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280

And then for mine obligingly mistakes
The first lampoon Sir Will or Bubo makes.
Poor guiltless I! and can I chuse but smile,
When every coxcomb knows me by my style ?

NOTES.

Ver. 280. Sir Will) Sir William Young. Bowles.

Ver. 280. or Bubo makes.] By Bubo, it is universally considered, Pope meant Bubb Dodington, afterwards Lord Melcombe. By the kindness of Mr. Wyndham, member for Wiltshire, I have been able to examine all Lord Melcombe's correspondence with

many of the first characters in point of rank and literature: and it is singular, though there are letters from so many literary men, and upon literary subjects, particularly from Voltaire, Young, Thomson, &c. Pope's name is never once mentioned. Dodington, although it appears his governing principle was to side with that party by which he could get most, had in other respects many good qualities. He was a liberal patron, and kind friend. His magnificent house at Easbury was the resort of men of genius. Thomson was enabled, by his liberal bounty, to travel into France and Italy; and his letters to Dodington from thence are very interesting, and expressive of the utmost respect and gratitude.

He was handsome, and of a striking figure, and was certainly possessed of wit and talents, if not of great parts. Some of his verses are written with great elegance and beauty, and are particularly animated. Lady M. W. Montagu in her letter calls him the all accomplished Mr. Dodinglon.

The mansion which he built at Easbury, near Blandford, did not long survive him. It came into the possession of the Marquis of Buckingham, and was taken down a few years since. Part of the offices were left standing, and have been turned into a very convenient and handsome bouse, now in the possession of J. Wedgewood, Esq. who purchased the estate of the Marquis of Buckingham.

Bowles. Ver. 282. When every corcomb knows me by my style ?] The discovery of a concealed author by his style, not only requires a perfect intimacy with his writings, but great skill in the nature of composition. But, in the practice of these critics, knowing an

author

Curs'd be the verse, how well soe'er it flow, That tends to make one worthy man my foe,

NOTES.

author by his style, is like judging of a man's whole person from the view of one of his moles.

When Mr. Pope wrote the Advertisement to the first edition of the New Dunciad, intimating, that "it was by a different hand from the other, and found in detached pieces, incorrect and unfinished," I objected to him the affectation of using so unpromising an attempt to mislead his reader. He replied, that I thought too highly of the public taste ; that, most commonly, it was formed on that of half a dozen people in fashion, who took the lead, and who sometimes have intruded on the town the dullest performances for works of wit, while, at the same time, some true effort of genius, without name or recommendation, hath passed by the public eye unobserved or neglected ; that he once before made the trial I now objected to, with success, in the Essay on Man : wlrich was at first given (as he told me) to Dr. Young, to Dr. Desaguliers, to Lord Bolingbroke, to Lord Paget, and, in short, to every body but to him who was capable of writing it. However, to make him amends, this same public, when let into the secret, would, for some time after, suffer no poem with a moral title, to pass

for
any

man's but his. So the Essay on Human Life, the Essay on Reason, and many others of a worse tendency, were very liberally bestowed upon him. Warburton.

VARIATIONS.

After Ver. 282. in the MS.
P. What if I sing Augustus; great and good ?
A. You did so lately; was it understood ?
P. Be nice no more, but with a mouth profound,

As rumbling D-s or a Norfolk hound;
With GEORGE and FREDERIC roughen every verse,

Then smooth up all, and CAROLINE rehearse.
A. No—the high task to lift up kings to gods,

Leave to court-sermons and to birth-day odes.
On themes like these, superior far to thine,

Let laurell’d Cibber, and great Arnall shine.
P. Why write at all ?-A. Yes, silence if you keep,

The town, the court, the wits, the dunces weep.

Give virtue scandal, innocence a fear,

285 Or from the softeyed virgin steal a tear! But he who hurts a harmless neighbour's peace, Insults fallen worth, or beauty in distress, Who loves a lie, lame slanders helps about, Who writes a libel, or who copies out; 290 That fop, whose pride affects a patron's name, Yet absent, wounds an author's honest fame: Who can your merit selfishly approve, And show the sense of it without the love; Who has the vanity to call you friend, 295 Yet wants the honour, injured, to defend;

NOTES.

