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And here, moved again with fresh indignation at his flan derers, he takes the advice of Horace, fume fuperbiam quæfitam meritis, and draws a fine picture of his moral and poetic conduct through life. In which he fhews that not fame, but VIRTUE was the conftant object of his ambition: that for this he oppofed himself to all the violence of Cabals, and the treacheries of Courts: the various iniquities of which having diftinctly specified, he fums them up in that most atrocious and fenfible of all (Ver. 333 to 360.)
"The whisper, that to greatnefs still too near,
But here again his Friend interrupts the strains of his divine enthufiafm; and defires him to clear up one objection made to his Conduct at Court. "That it was inhumane to infult "the Poor, and ill-breeding to affront the Great." To which he replies, That indeed in his purfuit of Vice, he rarely confidered how Knavery was circumftanced; but followed it, with his vengeance, indifferently, whether it led to the Pillory, or the Drawing Room (Ver. 359 to 368.)
But left this should give his Reader the idea of a favage intractable virtue, which could bear with nothing, and would pardon nothing, he takes to himself the fhame of owning that he was of fo easy a nature, as to be duped by the flendereft appearances; a pretence to virtue in a witty woman: fo forgiving, that he had fought out the object of his beneficence in a perfonal enemy: so humble, that he had fubmitted to the converfation of bad poets; and fo forbearing, that he had curbed in his refentment under the most shocking of all calumnies, abuses on his Father and Mother (Ver. 367 to 388.)
This naturally leads him to give a fhort account of their births, fortunes, and difpofitions; which ends with the tendereft wishes for the happiness of his Friend; intermixed with the most pathetic description of that filial Piety, in the exercife of which he makes his own happiness to confift.
"Me, let the tender office long engage
To rock the Cradle of repofing Age;
"With lenient arts extend a Mother's breath,
"Make Languor fmile, and smooth the bed of Death;
Vol. IV. facing p.9.
Hayman inv. et del
Shut, shut the Door, good John fatigue I said Tye up the Knocker, say I'm sick, I'm dead.
Op to Arbuthnor
And now this incomparable Poem, which holds fo much of the DRAMA, and opens with all the disorder and vexation that every kind of impertinence and flander could occafion, concludes with the utmost calmnefs and ferenity, in the retired enjoyment of all the tender offices of FRIENDSHIP and PIETY [Ver. 387 to the End.]
EPISTLE to Dr. ARBUTHNOt,
HUT, fhut the door, good John! fatigu'd
Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand, They rave, recite, and madden round the land.
VER. 1. Shut, fhut the door, good John !] John Searl, his old and faithful fervant: whom he has remembered, under that character, in his Will.
What walls can guard me, or what shades can
They pierce my Thickets, thro' my Grot they glide,
By land, by water, they renew the charge,
Happy! to catch me, juft at Dinner-time.
Is there a Parfon much be-mus'd in beer, 15 A maudlin Poetess, a rhyming Peer,
A Clerk, foredoom'd his father's foul to crofs, Who pens a Stanza, when he fhould engross? Is there, who, lock'd from ink and paper, fcrawls With defp'rate charcoal round his darken'dwalls?
After Ver. 20. in the MS.
Is there a Bard in durance? turn them free,
VER. 12. Ev'n Sunday fhines no Sabbath-day to me] The beauty of this line arifes from the figurative terms of the predicate alluding to the fubject. A fecret, in elegant expression, which our Author often practifed.
VER. 13. Mint.] A place to which infolvent debtors retired, to enjoy an illegal protection, which they were there fuffered to afford one another, from the perfecution of their creditors.