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From his deep fund our Author largely draws;
HEN learning, after the long Gothic night,
Fair o'er the western world, renew'd its light,
With her the Italian scene first learn'd to glow,
What foreign theatres with pride have shown,
The heroine rise to grace the British scene:
PROLOGUE TO THOMSON'S SOPHONISBA.
[Dr. Johnson, in his Life of Pope, says, "I have been told by Savage, that of the Prologue to Sophonisba, the first part was written by Pope, who could not be persuaded to finish it, and that the concluding lines were added by Mallet "]:
To-night our homespun author would be true
Whose force alone can raise or melt the heart,
USE, 'tis enough: at length thy labour ends,
OCCASIONED BY SOME VERSES OF HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM.
[The lines by Buckingham compliment Pope on his Iliad, and also on his worth as a companion and friend. For a notice of Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, by Pope, see Essay on Criticism, vol. ii. p. 214. This nobleman lived in great state in Buckingham House, St. James's Park. He built the mansion in 1703, and in a letter to the Duke of Shrewsbury describes minutely its fine gardens, noble terrace, park, and canal, with its magnificent apartments, pictures, sculpture, and other decorations. He dwells with pleasure on the avenues to the house along St. James's Park, “through rows of goodly elms on one hand, and gay flourishing limes on the other;" and on his book-closet at the end of the green-house, under the windows of which was a little wilderness, full of blackbirds and nightingales. Pope said the stately mansion was a country house in the summer, and a town house in the winter. Buckingham House, it is well known, was purchased by George
So some coarse country wench, almost decay'd, 15
Thought wondrous honest, though of mean degree,
And in four months a batter'd harridan.
Now nothing left, but wither'd, pale, and shrunk,
[When first published in the Miscellanies the piece had the following note attached :-"He requested, by public advertisements, the aid of the ingenious to make up a Miscellany in 1713." Ambrose Philips seems to be the person satirized. On the accession of George I., when the Whigs obtained power, Philips was put into the commission of the peace, and appointed a Commissioner of the Lottery. He afterwards went to Ireland with Dr. Boulter, Primate of Ireland, and was made Registrar of the Prerogative Court at Dublin. The "borrowed play" was the "Distrest Mother," from Racine, which was highly successful. The allusion to "simplicity" is no doubt intended to refer to Philips's Pastorals, and that to the "translated suit" to his Persian Tales, translated for Tonson. The next piece, "Umbra," refers also to Philips, or to James Moore Smythe, the "phantom Moore" of the Dunciad. As Philips was a regular frequenter of Button's Coffee-house, and intimate with Steele, Addison, Tickell, &c., he was most likely the party.]
CLOSE to the best-known author Umbra sits,
The constant index to old Button's wits.
But cries as soon, "Dear Dick, I must be gone,
Says Addison to Steele,
OR A PROPER NEW BALLAD ON THE NEW OVID'S METAMORPHOSIS: AS IT WAS INTENDED TO BE TRANSLATED BY PERSONS OF QUALITY.
[The last literary labour of Sir Samuel Garth, before his death in 1718, was engaging several " ingenious gentlemen," as he calls them, to undertake a translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses. Among these were Mainwaring, Croxall, Ozell, Vernon, Harvey, Leonard Welsted, &c. Garth himself translated the fourteenth book and part of the fifteenth, besides contributing a preface.]
YE Lords and Commons, men of wit,
And pleasure about town;
Read this ere you translate one bit
Beware of Latin authors all!
Nor think your verses sterling,
For not the desk with silver nails,
Nor standish well japann'd, avails
Hear how a ghost in dead of night,
In woful wise did sore affright
Rare imp of Phoebus, hopeful youth!
To fetch and carry, in his mouth,