Page images

Fop at the toilet, flatt'rer at the board,

Now trips a Lady, and now struts a Lord.
Eve's tempter thus the Rabbins have exprcft, 330
A Cherub's face, a reptile all the rest,


Beauty that shocks you, parts that none will truft,
Wit that can creep, and pride that licks the dust.
Not Fortune's worshiper, nor Fashion's fool,
Not Lucre's madman, nor Ambition's tool,
Not proud, nor fervile; Be one Poet's praise,
That, if he pleas'd, he pleas'd by manly ways:
That Flatt'ry, ev'n to Kings, he held a shame,
And thought a Lye in verfe or prose the same.
That not in Fancy's maze he wander'd long, 340
But ftoop'd to Truth, and moraliz'd his fong:



VER. 340. That not in Fancy's maze he wander'd long,] merit in this will appear very great, if we confider, that in this walk he had all the advantages which the most poetic Imagination could give to a great Genius, M.Voltaire, in a MS. letter now before me, writes thus from England to a friend in Paris. "I intend to fend you two or three poems of Mr. Pope, the "best poet of England, and at present of all the world. I hope ઃઃ you are acquainted enough with the English tongue, to be "fenfible of all the charms of his works. For my part, I look "upon his poem called the Efay on Criticism as fuperior to

the Art of foetry of Horace; and his Rape of the Lock is, in my opinion, above the Lutrin of Defpreaux. I never saw "fo amiable an imagination, fo gentle graces, fo great variety, fo much wit, and fo refined knowledge of the world, as in this little performance." MS. Eet. Oct. 15, 1726. VER. 341, But Stoop'd to Truth, and moraliz'd his fong :] This

That not for Fame, but Virtue's better end,
He ftood the furious foe, the timid friend,
The damning critic, half approving wit,
The coxcomb hit, or fearing to be hit;
Laugh'd at the lofs of friends he never had,


The dull, the proud, the wicked, and the mad; ·
The distant threats of vengeance on his head,
The blow unfelt, the tear he never shed;
The tale reviv'd, the lye fo oft o'erthrown, 350
Th' imputed trash, and dulness not his own;


may be said no less in commendation of his literary, than of his moral character. And his fuperior excellence in poetry is owing to it. He foon discovered in what his force lay; and he made the best of that advantage, by a fedulous cultivation of his proper talent. For having read Quintilian early, this precept did not escape him, Sunt hæc duo vitanda prorfus: unum ne tentes quod effici non poffit; alterum, ne ab eo, quod quis optime facit, in aliud, cui minus eft idoneus, transferas. It was in this knowledge and cultivation of his genius that he had principally the advantage of his great mafter, Dryden; who, by his MacFlecno, his Abfolom and Achitophel, but chiefly by his Prologues and Epilogues, appears to have had great talents for this fpecies of moral poetry; but, unluckily, he feem'd neither to understand nor attend to it.

Ibid. But ftoop'd to Truth] The term is from falconry; and the allufion to one of those untamed birds of spirit, which fometimes wantons at large in airy circles before it regards, or stoops to, its prey.

VER. 350. the lye fo oft o'erthrown] As, that he received fubscriptions for Shakespear, that he fet his name to Mr. Broome's verses, &c. which, tho' publicly disproved, were nevertheles fhamelessly repeated in the Libels, and even in that called the Nobleman's Epifle.


The morals blacken'd when the writings 'scape,


The libel'd person, and the pictur'd shape;
Abuse, on all he lov'd, or lov'd him, spread,
A friend in exile, or a father, dead;
The whisper, that to greatness still too near,
Perhaps, yet vibrates on his Sov'REIGN's ear-
Welcome for thee, fair Virtue! all the paft:
For thee, fair Virtue! welcome ev'n the last!
A. But why infult the poor, affront the great? 360
P. A knave's a knave, to me, in ev'ry state:


[ocr errors]

VER. 351. Th' imputed trash] Such as profane Pfalms, Court Poems, and other fcandalous things, printed in his Name by Curl and others.


