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Now Europe's laurels on their brows behold,
Oh wealth ill-fated! which no act of fame
A tale, that blends their glory with their shame! I have extracted the whole of this fublime invective, that the particular afpect of our fatirift on the circumftances of Marlborough's life may be more diftinctly feen amidit this general cenfure of military glories.
The fecond clause of the first verse, and the fecond couplet, relate to his intrigue with the Duchefs of Cleveland, for which I refer the reader to the Biographia Britannica, vol. iii. p. 563, or Lediard's life, pp. 18 and 19.
The third and fourth couplets have a view to his fuppofed peculation as commander in chief, and his prolongation of the war on this account, to which we must refer also the discarded variation at his firft Moral Effay, ver. 86.
Triumphant leaders, at an army's head,
Hemm'd round with glories, pilfer cloth or bread:
The fixth couplet is explained by that charge of avarice which is ufually brought against him, and which gave rife to that epigram upon the bridge in Blenheim-Park:
The spacious arch his vast ambition shows;
The application of the following lines to his Duchefs, the palace at Blenheim, and his fecond infancy, fo finely touched by Johnfon in his Vanity of Human Wishes, is too obvious to need more than a fimple admonition to direct the attention of the reader.
THE UNIVERSAL PRAYER. P. 197.
Ver. 17. What bleffings thy free bounty gives,
For God is paid when Man receives :
Athenæus, in his compilations, ii. 3. quotes a paffage from Alexis which contains a pleafing fentiment of the fame complexion, as follows:
Let Fortune's fav'rites in broad funfhine live,
Ver. 49. To thee, whose temple is all space,
Lucan, ix. 578. has an admirable paffage of this kind:
EPISTLE I. P. 207.
Ver. 256. Euclio was defigned for Sir Charles Duncombe of Helmfley; who is alluded to again in Imitations of Horace, ii. Sat. ii. fin.
And Helmfley, once proud Buckingham's delight,
and who divided his eftates in Yorkshire and Wilts among different branches of his family. B.
See note A. in the Biog. Brit. Art. Duncombe William.
EPISTLE II. P. 245.
Ver. 17. Come then, the colours and the ground prepare
Chufe a firm cloud, before it fall, and in it
Catch, e'er the change, the Cynthia of this minute.
This paffage, of elegance fo exquifitely curious, is indebted for
the original conception to Cowley, David. ii. 807.
This he with ftarry vapours spangles all,
Took in their prime, e'er they grow ripe and fall :
Of a new rainbow, e'er it fret or fade,
The choiceft piece took out, the scarf is made.
EPISTLE III. P. 271.
Ver. 127. The crown of Poland, venal twice an age,
A Mr. Gage, of Sir Thomas Gage's family, of Hengrave, I think, near Bury, Suffolk; and Lady Mary Herbert (daughter of the Marquis of Powis), whofe mother was a natural daughter
of James II.; whence the phrafe hereditary realms. In Bowles's Travels into Spain, is fome account of this scheme of working the Afturian mines. B.
Ver. 291. When Hopkins dies, a thousand lights attend The wretch, who living fav'd a candle's end. Edmund Boulter, Efq. executor to Vulture Hopkins, made fo fplendid a funeral for him, that the expences amounted to 76661. B.
Ver. 333. Cutler and Brutus, dying, both exclaim,
"Virtue ! and Wealth! what are ye but a name?” Dion Caffius, xlvii. 49. "Brutus made an effort to force his way "from the ftrong pofition, whither he had retreated, into the "camp; but, finding this impracticable and learning that fome "of his foldiers had fubmitted to the conquerors, he abandoned "himself to despair: but, difdaining captivity, he refolved on "death; and defired fome of his attendants to dispatch him, "after he had repeated with a loud voice that exclamation of "Hercules, in the Tragedy:
"Ah! hapless Virtue! deem'd a truth by me ;
"But Fortune's flave thou wert, and a mere empty name."
EPISTLE IV. P. 321.
Ver. 117. Grove nods at grove, each alley has a brother,
An author of congenial tafte; and, on a fimilar fubject, has made ufe of this moft happy couplet:
And scatter'd clumps, that nod at one another,
* Landscape, ii. 6. a poem, which the elegant and ingenious author, by a few lectures on verfification, relative to modes of expreffion too undignified for poetry, and a languifhing imbecillity of numbers, would foon polish into greater excellence. The addrefs of Sir Edward Winnington is an admirable fpecimen of fine tafte and noble sentiment.
*M:. Knight's Poem.