tu, perverse Menalca,
Et cum vidisti Puero donata, dolebas;
Et si non aliquâ nocuisses, mortuus esses.

Again: and, if possible, in still clearer Terms,

O Mihi tum quam molliter Ossa quiescant,
Vestra meos olim si Fistula dicat Amores h.

I could transcribe several other Passages, but shall conclude with the following; in which the Shepherd invokes his Pipe (his Tibia, the very Instrument in Question) to accompany his Song.

[Page 34] Incipe Moenalios mecum, mea Tibia, Versus i.

As to the Means by which this Union was accom­plished, whether the Pipe was inflated from above or from below, by Wind or by Water, I shall leave to Your Investigation. Is is a Subject too sublime for Me to attempt; but every Way worthy of your exalted Genius. On this, therefore, I shall commend you to your most profound Meditations, guided by Julius Pollux, Bartholine, and other learned Men who have written De Tibiis Veterum: In the mean Time, please to accept (if you will condescend so far) a little Information from that poor ignorant Fellow, Isaac Vossius: ‘"Si solas exceperis organicas Fistulas quae in Templis vulgo usurpantur, vix ullas invenias alias, quae Tibiarum dignae sunt Vocabulo k."’"Ascaul [...] seu Utricularii Veterum, nihil omnino discrepant ab hodiernis Organariis l."’ According to this Author, you see, you are ignorant even of the Genealogy of a Bag-pipe: I am sorry to be under a Necessity of joining my Evidence to his against you. For you must know, the true Scotch Bag-pipe (still used in the Highlands) is blown by the Mouth, and That blown by the Bellows is a Theft from the Continent, and probably (as the Passage of Vossius implies) delivered down from antient Times.

[Page 35] 17. Your next Attack on Dr. B. is upon the Subject of the hymnal or lyric Species: And here you charge him with confounding two Things together, which were essentially different: You affirm, that ‘"the Hymn was always written in heroic Measure, and was the more ancient Form of the two; that the lyric Ode was always written in varied Measures, and was much later in its Production, being no older than the Age of Thespis m."’ You are so confident of the Propriety and Truth of this Distinction, that you insult Dr. B. on his Ignorance; and boast, that by this Argument alone you have cut and torn his Cobweb Hypothesis n.

Of all the Men of Criticism I ever read, You, my Friend, are the most unfortunate. Had you been as well acquainted with ancient Authors as you are with your Prosody, you would not have given Dr. B. such an Oportunity of exposing your Ignor­ance. I will prevent your having the Mortifica­tion of being severely chastised; and will lay on the Rod as gently as I can, by referring you to a Passage in Dr. B's ‘"History of the Rise and Pro­gress of Poetry,"’ which I have now lying be­fore me: It is a Quotation from Proclus; in which that Author tells us, that ‘"in the Pythian No­mos, or Hymn in Praise of Apollo, Terpander (who lived after the Age of Homer) was the first who used the hexameter or heroic Verse; and that [Page 36] after Him, Phrynes joined This to the various or lyric Measure, which alone had been employ­ed before o"’ Here, then, it appears, that both (what you call) the hymnal and the lyric Measure were actually employed together, and this, many Ages before Thespis existed. It appears farther, to the total Annihilation of all your cri­tical Pretensions, that the various or lyric Measure (‘"solutum Carmen"’) was the more ancient of the two, in this Pythian Hymn or Song: so far from being the the Invention of the Age of Thespis, it was from the earliest Times employed in the Pythian Song, even as far back as the Times of Apollo. Indeed, it had been very strange, had it been otherwise. That regular Hexameters should have been invented before irregular Rythms were used, could never have been supposed by any one whose Researches had gone beyond his Prosody: But there the Hexameter standing first in Rank, it was natural enough for a mere Scanner of Verses to imagine it was the first in the Order of Nature. But how consistent you are with yourself in ano­ther Place, I leave Yourself to determine. You have told us before, that in the rudest Periods of Society, the Passions of Men naturally produce a loose Kind of Verse p (the solutum Carmen); and [Page 37] now, towards your Conclusion, you tell us that the loose Kind of Verse (the solutum Carmen) had no Existence till about the Time of Thespis, and that the regular Hexameter existed long before it. You might as reasonably affirm, that Savages built Palaces, before Caves and Cabins had Exist­ence."

