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Torquet w ab obfcoenis jam nunc sermonibus aurem;
Mox etiam pectus pracceptis format amicis,
Asperitatis, et invidide corrector, et irae ;
VER. 213. Unhappy Dryden ~ In all Charles's days,--Rofcommon only boasts unspotted bays ;] The sudden stop after mentioning the name of Dryden has a great beauty. "The Poet's tenderness for his Master is expressed in the second line by making his cafe general; and his honour for him, in the first line, by making his case particular, as the only one that deserved pity.
VER. 215. excuse fome Courtly strains] We are not to underftand this as a disapprobation of Mr. Addison for celebrating the virtues of the present Royal Family. It relates to a certain circumstance, in which he thought that amiable Poet did not act with the ingenuity that became his character.
When Mr. Addifon, in the year 1713, had finished his Cato, he brought it to Mr. Pope for his judgment. Our Poet, who thought the sentiments excellent, but the action not enough theatrical, gave him his opinion fairly, and told him that he had better not bring it upon the Stage, but print it like a clasfical performance, which would perfectly answer his design. Mr. Addison approved of this advice; and seemed disposed to follow it. But foon after he came to Mr. Pope, and told him, that some friends, whom he could not disoblige, insisted on his
What’s long or short, each accent where to place,
than Addison remains. He, w from the taste obscene reclaims our youth, And sets the Passions on the side of Truth,
Notes. having it acted. However he assured Mr. Pope that it was with no Party views, and desired him to satisfy the Treasurer and the Secretary in that particular; and at the same time gave him the Poem to carry to them for their perusal. Our Poet executed his commission in the most friendly manner; and the Play, and the project for bringing it upon the Stage, had their approbation and encouragement. Throughout the carriage of this whole affair, Mr. Addison was so exceedingly afraid of party imputations, that when Mr. Pope, at his request, wrote the famous prologue to it, and had said,
co Britons, ARISE, be worth like this approv’d,
. he was much troubled, said it would be called, stirring the people to rebellion ; and earnestly begg’d he would foften it
less obnoxious. On this account it was altered, as it now stands, to-Britons, attend,- though at the expence both of the sense and spirit. Notwithstanding this, the very next year, when the present illustrious Family came to the Succession, Mr. Addison thought fit to make a inesit VOL. IV.
into some thin
Recte facta refert ; ' orientia tempora notis
Instruit exemplis ; ' inopem folatur et aegrum.
Castis cum pueris ignara puella mariti
of CATO, as purposely and directly written to oppose to the
“ The Mufe, that oft with facred raptures fir'd
« On you submissive waits.
Forms the soft bosom with the gentlest art,
each human Virtue in the heart. 220
VER. 217. He from the taste obscene, etc.] This, in imitation of his Original, refers to the true Poet,
torquet ab obfcoenis. and likewise to Mr. Addison's papers in the Tatlers, Spectators, and Guardians; the character of which is given in the preceding note. But their excellence may be best gathered from their having procured so long credit to that vast heap of crude and indigested things with which they are intermixed.
Ver. 226. the Idiot and the Poor.) A foundation for the maintenance of Idiots, and a Fund for assisting the Poor, by lending small sums of money on demand.
P. Ver. 229. Not but there are, etc.] Nothing can be more cruly humorous or witty than all that follows to ý 240. Yet the noble fobriety of the original, or, at least, the appearance of
Disceret unde . preces, vatem ni Musa dedisset ?
Poscit opem chorus, et praesentia numina sentit ;
Coelestes implorat aquas, docta prece
Avertit morbos, metuenda pericula pellit;
Impetrat et pacem, et locupletem frugibus annum. Carmine Dî superi placantur, carmine Manes. · Agricolae prisci, fortes, parvoque beati,
e , Condita post frumenta, levantes tempore festo Corpus et ipsum animum fpe finis dura ferentem, Cum sociis operum pueris et conjuge fida,
Tellurem porco, Silvanum lacte piabant,
Floribus et vino Genïum memorem brevis aevi.
hunc inventa licentia mòrem
f Versibus alternis opprobria rustica fudit; Libertasque recurrentes accepta per annos
Notes. fobriety, which is the fame thing here, is of a taste vastly fuperior to it.
Ver. 230. Sternhold.] One of the versifiers of the old singing pfalms. He was a Courtier, and Groom of the Robes to Hen, vill, and of the Bedchamber to Edward vi. Fuller, in