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Shut, shut the door, good John! fatigued I said."


[Page 105.

of theirs as they have done of mine. However, I shall have this advantage and honour on my side, that whereas, by their proceeding, any abuse may be directed at any man, no injury can possibly be done by mine, since a nameless character can never be found out but by its truth and likeness.

HUT, shut the door, good John!1 fatigued I said;


Tie up the knocker, say I'm sick, I'm dead.

The Dog-star rages! nay 'tis past a doubt,

All Bedlam, or Parnassus, is let out:

Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand,


They rave, recite, and madden round the land.

What walls can guard me, or what shades can hide?

They pierce my thickets, through my grot they glide,
By land, by water, they renew the charge,

They stop the chariot, and they board the barge.


No place is sacred, not the church is free,
Ev'n Sunday shines no Sabbath-day to me:

Then from the Mint2 walks forth the man of rhyme,
Happy! to catch me, just at dinner-time.

Is there a parson, much bemused in beer,

A maudlin poetess, a rhyming peer,

A clerk, foredoom'd his father's soul to cross,

Who pens a stanza, when he should engross ?

Is there, who, lock'd from ink and paper, scrawls
With desperate charcoal round his darken'd walls ?3
All fly to Twit'nam, and in humble strain
Apply to me, to keep them mad or vain.



1 [John Serle, his old and faithful servant, remembered in his will. Curll speaks of "honest Serle, Mr. Pope's gardener at Twickenham," in 1735. After his master's death, in 1744, John published a plan of the poet's garden, with an account of the mineral and other curiosities it contained, which we have given in the appendix to the poet's life. He next went into the employment of Mr. Allen, at Bath.

2 [The Mint in Southwark was a sanctuary for insolvent debtors. It included several streets and alleys. Nahum Tate, the poet, died in the Mint, in 1716. An attempt was made to curtail the privilege, in the reign of William III., and it was finally suppressed in the reign of George I.]

3 After ver. 20, in the MS.

"Is there a bard in durance? turn them free,

With all their brandish'd reams they run to me:

Is there a 'prentice, having seen two plays,
Who would do something in his sempstress' praise-"

Arthur, whose giddy son neglects the laws,1
Imputes to me and my damn'd works the cause:
Poor Cornus sees his frantic wife elope,
And curses wit, and poetry, and Pope.

Friend to my life! (which did not you prolong,
The world had wanted many an idle song)
What drop or nostrum can this plague remove? 5
Or which must end me, a fool's wrath or love?
A dire dilemma! either way I'm sped,

If foes, they write, if friends, they read me dead.
Seized and tied down to judge, how wretched I!
Who can't be silent, and who will not lie :
To laugh, were want of goodness and of grace,
And to be grave, exceeds all power of face.
I sit with sad civility, I read

With honest anguish, and an aching head;
And drop at last, but in unwilling ears,

This saving counsel,-" Keep your piece nine years."
"Nine years!" cries he, who, high in Drury-lane,
Lull'd by soft zephyrs through the broken pane,
Rhymes ere he wakes, and prints before Term ends,
Obliged by hunger, and request of friends :
"The piece, you think, is incorrect? why take it,
I'm all submission; what you'd have it, make it."
Three things another's modest wishes bound,
My friendship, and a prologue, and ten pound.
Pitholeon sends to me: "You know his grace,

I want a patron; ask him for a place."
Pitholeon 6 libell'd me-" but here's a letter

Informs you, Sir, 'twas when he knew no better.
Dare you refuse him? Curll invites to dine,.

He'll write a journal, or he'll turn divine."7

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4 [Arthur Moore, father of the poetical James Moore Smythe. See life of Pope, and Notes to Dunciad.]

5 In the first edition

"Dear Doctor, tell me, is not this a curse?

Say, is their anger or their friendship worse?"

6 The name taken from a foolish poet of Rhodes, who pretended much to Greek. Schol. in Horat. 1. i. Dr. Bentley pretends that this Pitholeon libelled Cæsar also. See notes on Hor. Sat. 10, 1. i.

7 In the MS.

"If you refuse, he goes, as fates incline,

To plague Sir Robert, or to turn divine."