19. You next proceed to deliver Your Senti­ments concerning the Rise and Progress of Tra­gedy: But as you confess that it is no more than ‘"what every School Boys knows q,"’ I shall save myself the Trouble of commenting on it; This being indeed the vulgar Track of Criticism, which Dr. B. has set himself to expose, through the Course of his Work. As therefore you offer no new Evidences, but only retail the old ones, ‘"which every School Boy knows,"’ I shall leave this Part of your Observations to shift for itself; with this general Remark, which Truth compels me to make, that the Inconsistency and Disagreement of the several ancient Writers which you quote on this Subject is so glaring; that in Fact they overturn each other's Authority, and would induce any unprejudiced Man to go in Quest of some more general and rational Foun­dation for the Rise of Tragedy, than the mere ac­cidental Adventure of Thespis and his Route: And this, I perceive, is one of the main Purposes [Page 38] of Dr. B's Inquiry; with which, if you please, we will therefore go on.

‘"To this (you say) I have a few Objections to urge.—1st, I would fain know, if this be the natural Origin of Tragedy, how it came to pass that in all Nations, except Greece, the more pathetic Drama is without a Chorus at all (r)." Critic, be a little more cautious in your Asserti­ons. In three other Instances, where Tragedy has arisen from Nature, among the Chinese, pro­per Indians, and Peruvians, Dr. B. has shewn, that in the first there is a manifest Remnant of a Choir, in the second a Choir actually exists, and in the third (that of Peru) we know not whether there was a Choir or not s. So far is it from the Truth, what you assert, that ‘"in all Nati­ons, except Greece, the more pathetic Drama is without a Chorus."’

Again, you object, ‘"If the Rise and Progress of Tragedy be so extremely natural, since every Thing that is natural is universal, how came this Species of Poetry to arise, or be cultivat­ed in Athens only, which that it was we have Plato's Word t?"’—My Remarks on this Observation are—1st, Every thing that is natu­ral is not universal, because there are different Degrees of Civilization and Knowledge among Mankind, which are attended with Accidents or Improvements peculiar and natural to each, [Page 39] but not universal or natural to all.—2. Dramatic Representation was not cultivated at Athens only: It has been cultivated in China, in India, and Peru: though ‘"we have not Plato's Word for it."’—3. The Degree of Civilization, and the concomitant Powers of the Mind, may be so weak among many Nations, as never to produce the dramatic Form, which was the Case among some of the Tribes of ancient Greece, as likewise of ancient Gaul, Britain, and other Countries.—4. The Progress of Poetry, up to the drama­tic Form, may be checked by a Variety of Acci­dents either internal or external. By Accidents internal, as among the Egyptians; where the first rude Forms of Poem and Melody were establish­ed by Law, which prevented all Change; that is, either Improvement or Corruption. And again, as among the Hebrews, where the Purity of Re­ligion prevented their Poetry from assuming the dramatic Form.—By Accidents external; as where War, Conquest, a Subversion of Religion or Go­vernment destroyed that original System of Pa­gan Principles on which natural Tragedy is built: And if, by any of these, the original Form of Tragedy was once changed, it could not proba­bly be renewed, by the mere Force of Nature.—I have been the more particular on this Article, because the Objection, though ignorantly made by You, gave Room for a farther Opening of the main Subject.

[Page 40]But 3dly, you object, that ‘"unfortunately it is declared as fully as any thing can or need be, that the ancient Tragedy consisted of a Chorus alone, and without an Actor u."’—I suppose you mean it was so at Athens; but does it therefore follow that it wore the same Form every where else? Dr. B. has prov­ed (in a Passage which must soon rise up in Judgment against you) that even in the earliest Celebration of the Pythian Games at Delphi, there was a narrative (if not a dramatic) Episode, divided into five Acts: From this Passage it far­ther appears that long before the Time of Thes­pis, or even of Homer, this Episode was perform­ed by a single Person, and not by the Choir w. Now if this existed at Delphi, even soon after the Age of Apollo, what is it to the Purpose to say that it did not exist at Athens? Dr. B. is investi­gating the Rise of Tragedy from Nature and finds its first rude Form existing at Delphi, in or about the Time of Apollo: and to disprove This, you most philosophically endeavour to make it out, that it did not appear at Athens till many Ages after. This is another of your new Modes of Confutation.

