Page images

And swiftly shoot along the Mall,

Or softly glide by the canal,

Now shown by Cynthia's silver ray,

And now on rolling waters snatch'd away.


EST you should think that verse shall die,


Which sounds the silver Thames along,

Taught on the wings of Truth to fly

Above the reach of vulgar song;

Though daring Milton sits sublime,
In Spenser native muses play;
Nor yet shall Waller yield to time,
Nor pensive Cowley's moral lay.

Sages and chiefs long since had birth,
Ere Cæsar was, or Newton named;
These raised new empires o'er the earth;

And those, new heavens and systems framed.

Vain was the chief's, the sage's pride!
They had no poet, and they died.

In vain they schemed, in vain they bled!
They had no poet, and are dead.





[Warburton states that the poet was threatened with a prosecution in the House of Lords for the Epilogue to the Satires. In great resentment, he began a Third Dialogue, more severe and sublime than the first and second," which, becoming known, led to a compromise. The prosecution was dropped, and the poet agreed to leave the Third Dialogue unfinished and suppressed. "This affair," adds Warburton, " occasioned this little beautiful poem, to which it alludes throughout, but more especially in the four last stanzas." Lady Frances Shirley was a daughter of Earl Ferrers, who had at that time a house at Twickenham. She died unmarried in 1762.]



VES, I beheld the Athenian queen
Descend in all her sober charms;
'And take" (she said, and smiled serene),
"Take at this hand celestial arms:

Secure the radiant weapons wield;
This golden lance shall guard desert,
And if a vice dares keep the field,

This steel shall stab it to the heart."

Awed, on my bended knees I fell,

Received the weapons of the sky;
And dipp'd them in the sable well,
The fount of fame or infamy.

"What well? what weapon?" (Flavia cries)
"A standish, steel and golden pen!
It came from Bertrand's, 1 not the skies ;
I gave it you to write again.

1 [Bertrand's was a toy-shop at Bath.]


But, friend, take heed whom you attack;
You'll bring a house (I mean of peers),
Red, blue, and green, nay white and black,
L—— and all about your ears.2

You'd write as smooth again on glass,
And run, on ivory, so glib,
As not to stick at fool or ass,
Nor stop at flattery or fib.

Athenian queen! and sober charms !
I tell ye, fool, there's nothing in't:
'Tis Venus, Venus gives these arms;
In Dryden's Virgil see the print.

Come, if you'll be a quiet soul,

That dares tell neither truth nor lies,

I'll list you in the harmless roll,

Of those that sing of these poor eyes."


2 [Lambeth would seem to be here meant. In the Epilogue to the Satires, Dial. I., ver. 120, Pope had hazarded an allusion to a scandal, that the Archbishop of Canterbury had "pocketed" the will of George I. Walpole, however, states that the Archbishop produced the will, and that George II. carried it off. Pope's frequent satires on the Court prelates must have given great offence, and Lord Hervey alludes to the cabals and combinations of the bishops about this time, to oppose and influence the transactions of Parliament.]

8 [One that sung of Lady Frances Shirley was Chesterfield

"When Fanny, blooming fair,

First met my ravish'd sight,
Struck with her shape and air,

I gazed with strange delight."

Sir Charles Hanbury Williams, in one of his light satires, alludes to the intimacy between Chesterfield and Fanny, and—

"That eternal whisper, which begun

Ten years ago, and never will be done."



[This fragment was first published by Warton, who received it from Dr. Wilson, Fellow and Librarian of Trinity College, Dublin. Dr. Wilson informed Warton that he transcribed it from a rough draft in Pope's own hand, obtained from a grandson of Lord Chetwynd, the friend of Bolingbroke. Mr. Bowles concluded that this poem was the beginning of the satire alluded to by Warburton-the unfinished and suppressed Third Dialogue. The piece has certainly no marks of the sublimity which Warburton mentions, and possesses only one good line, that supposed to allude to Pulteney,

"He foams a patriot to subside a peer."

[ocr errors]

And Pulteney, it should be recollected, was not created a peer until two years after the date prefixed to this poem. The "patriot race were much divided in 1740, and Pope, in his letters, appears to have been very desponding as to the future prospects of his country. Marchmont and Bolingbroke indulged in the same exaggerated strain; yet we cannot believe that the poet would have satirised the friends with whom he was in constant intercourse, or that even the first draft of any of his satires would have been so bald and disjointed as this fragment.]


WRETCHED B-!1 jealous now of all,

What God, what mortal, shall prevent thy fall?
Turn, turn thy eyes from wicked men in place,
And see what succour from the patriot race.

C- -,2 his own proud dupe, thinks monarchs things
Made just for him, as other fools for kings;
Controls, decides, insults thee every hour,
And antedates the hatred due to power.

1 Britain. In the explanatory names here subjoined, we need hardly say that in many instances no certainty can be attained.

2 Mr. Bowles supposed Cobham to be here meant; but Cobham is afterwards alluded to in obvious connection with Gower and Bathurst, and the Lord of Stowe was not important enough to justify this severe censure. Probably Campbell should be the name, meaning John, Duke of Argyll, a conspicuous, proud, and selfish patriot of the day; or Lord Cholmondely, son-inlaw of Sir Robert Walpole, who was Master of the Horse to the Prince of Wales, and afterwards Lord Privy Seal.

Through clouds of passion P--'s3 views are clear, He foams a patriot to subside a peer;


Impatient sees his country bought and sold,

And damns the market where he takes no gold.

Grave, righteous S-- jogs on till, past belief,

He finds himself companion with a thief.

To purge and let thee blood, with fire and sword,


Is all the help stern S- 5 would afford.

That those who bind and rob thee, would not kill,

Good C6 hopes, and candidly sits still.
Of Ch-s W-- 7 who speaks at all,

No more than of Sir Harry or Sir P――? 9


Whose names once up, they thought it was not wrong
To lie in bed, but sure they lay too long.

G- -r,10 C

-m,11 B-t,12 pay thee due regards, Unless the ladies bid them mind their cards.

with wit that must

And C -d,13 who speaks so well and writes,
Whom (saving W.) every S. harper bites.

must needs

Whose wit and

equally provoke one,

Finds thee, at best, the butt to crack his joke on.


3 Pulteney, created Earl of Bath in June, 1742. His political versatility,

and his personal avarice, are both touched upon in this passage.

4 Sandys. Afterwards Lord Sandys, and Speaker of the House of Lords. "Honest Will Shippen," the Jacobite member of the House

5 Shippen. of Commons.

6 Cornbury. Viscount Cornbury, son of the second Lord Clarendon, eulogised by Pope in his Imitations of Horace, ver. 1, ep. VI.

7 Charles Williams. Sir Charles Hanbury Williams, the lively political rhymester and diplomatist, who was then M.P. for Monmouth, is supposed by Mr. Bowles to be here meant; but Williams was a friend of Walpole, and was selected by Sir Robert as Envoy to Naples, in 1737. For this reason, and as the line, with Williams's name, is defective, perhaps two names were intended-as Chetwynd and Winchelsea. Errors may have been made in copying the rough draft of the poem.

89 Sir Henry Oxenden and Sir Paul Methuen. Sir Paul had been Treasurer of the Household, which office he resigned in disgust, at not being made one of the Secretaries of State, in 1729.

10 11 12 Lords Gower, Cobham, and Bathurst.

13 Philip, Lord Chesterfield. The "W." in the next line is perhaps intended for Walter, the notorious Peter Walter, who bit Lord Rivers, and many other noblemen.

« PreviousContinue »