Original text in yellow, anagram in pink.

A paraphrase in verse of Jonathan Swift's Battle of the Books. Each stanza is aligned with the segment of the original text that it paraphrases, and occasional explanatory footnotes are provided in the form of links.

At 42,177 letters, this is the longest anagram in existence.

BATTLE OF THE BOOKS

A Full and True
A C C O U N T OF THE BATTLE
Fought last F R I D A Y
Between the
Ancient and the Modern
BOOKS
IN
St.  J A M E S's  LIBRARY.

 

Whoever examines with due Circumspection into the Annual Records of Time,

will find it remarked that War is the child of Pride, and Pride the daughter of Riches;

The former of which Assertions may be soon granted; but one cannot so easily subscribe to the latter:

For Pride is nearly related to Beggary and Want, either by Father or Mother, and sometimes by both;

And, to speak naturally, it very seldom happens among Men to fall out, when all have enough:

Invasions usually travelling from North to South, that is to say, from Poverty upon Plenty.

The most Ancient and natural Grounds of Quarrels, are Lust and Avarice;

which, though' we may allow to be Brethren or collateral Branches of Pride, are certainly the Issues of Want.

For, to speak in the Phrase of Writers upon the Politics, we may observe in the Republic of Dogs,

(which in its Original seems to be an Institution of the Many)

that the whole State is ever in the profoundest Peace, after a full Meal;

and, that Civil Broils arise among them, when it happens for one great Bone to be seized on by some leading Dog,

who either divides it among the Few,

and then it falls to an Oligarchy, or keeps it to Himself, and then it runs up to a Tyranny.

The same Reasoning also, holds Place among them, in those Dissensions we behold upon a Turgescency in any of their Females. For, the Right of Possession lying in common (it being impossible to establish a Property

in so delicate a Case) Jealousies and Suspicions do so abound,

that the whole Commonwealth of that Street, is reduced to a manifest State of War, of every Citizen against every Citizen;

till some One of more Courage, Conduct, or Fortune than the rest, seizes and enjoys the Prize;

Upon which, naturally arises Plenty of Heartburning, Envy, and Snarling against the Happy Dog.

Again, if we look upon any of these Republics engaged in a Foreign War,

either of Invasion or Defense,

we shall find, the same Reasoning will serve, as to the Grounds and Occasions of each;

and that Poverty, or Want, in some Degree or other, (whether Real, or in Opinion, which makes no Alteration in the Case)

has a great Share, as well as Pride, on the part of the Aggressor.

 

Now, whoever will please to take this Scheme, and either reduce or adapt it to an Intellectual State, or Commonwealth of Learning,

will soon discover the first Ground of Disagreement between the two great Parties at this Time in Arms;

and may form just Conclusions upon the Merits of either Cause.

But the Issue or Events of this War are not so easy to conjecture at: For, the present Quarrel is so inflamed by the warm Heads of either Faction,

and the Pretensions somewhere or other so exorbitant,

as not to admit the least Overtures of Accommodation:

This Quarrel first began (as I have heard it affirmed by an old Dweller in the Neighborhood)

about a small Spot of Ground, lying and being upon one of the Two tops of the Hill Parnassus;

the highest and largest of which had, it seems, been time out of Mind, in quiet Possession of certain Tenants, call'd the Ancients; And the other was held by the Moderns.

But, these disliking their present Station,

sent certain Ambassadors to the Ancients, complaining of a great Nuisance,

how the Height of that Part of Parnassus,

quite spoiled the Prospect of theirs, especially towards the East;

and therefore, to avoid a War, offered them the Choice of this Alternative;

either that the Ancients would please to remove themselves and their Effects down to the lower Summity, which the Moderns would graciously surrender to them, and advance in their Place;

or else the said Ancients will give leave to the Moderns to come with Shovels and Mattocks, and level the said Hill, as low as they shall think it convenient.

To which the Ancients made Answer: How little they expected such a Message as this, from a Colony,

whom they had admitted out of their own Free Grace, to so near a Neighborhood.

 

That, as to their own Seat, they were Aborigines of it,

and therefore, to talk with them of Removal or Surrender, was a Language they did not understand.

That, if the Height of the Hill, on their side, shortened the Prospect of the Moderns, it was a Disadvantage they could not help,

but desired them to consider, whether that Injury (if it be any) were not largely recompensed by the Shade and Shelter it afforded them.

That, as to leveling or digging down, it was either Folly or Ignorance to propose it,

if they did, or did not know, how that side of the Hill was an entire Rock,

which would break their Tools and Hearts; without any Damage to itself.

That they would therefore advise the Moderns, rather to raise their own side of the Hill, than dream of pulling down

that of the Ancients, to the former of which, they would not only give License, but also largely contribute.

All this was rejected by the Moderns, with much Indignation, who still insisted upon one of the two Expedients;

And so this Difference broke out into a long and obstinate War,

maintained on the one Part, by Resolution, and by the Courage of certain Leaders and Allies;

but, on the other, by the greatness of their Number, upon all Defeats, affording continual Recruits.

 

In this Quarrel, whole Rivulets of Ink have been exhausted, and the Virulence of both Parties enormously augmented. Now, it must be here understood, that Ink is the great missive Weapon, in all Battles of the Learned, which, conveyed through a sort of Engine, call'd a Quill,

infinite Numbers of these are darted at the Enemy, by the Valiant on each side, with equal Skill and Violence, as if it were an Engagement of Porcupines.

This malignant Liquor was compounded by the Engineer, who invented it, of two Ingredients,

which are Gall and Copperas, by its Bitterness and Venom, to Suit in some Degree, as well as to Foment the Genius of the Combatants.

And as the Grecians, after an Engagement, when they could not agree about the Victory, were wont to set up Trophies on both sides, the beaten Party being content to be at the same Expense, to keep it self in Countenance

(A laudable and Ancient Custom, happily revived of late in the Art of War) so the Learned, after a sharp and bloody Dispute,

do on both sides hang out their Trophies too, which-ever comes by the worst. These Trophies have largely inscribed on them the Merits of the Cause; a full impartial Account of such a Battle, and how the Victory fell clearly to the Party that set them up.

They are known to the World under several Names: As,

Disputes, Arguments, Rejoinders, Brief Considerations, Answers, Replies, Remarks, Reflections, Objections, Confutations.

For a very few Days they are fixed up all in Public Places, either by themselves or their Representatives, for Passengers to gaze at: From whence the chiefest and largest are removed to certain Magazines, they call Libraries, there to remain in a Quarter purposely assign'd them,

and thenceforth begin to be call'd, Books of Controversy. In these Books, is wonderfully instilled and preserved, the Spirit of each Warrior, while he is alive; and after his Death, his Soul transmigrates there, to inform them.

This, at least, is the more common Opinion; But, I believe, it is with Libraries, as with other Cemeteries,

where some Philosophers affirm,

that a certain Spirit, which they call Brutum hominis, hovers over the Monument, till the Body is corrupted, and turns to Dust or to Worms, but then vanishes or dissolves:

So, we may say, a restless Spirit haunts over every Book,

till Dust or Worms have seized upon it; which to some, may happen in a few Days, but to others, later;

And therefore, Books of Controversy, being of all others, haunted by the most disorderly Spirits,

have always been confined in a separate Lodge from the rest; and for fear of mutual violence against each other, it was thought Prudent by our Ancestors, to bind them to the Peace with strong Iron Chains.

 

Of which Invention, the original Occasion was this: When the Works of Scotus first came out, they were carried to a certain great Library, and had Lodgings appointed them;

But this Author was no sooner settled, than he went to visit his Master Aristotle, and there both concerted together to seize Plato by main Force, and turn him out from his Ancient Station among the Divines,

where he had peaceably dwelt near Eight Hundred Years. The Attempt succeeded, and the two Usurpers have reigned ever since in his stead:

But to maintain Quiet for the future, it was decreed, that all Polemics of the larger Size, should be held fast with a Chain.

By this Expedient, the public Peace of Libraries, might certainly have been preserved, if a new Species of controversial Books had not arose of late Years,

instinct with a most malignant Spirit, from the War above-mentioned, between the Learned, about the higher Summity of Parnassus.

When these Books were first admitted into the Public Libraries, I remember to have said upon Occasion, to several Persons concerned, how I was sure, they would create Broils wherever they came, unless a World of Care were taken:

And therefore, I advised, that the Champions of each side should be coupled together, or otherwise mixed, that like the blending of contrary Poisons, their Malignity might be employ'd among themselves.

And it seems, I was neither an ill Prophet, nor an ill Counselor; for it was nothing else but the Neglect of this Caution,

which gave Occasion to the terrible Fight that happened on Friday last between the Ancient and Modern Books in the King's Library.

Now, because the Talk of this Battle is so fresh in every body's Mouth, and the Expectation of the Town so great to be informed in the Particulars; I, being possessed of all Qualifications requisite in an Historian,

and retained by neither Party; have resolved to comply with the urgent Importunity of my Friends, by writing down a full impartial Account thereof.

 

The Guardian of the Regal Library, a Person of great Valor, but chiefly renowned for his Humanity,

had been a fierce Champion for the Moderns, and in an Engagement upon Parnassus, had vowed, with his own Hands, to knock down two of the Ancient Chiefs, who guarded a small Pass on the superior Rock;

but endeavoring to climb up, was cruelly obstructed by his own unhappy Weight, and tendency towards his Center; a Quality, to which those of the Modern Party, are extreme subject;

For, being lightheaded, they have in Speculation, a wonderful Agility, and conceive nothing too high for them to mount; but in reducing to Practice, discover a mighty Pressure about their Posteriors and their Heels.

Having thus failed in his Design, the disappointed Champion bore a cruel Rancor to the Ancients, which he resolved to gratify, by showing all Marks of his Favor to the Books of their Adversaries,

and lodging them in the fairest Apartments; when at the same time, whatever Book had the boldness to own it self for an Advocate of the Ancients, was buried alive in some obscure Corner, and threatened upon the least Displeasure, to be turned out of Doors.

Besides, it so happened, that about this time, there was a strange Confusion of Place among all the Books in the Library; for which several Reasons were assigned.

Some imputed it to a great heap of learned Dust, which a perverse Wind blew off from a Shelf of Moderns into the Keeper's Eyes.

Others affirmed, He had a Humor to pick the Worms out of the Schoolmen, and swallow them fresh and fasting; whereof some fell upon his Spleen, and some climbed up into his Head, to the great perturbation of both.

And lastly, others maintained, that by walking much in the dark about the Library, he had quite lost the Situation of it out of his Head; And therefore, in replacing his Books, he was apt to mistake,

and clap Des-Cartes next to Aristotle; Poor Plato had got between Hobbes and the Seven Wise Masters, and Virgil was hemm'd in with Dryden on one side, and Withers on the other.

Mean while, those Books that were Advocates for the Moderns, chose out one from among them, to make a Progress through the whole Library, examine the Number and Strength of their Party,

and concert their Affairs. This Messenger performed all things very industriously, and brought back with him a List of their Forces,

in all Fifty Thousand, consisting chiefly of light Horse, heavy-armed Foot, and Mercenaries;

whereof the Foot were in general but sorrily armed, and worse clad; their Horses large, but extremely out of Case and Heart;

However, some few by trading among the Ancients, had furnished themselves tolerably enough.

While Things were in this Ferment; Discord grew extremely high, hot Words passed on both sides, and ill blood was plentifully bred.

Here a solitary Ancient, squeezed up among a whole Shelf of Moderns, offered

fairly to dispute the Case,

and to prove by manifest Reasons, that the Priority was due to them, from long Possession,

and in regard of their Prudence, Antiquity,

and above all, their great Merits toward the Moderns.

But these denied the Premises, and seemed very much to wonder,

how the Ancients could pretend to insist upon their Antiquity,

when it was so plain (if they went to that) that the Moderns were much the more Ancient of the two.

As for any Obligations they owed to the Ancients, they renounced them all.

'Tis true, said they, we are informed, some few of our Party have been so mean as to borrow their Subsistence from You;

But the rest, infinitely the greater number

(and especially, we French and English),

were so far from stooping to so base an Example, that there never passed, till this very hour, six Words between us.

For, our Horses were of our own breeding,

our Arms of our own forging, and our Cloths of our own cutting out and sewing.

Plato was by chance upon the next Shelf, and observing those that spoke to be in the ragged Plight, mentioned a while ago;

their Jades lean and foundered, their Weapons of rotten Wood, their Armor rusty, and nothing but Rags underneath;

he laugh'd loud, and in his pleasant way, swore, By G--, he believ'd them.

Now, the Moderns had not proceeded in their late Negotiation, with Secrecy enough to escape the Notice of the Enemy.

For, those Advocates, who had begun the Quarrel, by setting first on Foot the Dispute of Precedency,

talked so loud of coming to a Battle, that Temple happened to over-hear them,

and gave immediate Intelligence to the Ancients; who thereupon drew up their scattered Troops together, resolving to act upon the defensive;

Upon which, several of the Moderns fled over to their Party, and among the rest, Temple himself. This Temple having been educated

and long conversed among the Ancients, was, of all the Moderns, their greatest Favorite, and became their greatest Champion.

 

Things were at this Crisis, when a material Accident fell out.

For, upon the highest Corner of a large Window, there dwelt a certain Spider,

swollen up to the first Magnitude, by the Destruction of infinite Numbers of Flies,

whose Spoils lay scattered before the Gates of his Palace, like human Bones before the Cave of some Giant.

The Avenues to his Castle were guarded with Turn-pikes, and Palissadoes, all after the Modern way of Fortification.

After you had passed several Courts, you came to the Center, wherein you might behold the Constable himself in his own Lodgings,

which had Windows fronting to each Avenue, and Ports to sally out upon all Occasions of Prey or Defense.