Your 4th Objection is as follows. ‘"It will likewise follow from the Doctor's System, that the Choral Part would be of Course, only an Appendage to the Episode; and the Chorus [Page 41] would be but a supposed Spectator of the Ac­tion, or a subordinate Personagein it: But that the contrary does happen in striking In­stances, is well known to those, whose Ideas of Greek Tragedy are taken from Eschylus, Eu­ripides, and Sophocles; not merely from Dis­sertations, Bibliotheca's, and Institutiones Poe­ticae x."’—Again:— ‘"The Chorus, in several ancient Tragedies, are themselves principal Per­sonages, and deeply interested:—in two, Eu­menides and Iketides, they are the leading Per­sonages, &c.’ y.—In Reply to this, I shall give you the following Paragraph, from Dr. B's His­tory of Poetry.

"By thus tracing the tragic Choir to its true Foundation, the savage Song-Feast; we are now inabled to give a clear and easy Solution to a Difficulty which hath embarrassed all the Critics. It hath been held a Circumstance un­accountable or absurd, that the Choir, in seve­ral of the ancient Greek Tragedies, should be made privy to some of the most atrocious De­signs, and yet should not reveal them, though its Character was confessedly moral. This in­deed, on the common Supposition, that the Choir originally made an essential Part of the dramatic Persons, is a thorough Absurdity. But in Reality it appears in the savage Song-Feast, [Page 42] that they who recite or represent the Action, are a Body quite distinct from the Choir; and that the Choir, in its original State, is indeed the Audience who surround the Narrator or Actor, and answer him at every Pause, with Shouts of Triumph, Approbation, or Dislike. This being so, how could they (the Choir or Audience) pro­perly reveal any secret Designs, either good or bad?—To whom should they reveal them? To each other?—This was needless, because they knew them already.—Must they, then, reveal them to the Actors of the Drama? This could only have confounded the Representation, and destroyed the Plot. It would have been pre­cisely on a Level with the Practice of an honest Country Lad, who was present at the Represen­tation of OTHELLO: When he foresaw, that IAGO's Treachery was likely to end tragically for poor DESDEMONA, he called aloud to OTHELLO, Sir, the Rascal lies: he stole the Handkerchief himself.—This naturally leads to the Elucidation of another Circumstance. In the Beginning of the Time of ESCHYLUS, the Choir consisted of no less than fifty Persons: Afterwards the Number was lessened to fifteen. How came it to pass, that in the more barba­rous Periods the Number should be so much greater? Manifestly (on the Principles here given) because that rude Age bordered on the savage Times, when the whole Audience had [Page 43] sympathized with the narrative Actor, and be­came as one general Choir.

"This Solution naturally clears up another Circumstance, which is unaccountable on the common System. If the Choir were originally a Part of the dramatic Actors, why were they placed in a Balcony or Gallery, separate from the Stage? No good Reason can be assigned. But if we suppose them to have been originally the Spectators of the Drama, we see they were in their natural and proper Situation.

"But to this it may be objected, "that the Choir sometimes maintains a Dialogue with the Actor, in the Greek Tragedies; and ought there­fore to be regarded as a dramatic Person."—To this (which hath been observed above) it is reply'd, that though the Choir sometimes speaks, yet this is only by its Leader, and then only occasionally, and from Necessity, to fill the Place of another Actor, when no more than one or two are upon the Stage. For this Reason ESCHYLUS uses the Expedient oftener than his Successors, because his dramatic Persons were fewer. But though the Choir sometimes speak by their Leader, yet they never take Part in the Action; as sufficiently appears by their not revealing the Secrets of it.

