« EelmineJätka »
Of all mad creatures, if the learn'd are right, 105
A fool quite angry is quite innocent:
Ver. 111. in the MS.
For fong, for filence fome expect a bribe;
VER. 118. Sir, you have an Eye.] It is remarkable, that amongst the compliments on his infirmities and deformities, he mentions his eye, which was fine, fharp, and piercing. It was done to intimate, that flattery was as odious to him when there was fome ground for commendation, as when there was none.
my comfort, languishing in bed, "Just so immortal Maro held his head :" And when I die, be fure you let me know Great Homer dy'd three thousand years ago. Why did I write? what fin to me unknown Dipt me in ink, my parents', or my own? 126
As yet a child, nor yet a fool to fame,
I lifp'd in numbers, for the numbers came.
After Ver. 124. in the MS.
But, Friend, this shape, which You and Curl admire,
I had it from my Mother |, not the Muse.
* Curl fet up his head for a fign.
His Father was crooked.
VER. 127. As yet a child, &c.] He used to fay, that he began to write verfes further back than he could remember. When he was eight years old, Ogilby's Homer fell in his way, and delighted him extremely; it was followed by Sandys' Ovid; and the raptures these then gave him were so strong, that he spoke of them with pleasure ever after. About ten, being at school at Hide-park-corner, where he was much neglected, and fuffered to go to the Comedy with the greater boys, he turned the tranfactions of the Iliad into a play, made up of a number of fpeeches from Ogilby's tranflation, tacked together with verses of his own. He had the address to perfuade the upper boys to act it; he even prevailed on
I left no calling for this idle trade,
The Mufe but ferv'd to ease fome friend, not Wife,
But why then publish? Granville the polite, 135
the Mafter's Gardener to represent Ajax, and contrived to have all the actors dreffed after the pictures in his favourite Ogilby. At twelve he went with his father into the Forest: and then got firft acquainted with the Writings of Waller, Spencer, and Dryden; in the order I have named them. On the first fight of Dryden, he found he had what he wanted. His Poems were never out of his hands; they became his model; and from them alone he learnt the whole magic of his verfification. This year he began an epic poem; the fame which Bp. Atterbury, long afterwards, perfuaded him to burn. Befides this, he wrote, in thofe early days, a Comedy and Tragedy, the latter taken from a story in the legend of St. Genevieve. They both defervedly underwent the fame fate. As he began his Paftorals foon after, he used to say pleafantly, that he had literally followed the example of Virgil who tells us. Cum canerem reges et prælia, &c.
VER. 130. no father dif bey'd.] When Mr. Pope was yet a child, his Father, though no Poet, would fet him to make English verfes. He was pretty difficult to please, and would often, fend the boy back to new turn them. When they were to his mind, he took great pleasure in them, and would Lay, Theje are good 1 hyme:.
The courtly Talbot, Somers, Sheffield read,
VER. 139. Talbot, &c.] All these were Patrons or Admirers of Mr. Dryden; though a scandalous libel against him, entitled, Dryden's Satyr to his Mufe, has been printed in the name of the Lord Somers, of which he was wholly ignorant.
These are the perfons to whofe account the Author charges the publication of his firft pices: perfons, with whom he was converfant (and he adds beloved) at 16 or 17 years of age; an early period for fuch acquaintance. The catalogue might be made yet more illuftrious had he not confined it to that time when he writ the Paftorals and Windfor Foreft, on which he passes a fort of Cenfure in the lines following,
"While pure Description held the place of Sense," &c. P. VER. 146. Burnets, &c.] Authors of fecret and fcandalous History. P.
Ibid. Burnets, Oldmixons, and Cooks.] By no means Authors of the fame clafs; though the violence of party might hurry them into the fame mistakes. But if the first offended this way, it was only through an honeft warmth of temper, that allowed too little to an excellent understanding. The other two, with very bad heads, had hearts ftill worse.
VER. 148. While pure Defcription held the place of Sense?] He uses pure equivocally, to fignify either chafe or empty;
Like gentle Fanny's was my flow'ry theme,
If want provok'd, or madness made them print,
and has given in this line what he esteemed the true Character of descriptive pretry, as it is called. A compofition, in his opinion, as abfurd as a feaft made up of fauces. The office of a pictorefque imagination is to brighten and adorn good fenfe; fo that to employ it only in defeription, is like childrens delighting in a prifm for the fake of its gaudy colours; which when frugally managed, and artfully difpofed, might be made to reprefent and illuftrate the nobleft objects in nature.
VER. 150. A painted meadow, or a purling ftream,] is a
verfe of Mr. Addison.
Ibid. A painted Mistress, or a purling Stream.] The Rape of the Lock, and Windfor-Fereft.
VER. 163. thefe ribalds.] How defervedly this title is given