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Blest in each science, blest in ev'ry strain!
Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear, (A sigh the absent claims, the dead a tear) Recall those nights that clos'd thy toilsome days, 15 Still hear thy Parnelle in his living lays, Who, careless now of int'rest, fame, or fate, Perhaps forgets that OXFORD e'er was great; Or deeming meanest what we greatest call, Beholds thee glorious only in thy fall.
And sure, if aught below the seats divine Can touch Immortals, 'tis a Soul like thine:
the early connection between the Spaniards and Arabians, it may be suspected that it was an Oriental tale. Voltaire has inserted it in his Zadig, without mentioning a syllable of the place whence he borrowed it. Warton.
Ver 21. And sure, if aught] Strength of mind appears to have been the predominant characteristic of Lord Oxford; of which he gave the most striking proofs when he was stabbed, displaced, imprisoned. These noble and nervous lines allude to these circumstances; of his fortitude and firmness another striking proof remains, in a letter which the Earl wrote from the Tower to a friend, who advised him to meditate an escape, and which is worthy of the greatest hero of antiquity. This extraordinary letter I had the pleasure of reading, by the favour of the Earl's excellent grand-daughter, the late Dutchess Dowager of Portland, who inherited that love of literature and science, so peculiar to her ancestors and family.
A Soul supreme, in each hard instance try'd,
The rage of Pow'r, the blast of public breath, 25
In vain to Deserts thy retreat is made; The Muse attends thee to thy silent shade: "Tis her's, the brave man's latest steps to trace, Rejudge his acts, and dignify disgrace. When Int'rest calls off all her sneaking train, And all th' oblig'd desert, and all the vain; She waits, or to the scaffold, or the cell, When the last ling'ring friend has bid farewell. Ev'n now, she shades thy Ev'ning-walk with bays, (No hireling she, no prostitute to praise) Ev'n now, observant of the parting ray, Eyes the calm Sun-set of thy various Day, Through Fortune's cloud one truly great can see, Nor fears to tell, that MORTIMER is he.
THERE are few verses in Pope more correct, more musical, more dignified, and affecting, than these to Lord Oxford; and such a testimony to his merit in the hour of misfortune, must have been as grateful to Lord Oxford, as it was honourable to Pope. Bowles.
JAMES CRAGGS, ESQ.
SECRETARY OF STATE.
A SOUL as full of Worth, as void of Pride,
And strikes a blush through frontless Flattery.
Secretary of State.] In the year 1720.
Mr. Craggs was made Secretary at War, in 1717, when the Earl of Sunderland and Mr. Addison were appointed Secretaries of State.
This Epistle appears to have been written soon after his being made one of the Secretaries of State. He was deeply implicated in the famous South-Sea scheme. When Mr. Shippen, alluding to him, said in the House of Commons, (at the time a motion was made to secure the persons and property of the South-Sea direc tors,)" in his opinion, there were some men in high stations, who were no less guilty than the directors;" Mr. Craggs immediately answered, he was ready to give satisfaction to any man, who should question him in that House, or out of it. This created great offence, and was understood as a challenge, but after some ferment, Mr. Craggs said, that "by giving satisfaction" he meant, clearing his conduct.-Tyndal's Continuation of Rapin.
He died soon after the detection of the fallacy of the great scheme, and would most probably have been called to a severe account had he lived. He died of the small-pox, on the ninth day, 16th February, 1721. Bowles.
All this thou wert; and being this before,
Know, Kings and Fortune cannot make thee more.
I shall add a dialogue by Mr. Pope, in verse, that is genuine:
"Since my old friend is grown so great,
As to be Minister of State,
I'm told, but 'tis not true I hope,
That Craggs will be asham'd of Pope."
"Alas! if I am such a creature,
To grow the worse for growing greater;
WITH MR DRYDEN'S TRANSLATION OF FRESNOY'S ART OF
THIS Verse be thine, my friend, nor thou refuse
Whether thy hand strike out some free design,
EPISTLE TO MR. JERVAS.] This Epistle was originally printed in 1717.
Jervas owed much more of his reputation to this Epistle than to his skill as a painter. "He was defective," says Mr. Walpole, "in drawing, colouring, and composition; his pictures are a light, flimsy kind of fan-painting, as large as the life: his vanity was excessive." The reason why Lady Bridgewater's name is so frequently repeated in this Epistle is, because Jervas affected to be violently in love with her. As she was sitting to him one day, he ran over the beauties of her face with rapture; but added, “I cannot help telling your Ladyship you have not a handsome ear." No! Pray, Mr. Jervas, what is a handsome ear?" He turned aside his cap, and shewed his own!
Mr. Mason has translated Fresnoy with elegance and fidelity; and Sir Joshua Reynolds added to the translation, learned, useful, scientifical, and ingenious notes. Warton.
Jervas was one of the most intimate friends of Pope, and appears from his own letters to have been a man of good sense and sincerity. He was distinguished by his knowledge of works of art, and was sent to Italy at the expense of Dr. Clarke, Member of Parliament for the University of Oxford. He is also well known by his excellent translation of Don Quixote.