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Why pique all mortals, yet affect a name?
Now drinking citron with his grace and Chartres:
See Sin in state, majestically drunk;8
What then? let blood and body bear the fault,
On the soft passion, and the taste refined,
Flavia's a wit, has too much sense to pray;10
8 In the lewd and vicious.
9 In the MS.:
"In whose mad brain the mix'd ideas roll,
Of Tall-boy's breeches, and of Cæsar's soul."
[Tall-boy was a character in a comedy called The Jovial Crew.] 10 Contrarieties in the witty and refined.
Wise wretch! with pleasures too refined to please;
No ass so meek, no ass so obstinate.
Turn then from wits; and look on Simo's mate,
Or her, that owns her faults, but never mends,
Or her, who laughs at hell, but (like her grace) 11
Cries, "Ah! how charming if there's no such place!"
Of mirth and opium, ratifia and tears,
The daily anodyne, and nightly draught,
To kill those foes to fair ones, time and thought.
But what are these to great Atossa's mind ?12
11 [The Duchess of Montagu, Lady Mary Churchill, youngest daughter of the Duke of Marlborough, is said to have been the person here satirized by Pope.]
12 ["Atossa is a name mentioned in Herodotus, and said to be a follower of Sappho. She was daughter of Cyrus, and sister of Cambyses, and married Darius. She is also named in the Persae of Eschylus. She is said to be the first that wrote epistles. See Bentley on Phalaris, p. 385, and Dodwell against Bentley."-WARTON. Pope's Atossa was Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, and the choice of the name was certainly felicitous; for Sarah was a great friend of the poet's Sappho, Lady Mary-was married to a great man -and was a great writer of epistles.]
13 In the MS. were these lines:
Full sixty years the world has been her trade,
So much the fury still outran the wit,
The pleasure miss'd her, and the scandal hit.
Who breaks with her, provokes revenge from hell,
Her every turn with violence pursued,
No more a storm her hate than gratitude:
Love, if it makes her yield, must make her hate:
By spirit robbed of power, by warmth of friends,
Pictures like these, dear Madam, to design,
14 After ver. 148, in the MS. :
"This death decides, not lets the blessing fall
Cursed chance! this only could afflict her more,
"With every pleasing, every prudent part,
As never yet to love, or to be loved.
She, while her lover pants upon her breast,
Observes how much a chintz exceeds mohair!
She e'er should cancel-but she may forget.
Then never break your heart when Chloe dies.
One certain portrait may (I grant) be seen,
Which Heaven has varnish'd out, and made a queen:
The same for ever! and described by all
With truth and goodness, as with crown and ball.
Poets heap virtues, painters gems, at will,
And show their zeal, and hide their want of skill.
'Tis well-but artists! who can paint or write,
To draw the naked is your true delight.
That robe of quality so struts and swells,
If Queensberry to strip there's no compelling, 'Tis from a handmaid we must take a Helen.
15 [Warton says, that Pope, being at dinner one day with Mrs. Howard, afterwards Countess of Suffolk-the Chloe of the poem-heard her order her footman to put her in mind to send to know how Mrs. Blount, who was ill, had passed the night.]
From peer or bishop 'tis no easy thing
To draw the man who loves his God, or king:
But grant, in public, men sometimes are shown, 16
A woman's seen in private life alone:
Our bolder talents in full light display'd;
Your virtues open fairest in the shade.
Bred to disguise, in public 'tis you hide;
There, none distinguish 'twixt your shame or pride,
That each may seem a virtue, or a vice.
In men we various ruling passions find; 17
In women, two almost divide the kind;
Those, only fix'd, they first or last obey,
That, Nature gives; and where the lesson taught 18
Men, some to business, some to pleasure take;
16 After ver. 198, in the MS. :
"Fain I'd in Fulvia spy the tender wife;
I cannot prove it on her for my life:
Thus while immortal Cibber only sings
(As* and H**y preach) for queens and kings,
The nymph that ne'er read Milton's mighty line,
May, if she love, and merit verse, have mine."
[The blanks may be filled up with the names of Clarke and Hoadley, the Queen's favourite divines.]
17 The former part having shown, that the particular characters of women are more various than those of men, it is nevertheless observed, that the general characteristic of the sex, as to the ruling passion, is more uniform. 18 This is occasioned partly by their nature, partly by their education, and in some degree by necessity.
19 [Ayre, in his Memoirs of Pope (1745), says a certain lady "whose name for virtue and rectitude of manners has been too conspicuous not to be seen by everybody," rallied Pope on this depreciatory couplet. The poet