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FOLLOWING QUESTION OF MRS. HOW.
WHAT IS PRUDERY?
"Tis a Beldam,
Seen with Wit and Beauty seldom,
That rails at dear Lepell and You.
Ver. 11. That rails at dear Lepell] Miss Lepell was one of the maids of honour to Queen Caroline, and she afterwards was married to Lord Hervey. She and Miss Mary Bellenden, mentioned in Gay's ballad, and in Pope's letters, were the ornaments of the court, for beauty, engaging manners, and amiable character. I have a MS. letter from her, written at Paris, to Lord Melcomb, which sufficiently evinces her superior understanding, and might be classed with the letters of Lady M. W. Montagu. In Gay's ballad she is designated as,
"Youth's youngest daughter, sweet Lepell." Bowles. In Gay's poem it is Miss Mary Lepell who is designated as youth's youngest daughter." Lady Hervey is alluded to in the preceding line.
Now, Hervey, fair of face, I mark full well.
With her Youth's youngest daughter, sweet Lepell."
TO MR. THOMAS SOUTHERN,
ON HIS BIRTH-DAY, 1742.
RESIGN'd to live, prepar'd to die,
Ver. 3. This day Tom's] This amiable writer lived the longest, and died one of the richest, of all our poets. In 1737, Mr. Gray, writing to a friend, says very agreeably, "We have here old Mr. Southern, who often comes to see us; he is now seventy-seven years old, and has almost wholly lost his memory; but is as agreeable an old man as can be, at least I persuade myself so, when I look at him, and think of Isabella and Oroonoko." He was cer
tainly a great master of the pathetic; and in the latter part of his life became sensible of the impropriety he had been guilty of in mixing Tragedy with Comedy. He was the first play-writer that had the benefit of a third night. He told Dryden that he once had cleared seven hundred pounds by one of his plays. Warton.
Ver. 6. A table,] Mr. Southern was invited to dine on his birthday with this nobleman (Lord Orrery), who had prepared for him the entertainment of which the bill of fare is here set down. Warton.
Ver. 8. Presents her Harp] The Harp is generally wove on the Irish linen; such as table-cloths, &c. Warburton.
The mushrooms shew his wit was sudden,
Roast beef, tho' old, proclaims him stout,
May Toм, whom heav'n sent down to raise
Be ev'ry birth-day more a winner,
Ver. 16. The price of Prologues and of Plays,] This alludes to a story Mr. Southern told of Mr. Dryden, about the same time, to Mr. P. and Mr. W.-When Southern first wrote for the stage, Dryden was so famous for his Prologues, that the Players would act nothing without that decoration. His usual price till then had been four guineas; but when Southern came to him for the Prologue he had bespoke, Dryden told him he must have six guineas for it; "which (said he) young man, is out of no disrespect to you, but the Players have had my goods too cheap."-We now look upon these Prologues with the same admiration that the Virtuosi do on the Apothecaries' pots painted by Raphael. Warburton.
TO LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU.
In beauty, or wit,
No mortal as yet
To question your empire has dar’d;
But men of discerning
Have thought that in learning,
To yield to a Lady was hard.
With musty dull rules,
Have reading to females deny'd:
So papists refuse
The Bible to use,
Lest flocks should be wise as their guide.
'Twas a woman at first,
(Indeed she was curst)
In knowledge that tasted delight,
And sages agree
The laws should decree
To the first possessor the right.