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S ATI RE S. 3 little provocation from Mr. Pope's conduct in his poetic, as in his civil character.
For though he had got a Namë (the reputation of which hë agreeably rallies in the description he gives of it) yet he never, even when most in fashion, set up for a Patron, or a Dictator amongst the Wits; but still kept in his usual privacy; leaving the whole Caftalian state, as he calls it, to a Mock-Mecenas whom he next describes [ 125 to 261.7.
And, struck with the sense of that dignity and felicity inseparable from the character of a true Poet, he breaks out into a passionate vow for a continuance of the full Liberty attendant on it. And to fhew how well he deserves it, and how fafely he might be trusted with it, he concludes his wish with a description of his temper and disposition [x 261 to 271.]
This naturally leads him to complain of his Friends, when they consider him in no other view than that of an Author: as if he had neither the same right to the enjoyments of life, the same concern for his highest interests, or the same difpofitions of benevolence, with other people. · Besides, he now admonishes them, in his turn, that they do not consider to what they expose him, when they urge him to write on; namely, to the suspicions and the displeasure of a Court; who are made to believe, he is always writing; or at least to the foolish criticisms of court fycophants, who pretend to find him, by his style, in the immoral libels of every idle fcribler : though he, in the mean time, be so far from coun. tenancing fuch worthless trash in others, that he would be ready to execrate even his own best vein of poetry, if made at the cxpence of Truth or Innocence.
Curft be the verse, how well so e'er it flow,
Or from the soft-ey'd virgin steal a téar. (Sentiments, which no efforts of genius, without the concura rence of the heart, could have expressed in strains so exquisitely sublime) that the sole object of his refentment was vice and baseness. In the detection of which, he artfully takes occasion to speak of that by which he himself had been injured and offended : and concludes with the character of one who had wantonly outraged him, and in the most sensible manner [ x 271 to 334.1
And here, moved again with fresh indignation at his flan. derers, he takes the advice of Horace, sume fuperbiam quæfitam meritis, and draws a fine picture of his moral and poetic conduct through life. In which he shews that not fame, but VIRTUE was the constant object of his ambition: that for this he opposed himself to all the violence of Cabals, and the treacheries of Courts: the various iniquities of which having diftinctly specified, he sums them up in that most atrocious and senâble of all, [V 334 to 359.)
The whisper, that to greatness still too near,
For thee, fair Virtue! welcome ev’n the last. But here again his Friend interrupts the strains of his divine enthusiasm, and desires him to clear up an objection made to his conduct, at Court. " That it was inhumane to insult the « Poor, and ill-breeding to affront the Great.” To which he replies, That indeed, in his pursuit of Vice, he rarely confi-. dered how Knavery was circumstanced; but followed it, with his Vengeance, indifferently, whether it led to the Pillory, or the Drawing-Room [x 359 to 368.]
But left this should give his Reader the idea of a favage intractable Virtue, which could bear with nothing, and would pardon nothing, he takes to himself the shame of owning that he was of so easy a nature, as to be duped by the flendereft anpearances, a pretence to Virtue in a witty Woman: so forgiving, that he had fought out the object of his beneficence in a pera fonal Enemy: so humble, that he had submitted to the convers sation of bad Poets: and fo forbearing, that he had curbed in his resentment under the most shocking of all calumnies, abuses on his Father and Mother [x 368 to 388.]
This naturally leads him to give a short account of their births, fortunes, and dispositions, which ends with the tenderest wishes for the happiness of his Friend; intermixed with the most pathetic description of that filial Piety, in the exercise of which he makes his own happiness to confift.
Me let the tender office long engage
C.Grignion fculp. Shut, shut the Door, good Sohn.fatiguid Isaid Tye up the Knocker, say I'm sick, I'm dead.
TO THE SATIRES.
And now the Poem, which holds so much of the Drama, and opens with all the disorder and vexation that every kind of impertinence and flander could occasion, concludes with the utmost calmness and ferenity, in the retired enjoyment of all the tender offices of FRIENDSHIP and Piety [* 388. to the end.]
P. CHUT, shut the door, good John! fatigu'd
n I said,
NOTES. Ver. I. Shut, jout the door, good John!] John Searl, his old and faithful servant : whom he has remembered, under that character, in his Will.