Page images

P. See Sir ROBERT!--- hum

And never laugh--- for all my life to come?
Seen him I have, but in his happier hour
Of Social Pleasure, ill-exchang'd for Pow'r; 30
Seen him, uncumber'd with the Venal tribe,
Smile without Art, and win without a Bribe.


VER. 29. Seen him I have, etc.] This and other strokes of commendation in the following poem, as well as his regard to him on all occafions, were in acknowledgment of a certain fervice the Minifter had done a Prieft at Mr. Pope's folicitation. Our Poet, when he was about feventeen, had a very ill fever in the country, which, it was feared, would end fatally. In this condition, he wrote to Southcot, a Prieft of his acquaintance, then in town, to take his last leave of him. Southcot with great affection and folicitude applied to Dr. Radcliffe for his advice. And not content with that, he rode down poft, to Mr. Pope, who was then an hundred miles from London, with the Doctor's directions; which had the defired effect. A long time after this, Southcot, who had an intereft in the Court of France, writing to a common acquaintance in England, informed him that there was a good abbey near Avignon, which he had credit enough to get, were it not from an apprehenfion that his promotion would give umbrage to the English Court, to which he (Southcot) by his intrigues in the Pretender's fervice, was become very obnoxious. The perfon to whom this was written happening to acquaint Mr. Pope with the cafe, he immediately wrote to Sir Robert Walpole about it; begged that this embargo might be taken off; and acquainted him with the grounds of folicitation: That he was indebted to Southcot for his life, and he muft difcharge his obligation, either here or in purgatory." The Minifter received the application favourably, and with much good-nature wrote to his brother, then in France, to remove this obftruction. In confequence of which Southcot got the abbey. Mr. Pope ever after retained a grateful fenfe of his civility.

VER. 31. Seen him, uncumber'd] Thefe two verfes were

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 diff'rence is, I dare laugh out. 36

F.Why yes: with Scripture still you may be free;
A Horse-laugh, if you please, at Honefty;
A Joke on JEKYL, or fome odd Old Whig
Who never chang'd his Principle, or Wig:



originally in the poem, though omitted in all the first editions.


VER. 34. what he thinks mankind.] This request feems fomewhat abfurd: but not more fo than the principle it refers to. That great Minifter, it feems, thought all mankind Rogues; and that every one had his price. It was ufually given as a proof of his penetration, and extenfive knowledge of the world. Others perhaps would think it an instance of a narrow underftanding, that, from a few of Rochefaucault's maxims, and the corrupt practice of those he commonly converfed with, would thus boldly pronounce upon the character of his Species. It is certain, that a Keeper of Newgate, who should make the fame conclufion, would be heartily laughed at.

VER. 37. Why yes: with Scripture &c.] A fcribler, whose only chance for reputation is the falling in with the fashion, is apt to employ this infamous expedient for the preservation of his fleeting existence. But a true Genius could not do a foolisher thing, or fooner defeat his own aim. The fage Boileau ufed to fay on this occafion, "Une ouvrage fevere peut bien plaire "aux libertins; mais un ouvrage trop libre ne plaira jamais "aux perfonnes feveres."

[ocr errors]

Ibid. Why yes: with Scripture ftill you may be free;] Thus the Man commonly called Mother Ofborn, who was in the Minifter's pay, and wrote Journals; for one Paper in behalf of Sir Robert, had frequently two against J. C.

VER. 39. A Joke on Jekyl,] Sir Jofeph Jekyl, Mafter of the Rolls, a true Whig in his principles, and a man of the utmost


[ocr errors]

A Patriot is a Fool in ev'ry age,

Whom all Lord Chamberlains allow the Stage:
Thefe nothing hurts; they keep their Fashion still,
And wear their strange old Virtue, as they will.

If any afk you, "Who's the Man, fo near 45
"His Prince, that writes in Verfe, and has his ear?"
Why, answer, LYTTELTON, and I'll engage
The worthy Youth fhall ne'er be in a rage:
But were his Verfes vile, his Whisper bafe,
You'd quickly find him in Lord Fanny's cafe. 50
Sejanus, Wolfey, hurt not honeft FLEURY,
But well may put fome Statefmen in a fury.