In this Mansion he had for some Time dwelt in Peace and Plenty,

without Danger to his Person by Swallows from above, or to his Palace by Brooms from below:

When it was the Pleasure of Fortune to conduct thither a wandering Bee,

to whose Curiosity a broken Pane in the Glass had discovered it self; and in he went,

where expatiating a while, he at last happened to alight upon one of the outward Walls of the Spider's Citadel;

which yielding to the unequal Weight, sunk down to the very Foundation.

Thrice he endeavored to force his Passage, and Thrice the Center shook.

The Spider within, feeling the terrible Convulsion, supposed at first, that Nature was approaching to her final Dissolution;

or else that Beelzebub with all his Legions, was come to revenge the Death of many thousands of his Subjects, whom his Enemy had slain and devoured.

However, he at length valiantly resolved to issue forth, and meet his Fate.

Mean while, the Bee had acquitted himself of his Toils, and posted securely at some Distance, was employed in cleansing his Wings,

and disengaging them from the ragged Remnants of the Cobweb.

By this time the Spider was adventured out, when beholding the Chasms, and Ruins, and Dilapidations of his Fortress, he was very near at his Wit's end,

he stormed and swore like a Mad-man, and swelled till he was ready to burst.

At length, casting his Eye upon the Bee, and wisely gathering Causes from Events, (for they know each other by Sight)

A Plague split you, said he, for a giddy Son of a Whore; Is it you, with a Vengeance, that have made this Litter here? Could you not look before you, and be d--d?

Do you think I have nothing else to do (in the Devil's Name) but to Mend and Repair after your Arse?

Good words, Friend, said the Bee, (having now pruned himself, and being disposed to droll)

I'll give you my Hand and Word to come near your Kennel no more; I was never in such a confounded Pickle since I was born.

Sirrah, replied the Spider, if it were not for breaking an old Custom in our Family, never to stir abroad against an Enemy, I should come and teach you better Manners.

I pray, have Patience, said the Bee, or you will spend your Substance, and, for ought I see, you may stand in need of it all, towards the Repair of your House.

Rogue, Rogue, replied the Spider, yet, methinks, you should have more Respect to a Person, whom all the World allows to be so much your Betters.

By my Troth, said the Bee, the Comparison will amount to a very good Jest, and you will do me a Favor, to let me know the Reasons, that all the World is pleased to use in so hopeful a Dispute.

At this, the Spider having swelled himself into the Size and Posture of a Disputant, began his Argument in the true Spirit of Controversy,

with Resolution to be heartily scurrilous and angry, to urge on his own Reasons,

without the least Regard to the Answers or Objections of his Opposite; and fully predetermined in his Mind against all Conviction.

Not to disparage my self, said he, by the Comparison with such a Rascal; What art thou but a Vagabond without House or Home, without Stock or Inheritance;

Born to no Possession of your own, but a Pair of Wings, and a Drone-Pipe

Your Livelihood is an universal Plunder upon Nature; a Freebooter over Fields and Gardens;

and for the sake of Stealing, will rob a Nettle as readily as a Violet.

Whereas I am a domestic Animal, furnished with a Native Stock within my self.

This large Castle (to show my Improvements in the Mathematics) is all built with my own Hands, and the Materials extracted altogether out of my own Person.

I am glad, answered the Bee, to hear you grant at least, that I am come honestly by my Wings and my Voice,

for then, it seems, I am obliged to Heaven alone for my Flights and my Music;

and Providence would never have bestowed on me two such Gifts, without designing them for the noblest Ends.

I visit, indeed, all the Flowers and Blossoms of the Field and Garden, but whatever I collect from thence, enriches my self, without the least Injury to their Beauty, their Smell, or their Taste.

Now, for you and your Skill in Architecture, and other Mathematics, I have little to say:

In that Building of yours, there might, for ought I know, have been Labor and Method enough, but by woeful Experience for us both, 'tis too plain, the Materials are naught,

and I hope, you will henceforth take Warning, and consider Duration and matter, as well as method and Art.

You, boast, indeed, of being obliged to no other Creature, but of drawing, and spinning out all from your self;

That is to say, if we may judge of the Liquor in the Vessel by what issues out, You possess a good plentiful Store of Dirt and Poison in your Breast;

And, though I would by no means, lessen or disparage your genuine Stock of either, yet, I doubt you are somewhat obliged for an Increase of both, to a little foreign Assistance.

Your inherent Portion of Dirt, does not fail of Acquisitions, by Sweepings exhaled from below: and one Insect furnishes you with a share of Poison to destroy another.

So that in short, the Question comes all to this; Whether is the nobler Being of the two, That which by a lazy Contemplation of four Inches round; by an over-weening Pride,

which feeding and engendering on it self, turns all into Excrement and Venom; producing nothing at last, but Fly-bane and a Cobweb:

Or That, which, by an universal Range, with long Search, much Study, true Judgment, and Distinction of Things, brings home Honey and Wax.

This Dispute was managed with such Eagerness, Clamor, and Warmth, that the two Parties of Books in Arms below,

stood Silent a while, waiting in Suspense what would be the Issue; which was not long undetermined:

For the Bee grown impatient at so much loss of Time, fled strait away to a bed of Roses, without looking for a Reply;

and left the Spider like an Orator, collected in himself, and just prepared to burst out.

 

It happened upon this Emergency, that Aesop broke silence first. He had been of late most barbarously treated by a strange Effect of the Regent's Humanity,

who had tore off his Title-page, sorely defaced one half of his Leaves, and chained him fast among a Shelf of Moderns. Where soon discovering how high the Quarrel was like to proceed, He tried all his Arts, and turned himself to a thousand Forms:

At length in the borrowed Shape of an Ass, the Regent mistook him for a Modern; by which means, he had Time and Opportunity to escape

to the Ancients, just when the Spider and the Bee were entering into their Contest;

to which He gave His Attention with a world of Pleasure; and when it was ended, swore in the loudest Key,

that in all his Life, he had never known two Cases so parallel and adapt to each other, as That in the Window, and this upon the Shelves.

The Disputants, said he, have admirably managed the Dispute between them, have taken in the full Strength of all that is to be said on both sides, and exhausted the Substance of every Argument pro and con.

It is but to adjust the Reasonings of both to the present Quarrel, then to compare and apply the Labors and Fruits of each, as the Bee has learnedly deduced them; and we shall find the Conclusion fall plain and close upon the Moderns and Us.

For, pray Gentlemen, was ever any thing so Modern as the Spider in his Air, his Turns, and his Paradoxes?

He argues in the Behalf of You his Brethren, and Himself, with many Boastings of his native Stock, and great Genius;

that he Spins and Spits wholly from himself, and scorns to own any Obligation or Assistance from without. Then he displays to you his great Skill in Architecture, and Improvement in the Mathematics.

To all this, the Bee, as an Advocate, retained by us the Ancients, thinks fit to Answer; That if one may judge

of the great Genius or Inventions of the Moderns, by what they have produced, you will hardly have Countenance to bear you out in boasting of either.

Erect your Schemes with as much Method and Skill as you please; yet, if the materials be nothing but Dirt, spun out of your own Entrails (the Guts of Modern Brains) the Edifice will conclude at last in a Cobweb:

The Duration of which, like that of other Spiders Webs, may be imputed to their being forgotten, or neglected, or hid in a Corner.

For any Thing else of Genuine, that the Moderns may pretend to, I cannot recollect;

unless it be a large Vein of Wrangling and Satyr, much of a Nature and Substance with the Spider's Poison;

which, however, they pretend to spit wholly out of themselves, is improved by the same Arts, by feeding upon the Insects and Vermin of the Age.

As for Us, the Ancients, We are content with the Bee, to pretend to Nothing of our own, beyond our Wings and our Voice: that is to say, our Flights and our Language;

For the rest, whatever we have got, has been by infinite Labor, and search, and ranging through every Corner of Nature:

The Difference is, that instead of Dirt and Poison, we have rather chose to till our Hives with Honey and Wax, thus furnishing Mankind with the two Noblest of Things, which are Sweetness and Light.

 

'Tis wonderful to conceive the Tumult arisen among the Books, upon the close of this long Descant of Aesop;

Both Parties took the Hint, and heightened their Animosities so on a sudden, that they resolved it should come to a Battle.

Immediately, the two main Bodies withdrew under their several Ensigns, to the farther Parts of the Library, and there entered into Cabals, and Consults upon the present Emergency.

The Moderns were in very warm Debates upon the Choice of their Leaders, and nothing less than the Fear impending from their Enemies, could have kept them from Mutinies upon this Occasion.

The Difference was greatest among the Horse, where every private Trooper pretended to the chief Command,

from Tasso and Milton, to Dryden and Withers. The Light-Horse were commanded by Cowley and Despreaux.

There, came the Bowmen under their valiant Leaders, Des-Cartes, Gassendi, and Hobbes, whose Strength was such, that they could shoot their Arrows beyond the Atmosphere,

never to fall down again, but turn, like that of Evander into Meteors, or like the Canon-ball into Stars.

Paracelsus brought a Squadron of Stink-Pot-Flingers from the snowy Mountains of Rhaetia.

There, came a vast Body of Dragoons, of different Nations, under the leading of Harvey, their great Aga: Part armed with Scythes, the Weapons of Death; Part with Lances and long Knives, all steeped in Poison;

Part shot Bullets of a most malignant Nature, and used white Powder which infallibly killed without Report.

There, came several Bodies of heavy-armed Foot, all Mercenaries, under the Ensigns of Guiccardine, Davila, Polydore Virgil, Buchanan, Mariana, Cambden, and others.

The Engineers were commanded by Regiomontanus and Wilkins.

The rest were a confused Multitude, led by Scotus, Aquinas, and Bellarmine;

of mighty Bulk and Stature, but without either Arms, Courage, or Discipline. In the last Place, came infinite Swarms of Calones, a disorderly Rout led by Lestrange; Rogues and Raggamuffins, that follow the Camp for nothing but the Plunder; All without Coats to cover them.

The Army of the Ancients was much fewer in Number; Homer led the Horse, and Pindar the Light-Horse;

Euclid was chief Engineer; Plato and Aristotle commanded the Bow men; Herodotus and Livy the Foot; Hippocrates the Dragoons. The Allies, led by Vossius and Temple, brought up the Rear.

 

All things violently tending to a decisive Battle; Fame, who much frequented, and had a large Apartment formerly assigned her in the Regal Library,

fled up strait to Jupiter, to whom she delivered a faithful account of all that passed between the two Parties below. (For, among the Gods, she always tells Truth.)

Jove in great concern, convokes a Council in the Milky-Way.

The Senate assembled, he declares the Occasion of convening them; a bloody Battle just impendent between two mighty Armies of Ancient and Modern Creatures, call'd Books, wherein the Celestial Interest was but too deeply concerned.

 

Momus, the Patron of the Moderns, made an Excellent Speech in their Favor,

which was answered by Pallas the Protectress of the Ancients.

The Assembly was divided in their affections; when Jupiter

commanded the Book of Fate to be laid before Him. Immediately were brought by Mercury, three large Volumes in Folio,

containing Memoirs of all Things past, present, and to come.

The Clasps were of Silver, double Gilt; the Covers, of Celestial Turkey-leather, and the Paper such as here on Earth might pass almost for Vellum.

Jupiter having silently read the Decree, would communicate the Import to none, but presently shut up the Book.

Without the Doors of this Assembly, there attended a vast Number of light, nimble Gods,

menial Servants to Jupiter: These are his ministring Instruments in all Affairs below. They travel in a Caravan, more or less together, and are fastened to each other like a Link of Galley-slaves, by a light Chain, which passes from them to Jupiter's great Toe:

And yet in receiving or delivering a Message, they may never approach

above the lowest Step of his Throne, where he and they whisper to each other through a large hollow Trunk.

These Deities are call'd by mortal Men, Accidents, or Events;

but the Gods call them, Second Causes.

Jupiter having delivered his Message to a certain Number of these Divinities, they flew immediately down

to the Pinnacle of the Regal Library, and consulting a few Minutes, entered unseen, and disposed the Parties according to their Orders.

 

 

Mean while, Momus fearing the worst, and calling to mind an Ancient Prophecy, which bore no very good Face to his Children the Moderns;

bent his Flight to the Region of a malignant Deity, call'd Criticism.

She dwelt on the Top of a snowy Mountain in Nova Zembla; there Momus found her extended in her Den,

upon the Spoils of numberless Volumes half devoured.

At her right Hand sat Ignorance, her Father and Husband, blind with Age; at her left, Pride her Mother, dressing her up in the Scraps of Paper herself had torn.

There, was Opinion her Sister, light of Foot, hoodwinked, and headstrong, yet giddy and perpetually turning.

About her play'd her Children, Noise and Impudence, Dullness and Vanity, Positiveness, Pedantry, and Ill-Manners.

The Goddess herself had Claws like a Cat: Her Head, and Ears, and Voice resembled those of an Ass; Her Teeth fallen out before; Her Eyes turned inward, as if she looked only upon herself:

Her Diet was the overflowing of her own Gall: Her Spleen was so large, as to stand prominent like a Dug of the first Rate, nor wanted Excrescencies in form of Teats, at which a Crew of ugly Monsters were greedily sucking;

and, what is wonderful to conceive, the bulk of Spleen increased faster than the Sucking could diminish it.

Goddess, said Momus, can you sit idly here, while our devout Worshippers, the Moderns, are this Minute entering into a cruel Battle,

and, perhaps, now lying under the Swords of their Enemies; Who then hereafter, will ever sacrifice, or build Altars to our Divinities?

Haste therefore to the British Isle, and, if possible, prevent their Destruction; while I make Factions among the Gods, and gain them over to our Party.

Momus having thus delivered himself, staid not for an answer, but left the Goddess to her own Resentment;

Up she rose in a Rage, and as it is the Form on such Occasions, began a Soliloquy. 'Tis I (said she) who give Wisdom to Infants and Idiots;

By Me, Children grow wiser than their Parents.

By Me, Beaux become Politicians; and School-boys, Judges of Philosophy. By Me, Sophisters debate,

and conclude upon the Depths of Knowledge; and Coffee-house Wits instinct by Me, can correct an Author's Style,

and display his minutest Errors, without understanding a Syllable of his Matter or his Language.