"It may be urged again, that in the Eume­nides and Iketides of ESCHYLUS, the Choir is certainly to be considered as a dramatic Person, because they are indeed the chief Actors in [Page 44] the Drama. True; they are so: but though this Objection looks formidable, yet on a deeper Consideration, the Bugbear will vanish—ESCHY­LUS was desirous to represent an Action of fifty Furies, and another of fifty Da [...]aids, at a Time when only two dramatic Persons were allow­ed by Custom to come on the Stage together. What Expedient could he use? Why, surely, no other than That which we find he hath used: To throw these numerous Bodies into the Form of a Choir; and thus he gained them Admittance on the Stage.—To speak with Precision, therefore, we ought to say, that the Action of these two Tragedies passeth without a Choir, that is, without any supposed Specta­tors who take no Part in it z."

I hope that in your next Edition, you will prove this strange Paragraph to be a Heap of Nonsense and Absurdity; or perswade the Reader by all Means (if you can) that Dr. B. picked it out of some Dissertation, Bibliotheca, or Institutio Poe­tica.

I must now give you a gentle Rebuke, for rashly charging Dr. B. either with Ignorance or Hypocrisy, for saying that ‘"we are assured, on the Authority of other Writers, that a Report prevailed in Greece, that certain Poets had in ancient Times contended at the Tomb of The­seus."—This, you affirm, happened at a late Pe­riod [Page 45] (which late Period, by the Way, Dr. B. had mentioned in his Dissertation a, when Sophocles won the Prize from Eschylus; and then you leave it to Dr. B's Choice, whether he will sub­mit to the Charge of Ignorance or Dissimulation. Now I perceive, that in the History of Poetry, he has cleared himself of both b and left the Public to fix upon You what Name they please.

What that Name is, you may guess from the next Remark I am now compelled to make. For (as a Reader of some Curiosity observed to me) ‘"after the Critic had charged Dr. B. in his Text, with Dishonesty or Ignorance; in a sly Corner of a Note, which he supposed many Readers would pass over, he confesses that his Charge is groundless: and says, a Friend then with me, told me he feared I was mistaken. This Charge, then (continued the Gentleman) though at first it might possibly have been written by Mistake, yet was certainly persisted in and printed in Hy­pocrisy and Malice; because both the Charge [Page 46] against Dr. B. and the Confession of its Falshood are printed on the same Page; and therefore nothing is more certain, than that he might have struck out this Slander, if he pleased."’

You proceed: ‘"But now follows a Passage, which I do look upon to be the Master-piece of Dr. B's whole Work: where I know not which most to admire, the Learning, Exactness, Fi­delity, or Judgment c."’—You then proceed to translate at large a Passage from Strabo, which Dr. B. hath refered to, and in Part transcribed. This Passage relates to the Pythian Nomos or Song; and Dr. B. having alledged it, to prove that the rude Form of Tragedy existed many Ages before Thespis, you affirm on the contrary that Dr. B's Argument is a Heap of Ignorance, Blunder, and Misrepresentation: You endeavour to perswade the Reader, 1st That this Pythian Nomos, Hymn, or Song, did not exist till after the Crissaean War, which was about the Time of Thespis. 2dly, That Dr. B. asserts or supposes this Crissaean War to have been before the Time of Homer. 3dly, That the musical Contest al­luded to by Strabo was merely instrumental. 4thly, That the Nature of this musical Contest was not well understood, and was only explained in a particular Manner, by one who lived three hundred Years after d. On this Subject, I presume the following Paragraph may give you entire Satisfaction.

