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Welcome for thee, fair Virtue! all the paft:
Yet foft by nature, more a dupe than wit,
VER. 36. in the MS.
Once, and but once, his heedlefs Youth was bit,
Great odds in am'rous or poetic game,
ed his farcasms against the reigning family? He fays, "That flattery even to kings he held a fhame;" and therefore with the moft contemptuous irony he directs his fatire againt George II., libelled queen Caroline, and in one of his letters calls Windfor the "fink of meannefs."
VER. 358. for thee, fair Virtue! welcome ev'n the laft!] Warburton with fimplicity, not always ufual to him, obferves, “That this line is remarkable for prefenting us with the most amiable image of fleady Virtue, mixed with a modeft concern for his being forced to undergo the fevereft proofs of his love for it; which was the being thought hardly of ly his Sovereign."
VER. 363. Sporus at court,] In former editions, Glencus at
This dreaded Satʼrift Dennis will confefs
VER. 37. This dreaded Satʼrift] He wrote the Prologue for his benefit, in Dennis's old age.
VER. 372. So humble, Ec] By all this, Pope would feem to us a perfect pattern of meeknefs and patience; at the fame time, one cannot avoid a moment confidering what should have been the cause of his having fo many angry enemies. Could he place his hand on his heart, and fay he had not been often the aggreffor? How different is the language of real and dignified fuperiority?
Hear Milton, who had as many enemies and more forrows: "More fafe I fing with mortal voice, unchang'd
To hoarfe and mute, tho' fall'n on evil days,
On evil days tho' fail'n, and evil tongues,
In darkness, and with dangers compass'd round,
VER. 374 ten years] It was fo long after many libels, before the Author of the Dunciad published that poem, till when, he never writ a word in anfwer to the many fcurrilities and falfehoods concerning him. POPE.
VER. 375 Welfted's lie.] This man had the impudence to tell in print, that Mr P. had occafioned a Lady's death, and to name a perfon he never heard of. He alfo publifhed that he libelled the Duke of Chandos; with whom (it was added) that he had lived in familiarity, and received from him a prefent of five hundred pounds: the falfehood of both which is known to his Grace. Mr. P. never received any present, farther than the subscription for Homer, from him, or from any great Man whatsoever. POPE.
Let Budgel charge low Grubstreet on his quill,
VER. 378. Let Budgel] Budgel, in a weekly pamphlet called the Bee, beftowed much abufe on him, in the imagination that he writ fome things about the Laft Will of Dr. Tinda', in the Grubfireet Journal; a Paper wherein he never had the leaft hand, direction, or fupervifal, nor the leaft knowledge of its Author.
VFR. 379. except his Will;] Alluding to Tindal's Will: by which, and other indirect practices, Budgel, to the exclufion of the next heir, a nephew, got to himself almoft the whole fortune of a man entirely unrelated to him.
Refpecting the circumftance hinted at, of Euftace Budgel having forged Dr. Tindal's will, the reader might perhaps wish to have fome further account. Dr. Tindal, of All Souls College, Oxford, of notorious character, the author of Christianity as old as the Creation, left the following will:
"1 Mathew Tindal, &c. (after a legacy to his maid-servant) give and bequeath to Euftace Budgel, the fum of two thoufand one hundred pounds, that his great talents may ferve his country, &c. my ftrong box, my diamond ring, MS. Books, &c.
MAT. TINDAL." The reverend Nicholas Tindal, his nephew, author of the Continuation of Rapin, declared his fufpicion that this will was forged. This was generally credited, and Budgel, in 1737, threw himself out of a boat and was drowned. He wrote feveral of the Spectators; the Hiftory of the Boyles, Earls of Shannon, &c. and a weekly pamphlet called the Bee. The cause of his death was fuppofed to have been in relation to this will.
VER. 381. His father, mother, &c.] In fome of Curl's and other pamphlets, Mr. Pope's Father was faid to be a Mechanic, a Hatter,
That harmlefs Mother thought no wife a whore: Hear this, and fpare his family, James Moore! 385 Unfpotted names, and memorable long!
If there be force in Virtue, or in Song.
Of gentle blood (part fhed in Honour's cause, While yet in Britain Honour had applaufe)
a Hatter, a Farmer, nay a Bankrupt. But, what is ftranger, a Nobleman (if fuch a reflection could be thought to come from a Nobleman) had dropt an allufion to that pitiful untruth, in a paper called an Epifle to a Doctor of Divinity: and the following line, "Hard as thy Heart, and as thy Birth obfcure,"
had fallen from a like Courtly pen, in certain Verfes to the Imitator of Horace. Mr. Pope's Father was of a Gentleman's Family in Oxfordshire, the head of which was the Earl of Downe, whofe fole Heiress married the Earl of Lindfay.-His Mother was the daughter of William Turner, Efq. of York: She had three brothers, one of whom was killed, another died in the service of King Charles; the eldest following his fortunes, and becoming a general officer in Spain, left her what estate remained after the fequeftrations and forfeitures of her family.-Mr. Pope died in 1717, aged 75; she in 1733, aged 93, a very few weeks after this Poem was finished. The following infcription was placed by their fon on their Monument in the parish of Twickenham, in Middlefex:
D. O. M.
ALEXANDRO. POPE. VIRO. INNOCVO. PROBO. PIO.
ET. EDITHE. CONIVGI. INCVLPABILI.
XCIII. OB. MDCCXXXIII.
PARENTIBVS. BENEMERENTIBV3. FILIVS. FECIT.
POPE. VER. 388. Of gentle blood] When Mr. Pope published the notes on the Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot, giving an account of his fa mily, Mr. Pottinger, a relation of his, obferved, that his cousin
Each parent fprung-A. What fortune, pray
P. Their own,
And better got, than Beftia's from the throne.
After Ver. 405. in the MS.
And of myself, too, fomething muft I say?
And if it live, it lives but to commend
The man whofe heart has ne'er forgot a Friend,
And friend to Learning, yet too wise to write.
Pope had made himself out a fine pedigree, but he wondered where he got it; that he had never heard any thing himself of their being defcended from the Earls of Downe; and, what is more, he had an old maiden aúnt, equally related, a great genealogift, who was always talking of her family, but never mentioned this circumstance; on which the certainly would not have been filent, had she known any thing of it. Mr. Pope's grandfather was a clergyman of the church of England in Hampshire. He placed his fon, Mr. Pope's father, with a merchant at Lisbon, where he became a convert to Popery. (Thus far Dr. Bolton, late Dean of Carlisle, a friend of Pope; from Mr. Pottinger.) The buryingplace and monuments of the family of the Popes, Earls of Downe, is at Wraxton, Oxfordshire. The Earl of Guildford fays, that he has feen and examined the pedigrees and defcents of that family, and is fure that there were then none of the name of Pope left, who could be defcended from that family.(From John Loveday, of Caversham, Efquire.) WARTON.
This account is also confirmed to me by my friend Mr. Dallaway, of the Heralds' College.