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A Clerk, foredoom'd his father's foul to cross,
Is there, who, lock'd from ink and
With defp'rate charcoal round his darken'd walls?
Arthur, whofe giddy fon neglects the Laws,
And curfes Wit, and Poetry, and Pope.
Friend to my life! (which did not you prolong, The world had wanted many an idle fong)
After Ver. 20 in the MS.
Is there a Bard in durance? turn them free,
Dear Doctor, tell me, is not this a curfe?
Say, is their anger, or their friendship worse?
VER. 15. Is there a Parfon] Some lines in this Epiftle to Arbuthnot had been used in a letter to Thomfon when he was in Italy, and transferred from him to Arbuthnot, which naturally displeased the former, though they lived always on terms of civility and friendship and Pope earneftly exerted himself, and ufed all his intereft to promote the fuccefs of Thomson's Agamemnon, and attended the first night of its being performed. WARTON. VER. 20. defp'rate charcoal] The idea is from Boileau's art of Poetry" Charbonner les murailes."
VER. 23. Arthur,] Arthur Moore, Efq.
What Drop or Noftrum can this plague remove?
If foes, they write, if friends, they read me dead.
With honest anguish, and an aching head;
This faving counsel, "Keep your piece nine years.”
VER. 33. Seiz'd and ty'd down to judge,] Alluding to the scene in the Plain-Dealer, where Oldfox gags, and ties down the Widow, to hear his well-penn'd flanzas. Warburton.Horace; vide his Drufo.
VER. 38. an aching head;] Alluding to the diforder he was then fo conftantly afflicted with. WARBURTON.
VER. 40. "Keep your piece nine years."] Boileau employed eleven years in his fhort fatire of L'Equivoque. Patru was four years altering and correcting the first paragraph of his translation of the oration for Archias.
VER. 43. Rhymes ere he wakes,]
-Dictates to me flumb'ring, or infpires
Three things another's modest wishes bound, My Friendship, and a Prologue, and ten pound. Pitholeon fends to me: "You know his Grace, "I want a Patron; afk him for a Place." Pitholeon libell'd me-" but here's a letter
"Informs you, Sir, 'twas when he knew no better. "Dare you refufe him? Curl invites to dine, "He'll write a Journal, or he'll turn Divine." Bless me! a packet.-" "Tis a stranger fues, "A Virgin Tragedy, an Orphan Mufe." If I diflike it, "Furies, death and rage!" If I approve," Commend it to the Stage." There (thank my stars) my whole commiffion ends, The Play'rs and I are, luckily, no friends.
VER. 53. in the MS.
If you refufe, he goes, as fates incline,
Cibber and I are, luckily, no friends.
VER. 49. Pitholeon] The name taken from a foolish Poet of Rhodes, who pretended much to Greek. Schol. in Horat, l. 1. Dr. Bentley pretends, that this Pitholeon libelled Cæfar also. See notes on Hor. Sat. 10. 1. i.
VER. 54. He'll write a Journal,] Meaning the London Journal; a paper in favour of Sir R. Walpole's ministry. Bishop Hoadley wrote in it, as did Dr. Bland. WARTON.
VER. 55 A packet.] Alludes to a tragedy called the Virgin Queen, by Mr. R. Barford, published 1729, who displeased Pope by daring to adopt the fine machinery of his Sylphs in an heroicomical poem called the Affembly. 1726. WARTON.
Fir'd that the house reject him, " 'Sdeath, I'll print it, "And fhame the Fools-Your int'reft, Sir, with
Lintot, dull rogue! will think your price too much : "Not, Sir, if you revise it, and retouch."
VER. 60. The Play'rs and I, &c.] On this paffage, Cibber, in his curious letter, printed in 1742, addreffed to Pope, has the following obfervation :
"I am glad to find in your fmaller Edition, that your confcience has fince given this line fome correction; for there you have taken off a little of its edge: it there runs only thus:
The Players and I are luckily no friends.
This is fo uncommon an inftance of your checking your temper, and taking a little fhame to yourself, that I cannot in justice omit my notice of it."
The caufe of Pope's continued invective against Cibber, is thus given in the letter before mentioned:
"The play, of the Rehearsal, which had laid fome few years dormant, being by his prefent Majefty (George II.), then Prince of Wales commanded to be revived, the part of Bays fell to my fhare. To this character there had always been allowed fuch Judicrous liberties of obfervation upon any thing new, or remarkable in the ftate of the stage, as Mr. Bays might think proper to make."
He then defcribes a fuccefsful fally in ridiculing the introduction of the Mummy and Crocodile, in an entertainment acted about that time without fuccefs, called "Three Hours after Marriage," and fuppofed to have been written by Pope
"This was the offence," he says: "In this play (Three Hours after Marriage), two Coxcombs, being in love with a learned virtuofo's wife, to get unfufpected access to her, ingeniously fend themselves, as two prefented rarities, to the husband; the one curiously fwathed up like an Egyptian Mummy, and the other flily covered in the pafte board skin of a Crocodile; upon which poetical expedient I, Mr. Bays, when the two Kings of Brentford came from the clouds again into the throne, inftead of what the part directed me to fay, made me ufe these words,
All my demurs but double his attacks;
At last he whispers, "Do; and we go fnacks."
Sir, let me fee your works and you no more.
"Now, Sir, this revolution, I had fome thoughts of introducing "by a quite different contrivance; but my defign taking air, fome "of your sharp wits, I found, had made ufe of it before me; "otherwife I intended to have folen one of them in the Shape of "a MUMMY, and the other, in that of a Crocodile."
This fally of Cibber, it appears, was received with great applause; and Pope, very much irritated, came to Cibber after the play, to call him to account for the infult. This is the fum of Cibber's statement, refpecting the firft caufe of Pope's anger, in his letter, the publication of which, it is well known, gave Pope great uneafinefs; and on account of which, he afterwards dethroned Theobald from his eminence as King of the Dunces, and placed Cibber, who cared very little about the matter, in his place.
VER. 69. 'Tis fung, when Midas'] The abruptness with which this ftory from Perfius is introduced, occafions an obscurity in the paffage; for there is no connection with the foregoing paragraph. Boileau fays, Sat. ix. v. 221. I have nothing to do with Chapelain's honour, or candour, or civility, or complaifance; but, if you hold him up as a model of good writing, and as the king of authors,
"Ma bile alors s'echauffe, et je brûle d'ecrire ;
Et s'il ne m'eft permis de le dire au papier;
There is much humour in making the prying and watchful eyes of the minifter, instead of the barber, first discover the ass's ears; and the word perks has particular force and emphafis. Sir Robert Walpole and Queen Caroline were here pointed at. WARTON.