1827 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bezaleel Morrice

Joseph Haslewood, "Bezaleel Morris" Gentleman's Magazine 97 (January 1827) 29



The only notes hitherto appended to the various editions of the Dunciad, by Alexander Pope, are those flowing from the humour of Scriblerus, and the perspicuous gathering and labour of the Rev. W. Warburton. Some future editor may forego the taciturn system of some of his predecessors, and not uniformly pass the way-faring stranger, damned into fame for the purpose of crowding the temple of Dulness, by candidly identifying the real, from the proclaimed shadows made important by the satire of the poet. Of Bezaleel Morris, it is first stated, he was "author of some satires on the translation of Homer, with many other things printed in newspapers," while Scriblerus makes his existence doubtful, by declaring Bezaleel "carries forgery in the very name," and then thrusts him into a plurality of Curll's "phantoms."

The name of Bezaleel Morris, as a poet, may be traced for thirty years, without any apparent conjunction with Curll, and therefore, possibly, a human form bearing baptismal honours, and certainly not a phantom. He wrote,

Miscellanies, or Amusements in verge and prose: advertised by D. Browne, Temple Bar, 1712.

Voyage from Bengale in the East Indies, printed for Thomas Bickerton, Paternoster-row, about 1720.

An Essay on the Poets, Bickerton, 1721.

An Epistle to Mr. Welsted, and a Satyr on the English translation of Homer, Bickerton, 1721.

An Epistle to the falsely celebrated British Homer. Advertised as "sold by the booksellers of London and Westminster," April, 1742.

The Satyr on the English Translations, from which the following extract may serve, was enough to provoke the ire of Pope.

Three daring poets, lo! at different times,
On this account unsheath their dreadful rhymes;
Fiercely advance, and at a furious rate,
This glorious Bard with cruelty translate.
Bold Chapman do's th' advent'rous work commence,
And to a most prodigious length he stretches out his sense;
Presents him rack'd and tortur'd to our eyes,
And in so mean and such a coarse disguise,
He never sure from fortune suffer'd more,
E'en though he sought his bread from door to door.

Then Ogleby, in terms more dull and low,
Whether he should debase him, yea! or no!
Debates, — and then (as 'twas by fate decreed,)
He feebly does attempt to do the deed.

From Hobbs he finds a sure destructive fate,
Philosopher too soon! and Bard too late!
By him he's more than argument abus'd,
And more perversely than religion us'd.

Smart Pope comes now, yet not so stern as these;
He proves more kind, treats him with grace and ease,
And makes him spruce, the beaus and belles to please:
So gentle female habits, heretofore,
Renown'd Achilles and Alcides wore.