By Me, Striplings spend their Judgment, as they do their Estate, before it comes into their Hands.

'Tis I, who have deposed Wit and Knowledge from their Empire over Poetry, and advanced my self in their stead.

And shall a few upstart Ancients dare to oppose me? -- But, come, my aged Parents, and you, my Children dear, and thou my beauteous Sister;

let us ascend my Chariot, and haste to assist our devout Moderns,

who are now sacrificing to us a Hecatomb, as I perceive by that grateful Smell, which from thence reaches my Nostrils.

The Goddess and her Train having mounted the Chariot,

which was drawn by tame Geese, flew over infinite Regions, shedding her Influence in due Places, till at length, she arrived at her beloved Island of Britain; but in hovering over its Metropolis,

what Blessings did she not let fall upon her Seminaries of Gresham and Covent-Garden?

And now she reach'd the fatal Plain of St. James's Library, at what time the two Armies were upon the point to engage;

where entering with all her Caravan, unseen, and landing upon a Case of Shelves, now desert, but once inhabited by a Colony of Virtuoso's

she staid a while to observe the Posture of both Armies.

But here the tender Cares of a Mother began to fill her Thoughts, and move in her Breast. For, at the Head of a Troop of Modern Bow-men, she cast her Eyes upon her son W--tt--n; to whom the Fates had assigned a very short Thread. W--tt--n, a young Hero, whom an unknown Father of mortal Race, begot by stolen Embraces with this Goddess.

 

 

He was the Darling of his Mother, above all her Children, and she resolved to go and comfort Him.

But first, according to the good old Custom of Deities, she cast about to change her Shape;

for fear the Divinity of her Countenance might dazzle his Mortal Sight, and over-charge the rest of his Senses.

She therefore gathered up her Person into an Octavo Compass: Her Body grew white and arid, and split in pieces with Dryness; the thick turned into Pasteboard,

and the thin into Paper, upon which her Parents and Children, artfully strowed a Black Juice, or Decoction of Gall and Soot, in Form of Letters; Her Head, and Voice, and Spleen, kept their primitive Form, and that which before was a cover of Skin, did still continue so.

In this Guise, she march'd on towards the Moderns, undistinguishable in Shape and Dress from the Divine Bn--tl--y, W--tt--n's dearest Friend.

Brave W--tt--n, said the Goddess, Why do our Troops stand idle here, to spend their present Vigor and Opportunity of this Day? Away,

let us haste to the Generals, and advise to give the Onset immediately. Having spoke thus, she took the ugliest of her Monsters, full glutted from her Spleen,

and flung it invisibly into his Mouth; which flying strait up into his
Head, squeezed out his Eye-Balls, gave him a distorted Look, and half over-turned his Brain.

Then she privately ordered two of her beloved Children, Dullness and Ill-Manners, closely to attend his Person in all Encounters.

Having thus accoutered him, she vanished in a Mist, and the Hero perceived it was the Goddess, his Mother.

 

The destined Hour of Fate, being now arrived, the Fight began; whereof, before I dare adventure to make a particular Description, I must, after the Example of other Authors,

petition for a hundred Tongues, and Mouths, and Hands, and Pens; which would all be too little to perform so immense a Work.

 

Say, Goddess, that presidest over History; who it was that first advanced in the Field of Battle. Paracelsus, at the Head of his Dragoons,

observing Galen in the adverse Wing, darted his Javelin with a mighty Force,

which the brave Ancient received upon his Shield, the Point breaking in the second fold. They bore the wounded Aga, on their Shields to his Chariot.

 

Then Aristotle observing Bacon advance with a furious Mien,

drew his Bow to the Head, and let fly his Arrow, which miss'd the valiant Modern, and went hizzing over his Head;

but Des-Cartes it hit; The Steel Point quickly found a Defect in his Head-piece;

it pierced the Leather and the Past-board, and went in at his Right Eye.

The Torture of the Pain, whirled the valiant Bow-man round, till Death, like a Star of superior Influence, drew him into his own Vortex.

 

when Homer appeared at the Head of the Cavalry, mounted on a furious Horse, with Difficulty managed by the Rider himself, but which no other Mortal durst approach;

He rode among the Enemies Ranks, and bore down all before him. Say, Goddess, whom he slew first, and whom he slew last.

First, Gondibert advanced against Him, clad in heavy Armor, and mounted on a staid sober Gelding, not so famed for his Speed as his Docility in kneeling, whenever his Rider would mount or alight.

He had made a Vow to Pallas, that he would never leave the Field till he had spoiled Homer of his Armor;

Madman, who had never once seen the Wearer, nor understood his Strength. Him Homer overthrew, Horse and Man to the ground, there to be trampled and choked in the Dirt.

Then with a long Spear, he slew Denham, a stout Modern, who from his Father's side, derived his Lineage from Apollo, but his Mother was of Mortal Race.

He fell, and bit the Earth. The Celestial Part Apollo took, and made it a Star, but the Terrestrial lay wallowing upon the Ground.

Then Homer slew W--sl--y with a kick of his Horse's heel; he took Perrault by mighty Force out of his Saddle,

then hurl'd him at Fontenelle, with the same Blow dashing out both their Brains.

 

On the left Wing of the Horse, Virgil appeared in shining Armor, completely fitted to his Body; He was mounted on a dapple grey Steed, the slowness of whose Pace, was an Effect of the highest Mettle and Vigour.

He cast his Eye on the adverse Wing, with a desire to find an Object worthy of his valor, when behold, upon a sorrel Gelding of a monstrous Size, appear'd a Foe, issuing from among the thickest of the Enemy's Squadrons;

But his Speed was less than his Noise; for his Horse, old and lean, spent the Dregs of his Strength in a high Trot, which tho' it made slow advances, yet caused a loud Clashing of his Armor, terrible to hear.

The two Cavaliers had now approached within the Throw of a Lance, when the Stranger

desired a Parley, and lifting up the Vizard of his Helmet, a Face hardly appeared from within, which after a pause, was known for that of the renowned Dryden. The brave Ancient suddenly started, as one possess'd with Surprise and Disappointment together:

For, the Helmet was nine times too large for the Head, which appeared Situate far in the hinder Part,

even like the Lady in a Lobster, or like a Mouse under a Canopy of State, or like a shriveled Beau from within the Penthouse of a modern Perewig:

And the voice was suited to the Visage, sounding weak and remote. Dryden in a long Harangue soothed up the good Ancient, call'd him Father, and by a large deduction of Genealogies, made it plainly appear, that they were nearly related.

Then he humbly proposed an Exchange of Armor, as a lasting Mark of Hospitality between them. Virgil consented (for the Goddess Diffidence came unseen, and cast a Mist before his Eyes)

though his was of Gold, and cost a hundred Beeves, the others but of rusty Iron. However, this glittering Armor became the Modern yet worse than his Own.

Then, they agreed to exchange Horses; but when it came to the Trial, Dryden was afraid, and utterly unable to mount.

 

Lucan appeared upon a fiery Horse, of admirable Shape, but head-strong, bearing the Rider where he list, over the Field; he made a mighty Slaughter among the Enemy's Horse;

which Destruction to stop, Bl--ckm--re, a famous Modern (but one of the Mercenaries) strenuously opposed himself; and darted his Javelin, with a strong Hand, which falling short of its Mark, struck deep in the Earth.

Then Lucan threw a Lance; but Aesculapius came unseen, and turn'd off the Point.

Brave Modern, said Lucan, I perceive some God protects you, for never did my Arm so deceive me before;

But, what Mortal can contend with a God? Therefore, let us Fight no longer, but present Gifts to each other. Lucan then bestowed on the Modern a Pair of Spurs, and Bl--ckm--re gave Lucan a Bridle.

 

* * * Creech;

But, the Goddess Dullness took a Cloud, formed into the shape of Horace, armed and mounted, and placed in a flying Posture before Him.

Glad was the Cavalier, to begin a Combat with a flying Foe, and pursued the Image, threatening loud;

till at last it led him to the peaceful Bower of his Father Ogleby, by whom he was disarmed, and assigned to his Repose.

 

Then Pindar slew ---, and ---, and Oldham, and --- and Afra the Amazon light of foot;

Never advancing in a direct Line, but wheeling with incredible Agility and Force,

he made a terrible Slaughter among the Enemy's Light-Horse.

Him, when Cowley observed, his generous Heart burnt within him, and he advanced against the fierce Ancient, imitating his Address, and Pace, and Career,

as well as the Vigor of his Horse, and his own Skill would allow.

When the two Cavaliers had approach'd within the Length of three Javelins;

first Cowley threw a Lance, which miss'd Pindar, and passing into the Enemy's Ranks, fell ineffectual to the Ground.

Then Pindar darted a Javelin, so large and weighty, that scarce a dozen Cavaliers, as Cavaliers are in our degenerate Days, could raise it from the Ground:

yet he threw it with Ease, and it went by an unerring Hand, singing through the Air;

Nor could the Modern have avoided present Death, if he had not luckily opposed the Shield that had been given him by Venus.

And now both Hero's drew their Swords, but the Modern was so aghast and disordered, that he knew not where he was;

his Shield dropped from his Hands; thrice he fled, and thrice he could not escape;

at last he turned, and lifting up his Hands, in the Posture of a Suppliant, God-like Pindar, said he, spare my Life, and possess my Horse with these Arms;

besides the Ransom which my Friends will give, when they hear I am alive, and your Prisoner.

Dog, said Pindar, Let your Ransom stay with your Friends;

but your Carcass shall be left for the Fowls of the Air, and the Beasts of the Field. With that, he raised his Sword, and with a mighty Stroke, cleft the wretched Modern in twain, the Sword pursuing the Blow;

and one half lay panting on the Ground, to be trod in pieces by the Horses Feet,

the other half was born by the frighted Steed through the Field. This Venus took, wash'd it seven times in Ambrosia, then struck it thrice with a Sprig of Amarant;

upon which, the Leather grew round and soft, the Leaves turned into Feathers, and being gilded before, continued gilded still; so it became a Dove and She harness'd it to her Chariot.

 

Day being far spent, and the numerous Forces of the Moderns half inclining to a Retreat,

there issued forth from a Squadron of their heavy armed Foot, a Captain, whose name was B--ntl--y;

in Person, the most deformed of all the Moderns; Tall, but without Shape or Comeliness; Large, but without Strength or Proportion. His Armor was patch'd up of a thousand incoherent Pieces;

and the Sound of it, as he march'd, was loud and dry, like that made by the Fall of a Sheet of Lead, which an Etesian Wind blows suddenly down from the Roof of some Steeple.

His Helmet was of old rusty Iron, but the Vizard was Brass, which, tainted by his Breath, corrupted into Copperas, nor wanted Gall from the same Fountain; so, that whenever provoked by Anger or Labor, an atramentous Quality, of most malignant Nature, was seen to distil from his Lips.

In his right Hand he grasp'd a Flail, and (that he might never be unprovided of an offensive Weapon) a Vessel full of Ordure in his Left:

Thus, completely arm'd, he advanc'd with a slow and heavy Pace, where the Modern Chiefs were holding a Consult upon the Sum of Things;

who, as he came onwards, laugh'd to behold his crooked Leg, and hump Shoulder, which his Boot and Armor vainly endeavoring to hide were forced to comply with, and expose.

The Generals made use of him for his Talent of Railing; which kept within Government, proved frequently of great Service to their Cause, but at other times did more Mischief than Good;

For at the least Touch of Offence, and often without any at all, he would, like a wounded Elephant, convert it against his Leaders.

Such, at this Juncture, was the Disposition of B--ntl--y, grieved to see the Enemy prevail, and dissatisfied with every Body's Conduct but his own.

He humbly gave the Modern Generals to understand, that he conceived, with great Submission, they were all a Pack of Rogues, and Fools, and Sons of Whores, and d--mn'd Cowards,

and confounded Loggerheads, and illiterate Whelps, and nonsensical Scoundrels;

that, if himself had been constituted General, those presumptuous Dogs, the Ancients, would long before, this have been beaten out of the Field.

You, said he, sit here idle, but, when I, or any other valiant Modern, kill an Enemy, you are sure to seize the Spoil.

But, I will not march one Foot against the Foe, till you all swear to me, that, whomever I take or kill, his Arms I shall quietly possess.

 

B--ntl--y having spoken thus, Scaliger bestowing him a sour Look; Miscreant Prater, said he, Eloquent only in thine own eyes,

thou railest without Wit, or Truth, or Discretion. The Malignity of thy Temper perverteth Nature;

Thy Learning makes thee more Barbarous; thy Study of Humanity, more Inhuman;

Thy Converse among Poets more groveling, miry, and dull. All arts of civilizing others, render thee rude and untractable;

Courts have taught thee ill Manners, and polite conversation has finished thee a Pedant.

Besides, a greater Coward burdeneth not the Army. But never despond, I pass my Word, whatever Spoil thou takest, shall certainly be thy own;

though, I hope, that vile Carcass will first become a prey to Kites and Worms.

 

B--ntl--y durst not reply; but half choked with Spleen and Rage, withdrew, in full Resolution of performing some great Achievement.

With him, for his Aid and Companion, he took his beloved W--tt--n; resolving by Policy or Surprise, to attempt some neglected Quarter of the Ancients Army.

They began their March over Carcasses of their slaughtered Friends; then to the Right of their own Forces: then wheeled Northward,

till they came to Aldrovandus's Tomb, which they pass'd on the side of the declining Sun.

And now they arrived with Fear toward the Enemy's Out-guards; looking about, if haply, they might spy the Quarters of the Wounded, or some straggling Sleepers, unarm'd and remote from the rest.

