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He, who still wanting, though he lives on theft,
Steals much, spends little, yet has nothing left:
And he, who now to sense, now nonsense leaning,
Means not, but blunders round about a meaning:
And he, whose fustian's so sublimely bad,
It is not poetry, but prose run mad:


All these, my modest satire bade translate,
And own'd that nine such poets made a Tate, 25
How did they fume, and stamp, and roar, and chafe!
And swear, not Addison himself was safe.


Peace to all such! but were there one whose fires
True genius kindles, and fair fame inspires ;
Blest with each talent, and each art to please,
And born to write, converse, and live with ease:
Should such a man, too fond to rule alone,
Bear, like the Turk, no brother near the throne,
View him with scornful, yet with jealous eyes,
And hate for arts that caused himself to rise;
Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer,
And, without sneering, teach the rest to sneer;
Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike,
Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike;
Alike reserved to blame, or to commend,
A timorous foe, and a suspicious friend;
Dreading e'en fools, by flatterers besieged,
And so obliging, that he ne'er obliged;
Like Cato, give his little senate laws,
And sit attentive to his own applause;
While wits and Templars every sentence raise,





And wonder with a foolish face of praise-
Who but must laugh, if such a man there be?
Who would not weep, if Atticus were he! 26

25 See their works, in the translations of classical books by several hands. 26 It was a great falsehood, which some of the libels reported, that this character was written after the gentleman's death: which see refuted in the Testimonies prefixed to the Dunciad. But the occasion of writing it was such as he would not make public out of regard to his memory; and all that could further be done was to omit the name, in the edition of his works [Pope first published this celebrated Satire in the Miscellanies, 1727. But it had been published by Mr. Jeremiah Markland in 1723, in a pamphlet entitled 'Cytherea;" and afterwards by Curll. See also Life of Pope in this edition, Vol. I, p. 101.]


What though my name stood rubric on the walls, 215 Or plaster'd posts, with claps, in capitals? Or smoking forth, a hundred hawkers load,

On wings of winds came flying all abroad? 27

I sought no homage from the race that write;

I kept, like Asian monarchs, from their sight:
Poems I heeded (now berhym'd so long)

No more than thou, great George! a birthday song.

I ne'er with wits or witlings pass'd my days,

To spread about the itch of verse and praise;
Nor like a puppy, daggled through the town,
To fetch and carry, sing-song up and down;
Nor at rehearsals sweat, and mouth'd, and cried,
With handkerchief and orange at my side;



On the line, "Who would not weep if Atticus were he?" Warburton has the following note, dictated, no doubt, by Pope :-"But when we come to know it belongs to Atticus-i. e. to one whose more obvious qualities had before engaged our love or esteem, then friendship, in spite of ridicule, will make a separation: our old impressions will get the better of our new; or at least suffer themselves to be no farther impaired than by the admission of a mixture of pity and concern."

It appears from a letter of Atterbury's that copies of the verses were circulated before February, 1721-2. "No small piece of your writing," he says, "has been ever sought after so much it has pleased every man without exception to whom it has been read." Pope added a note to this passage in the correspondence, stating that" an imperfect copy had got out, very much to the author's surprise, who never would give any." Even Spence doubts this. Most of the sentiments and imagery in the satire are contained in a letter to Craggs, July 15, 1715. "I translated Homer for the public in general; he (Tickell) to gratify the inordinate desires of one man only. We have, it seems, a great Turk in poetry, who can never bear a brother on the throne; and he has his mutes, too, a set of nodders, winkers, and whisperers, whose business is to strangle all other offsprings of wit in their birth. The new translator of Homer is the humblest slave he has, that is to say, his first minister; let him receive the honours he gives me, but receive them with fear and trembling; let him be proud of the approbation of his absolute lord, I appeal to the people as my rightful judges and masters; and if they are not inclined to condemn me, I fear no arbitrary, high-flying proceeding from the small Court-faction at Button's. But after all I have said of this great man, there is no rupture between us. We are each of us so civil and obliging, that neither thinks he is obliged: and I, for my part, treat with him as we do with the Grand Monarch, who has too many good qualities not to be respected, though we know he watches any occasion to oppress us." With respect to the merits of this memorable quarrel, we have spoken in the sketch of Pope's life.] 27 Hopkins in the 104th Psalm.

But sick of fops, and poetry, and prate,
To Bufo left the whole Castalian state.


Proud as Apollo on his forked hill,
Sate full-blown Bufo, puff'd by every quill; 28
Fed with soft dedication all day long,
Horace and he went hand in hand in song. 2
His library (where busts of poets dead
And a true Pindar stood without a head) 30
Received of wits an undistinguish'd race,

Who first his judgment asked, and then a place:

Much they extoll'd his pictures, much his seat,
And flatter'd every day, and some days eat :
Till grown more frugal in his riper days,

He paid some bards with port, and some with praise,
To some a dry rehearsal was assign'd,
And others (harder still) he paid in kind.




Dryden alone (what wonder?) came not nigh,
Dryden alone escaped this judging eye:


But still the great have kindness in reserve,
He help'd to bury whom he help'd to starve. 31
May some choice patron bless each grey goose quill!

