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And now this incomparable 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 serenity, in the retired enjoyment of all the tender offices of FRIENDSHIP and PIETY (ver. 387 to the End).
In this kind of writing, Pope is unrivalled; the Imitation has all the air of an original, and is at once lively, pointed, and happy.
One Imitation from Horace has been, for obvious reasons, re. jected. I must ever feel regret, that my late respected master was so inconsiderate as to admit it in his Edition. Pope certainly never owned it. How indeed could he own a production written in his earlier day, which “ called virtue, hypocrite;" and was doubly odious, as coming from a man who profeffed, with such parade,
“ In virtue's cause to draw the Pen!” It were also to be wished, that charity had induced him a moment to pause, before he published some lines, which 110 provocation from woman to man could justify: I need not point them out. Let us also remember, that Satire in verse must be deliberate, and therefore is less excusable. I am not attempting to plead the cause of affected candour ; but of those feelings, which diftinguish the man, and the gentleman.
PROLOGUE TO THE SATIRES.
shut the door, good John! fatigu'd I said,
5 They rave, recite, and madden round the land.
VER. I. Shut, Jow the door, good John!] John Searl, his old and faithful servant; whom he has remembered, under that character, in his Will: of whose fidelity Dodley, from his own observation, used to mention many pleasing instances. His wife was living at Eccleshall, 1783, ninety years old, and knew many anecdotes of Pope.
WARTON. VER. 1. Shut, fout the door,] This abrupt exordium is animated and dramatic. Our Poet, wearied with the impertinence and flan. der of a multitude of mean scriblers that attacked him, suddenly breaks out with this spirited complaint of the ill-usage he had suftained. This piece was published in the year 1734, in the form of an Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot: It is now given as a Dialogue, in which a very small share indeed is allotted to his friend. Arbuthnot was a man of consummate probity, integrity, and sweetness of temper: he had infinitely more learning than Pope or Swift, and as much wit and humour as either of them. He was an excellent mathematician and physician, of which his letter on the Useful
What walls can guard me, or what shades can hide? They pierce my Thickets, through my Grot they
glide, By land, by water, they renew the charge, They stop the chariot, and they board the barge. 10. No place is sacred, not the Church is free, Ev'n Sunday shines no Sabbath-day to me: Then from the Mint walks forth the Man of rhyme, Happy! to catch me, just at Dinner-time.
Is there a Parson much be-mus'd in beer, 15 A maudlin Poetess, a rhyming Peer,
ness of Mathematical Learning, and his Treatise on Air and Aliment, are sufficient proofs. His tables of ancient coins, weights, and measures, are the work of a man intimately acquainted with ancient history and literature, and are enlivened with many curious and interesting particulars of the manners and ways of living of the ancients. The History of John Bull, the best parts of the Me. moirs of Scriblerus, the Art of Political Lying, the Freeholder's Catechism, It cannot rain but it pours, &c. abound in strokes of the most exquisite humour. It is known that he gave numberless hints to Swift, and Pope, and Gay, of fome of the most striking parts of their works. He was so neglectful of his writings that his children tore his manuscripts and made paper-kites of them. Few letters in the English language are so interesting, and contajasuch marks of Christian resignation and calmness of mind, as one that he wrote to Swift a little before his death, and is inserted in the third volume of Letters, p. 157. He frequently, and ably, and warmly, in many conversations, defended the cause of revelation against the attacks of Bolingbroke and Chesterfield.
WARION. VER. 13. Mint] A place to which insolvent debtors retired, to enjoy an illegal protection, which they were there suffered to afford to one another, from the perfecution of their creditors.
A Clerk, foredoom'd his father's foul to cross,
25 And curses Wit, and Poetry, and Pope.
Friend to my life! (which did not you prolong, The world had wanted many an idle song)
After Ver. 20. in the MS.
Is there a Bard in durance ? turn them free,
Who would do something in his Sempftress' praise-
Dear Doctor, tell me, is not this a curse?
Ver. 15. Is there a Parson] Some lines in this Epistle to Arbuthnot had been used in a letter to Thomson when he was in Italy, and transferred from him to Arbuthnot, which naturally displeased the former, though they lived always on terms of civility and friendship : and Pope earnestly exerted himself, and used all his interest to promote the success of Thomson's Agamemnon, and attended the first night of its being performed. WARTON.
VER. 20. defp'rate charcoal] The idea is from Boileau's art of Poetry—“ Charbonner les murailes," VER. 23. Arthur,] Arthur Moore, Esq.
What Drop or Nostrum can this plague remove?
Nine years! cries he, who high in Drury-lane, 41 Lulld by soft Zephyrs through the broken pane, Rhymes ere he wakes, and prints before Term ends, Oblig'd by hunger, and request of friends : 44 “ The piece, you think, is incorrect? why take it, “ I'm all submission, what you'd have it, make it.”
Ver. 3?. Seiz'd and ty'd down to judge,] Alluding to the scene in the Plain-Dealer, where Oldfox gags, and ties down the Widow, to hear his well-penn'd stanzas. Warburton.- Rather from Horace; vide bis Druso.
WARTON, Ver. 18. an aching head ;] Alluding to the disorder he was then fo constantly afflicted with.
WARBURTON, VER. 40. “ Keep your piece nine years."'] Boileau employed eleven years in his short fatire of L'Equivoque. Patru was four years altering and correcting the first paragraph of his translation of the oration for Archias.
WARTON. VER. 43. Rhymes ere he wakes,]
“ Dictates to me flumb'ring, or infpires Easy my unpremeditated Verse.”