Abbildungen der Seite

If one, through nature's bounty or his lord's,
Has what the frugal, dirty soil affords,
From him the next receives it, thick or thin, 175
As pure a mess almost as it came in;
The blessed benefit, not there confined,
Drops to the third, who nuzzles close behind ;
From tail to mouth, they feed and they carouse :
The last full fairly gives it to the house. 180

F. This filthy simile, this beastly line,
Quite turns my stomach-

P. So does flattery mine; And all your courtly civet-cats can vent, Perfume to you, to me is excrement. But hear me farther: Japhet, 'tis agreed, 185 Writ not, and Chartres scarce could write or

read; In all the courts of Pindus guiltless quite; But pens can forge, my friend, that cannot write: And must no egg in Japhet's face be thrown, Because the deed he forged was not my own? Must never patriot then declaim at gin, Unless, good man! he has been fairly in? No zealous pastor blame a failing spouse, Without a staring reason on his brows? And each blasphemer quite escape the rod, 195 Because the insult's not on man, but God ?

Ask you what provocation I have had ? The strong antipathy of good to bad. When truth or virtue an affront endures, The affront is mine, my friend, and should be yours;

200 Mine, as a foe profess'd to false pretence, Who think a coxcomb's honor like his sense;


Mine, as a friend to every worthy mind;
And mine, as man, who feel for all mankind.
F. You ’re strangely proud.

P. So proud, I am no slave:
So impudent, I own myself no knave: 206
So odd, my country's ruin makes me grave.
Yes, I am proud, I must be proud, to see
Men, not afraid of God, afraid of me:
Safe from the bar, the pulpit, and the throne, 210
Yet touch'd and shamed by ridicule alone.

O sacred weapon, left for truth's defence ! Sole dread of folly, vice, and insolence ! To all but heaven-directed hands denied ; The Muse may give thee, but the gods must guide. Reverent I touch thee, but with honest zeal; 216 To rouse the watchmen of the public weal; To virtue's work provoke the tardy Hall, And goad the prelate slumbering in his stall. Ye tinsel insects ! whom a court maintains, 220 That counts your beauties only by your stains, Spin all your cobwebs o'er the eye of day! The Muse's wing shall brush you all away; All his grace preaches, all his lordship sings; 224 All that makes saints of queens, and gods of kings; All, all but truth, drops dead-born from the press, Like the last Gazette, or the last address. After ver. 227 in the Ms. Where's now, the star that lighted Charles to rise ? With that which follow'd Julius to the skies. Angels, that watch'd the royal oak so well, How chanced ye nod, when luckless Sorel fell? Hence, lying miracles ! reduced so low As to the regal touch and papal toe; Hence, haughty Edgar's title to the main, Britain's to France, and thine to India, Spain !

When black ambition stains a public cause, A monarch's sword when mad vain-glory draws, Not Waller's wreath can hide the nation's scar, Nor Boileau turn the feather to a star. 231

Not so, when diadem'd with rays divine, Touch'd with the flame that breaks from Virtue's

shrine, Her priestess Muse forbids the good to die, And opes the temple of eternity. There, other trophies deck the truly brave, Than such as Anstis casts into the grave; Far other stars than *** and *** wear, And may descend to Mordington from Stair ; Such as on Hough's unsullied mitre shine, 240 Or beam, good Digby, from a heart like thine.


228 When black ambition, &c. The case of Cromwell in the civil war of England ; and, ver. 229, of Louis XIV. in his conquest of the Low Countries.- Pope.

237 Anstis. The chief berald at arms. It is the custom, at the funeral of great peers, to cast into the grave the broken staves and ensigns of honor.-Pope.

238 Far other stars. The names to be supplied bere are Kent and Grafton. Mordington was said to be the principal of a gaming-club.

239 Stair. John Dalrymple, earl of Stair, knight of the tbistle, served in all the wars under the duke of Marlborough, and afterwards as ambassador to France.-Pope.

240 Unsullied mitre. This prelate, in wbose favor Pope remits his usual acrimony to the English prelates, was a learned and active bishop: he died at the great age of ninety-two, after an episcopacy of fifty-three years. Littleton has panegyrised him in his · Persian Letters.'

240 Hough-Digby. Dr. John Hough, bishop of Worcester; and the lord Digby: the one an assertor of the church of England, in opposition to the false measures of king James 11.; the other as firmly attached to the cause of that king : both acting out of principle, and equally men of honor and virtue.-Pope.

Let envy howl, while heaven’s whole chorus sings,
And bark at honor not conferrd by kings;
Let flattery sickening see the incense rise,
Sweet to the world, and grateful to the skies :
Truth guards the poet, sanctifies the line, 246
And makes immortal verse as mean as mine.

Yes, the last pen for freedom let me draw, When truth stands trembling on the edge of law; Here, last of Britons ! let your names be read; 250 Are none, none living ? let me praise the dead; And for that cause which made your fathers

shine, Fall by the votes of their degenerate line.

F. Alas! alas ! pray end what you began, And write next winter more · Essays on Man.'

250 Here, last of Britons. Pope's powerful common sense ought to have redeemed him from the affectation of pronouncing all public and private virtue to be in the grave. His day was immoral, and degraded by political corruption, the natural results of long political feud: but it was a purer, manlier, and more patriotic age, than the one which went before it; unless the age of the Georges was to be eclipsed by the morality of Charles and his love of liberty. The age of George III. was a still more memorable advance in every high quality of a nation,-morals, learning, talents, and religion. England is not exhausted yet; and what she has been may be nothing to the powers which the British mind contains within itself; only waiting to be developed by the necessities, the prizes, and the conflicts of the age to come. 255 In the Ms.

Quit, quit these themes, and write Essays on Man.'




« ZurückWeiter »