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I was not born for Courts or great affairs ;
270 Why am I ask'd what next shall see the light? Heav'ns ! was 1 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 ? 274 “ I found him close with Swift - Indeed ? no doubt " (Cries prating Balbus) fomething will come out. 'Tis all in vain, deny it as I will. ch a Genius never can lie ftill ;
Friendships from youth I fought, and seek them ftill:
And in a course of fatt'ry liv'd no fool, * By riot making the World bis School he means, he did not form his system of morality, on the principles or practice of men in business.
Notes. conduct in life was governed only on principles of policy: for of what minifters he speaks, may be seen by the character he gives, in the next line, of the
Courts they belong to. Ver. 271. Why am I ask'd &c.] This is intended as a reproof of those impertinent complaints, which were perpetually 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.
And then for mine obligingly mistakes
Curst be the verse, how well foe'er it flow,
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 laurellid Cibber, and great Arnal shine.
The Town, the Court, the Wits, the Dunces weep.
Who can your merit selfishly approve,
Notes. Ver. 293.-—-selfishly approve,] Because to deny, or pretend not to see, a well established merit, would impeach his own heart or understanding.
VER. 294. And how the sense of it without the love ;} i. e. will never suffer the admiration of an excellence to produce any efteem for him, to whom it belongs.
Ver. 295. Who has the vanity to call you friend, Yet wants the honour, injur'd, 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. VER. 299. Who to the Dean, and filver bell
, &c.] Meaning the man who would have persuaded the Duke of Chandos that Mr. P. meant him in those circumitances ridiculed in the Epistle on Taste. See Mr. Pope's Letter to the Earl of Burlington concerning this matter.
Who reads, but with a lust to misapply,
Let Sporus tremble--A. What? that thing of filk,
315 As shallow streams run dimpling all the way. Whether in florid impotence he speaks, And, as the prompter breathes, the puppet squeaks ; Or at the ear of Eve, familiar Toad, Half froth, half venom, spits himself abroad, 320 In puns, or politics, or tales, or lies, Or ipite, ur smut, or rhymes, or blasphemies.
See Milton, Book iv. P. Ver. 320. Half froth,} Alluding to those frothy exuctions, called by the people, Toad spits, seen in summertine hanging upon planis, and emitted by young infects wl.ich he hid in the midit of them, for their preservation,
ole in this helpless itace.
His wit all fee-faw, between that and this,
Not Fortune's worshipper, nor Fashion's fool,
Notes. VER. 340. That not in Fancy's maze he wander'd long,] His merit in this will appear very great, if we consider, that in this walk he had all the advantages which the most poetic Imagination could give to a great Genius. M. Voltaire in a MS. letter now before me, writes thus from England to a friend in Paris. “ I intend to send you two or three poems of Mr. Pope, the best poet
of England, • and at present of all the world. I hope you are ac“ quainted enough with the English tongue, to be fenfi" ble of all the charms of his works. For my part, I is look upon
his poem called the Esay on Criticism as su“ perior to the Art of poetry of Horace; and his Rape “ of the Lock is, in my opinion, above the Lutrin of Dél