As when two Mongrel-Curs, whom native Greediness, and domestic Want, provoke, and join in Partnership,

though fearful, nightly to invade the Folds of some rich Grazier; They, with Tails depress'd, and lolling Tongues, creep soft and slow;

mean while, the conscious Moon, now in her Zenith, on their guilty Heads, darts perpendicular Rays;

Nor dare they bark, though much provok'd at her refulgent Visage, whether seen in Puddle by Reflexion, or in Sphere direct;

but one surveys the Region round, while t'other scouts the Plain,

if haply, to discover at a distance from the Flock, some Carcass half devoured, the Refuse of gorged Wolves or ominous Ravens. So march'd this lovely, loving Pair of Friends, nor with less Fear and Circumspection;

when, at a distance, they might perceive two shining Suits of Armor hanging upon an Oak, and the Owners

not far off in a profound Sleep. The two Friends drew Lots, and the pursuing of this Adventure, fell to B--ntl--y;

On he went, and in his Van Confusion and Amaze; while Horror and Affright brought up the Rear. As he came near; Behold two Hero's of the Ancients Army, Phalaris and Aesop, lay fast asleep:

B--ntl--y would fain have despatch'd them both, and stealing close, aimed his Flail at Phalaris's Breast. But, then, the Goddess Affright interposing,

caught the Modern in her icy Arms, and dragg'd him from the Danger she foresaw;

For both the dormant Hero's happened to turn at the same Instant, though soundly Sleeping, and busy in a Dream. For Phalaris was just that Minute dreaming,

how a most vile Poetaster had lampoon'd him, and how he had got him roaring in his Bull.

And Aesop dream'd, that as he and the Ancient Chiefs were lying on the Ground, a Wild Ass broke loose, ran about trampling and kicking, and dunging in their Faces.

 

B--ntl--y leaving the two Hero's asleep, seized on both their Armors, and withdrew in quest of his Darling W--tt--n.

He, in the mean time, had wandered long in search of some Enterprise,

till at length, he arrived at a small Rivulet, that issued from a Fountain hard by, call'd in the Language of mortal Men, Helicon.

Here he stopped, and, parch'd with thirst, resolved to allay it in this limpid Stream.

Thrice, with profane Hands, he essay'd to raise the Water to his Lips, and thrice it slipped all through his Fingers.

Then he stoop'd prone on his Breast, but, e'er his Mouth had kiss'd the liquid Crystal, Apollo came,

and, in the Channel, held his Shield betwixt the Modern and the Fountain, so that he drew up nothing but Mud.

For, altho' no Fountain on Earth can compare with the Clearness of Helicon,

yet there lies at Bottom, a thick sediment of Slime and Mud;

For, so Apollo begg'd of Jupiter, as a Punishment to those who durst attempt to taste it with unhallowed Lips,

and for a Lesson to all, not to draw too deep, or far from the Spring.

 

At the Fountainhead, W--tt--n discerned two Hero's; The one he could not distinguish, but the other was soon known for Temple, General of the Allies to the Ancients.

His Back was turned, and he was employ'd in Drinking large Draughts in his Helmet, from the Fountain, where he had withdrawn himself to rest from the Toils of the War.

W--tt--n, observing him, with quaking Knees, and trembling Hands, spoke thus to Himself: Oh, that I could kill this Destroyer of our Army,

what Renown should I purchase among the Chiefs!

But

to issue out against Him, Man for Man, Shield against Shield, and Lance against Lance; what Modern of us dare?

For, he fights like a God, and Pallas or Apollo are ever at his Elbow.

But, Oh, Mother! if what Fame reports, be true, that I am the Son of so great a Goddess, grant me

to Hit Temple with this Lance, that the Stroke may send Him to Hell,

and that I may return in Safety and Triumph, laden with his Spoils

The first Part of this Prayer, the Gods granted, at the Intercession of His Mother and of Momus;

but the rest, by a perverse Wind sent from Fate, was scattered in the Air.

Then W--tt--n grasp'd his Lance, and brandishing it thrice over his head, darted it with all his Might, the Goddess, his Mother, at the same time, adding Strength to his Arm. Away the Lance went hizzing,

and reach'd even to the Belt of the averted Ancient, upon which, lightly grazing, it fell to the Ground.

Temple neither felt the Weapon touch him, nor heard it fall:

And W--tt--n, might have escaped to his Army, with the Honor of having remitted his Lance against so great a Leader, unrevenged;

But, Apollo enraged, that a Javelin, flung by the Assistance of so foul a Goddess, should pollute his Fountain,

put on the shape of --, and softly came to young Boyle, who then accompanied Temple:

He pointed, first to the Lance, then to the distant Modern that flung it, and commanded the young Hero to take immediate Revenge.

 

Boyle, clad in a suit of Armor which had been given him by all the Gods, immediately advanced against the trembling Foe, who now fled before him.

As a young Lion, in the Libyan Plains, or Araby Desert,

sent by his aged Sire to hunt for Prey, or Health, or Exercise;

He scours along, wishing to meet some Tiger from the Mountains, or a furious Boar;

If Chance, a Wild Ass, with Brayings importune, affronts his Ear, the generous Beast, though loathing

to distain his Claws with Blood so vile, yet, much provok'd at the offensive Noise;

which Echo, foolish nymph, like her ill judging Sex,

repeats much louder, and with more Delight than Philomela's Song:

He vindicates the Honor of the Forest, and hunts the noisy, long-ear'd Animal.

So W--tt--n fled, so Boyle pursued. But W--tt--n heavy-arm'd, and slow of foot, began to slack his Course;

when his Lover B--ntl--y appeared, returning laden with the Spoils of the two sleeping Ancients.

Boyle observed him well, and soon discovering the Helmet and Shield of Phalaris, his Friend, both which he had lately with his own Hands, new polish'd and gilded;

Rage sparkled in His Eyes, and leaving his Pursuit after W--tt--n, he furiously rush'd on against this new Approacher.

Fain would he be revenged on both; but both now fled different Ways:

And as a Woman in a little House, that gets a painful Livelihood by Spinning; if chance her Geese be scattered o'er the Common,

she courses round the Plain from side to side, compelling here and there, the Stragglers to the Flock;

They cackle loud, and flutter o'er the Champain. So Boyle pursued, so fled this Pair of Friends:

finding at length, their Flight was vain,

they bravely join'd, and drew themselves in Phalanx. First, B--ntl--y threw a Spear with all his Force, hoping to pierce the Enemy's Breast;

But Pallas came unseen, and in the Air took off the Point, and clapped on one of Lead, which after a dead Bang against the Enemy's Shield, fell blunted to the Ground.

Then Boyle observing well his Time, took up a Lance of wondrous Length and sharpness; and as this Pair of Friends compacted stood close Side to Side, he wheel'd him to the right,

and with unusual Force, darted the Weapon. B--ntl--y saw his Fate approach,

and flanking down his Arms, close to his Ribs, hoping to save his Body; in went the Point, passing through Arm and Side, nor stopped, or spent its Force, till it had also pierc'd the valiant W--tt--n, who going to sustain his dying Friend, shared his Fate.

As, when a skilful Cook has truss'd a Brace of Woodcocks, He, with Iron Skewer, pierces the tender Sides of both, their Legs and Wings close pinion'd to their Ribs; So was this pair of Friends transfix'd,

till down they fell, join'd in their Lives, join'd in their Deaths;

so closely join'd, that Charon would mistake them both for one, and waft them over Styx for half his Fare.

Farewell, beloved, loving Pair; Few Equals have you left behind: And happy and immortal shall you be, if all my Wit and Eloquence can make you.

TEMPEST OF THE TOMES

Thorough and Exact
R E P O R T OF THE SKIRMISH
Of the previous W E E K E N D
Involving the
Old and the more Recent
WRITINGS
OF THE
R E G A L  BOOK  REPOSITORY

THE REPUBLIC OF DOGS

If in past Ages' Lore we pry
An Answer there to seek
To that age-old Conundrum: Why
The Mighty serve the Meek;

We find it said that Wars are bred
Of Arrogance the Heirs;
And Arrogance, it's also said,
Is born of Millionaires.

To Proposition One, one can
Most heartily assent.
But Proposition Two? Too gray -
The Truth's non-evident.

For Arrogance more Kindred owes
To Penury and Need -
Paternally the Lineage goes,
Or through maternal Seed.

More plainly said, it's not the Case
That Arguments arise
When everyone has ample Space
And lots of Meat and Pies.

For normally an Onslaught's Course
Goes from lean northern Ways -
An indigent and hungry Force
On southern Gluttons preys.

The oldest Provocations for
Those Arguments that lead
To Strife, and hence to all-out War,
Are Jealousy and Need.

Which, though as Cousins they relate
To Arrogance and Vanity,
Are Children of an underweight,
Poor, slim, unfed Humanity.

A Simile one can invoke
From them who learn of Nations;
Who tell of a four-legged Folk,
In canine Populations.

If we perceive that State serene
Whose Denizens are Dogs,
A Pet political Machine
Where Canines are the Cogs,

We'll find that if there's Peace among
These Terriers and Poodles,
The Cause be found when on the Tongue,
Of Victuals there's Oodles!

And that when civil Strifes afflict,
To vex a canine Nation,
It's when one large Bone's only licked
By one of high-born Station.

Who may, by sharing it between
A few select Elite,
Who privileged of the fine Cuisine
Exclusively may eat,

A Polity around the Bone
Invent, quite oligarchic;
Or keep it for himself alone,
And form a State monarchic.

A Logic parallel they'll use
For Bitches impregnated,
It being hard to know just who's
The Cur with whom she mated.

In Matters delicate, like these,
Much Jealousy abounds;
And Envy, like a Plague of Fleas,
Infests the House of Hounds.

Then that once civil Avenue
In universal Strife
Erupts; till one comes into View
Who's looking for a Wife.

Who is with Wealth and Courage greater
Than the Rest endowed -
He nabs the pregnant Prize to mate her;
Whence a motley Crowd

Of Canines envious commence
A long, discordant Howling -
A Pack of jealous Malcontents;
A Choir of Snarls and Growling.

And if one sees their Ranks extend
Beyond their own Dominion,
Whether their Homeland to defend,
Or, in their own Opinion,

Impelled by Provocations dire
To launch the first Attack,
Another Commune to acquire
Held by another Pack,

One learns from Argument equivalent
That in every Case
It's not the slightest bit ambivalent
(Cutting to the Chase)

Both Need and envious Desire
(Perceived or really true,
The Argument does not require
One or the other View)

To an Extent the Urge provoke,
Along with pompous Pride,
In fractious Clans of canine Folk
Ambitiously allied.

THE TWIN HEIGHTS OF PARNASSUS

Who e'er regards that System's Keys,
Applying its Economy
To pedagogic Polities
Or rational Autonomy,

Shall surely find the Reason for
The present mighty Fracas.
To Truth of why the Parties war
The Inquiry shall take us.

We shall the Issues juxtapose,
Then equitably judge
Between the hot contending Foes,
Who has the better Grudge.

But of the Course and Outcome here
Of that Dispute we'll not
Be fast to ascertain, I fear,
For Passions are so hot -

The Parties both are all enraged
Their Claims are so fantastic,
Their Passion cannot be assuaged.
Such Rhetoric bombastic!

It isn't likely they'll refrain
From Argument profuse,
Their ardent Spleens in check to reign
And try to make a Truce.

As to the Way in which the Fray
Initially did start,
One long time Resident did say,
Those Foes first grew apart

When Disagreement did arise
Concerning one high Plot
Of two, aspiring to the Skies,
Which first the Sun's Rays caught,

Whereon had dwelt some Residents
For Ages past, uncounted,
Till these unhappy Malcontents
A lower Summit mounted.

The former are as Ancient known,
The latter Modern styled,
Who, frowning at their lesser Zone,
A list of Griefs compiled.

And sent a Messenger to brief
The Aboriginals,
To grumble, whine, complain, and beef,
With sniveling Moans and Scowls.

They do bewail with Vehemence
How greatly vexed they are,
And how, from their base Tenements,
They can't see very far.

The View is ruined, as they claim,
When from the West they're peering;
The lofty Ancient Height's to blame,
Their own Horizon shearing.

To Strive a War to obviate,
They did a Plan propose:
Those in the higher Hill's Estate
Politely could transpose

Themselves and all their Property
Down to the lesser Peaks.
(The Modern's Liberality
Amused the Ancient Greeks!)

Or else, with Leave, the Moderns could
Arrive quite well equipped
With Implements for Dirt and Wood,
And Dreams of Mountains clipped.

To which the Ancients did retort
That they were quite astounded
To hear Proposals of this Sort
By Colonists propounded,

Whom they allowed in Tenements
So proximate to dwell
Without imposing heavy Rents.
"Well, let us now dispel

"Such Notions as are entertained
In your ungrateful Brains,
That one Day you might be ordained
To lodge on lofty Planes."

Concerning their own higher Place,
To which the Ancients claimed
To be an embryonic Race,
The Landlords long acclaimed,

They would not hear of Forfeiture
Or of Relinquishment.
Such Talk was simply horse Manure!
There could be no Descent.

And if their Promontory's Height
Did crop the View from where
The Moderns lodged, perhaps their Plight,
Seen from a Perch less rare,

Might be considered balanced by
The Fact that 'neath its Cloak
They might not in full Sunlight fry
Nor in harsh Torrents soak.

As to the Plan which they might hatch
The higher Peak to prune,
Their puny Tools would be no Match,
As they would find out soon;

For out of adamantine Rock
The Mountain high was made.
Their stupid Effort it would mock;
The stubborn Palisade

Would fracture all their feeble Tools,
All their Ambition crumble;
For all the Hammering of Fools
That Hill could never humble.

The Moderns can take Counsel sound
Instead to elevate
Their own confounded meager Mound,
Rather than to berate

Their Neighbors perched so far above,
Who gladly would permit
Such Enterprise. Indeed they'd love
To offer Help for it.

But that munificent Design
Irately was declined.
The Moderns only can malign
What they have not designed.

