« ZurückWeiter »
And taught his Romans, in much better metre, • To laugh at fools who put their trust in Peter.'
But Horace, sir, was delicate, was nice; 11 Bubo observes, he lash'd no sort of vice: Horace would say, sir Billy served the crown,' Blunt could do business,' H-ggins knew the
town; In Sappho touch the “ failings of the sex ; 15 In reverend bishops note some small neglects;' And own the Spaniard did • a waggish thing,' Who cropp'd our ears, and sent them to the king, His sly, polite, insinuating style Could please at court, and make Augustus smile: An artful manager that crept between
21 His friend and shame, and was a kind of screen. But, faith, your very friends will soon be sore: Patriots there are, who wish you'd jest no more:And where's the glory ? 'twill be only thought 25 The great man never offer'd you a groat. • In much better metre. From Boileau :
Avant lui, Juvénal avoit dit en Latin,
Qu'on est assis à l'aise aux sermons de Cotin. 12 Bubo. Bubb Doddington.
13 Sir Billy. Sir William Young, of use to the minister, as a talker against time.
14 H-ggins. Formerly jailer of the Fleet prison, who enriched himself by many exactions, for which he was tried and expelled.--Pope.
18 Who cropp'd our ears. Said to be executed by the captain of a Spanish ship on one Jenkins, a captain of an English one. He cut off his ears, and bid him carry them to the king his master.-Pope. The whole story was afterwards said to be a fiction. After ver. 26 in the Ms.
There's honest Tacitus" once talk'd as big;
But is he now an independent whig ? • Mr. Thomas Gordon, who was bought off by a place at court.
Go, see sir Robert-
P. See sir Robert !-humAnd never laugh—for all my life to come? Seen him I have, but in his happier hour Of social pleasure, ill-exchanged for power; 30 Seen him, uncumber'd with the venal tribe, Smile without art, and win without a bribe. Would he oblige me? let me only find, He does not think me what he thinks mankind. Come, come, at all I laugh, he laughs, no doubt ; The only difference is, I dare laugh out. : 36
29 But in his happier hour. Pope here forgets his party to compliment the minister: but this slight tergiversation may be forgiven, when we are told that it was in return for a favor conferred, not on himself, but on his friend, the abbé Southcote.
Walpole's private life was gross, his personal manners were rough, and his ministerial principles were avowedly and undeniably formed on the corruptibility of the human character: but bis management of England, during the doubtful period of the Hanover succession, was masterly. Even Burke gives him all the praise that can be awarded to a successful statesman. Bowles quotes the sufficiently characteristic description from the pen of lady M. W. Montague :
On seeing a portrait of Sir Robert Walpole.
35 He laughs, no doubt. Walpole’s general remark that every man has bis price,' has been diluted by his biographer, archdeacon Coxe, into a particular sneer at the patriots of his day, *All those have their price.' But the phrase was only too characteristic of Walpole's rough dealing with mankind, his habitual contempt for all professions of public virtue, and his
F. Why, yes; with scripture still you may be
free; A horse-laugh, if you please, at honesty; A joke on Jekyl, or some odd old whig Who never changed his principle or wig : A patriot is a fool in every age, Whom all lord chamberlains allow the stage: These nothing hurts; they keep their fashion still; And wear their strange old virtue as they will.
If any ask you, “Who 's the man so near 45 His prince, that writes in verse, and has his ear?' personal experience. Corruption, in bis day, was a notorious agent, and an agent on all sides alike : the ministerialist was corrupted by possession, the oppositionist was corrupted in prospect. The purse was the notorious instrument of politi. cal conversion.
Practices thus alien to the natural honesty of the British mind, were to be accounted for only by the rapid changes of party, which exhibited all things as saleable ; tbe anxious revolutions of government for the last fifty years, which exbibited all things as uncertain ; and the result of both, and more powerful than either, the irreligion which had begun to usurp all men's minds. In Walpole's day, England was hurrying down into the infidelity of the continent; and, but for the sud. den awakening of her church to a sense of her danger, she inight have shared the fearful punishment which, before the close of the century, was to cover the continent with such unexampled devastation.
Warton mentions, to the credit of Walpole's placability, that, during Atterbury's confinement in the Tower, a fine of a thousand pounds falling to him as dean of Westminster, which could not be received, except by setting the seal to the lease in full chapter ; Walpole strongly interested himself to have the chapter held in the Tower, that the bishop might have the benefit of the fine. The chapter was held in the Tower, and Atterbury received the thousand pounds, immediately before his banishment.
39 A joke on Jekyl. Sir Joseph Jekyl, master of the rolls, a true wbig in his principles, and a man of the utmost probity. Pope.
Why, answer, Littleton, and I 'll engage
Laugh then at any, but at fools or foes ;
P. Dear sir, forgive the prejudice of youth: Adieu, distinction, satire, warmth, and truth! Come harmless characters that no one hit; 65 Come, Henley's oratory, Osborn's wit!
· 47 Why, answer, Littleton. George Littleton, secretary to the prince of Wales, distinguished for both his writings and speeches in the spirit of liberty.- Pope.
51 Sejanus. This minister, delivered down to immortal shame' by the pen of Tacitus, burned the panegyric of Crematius Cordus on Brutus and Cassius : the book immediately became popular. Bacon says, with his quaint force,-* The punishing of wits enhances their authority : a forbidden writing is thought to be a certain spark of truth, that flies up in the faces of them that seek to tread it out.
51 Fleury. Cardinal; and minister to Louis XV.
66 Henley-Osborn. See them in their places in the Dun. ciad.-Pope.
The honey dropping from Favonio's tongue,
68 flow of Y-ng. Probably Dr. Young, who was much connected with Doddington.
71 F-'s, Fox's.
75 The pride of Middleton. Middleton's Life of Cicero,' which appeared in 1741, was once regarded as a standard of English writing. Middleton, though an accomplished scholar and able man, yet disingenuous by habit, and discontented on principle, unfortunately signalised his career by attacking nearly all the eminent ecclesiastical names of his day, and is still remembered as the defeated assailant of Sherlock and Waterland. His latest work of notoriety, the Free Inquiry into the Miraculous Powers,' brought down on him the re. sentment of his profession; and, as he lived useless, he died dishonored. He was acute without judgment, zealous with. out sincerity, and learned without knowlege.
80 Carolina. Consort to King George II. She died in 1737. Queen Caroline had been charged with severity of temper; and it was openly said, that even on her death. bed, she had refused pardon to the prince her son, who had entreated that he might receive her blessing. Coxe says, on this point,- I am happy to have it in my power to remove the stigma from the memory of this great princess : she sent her blessing to her son, with a message of forgiveness, and