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Say for my comfort, languishing in bed,

Just so immortal Maro held his head :” And when I die, be sure you let me know Great Homer dy'd three thousand years ago.

Why did I write? what sin to me unknown 125 Dipt me in ink, my parents', or my own? As yet a child, nor yet a fool to fame, I lisp'd in numbers, for the numbers came.

VARIATIONS.
After R 124. in the MS.

But, friend, this shape, which You and Curl * admire,
Came not from Ammon's son, but from my Siret :
And for my head, if you'll the truth excuse,
I had it from my Mother, not the Muse.
Happy, if he, in whom these frailties join'd,

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 Vol. IV.

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I left no calling for this idle trade,
No duty broke, no father disobey'd. 130
The Muse but serv'd to ease some friend, not Wife,
To help me thro' this long disease, my Life,
To second, ARBUTHNOT! thy Art and Care,
And teach, the Being you preserv'd, to bear.

But why then publish? Granville the polite, 135
And knowing Walsh, would tell me I could write ;
Well-natur'd Garth inflam'd with early praise,
And Congreve lov'd, and Swift endur'd my lays;
The courtly Talbot, Somers, Sheffield read,
Ev'n mitred Rochester would nod the head, 140

NOTES. his father into the Forest: and then got first acquainted with the writings of Waller, Spencer, and Dryden ; in the order I have named them. On the first sight of Dryden, he found he had what he wanted. His Poems were never out of his hands ; they became his model; and from them alone he learnt the whole magic of his versification. This year he began an epic Poem, the fame which Bp. Atterbury, long afterwards, persuaded him to burn. Besides this, he wrote, in those early days, a Comedy and Tragedy, the latter taken from a story in the Legend of St. Genevieve. They both deservedly underwent the same fate. As he began his Pastorals soon after, he used to say pleasantly, that he had literally followed the example of Virgil, who tells us, Cum canerem reges et frælia, &c.

Ver. 130. no father disobey'd.] When Mr. Pope was yet a Child, lis Father, though no Poet, would set him to make English verses. He was pretty difficult to please, and would often tend 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. Talbot, &c.] All these were Patrons or Admirers of Mr. Dryden; though a scandalous libel against him, entitled,

And St. John's felf (great Dryder's friends before)
With open arms receird one Poet more.
Happy my studies, when by these approv'd!
Happier their author, when by these belord!
From these the world will judge of men and bocks,
Not from the Burnets, Oldmixers, and Cocks. 146

Soft were my numbers; who could take offence While puse Description held the place of Sense?

NOTES. Dryden's Satyr to tis 1122, has been printed in the name of the Lord Sorters, of which he was wholly gnorant.

These are the persons to whole acccunt the Author charges the publication of his first pieces: perfons, with whom he was conversant (and he adds beloved) at 16 or 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 Paricrals and Windsor Fotzt, on which he palles a fort of Centure in the lines following,

While pure Deicription held the place of Sense ? &c. P. VER. 146. Burnets, &c.] Authors of secret and icandalous History.

Ibid. Barnets, O'dmixons, and Cosés. By no means Au. thors of the famne clafs, though the violence of party might hurry them into the same mistakes. But if the firft 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 Defcrip:ion keld the place of Sense?] He uses pure equivocally, to signify either chatte or empty; and has given in this line what he eficemed the true Character of descriptive poetry, as it is called. A compofition, in his opinion, as abfurd as a feaft made up of fauces. The use of a pictoresque imagination is to brighten and adorn good sense; fo that to employ it only in description, is like childrens delighting in á prism for the sake of its gaudy colours; which when frugally 156

Like gentle Fanny's was my flow'ry thcmc,
A painted mistress, or a purling stream.
Yet then did Gildon draw his venal quill;
I wish'd the man a dinner, and fate still.
Yet then did Dennis rave in furious fret ;
I never answer'd, I was not in debt.
If want provok'd, or madness made them print, 155
I wag'd no war with Bedlam or the Mint.

Did some more sober Critic come abroad;
If wrong, I smil'd; if right, I kiss'd the rod.
Paing, reading, study, are their just pretence,
And all they want is spirit, taste, and sense. 160
Comma's and points they set exactly right,
And 'twere a fin to rob them of their mite.
Yet ne'er one sprig of laurel grac'd these ribalds,
From Slashing Bentley down to pidling Tibalds :

NOTES. managed, and artfully disposed, might be made to represent and illustrate the noblest objects in nature.

VER. 150. A painted meadow, or a purling fream. is a verse of Mr. Addison,

P. VER. 163. these ribalds,] How deservedly this title is given to the genius of PHILOLOGY, may be seen by a short account of the manners of the modern Scholiafts.

When in these latter ages, human learning raised its head in the Welt, and its tail, verbal criticism, was, of course, to rise with it; the madness of Critics foon became fo offensive, that the sober stupidity of the monks might appear the more tolerable evil. 7. Argyropylus, a mercenary Greck, who came to teach school in Italy, after the fucking of Conftantinople by the Turks,

Each wight, who reads not, and but scans and spells, Each Word-catcher, that lives on fyllables, 166.

NOTES. used to maintain that Cicero underftood neither Philosophy nor Greek: while another of his Countrymen, 1. La scaris by name, threatened to demonstrate that Virgil was no Poet. Coun-. tenanced by such great examples, a French Critic afterwards undertook to prove that Ariftotie did not underftand Greek, nor Titus Livius, Latin. It was the fame discernment of spirit, which has since discovered that Josephus was ignorant of Hebrew; and Er fmus so pitiful a Linguist, that, Burman aftures us, were he now alive, he would not deserve to be put at the head of a country school. For though time has strip'd the present race of Pedants of all the real accomplishments of their predeceffors, it has conveyed down this fpirit to them, unimpaired; it being found much easier to ape their manners, than to imitate their science. However, those earlier Ribalds raised an appetite for the Greek language in the West: infomuch, that Hermolaus Barbarus, a paifionate admirer of it, and a noted Critic, used to boast, that he had invoked and raised the Devil, and puzzied him into the bargain, about the meaning of the Aristotelian ENTEAEXEIA. Another, whom Balzac speaks of, was as eminent for his Revelations : and was wont to say, that the meaning of such or such a verse, in Perfius, no one knew hut God and himself. While the celebrated Porporius Latus, in excess of Veneration for Antiquity, became a real Pagan, railed altars to Romulus, and facrinced to the Gods of Latium : in which he was followed by our countryman, Baxter, in every thing, but in the expence of his facrifices.

But if the Greeks cried down Cicero, the Italian Critics knew how to support his credit. Every one has heard the childish exceffes into which the ambition of being thought CICERONIANS carried the most celebrateà Italians of this time, They abstained from reading the Scriptures for fear of spoiling their ítyle: Cardinal Bembo used to call the Epistles of St. Paul by the contemptuous name of Epiftolaccias, great personen Épilties. But ERASMUS cured their frenzy in that we piece of good senfe, his Ciceroniunus. For which (in we w.y Lunatiss treat their Phyficians) the elder Soliger infulted him with all the brutal fury peculiar to his family and profetion.

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