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When January, newly in his Reign,

With frosty Fetters bound the rugged Plain. The History is this: January was the eldest Son of December, and mounted the Throne of his An, cestors on the Demise of his Father. Now these Lines are fine indirect Satire on Kings : for you sec King January is no sooner pop'd upon the Throne, than he makes use of Fetters to bind his Dominions to Submiffion. Reges, Reges !

Rugged Plain.] See, Note the Second,

And o'er the Pool outspread the icy Sheet,

Tempting to slipp'ry Sport the School-Boy's Feet; Zoilus, Jun. cavils at this first Verse, as not thinking it a proper Employment for King January to turn Chamberlain. But sure, he forgot that even Princesses of old would darn Stockings, or mend Towels, or do any such housewifely Work. Then sure our new Monarch might make a Bed without Scandal, as the Sheets were doubtless of the finest Ice,

Two Youths, whose Birth the highest Reve,

rence claim,
Sweet Buds of Honour, rip’ning into Fame;
Left the warm Hearth, to taste the freezing Air,
Twixt hissing Woods by rocking Winds stript

bare. Philosophers have not yet fized the trye Taste of freezing Air ; though we inay learn from this Passage that it was not warm ; because then the two Youths would not have left the warm Hearth, to taste it between hilling Woods ; so that we may conclude it to be hissing cold.

-By rocking Winds stript bare.] Rocking Winds. Nonsense. We must certainly read, robbing Winds, and then the Sense is complete. The Winds were ą fort of Free-Booty Gentlemen, that stript the poor

Woods

Woods to the Skin, and left them (in' worse Condition than Adam and Eve) without so much as a Leaf to cover their Nakedness.

WRB-RT-N.

turn.

The starting Deer before their Footsteps fly,

And turning shiver with astonish'd Eye. The ordinary Reader will not be able to comprehend this Passage. It means, that the Deer run away from them, that they shiver with Cold, that they turn to look, and consequently with an Eye, which Eye is astonished : And as they shiver and have an Eye, they must shiver with that Eye; and they must also shiver in turning, and turn in shivering: and so they turn and shiver, and thiver and

WRB-RT-N. Zoilus asks what their Eye is astonished at ? Why, at Fifty Things; at the Buds of Honour, the hiffing Woods, the rocking Winds, Icy Sheet, rugged Plain, frosty Fetters.

On Nature's Fingers turn'd, their Locks embrac'd

Their vi'let Temples, pittoresquely grac'di Nature is here elegantly represented as a TyreWoman, or rather Woman-Barber; and as Barbers bind the Hair round their Fingers to make it curl, our Poet properly says, 'On Nature's Fingers turned,' to express, that their Locks curled naturally. So intiinately he knows Arts and Artists.

Vilet Temples.] A less judicious Writer would have said, Snow-white, and that not improperly, as it was the Snowy Season. But how much more fignificant is the Epithet, Violet? For as Violets are blue, and 'tis common in cold frosty Weather for the Nofe to look blue, so the Temples will be blue or violet, in so severe a Frost.

The Cotton MS. has two Lines immediately after these, which seem to come from our Author,

And

-F 3

And Fové, kind Barber, from his Heav'nly Puff,
Those Locks to powder, lhook down Snow enough.

The furious Blasts, with which the Forest mews,

Dancing the Curls, their falvage Nature lose. Every Naturalist knows how such Forests, agitated by the Wind, in their Sound resemble the Cry of a Cat, especially if the growls a little, at the same Time she mews.

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Lonely they wander'd thro? the leafless Shade,
And nowi beside the frozen Water play'do ??!!.

How careful is our Poet to let us know that the Shade here meant is leafters, left immediately on mentioning the Shade of Trees we should look for Leaves, and be disappointed. We are not too nicely to enquire how the Shade was made ; for this is one of the Mysteries, which fublime Poets are allowed to conceal from vulgar Apprehensions.

Doubting its Strength, they try the brittle Sides,
Now lighter George towards the Centre glides ;
March views his vent'rous Feet, while gen'rous

Fear · Tortures the Eyebrows of the tender Peer. ti By March is not meant, as some will have it, the - Month fo called ; because it was January that was

then King; and as he was but newly in his, Reign just before, we can hardly suppose him to be dethroned fo foon.

The trembling Trees their lengthen'd Arms extend,
And leaning, push'd by Winds, towards him bend,

It is a Doubt whether the Trees would have bent towards him, had they not been pushed by the - Winds. For my Part, I am inclined to think they

would; for had they been unwilling to do it, they need not have stretched out their Arms, as they did,

but

but could have kept them close to their Sides. And that they were earnest to help them, is confirmed by what follows immediately :

But vainly stretching out their Fingers grey,

They whisp'ring call, and beckon him away. What a fad Fright must they be in? They not only stretch out their Arms but their Fingers. Fingers grey, is an elegant and just Expression; though it requires a little Circumlocution to explain it. Hoary signifies grey (as Canus in Latin, and hoary Hairs are the same as "grey Hairs) and hoary likewise means frosty, from Hoar-frost. Now as the Fingers of the Trees were covered with the Frost, they were hoary, and if hoáry, grey. How judiciously does our Poet employ his Epithets !' W-RB-RT-N.

Zoilus, Jun. impertinently cayils at this truly grand Passage, in the following Words: “What Occasion (says he had the Poet to say, that the Trees stretched out their Fingers, when he had told us before, that they extended their Arms. This is Tautology. And why (says the Critic) did they only whispering call him? They should have hollaed out as loud as they could bawl, or else they could

not be heard. So far Zoilus; but in the first Place, Fingers here is not Tautology; for could not the Trees stretch out their Arms, and yet double their Fifts ? Besides it was necessary, you fee, for the Trees to stretch out their Fingers, as well as their Arms, to beckon him away. As to the Second Remark, would he have the poor Trees do more than they could ? A whole Forest, when heartily thumped' by furious Blalts, could but mew at most, as we find fome Lines above; then surely the simple Trees could but whisper. And as they grew very near the Bank, Whispering was enough, and could very well be heard. Nay, if they could not, somebody else might; For F4

The

The Ice with crackling Voice bids him retreat,
And from the Centre underneath his Feet,

Darts to the Banks his shining Character. The older MSS. have it, cackling Voice; but, as Scaliger observes, this Expreffton can only be applied to a Goose: wherefore he rightly alters it to crackling, which is the Tone of Voice Ice always speaks in.

The Sun beholds the Silver-beaming Star,
And veils in thick’ning Clouds his melting Light,

The Winter-monarch shivers at the Sight.
By the Winter-monarch is certainly meant his frigid
Majesty,

King January, newly in his Reign.' who, though Cold is as natural to him as his Skin, yet could nut help shivering at this lamentable Spectacle.

While from his Icicle-fring' Seat of Snow,
In frozen Equipage, amid the Blow
Of Ice-lip'd Winds, o'er Hail-white Pavements

rolld, He breath'd from Marble Lungs increasing Cold. We have here a particular Description of his Majesty's State Coach. The Cushion was made of the finest blanched Snow, and edged round with a beautiful Fringe of Icicles, a la-mode de Paris. And when his Majesty chofe to taste (or take)

the Freezing Air,' he always went in a frozen Equipage, which, instead of being dragged by Horses, was pushed along by half a Dozen chubby-faced Winds with Lips of Ice, and rattled over the Ways which were paved with huge Hail-stones. How suitable is this to the Grandeur of a Winter-monarch! And how much does it exceed the famous Description of Neptune in Hoiner's lliad, Book the 13th.

And

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