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So well in paint and stone they judg'd of merit ;
year 1671, tells the following ftory: "I and John Echard, the Author of the Contempt of the Clergy, dined with Archbishop Sheldon. After dinner, when the Archbishop had withdrawn and selected his company, I was called into the withdrawing room, and Echard was left behind to go drink and smoke with the Chaplains:" So well adjufted was this refpect of perfons; Echard, the wittiest man of the age, was very fitly left to divert the Chaplains; and Anthony Wood, without all per-adventure the dulleft, was called in to enjoy the conversation of his Grace. WARBURTON.
VER. 385. But Kings in Wit] They may, nevertheless, be very good Kings. It is not for his verses, any more than for his victories, that the late King of Pruffia will be celebrated by pofterity: but for foftening the rigours of a defpotic government, by a code of milder laws than his crouching people had known before; and for building many villages and farm-houses, to encourage agricul ture, and repair the wastes and ravages of war. He muft therefore be pardoned for an abfurd judgment, which he has passed on Homer, whom he could not read in the Original, where he fays; "Ses chants et l'action ont peu ou point de liason les uns avec les autres, ce qui leur a mérité le nom de rapfodies." Preface to the Henriade. WARTON.
VER. 387. penfion'd Quarles;] Who has lately been more favourably spoken of by fome ingenious critics; particularly by the author of Thirty Letters. WARTON,
Aufpiciis totum confecta duella per orbem,
Si quantum cuperem, poffem quoque. fed neque par
* Carmen majeftas recipit tua; nec meus audet
VER. 397. how dearly bought !] All this is in the fpirit of the moft contemptuous irony.
VER. 409. they fay I bite.] If any key had been wanting to the artful irony contained in this imitation, efpecially in the laft ixteen lines, this one verfe would have been fufficient to fix the Poet's intention. Neither Dr Warburton nor Dr. Hurd take the leaft notice of any irony being intended in this imitation. To what motive fhall we afcribe this cautious filence? WARTON.
Oh! could I mount on the Mæonian wing,
Andi Afia's Tyrants tremble at your Throne-
(Like Journals, Odes, and fuch forgotten things As Eufden, Philips, Settle, writ of Kings)
Cloath fpice, line trunks, or flutt'ring in a row,
POPE, in his celebrated letter to Lord Hervey, has the hardi. hood to boast himself "a man who never wrote a line in which "the religion or government of his country, the ROYAL FAMILY, "or their miniftry, were difrefpectfully mentioned." The cafe was very much altered, when he wrote this Imitation, the drift of which cannot be mistaken. I have before taken notice of the circumflances of the times when it was published, which the reader should keep in mind, as they are the best comment on fome paffages of particular severity.
No one, however, can be insensible of the great powers of language, and confummate dexterity of fatire, which this Epiftle evinces.