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A FRAGMENT OF A POEM.
[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."
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.]
1 jealous now of all,
What God, what mortal, shall prevent thy fall?
C———,2 his own proud dupe, thinks monarchs things
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,
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,
That those who bind and rob thee, would not kill,
No more than of Sir Harry8 or Sir P
Whose names once up, they thought it was not wrong
Gr,10 Cm,11 B-t,12 pay thee due regards,
with wit that must
And C -d,13 who speaks so well and writes,
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.
5 Shippen. "Honest Will Shippen," the Jacobite member of the House of Commons.
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.
8 9 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.
18 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.
As for the rest, each winter up they run,
Utter'd a speech, and ask'd their friends to dine ;
Yearly defeated, yearly hopes they give,
Though still he travels on no bad pretence,
Or those foul copies of thy face and tongue,
Sagacious Bub,21 so late a friend, and there
So late a foe, yet more sagacious H-? 22
14 Carteret, afterwards Earl Granville. At this time, Lord Carteret and Pulteney were much distrusted by the other “patriots."
16 Sir Robert Walpole.
18 Horace Walpole, the brother of Sir Robert. He had been Secretary to Earl Stanhope, in Spain, Secretary to the Treasury, and Ambassador in Holland and France, &c.
19 Winnington. He was successively Lord of the Admiralty, Lord of the Treasury, and Paymaster of the Forces. Though an inconsistent politician, he is represented as having been one of the most amiable of men.
20 Sir William Yonge (for so he spelt the name), Secretary at War.
21 Bub Dodington, Lord Melcombe.
22 Francis Hare, Bishop of Chichester, who died in the year assigned to this fragment, 1740.
Hervey and Hervey's school, F, H—y, H▬▬n,23
N- -,27 laugh, or D——'s 28 sager,
Or thy dread truncheon, M.'s mighty peer ?29
What help from J's 30 opiates canst thou draw,
Who hears all causes, B-,33 but thy own,
Or those proud fools whom nature, rank, and fate
Can the light packhorse, or the heavy steer,
The sowzing prelate, or the sweating peer,
The plague is on thee, Britain, and who tries
23 Fox, Henley, Hinton.
24 The Archbishop of York, and Bishop of Winchester; Blackburn and Hoadley.
25 26 Arthur Onslow, Speaker of the House of Commons, and Lord Delaware, Chairman of Committees in the House of Lords.
27 Duke of Newcastle.
28 Lionel, first Duke of Dorset. He had been Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and conciliated the favour and regard of Swift. Read Dorset's sager sneer. 29 Duke of Marlborough. A sarcastic allusion to the second Duke, formerly Lord Sunderland.
30 Probably Sir Joseph Jekyll, though Jekyll died in 1738.
31 Lord Chancellor Hardwicke, elevated to the woolsack in 1734.
32 Sir John Cummins, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas; or Compton, Lord Wilmington, President of the Council. Compton died in 1743, and Pope wrote to Lord Marchmont, strongly condemning the useless life of the deceased nobleman. "Three hundred thousand pounds, the sum total of his life, without one worthy deed, public or private! His titles only must be his epitaph; and there can be nothing on his monument remarkable, except his nose, which, I hope, the statuary will do justice to." Lord Hervey also alludes to Compton's prominent feature, calling him "Privy Nosy."
The first firm P——y,34 soon resign'd his breath.
Blotch thee all o'er, and sink . . .
Alas! on one alone our all relies,3
Nor like his . . . . . . . still a . . . .
Be but a man! unminister'd, alone,
And free at once the senate and the throne ;
Affect no conquest, but endure no wrong.
His public virtue makes his title good.
35 Lord Scarborough. Pope generally spelt Scarborough and Peterborough with a w, instead of ugh.
36 The Earl of Marchmont, who died in January, 1740, when his son, Hugh, Lord Polwarth, succeeded to the earldom.
37 Sir William Wyndham died in June, 1740.
38 Thy nobles slaves, thy senates bought, &c.
39 The one on whom all relied was probably Frederick, Prince of Wales; with whom Pope was then on terms of intimacy. If the poem is of Jacobite origin, the Chevalier St. George, the Pretender, must have been meant. Mr. Bowles restores the passage as follows:
"Alas! on one alone our all relies,
Let him be honest, and he must be wise;
And free at once the Senate and the Throne."