« PreviousContinue »
ON RECEIVING FROM
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
THE LADY FRANCES SHIRLEY
A STANDISH AND TWO PENS.
YES, I beheld th' Athenian Queen
“Secure the radiant weapons wield;
The Lady Frances Shirley] A Lady whofe great Merit Mr. Pope took a real pleasure in celebrating. WARBURTON.
VER. 1. Yes, I beheld, &c.] To enter into the spirit of this Address, it is neceffary to premife, that the Poet was threatened with a profecution in the House of Lords, for the two foregoing Poems, the Epilogue to the Satires. On which, with great refentment against his enemies, for not being willing to distinguish be
Grave Epifles bringing Vice to light,
and licentious Libels, he began a third Dialogue, more fevere and fublime than the firft and fecond; which being no fecret, matters were foon compromifed. His enemies agreed to drop the profe-cution, and he promised to leave the third Dialogue unfinished and fuppreffed. This affair occafioned this little beautiful poem, to which it alludes throughout, but more efpecially in the four laft ftanzas. WARBURTON
« And if a Vice dares keep the field,
Aw'd, on my bended knees I fell,
Receiv'd the weapons of the sky; And dipt them in the fable Well, The Fount of Fame or Infamy.
" What Well? what Weapon? (Flavia cries)
"But, Friend, take heed whom you
"You'd write as fmooth again on glass,
"And run, on ivory, fo glib, "As not to stick at fool or afs, "Nor stop at Flattery or Fib.
"Athenian Queen! and fober charms!
VER. 15. Bertrand's,] A famous toy-shop at Bath.
VER. 23. fool or afs,] The Dunciad.
VER. 24. Flattery or Fib.] The Epifle to Dr. Arbuthnot.
" 'Tis Venus, Venus gives these arms; "In Dryden's Virgil fee the print.
"Come, if you'll be a quiet foul,
"That dares tell neither Truth nor Lies, "I'll lift you in the harmless roll
"Of thofe that fing of these poor eyes."
VIR 27. thefe arms;] Such toys being the ufual prefents from lovers to their miftreffes. WARBURTON.
VER. 28 fee the print.] When he delivers Æneas a fuit of heavenly armour. WARBURTON.
VER. 30. neither Truth nor Lies,] i. e. If you have neither the courage to write Satire, nor the application to attempt an Epic Poem. He was then meditating on such a work.
VER. 32. Of those that fing of these poor eyes.] Among the many fwains who fung of "these poor eyes," was Lord Chesterfield, in his well known Ballad :
"When Fanny blooming fair,
First met my ravish'd fight,
I gaz'd with strange delight."
This beautiful Lady was fourth daughter of Earl Ferrers, who had at that time a house at Twickenham. Notwithstanding her numerous admirers, fhe died at Bath, unmarried, in the year 1762. At Clarendon Park, near Salisbury, the feat of her Sifter's Son, Henry Bathurst efq., there is a full length painting, by Sir Godfrey Kneller; and if she was as handfome as she is there reprefented, Lord Chesterfield's paffionate address might be easily accounted for. The writer of this note had looked at it for some time with admiration, without knowing whofe portrait it was, when the hospitable and benevolent Owner of the mansion said, "That is the celebrated Fanny blooming fair." Her fifter, married to Mr. Bathurst's father, is painted at full length in the fame room.
Lady Frances is dressed in a Turkish habit, probably intro duced by Lady M. W. Montagu to England at the time, as she lived at Twickenham. The drefs is beautiful, and gives great effect to the attitude and countenance. The sketch of Earl Ferrers' House and Gardens is in the back ground.
I fhall here prefent the Reader with a valuable Literary Curiofity, a Fragment of an unpublished Satire of Pope, intitled, ONE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED AND FORTY; communicated to me by the kindness of the learned and worthy Dr. Wilson, formerly fellow and librarian of Trinity College, Dublin; who Speaks of the Fragment in the following terms:
"This Poem I tranfcribed from a rough draft in Pope's own hand. He left many blanks for fear of the Argus Eye of those who, if they cannot find, can fabricate treafon; yet, spite of his precaution, it fell into the hands of his enemies. To the hieroglyphics, there are direct allufions, I think in fome of the notes on the Dunciad. It was lent me by a grandson of Lord Chetwynd, an intimate friend of the famous Lord Bolingbroke, who gratified his curiosity by a boxful of the rubbish and sweepings of Pope's ftudy, whofe executor he was, in conjunction with Lord Marchmont." WARTON.