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Satire or sense, alas! can Sporus feel,
In mumbling of the gaine they dare not bite.
As shallow streams run dimpling all the way.
And, as the prompter breathes, the puppet squeaks;
Or spite, or smut, or rhymes, or blasphemies. 39
38 See Milton, Book iv.
"" Did ever smock-face act so vile a part
A trifling head, and a corrupted heart.
Eve's tempter thus the Rabbins have express'd,
A cherub's face, a reptile all the rest.
interesting to note the care with which Pope elaborated his highcoloured and vehement satires. In the first edition were the following
That not in Fancy's maze he wander'd long, 40
The whisper, that to greatness still too near,
A. But why insult the poor, affront the great? P. A knave's a knave, to me, in every state;
40 [In first edit.,—
"In Fancy's maze that wandering not too long."] 41 [In first edit.,
"The tales of vengeance, lies so oft o'erthrown,
The "blow unfelt" most probably alludes to the pretended whipping of Pope in Ham Walks, a piece of malicious mirth, which was ascribed to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. See Life of Pope.]
42 As, that he received subscriptions for Shakspeare, that he set his name to Mr. Broome's verses, &c., which, though publicly disproved, were, nevertheless, shamelessly repeated in the libels, and even in that called the Nobleman's Epistle.
43 Such as profane psalms, Court-poems, and other scandalous things, printed in his name by Curll and others.
44 Namely, on the Duke of Buckingham, the Earl of Burlington, Lord Bathurst, Lord Bolingbroke, Bishop Atterbury, Dr. Swift, Dr. Arbuthnot, Mr. Gay, his friends, his parents, and his very nurse, aspersed in printed papers, by James Moore, G. Duckett, L. Welsted, Tho. Bentley, and other obscure persons.
Alike my scorn, if he succeed or fail,
Yet soft by nature, more a dupe than wit, Sappho can tell you how this man was bit: This dreaded satirist Dennis will confess
Foe to his pride, but friend to his distress:
He lash'd him not, but let her be his wife:
"Once, and but once, his heedless youth was bit,
Great odds in amorous or poetic game,
Where woman's is the sin, and man's the shame."
45 [Japhet Crook. See Moral Essays, Ep. III. The comparison must have been "odorous" to Lord Fanny.]
46 In the MS.,
["My Lady," of course, was Lady Mary.]
47 [See "Testimonies of Authors" prefixed to the Dunciad. Pope had given James Moore Smythe some lines, with leave to insert them in his comedy, the Rival Modes. At the same time, he told him they would be known for his (Mr. Pope's), some copies being got abroad. The verses now form part of the Moral Essays, Ep. II., ver. 243 to 249, the first line being originally,— "See how the world its pretty slaves rewards!"]
48 It was so long after many libels before the author of the Dunciad published that poem, till when he never writ a word in answer to the many scurrilities and falsehoods concerning him.
[This must not be taken literally. The Miscellanies of Pope and Swift had been published before the Dunciad.]
49 This man had the impudence to tell, in print, that Mr. P. had occasioned a lady's death, and to name a person he never heard of. He also published that he libelled the Duke of Chandos; with whom, it was added, that he had lived in familiarity, and received from him a present of five hundred pounds-the falsehood of both which is known to his Grace. Mr. P. never received any present, further than the subscriptions for Homer, from him, or from any great man whatsoever.
Let Budgell charge low Grub-street on his quill,50
50 Budgell, in a weekly pamphlet called the Bee, bestowed much abuse on him, in the imagination that he writ some things about the Last Will of Dr. Tindal, in the Grub-street Journal; a paper wherein he never had the least hand, direction, or supervisal, nor the least knowledge of its author.
51 Alluding to Tindal's will, by which, and other indirect practices, Budgell, to the exclusion of the next heir, a nephew, got to himself almost the whole fortune of a man entirely unrelated to him.
[There seems little doubt that Budgell forged the will, but he did not get the money, as the will was set aside.]
52 In some of Curll's and other pamphlets, Mr. Pope's father was said to be a mechanic, a hatter, a farmer, nay a bankrupt. But, what is stranger, & nobleman [Lord Hervey] (if such a reflection could be thought to come from a nobleman), had dropped an allusion to that pitiful untruth, in a paper called an Epistle to a Doctor of Divinity: and the following line,
"Hard as thy heart, and as thy birth obscure,"
had fallen from a like courtly pen, in certain verses to the Imitator of Horace. Mr. Pope's father was of a gentleman's family in Oxfordshire, the head of which was the Earl of Downe, whose sole heiress married the Earl of Lindsey. His mother was the daughter of William Turner, Esq., of York. She had three brothers, one of whom was killed, another died in the service of King Charles; the eldest following his fortunes, and becoming a general officer in Spain, left her what estate remained after the sequestrations and forfeitures of her family.-Mr. Pope died in 1717, aged 75: she in 1733, aged 93, a very few weeks after this poem was finished. The following inscription was placed by their son on their monument in the parish of Twickenham, in Middlesex.
D. O. M.
ALEXANDRO. POPE. VIRO. INNOCVO. PROBO. PIO.
Of gentle blood (part shed in honour's cause, While yet in Britain honour had applause) Each parent sprung-A. What fortune, pray ?-P. Their own, And better got, than Bestia's from the throne. Born to no pride, inheriting no strife, Nor marrying discord in a noble wife,53 Stranger to civil and religious rage,
The good man walk'd innoxious through his age.
Who sprung from kings shall know less joy than I.54
Me, let the tender office long engage,
And just as rich as when he served a queen."
58 [Alluding to Addison's marriage with the Countess of Warwick, and Dryden's with Lady Elizabeth Howard. Neither of these connexions is said to have been happy, but in the case of Addison there is no distinct authentic information.]
54 After ver. 405, in the MS.,
"And of myself, too, something must I
And friend to learning, yet too wise to write."
56 [On the death of Queen Anne, Arbuthnot, like the attendants at the Court, was displaced, and had to leave his apartments at St. James's. He