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And drop at last, but in unwilling ears, 39 This faving counsel, “Keep your piece nine years.”
Nine years! cries he, who high in Drury-lanes Lull’d by soft Zephyrs thro' the broken pane, Rhymes ere he wakes, and prints before Term ends, Oblig’d by hunger, and request of friends : « The piece, you think, is incorrect? why take it,45 « I'm all submission, what you'd have it, make it.”
Three things another’s modest wishes bound, My Friendship, and a Prologue, and ten pound.
Pitholeon fends to me: “ You know his Grace, “I want a Patron; ask him for a Place.”
50 Pitholeon libell'd me---" but here's a letter “ Informs you, Sir, 'twas when he knew no better. « Dare
refuse him? Curl invites to dine, “ He'll write a Journal, or he'll turn Divine.”
VARIATIONS. VER. 53. in the MS.
refuse, he goes, as fates incline, To plague Sir Robert, or to turn Divine.
NOTES. VER. 43. Rhymes ere he wakes,] A pleasant allufion to those words of Milton,
Dictates to me flumb'ring, or inspires Easy my unpremeditated Verse. VER. 49. Pitholeon] The name taken from a foolish Poet of Rhodes, who pretended much to Greek. Schol in Horat. I. i. Dr. Bentley pretends, that this Pitholeon libelled Cæfar allo. See notes Hor. Sat, 10. li.
If I approve,
Bless me! a packet.---“ 'Tis a stranger sues, 55 “ A Virgin Tragedy, an Orphan Muse.” If I dislike it, Furies, death and rage!"
« Commend it to the Stage.” There (thank my stars) my whole commission ends, The Play’rs and I are, luckily, no friends. 60 Fir’d that the house reject him, “ 'Sdeath I'll print it, “ And shame the fools---Your int'relt, Sir, with
demurs but double his attacks;
'Tis sung, when Midas' Ears began to spring, (Midas, a sacred person and a King)
Vidi, vidi ipfe, Libelle ! Auriculas Afini Mida Rex habet. The transition is fine, but obfcure: for he has here imitated the manner of that mysterious writer, as well as taken up his image. Our Author had been hitherto complaining of the folly
His very Minister who spy'd them first,
face? A. Good friend forbear! you deal in dang’rous things. I'd never name Queens, Ministers, or Kings; 76 Keep close to Ears, and those let asses prick, 'Tis nothing---P. Nothing? if they bite and kick? Out with it, DUNCIAD! let the secret pass, That secret to each fool, that he's an Ass: 80 The truth once told (and wherefore should we lie?) The queen
of Midas slept, and so may I. You think this cruel? take it for a rule, No creature smarts so little as a fool. Let peals of laughter, Codrus! round thee break, 85 Thou unconcern'd canst hear the mighty crack: Pit, box, and gall’ry in convulsions hurld, Thou stand'st unshook amidst a bursting world.
NOTES. and importunity of indigent Scriblers; he now insinuates he suffered as much of both,
from Poetasters of Quality. Ver. 72. Queen) The story is told, by some of his Barber, but by Chaucer of his Queen. See Wife of Bath's Tale in Dryden's Fables.
VER. 80. That secret to each fool, that he's an Ass :] i. e. that his ears (his marks of folly) are visible. VER. 88. Alluding to Horace,
Si fractus illabatur orbis,
Who shames a Scribler ? break one cobweb thro',
NOTES. VER. 92. The creature's at his dirty work again,] This meiamorphosing, as it were, the Scribler into a Spider is much more poetical than a comparison would have been. But Poets should be cautious how they employ this figure; for where the likeness is not very striking, instead of giving force, they become obscurę. Here, every thing concurs to make them run into one another. They both spin; not from the head (reason] but from the guts (passions and prejudices] and such a thread that can entangle none but creatures weaker than themselves.
Ver. 98. free-masons Moor?] He was of this society, and frequently headed their processions.
Of all mad creatures, if the learn'd are right, 105
One dedicates in high heroic prose,
fame defend, And more abusive, calls himself my friend. This prints my Letters, that expects a bribe, And others roar aloud, “ Subscribe, subscribe."
There are, who to my person pay their court:115 I cough like Horace, and, tho' lean, am short, Ammon's great son one shoulder had too high, Such Ovid's nose, and “ Sir!
have an Eye--Go on, obliging creatures, make me fee All that disgrac'd my Betters, met in me. 120
For song, for filence some expect a bribe;
NOTES. Ver. 118. Sir, you have an Eye] It is remarkable that amongst these compliments on his infirmities and deformities, he mentions his eye, which was fine, sharp, and piercing. It was done to intimate, that fattery was as odious to him when there was some ground for commendation, as when there was none.