And so the Disaccord became
A Struggle much prolonged,
With Charges hurled of Guilt and Blame
And who got hurt or wronged;

Supported on one Side by Heart,
And Valor which transcends
Mere fervid Daring, on the Part
Of Generals and Friends;

And on the other Side alone
On Conscripts limitless,
For Times when they are overthrown,
Hangs their Hope of Success.

INTERRMENT OF THE TOMES

Great Fusillades of Ink with Skill
Are flung in these Disputes,
That through the Weapon named a Quill
At each the other shoots.

With fierce, proficient, deadly Aim
And great unerring Skill,
Each Side the other tries to maim,
Demoralize, and kill.

The Man who that vile Fluid made
Mixed two foul Elements,
Which are in equal Portions weighed
The Soldiers to incense.

First from the Spleen he siphoned Gall,
Known for a bitter Taste.
Then it's with Poison that we call
Copperas deadly laced.

And as the Greeks were wont to raise,
When Tussles halted tied,
Two Monuments to publish Praise
Paid for by either Side,

(A nice Tradition that of late
The Learned have revived)
Now when they end some bloody Spate
All those who have survived

Do post commemorative Plaques
To tell how Things came down,
How they prevailed in all Attacks
To claim the Victor's Crown.

Memorials like these are framed
And hung out for a While
For Passers-by to view; and named
According to the Style:

Rejoinders, Brief Considerations,
Arguments, Objections,
Replies, Remarks, and Confutations,
Answers and Reflections.

They then are sorted by their Weight,
And pond'rous ones are shipped
To Galleries to lie in State
With other weighty Script.

The blood-like Ink in these grand Books
Embalms the Soldiers' Souls,
Whose Spirits flow in ghostly Brooks
To soak these martial Scrolls.

At least that's what some Persons say.
But I would just suggest
That with Libraries it's the Way
It is where Corpses rest;

Where some Professors of the Slayed,
Maintain these Spirits must
Float o'er the Grave till is decayed
The Body, turned to Dust.

Then, so that School of Thought affirms,
The Brutum hominis
Leaves, when the Body turns to Worms,
And grants it rest in Peace.

And if this Doctrine we apply
It then can be assumed
That Ghosts around those Volumes fly
Which are herein entombed.

At least until they shall decay,
Which happens, it appears,
To some in one fast, fleeting Day,
To other ones in Years.

Since Books of Controversy are
By Ghosts the most frenetic
Attended (for they are by far,
Of all, least homiletic),

To help avert Engagements sore
They're kept in separate Crypts,
Chained in a Room, behind a Door,
Maintained for savage Scripts.

THE SEEDS OF DISSENSION

The Story goes, this is the Way
The Rite did first begin:
Duns Scotus' Works went on Display
Where Books are stored within.

With Aristotle he did vow
Old Plato to remove
From his Position honored now,
Where Bishops do approve;

A Haunt where for eight-hundred Years
He in Tranquility
Had lived. So then these Mutineers
Have won the Victory.

Then Harmony to guarantee
An Order was endorsed
Fierce Rivals overgrown would be
Into fast Fetters forced.

By such Precaution Order might
In Libraries have reigned,
Had not an arrant, horrid Blight
Of Books Admittance gained;

Especially malignant Scrolls
Malevolent Critiques,
Authored by vile and vicious Souls,
About Parnassian Peaks.

The Day these Volumes showed up here
I raised my Voice to say
That Controversies should appear
Unless, to hold at Bay,

The vying Factions' Advocates
Were to each other fixed,
That thus convolved their baneful Traits
Would cancel, intermixed.

It seems that I was not far off
Dissension to divine;
And since at my Advice they scoff
Affairs to Feud incline.

If my Suggestions had been taken
Rancor would have halted;
The Place would not have been all shaken
With its Peace assaulted.

As of this Fighting Rumors fly
And all are seeking News,
And I have Gifts in great Supply
To advertise my Views;

And Peers of mine and Patrons plead,
Both here and o'er the Channel,
For a Report, I have agreed
To narrate a true Annal.

THE WATCHMAN OF THE LIBRARY

The Sentinel that had most Rank
Among these Books of Kings,
One who from Danger never shrank,
And did exalted Things,

Had for the Moderns plead their Case;
And had Parnassian hopes
Two Ancient Guardsmen to displace
From off these lofty Slopes.

But when he tried to scale that Sector,
Plenteous ample Mass
And inward pointing mental Vector
Hindered him, Alas!

To soar in Theory he was prone,
High floating Clouds to meet;
But in Reality he'd groan,
Pain in the Butt and Feet.

His Effort foiled, he did repine
And for the Ancients took
A bitter Umbrage: "I'll assign
A dark and secret Nook

To every Book containing Praise
For any Ancient Thing.
The Moderns I will honored raise,
Their Panegyrics sing."

Another thing that we observed
On every Shelf around:
That many Books in their reserved
Locations were not found.

Some said that Soot scholastic blown
By some foul Modern Breeze,
Got into those twin Organs thrown,
By which the Keeper sees.

Said others, he devoured the Bugs
That in Professors dwell,
Which acted on his Brain as Drugs
That made his Anger swell.

Still others claim, from Strolls unlit
His Brain became demented;
Most evident and clear is it,
He's all disoriented;

For 'twixt Des-Cartes and Hobbes, disgraced,
Was Aristotle stuck.
With Withers and with Dryden placed,
Was hapless Virgil's Luck.

Now from those who Forbearance show
Towards the Modern Party,
One was sent off, their Ranks to know -
How numerous and hearty.

All their Affairs he organized,
His Energy unflagging.
A Tallying he supervised,
His Feet were never dragging.

At Fifty-Thousand stands the Sum,
Light Cavalry abounding;
The well-armed Foot seemed to have come
From a Defeat resounding.

For they had Ordnance obsolete,
Their Vestibules were crude;
Their Steeds would often miss a Beat,
Though with great Height endued.

But there is one Contingent small
Who with the Ancients barter;
They are outfitted best of all,
Their Uniforms are smarter.

All during the Embranglement
Dispute intensified.
Invective venomous did vent
From Spleens on either side.

One Ancient, lone, quite out of Place
Upon a Modern Shelf,
Then made an Overture with Grace,
Suggesting he himself

Impartially could arbitrate
The Matter here in Question.
If all cease to recriminate,
And follow his Suggestion,

He'll offer most conclusive Proof
The Ancients still deserve
To live upon that Height aloof,
Their natural Reserve,

By virtue of the length of Time
These Tenants there resided
Where few could ever think to climb;
And how they Help provided

To Moderns most unsparingly -
Who then returned their Presents
By scorning them uncaringly,
And treating them as Peasants.

Their Reasoning they did rebuff
As problematical;
Stating their vaunted "Ancient" stuff
Was just nonsensical.

Less Ancient was the Time when God
The Earth created newly;
More Modern, though it seems quite odd,
Antiquitas saeculi.

We are more Ancient now than when
The World did first awaken;
Juventus mundi it was then -
So says Sir Francis Bacon.

These did deny Dependency
Upon all Ancient Norms;
In their brief young Ascendancy
They'd fain invent new Forms.

"It may be true that one or two
Within our Ranks have sunk
So low as to acknowledge Due
To bygone Ancient Bunk.

"However, the Remainder of
Our faithful Modern Crowd,
Have firmly to remain above
This type of Traffic vowed.

"Which ones of us avoid this Stench
Is not hard to determine;
It's mostly English, and some French,
Not Spanish, Dutch, or German,

"Who have to the Extent conferred
Till now with Ancient Folk,
So little that a single Word
With them they never spoke.

"We use but our own Kind of Strain
Of Stallions and of Mares;
From Borrowing we do refrain,
And tend our own Affairs.

"We manufacture all our Spears
To our own Plans and Whim;
The Garments of our Cavaliers
We weave and stitch and trim."

Then Plato in a nearby Berth
Remarked, sage and benign,
That these who bragged were in a Dearth
Of tailored Clothing fine;

And that their Nags looked underfed
And faltered when they strode;
With rusted Arms and in frayed Thread
An Army on them rode.

So with a hearty Laugh he heaved
And then he said: By golly,
For certain, that he now believed
Their Arrogance and Folly!

The Moderns in their recent Plans
Did take but little Caring,
To talk among each other, sans
Their true Intentions baring.

For those who Salvos first let fly
In that intense Debate
(Who should live closer to the Sky;
Who had more Right innate)

Did carry on, with such great Sound,
Of launching an Attack,
That Temple, list'ning, heard and frowned,
Determined to fight back.

The Ancients he did notify
Of all he did observe,
Who all their Force assembled nigh
Their Honor to preserve.

Some Moderns changed their Fealty
And joined the Ancient Side,
Like Temple, who boasts Loyalty
To those who were his Guide;

Those who had offered him to train,
And loved him as a Friend;
For them he boldly did Campaign
Their Bastion to defend.

THE BEE AND THE SPIDER

'Twas here that all the Wrangling paused
In each Contending Faction;
A strange Event took Place that caused
A fabulous Distraction.

Up near the Ceiling in a Room
Beside one Window large,
Quite safe from Duster, Mop, and Broom
A Spider was in charge.

Fat, swollen up to twice his Size,
Up on his Throne he sat;
And gnawed on countless filthy Flies
And many a murdered Gnat.

Like human Bones an Ogre's wont
Out of his Lair to cast,
He scatters Flybane, nonchalant,
From his grim, black Repast.

With radiating Boulevards
And Beltways round endowed
So he his Castle closely guards -
The Moderns would be proud.

Through its Periphery you wind,
A central Dais you see,
On it the bloated King's Behind
Sits in vain Majesty.

Out onto every Avenue
He sallies forth for Prey,
Or when his Foe comes in to View
He sallies forth to slay.

For quite some Time in Plenty there
The Spider lived his Life;
No Foe disturbed his peaceful Lair,
No Famine brought, nor Strife.

No Birds flew down out of the Sky;
Not one unwelcome Guest;
No People cleaning way up high
To sweep away his Nest.

Until out of pure Happenstance,
From Regions high and free
It was the Pleasure of Mischance
Here to conduct a Bee.

Whose curiosity a Pane
Of broken Glass doth spy,
At which he can his Entrance gain,
And through it he doth fly.

He soars about the Citadel
The Spider's Toil contrived;
But on a fragile Curtain fell
Just after he arrived.

The Strain of that unequal Load
The Citadel sunk under,
And every Node of that Abode
Was well nigh torn asunder.

Thrice he endeavored free to burst,
About he tossed and thrashed;
Great Waves of Shock the Place traversed,
Then in the Center crashed.

Observing this chaotic Din,
This paroxysmic Bobbing,
The Spider thought that Nature in
The Throes of Death was throbbing.

Or that bold Lucifer approaches
With his fearsome Throng,
To take, on him who eats Cockroaches,
His Revenge, ere long.

At last he did some Courage find;
Resolved to boldly go,
He ventured out with valiant Mind
To ferret out the Foe.

But now the Bee no longer toiled;
Loose from the Trap he was;
Still he was very badly soiled,
Swathed in a sticky Gauze.

And when from Cobweb Remnants he
His Wings to clean did strive,
He longed in his Extremity
To be back in his Hive!

The Spider did his Fort survey,
And its Dilapidation;
Its Ruin and its Disarray
Caused him great Consternation.

So that he stormed around and swore
And like a Madman cursed;
His Anger boiled up more and more
Until he nearly burst.

For on the Bee his Gaze was cast,
And putting two and two
Together he deduced at last
The How, the Why, and Who.

"Was this unsightly Chaos here
The Fault of your neglect?
May Trouble find you, Grief, and Fear;
A Pox your Health affect!

"You think I've nothing else to do
But to repair and mend
The Damage that is caused by you
When you my Palace rend?"

The Bee was now completely pruned
From every grimy Thread,
And with a dulcet Voice, well tuned,
Unto the Spider said:

"I will no more come near this Lair
For never was I caught
In such a Pickle, nor, I swear,
In Water quite so hot!"

"I'll show you better Manners, Sir,"
The Spider said, "but nay,
My Custom's not abroad to stir
My Enemies to slay."

"Have Patience pray," replies the Bee,
"Your Substance do not spend,
You will need all of it, you'll see,
This Palace rent to mend."

"Thou Rogue," the Spider's miffed reply,
"Show more Respect unto
A Person whom the World holds high,
As better far than you."

"A good Jest," said the Bee, "Please do
One Favor - I'm amused -
Some Reasons give me, one or two,
Why all the World's confused."

At this the Spider's Posture grew,
For Controversy's Sake;
Into a fierce Debate he flew,
His Honor was at stake.

To urge his Reasons scurrilously
He angrily resolves;
But Reason to a large Degree
Quite rapidly dissolves.

For to Objections from his Foe
His Mind was firmly closed;
In ignorant Conviction, Lo,
His tiny Brain reposed.

"A Rascal such as you," he said,
"Cannot compare with me.
A Vagabond without a Bed,
No Home nor Stock have ye.

"You've no Belongings of your own
But one: that Pair of Wings,
And two: a Drone-pipe monotone
That only one Note sings.

"You plunder over Plot and Field,
In Pastures not your own,
Freeloading on the fruitful Yield
That other Men have sown.

"You'd rob a Nettle, I suppose,
Whether it shines or rains,
As easily as you'd rob a Rose;
This Theft the World disdains.

"Now me, I'm tame and better trained,
Not near as wild as you;
Within myself is all contained -
So well endowed are few.

"This Home I fabricate with Care;
I from myself extrude
All necessary for repair."
Thus went their angry Feud.

Replied the Bee, "At least you grant
I honestly acquire
My Wings to fly, a Voice to chant,
My Freedom, and a Lyre.

"For then to Heaven alone am I
Obliged for every Thing,
The Wings with which I soar so high,
The Music that I sing.

"And Providence in vain would not
Provide such Gifts as these
But with some noble Purpose fraught -
She blessed the Bumblebees!

"Yes, I procure for my own Taste
From all the Garden's Flowers;
But there's no Victim and no Waste,
And nothing dies or sours.

