« PreviousContinue »
Enough for half the greatest of these days,
120 O let my country's friends illumine mine!
- What are you thinking? F. Faith the thought's no sin : I think your friends are out, and would be in.
P. If merely to come in, sir, they go out, The way they take is strangely round about.
125 F. They, too, may be corrupted, you 'll allow ?
P. I only call those knaves who are so now.
135 But pray, when others praise him, do I blame ? Call Verres, Wolsey, any odious name? Why rail they then, if but a wreath of mine, Oh all accomplished St. John! deck thy shrine ?
What! shall each spur-galled hackney of the day, 140 When Paxton gives him double pots and pay,
20 Look for him in his place. Dunc. B. ii. ver. 315.
21 The Hun. Hugh Hume, son of Alexander, Earl of Marchmont, grandson of Patrick, Earl of Marchmont, and distinguished, like them, in the cause of liberty.
[He became Earl of Marchmont in 1740, and died in January, 1794, aged eighty-six.]
22 [An ironical allusion to Walpole's carelessness and unconcern as a husband. His maxim was "to go his own way, and let madam go hers.” Horace Walpole was commonly believed to be the son, not of his putative father, but of Carr, Lord Hervey, an elder brother of Lord Funny.]
Or each new-pension'd sycophant, pretend
150 To see a footman kick'd that took his pay; But when he heard the affront the fellow gave, Knew one a man of honour, one a knave; The prudent general turn'd it to a jest, And begg'd, he'd take the pains to kick the rest : 155 Which not at present having time to do
F. Hold, Sir! for God's sake, where's the affront to you? Against your worship when had s--k writ ? Or P-ge pour'd forth the torrent of his wit ? 24 Or grant the bard whose distich all commend
160 [“In power a servant, out of power a friend,”] 25 To W- -le guilty of some venial sin; What's that to you who ne'er was out nor in ?
The priest whose flattery bedropp'd the Crown,26 How hurt he you? he only stain’d the gown.
165 And how did, pray, the florid youth offend, Whose speech you took, and gave it to a friend ?
P. Faith, it imports not much from whom it came;
170 Let courtly wits to wits afford supply, As hog to hog in huts of Westphaly : 23 [The poet's windows were actually broken one day when he had Boling. broke and Bathurst at dinner with him. This shows that the Opposition could not have been very popular.]
24 [Lord Selkirk and Judge Page. The latter was an orator in the style of Judge Jeffreys. See Notes to Dunciad.]
25 A verse taken out of a poem to Sir R. W.
[The poem was written by Bubb Dodington, Lord Melcombe; and having done duty to one premier, was afterwards addressed to another, Lord Bute.]
26 Spoken not of any particular priest, but of many priests.
[But glancing at Dr. Alured Clarke's panegyric on Queen Caroline as the "forid youth " means Lord Hervey.]
If one, through Nature's bounty or his Lord's,
180 F. This filthy simile, this beastly line, Quite turns my stomach--P. So does flattery mine: And all your courtly civet-cats can vent, Perfume to you, to me is excrement. But hear me further :-Japhet, 'tis agreed
185 Writ not, and Chartres scarce could write or read, 27 In all the courts of Pindus guiltless quite; But pens can forge, my friend, that cannot write: And must no egg in Japhet's face be thrown, Because the deed he forged was not my own ?
190 Must never patriot then declaim at gin, Unless, good man! he has been fairly in ? No zealous pastor blame a failing spouse, Without a staring reason on his brows? And each blasphemer quite escape the rod,
195 Because the insult 's not on man, but God ?
what provocation I have had ?
F. You're strangely proud. P. So proud, I am no slave : 205 So impudent, I own myself no knave: So odd, my country's ruin makes me grave. Yes, I am proud ; I must be proud to see Men not afraid of God, afraid of me:
27 In the MS.
I grant it, Sir; and further, 'tis agreed,
Japhet writ not, and Chartres scarce could read.” 28 From Terence: “Homu sum: humani nihil a me alienum puto.”
Safe from the bar, the pulpit, and the throne,
O sacred weapon ! left for Truth's defence,
When black Ambition stains a public cause, 31
29 Weak and slight sophistry against virtue and honour. Thin colours over vice as unable to hide the light of truth, as cobwebs to shade the sun. 30 After ver. 227, in the MS.
“Where 's now the star that lighted Charles to rise ?
-With that which follow'd Julius to the skies.
Britain's to France, and thine to India, Spain !" [“Luckless Sorel” was the horse that fell with William III. The monarch died soon afterwards, March 8, 1702.]
31 The case of Cromwell in the civil war of England; and (ver. 229) of Louis XIV. in his conquest of the Low Countries.
32 (Waller's poem on Cromwell is one of the finest of his productions. He is said to have apologised to Charles II. for it, by saying that poets dealt better with fiction than with truth—a happy after-thought, but not so true as the poem.]
33 See his Ode on Namur; where (to use his own words) "il a fait un
Not so, when, diadem'd with rays divine,
35 And may descend to Mordington 36 from Stair ;37
astre de la plume blanche que le Roy porte ordinairement à son chapeau, et qui est en effet une espèce de comete, fatale à nos ennemis."
34 The chief Herald-at-Arms. It is the custom, at the funeral of great peers, to cast into the grave the broken staves and ensigns of honour. [John Anstis, the principal Garter King-at-Arms, died in 1744, and was succeeded in his heraidic office by his son.]
85 [Lord Marchmont put opposite these blanks the names of " George and “Frederick,” meaning the King and Prince of Wales. Warton con. jectured that the Dukes of Kent and Grafton were the persons satirised; but Lord Marchmont's intimacy with Pope gives authority to his emendation. The force of the contrast in the poem is also heightened by the introduction of royalty.]
36 [Lord Mordington, a Scotch nobleman, who is said to have sunk so low from the blood of the Douglases, as to have kept a gaming-house in Coventgarden! He died 10th June, 1741. This degenerate peer had a son, brought up to the naval profession, who, having no property, never assumed the title, till tried in Carlisle for joining in the rebellion of 1745. He then pleaded his peerage as Lord Mordington, and, proving his descent, his trial was put off. He was eventually pardoned. The title died with this gentleman's daughter, in 1791.]
37 John Dalrymple, Earl of Stair, Knight of the Thistle, served in all the wars under the Duke of Marlborough, and afterwards as Ambassador in France.
[Lord Stair was another of the Walpole victims, but, on the fall of that minister, he regained his military employments. He was engaged at the battle of Dettingen, and also in the suppression of the rebellion of 1745. He died in 1747. His Lordship was married to Lady Eleanor Campbell, widow of Viscount Primrose; and Mr. Chambers, in his Traditions of Edinburgh, relates a curious story of the marriage. The lady at first rejected his addresses, but by dint of bribes to her domestics, Lord Stair got himself insinuated over-night into a small room in her ladyship’s house, where she used to say her prayers every morning, and the window of which looked upon the principal street of the city of Edinburgh. At this window, when the morning was a little advanced, he showed himself en deshabille, to the people passing along the street; an exhibition which threatened to have such an effect upon her ladyship's reputation, that she saw fit to accept of bim for her husband.]