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So when a statesman wants a day's defence,
Or Envy holds a whole week's war with Sense,
Or fimple Pride for flatt'ry makes demands,
May dunce by dunce be whistled off my hands!
Blefs'd be the Great! for those they take away,
And thofe they left me; for they left me GAY;
Left me to fee neglected Genius bloom,
Neglected die, and tell it on his tomb:
Of all thy blameless life the fole return
My verfe, and QUEENSB'RY weeping o'er thy urn!
Oh let me live my own, and die fo too!
(To live and die is all I have to do):
Maintain a poet's dignity and ease,
And fee what friends, and read what books I please: Above a patron, though I condefcend
Sometimes to call a minifter my friend.
I was not born for courts or great affairs;
I pay my debts, believe, and fay my pray'rs;
Can fleep without a poem in my head,
Nor know, if Dennis be alive or dead.
Why am I afk'd what next fhall fee the light? Heav'ns! was I born for nothing but to write? Has life no joys for me? or (to be grave) Have I no friend to ferve, no foul to fave? "I found him clofe with Swift-------Indeed? no doubt
(Cries prating Balbus) "fomething will come out." 'Tis all in vain, deny it as I will,
No, fuch a genius never can lie ftill;"
After ver. 270. in the MS.
Friendships from youth I fought, and feek them still:
Fame, like the wind, may breathe where'er it will.
The world I knew, but made it not my school,
And in a courfe of flattery liv'd no fool.
And then for mine obligingly mistakes
The first lampoon Sir Will. or Bubo makes. 280
Poor guiltless I! and can I chufe but smile,
When ev'ry coxcomb knows me by my ftyle?
Curs'd be the verfe, how well foe'er it flow,
That tends to make one worthy man my foe,
Give Virtue fcandal, Innocence a fear, 285
Or from the foft-ey'd Virgin fteal a tear!
But he who hurts a harmless neighbour's peace,
Infults fall'n worth, or beauty in distress;
Who loves a lie, lame flander helps about,
Who writes a libel, or who copies out:
That fop, whofe pride affects a patron's name,
Yet abfent, wounds an author's honest fame:
Who can your merit selfishly approve,
And how the fenfe of it without the love;
Who has the vanity to call you Friend,
Yet wants the honour, injur'd, to defend;
Who tells whate'er you think, whate'er you fay,
And, if he lie not, muft at leaft betray;
After ver. 232, in the MS.
P. What if I fing Auguftus great and good?
A. You did fo lately, was it understood?
Be nice no more, but, with a mouth profound,
As rumbling D. s or a Norfolk hound;
With GEORGE and FREDRIC roughen ev'ry verse,
Then fmooth up all, and CAROLINE rehearse.
P. No --the high task to lift up kings to gods,
Leave to court-fermons, and to birthday odes.
On themes like thefe, fuperior far to thine,
Let laurel'd Cibber and great Arnal shine.
Why write at all?----A. Yes, filence if you keep
The town, the court, the wits, the dunces weep.
Who to the Dean and filver-bell can fwear,
And fees at Cannons what was never there; 300
Who reads, but with a luft to mifapply,
Make fatire a lampoon, and fiction lie:
A lafh like mine no honeft man shall dread, ́
But all fuch babbling blockheads in his stead.
Let Sporus tremble.--A. What? that thing of filk,
Sporus, that mere white curd of afs's milk
Satire or fenfe, alas! can Sporus feel?
Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?
P. Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings,
This painted child of dirt, that ftinks and ftings; 310
Whose buzz the witty and the fair annoys,
Yet wit ne'er taftes, and beauty ne'er enjoys:
So well-bred fpaniels civilly delight
In mumbling of the game they dare not bite.
Eternal frailes his emptinefs betray,
As fhallow ftreams run dimpling all the way;
Whether in florid impotence he speaks,
And, as the prompter breathes, the puppet fqueaks; Or at the ear of Eve, familiar toad,
Half froth, half venom, fpits himself abroad, 320 In puns, or politics, or tales, or lies,
Or fpite, or fmut, or rhymes, or blafphemies.
Ver. 199. Who to the Dean and filver bell, &c.] Meaning the man who would have perfuaded the Duke of Chandos, that Mr Pope meant him in thofe circumstances ridiculed in the epiftle on Taste. See Mr Pope's letter to the Earl of Burlington concerning this matter, vol. 4.
Ver 319. See Milton, book iv.
Ver. 320. Half froth,] Alluding to those frothy excretions called by the people Toad fpits, feen in fummer-time hanging upon plants, and emitted by young infects which lie hid in the midst of them, for their prefervation, while in their help. less state.
His wit all fee-faw, between that and this,
Now high, now low, now mafter up, now mifs,
And he himself one vile antithefis.
Amphibious thing! that acting either part,
The trifling head, or the corrupted heart,
Fop at the toilet, flatt'rer at the board,
Now trips a lady, and now ftruts a lord.
Eve's tempter thus the Rabbins have expreft, 330
A cherub's face, a reptile all the rest.
Beauty that fhocks you, parts that none will trust,
Wit that can creep, and pride that licks the duft.
Not Fortune's worshipper, 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 fhame,
And thought a lie in verfe or profe the same :
That not in Fancy's maze he wander'd long, 340
But ftoop'd to truth, and moraliz'd his song:
Ver. 340. That not in Fancy's maze he wander'd long,] His 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, dated Oct. 15. 1726, 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 prefent 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 Criticifin as fuperior to the Art of poetry of Horace; and his Rape of the Lock is, in my opinion, above "the Lutrin of Defpreaux. I never faw 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."
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 diftant threats of vengeance on his head,
The blow unfelt, the tear he never shed:
The tale reviv'd, the lie fo oft o'erthrown,
The imputed trash, and dulness not his own;
The morals blacken'd when the writings 'fcape;
The libel'd perfon, and the pictur'd shape;
Abuse on all he lov'd, or lov'd him, fpread,
A friend in exile, or a father dead;
The whisper, that to greatness ftill too near,
Perhaps, yet vibrates on his SOV'REIGN's ear---
Welcome for thee, fair Virtue! all the past:
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:
Alike my fcorn, if he fucceed or fail,
Sporus at court, or Japhet in a jail;
Ver. 350. the lie fo oft o'erthrown,] As, that he received fubfcrip ons for Shakespear; that he fet his name to Mr Broome's verfes, etc. which, though publicly disproved, were nevertheless shamelessly repeated in the libels, and even in that called the Nobleman's epistle.
Ver. 351. Th' imputed trafb,] Such as profane pfalms, court-poems, and other fcandalous things, printed in his name by Curll and others.
Ver. 354. Abuse 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.