May every Bavius have his Bufo still!

So when a statesman wants a day's defence, 32
Or Envy holds a whole week's war with Sense,

28 [The Earl of Halifax. See Note at the end of the Epistle.] 29 After ver. 234, in the MS.

"To bards reciting he vouchsafed a nod,

And snuff"'d their incense like a gracious god."


30 Ridicules the affectation of antiquaries, who frequently exhibit the headless trunks and terms of statues, for Plato, Homer, Pindar, &c. Vide Fulv. Ursin, &c.

31 Mr. Dryden, after having lived in exigencies, had a magnificent funeral bestowed upon him by the contribution of several persons of quality.

32 [Warburton remarks-" Notwithstanding this ridicule on the public necessities of the great, our Poet was candid enough to confess that they are not always to be imputed to them, as their private may. For (when uninfected by the neighbourhood of Party) he speaks of those distresses much more dispassionately.

'Our Ministers like gladiators live,

'Tis half their bus'ness blows to ward, or give;

The good their virtue would effect, or sense,

Dies between exigents and self-defence.'-MS."]

Or simple pride for flattery makes demands,

May dunce by dunce be whistled off my hands!
Bless'd be the great! for those they take away,
And those they left me-for they left me GAY;
Left me to see neglected Genius bloom,
Neglected die, and tell it on his tomb:

Of all thy blameless life the sole return


My verse, and QUEENSBERRY weeping o'er thy urn!
Oh let me live my own, and die so too!


(To live and die is all I have to do :)

Maintain a poet's dignity and ease,

And see what friends, and read what books I please:

Above a patron, though I condescend


Sometimes to call a minister my friend.

I was not born for courts or great affairs:

pay my debts, believe, and say my prayers; Can sleep without a poem in my head,

Nor know if Dennis be alive or dead. 33


Why am I ask'd what next shall see the light?

Heavens! was I born for nothing but to write ?
Has life no joys for me? or (to be grave)
Have I no friend to serve, no soul to save ?

"I found him close with Swift-Indeed? no doubt


(Cries prating Balbus) something will come out." 'Tis all in vain, deny it as I will:

"No, such a genius never can lie still;" And then for mine obligingly mistakes

The first lampoon Sir Will or Bubo makes.34


33 After ver. 270 in the MS.,

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Friendships from youth I sought, and seek them still:
Fame, like the wind, may breathe where'er it will.
The world I knew, but made it not my school,

And in a course of flattery lived no fool."

34 [Sir William Yonge, Secretary-at-War. He had been in Parliament from 1722, and filled various offices. Sir Robert Walpole used to say that nothing short of Yonge's talents could have supported his character, and nothing but his character could have kept down his talents. Horace Walpole remarks that his eloquence seemed to come upon him by inspiration, for he could scarce talk common sense in private on political subjects, on which in public he would be the most animated speaker. Yonge ventured also on poetical epistles, but was less successful than in prose. He died at his seat at Escott, near Honiton, in 1755. Bubo was Bubb Dodington, afterwards Lord Melcombe. See Notes to Moral Essays, Ep. IV.]

Poor guiltless I! and can I choose but smile,
When every coxcomb knows me by my style ? 35

Cursed be the verse, how well soe'er it flow,
That tends to make one worthy man my foe,
Give Virtue scandal, Innocence a fear,


Or from the soft-eyed virgin steal a tear!

But he who hurts a harmless neighbour's peace,
Insults fall'n worth, or beauty in distress,
Who loves a lie, lame slander helps about,
Who writes a libel, or who copies out;


That fop, whose pride affects a patron's name,
Yet absent, wounds an author's honest fame;
Who can your merit selfishly approve,
And show the sense of it without the love;
Who has the vanity to call you friend,
Yet wants the honour, injured, to defend;
Who tells whate'er you think, whate'er you say,
And if he lie not, must at least betray;
Who to the dean and silver bell can swear,


And sees at Canons what was never there; 36
Who reads, but with a lust to misapply,
Make satire a lampoon, and fiction lie;

A lash like mine no honest man shall dread,


But all such babbling blockheads in his stead.

Let Sporus tremble 37-A. What? that thing of silk, 305 Sporus, that mere white curd of ass's milk?

35 After ver. 282 in the MS.,

"P. What if I sing, Augustus, great and good?
A. You did so lately, was it understood?

Be nice no more, but, with a mouth profound,
As rumbling D-s [Dennis] or a Norfolk hound;
With George and Frederick roughen every verse,
Then smooth up all, and Caroline rehearse.
P. No-The high task to lift up kings to gods,
Leave to Court sermons, and to birth-day odes.
On themes like these, superior far to thine,
Let laurell'd Cibber, and great Arnal shine.
Why write at all?-A. Yes, silence if you keep,
The Town, the Court, the Wits, the Dunces weep."

36 Meaning the man who would have persuaded the Duke of Chandos that Mr. P. meant him in those circumstances ridiculed in the Epistle on Taste. 37 [Lord Hervey. See Note. In the first edition the name was "Paris."]

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