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But shall a printer, weary of his life,25


Learn, from their books, to hang himself and wife?

This, this, my friend, I cannot, must not bear ;
Vice thus abused, demands a nation's care;
This calls the church to deprecate our sin,
And hurls the thunder of the laws on gin.26
Let modest Foster, if he will, excel
Ten Metropolitans in preaching well;27
A simple Quaker, or a Quaker's wife,2
Outdo Landaff in doctrine,—yea, in life: 29
Let humble Allen,30 with an awkward shame,
Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame,
Virtue may choose the high or low degree,
'Tis just alike to virtue, and to me;




25 A fact that happened in London a few years past. The unhappy man left behind him a paper justifying his actions by the reasonings of some of these authors.

[This case is reported in the Gentleman's Magazine, for April, 1732. The man, Richard Smith, and his wife, were in the King's Bench. They were found hanging in their room, and their infant child shot through the head in its cradle. In one of the letters which Smith left to be delivered after his death, there is a curious touch of feeling, "If you can find," he says, "any chap (buyer) for my dog and ancient cat, it would be kind."]

26 A spirituous liquor, the exorbitant use of which had almost destroyed the lowest rank of the people, till it was restrained by an Act of Parliament, in 1736.

27 [Dr. James Foster, a minister of the sect called Independents, and afterwards a Baptist. He was long a popular preacher in London, and author of sermons and theological treatises which fill four volumes. He died in 1753. According to Bolingbroke, Dr. Foster was author of the pointed remark that where mystery begins religion ends, a saying exactly suited to that peer, and not unwelcome to the poet.]

28 [The Quaker's wife was a Mrs. Drummond, one of the notabilities of her day. Spence describes his going to the meeting with her: "No whining when she spoke, and scarce any action; very good language, particularly full of metaphors, but pretty and well-managed ones."]

29 A poor bishopric in Wales, as poorly supplied.

[It was then supplied by Dr. John Harris, whose son, Dr. George Harris, became a distinguished lawyer, and writer on civil law.]

30 [In the first edition it was, "low-born Allen" and "humble Foster." Pope wrote to Mr. Allen, that he had found him possessed of humility, and, in justice to his own conscience, he would change the epithet in the poem from low-born to humble. As Mr. Allen was a man of fortune, and Mayor of Bath, he was probably not much flattered by either epithet.]

Dwell in a monk, or light upon a king,
She's still the same beloved, contented thing.
Vice is undone, if she forgets her birth,
And stoops from angels to the dregs of earth:
But 'tis the fall degrades her to a whore;
Let greatness own her, and she's mean no more,
Her birth, her beauty, crowds and courts confess,
Chaste matrons praise her, and grave bishops bless;
In golden chains the willing world she draws,
And hers the gospel is, and hers the laws,
Mounts the tribunal, lifts her scarlet head,
And sees pale Virtue carted in her stead.
Lo! at the wheels of her triumphal car,
Old England's genius, rough with many a scar,
Dragg'd in the dust! his arms hang idly round,
His flag inverted trails along the ground!
Our youth, all liveried o'er with foreign gold,
Before her dance: behind her, crawl the old !
See thronging millions to the pagod run,
And offer country, parent, wife, or son!





Hear her black trumpet through the land proclaim,


In soldier, churchman, patriot, man in power,

'Tis avarice all, ambition is no more!

See, all our nobles begging to be slaves!

See, all our fools aspiring to be knaves!

The wit of cheats, the courage of a whore,
Are what ten thousand envy and adore:
All, all look up, with reverential awe,


At crimes that 'scape, or triumph o'er the law:

While truth, worth, wisdom, daily they decry— "Nothing is sacred now but villany."


Yet may this verse (if such a verse remain) Show there was one who held it in disdain.


31 [Warton thought this passage the noblest in all Pope's works, without any exception whatever-"A group of allegorical personages, worthy the pencil of Rubens, and described in expressions worthy of Virgil." personification of England's Genius is certainly grand, and picturesque. Cowper has remembered it in two or three passages of the Task, and Burns echoes it in his description of Edinburgh Castle :

"Like some old veteran, grey in arms,

And mark'd with many a seamy scar."]



"Old England's genius, rough with many a scar."

EPILOGUE TO THE SATIRES, Dial. i. line 152.

[Page 210.


FR. "TIS all a libel-Paxton (Sir) will say.1

P. Not yet, my friend! to-morrow 'faith it may;

And for that very cause I print to-day.

How should I fret to mangle every line,

In reverence to the sins of thirty-nine!
Vice with such giant strides comes on amain,
Invention strives to be before in vain ;
Feign what I will, and paint it e'er so strong,
Some rising genius sins up to my song.

F. Yet none but you by name the guilty lash; E'en Guthrie 2 saves half Newgate by a dash. Spare then the person, and expose the vice.



P. How, Sir! not damn the sharper, but the dice ?
Come on, then, Satire! general, unconfined,
Spread thy broad wing, and souse on all the kind.
Ye statesmen, priests, of one religion all!
Ye tradesmen vile, in army, court, or hall!


Ye reverend atheists. F. Scandal! name them, who?
P. Why that's the thing you bid me not to do.

Who starved a sister, who forswore a debt,

I never named; the town's inquiring yet.


The poisoning dame-F. You mean-P. I don't-F. You do. P. See, now I keep the secret, and not you!

The bribing statesman-F. Hold, too high you go.

P. The bribed elector-F. There you stoop too low. 25 P. I fain would please you, if I knew with what; Tell me, which knave is lawful game, which not? Must great offenders, once escaped the crown, Like royal harts, be never more run down?


1 [Michael Paxton, Solicitor to the Treasury, who died in 1744. years before this, Paxton was examined by the Secret Committee appointed to inquire into the conduct of Walpole, then Lord Orford. In eleven years, according to the Committee's Report, Mr. Paxton received £94,000 unaccounted for. He refused to answer inquiries respecting a sum of £500 given at Lord Limerick's election, and was committed to Newgate, where he remained from April to July.]

2 The ordinary of Newgate, who publishes the Memoirs of the Malefactors, and is often prevailed upon to be so tender of their reputation, as to set dow no more than the initials of their name.

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