Page images

"I love to pour out all myself, as plain

As downright SHIPPEN, or as old Montaigne :
In them, as certain to be loved as seen,


The soul stood forth, nor kept a thought within ;
In me what spots (for spots I have) appear
Will prove at least the medium must be clear.
In this impartial glass, my Muse intends
Fair to expose myself, my foes, my friends;
Publish the present age; but where my text
Is vice too high, reserve it for the next:
My foes shall wish my life a longer date,
And every friend the less lament my fate.
My head and heart thus flowing through my quill,
'Verse-man or prose-man, term me which you will;




Shippen and Sir Robert Walpole had always a personal regard for each other. He was frequently heard to say, Robin and I are two honest men. He is for King George, and I for King James; but those men with long cravats (meaning Sandys, Sir John Rushout, Gibbon, and others) only desire places, either under King George or King James.

"By the accounts of those who had heard him in the House of Commons, his manner was highly energetic and spirited, as to sentiment and expression; but he generally spoke in a low tone of voice, with too great rapidity, and held his glove before his mouth. His speeches usually contained some pointed period, which peculiarly applied to the subject in debate, and which he uttered with great animation." Coxe's Memoirs of Sir R. Walpole, vol. iii. p. 206. Bowles.

Ver. 63. My head and heart thus flowing through my quill,] In

ferior to the original:

"Ille velut fidis arcana sodalibus olim

Credebat libris," &c.

Persius alluded to this idea, when he said,

"Vidi, vidi ipse, Libelle!" &c.


[Nam Venusinus arat finem sub utrumque colonus,
Missus ad hoc, pulsis (vetus est ut fama) Sabellis,
Quò ne per vacuum Romano incurreret hostis;
Sive quòd Appula gens, seu quòd Lucania bellum
Incuteret violenta.] Sed hic stylus haud petet ultro
Quemquam animantem, et me veluti custodiet ensis
Vaginâ tectus, quem cur destringere coner,
'Tutus ab infestis latronibus? "O pater et rex
Jupiter, ut pereat positum rubigine telum,


Ver. 64. Verse-man or prose-man,] The original, Ver. 35. Nam Venusinus arat, down to Ver. 39, and to the words, incuteret violenta, which are improperly printed in a parenthesis, have been thought an awkward and a monkish interpolation, but were undoubtedly intended by Horace to represent the loose, incoherent, and verbose manner of Lucilius, who composed hastily and carelessly, ducentos ante cibum versus; and who loaded his Satires with many useless and impertinent thoughts, very offensive to the chaste and correct taste of Horace. Warton.

Ver. 66. Like good Erasmus] The violence and haughtiness of Luther disgusted the mild and moderate Erasmus, and alienated him from pursuing the plan of reformation which at first he seemed to encourage and engage in. Luther represented him as an Arian and a time-server. "I thought," said Erasmus, “Luther's marriage would have softened him a little. It is hard for a man of my moderation and of my years to be obliged to write against aisavage beast and a furious wild boar." But great revolutions and great reformations are not effected by calm and sober reason, nor without such violence and enthusiasm as Luther possessed. When Voltaire was lamenting that Locke and Newton had few disciples in comparison of the numerous followers of Luther and Calvin, it was replied to him, "that, without a Luther and Calvin, we should never have had a Locke or Newton." Warton.

Ver. 70. To run a muck,] The expression is from Dryden: "Frontless and satire-proof, he scours the streets,

And runs an Indian muck at all he meets."

And it alludes to a practice among the Malayans, who are great


Papist or Protestant, or both between,
Like good Erasmus in an honest mean,
In moderation placing all my glory,


While Tories call me Whig, and Whigs a Tory. 'Satire's my weapon, but I'm too discreet To run a muck, and tilt at all I meet : 'I only wear it in a land of Hectors,

Thieves, supercargoes, sharpers, and directors. "Save but our army! and let Jove encrust

Swords, pikes, and guns, with everlasting rust!



gamesters; which is, that when a man has lost all his property, he intoxicates himself with opium, works himself up to a fit of phrenzy, rushes into the streets, and attacks and murders all he meets.