Laugh then at any, but at Fools or Foes;
Thefe you but anger, and you mend not those.


probity. He fometimes voted against the Court, which drew upon him the laugh here defcribed of ONE who bestowed it equally upon Religion and Honefty. He died a few months after the publication of this poem.


VER. 43. Thefe nothing hurts ;] i. e. offends.

VER. 47. Why, anfwer, Lyttelton,] George Lyttelton, Secretary to the Prince of Wales, diftinguifhed both for his writ ings and fpeeches in the fpirit of Liberty.


VER. 51. Sjanus, Wolfy,] The one the wicked minifter of Tiberius; the other, of Henry VIII. The writers against the Court ufually bestowed thefe and other odious names on the Minifter, without diftinction, and in the most injurious manner. See Dial. II. 137. · P.

Ibid. Fieury,] Cardinal: and Minifter to Louis XV. It was a Patriot-fashion, at that time, to cry up his wifdom and honesty.


[ocr errors]

Laugh at your friends, and, if your Friends are fore,
So much the better, you may laugh the more..
To Vice and Folly to confine the jeft,

Sets half the world, God knows, against the reft;
Did not the Sneer of more impartial men
At Senfe and Virtue, balance all agen.
Judicious Wits fpread wide the Ridicule,
And charitably comfort Knave and Fool.

P. Dear Sir, forgive the Prejudice of Youth:
Adieu Diftinction, Satire, Warmth, and Truth!
Come, harmless Characters that no one hit; 65
Come, Henley's Oratory, Ofborn's Wit!
The Honey dropping from Favonio's tongue,
The Flow'rs of Bubo, and the Flow of Y--ng!
The gracious Dew of Pulpit Eloquence,
And all the well-whipt Cream of Courtly Senfe, 70
That Firft was H--vy's, F---'s next, and then
The S---te's, and then H---vy's once agen.



VER. 56. So much the better, you may laugh the more.] Their forenefs being a clear indication of their wanting the frequent repetition of this difcipline.

VER. 66. Henley-Ofborn,] See them in their places in the Dunciad. P.


VER. 69. The gracious Dew] Alludes to fome court fermons, and florid panegyrical fpeeches; particularly one very full of puerilities and flatterics; which afterwards got into an addrefs in



O come, that eafy Ciceronian style,
So Latin, yet fo English all the while,
As, tho' the Pride of Middleton and Bland,
All Boys may read, and Girls may understand!
Then might I fing, without the least offence,
And all I fung should be the Nation's Sense;
Or teach the melancholy Mufe to mourn,
Hang the fad Verfe on CAROLINA's Urn,

[ocr errors]




the fame pretty ftyle, and was laftly ferved up in an Epitaph, between Latin and English, published by its author. P.

VER. 69. The gracious Dew of Pulpit Eloquence,] Our moral Bard was no great Adept in Theology, nor did he enter into the depths of Pulpit Eloquence. Which (and it is much to be lamented) rendered his judgment of things, on certain occafions, but flight and fuperficial. It is plain he here gibeth at this master-ftroke of Pulpit Eloquence. But Master Doctor Thomas Playfere might have taught him better. This eminent court-divine in his Spittal-fermon preached in the year 1595, Jayeth open the whole fecret of this matter. "The voice of "a preacher (faith he, himfelfe a powerfull preacher) ought "to be the voice of a Crier, which fhould not pipe to make "the people dance, but mourne to make them weep. Hence "it is, that in the oulde law none that was blinde, or had anie "blemithe in his eye, might ferve at the Aulter; because for "that impedimente in his eye he could not well fhew his in"warde forrowing by his outwarde weeping. And when they "offered up their first borne, who was ordinarily in every fa

mily their Priefte, or their Preacher, they offered also with "him a paire of turtle-doves, or two younge pigeons. That

paire of turtle-doves did fignify a paire of mournfull eyes; "those two younge pigeons did fignifie likewife two weeping


eyes: And at that offering they prayed for their first-borne,

« PreviousContinue »