"Of you as Architect, I fear,
To say, I have but little;
A Math that's flawed, it's all too clear,
A Thread that's weak and brittle.

"Method and Toil might well be in
Your House of Snares and Traps
But both of us saw with Chagrin
That it did all collapse!

"I hope henceforth this Clue you'll take
That Durability,
Far more than Art and Method make
A Building Defect free.

"You other Creatures, so ye boast,
No Obligation owe,
To draw and spin a Web you most
Sufficient are - but Lo,

"By that that issues from it we
The Well's Health can adjudge;
And you are very full, we see,
Of Poison, Dirt, and Sludge.

"From whence does this Defilement come?
To whom is owed this Bane?
I do believe you Ordure from
Some other Source obtain.

"Unto your own inherent Dirt
Some other Bugs donate,
The venal Venom that you squirt
Contains their poison Hate.

"The Matter comes to this, in short,
Who's on the nobler Side,
He that inside a four-inch Fort,
With overweening Pride,

"Feeds and engenders on itself,
Turns all to Venom there,
And leaves a Cobweb on the Shelf,
And Flybane everywhere -

"Pray is it him - or is it he
That far and wide doth roam,
And with much Thought and Industry
Brings Wax and Honey home."

So heatedly did they debate
And with such fervent Vigor,
The Battle 'neath them did abate,
Not one Troop pulled a Trigger.

But all stayed silent, Breath all bated
With Anticipation,
To see what Outcome would be fated
From the Disputation.

Ere long the Bee impatient grew
To hear his Foe reply,
And straightaway away he flew
To Flower beds nearby.

Leaving the Spider all irate
And almost nigh to burst
With Oratory, to inflate
His Ego vast, accursed.

AESOP'S DESCANT

On this Exigency it fell
To Aesop to expound.
For he had just been made to dwell
Among the Moderns, bound

In Shackles harsh upon a Shelf,
Ravaged on half his Pages.
Seeing the Risk he changed himself
Through varied vulgar Stages;

Until, seen in a Donkey's Shape,
The Curator believes
That he's a Modern. To escape
At Leisure he conceives.

Unto the Ancient Shelves he came
Just when the Bee came in,
And with the Spider fretfully
The Fracas did begin.

With Satisfaction he observed,
As each the other blamed;
And then with Fervor unreserved,
When finished, he exclaimed:

That never had he seen before
Two Matters so related.
The Fight of those above the Door
And here below equated.

Those feuding had with great Finesse
Their Conflicts organized;
No single Fact was left to guess,
All Sides they scrutinized.

"We need but juxtapose the two,
What issues forth compare,
Apply our findings for a Clue
To fathom our Affair.

"Was ever any Mark or Trait,
Of Moderns so thematic
As is this Bug, his Bearing, Gait,
And Puzzles enigmatic?

"He argues in behalf of you
His Brethren, with much Force,
By boasting that he gives no Due
To any outside Source,

"And only from his own Insides
His Fruits he's fabricating.
How well he sums, counts, and divides,
His Tenements creating.

"Then in behalf of us the Bee,
Opining, counters thus:
The Moderns' Product is the Key,
How they compare with us.

"The Talent, Brains, and cunning Sense
That they are always boasting
Proves but to be a big Pretense;
Insouciant, vain self-Toasting.

"The Edifices built by you
With System, Craft, and Sleight,
Endure long after their Debut,
Only if out of Sight;

"Much as those Nests the Spider weaves,
Long Pendency enjoy,
Only if overlooked in Eaves,
Where none come and destroy.

"The one Thing that I can recall
That Moderns can assert
To be the true Fruit of their Gall,
Their Venom, and their Dirt,

"Is that contentious Corpus filled
With Slander, Slur, and Rumor
That seems as though it's been distilled
From an arachnid Humor.

"This wholly from themselves, they say,
Do they expectorate,
Though supplemented by the Prey
Whose noxious Bane they fete.

"We Ancients claim Naught other than
Our Soaring and our Speech;
Just as the Bee with his Wings can
To Heights transcendent reach.

"These only are our native Gifts;
Hard Study then avails
The Stuff of Truth divine that lifts
Us to Celestial Pales.

"So that instead of Filth and Grime
We choose to line our Nest
With tasty, splendent, Fare sublime
And then the Earth is blessed."

THE ROSTER OF COMBATANTS

When Aesop ended these Remarks
An Hubbub did commence.
Between the Books flew angry Sparks,
Contentious and intense.

Their Ire anon got so inflamed
That both contending Groups
Resolved that War should be proclaimed,
And gathered all their Troops.

'Neath Banners streaming each Side teams
In Galleries remote,
And there they plot Intrigues and Schemes,
One at another's Throat.

In fervid Feuds the Moderns Vie
To choose who'll be their Chief;
Kept by the Fear their Foes are nigh,
From internecine Grief.

The Ardor was among the Horse
Epic in the Extreme.
Each Soldier tries to be perforce
An Officer supreme;

First Milton, Dryden, Withers too,
And Tasso, full of Woe,
Then, mirthful, singing into view
Came Cowley and Despreaux.

Des-Cartes and Hobbes the Bowmen led,
Gassendi was close by.
Their pointed Shafts to Heaven sped,
And from the Earth did fly;

Never again on Earth to stray,
But like Evander veer,
To fade, as shooting Stars decay,
High in the Atmosphere.

And Stink-Pot-Flingers from the freezing
Heights of Switzerland
Paracelsus bore - unpleasing
Fumes announce his Band.

There Harvey's Squadrons did advance,
Part for the Fight equipped
With Scimitar and Sword and Lance,
Their Points with Toxins tipped;

And Part with Ammunition stuffed
With foul and nasty Leaven,
A chalky Dust that will, if snuffed,
Waft one to Hell or Heaven.

Brigades of Infantry then came,
All Mercenaries rotten,
Davila, Polydore, by name,
And others best forgotten.

Next Regiomontanus brought
Brigades of Engineers;
Hypotheses for Weapons, Thought
For Swords, Conceit for Spears.

The others were a Legion large
Bewildered and befuddled.
One Bellarmine was seen in charge
While through the Fray they muddled,

Endowed with great, colossal Size,
And with prodigious Brawn,
But lacking soldierly Supplies,
Undrilled, and Valor gone.

The Ancient Ranks are sparse and thin
The Cavalry are led
By Homer; Light-Horse spurred to win,
Brave Pindar at the Head.

And Euclid, Elements in hand,
Commands the Engineers,
While Aristotle leads the Band
Of Bowmen, Plato's Peers.

COUNCIL OF THE GODS

When these Contentions sharp were nigh
To break out into Brawls,
Renown, housed in a Lodging high
In academic Halls,

Flew straight up near to Jove's Abode,
And, faithful to the Facts,
Told how Affairs might soon explode
Betwixt these Tomes and Tracts.

Then Jupiter moved to begin
A Gathering didactic,
Which he assembled promptly in
A Theater galactic.

The Congregation being met,
He tells why they've been beckoned:
Because two Factions are upset,
And, Heaven's Stake be reckoned,

A lethal Fracas might erupt
'Tween rival Partisans;
One old and pure, and one corrupt,
Infernal Charlatans.

The Deity of Blaming spoke,
The Modern's patron Saint;
Much Empathy he doth evoke
With an intense Complaint.

Then Pallas in behalf of all
The Ancient Phalanx made
A stiff Rebuttal to this Gall,
Which half the Quorum swayed.

The noble Body found it hard
To rate who most deserved
Their Blessing, Homage, and Regard;
This Jupiter observed.

He ordered that the Book of Fate
Should now be forthwith sought;
And Mercury who's never late,
A triple Journal brought.

Containing Tales of bygone Times
And Narratives of Now,
Tomorrow's noble Works, and Crimes,
Who'll rule and who will bow.

The Binding of these bulky Books
Was holy Poultry Hide;
A fine argentous Plate for Looks
Was lavishly applied.

Jove read the Judgment with no Sound;
Its Import he anoints.
Those hoping for him to expound
He greatly disappoints.

Outside the Temple where the Group
Of Gods do rendezvous,
A populous and frisky Troupe
Of vassal Gods we view.

Subservient to Jove they bow,
On Earth his Will to show.
Through Space together leashed they plough,
All tethered to his Toe.

Yet when to parley these appear,
To transfer Information,
To get too near his Chair they fear,
Without his Approbation.

Below his Feet they'd best stay put
And reverential be
Absorbing Learning from that Foot,
Conveyed through Tubes fill free.

The Gods subordinate are called
Blight, Fortune, Falls and Wins,
At least by Beings who have crawled
'Neath Suff'ring, Grief, and Sins.

But Deities have different Terms
By which these things are known:
As Second Causes, Jove affirms,
They're called before his Throne.

To some of these subaltern Gods
Instructions Jove conveyed;
Then with obliging Bow and Nods
All instantly obeyed.

From on a Tower at that Place
Wherein the Books disputed,
They entered in without a Trace,
Invisible and muted;

Which followed after they had held
A brief Confabulation.
The dueling Factions' Fate they spelled,
At Jove's firm Proclamation.

ENLISTMENT OF CRITICISM

At this time Momus, full of Fears
For his own Modern Brood,
In mind of old prophetic Seers,
And in a fretful Mood,

Unto a Place of great Discord
His soaring Course did veer -
Where Criticism dwelt - a Lord
Most horrible to fear.

In Nova Zembla's frigid Air
Atop an all-white Peak
She dwelt, and lying in her Lair,
All gorged on Fare antique,

Amongst half-eaten Folios
Upon which she did feed,
She was in Company with those
Of whom she is the Seed.

Her Father, blind, on her right Side,
Stupidity his name,
And on her left, her Mother, Pride,
One most conceited Dame.

Her female Sibling danced around,
Opinion she was named;
Irresolute and often found
By Obstinance inflamed.

Her many Children play about
Ill-mannered, dull, and vain;
Assured, much Nonsense do they spout,
Much Learning they do feign.

This Monarch having feline Claws,
An Ass in facial Features,
Was ever full of self-Applause,
Disdain for other Creatures.

Upon the Discharge of her Spleen
She Nourishment ingests;
And Vipers at her Teats are seen
Sucking from fulsome Breasts.

And though they sucked with hungry Greed
The Flow from that foul Cup
Replenished is with greater Speed
Than those could drink it up.

"Dear Goddess! our Disciples are
In mortal Danger now.
Against their mortal Foes they spar;
I want to ask: Just how

"Can you, while they in Battle fight,
Be unconcerned? You must
Arouse yourself with all your Might
And justify their Trust.

"At once unto the British Isle
With all Alacrity
Proceed, and I'll beg and beguile
Recruits from Deity."

His Errand finished he did now
Retire in utmost Haste,
Whereat the fat lethargic Frau,
Her placid Mien replaced

With wrathful seething Rage, arose
And launched a loud Harangue:
"It is from me that Wisdom grows
In Idiots who sprang

"As Children from my Psyche hatched,
Much wiser to become
Than Parents, as absurd despatched,
Ridiculous and dumb.

"By me do little Boys in Schools
Judge all things philosophic.
And glib sophisticated Fools,
With Fruits most catastrophic,

"The deeper Depths of Science plumb;
And Arm-chair Critic Jerks
To specious Understandings come,
Berating Poets' Works;

"With no idea of the Sense
The Theme, the Plot sublime;
They'll fault the Grammar and the Tense,
The Rhythm and the Rhyme.

"By me do no-good Heirs exhaust
Their Common Sense and Wit,
As their Inheritance is lost,
Ere they've laid Claim to it.

"For stripping Wit from Verse don't doubt
It's I who claim the Credit.
I am the one who Meaning out
Of Poetry do edit.

"And shall I be opposed by some
Perverse old-timer Bards?
I think not. Sister, Parents come,
And Children, be my Guards.

"Ride in my Chariot with me
My Parents and dear Sister,
Our Modern Army is, I see,
In Trouble. Let's assist Her.

"From Altars catch that votive Whiff
Of burning Volumes torched.
It's that devoted Scent I sniff
From classic Verses scorched."

When she and every Passenger
Are ready off to Fly,
They are, a niggling Harbinger,
Transported through the Sky,

Traversing Territory vast,
By noisy cackling Fowl.
Reaching the British Isle at last,
O'er London they do prowl.

And what a Flood of Parvenu
On Covent Garden Shops
She liberally pours, and too
On Gresham Students drops.

Upon this paper Battlefield,
Where Books in Arms are dressed
And Rolls of fractious Fate unsealed,
She came at last to rest.

Invisible, she hastens in,
And on a Shelf she lands
Where many Volumes once had been,
Now emptied, there she stands.

There every Officer and Troop
A-mustering, she viewed;
To fierce vindictive battle Group
Positions she was clued.

Now by maternal Instinct moved,
A-stirring in her Bowels
On seeing one whom she approved,
Of Consonants and Vowels

A Master, but of Letters not,
A Paradox quite odd,
A Bowman whom she had begot
But not by any God.

'Twas Wooton of the Thread reduced
Assigned him by a Muse;
His Fabric on the Earth is loosed
To muddle and confuse.

To this Chief in a Regiment
Of those who draw the Bow,
With sympathetic Sentiment
She did resolve to go;

But not until, as Gods are quite
Well able to devise,
She vamped into a another Sprite
Of quite a different Guise.

For she did fear that her bright Face,
Ablaze with Light divine,
Could blind a Man of mortal Race
If on him it did shine.

And so in Prospect Octavo
Herself she doth assemble;
A bland lactescent Folio
She roughly did resemble.

Composed of sallow Sheets on which
Her Parents, Boys, and Girls,
A poison Liquid black as Pitch
Lay down in vulgar Swirls.

In this Disguise she did advance
Toward her Modern Pupils;
She was, in Bentley's Dress and Stance,
Devoid of any Scruples.

"Bold Wooton, why does this Platoon
Inactively repose?
The present Time is opportune
To hurl offensive Blows.

"Unto the Generals we ought
At once make haste to go."
Thus nursing on her Spleen she brought
A Viper foul to throw.

