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Manners with candour are to Benson given;
But does the court a worthy man remove?
excellences of character; to exhibit him as free from informal improprieties, rather than a great proficient in sublimer virtue. Nor were the political principles of Secker likely to permit a very warm encomium from the prejudiced feelings of our poet.
Concerning Rundel, the reader may find more in Pope's and Swift's Letters, and in Whiston's Memoirs of himself. Swift's poem on the Bishop is excellent. Wakefield.
Ver. 73. Berkley, &c.] Dr. Berkley was, I believe, a good man, a good Christian, a good citizen, and all, in an eminent degree. He was besides very learned; and of a fine and lively imagination; which he unhappily abused by advancing, and, as far as I can learn, throughout his whole life persisting in, the most outrageous whimsey that ever entered into the head of any ancient or modern madman; namely, the impossibility of the real or actual existence of matter; which he supported on principles that take away the boundaries of truth and falsehood; expose reason to all the outrage of unbounded scepticism; and even, in his own opinion, make mathematical demonstration doubtful. To this man may be eminently applied that oracle of the Stagirite, which says, To follow Reason against the SENSES, is a sure sign of a bad understanding.
But if (though at the expense of his moral character) we should suppose, that all this was only a wanton exercise of wit; how his metaphysics came to get him the character of a great genius, unless from the daring nature of his attempt, I am at a loss to conceive. His pretended demonstration, on this capital question, being the poorest, lowest, and most miserable of all sophisms; that is, a sophism which begs the question, as the late Mr. Baxter has clearly shewn; a few pages of whose reasoning have not only more sense and substance than all the elegant discourses of Dr. Berkley, but infinitely better entitle him to the character of a great genius. He was truly such and a time will come, if learning ever revive amongst us, when the present inattention to his admirable metaphysics, established on the physics of Newton,
I shun his zenith, court his mild decline;
Compared, and knew their generous end the same:
will be deemed as great a dishonour to the wisdom of this age, as the neglect of Milton's poetry was to the wit of the past.
Ver. 77. SOMERS] John, Lord Somers, died in 1716. He had been Lord Keeper in the reign of William III., who took from him the seals in 1700. The author had the honour of knowing him in 1706. A faithful, able, and incorrupt Minister; who, to the qualities of a consummate statesman, added those of a man of learning and politeness. Pope.
"One of those divine men," says Lord Orford finely, "who, like a chapel in a palace, remains unprofaned, while all the rest is tyranny, corruption, and folly. All the traditional accounts of him, the historians of the last age, and its best authors, represent him, as the most incorrupt lawyer, and the honestest statesman; as a master orator, a genius of the finest taste, and as a patriot of the noblest and most extensive views; as a man, who dispensed blessings by his life, and planned them for posterity. He was at once the model of Addison, and the touchstone of Swift: the one wrote from him, the other for him." Warton.
Ver. 77. HALIFAX,] A Peer, no less distinguished by his love of letters than his abilities in parliament. He was disgraced in 1710, on the change of Queen Anne's ministry. Pope.
Ver. 79. SHREWSBURY,] Charles Talbot, Duke of Shrewsbury, had been Secretary of State, ambassador in France, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Chamberlain, and Lord Treasurer. He several times quitted his employments, and was often recalled. He died in 1718. Pope.
Ver. 80. CARLETON] Hen. Boyle, Lord Carleton, (nephew of the famous Robert Boyle,) who was Secretary of State under William III. and President of the Council under Queen Anne. Pope,
How pleasing ATTERBURY'S softer hour!
Ver. 80. STANHOPE] James, Earl Stanhope. A nobleman of equal courage, spirit, and learning. General in Spain, and Secretary of State.
Ver. 80. STANHOPE's noble flame,] Who confessed to old Whiston, that, in his opinion, it was almost impossible for a Minister of State to be an honest man. Warton.
