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to this epiftle. If it has any thing pleafing, it will be that by which I am most defirous to please, the truth and the fentiment; and if any thing offenfive, it will be only to those I am least sorry to offend, the vicious or the ungenerous.
Many will know their own pictures in it, there being not a circumftance but what is true; but I have, for the most part, fpared their names, and they may escape being laughed at, if they please.
I would have fome of them know, it was owing to the request of the learned and candid friend to whom it is infcribed, that I make not as free use of theirs as they have done of mine. However, I fhall have this advantage and honour on my fide, that whereas, by their proceeding, any abufe may be directed at any man, no injury can poffibly be done by mine, fince a nameless character can never be found out, but by its truth and likeness.
P.SHUT, fhut the door, good John! fatigu'd
Tie up the knocker, fay I'm fick, I'm dead.
They pierce my thickets, through my grot they
ARBUTHNOT.] At the time of publishing this epiftle, Mr Pope's patience was quite worn out by the impertinence of fcribblers of all ranks and conditions; as well thofe who courted his favour, as those who envied his reputation, fo that he had refolved to quit his hands of both together, by publishing a Dunciad. This defign he communicated to his friend Dr Arbuthnot; who, though, as a man of wit and learning, he might not have been displeased to fee their common injuries revenged on this pernicious tribe; yet, as Mr Pope's friend and phyfician, was folicitous of his ease and health, and therefore unwilling he fhould provoke fo largely and powerful a party. Their difference of opinion occafioned this dialogue; in which the author has interwoven an apology for his moral and poetic character.
Ver. 1. Shut, but the door, good John!] John Searl, his old and faithful fervant; whom he has remembered, under that character, in his will, vol. iv.
By land, by water, they renew the charge,
Is there a parfon, much be-mus'd in beer, 15 A maudlin poetefs, a rhyming peer,
A clerk, foredoom'd his father's foul to cross,
Friend to my life! (which did not you prolong, The world had wanted many an idle fong), What drop or noftrum can this plague remove? Or which must end me, a fool's wrath or love? NOTES.
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.
Ver. 23. Arthur.] Arthur Moore, Efq.
After ver. 20. in the MS
Is there a bard in durance? turn them free,
Who would do fomething in his fempftrefs' praise-.-Ver. 29. in the first edition,
Dear Doctor, tell me, is not this a curfe?
A dire dilemma! either way I'm fped.
With honeft anguish, and an aching head;
Nine years! cries he, who high in Drury-lane,
Three things another's modest wishes bound, 47
Ver.38. honeft anguish,] i. e. undiffembled.
Ibid. an aching head:] Alluding to the diforder he was then fo conftantly afflicted with.]
Ver. 43. Rhymes ere he wakes,] An allufion to those words of Milton,
"Dictates to me flumb'ring, or infpires
Eafy my unpremedit? A verfe."
Ver, 49. Pitholeon] The rame taken from a foolish poet of Rhodes, who pretended rauch to Greek. Schol. in Horat. 1. i. Dr Bentley pretends, that this Pitholeon libelled Cæfar ailo. See notes on Hor. fat. 1o. l. i.
Dare you refuse him? Curll invites to dine, "He'll write a Journal, or he'll turn divine.” Bless me! a packet.----" "Tis a stranger fues, "A virgin tragedy, an orphan mufe." If I dislike it," Furies, death, and rage! If I approve, "Commend it to the stage." There (thank my ftars) my whole commiffion ends, The play'rs and I are, luckily, no friends. 60 Fir'd that the house reject him, ""Sdeath I'll print it,
ἐσ And fhame the fools---Your int'reft, Sir, with Lintot."
Lintot, dull rogue! will think your price too much:
'Tis fung, when Midas' ears began to spring, (Midas, a facred person and a king), His very minifter who fpy'd them first, (Some fay his queen), was forc'd to speak, or burst.
Ver. 69. 'Tis fung, when Midas', &c.] He means fung by Perfius; and the words alluded to are,
"Vidi, vidi ipfe, libelle!
"Auriculas afini Mida Rex habet."
Ver. 2. Queen] The story is told, by fome, of his barber; but by Chaucer, of his Queen. See Wife of Bath's tale in Dryden's fables.
Ver. 53. in the MS.
If you refufe, he goes, as fates incline, To plague Sir Robert, or to turn divine. Ver. 60. In the former edition,
Cibber and I are luckily no friends.