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Yet mark the fate of a whole sex of queens!
Nor leave one sigh behind them when they die.
gallantly rejoined, "I must entreat of you to observe, that I only say,' But every woman is at heart a rake.' This no way affects your ladyship, who was an angel when you were young, and now, advancing into life, are almost already become a saint." "At this door (adds simple Squire Ayre) did Mr. Pope escape, for the lady was woman enough to be pleased with the compliment, and only said, "O fie, O fie! you wits will always make things out either a great deal worse or better than they are."]
20 What are the aims and the fate of this sex-I. As to power.
21 II. As to pleasure.
22 [The six lines, v. 242-248, originally formed part of the poem addressed to Martha Blount on her birth-day, and published in the Miscellanies. James Moore Smyth printed five of the lines as his own, in his play, the Rival Modes,
Ah, Friend! to dazzle let the vain design;23
Oh! bless'd with temper, whose unclouded ray
and Pope frequently alludes with great bitterness to the theft and its author. For an account of the plagiarism, see Testimonies of Authors, prefixed to the Dunciad, vol. ii. p. 27. See also Prologue to the Satires in this volume, verse 373.1
23 Advice for their true interest.
24 [The ring or circle in Hyde Park was a place of fashionable resort from the time of Charles I. to that of George II., when it was partly destroyed by the formation of the Serpentine river. It is alluded to in most of the comedies and fashionable verses of the period. It was in the ring that that curious incident occurred in the life of Wycherley, which Pope related to Spence. "Wycherley was a very handsome man. His acquaintance with the famous Duchess of Cleveland commenced oddly enough. One day as he passed that duchess's coach in the ring, she leaned out of the window, and cried out loud enough to be heard distinctly by him, 'Sir, you're a rascal; you're a villain. Wycherley from that instant entertained hopes. He did not fail waiting on her the next morning; and, with a very melancholy tone, begged to know, how it was possible for him to have so much disobliged her grace? They were very good friends from that time."]
25 [In first edition :
"That pleased can see a younger charm, or hear
That ne'er shall answer till a husband cool,
Yet have your humour most when you obey."
The sister, of course, was Teresa Blount, who was two years older than Martha. The substitution of daughter for sister, and the other alterations, seem to deprive Martha Blount of the honour of this address, as Johnson has remarked, but they were most likely adopted from motives of delicacy, as her connection with Pope had given rise to local scandal.]
Charms by accepting, by submitting, sways,
Be this a woman's fame; with this unblest,
26 [The allusion to the fall of China, is taken from Addison in the Spectator. The tickets were, of course, lottery tickets, in which Pope and Miss Blount dabbled occasionally. It is curious to find small-pox-so deadly a distemper-classed with spleen, vapours, and broken china. Martha Blount appears to have had the small-pox. In a letter to Teresa, the poet wishes that Martha's beauty may continue as it always was; "but whatever ravages a merciless distemper may commit, I dare promise her boldly, what few, if any, of her makers of visits and compliments dare to do—she shall have one man as much her admirer as ever." See Life of Pope, in this edition, vol. I. p. 49.]
DUCHESS OF HAMILTON.
Ver. 53. Narcissa's nature, tolerably mild,
To make a wash would hardly stew a child.
The characters of Calypso and Narcissa in this passage were originally presented as one, under the name of Sylvia, in the Miscellanies, 1727. According to Warton, however, Narcissa was intended for the Duchess of Hamilton, and there are certainly points of resemblance, though it should be remembered that Pope stated, upon his honour, that no character in the Epistle as then published (including Narcissa) was drawn from the life. Such a positive declaration should, at least, give the duchess the benefit of a doubt as to her complete identity with the unamiable Narcissa. The Duchess of Hamilton of that day was Elizabeth Gerard, daughter of Digby, Lord Gerard, of Bromley, and widow of James, Duke of Hamilton, who was killed in a duel with Lord Mohun, Nov. 15, 1712. In that unfortunate duel both the principals were slain. Lord Mohun was a notorious profligate, who had frequently been engaged in duels and midnight brawls, and had been twice tried for murder. The only remark made by his widow, when his corpse was brought home, was an expression of high displeasure that the men had laid the body on her state bed, thereby staining with blood the rich and costly furniture! The Duke and Lord Mohun had quarrelled about a lawsuit depending in the Court of Chancery, and political differences exasperated their dislike of each other. Hamilton was a Tory, and MasterGeneral of the Ordnance; Mohun was of the Whig party. The duel was fought in Hyde Park; Mohun fell mortally wounded, the duke being above him. The latter was lifted up, and walked about thirty yards, when he sank down, and expired. It would seem that while the duke was over Mohun, the desperate duellist must have shortened his sword, and stabbed him to the heart, the wound commencing below the left shoulder. Colonel Hamilton, the duke's second, afterwards swore that the mortal wound was given, not by Lord Mohun, but by his second, General Macartney, who, he said, made a push at the duke while he was down. This accusation was unsupported by proof, and Colonel Hamilton prevaricated, and was confused in his evidence. Macartney fled, and a reward of £500 from the Crown, and £300 from the widowed duchess, was offered for his apprehension. He escaped to Hanover, where he remained for some time, enjoying the favour of the Court, and on his return to England he surrendered himself for trial. The public feeling against him had by this time abated; and he was found guilty of manslaughter only. The Duchess of Hamilton continued a widow until her
death, February 10, 1744. We have some scanty notices of this lady in Swift's Journal and Correspondence. The Dean visited her on the morning of the fatal occurrence, and remained with her two hours. "I never saw so melancholy a scene," he says. Two months afterwards, he was again on a visit to the Duchess, but the tables were turned. She never grieved, but raged, and stormed, and railed: "She is pretty quiet now, but has a diabolical temper." Swift afterwards gives a very Irish-like supplement to this. affair:
March 4, 1712. I was to see the Duchess of Hamilton to-day, and met Blith of Ireland just going out of her house into his coach. I asked how she came to receive young fellows? It seems he had a ball in the Duke of Hamilton's house when the Duke died, and the Duchess got an advertisement put in the Postboy, reflecting on the ball, because the Marlboroughs were there : and Blith came to beg the Duchess's pardon, and clear himself. He is a sad dog.
"March 5. I met Blith at the Duke of Ormond's, and he begged me to carry him to the Duchess of Hamilton, to beg her pardon again. I did, on purpose to see how the blunderbuss behaved himself; but I begged the Duchess to use him mercifully, for she is the devil of a teaser. The good of it is, she ought to beg his pardon, for he meant no harm; yet she would not