[Page 47] ‘"But a still stronger Evidence presents it­self: For even the very Substance and Form of one of these rude Outlines of savage Tra­gedy remains in several respectable Authors of Antiquity: I mean; in their Accounts of the Celebration of the Pythian Games. These were first celebrated in the times of APOLLO himself; and contained a mimetic Narration, by poetic Song, Melody, and Dance, of his Victory over the Python. This Representa­tion was called the Pythian Nomos; and underwent the following Changes or Improve­ments through the several successive Periods of Antiquity."’ ‘"The Poem called Nomos had APOLLO for its Subject; and took its Name from Him: For APOLLO was named Nomimos, because in ancient Times, when the whole Choir used to sing the Nomos to the Pipe or Lyre, CHRYSOTHEMIS the Cretan was the first who, clad in a splendid Robe, and playing on the Harp, sung the Nomos alone, in Imi­tation of APOLLO'S Victory; and being much applauded, this Form of the Contest remained to After-Ages e."’What this Form was, [Page 48]we learn from the following Accounts. ‘The Poem was divided into five Parts or Acts. The first contained the Preparation for the Fight; the second, the Challenge; the third exhibited the Fight itself; the fourth, the Victory of APOLLO; the fifth contained the Triumph of the God, who danced after his Victory f.’‘"It appears that TERPANDER improved the Nomos, by adding the heroic Measure: After Him, ARION inlarged it greatly; being both a Poet and a Performer on the Harp. PHRYNES introduced a new Circumstance; for he joined the Hexameter with the various Measure g."’—In a later [Page 49] Period, this poetic and musical Representation was ‘"formally established at DELPHI, after the Crissaean War h."’ ‘Afterwards the Am­phictyons added a Contest of Music merely instrumental i; but preserved what had been practised in former Times: "There was the Song to the Harp, as formerly; there was the Song to the Tibia or Pipe; and there was the Pipe itself without Song k." This Addition of Music merely instrumental was likewise imitative; being designed as a mimetic Description, by mere Melody, of the Battle between APOLLO and the Python. It consisted likewise of five Parts, corresponding with those of the ancient Song l.—"TI­MOSTHENES, in the Time of the second Pto­lomy, writ a Poem descriptive and explanatory of this musical Contention: According to this Author, the Subject was the Victory of APOLLO over the Serpent. The first Part was the Prelude to the Battle; the second was the [Page 50] Beginning of the Engagement; the third was the Battle itself; the fourth was the Paean or Triumph on the Victory; the fifth was an Imitation of the Agonies and Hissing of the dying Serpent m."’

Now, though these ancient Authors differ from each other in two or three trifling Cir­cumstances; yet, as to every thing essential, they perfectly agree. And from their concur­rent Evidence, we have clear Proof of the fol­lowing Facts. 1. That the immediate Followers of APOLLO began these poetic and musical Con­tests. 2. That till CHRYSOTHEMIS appeared (in, or near the Time of APOLLO) there subsisted only a Choir. 3. That He first sung the Episode, single and alone. 4. That his Song was a mime­tic Narration, or Imitation of APOLLO's Victory. 5. That the Form which He gave to This, continued through succeeding Times. 6. That [Page 51] this Poem was divided into five Parts or Acts, containing a progressive Description and Imita­tion of the Battle and Victory. And lastly, that Songs of Triumph, Exultation, Sarcasm, and Contempt, together with a correspondent Dance, accompanied the narrative Episode n.

Thus, in this most ancient Pythian Song, as delivered down from the Times of APOLLO himself, and performed and augmented through the succeeding Periods of ancient GREECE; we have the very Substance and Form of a first rude Essay towards Tragedy, divided into five Acts, and compounded of poetic Narration, imitative Music, Dance, and Choral Song.—And it is worthy of singular Observation, that through this whole representative Scene, of APOLLO singing, dancing, and praising his own Exploits; the ancient Greek Historians transport us, as it were, into the Wilds of modern America; and present to us the genuine Picture of a savage Chieftain o.

[Page 52] "It appears, therefore, that Tragedy had a much earlier and deeper Foundation in ancient GREECE, than the accidental Adventure of THESPIS and his Route: That it arose from Nature, and an unforced Union and Progression of Melody, Dance, and poetic Song p."