VER. 354. Abufe, on all he lov'd, or lov'd him, fpread.] Namely on the Duke of Buckingham, the Earl of Burlington, Lord Bathurst, Lord Bolingbroke, Bishop Atterbury, Dr. Swift, Dr. Arbuthnot, Mr. Gay, his Friends, his Parents, and his very Nurse, afperfed in printed papers, by James Moore, G. Ducket, L. Welfted, Tho. Bentley, and other obfcure perfons. P.

VER. 356. The whifper, that to greatness fiill too near,] By the whisper is meant calumniating honeft Characters. Shake fpear has finely expreffed this office of the fycophant of greatnefs in the following line:

Rain facrificial whisperings in his ear.

By which is meant the immolating mens reputations to the vice or vanity of his Patron.

VER. 357. Perhaps, yet vibrates] What force and elegance of expreffion! which, in one word, conveys to us the phyfical effects of found, and the moral effects of an often repeated fcandal.

VER. 359. For thee, fair Virtue! welcome ev'n the last!] This line is remarkable for presenting us with the most amiable image of fteddy Virtue, mixed with a modeft concern for his

[ocr errors]


my fcorn, if he fucceed or fail,

Sporus at court, or Japhet in a jail,

A hireling fcribler, or a hireling peer,
Knight of the poft corrupt, or of the fhire; 365
If on a Pillory, or near a Throne,


He gain his Prince's ear, or lose his own.
Yet foft by nature, more a dupe than wit,
Sappho can tell you how this man was bit:
This dreaded Satʼrift Dennis will confefs
Foe to his pride, but friend to his distress:
So humble, he has knock'd at Tibbald's door,
Has drunk with Cibber, nay has rhym'd for Moor.
Full ten years flander'd, did he once reply?
Three thousand funs went down on Welfted's lye.


VER. 368. in the MS.

Once, and but once, his heedless youth was bit,
And lik'd that dangʼrous thing, a female wit:

Safe as he thought, tho' all the prudent chid;

He writ no Libels, but my Lady did:

Great cdds in am'rous or poetic game,

Where Woman's is the fin, and Man's the fhame.


being forced to undergo the feverest proofs of his love for it, which was the being thought hardly of by his SOVEREIGN. VER. 374. ten years] It was fo long after many libels be fore the Author of the Dunciad publifhed that poem, till when, he never writ a word in answer to the many fcurrilities_and falfehoods concerning him,



To please a Mistress one afpers'd his life;
He lash'd him not, but let her be his wife:
Let Budgel charge low Grubstreet on his quill,
And write whate'er he pleas'd, except his Will;
Let the two Curls of Town and Court, abuse 380
His father, mother, body, foul, and muse.


VER. 375. Welfted's lye.] This man had the impudence to tell in print, that Mr. P. had occafioned a Lady's death, and to name a person he never heard of. He also publish'd that he libell'd the Duke of Chandos; with whom (it was added) that he had lived in familiarity, and received from him a prefent of five hundred pounds: the falfehood of both which is known to his Grace. Mr. P. never received any prefent, farther than the fubfcription for Homer, from him, or from Any great Man whatsoever.


VER. 378. Let Budgel] Budgel, in a weekly pamphlet called the Bee, beftowed much abuse on him, in the imagination that he writ fome things about the Laft Will of Dr. Tindal, in the GrubStreet Journal; a Paper wherein he never had the leaft hand, direction, or supervisal, nor the least knowledge of its Author, P.

VER. 379. except his Will;] Alluding to Tyndall's Will: by which, and other indirect practices, Budgell, to the exclufion of the next heir, a nephew, got to himself almost the whole fortune of a man entirely unrelated to him.

VER. 381. His father, mother, &c.] In fome of Curl's and other pamphlets, Mr. Pope's father was faid to be a Mechanic, a Hatter, a Farmer, nay a Bankrupt. But, what is ftranger, a Nobleman (if such a reflection could be thought to come from a Nobleman) had dropt an allufion to that pitiful untruth, in a paper called an Epistle to a Doctor of Divinity: And the following line,

Hard as thy Heart, and as thy Birth obscure,

had fallen from a like Courtly pen, in certain Verfes to the Imitator of Horace. Mr. Pope's Father was of a Gentleman's Family in Oxfordshire, the head of which was the Earl of Downe, whose fole Heiress married the Earl of Lindsey His mother

« EelmineJätka »