It flew straight into Wooton's Maw;
Round in his Skull it whipped.
Out popped those Orbs with which he saw,
His Faculties were flipped.

Then two most favored of her Brood
She bade attend him near:
Devoid-of-Wit and Manners-Rude,
To whisper in his Ear.

As soon as he was thus endowed
She faded in a Cloud.
The Hero to this Goddess vowed
To make his Mother proud.

BEGINNING OF THE FRACAS

And now, at that predestined Time
Hostilities were broached;
But ere I into Detail go,
By other Authors coached,

I feel obliged to beg for Ink
And Tablets by the Barge
Which would still insufficient be
This Labor to discharge.

PARACELSUS VS. GALEN

Speak, Clio, tell us who first raised
His Weapon high to strike.
'Twas Paracelsus, Chief of those
Dragoons who bear the Spike.

His Javelin with Power thrown,
A Missile straight and fierce,
At Galen darted fast and true
His mighty Shield to pierce.

This Greek courageous took the Blow
And he emerged the Winner;
The sharp end pierced the outer Plate
Then splintered on the inner.

ARISTOTLE VS. DES-CARTES

Then Aristotle seeing how,
With angry Countenance,
Did Bacon of the livid Brow
With Virulence advance,

Drew from his Quiver, stretched the Bow,
And sent an Arrow fast,
Which cleared the daring Warrior
And o'er his Helmet passed.

But it went whizzing straight and true
And hit Rene Des-Cartes
And at a Flaw, near where he saw,
His Visor it did part.

The Cover tough and Parchment Page
It tore a Swath clear through,
And with exact Trajectory
Into his Eye it flew.

In Agony he spun around
Assaulted in the Cortex,
His doom was to be pulled in Death
Down into his own Vortex!

HOMER VS. SUNDRY MODERNS

Then Homer leader of the Horse
Came on a raging Steed.
A Bridle could not tame the likes
Of this impassioned Breed.

Among the Foe he pranced about
And killed all that he passed;
Pray Goddess, tell whom first he slew,
And whom he slaughtered last.

First Davenant came on his Horse,
Much armored for Protection.
His was a Steed not known for Speed
But known for Genuflection.

An Oath to Pallas he had made
That ere he from the Fight
Departed, Homer's Shield no more
Would shine with Luster bright.

But he had no Conception of
The Power Homer had.
Him Homer ground into the Dust,
His End was swift and sad.

Then with his Weapon sharp he slew
That Modern, Denham, fat;
Descended from Apollo, by
A mortal Dame begat.

The heav'nly Part Apollo made
A lumined Orb divine;
The earthly Part upon the Ground
Lay groveling, supine.

Then Wesley fell, a Victim of
His Horse's savage Kick;
Perrault was off his Horse removed
And with a mighty Flick

Was caused to zoom across the Field,
Impacting Fontenelle
So hard that both unto their Brains
Were made to bid Farewell.

VIRGIL VS. DRYDEN

Then from the Horse's leftmost Flank
Came Virgil in his Saddle;
Upon an energetic Steed
He rode with Legs astraddle.

To find a worthy Enemy
Upon the Foe he gazed;
At Dryden's most enormous Horse
He looked with Awe, amazed:

With enervating Prancing high
Across the Field he bounced;
His coming was with noisy Din
Of clanging Arms announced.

These Cavaliers advanced to move
As close as one Spear's throw;
When this Intruder paused to say:
"I think it apropos

"That ere in Combat we engage
We ought to have Chat."
He lifted up his Mask and then
It was apparent that

His Helmet was five Times too big
For his vestigial Face.
Which at the Back was found within
Excessive empty Space.

It seemed much like the Lady
In a Lobster situate;
Or like a Rodent underneath
A Canopy of State;

His Voice was suited to the Face,
Diminutive, faint
"I'm kindred to your ancient Race."
Said he with shrill Complaint.

Then he suggested they should trade
Their Truncheons, Shields, and Spears;
And Virgil, in a Haze, was swayed,
For to offend he Fears;

Although his was of finest Gold,
The other Iron, rusting,
Which on the Modern, to behold,
Appeared misplaced, disgusting.

Then Steeds to switch they did agree
But at the Time to fight,
Poor Dryden in his Pants did pee
All overcome with Fright.

LUCAN VS. BLACKMORE

Upon a Mount most volatile
Pharsalia joined the Fray,
And wheresoever he did turn
The Foe with ease he'd slay.

Then Blackmore tried to intervene
More Slaughter to prevent.
He tossed his Javelin which missed,
And in the Ground it went.

Then Lucan let his own Lance fly
This Modern Foe to kill,
But Aesculapius unseen
Deflected it with Skill.

"Brave Modern I perceive some God
Protects thee," Lucan said,
"For were my Arm not contravened
Thou surely wouldst be dead.

"So let us cease this Rivalry
And trade our Tack for Favors."
Some Spurs on Blackmore he conferred;
A Bridle Lucan savors.

HORACE VS. CREECH

Lucretius then a Lesson teaches
To a Modern Mime;
The somber Throat of Thomas Creech's
Stretched, before his Prime.

The Deity of Dullness made
A Vapor in the Mold
Of Horace, with a Steed and Blade,
Soaring, in Bearing bold.

Our Modern sees this Phantom fly,
And felt a great Delight;
He follows, but it floats too high,
For him to face and fight.

At length it brought him to his End,
A bleak eternal Nap
Beside his Mentor, Sire, and Friend,
That made Brittania's Map.

PINDAR VS. COWLEY

Then Oldham Pindar hunted down,
Leaving him with the Slain,
And other Moderns of Renown,
Including Aphra Behn.

Avoiding Movement in straight Lines,
He'd pivot, bend, and swerve;
Those pirating him he designs
To frighten and unnerve.

And by his nimble Power great
Through many a lyric Poet
His heavy Lance did penetrate,
Whenever he did throw it.

When Cowley that brave Hunter spied
His bounteous Bosom kindled;
And mirroring that Manner, Stride,
And Bearing, greatly dwindled,

Did try, to the extent that he,
With Art bland and reflected,
And on a Mount of feeble Knee
And Gait might be expected,

To come and fight this Bard of old;
But when the two came nigh
So that the Spears which each did hold
Were both prepared to fly,

The Modern's Weapon through the Air
Sped in a faulty Arc,
And his Opponent's Life did spare;
In Dirt its Point did park.

The Ancient then a Shaft let sail,
So heavy and so grand,
That fifteen Moderns, weak and frail,
Can't lift it off the Land.

With little effort Pindar raised
That mighty Lancet high;
The Modern Army was amazed,
How true he made it fly.

Poor Cowley's Life was barely saved,
As a Protection mighty
Against that giant Spear he waved,
A Gift from Aphrodite.

Now both brought out their gleaming Blades
But Cowley hesitated;
The Modern Hero's Memory fades,
His Skill much overrated.

The Arms he held fell to the Earth,
Three Times he thought to flee,
Each Time he suffered from a Dearth
Of Strength himself to free.

At length unto the Ancient Foe
With Arms high in the Air
He plead: "These Weapons down I throw,
My Life, Oh Pindar, spare!

"Associates of mine when told
That I have been unhurt,
And am an Hostage whom you hold,
Shall Wealth to you divert."

"Thou Worm!", Pindar replied, "No Purse
Can hold a Sum so big
As from your Head to lift the Curse
That I pronounce, thou Pig!

"Your Flesh shall Food for Vultures be;
Let Scavengers your Hide
Devour." Then with one Whack did he
That Modern Wretch divide.

Unjoining from the Part below
To Earth the top Part tumbled;
Over the Modern gasping: "No!"
Hoofed Steeds stampeding stumbled.

His Horse in Panic o'er the Soil
Runs 'neath the severed Rider;
A Mistresse bathes him thrice in Oil,
A healing Branch beside her.

Turned thus into a peaceful Dove,
With Feathers velvet soft,
She latched him to her Cart of Love,
Conveying her aloft.

THE APPEARANCE OF BENTLEY

Now, as the Hour is getting late
And on the Moderns' Part
Enthusiasm doth abate,
And all are losing Heart,

A mercenary Sergeant lame
Out of the Legions came,
Intending Victory to claim -
And Bentley was the Name.

Big, but attractive he was not,
With Height, but with no Might;
His Outfit made of mismatched Parts
Was quite a motley Sight.

And great the Noise as he went past,
As thuds a heavy Lump
Of Metal base, that hits the Ground
And makes a muffled Thump.

Corroded was his Helmet Mask
With Air from his foul Lips;
A rankling, vile, offending Bile
Out of the same Source drips.

A Whip in his right Hand has he,
And in his left he carries
An Urn of feculent Debris
The Poop with which he parries.

Thus fully armed he marches on
To where the Modern Brass
Ponder the pending Denouement -
How things should come to Pass.

And they made Sport, when him they spied,
Of his misshapen Body;
His Outfit striving it to hide
Just made him look more shoddy.

His Penchant for Reviling had
In Politics some uses;
Though oftentimes it's been quite bad,
The Pain that it produces.

For he would use as an Excuse
The slightest Provocation
To heap upon his Chiefs Abuse
Instead of Veneration.

He was annoyed to see the Foe
Triumphing in the Field,
And thought it would be apropos
If all to him would yield.

The Modern Leaders, he oppugns,
Are found in different Niches:
They form a bunch of brainless Goons,
And bungling Sons of B-tches,

And vapid Jerks, Morons inane,
With all their Marbles gone,
Rapscallions, ignorant and vain,
And Sycophants that fawn.

And he maintains if he were Chief
The Ancients, haughty, proud,
And arrogant, would ne'er have been
Their Victories allowed.

"You lazy Sloths at Rest repose
And fail to do your Duty;
Then if brave Men despatch our Foes
You hope to have the Booty.

"The Enemy I'll not engage
Lest I am guaranteed,
From those I slay their Weapons stay
With him who made them bleed."

SCALIGER'S CASTIGATION

Then Scaliger responded thus:
Thou Prattler reprobate;
In your Opinion only, you're
This Perorator great.

The Venom that thy Hatred hath,
Thy Tendency to rail,
And thy Propensity to Wrath
Turns fresh Thought into stale.

With fiendish Traits, mean, heathenish,
Hath Schooling furnished thee;
A Doctor of Resentment with
A Virulence Degree.

Familiarity with Verse,
Hath made thee more prosaic,
What some Men polisheth makes Thee
A boring, trite Mosaic.

An Education in the School
Has given thee no Charm,
But rather made thee quite a Fool
And done less Good than Harm.

No Soldier more afraid than thee
Doth our Battalions stain;
But be thou confident of this:
Your Booty you'll retain.

Thy Flesh let Insects eat that do
On human Carrion Feast;
Thy rancid, tortured, loath Remains
Be pounced on by some Beast.

ENCOUNTER WITH AESOP AND PHALARIS

To answer, Bentley dareth not,
Half blind with Anger he
Now leaveth, all determined on
Some grand Entelechy.

A Friend for whom his Heart doth burn
Joins with him in the Quest,
They scout the Ancient Legions for
One lone, or one distressed.

They tromped on top of Comrades slain,
Then round their Army's Flank;
Then northbound through Bone strewn Terrain
Where rotting Corpses stank.

To Aldrovandus' Grave they ran
(Skirting the western Side),
Of whom, said Ogilby, that Man
For lack of Canvas died.

With Trepidation they approached
The Foes' brave forward Troops;
And like voracious hungry Hounds
Sought for fazed, injured Groups.

As when a Pair of venal Mutts
By Avarice imbued
Team up to search, all wanting Guts,
For unsuspecting Food.

Thus prowling, drooling through the Night
They roam among the Sheep
Owned by a Farmer affluent,
He being fast asleep.

From overhead upon them beats
A lucent lunar Beam.
One can observe the dearth of Nerve
Of that obnoxious Team.

They are not bold to let a Sound
Escape their canine Traps;
Seen in that Light their Sins are found,
Or in a Pond perhaps.

But one of them espies the Sphere
Surrounding their Location;
The other o'er the Fields doth Peer,
Of this strange new Plantation.

In Hopes of finding half-chewed Fare
Dismembered by some Vulture,
So this devoted, darling Pair
Bags Prey from Ancient Culture.

Afar off they two Outfits see
Of blinding Brilliance, borne
Upon a giant branching Tree;
By daring Soldiers worn,

Who nearby in a Nap did snooze.
The hunting Comrades view.
Which on this Quest should leave they choose,
And Bentley will pursue.

Tangled in Thought, and Dread and Fear,
A-marveling he goes;
Phalaris brave, with Aesop near,
In Slumber both repose.

The two he would despatch to Hell,
And so he crept up near;
But ere his Sword upon them fell
Here came the God of Fear.

Who grabs him with hibernal Hands
And from felt Peril pending
Removes him, for the Place he stands
To Harm perceived is trending.

Then suddenly the Ancients moved,
Who had been resting still,
For though they slumbered, Reveries
Their dormant Minds did fill.

An evil Poet threw a Spear,
Phalaris heaved him, scowling,
Into his Oven. One can hear
A brazen Bovine howling.

A Donkey wild in Aesop's Fable
Stamped and scattered Crap
That fell, as it escaped its Stable,
In his Eyes and Lap.

WATERS OF THE HELICON

Now from the dozing Duo here
Himself thus to defend,
He runs off with their fighting Gear,
And searches for his Friend;

Who had been in the Interim
Attempting to complete
A Quest that might provide for him
Some bold and daring Feat.

At last he found a Fountain famed;
A River it doth spawn.
And in the human Tongue it's named
The noble Helicon.

Here Wooton paused to be renewed
For he was dehydrated,
And at that Moment in the Mood
To be invigorated.

Three Times into the Stream he dips
With desecrating Paw.
Thrice from his Grip the Moisture drips;
Before it wets his Maw.

To be down closer with his Lips
Flat on the Ground he lies;
Before his Tongue the Water sips,
Down fierce Apollo flies.