Ver. 83. How shined the soul,] Among these, Atterbury was his chief intimate. The turbulent and imperious temper of this haughty prelate was long felt and remembered in the college over which he presided. It was with difficulty Queen Anne was persuaded to make him a bishop; which she did at last, on the repeated importunities of Lord Harcourt, who pressed the Queen to do it, because truly she had before disappointed him, in not placing Sacheverel on the bench. After her decease, Atterbury vehemently urged his friends to proclaim the Pretender; and on their refusal, upbraided them for their timidity with many oaths; for he was accustomed to swear, on any strong provocation. In a Collection of Letters, lately published by Mr. Duncombe, it is affirmed, on the authority of Elijah Fenton, that Atterbury, speaking of Pope, said, there was,
Mens curva in corpore curvo.
This sentiment seems utterly inconsistent with the warm friendship supposed to subsist between these celebrated men. But Dr. Herring, in the second volume of this collection, p. 104, says: "If Atterbury was not worse used than any honest man in the world ever was, there were strong contradictions between his public and private character." Warton.
Ver. 84. PULTENEY, CHESTERFIELD] I have heard a lady of exquisite wit and judgment, say of these two celebrated men: “The latter was always striving to be witty, and the former could not help being so."
ARGYLL, the state's whole thunder born to wield,
And if yet higher the proud list should end,
The two lines on Argyll are said to have been added, on the Duke's declaring in the House of Lords, on occasion of some of Pope's satires, that if any man dared to use his name in an invective, he would run him through the body, and throw himself on the mercy of his Peers, who, he trusted, would weigh the provo
Bolingbroke's Letter to Wyndham is one of the most curious of his works, and it gave a deadly and incurable blow to the folly and madness of Jacobitism. Warton.
Ver. 84. CHESTERFIELD forget,] His character was much sunk by the publication of the loose and libertine Letters to his Son. Warton.
Ver. 88. WYNDHAM,] Sir William Wyndham, Chancellor of the Exchequer under Queen Anne, made early a considerable figure; but since a much greater, both by his ability and eloquence, joined with the utmost judgment and temper. Pope. Ver. 88. Or WYNDHAM, just to freedom] In former editions: Or WYNDHAM arm'd for freedomWarton. Ver. 92. And if yet higher, &c.] He was at that time honoured with the esteem and favour of his Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales. Warburton.
Frederic, Prince of Wales; who possessed many of what the King of Prussia called, ces qualités sociables qui s'allient si rarement avec la morgue et la grandeur des Souverains. Warton.
Ver. 93. Still let me say, No follower, but a friend.] i. e. Unre lated to their parties, and attached only to their persons.
Yet think not, friendship only prompts my lays; I follow Virtue; where she shines, I praise; 95 Point she to priest or elder, Whig or Tory, Or round a Quaker's beaver cast a glory. I never (to my sorrow I declare)
Dined with the MAN of Ross, or my LORD MAYOR. Some in their choice of friends (nay, look not grave) 4X4 100
Have still a secret bias to a knave:
To find an honest man I beat about,
And love him, court him, praise him, in or out.
Ver. 99. the MAN of Ross,] Kirle, the celebrated Man of Ross, was educated at Baliol College, Oxford, where there is a curious tankard, inscribed with his name, which he left as a present to the College; it is often shewn as a curiosity, in consequence of the splendor given to his name, by Pope's numbers.
The tankard stands about ten inches high from the ground, being supported by three legs, in the shape of lions.
The handle is formed by the figure of a dolphin, and the cover lifted up by a figure of an hedgehog, which was Kirle's crest.
Upon the cover of the tankard, the arms of Baliol College.
In the centre, the arms of the donor, above which are the words "Poculum Charitatis:" and underneath, the following inscription:
"Ex donó Johannis Kirle de Rosse, in Agro Herefordiensi, et hujus Collegii Socii Commensalis."
The date of the year, in which the gift was made, is, contrary to the usual form, omitted. Bowles.
Ver. 99. my LORD MAYOR.] Sir John Barnard, Lord Mayor in the year of the Poem, 1738. A citizen eminent for his virtue, public spirit, and great talents in parliament. An excellent man, magistrate, and senator. In the year 1747, the city of London, in memory of his many and signal services to his country, erected a statue to him. But his image had been placed long before in the heart of every good man. Warburton.