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Maintain a poet's dignity and ease,
265 Sometimes to call a minister my friend. I was not born for Courts or great affairs ; I pay my debts, believe, and say my prayers ; Can sleep without a poem
in Nor know if Dennis be alive or dead.
270 Why am I ask'd what next shall see the light? Heavens! was I born for nothing but to write ? Has life no joys for me? or (to be grave) Have I no friend to serve, no soul to save? “ I found him close with Swift'' _“ Indeed! no
doubt," (Cries prating Balbus) “ something will come out.” 'Tis all in vain, deny it as I will: “ No, such a genius never can lie still;"
Ver. 261. Oh let me live] In the first edition:
Give me on Thames's banks, in honest ease,
To see what friends, or read what books I please. Ver. 271. Why am I ask'd, &c.] This is intended as a reproof of those impertinent complaints, which were continually made to him by those who called themselves his friends, for not entertaining the town as often as it wanted amusement. A French writer says well on this occasion: Dès qu'on est auteur, il semble qu'on soit aux gages d’un tas de fainéans, pour leur fournir de quoi amuser leur oisiveté.
Friendships from youth I sought, and seek them still :
And then for mine obligingly mistakes
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. Dodington.”
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 house, 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
Curs'd be the verse, how well soe'er it flow, That tends to make one worthy man my foe,
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: which 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.
After Ver. 282. in the MS.
As rumbling D- -s or a Norfolk hound;
Then smooth up all, and CAROLINE rehearse.
Leave to court-sermons and to birth-day odes.
Let laurell’d Cibber, and great Arnall shine.
Give virtue scandal, innocence a fear,
Ver. 295, 296. Who has the vanity to call you friend,
Yet wants the honour, injured, to defend ;]
Ut penitus notum, si tentent crimina, serves,
Ad te post paulo ventura pericula sentis ?
But should the man in whom (rare union !) shine
Who tells whate'er you think, whate'er you say,
LetSporus tremble-A. What ? that thing of silk, Sporus, that mere white curd of ass's milk?
Whose modest manners virtue's self approves,
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