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And He, whose fustian's so sublimely bad, .
Peace to all such! but were there One whose fires True Genius kindles, and fair Fame inspires;
Notes. Ver. 186. Means not, but blunders round about a meaning :) A case common both to Poets and Critics of a certain order; only with this difference, that the Poet writes himself out of his own meaning; and the Critic never gets into another man's. Yet both keep going on, and blundering round about their subject, as benighted people are wont to do, who seek for an entrance which they cannot find.
Ver. 189. All these, my modest Satire bad translate,] See their works, in the Translations of classical books by several hands.
Ver. 190. — nine such Poets, &c.] Alluding, not to the nine Mufes, but to nine Taylors.
Ver. 192. And swear, not Addison himself was safe.] This is an artful preparative for the following transition; and finely obviates what might be thought unfavourably of the severity of the satire, by those who were strangers to the provocation.
Ver. 193. But were there One whose fires &c.] Our Poet's friendship with Mr. Addison began in the year 1713. It was cultivated, on both sides, with all the marks of mutual esteem and affection, and constant intercourse of good offices. Mr. Addison was always commending moderation, warned his friend against a blind attachment to party, and blamed Steele for his indiscreet zeal. The translation of the Iliad being now on foot, he recommended it to the public, and joined with the Tories in pushing the subscription; but at the same time advised Mr. Pope not to be content with the applause of one half of the nation. On the other hand, Mr. Pope made his friend's Interest, his own (sce note on ý 215. 1 Ep. Bi ii. of Hor.) and, when
Of all mad creatures, if the learn’d are right, 105
One dedicates in high heroic prose,
There are, who to my person pay their court:115 I cough like Horace, and, tho' lean, am short, Ammon's great son one shoulder had too high, Such Ovid's nose, and“ Sir! you have an Eye--Go on, obliging creatures, make me fee All that disgrac'd my Betters, met in me. 120
For song, for filence some expect a bribe;
Notes. Ver. 118. Sir, you have an Eye] It is remarkable that amongst these compliments on his infirmities and deformities, he mentions his eye, which was fine, sharp, and piercing. It was done to intimate, that flattery was as odious to him when there was some ground for commendation, as when there was none.
Say for my comfort, languishing in bed,
Why did I write? what sin to me unknown 125
But, friend, this shape, which You and Curl * admire,
Had heir'd as well the virtues of the mind. · Curl set up his head for a sign. b His Father was crooked. His Mother was much afflicted with head-achs.
Notes. VER. 127. As yet a child, &c.] He used to say, that he began to write verses further back than he could remember. When he was eight years old, Ogilby's Homer fell in his way, and delighted him extremely ; it was followed by Sandys'Ovid; and the raptures these then gave him were so strong, that he spoke of them with pleasure ever after. About ten, being at school at Hide-park-corner, where he was much neglected, and suffered to go to the Comedy with the greater boys, he turned the transactions of the Iliad into a play, made up of a number of speeches from Ogilby's translation, tacked together with verses of his own. He had the address to persuade the upper boys to act it; he even prevailed on the Master's Gardener to represent Ajax; and contrived to have all the actors dreiled after the pictures in his favourite Ogilby. At twelve he went with
spoke of e Hide-parthe comed into a
I left no calling for this idle trade,
But why then publish ? Granville the polite, 135
The courtly Talbot, Somers, Sheffield read,
Ver. 130. no father di fobey'd.] When Mr. Pope was yet a Child, his Father, though no Poet, would set him to make English verses. He was pretty difficult to please, and would often fend the boy back to new turn them. When they were to his mind, he took great pleasure in them, and would say, These are good rhymes.
VER. 139. Talbet, &c.] All these were Patrons or Admirers of Mr. Dryden; though a scandalous libel againit him, entitled,
And St. John's self (great Dryden's friends before)
Soft were my numbers; who could take offence While puse Description held the place of Sense ?
Notes. Dryden's Satyr to his Muse, has been printed in the name of the Lord Somiers, of which he was wholly ignorant.
These are the persons to whose account the Author charges the publication of his first pieces : persons, with whom he was conversant (and he adds beloved) at 16 er 17 years of age; an early period for such acquaintance. The catalogue might be made yet more illustrious, had he not confined it to that time when he writ the Pafiorals and Windfor Forest, on which he palles a sort of Censure in the lines following
While pure Description held the place of Sense ? &c. P. Ver. 146. Burnets, &c.] Authors of secret and scandalous History.
Ibid. Burnets, Oidmixons, and Cooks.] By no means Au. thors of the same class, though the violence of party might hurry them into the same mistakes. But if the first offended this way, it was only through an honest warmth of temper, that allowed too little to an excellent understanding. The other two, with very bad heads, had hearts still worse.
Ver. 148. While pure Defcriprion held the place of Sense?1 He uses pure equivocally, to fignify either chaste or empty, and has given in this line what he eficemed the true Character of descriptive poetry, as it is called. A composition, in his opinion, as absurd as a feast made up of sauces. The use of a pictoresque imagination is to brighten and adorn good sense; lo that to employ it only in description, is like childrens delighting in á prism for the sake of its gaudy colours; which when frugally