You see here, that your whole critical Fabric is annihilated at a Blow. For 1st, it appears on the clearest Evidence, that this Pythian Song was performed in ancient Times; even as ancient as those of Apollo himself. 2dly, It appears, that when you charge Dr. B. with Ignorance, in sup­posing the Crissaean War to have been before the Time of Homer; your Objection is unhappily founded on your own Ignorance, on your not un­derstanding Strabo nor Dr. B. who both speak of two different Periods, which you have pro­foundly jumbled into one. 3dly, It appears, that this musical Contest was not merely instrumental, but contained a mimetic Song, performed by a single Person, in Imitation of Apollo's Victory: and 4thly, we are at no Loss for the essential Parts of it; but know certainly that it contained a progressive Description of Apollo's Battle and Victory over the Python.

And now, let me cordially advise you for the future to be less insolent in a State of imagined Security and Conquest; lest your own Expres­sions [Page 53] should be retorted upon you:—Thus,—‘"a few such Mistakes as Mr.—here pre­sents you in a Bunch, would serve a Man of ordinary Genius to spread through a whole Book."’‘"Is it not a fine Thing for a Man to set up for an Instructor of Mankind, who is ignorant of what his commonest Readers know q:"’—And other modest Expressions, scattered through your Work, of the same Nature.

20. The same Spirit still impels you to pro­ceed: though I look upon you now, as little more than the Ghost of a departed Critic.—Dr. B. hav­ing endeavoured to prove, by a Variety of Argu­ments, that Eschylus was an original Writer, and not a mere Imitator of Homer, you say, you can oppose ‘"the Testimony of Eschylus himself; of whom it was a common and well-known Saying, as Athenoeus tells us, that his Pieces were small Scraps or Morsels of the magnificent Entertain­ment of Homer r."’—I could not but smile at your Simile of the Faggot-Binder; and thought you had got a small Advantage over Dr. B. till I looked into the ‘"History of Poetry, where I found the following Note. It is said, indeed, of ES­CHYLUS, that he called his Tragedies no more than Fragments of the magnificent Entertain­ment given by HOMER."’Now this Expression ‘"being only metaphorical, we ought to interpret [Page 54] it in that Sense only, to which a Comparison of their Writings leads us. And, as it appears that there is no Resemblance between them, either in the particular Subjects, or in the Manner of treating them; the only rational Interpretation that can be given, seems to be this "that the Subjects of his Tragedies were only small Mor­sels or Fragments of the Grecian Story; whereas HOMER had given a general System of their fabulous History, both in a more extensive and a more connected Manner."’

22. You accuse Dr. B. of treating the Author of Elfrida and Caractacus with Indignity s.—Now, what has that Author to do in the present Debate? Are You in any Respect concerned for the Reception or Credit of his Works? Or after all, is there not some other Author on whose Account you are so touched to the Quick, though you are too prudent to mention or even to hint at him?

But if Dr. B. has treated the Author of Elfrida with Indignity, how do you know that that Author had not first deserved it, by treating himself with Indignity?—I could say more; for I have heard more: but it is neither generous, nor worth while, to disturb the Ashes of the Dead.

23. You go on: ‘"The Union of Music with Tragedy, he says, was never accounted for; to which I add, nor is it yet: But of that you will [Page 55] hear another Time t."’—Come on then with your Proofs; for of your Affirmations we have had enough.

24. ‘"Concerning his Comment on Aristotle's Definition of Tragedy (you add) I have more to say than You or I have, at present Time for u."’ My learned Friend, find a little Time if you can: I am satisfyed, that Your Comment will be a great Curiosity.

