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Fire in each eye and papers in each hand, 5 They rave, recite, and madden round the land. 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, 9 They stop the chariot, and they board the barge. 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 bemused in beer, 15 A maudlin poetess, a rhyming peer, A clerk, foredoom'd his father's soul to cross, Who pens a stanza, when he should engross? Is there, who, lock'd from ink and paper, scrawls With desperate charcoal round his darken’d walls? All fly to Twitnam, and in humble strain 21 Apply to me to keep them mad or vain. Arthur, whose giddy son neglects the laws, Imputes to me and my damn'd works the cause : Poor Cornus sees his frantic wife elope, And curses wit, and poetry, and Pope.
13 Then from the Mint. A place in Southwark, which afforded a species of sanctuary against arrest. It was the usual residence of insolvents, and a fortiori of poets.
20 With desperate charcoal. Bowles conceives this idea to be due to Boileau's charbonner les murailles ;' but we may vindicate Pope's originality : walls bave been scribbled on with charcoal as well in England as in France :--the art is general.
23 Arthur. Arthur Moore, Esq. is Warburton's elucidation.
Friend to my life, (which did not you prolong, The world had wanted many an idle song) What drop or nostrum can this plague remove? Or which must end me, a fool's wrath or love? 30 A dire dilemma! either way I'm sped; If foes, they write, if friends, they read me
dead. Seized and tied down to judge, how wretched I! Who can't be silent, and who will not lie: To laugh, were want of goodness and of grace ; 35 And to be grave, exceeds all power of face. I sit with sad civility, I read With honest anguish and an aching head ; And drop at last, but in unwilling ears, This saving counsel,—. Keep your piece nine years.'
40 * Nine years ! cries he, who high in Drury-lane, Lulld by soft zephyrs through the broken pane, Rhymes ere he wakes, and prints before Term
ends, Obliged 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.'
Three things another's modest wishes bound, My friendship, and a prologue, and ten pound.
· 40 Keep your piece nine years. The Horatian precept; and probably the true receipt for poetry, that, like his own, turns on refinements of phrase ; but useless to the nobler poetry that turns on force of mind. Warton overlooks the true source of the precept, and tells us of Boileau's employing eleven years in his short satire of · L'Equivoque;' and of Patru's taking four years to correct the first paragraph of his translation of the Oratio pro Archia ;' the last absurdity of a pedant.
Pitholeon sends to me :- You know his grace ; I want a patron; ask him for a place. 50
Pitholeon libelld me :-but here's a letter Informs you, sir, 'twas when he knew no better. Dare you refuse him? Curll invites to dine; He'll write a Journal, or he 'll turn divine.'
Bless me! a packet.--'Tis a stranger sues, 55 A virgin tragedy, an orphan Muse. If I dislike it, . Furies, death, and rage ! If I approve, Commend it to the stage.' There, thank my stars ! my whole commission
ends; The players and I are luckily no friends. 60 Fired that the house reject him,—"'Sdeath, I'll
print it, And shame the fools – Your interest, sir, with
Lintot. Lintot, dull rogue ! will think your price too
much: * Not, sir, if you revise it and retouch.'
19 Pitholeon. The name taken from a foolish poet of Rhodes, who pretended much to Greek.-Pope.
54 He'll write a Journal, or he'll turn divine. A double shaft: the ‘London Journal' was sir Robert Walpole's paper, and bisbop Hoadley was one of its occasional writers.
56 A packet. Alludes to a tragedy called . The Virgin Queen,' by Mr. R. Barford, published in 1729, who displeased Pope by daring to adopt the fine machinery of his sylphs in an heroi-comical poem called • The Assembly ;' i. 26.
60 The players and I. In the first edition this was more par. ticular :- Cibber and I are luckily no friends.' Cibber, in his letter, printed in 1742, remarks on this, that it was a touch of conscience; adding,- This is so uncommon an instance of your checking your temper, and taking a little shame to yourself, that I cannot, in justice, omit my notice of it.'
62 Lintot. Pope's usual publisher.
All my demurs but double his attacks ;
'Tis sung, when Midas' ears began to spring, (Midas, a sacred person and a king)
70 His very minister who spied them first, Some say his queen, was forced to speak or
burst. And is not mine, my friend, a sorer case, When every coxcomb perks them in my face? A. Good friend, forbear! you deal in dangerous things;
75 I'd never name queens, ministers, or kings. Keep close to ears, and those let asses prick, 'Tis nothing.-P. Nothing, if they bite and kick? Out with it, Dunciad ! let the secret pass, That secret to each fool, that he's an ass : 80 The truth once told, (and wherefore should we
lie?) The queen of Midas slept, and so may I.
You think this cruel? take it for a rule, No creature smarts so little as a fool.
84 Let peals of laughter, Codrus! round thee break, Thou unconcern’d canst hear the mighty crack: Pit, box, and gallery in convulsions hurl'd, Thou stand’st unshook amidst a bursting world.
70 Midas, a sacred person and a king. Pope was weakly fond of showing his independence of courts : the minister and the queen were Walpole and queen Caroline, who were supposed to govern the king. The allusion had been already used by Boileau :
Midas, le roi Midas, a des oreilles d'âne.-Sat. 9. 86 The mighty crack. A slip of Addison's pen, which Pope
Who shames a scribbler? Break one cobweb
through, He spins the slight, self-pleasing thread anew : 90 Destroy his fib, or sophistry; in vain! The creature's at his dirty work again, Throned in the centre of his thin designs, Proud of a vast extent of flimsy lines. Whom have I hurt? has poet yet, or peer, 95 Lost the arch'd eye-brow or Parnassian sneer? And has not Colley still his lord and whore? His butchers Henley, his freemasons Moore?. here burlesques. Addison, in translating the • Fractus ilhbatur orbis' of Horace, had unluckily written :
Should the whole frame of Nature round them break,
In ruin and confusion hurl’d,
And stand secure amid a falling world. A feeble diffusion of two vigorous lines. Pope burlesqued it consciously : he observes, in • The Art of Sinking,'—some. times a single word, as crack, will vulgarise a poetical idea.'' · 98 His butchers Henley. A contemptible fellow, whose life ought to be written as the model for a demagogue. Impudence, absurdity, and perseverance, made him notorious and popular. Unfortunately, a clergyman and the son of a clergyman, he soon became remarkable in London only by a contempt of all the decencies of his profession : be opened a chapel in the neighborhood of Newport-market, where on Sundays he declaimed on theology, for the amusement of the populace; and on Wednesdays on all other subjects, to the ridicule of all common sense. To those displays admission was given by tickets, with the true demagogue motto,
. Inveniam viam, aut faciam. He was long a favorite orator with the multitude, and his exhibition was crowded : satire could not reach so low, nor any burlesque go beyond his own. Thus inaccessible, and thus popular, he continued his career, until decay and debauchery wearing away his faculties, he ceased to amuse by ribaldry or stimulate by libel, and was deserted. His last removal was to Clare-market, where he attempted to court the butchers, but in vain ; and sinking into poverty, died in 1756.