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But does no other lord it at this hour,
Learn to live well, or fairly make your will;
fill : Walk sober off; before a sprightlier age Comes tittring on, and shoves you from the stage: Leave such to trifle with more grace and ease, 326 Whom Folly pleases, and whose Follies please.
DR. JOHN DONNE,
DEAN OF ST. PAUL'S,
Quid vetat et nosmet Lucili scripta legentes Quærere, num illius, num rerum dura negarit Versiculos natura magis factos, et euntes Mollius? Hor.
The wit, the vigour, and the honesty, of Mr. Pope's Satiric Writings had raised a great clamour against him, as if the Supplement, as he calls it, to the Public Laws, was a violation of morality and society. In answer to this charge he had it in his purpose to shew, that two of the most respectable characters in the modest and virtuous age of Elizabeth, Dr. Donne and Bishop Hall, had arraigned Vice publicly, and shewn it in stronger colours, than he had done, whether they found it,
“On the Pillory, or near the Throne.” In pursuance of this purpose, our Poet had admirably versified, as he expresses it, two or three Satires of Dr. Donne. He intended to have given two or three of Bishop Hall's likewise, whose force and classical elegance he much admired; but as Hall was a better versifier, and as a mere Academic, had not his vein vitiated like Donne's, by the fantastic language of Courts, Mr. Pope's purpose was only to correct a little, and smooth the versification. In the first edition of Hall's Satires, which was in Mr. Pope's library, we find that long Satire, called the first of the Sixth Book, corrected throughout, and the versification mended for his use. He entitles it, in the beginning of his corrections, by the name of Sat. Opt. This writer Hall fell under a severe examiner of his wit and reasoning, in the famous Milton. For Hall, a little before the unhappy breach between Charles I. and the Long Parliament, having written in defence of Episcopacy, Milton, who first set out an advocate for Presbytery, thought fit to take Hall's defence to task. And as he rarely gave quarter to his adversaries, from the Bishop's theologic writings, he fell upon his Poetry. But a stronger proof of the excellency of these Satires can hardly be given, than that all he could find to cavil at, was the title to the three first Books, which Hall, ridiculously enough, calls Toothless Satires : on this, for want of better hold, Milton fastens, and sufficiently mumbles. W.