25. This Article is of Consequence to the main Question: and therefore I must be particu­lar in my Remarks.—You say, ‘"On his Ac­count of the Masque and Buskin, which he says arose from the Custom of selecting the tallest and strongest Men for their Chiefs; I have to observe, that the Actions of their Tragedies are almost universally taken from a Period in which their Kingdoms were hereditary; and in which Men succeeded not by Election, for Bulk, or any thing else, but by Birth and Descent w."’—Here, you not only affirm, but you reason: I wish I could say, like a Man, and not like a Child.—What is it to the Purpose whence the Subjects of the more modern Tragedies of Eschy­lus, Sophocles, and Euripides were taken? To satisfy Dr. B. in this Point, you must tell him what were the Subjects of all those fifteen Tragedians, who were prior to the Age of Thespis. Nay, I question whether he will be content with this [Page 56] (for we have found him very exorbitant in his Claims) but will insist upon your telling him, what were the Subjects of all the oldest irregular savage Bards, who existed as early, or perhaps even more early, than Apollo himself. This will carry us, you see, up to the Period of savage Life, in which we must allow (I am afraid) that ‘"the tallest and strongest Men are commonly se­lected as Chiefs."’—But then you will say, ‘"that the Masque was the Invention of a later Age: even a later than Thespis himself."’—In Attica, possibly it might be so. But though Eschylus is said by some, to have been the Inventor of the Masque, yet Aristotle fairly confesses that its Ori­gin is absolutely unknown; and Clemens Alexan­drinus affirms that it was in Use, even in the Times of Orpheus. These Circumstances are not a little favourable to Dr. B's System; and seem to imply, that dramatic Representation had existed in Greece, though not perhaps at Athens, even as long ago as the Age of Orpheus. And it is be­yond all Doubt, that a very little before the Age of Orpheus, the Time was, when ‘"the Savages elected the tallest and strongest Men for Chiefs."’

26, &c.—You now declare, you are tired with the Task of ‘"combating Chimeras x."’ And truly, so am I.—We will therefore hasten to a [Page 57] Conclusion as fast as possible. Some few scat­tered Observations only now remain.

You charge Dr. B. with an Error in ‘"in­sisting that the last Institution of the Pythian Games was no more than a Separation of the Gymnastic Exercises from the Musical; whereas the Words of Strabo, whom he quotes, are as clear as possible, that only the Musical sub­sisted before, and that the Gymnastic and Equestrian were then added to them y."’ For Truth's and Decency's Sake, do not give Dr. B. so many repeated Occasions of calling your Sincerity in Question. Who would not believe, from the Tenor of this Passage, but that Dr. B. in his Quotation from Strabo, had some how or other disguised this Circumstance, of the Addition of the gymnastic and equestrian Exer­cises? Yet, on looking into the Passage in Dr. B's Dissertation, I find it quoted in the very same Words. Indeed, the Doctor questions the strict Propriety of Strabo's saying ‘"that the gymnastic Exercises were added;" because he conceives they were there before, making a Part of the ancient Musical Exercises, under the Denomina­tion of the Dance z."’ This he has attempted to prove by some very plausible Arguments, I must confess: not one of which you have dis­proved. However, what you cannot disprove, you can misrepresent; which, with some Readers, may do as well.

[Page 58]Again, you charge him with ‘"interpreting as an Account of the Effect of Music on Manners, what Plato means only as an Illus­tration of the ill Effects of a licentious demo­cratic Spirit, &c. a."’ On the contrary, Dr. B. has made it appear, by Passages quoted from Plato himself, that Plato's Argument included both these Causes. b.

Another Censure is on ‘"his supposing that the Writings of Archilochus were banished from Sparta on Account of their sarcastic Turn, which was indeed on Account of their Obscenity c."’ As the Passage in Dr. B. is short, I will give it entire; that every one may judge for himself. ‘"The Spartans ordered the Writings of Archilochus to be banished from their City, because they thought the Perusal of them was dangerous to the Purity of Man­ners d."’In a correspondent Article, he ex­plains himself still more particularly: ‘"because nothing could be more dangerous to a Common­wealth established on Severity of Manners, than the unbounded Licentiousness of Sentiment and Speech, which this (the old) Comedy must tend to produce e."’—Seriously I am at a Loss, how to express myself properly on this Occasion; and therefore shall briefly set down this, as an­other Instance of your Modesty.