The Inundation off he cut;
The flood dammed by Apollo,
The Modern found he could naught but
Wet Ground unpleasant swallow.

For even though there is no Source
In all this mundane Sphere,
From which a Rivulet doth course
More fresh, more clean, more clear;

Yet on its Bed there is a Bunch
Of nasty Silt impure;
A Meal that none would want to munch -
About like horse Manure.

Apollo once petitioned Zeus
For this, to teach and train
Those seeking its anointed Juice
With mundane Mouths to drain:

That to imbibe Refreshment here
They must be careful ever
The Fountain's Source to stay quite near,
To whet restrained endeavor.

WOOTON VS. TEMPLE

There near the Source two valiant, brave,
And noble Chieftains rest;
One, Temple, who his fealty
To Ancient Names professed.

His Headgear he removed and it
Into the Waters dipped.
Refreshment from this healthful Spring
In large Amounts he sipped,

Facing away from Wooton, who
Him seeking, lost his Nerve,
But reveled that if him he slew
Great Fame lay in Reserve.

So he believes, the foolish Clown
Inane, naive, and vain,
Rave Paeans from his Leaders down
Upon his Head will rain.

With Relish he imagines that
The Modern Lords' Esteem
Upon him falls; but soon enough
He snaps out of his Dream.

For where in all the Modern Race
Is there one brave Recruit,
That can an Arrow Face to Face
At this brave Ancient shoot?

In Battle he appears to get
Protection from Apollo;
And if in Danger, you can bet
That Pallas him will follow.

"But if my Honor is to be
A Critic's Apotheosis
Then please allow me this Decree,
This fortunate Prognosis:

"That my Spear into Temple's Heart
Might enter, with your Lady's
Consent, that his Soul will depart
And ever burn in Hades.

"That I unharmed and homeward turned,
Having fulfilled my Duty,
Might come, replete with Loot I've earned
From him, this Battle's Booty."

For his Appeal doth Momus and
His Madam intercede;
And so at Deity's Command
In Aiming he'll succeed.

But all his further vain Intents
Were by an adverse Blast
From Gods controlling all Events
Into the Ether cast.

With Force intense one Spear he flung,
Great Momus granting Aid;
In furry through the Air it sung
But from its Target strayed.

No Organs penetrated were;
A Belt the errant Lance
From Piercing deeply did deter;
It fell to Earth, by Chance.

The Modern whom he would destroy
Felt no Blow on him land,
Nor noticed Wooton's arrant Toy
As it fell on the Sand.

Now Wooton could have had great Fame
For sending a sharp Spear
That Struck, with no retorted Aim,
A Chief by all held dear.

Apollo fumed with angered Eyes
To see his Stream degraded
By Wooton's weighty Shaft, that flies
By his base Mother aided.

Then stealthily he changed his Guise
Into a Fey sans Name;
And, Noise not making, from the Skies
To youthful Boyle he came.

Attention he directs unto
A Weapon on the Ground,
Then to the Modern. "Chase! Pursue!
Retaliation bound."

BOYLE'S FINAL TRIUMPH

Brave Boyle had on a Suit that from
A Pantheon of Lords
Came as a Gift he used to plague
Yon heinous rival Hordes.

See how his Manner and his Mien
Resembles some brave Beast,
In arid rainless Regions seen
Far in the South and East;

Commissioned by a Parent old
To find some Game to snare,
By being savage, brave, and bold,
And bring Home to his Lair.

He hopes to come upon a Prey
That's worthy of his Honor;
A Fiend ferocious in his Way,
Anon to be a Goner.

But if a Donkey comes along
With whiny grating Squeals,
This philanthropic Animal,
Reluctant though he feels

His Paws to taint with such polluted,
Noxious Blood and Gore,
Still so annoyed at how he hooted,
He will hear no more.

For as a mean and naughty Tale
The gentle Gender hears,
And tells to ten or twenty Friends
List'ning with itching Ears,

So Echo doth repeat his Rants,
Sung in a noisy Scale,
With more Enjoyment charged than chants
Pandion's Nightingale.

Thus the Demesne of his Domain
He meaning to maintain,
Begins to chase this deafening
And funny looking Bane.

So Boyle doth after Wooton chase;
But with a weighty Load,
The Man must mitigate his Pace
To a less nimble Mode.

Now Bentley, whom he cherishes,
Shows up with Armor lifted;
'Twas Aesop's and Phalaris's
Who into Dreams had drifted.

Perceiving him to have the Gear
Belonging to his Fellow,
Which he himself had made appear
To shine ornately yellow;

He turned, for Wooton he forgot,
Revenge he frowning vows
Upon this Thief, for Anger hot
His Fervor doth arouse.

The both of them he was intent
To cleave in little Sections;
Alas away they quickly went
In opposite Directions.

And as a Widow who doth Spin
To earn a meager Pay,
If to her Worry and Chagrin
Her Ganders fly away;

Then frantically around the Mead
From here to there she raceth,
To gather them with arrant Speed
Her errant Birds she chaseth,

And they with an annoying Din
Across the Moorland dart;
So Boyle to follow doth begin
As both these Men depart.

But when they saw that their Attempt
To throw him off their Trail
Was met with nothing but Contempt,
And all to no Avail;

They moved in a united Stance
To try and fend off Harm;
And Bentley heaved a heavy Lance
With his malignant Arm,

Whence Pallas an Advantage gave
As on the Spear's sharp End
He forms a hollow Tip of Lead,
For he was Boyle's best Friend.

Then Boyle, now noticing his Chance,
With his right Hand he raises
A very long and lethal Lance.
At this close Duo gazes;

He lets it with unerring Aim
And savage Power fly;
And Bentley, to protect his Frame,
For he's about to die,

Drops low his Hands; the sharpened Pole
Goes through both Arm and Torso;
Continuing, to punch a Hole
In him whom he adores so.

It was as though a Chef impaled
Some Fowl upon a Spit.
His pointed metal Rod had nailed
These faithful Friends, both hit.

They fell, their Limbs all riveted
To one another's Frames;
In Death as Well as Life convolved,
Notorious their Names;

So tightly joined that Charon thought
One Ferry would suffice -
They Passage o'er his River bought
For half the normal Price.

A fond Farewell I bid you two -
A Couple nonpareil.
A lasting Fame I vow to you
In my poetic Style.

ROSTER OF COMBATANTS (return)

Bowmen: philosophers
Calones (soldier-slaves): hack-writers
Dragoons: Medical writers
Engineers: scientists
Heavy horse: epic poets
Light horse: lyric poets
Mercenaries: historians

Aldrovandus (return) (1473 - ) Belgian oil painter - died of grief when his warehouse of canvases burned just before beginning work on his Magnum Opus. John Ogilby wrote:

Magnus the title of old Alexander
Was also that of Painter Aldrovand' here:
The one for want of worlds to conquer cried.
T'other for lack of canvas nobly died.

Bacon, Sir Francis (return) (1561 - 1626) An arch-modern gave the most famous version of the Modern Paradox: "And to speak truly, Antiquitas saeculi juventus mundi [the antiquity of the ages is the youth of the world]. These times are the ancient times, when the world is ancient, and not those which we account ancient ordine retrogrado, by a computation backwards from ourselves."

Behn, Aphra (return) (1640-1689) English playwright and novelist, and the first woman to make her living on her writing. Like Oldham, she wrote Pindaric odes.

Bellarmine, Robert Cardinal (return) (1542-1621) Instructed Galileo he must no longer hold or defend the Copernican theory that the earth moves.

Bentley, Richard (return) (1662-1742) England's greatest classical scholar, contributed an appendix to the second edition of Wooton's book, Dissertations on the Epistles of Phalaris. There he demonstrates convincingly that the letters of Phalaris - which Temple had singled out as being the greatest examples of ancient literature - were in fact productions of a much latter period.

Blackmore, Sir Richard (return) (1650-1729) English epic poet.

Boyle, Charles (return) (1676-1731) Fourth Earl of Orrery, entered the fray with an edition of the Epistles of Phalaris in 1695, and responded to Bentley in Dr. Bentley's Dissertations Examin'd by the Honourable Charles Boyle, Esq. (1698)

Creech, Thomas (return) (1659-1700) English translator, known for his versions of Lucretius (1682) and Horace (1684), who hanged himself. The immediate cause of the act was said to be a money difficulty, though according to some it was a love disappointment; both of these circumstances no doubt had their share in a catastrophe primarily due to an already pronounced melancholia. Here the word "Creech" is preceded by a several lines widely spaced asterisks in the midst of which is the Latin phrase pauca desunt: "A little is missing." At several other points in the work, Swift parodies editions of classical texts in which a hiatus in the manuscript leaves the text incomplete. The other phrases "Desunt nonnulla," "Ingens hiatus hic in MS.," "Alter hiatus in MS.," "Hic pauca desunt," "Hiatus valdè deflendus in MS.," and "Desunt cætera" all indicate missing text. I like to think that Creech may have been especially fond of this device, thereby lending an element of ironic poetical justice to the fact that its use here results in significant details of his own life being elided. Note that this material has not been included for the purposes of my anagrammatic versification.

Cowley, Abraham (return) (1618-1667) English poet, author of the love poem Mistresse.

Davenant, Sir William (return) (1606-1668) Rumored to have been Shakespeare's son, wrote the uncompleted verse epic Gondibert (1651), a tale of chivalry in 1,700 quatrains.

Davila, Enrico Caterino (return) (1576-1631) Italian historian who wrote a history of the French civil wars.

Denham, Sir John (return) (1615-1659) Best known for Cooper's Hill (1642).

Des-Cartes, Rene (return) (1596-1650) French mathematician and philosopher, often singled out as one of the greatest of the Moderns. His philosophy described the "vortices" that constitute the universe.

Despreaux, Nicholas Boileau- (return) (1636-1711) French sonneteer from whom Cowley derived inspiration.

Dryden, John (return) (1631-1700) The most influential English poet of the late seventeenth century. Although Dryden and Swift were related, Swift bitterly resented a comment Dryden is said to have made to him: "Cousin Swift, you will never be a poet." Swift's works are filled with attacks on Dryden.

Evander (return) In fact it is Acestes, Aeneid 5.525-28, who fires the arrow.

Fontenelle, Bernard le Bovyer de Fontenelle (return) (1657-1757) French poet and defender of the Moderns.

Gassendi, Pierre (return) (1592-1655) French mathematician and philosopher.

Harvey, William (return) (1578-1657) English physician, who discovered the principle of the circulation of the blood. Sir William Temple suggested that the discovery may have been inaccurate, or that the Ancients may have beaten Harvey to it.

Hobbes, Thomas (return) (1588-1679) English philosopher, best known for his work of political philosophy, Leviathan (1651). Another arch-modern.

Momus (return) The god of Ridicule, whose name is Greek for "fault", here personified as a typically modern critic.

Ogilby, John (return) (1600-1676), English writer and map maker who worked on translations of the Bible and the classics of Virgil, Homer and Aesop. Ogilby's maps were published in an atlas named Britannia.

Oldham, John (return) (1653-1683), English poet known for his satires and Pindaric poems.

Pallas (return) The goddess of Wisdom.

Pandion (return) King of Athens and father of two tragic daughters, Procne and Philomela. Procne went to Thrace as wife of Tereus, and her son was Itys. When Philomela visited her sister, Tereus raped her, cut out her tongue, and shut her up in a hut in the forest. Procne discovered the truth and revenged herself on Tereus by killing Itys and serving him to his father to eat. She was turned into a swallow, Philomela into a nightingale.

Parnassus (return) Mount Parnassus is the traditional home of the Muses.

Paracelsus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (return) (1493-1541) Swiss philosopher and alchemist.

Perrault, Charles (return) (1628-1703) French author and father of the contemporary fairy tale genre. (Tales of Mother Goose). His Paralleles des anciens et des modernes compared the authors of antiquity unfavorably to modern writers

Phalaris (return) The Sicilian tyrant Phalaris was said to have roasted his enemies in a large brass bull.

Pharsalia (return) Just as Swift uses Gondibert to symbolize Davenant, so here Pharsalia symbolizes Lucan.

Polydore, Vergil (return) (1470-1555) Italian historian commissioned in 1505 by Henry VII to write the history of England.

Regiomontanus, Johann Muller (return) (1436-1472) In spite of the Latin name, Regiomantanus is a modern.

Scaliger, Joseph Justus (return) (1540-1609) French classical scholar.

Scotus, Johannes Duns (return) (c. 1265-1308) Medieval philosopher. For later ages, Scotus came to represent the worst of Scholastic philosophy. Duns is the origin of the word dunce.

Sentinel (return) Refers to Bentley (q.v.) who was named librarian to the Royal Library in St. James's Palace in 1693.

Tasso, Torquato (return) (1544-1595) Italian epic poet, best known for Gierusalemme liberata. He served as court poet to the d'Este family in Ferrara for many years. He suffered greatly at their hands, however, when Alphonso II had him confined for seven years as a madman in Sant'Anna Hospital. He spent the remainder of his life wandering through Italy, much admired but impoverished, finally dying just before being crowned poet laureate by Pope Clement VIII.

Temple, Sir William (return) (1628-1699) Swift's patron, began the most important skirmish in the English phase of the Querelle des anciens et des modernes, the dispute over whether the modern world had produced anything comparable to the excellence of antiquity. In 1690, Temple published An Essay upon the Ancient and Modern Learning; in it, he argued for the superiority of the ancients over the moderns. He singles out two ancient authors for particular praise, Aesop (writer of fables) and Phalaris (a Sicilian tyrant of the sixth century B.C.).

Wesley, Samuel (return) (1662-1735) English poet and divine, the father of John and Charles Wesley (the founders of Methodism).

Withers, George (return) (1588-1667) English poet, and often singled out for being bad.

Wooton, William (return) (1666-1726) Replied to Temple in Reflections upon Ancient and Modern Learning (1694), asserting that the moderns excel the ancients in science and mathematics.