Ver. 295, 296. Who has the vanity to call you friend,

Yet wants the honour, injured, to defend ;] When a great genius, whose writings have afforded the world much pleasure and instruction, happens to be enviously attacked, or falsely accused, it is natural to think, that a sense of gratitude for so agreeable an obligation, or a sense of that honour resulting to our country from such a writer, should raise amongst those who call themselves his friends a pretty general indignation. But every day's experience shews us the very contrary. Some take a malignant satisfaction in the attack; others a foolish pleasure in a literary conflict; and the far greater part look on with a selfish indifference. Horace warned his friend against this excessive selfishness, not to say, baseness of mind :

Ut penitus notum, si tentent crimina, serves,
Tuterisque tuo fidentem præsidio: qui
Dente Theonino cum circumroditur, ecquid

Ad te post paulo ventura pericula sentis ? A late imitator of Horace, in the manner of Mr. Pope, has turned this with great elegance and spirit; which, because it so well suits the occasion, I shall here transcribe :

But should the man in whom (rare union !) shine
Wit's glowing graces, reason's spark divine,

Whose

Who tells whate'er you think, whate'er you say,
And, if he lie not, must at least betray :
Who to the Dean and silver bell can swear,
And sees at Canons what was never there; 300
Who reads, but with a lust to misapply,
Makes satire a lampoon, and fiction lie;
A lash like mine no honest man shall dread,
But all such babbling blockheads in his stead.

Let Sporus tremble-A. What ? that thing of silk, Sporus, that mere white curd of ass's milk ?

NOTES.

Whose modest manners virtue's self approves,
Whom wisdom leads through learning's inmost groves,
Stand the fierce rage of envy's motley train,
The proud, the bigotted, the dull, the vain,
Arise ! and nobly feeling for your friend,
His morals vindicate, his fame defend,
Till bursting through the cloud, with brightening ray
Truth bids his worth blaze forth in open day.
18 E. 1 l. imitated by Mr. Neville.

Warburton. Ver. 299. Who to the Dean, and silver bell, &c.] Meaning the man who would have persuaded the Duke of Chandos that Mr. Pope meant him in those circumstances ridiculed in the Epistle on Taste. See Mr. Pope's letter to the Earl of Burlington concerning this matter.

Pope. Ver. 305. Let Sporus tremble-] Language cannot afford more glowing or more forcible terms to express the utmost bitterness of contempt. We think we are here reading Milton against Salmasius. The raillery is carried to the very verge of railing, some will say ribaldry. He has armed his muse with a scalping knife. The portrait is certainly over-charged: for Lord H., for whom it was designed, whatever his morals might be, had yet considerable abilities, though marred by affectation. Some of his speeches in parliament were much beyond florid impotence. They were, it is true, in favour of Sir R. Walpole ; and this was sufficiently offensive to Pope. The fact that particularly excited his indigna

tion benefit

Satire or sense, alas! can Sporus feel ?
Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?

NOTES.

tion, was Lord H.'s Epistle to a Doctor of Divinity (Dr. Sherwin) from a Nobleman at Hampton Court, 1733; as well as his having been concerned with Lady M. W. M. in Verses to the Imitator of Horace, 1732. This lady's beauty, wit, genius, and travels, of which she gave an account in a series of elegant and entertaining letters, very characteristical of the manners of the Turks, and of which many are addressed to Pope, are well known, and justly celebrated. With both noble personages had Pope lived in a state of intimacy. And justice obligeth us to confess that he was the aggressor in the quarrel with them; as he first assaulted and affronted Lord H. by these two lines in his Imitation of the first Satire of Horace's second Book :

The lines are weak, another's pleas'd to say ;

Lord Fanny spins a thousand such a day. And Lady M. W. M., by the eighty-third line of the same piece, too gross to be here repeated.

But can this be the nobleman (we are apt to ask) whom Middleton, in his Dedication to the History of the Life of Tully, has so seriously and so earnestly praised, for his strong good sense, his consummate politeness, his real patriotism, his rigid temperance, his thorough knowledge and defence of the laws of his country, his accurate skill in history, his unexampled and unremitted diligence in literary pursuits; who added credit to this very history, as Scipio and Lælius did to that of Polybius, by revising and correcting it; and brightening it, as he expresses it, by the strokes of his pencil ? The man that had written this splendid encomium on Lord H. could not, we may imagine, be very well affected to the bard who had painted Lord Fanny in so ridiculous a light. We find him writing thus to Dr. Warburton, January 7, 1740: “ You have evinced the orthodoxy of Mr. Pope's principles; but, like the old commentators on his Homer, will be thought perhaps, in some places, to have found a meaning for him, that he himself never dreamt of. However, if you did not find him a philosophter, you will make him one ; for he will be wise enough to take the

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