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ONCE (says an Author, where, I need not say)
Two Travllers found an Oyster in their way;
Both fierce, both hungry; the dispute grew strong,
While Scale in hand Dame Justice past along.
Before her each with clamour pleads the Laws,
Explain'd the matter, and would win the cause.
Dame Justice weighing long the doubtful Right,
Takes, opens, swallows it, before their sight.
The cause of strife remov'd so rarely well,
There take (says Justice), take ye each a Shell.
We thrive at Westminster on Fools like you:
'Twas a fat Oyster-Live in peace-Adieu.

Ir will be no unuseful or unpleasing amusement to compare this translation with the original:

“Un jour, dit un Auteur, n'importe en quel chapitre,

Deux voyageurs à jeun rencontrerent une huître;
Tous deux la contestoient, lorsque dans leur chemin,
La Justice passa, la balance à la main.

Devant elle à grand bruit ils expliquent la chose;
Tous deux avec depens veulent gagner leur cause.
La Justice pesant ce droit litigieux,

Demande l'huître, l'ouvre, et l'avale à leurs yeux,
Et par ce bel arrest terminant la bataille:

Tenez voilà, dit elle, à chacun une écaille.

Des sottises d'autrui, nous vivons au palais;

Messieurs, l'huître étoit bonne. Adieu, Vivez en paix."

In the fifth, sixth, seventh, ninth, and twelfth verses, Pope is inferior to the original.


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Seen with Wit and Beauty seldom,
'Tis a fear that starts at shadows;

'Tis, (no, 'tis'n't) like Miss Meadows.
'Tis a Virgin hard of Feature,
Old, and void of all good-nature;
Lean and fretful, would seem wise;
Yet plays the fool before she dies.
"Tis an ugly envious Shrew,

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." 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."

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RESIGN'd to live, prepar'd to die,
With not one sin, but Poetry,
This day Toм's fair account has run
(Without a blot) to eighty-one.
Kind Boyle, before his poet, lays
A table, with a cloth of bays;

And Ireland, mother of sweet singers,
Presents her Harp still to his fingers.
The feast, his tow'ring genius marks
In yonder wild goose and the larks!




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,
And for his judgment, lo a pudden !

Roast beef, tho' old, proclaims him stout,
grace, altho' a bard, devout.


May Toм, whom heav'n sent down to raise
The price of Prologues and of Plays,

Be ev'ry birth-day more a winner,
Digest his thirty-thousandth dinner ;
Walk to his grave without reproach,
And scorn a rascal in a coach.




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.



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.


Impertinent schools,

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.




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