« ZurückWeiter »
But if to Pow'r and Place your passion lie,
Or if your life be one continu'd Treat, . 110
Or shall we ev'ry Decency confound,
K—l's lewd Cargo, or Ty—y's Crew,
Si, Mimnermus uti censet, fine anore jocisque Nil est jucundum ; vivas in amore jocisque.
* Vive, vale. si quid novisti rectius istis, Candidus imperti: si non, his utere mecum.
NOTES. Ver. 126. Wilmot] Earl of Rochester. WARBU? TOX.
Ver. 128. And Swift cry wisely, “ Vive la Bagatelle !!"'] Our Poei, speaking in one place of the purpose of his Satire, says,
“ In this impartial glass, my Muse intends
Fair to expose myself, my foes, my friends ;" and, in another, he makes his Court-Adviser say,
“ Laugh at your Friends, and if your Friends be fore,
So much the better you may laugh the more :" because their impatience under reproof would shew, they had a great deal amiss, which wanted to be set right.
On this principle, Swift falls under his correction. He could not bear to sce a Friend he so much valued, live in the miserable abuse of one of Nature's best gifts, unadmonished of his folly. Swift, as we may fee by some posthumous volumes, lately published, so dishonourable and injurious to his memory, trifled away his old age in a dissipation that women and boys might be asham'd of. For when men have given into a long habit of employing their wit only to sew their parts, to edge their fpleen, to pander to a faction; or, in short, to any thing but that for which Nature bestowed it, namely to recommend Virtue, and set off Truth ; old age, which abates the passions, will never rectify the abuses they occasioned. But the remains of wit, instead of seeking and recovering their proper channel, will run into that miserable de. pravity of taste here condemned: and in which Dr. Swift seems to have placed no inconsiderable part of his wisdom. “ I chuse,” says he, in a letter to Mr. Pope, “my Companions amongst those of the least consequence, and most compliance: I read the most trilling books I can find : and whenever I write, it is upon the most trifling subjects.” And again, “ I love La Bagatelle better than ever. I am always writing bad Prose or worse Verses, either of RAGE or RAILLERY," &c. And again in a Letter to Mr. Gay, “ My rule is, Vive la Bagatelle 1" , WARBURTON.
If, after all, we must with · Wilmot own, The cordial Drop of Life is Love alone; And Swift cry wisely, “ Vive la Bagatelle!” The Man that loves and laughs, must sure do well, "Adieu-if this Advice appear the worst; . - 130 E'en take the Counsel which I gave you first: Or better Precepts if you can impart, Why do, I'll follow them with all my heart..
. In this note, Dr. Warburton makes some severe strictures on the manner in which Swift employed his wit, in his latter days. And indeed, in many of his remarks, it appears that Warburton was not partial to the character of Swift; whom he had attacked in one of his earliest productions, on portents and prodigies; in which he says, page 32 : “ The religious Author of the Tale of a Tub will tell you, religion is but a reservoir of fools and mad. men; and the virtuous Lemuel Gulliver will answer for the state, that it is a den of savages and cut-throats.” Edition 12mo. 1727. “ Misanthropy,” says a true philosopher, “ is so dangerous a thing, and goes so far in sapping the very foundation of morality and religion, that I esteem the last part of Swift’: Gulliver (that I mean relative to his Houyhnhnms and Yahoos) to be a worse book to peruse, than those which we forbid as the most fagicious and obscene. One absurdity in this author (a wretched philofopher, though a great wit) is well worth remarking ; in order to render the nature of men odious, and the nature of beasts amiable, he is compelled to give human characters to his beasts, and beastly characters to his men ; so that we are to admire the beasts, not for being beasts, but amiable men; and to detest the men, not for being men, but detestable beasts.
“Whoever has been reading this unnatural filth, let him turn for a moment to a Spectator of Addison, and observe the philanthropy of that classical Writer; I may add, the superior purity of his diction, and his wit.” Harris's Philological Enquiries, page 538.
With the exception of a few unequal liries, this is the most pleasing and finished of all his Imitations. Murray, to whom it was addressed, and who afterwards became so much more eminent, having highly distinguished himself by his elegant claffical attainments at Christ-church, Oxford, was admitted a student at Lincoln's Inn, April 1724,-his subsequent history is well known.
Lord Cornbury, to whom Pope pays so elegant a compliment, was in all respects a most amiable man. He resided for some time at Spa, on account of his health. In a letter from Pope to Mrs. Price, (which I have been favoured with, by her grandson, Uvedale Price,) he is thus mentioned :
“ Pray, Madam, tell my Lord Cornbury I am not worse than "" he left me, though I have endured some uneasiness fince, beside 6 what his indispofition, when I parted, gave me.
“ I earnestly wish his return, but not till he can bring himself “ whole to us, who want honest and able men too much to part " with him, &c.”
Henry Viscount Cornbury was great grandson of the celebrated Lord Chancellor Clarendon, and only son of Henry Earl o Clarendon and Rochester.
Lord Cornbury acted with the greatest moderation and uprightness in political affairs ; though a Tory, and violent in opposition to Sir Robert Walpole, he yet opposed the unconstitutional motion of Sandys, for the removal of that minister, in a manly and sensible speech. See Coxe's Memoirs of Sir Robert Walpole, ch. 55. This amiable nobleman died before his father in 175', without issue, and the title afterwards became extinct.