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That not for Fame, but Virtue's better end,
Notes. may be said no less in commendation of his literary, than of his moral character. And his superior excellence in poetry is owing to it. He soon discovered in what his force lay; and he made the best of that advantage, by a sedulous cultivation of his proper talent. For having read Quintilian early, this precept did not escape him, Sunt hæc duo vitanda prorfus : unum ne tentes quod effici non possit ; alterum, ne ab eo, quod quis oprime facit, in aliud, cui minus eft idoneus, transferas. It was in this knowledge and cultivation of his genius that he had principally the advantage of his great master, Dryden ; who, by his MacFlecno, his Absolom and Achitophel, but chiefly by his Prologues and Epilogues, appears to have had great talents for this species of moral poetry; but, unluckily, he seem'd neither to understand nor attend to it.
Ibid. But floop'd to Truth] The term is from falconry; and the allusion to one of those untamed birds of spirit, which fomnetimes wantons at large in airy circles before it regards, or floops to, its prey.
Ver. 350. the lye fo oft o'erthrown] As, that he received subscriptions for Shakespear, that he fet his name to Mr. Broome's verses, &c. which, tho' publicly disproved, were neverth.cis thamelessly repeated in the Libels, and even in that called the Nobleman's Epiftle.
The morals blacken'd when the writings 'scape,
A. But why insult the poor, affront the great ?360
VER. 356. The whisper, that to greatness slill too near,] By the whisper is meant calumniating honest Characters. Shake, spear has finely expressed this office of the sycophant of great, ness in the following line:
Rain facrificial whisperings in his car. By which is meant the immolating mens reputations to the vice or vanity of his Patron,
VER. 357. Perhaps, vet vibrates] What force and eleganco of expreslion! which, in one word, conveys to us the physical effects of sound, and the moral effects of an often repeated scandal,
Ver. 359. For thee, fair Virtue! welcome ev'n the last !] This line is remarkable for presenting us with the most amiable image of steddy Virtue, mixed with a modest concern for his
Alike my scorn, if he succeed or fail,
Yet soft by nature, more a dupe than wit,
Once, and but once, his heedless youth was bit,
being forced to undergo the feverest proofs of his love for it, which was the being thought hardly of by his SOVEREIGN.
Ver. 374. ten years) It was so long after many libels before the Author of the Dunciad published that poem, till when, he never writ a word in answer to the many scurrilities and falsehoods concerning him,
To please a Mistress one aspers'd his life; 376
NOTES. Ver. 375. Welfted's lye.) This man had the impudence to tell in print, that Mr. P. had occasioned a Lady's death, and to name a person he never heard of. He also publish'd that he libell’d the Duke of Chandos; with whom (it was added) that he had lived in fámiliarity, and received from him a present of five hundred pounds: the falsehood of both which is known to his Grace. Mr. P. never received any present, farther than the subscription for Homer, from him, or from Any great Man whatsoever.
P. Ver. 378. Let Budgel] Budgcl, in a weekly pamphlet called the Bee, bestowed much abuse on him, in the imagination that he writ some things about the Last Will of Dr. Tindal, in the GrubStreet Journal; a Paper wherein he never had the least hand, direction, or supervisal, nor the least knowledge of its Author. P.
VER: 379. except his Will;] Alluding to Tyndall's Will: by which, and other indirect practices, Budgell, to the exclusion of the next heir, a nephew, got to himself almost the whole fortune of a man entirely unrelated to him.
Ver. 381. His father, mother, &c.] In some of Curl's and other pamphlets, Mr. Pope's father was said to be a Mechanic, a Hatter, a Farmer, nay a Bankrupt. But, what is stranger, a Nobleman (if such a reflection could be thought to come from a Nobleman) had dropt an allusion to that pitiful untruth, in a paper called an Epistle to a Doctor of Divinity: And the following line,
Hard as thy Heart, and as thy Birth obscure, had fallen from a like Courtl; pen, in certain Verses to the Imitai ir of Horace. Mr. Pope's Father was of a Gentleman's Family in Oxford hire, the head of which was the Earl of Downe, whose sole Heiress married the Earl of Lindsey - His mother
Yet why? that Father held it for a rule,
Of gentle blood (part shed in Honour's cause,
390 And better got, than Bestia's from the throne.
Notes. was the daughter of William Turnor, Esq. of York: She had three brothers, one of whom was killed, another died in the service of King Charles ; the eldest following his fortunes, and becoming a general officer in Spain, left her what estate remained after the sequestrations and forfeitures of her family Mr. Pope died in 1717, aged 75; She in 1733, aged 93, a very few weeks after this poem was finished. The following inscription was placed by their son on their Monument in the parish of Twickenham, in Middlesex.
D. O. M.
QVI. VIXIT. ANNOS. LXXV, OB. MDCCXVII.
XCIII. OB. MDCCXXXIII.
P. Ver. 390. A. What fortune, pray?] His friend's personating the Town in this place, and assuming its impertinent curiosity, gives great spirit to the ridicule of the question.--- Julian has a para!lci stroke, in his farcastic discourse to the people of An