Ver. 71. I only wear it in a land of Hectors, &c.] Superior to "tutus ab infestis latronibus,"

which only carries on the metaphor in

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

whereas the Imitation does more; for, along with the metaphor, it conveys the image of the subject, by presenting the reader with

[merged small][ocr errors]

Warburton. "Une maladie nouvelle,"

Ver. 73. Save but our army! &c.] says the admirable author de L'Esprit des Loix, "s'est répandue en Europe; elle a saisi nos princes, et leur fait entretenir un nombre desordonné de troupes. Elle a ses redoublemens, et elle devient necessairement contagieuse. Car si tôt qu'un état augmente ce qu'il appelle ses troupes, les autres soudain augmentent les leurs de façon qu'on ne gagne rien par là que la ruïne commune. Chaque monarque tient sur pied toutes les armées qu'il pourroit avoir, si ses peuples étoient en danger d'être exterminés; et ON NOMME PAIX, CET ETAT D'EFFORT DE TOUS CONTRE TOUS. Aussi l'Europe est elle si ruinée, qui les particuliers, que seroient dans la situation où sont les trois puissances de cette partie du monde les plus opulentes, n'auroient pas de quoi vivre. Nous sommes pauvres avec les richesses et le commerce de tout l'univers; et bientôt, à


Nec quisquam noceat "cupido mihi pacis! at ille, Qui me commôrit (melius non tangere! clamo,) *Flebit, et insignis totâ cantabitur urbe.

'Cervius iratus leges minitatur et urnam; Canidia Albutî, quibus est inimica, venenum ; Grande malum Turius, si quid se judice certes; "Ut, quo quisque valet, suspectos terreat, utque Imperet hoc Natura potens, sic collige mecum. Dente lupus, cornu taurus petit ; unde, nisi intus Monstratum? Scævæ vivacem crede nepoti Matrem; nil faciet sceleris pia dextera (mirum, Ut neque calce lupus quemquam, neque dente petit bos?)

Sed mala tollet anum vitiato melle cicuta.

'Ne longum faciam: seu me tranquilla senectus


force d'avoir des soldats, nous n'aurons plus que des soldats, et nous serons comme des Tartares." Warburton.

Ver. 78. Slides into verse,] Closely copied from Boileau :
Et malheur a tout nom qui propre à la censure,
Peut entrer dans un vers sans rompre la mesure.


Ver. 81. Delia's rage,] A Miss Mackenzie died about this time, and was supposed to have been poisoned from jealousy. A hint of this kind was sufficient for Pope. The person alluded to was Lady D Bowles.


Ver. 81-84. Slander-libell'd by her hate.] There seems to be more spirit here than in the original: but it is hard to pronounce with certainty for though one may be confident there is more force in the 83d and 84th lines than in

"Canidia Albutî, quibus est inimica, venenum;"

yet there might be something, for aught we know, in the character or history of Cervius, which might bring up that line to the spirit and poignancy of the 82d verse of the Imitation.


"Peace is my dear delight-not FLEURY'S more: But touch me, and no Minister so sore. Whoe'er offends, at some unlucky time *Slides into verse, and hitches in a rhyme, Sacred to ridicule his whole life long, And the sad burthen of some merry song.

'Slander or poison dread from Delia's rage; Hard words or hanging, if your judge be Page; From furious Sappho scarce a milder fate, P-x'd by her love, or libell'd by her hate.


"Its proper power to hurt, each creature feels; 85 Bulls aim their horns, and asses lift their heels; 'Tis a bear's talent not to kick, but hug; And no man wonders he's not stung by pug. "So drink with Walters, or with Chartres eat, They'll never poison you, they'll only cheat. Then, learned Sir! (to cut the matter short) Whate'er my fate, or well or ill at Court, Whether old age, with faint but cheerful Attends to gild the evening of my day,




Ver. 83. From furious Sappho] There is no doubt, notwithstanding all his evasions, who is here meant by Sappho; but what Warburton calls "spirited," is unmanly and disgraceful. Bowles. Ver. 85-90. Its proper power to hurt, &c.] All, except the two last lines, inferior to the elegance and precision of the original. Warburton.

Ver. 91. Then, learned Sir !] The brevity and force of the original is evaporated in this long and feeble paraphrase of the next ten lines. The third and three succeeding verses are very languid and verbose, and perhaps some of the worst he has written.

[ocr errors][merged small]

Ver. 93-96. Whether old age-shade;] The original is more


« PreviousContinue »