Page images

but their duration-how long he thought it was possible for all this to last? to which he answered, 'Je crois que votre Majesté sera bientôt soulagée.' And she calmly replied, ' Tant mieux.' About ten o'clock on Sunday night, the King being in bed and asleep, on the floor, at the foot of the Queen's bed, and the Princess Emily in a couch bed in a corner of the room, the Queen began to rattle in the throat; and Mrs. Purcel giving the alarm that she was expiring, all in the room started up. Princess Caroline was sent for, and Lord Hervey, but before the last arrived the Queen was just dead. All she said before she died was, 'I have now got an asthma; open the window.' Then she said, 'Pray,' upon which the Princess Emily began to read some prayers, of which she scarce repeated ten words before the Queen expired. The Princess Caroline held a looking-glass to her lips, and finding there was not the least damp upon it, cried, "'Tis over.'

[ocr errors]

George did not marry again, but contented himself with "des maîtresses." He survived nearly twenty-three years, dying suddenly on the 25th of October, 1760. He directed that his remains and those of the Queen should be mingled together, and accordingly one side of each of the wooden coffins was withdrawn and the two bodies placed together in a stone sarcophagus.





"TIS true, my Lord, I gave my word,
I would be with you, June the third;
Changed it to August, and (in short)
Have kept it as you do at court.
You humour me when I am sick,
Why not when I am splenetic ?
In town, what objects could I meet?
The shops shut up in every street,
And funerals black'ning all the doors,
And yet more melancholy whores :
And what a dust in every place!

And a thin court that wants your face,
And fevers raging up and down,
And W* and H** both in town!


"The dog-days are no more the case."


'Tis true, but winter comes apace: Then southward let your bard retire,

Hold out some months 'twixt sun and fire,

And you shall see, the first warm weather,
Me and the butterflies together.


[blocks in formation]

"Pray take them, sir,-enough's a feast:


Eat some, and pocket up the rest."

What, rob your boys? those pretty rogues!
"No, sir, you'll leave them to the hogs."
Thus fools with compliments besiege ye,
Contriving never to oblige ye.


Scatter your favours on a fop,
Ingratitude 's the certain crop;

And 'tis but just, I'll tell ye wherefore,
You give the things you never care for.
A wise man always is, or should
Be mighty ready to do good;
But makes a difference in his thought
Betwixt a guinea and a groat.

Now this I'll say, you'll find in me
A safe companion, and a free;
But if you'd have me always near-
A word, pray, in your honour's ear.
I hope it is your resolution
To give me back my constitution!
The sprightly wit, the lively eye,
The engaging smile, the gaiety,


That laugh'd down many a summer-sun,
And kept you up so oft till one :

And all that voluntary vein,

As when Belinda raised my strain.1



1 [This is an agreeable touch of egotism. The lively eye Pope certainly possessed; and his early gaiety of spirits must have been heightened by the voluntary vein" of the Rape of the Lock, which established his reputation, and by the success of his Homer, which rendered him independent in his circumstances. Mr. Bowles has an interesting note, comparing the succession of Pope's original productions with the progress of his mind and character. "In his earliest effusion-the' Ode on Solitude'-all is rural quiet, innocence, content, &c. We next see in his Pastorals the golden age of happiness while the

'Shepherd lad leads forth his flock

Beside the silver Thame.'

'His next step, Windsor Forest, exhibits the same rural turn, but with views more diversified and extended, and approaching more to the real history and concerns of life. The warm passions of youth succeed, and we are interested in the fate of the tender Sappho, or the ardent and unfortunate Eloise. As the world opens, local manners are displayed. In the Rape of the Lock we see the first playful effort of satire, without ill nature, at once gay, elegant and delightful:

'Belinda smiles, and all the world is gay.'

"The man of severer thought now appears in the Essay on Man. The same vein shows itself in the Moral Essays; but the investigation is directed to individual failings, and mingled with spleen and anger. In the later satires we witness the language of acrimony and bitterness. The Dunciad closes

[blocks in formation]

A weasel once made shift to slink
In at a corn-loft through a chink;
But having amply stuff'd his skin,
Could not get out as he got in:
Which one belonging to the house
('Twas not a man, it was a mouse)
Observing, cried, "You 'scape not so,
Lean as you came, sir, you must go."

Sir, you may spare your application,
I'm no such beast, nor his relation;
Nor one that temperance advance,
Cramm'd to the throat with ortolans:
Extremely ready to resign

All that may make me none of mine.
South Sea subscriptions take who please,
Leave me but liberty and ease.




"Twas what I said to Craggs and Child,2

Who praised my modesty, and smiled.
Give me, I cried, (enough for me),
My bread, and independency!
So bought an annual rent or two,
And lived-just as you see I do;
Near fifty, and without a wife,
I trust that sinking fund, my life.
Can I retrench? Yes, mighty well,
Shrink back to my paternal cell,
A little house, with trees a-row,
And, like its master, very low.
There died my father, no man's debtor,

And there I'll die, nor worse nor better.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

the prospect, and we there behold the aged bard amid a swarm of enemies, who began his career all innocence, happiness, and smiles." The ingenious and poetical commentator omitted the reasoning and reflective vein, not un mingled with satire, which Pope had displayed in the Essay on Criticism, before he painted the charms of Belinda.]

2 [Craggs the younger, and Sir Francis Child, the eminent banker, and M.P. for Middlesex, who died in 1740. Warburton says that Mr. Craggs gave the poet some South Sea subscriptions, but he was so indifferent about them as to neglect making any benefit of them. "He used to say it was a satisfaction to him that he did not grow rich, as he might have done, by the public calamity." In fact, Pope, like Gay, lost by his South Sea speculations, but it is not stated to what extent. He says in one of his letters, that, after the failure of the scheme, he was left with half of what he imagined he had.]

To set this matter full before ye,

[ocr errors]

Our old friend Swift will tell his story.
Harley, the nation's great support,”-
But you may read it, I stop short.



[blocks in formation]

I can't but think 'twould sound more clever,

To me and to my heirs for ever.

If I ne'er got or lost a groat,

By any trick, or any fault;
And if I pray by reason's rules,
And not like forty other fools:

As thus, "Vouchsafe, O gracious Maker!
To grant me this and t' other acre:
Or, if it be thy will and pleasure,
Direct my plough to find a treasure:"
But only what my station fits,
And to be kept in my right wits.
Preserve, Almighty Providence!
Just what you gave me, competence:
And let me in these shades compose
Something in verse as true as prose:
Removed from all the ambitious scene,
Nor puff'd by pride, nor sunk by spleen.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »