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Et dominum fallunt, et prosunt furibus. Ergo,
* Mercemur servum, qui dictet nomina, lævum
Cuilibet is fasces dabit, eripietque curule
Ver. 104.] Who rules in Cornwall, &c.] Pope here seems to allude to Viscount Falmouth, who brought into Parliament several members for the Cornish boroughs. Bowles.
Ver. 109. laugh at your own jest.] An admirable picture of septennial folly and meanness during an election canvass, in which the arts of English solicitation are happily applied to Roman. Some strokes of this kind, though mixed with unequal trash in the Pasquin of Fielding, may be mentioned as capital, and full of the
See in Ansty's Latin Epistle to Bampfield, a truly humourous description of this kind:
"Tum numerat quot habet senior POT-WOBLER amicos."
A noble superfluity it craves,
Not for yourself, but for your fools and knaves; Something, which for your honour they may cheat, And which it much becomes you to forget.
"If wealth alone then make and keep us blest, 95 Still, still be getting, never, never rest.
But if to power and place your passion lie, If in the pomp of life consist the joy; Then hire a slave, or (if you will) a Lord To do the honours, and to give the word; Tell at your levee, as the crowds approach, To whom 'to nod, whom take into your coach, Whom honour with your hand: to make remarks, Who rules in Cornwall, or who rules in Berks: "This may be troublesome, is near the chair; 105 That makes three members; this can choose a
Instructed thus, you bow, embrace, protest,
Then turn about, and laugh at your own jest.
If P to live well means nothing but to eat;
Or shall we 'every decency confound, Through taverns, stews, and bagnios take our
Digni; remigium vitiosum Ithacensis Ulyssei;
"Si, Mimnermus utì censet, sine amore jocisque
Ver. 126. Wilmot] Earl of Rochester.
Ver. 128. And SWIFT cry wisely, " Vive la Bagatelle!"] Our poet, speaking in one place of the purpose of his satire, says : "In this impartial glass, my Muse intends
Fair to expose myself, my foes, my friends;"
and, in another, he makes his court-adviser say:
Laugh at your friends, and if your friends be sore, So much the better; you may laugh the more:" because their impatience under reproof would shew, they had a' great deal amiss which wanted to be set right.
On this principle, Swift falls under his correction. He could not bear to see a friend he so much valued, live in the miserable abuse of one of nature's best gifts, unadmonished of his folly. Swift, as we may see by some posthumous volumes, lately published, so dishonourable and injurious to his memory, trifled away his old age in a dissipation that women and boys might be ashamed of. For when men have given into a long habit of employing their wit only to shew their parts, to edge their spleen, to pander to a faction, or, in short, to any thing. but that for which nature bestowed it, namely, to recommend virtue, and set off truth; old age, which abates the passions, will never rectify the abuses they occasioned. But the remains of wit, instead of seeking and recovering their proper channel, will run into that miserable depravity of taste here condemned: and in which Dr. Swift seems to have placed no inconsiderable part of his wisdom. "I chuse," says he, in a letter to Mr. Pope, "my companions amongst those of the least consequence, and most compliance: I read the most trifling books I can find: and whenever I write, it is upon the most trifling subjects." And again: "I love La Bagatelle better than ever. I am always writing bad prose or bad verses, either of RAGE or RAILLERY, &c. And again in a Letter to Mr. Gay: "My rule is, Vive la Bagatelle !" Warburton.
Go dine with Chartres, in each vice outdo
In this note, Dr. Warburton makes some severe strictures on the manner in which Swift employed his wit, in his latter days. And indeed, in many of his remarks, it appears that Warburton was not partial to the character of Swift, whom he had attacked in one of his earliest productions, on portents and prodigies; in which he says, page 32: "The religious author of the Tale of a Tub will tell you, religion is but a reservoir of fools and madmen; and the virtuous Lemuel Gulliver will answer for the state, that it is a den of savages and cut-throats." Edition, 12mo. 1727. Misanthropy," says a true philosopher, "is so dangerous a thing, and goes so far in sapping the very foundation of morality and religion, that I esteem the last part of Swift's Gulliver (that, I mean, relative to his Houyhnhnms and Yahoos) to be a worse book to peruse, than those which we forbid as the most flagitious and obscene. One absurdity in this author (a wretched philosopher, though a great wit) is well worth remarking; in order to render the nature of men odious, and the nature of beasts amiable, he is compelled to give human characters to his beasts, and beastly characters to his men; so that we are to admire the beasts, not for being beasts, but amiable men; and to detest the men, not for being men, but detestable beasts.
"Whoever has been reading this unnatural filth, let him turn for a moment to a Spectator of Addison, and observe the philanthropy of that classical writer; I may add, the superior purity of his diction, and his wit."—Harris's Philological Enquiries, p. 538. Warton.