[Page 59] I shall now conclude all, with a most shining Proof of your being eminently possessed of this great Virtue. After very notably squabbling with Dr. B. about a dubious Passage in Xeno­phon, and quarrelling him for not rendering it exactly as You would have him; you charge him with falsely translating the Word [...] the better to serve his Purpose: You affirm, that this Word does not imply "good and virtuous Men,"’ but ‘"only the rich or powerful, the better Sort as we say f."’—Now, my most ingenuous Friend, turn back to the 34th and 35th Pages of your own Work, and you will see a Gorgon's Head, which (if you are not totally melted into Modesty) will turn you into Stone. Here we find this very Word translated by your good Self, in that very Sense in which Dr. B. had translated it. ‘"The Reason (say You) why Poets are to be honoured is, [...] for their Admoni­tions, and bettering their Fellow-Citizens."’—Reader, ‘"you may stare:"’ but the Assertion lies open to broad Day Light in his 34th and 35th Pages.—"Wits have short Memories (says Pope) and Dunces none:" But one Class of Men there is, who, all the World agree, either have, or ought to have GOOD MEMORIES.

Two or three other Paragraphs there are, on which I might very reasonably bestow a far­ther [Page 60] Panegyric: But this last contains so deli­cate a Picture of your amiable Mind, and of the generous Motives that set you to work, to criticize Dr. B. that I am unwilling to draw off the Reader from the Contemplation of so sweet a Pourtrait.

Thus, through the Course of my Remarks, you see I have been very free, but very friendly. I cannot help congratulating you on your good For­tune, in falling into the Hands of one who has made great Allowances for your Imperfections; and even passes over many inferior Blots, which a censorious Critic would have hit h. The more so, because you openly profess to treat Dr. B's Errors with Severity i; whereas mere Errors have ever been supposed to merit Indulgence. Add to this, that your Bitterness to a Man who has put his Name to his Work, while You conceal Yours, has (in the Opinion of some People) the Air of dishonest Cowardice, and what they will needs call stabbing in the Dark.

[Page 61]You conclude with a solemn Charge against Dr. B. of his being ‘"flagrantly guilty of mis­quoting Authors."’ I wish you had better main­tained this heavy Charge: I am bold to say, that the Instances you have produced have turned out to the Confirmation of his System, and little to your Honour. Give me leave to put you in Mind of a Passage in a certain Book, which relates to a Man's pulling a Mote out of his Brother's Eye, while he sees not the Beam that is in his own.

I will now conclude with a Hint of Advice to you; in which I am sure I shall deserve your Thanks, whether I obtain them or not. I mean only to exhort you for the future to stick to that Species of Criticism for which you are apparently qualified. In every Instance where you attack the larger Parts of Dr. B's System, my Regard to Truth obliges me to say, that you fail most miserably. But when you get hold of him upon a minute Article, you are sure to pinch him to the Bone. Thus on the wide Subject of the old Greek Religion, the Origin of poetic Num­bers, the Genius of savage Manners, the Rise and Progressions of Poetry consequent on these, with several other large and extensive Articles of Inquiry, you are totally off your Ground: But to make Amends for this small Defect, you are amply re­venged by detecting him in the important Blunder [Page 62] of calling Herophile by the Name of Phenomoë, stiling Pindar's Chair a Chair of Gold, when it was only of Iron: And in the painful and labori­ous Article of Prosody or scanning Verses, Isaac Vossius himself is forced to yield to you.

Now, as you observe in the Beginning of your Work, ‘"Multi multa possunt, sed nemo omnia."’—Nobody can have at once the microscopic and the telescopic Eye. Therefore, improve the Talent which Nature has given you: If you cannot see [...], cultivate that Kind of Vision which is [...]: that is, if you cannot comprehend large and distant Objects, apply yourself diligent­ly to the near-at-hand or purblind Criticism.

With this Advice, I shall take my Leave of you; esteeming it a sufficient Waste of Time and Labour, thus for once to have un­masqued the empty Parade of a trifling and disinge­nuous Caviler.

Personam Tragicam forte Vulpes viderat:
O quanta Species, inquit, cerebrum non habet!
Fig. 1. The Scale of•

&c. B♭♭ E♭, C♭ G♭, D♭ A♭𝄀E♭ B♭, F C, G D; A E, B F♯, C♯ G♯𝄀D♯ A♯, E♯ B♯, F♯♯ C♯♯ &c.

Fig. 2. The Foreboard.
Fig. 3. A complete Foreboard.
Fig. 4. A general pattern for the Sliders
Fig. 5. The Scale for tuning.


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