Bless me! a packet.8 ""Tis a stranger sues,
A virgin tragedy, an orphan Muse."

If I dislike it, "Furies, death and rage!"

If I approve,

"Commend it to the stage."

There (thank my stars) my whole commission ends,
The players and I are, luckily, no friends;9

Fired that the house reject him, "'Sdeath I'll print it,
And shame the fools-Your interest, Sir, with Lintot."
Lintot, dull rogue! will think your price too much:
"Not, Sir, if you revise it, and retouch."

All my demurs but double his attacks:

And last he whispers, "Do; and we go snacks."
Glad of a quarrel, straight I clap the door:
Sir, let me see your works and you no more.

'Tis sung, when Midas' ears began to spring,

(Midas, a sacred person and a king)

His very minister who spied them first,

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(Some say his queen) was forced to speak or burst:10 And is not mine, my friend, a sorer case,

When every coxcomb perks them in my face?

A. Good friend forbear! you deal in dangerous things,


I'd never name queens, ministers, or kings:

Keep close to ears, and those let asses prick,

'Tis nothing-P. Nothing? if they bite and kick ?
Out with it, DUNCIAD! let the secret pass,
That secret to each fool, that he's an ass :


8 [Alludes to a tragedy called the Virgin Queen, by Mr. R. Barford, published 1729, who displeased Pope by daring to adopt the fine machinery of his sylphs in an heroi-comical poem called The Assembly.- Warton.] 9 [In first edit.

"Cibber and I are luckily no friends."

Cibber, in his letter to Pope, 1742, notices this alteration. "You have taken off a little of its edge," he says. "This is so uncommon an instance of your checking your temper, and taking a little shame to yourself, that I cannot in justice omit my notice of it."]

10 The story is told by some of his barber, but by Chaucer of his Queen. See Wife of Bath's Tale in Dryden's Fables. [It is scarcely necessary to point out that the poet intends a sarcastic allusion to Queen Caroline and Sir Robert Walpole. The Queen's management of the King, as detailed by Lord Hervey in his Memoirs, was as artfully constructed and evolved as any dramatic plot. Walpole knew where the real power lay, and made his arrangements accordingly. Hervey, in a letter to Bishop Hoadley (1734) has the expression, "You know the King's two ears as well as I do."]

The truth once told (and wherefore should we lie ?)
The Queen of Midas slept, and so may I.

You think this cruel? Take it for a rule,
No creature smarts so little as a fool.

Let peals of laughter, Codrus! round thee break,
Thou unconcerned canst hear the mighty crack:
Pit, box, and gallery in convulsions hurl'd,
Thou stand'st unshook amidst a bursting world.11
Who shames a scribbler? break one cobweb through,12
He spins the slight, self-pleasing thread anew:
Destroy his fib or sophistry, in vain,

The creature's at his dirty work again,
Throned in the centre of his thin designs,
Proud of a vast extent of flimsy lines!
Whom have I hurt? has poet yet, or peer,
Lost the arch'd eyebrow, or Parnassian sneer?
And has not Colley still his lord, and whore ?
His butchers Henley, his free-masons Moore ?13
Does not one table Bavius still admit?
Still to one bishop Philips seem a wit ?14

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Still Sappho-A. Hold; for God's sake-you'll offend:
No names-be calm—learn prudence of a friend.

11 Alluding to Horace,

"Si fractus illabatur orbis,
Impavidum ferient ruinæ."

[Or rather to Addison's version

"Should the whole frame of Nature round him break,

In ruin and confusion hurl'd,

He unconcern'd would hear the mighty crack,

And stand secure amidst a falling world."]

12 [In first edit.—

"Scribblers, like spiders, break one cobweb through,
Still spin," &c.

There are numerous small alterations in this Epistle.]

13 He was of this society, and frequently headed their processions. [Orator Henley and James Moore Smythe. The former preached in Newport and Clare Markets.]

14 [The Bavius of this couplet has not been named. Shadwell used to represent the character, but he had been dead long ere this Epistle was written. Dennis died in January of the same year, 1733-4. The bishop alluded to was Bishop Boulter, Primate of Ireland, to whom Ambrose Philips was for some time secretary.]

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