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F. This filthy fimile, this beastly line Quite turns my ftomach
P. So does Flatt'ry mine;
And all your courtly Civet-cats can vent,
VER. 185 in the MS.
I grant it, Sir; and further, 'tis agreed,
Japhet writ not, and Chartres fcarce could read.
VER. 182. So does Flatt'ry mine ;] Fontenelle has written a pleasant Dialogue between Auguftus and Peter Aretine, the Italian Satirift, who laughs immoderately at the Emperor, for the grofs flattery he fo cordially received from his poets, particularly Virgil, at the beginning of the Third Georgic. And Aretine, among other delicate ftrokes of ridicule, tells him, "On louoit une partie de votre vie, aux depens de l'autre." But Fontenelle ends like a true Frenchman, and affures Auguftus, " he will no longer be quoted as a model for Kings, fince Louis XIV. has appeared." Such is the language held of a man, who could banish Fenelon, burn the Palatinate, and drive away or deftroy fo many of his proteftant fubjects; who kept in pay 4,0,coo men. It is grievous to reflect, that for incurring the displeasure of fuch a man, Racine had the weakness to be so much affected, as to bring on, by vexation and grief, a disease that was fatal to him. Racine and Boileau relinquished, after a small progress, the Hiftory of Louis XIV. which they were appointed to write. Boileau honeftly owned to his friends, that he did not well know what reafons to allege in juftification of the war againft Holland in 1672. The pride, profufion, ambition, and defpotifm of Louis XIV. laid the foundation of the ruin of France, and all the miferies we have lived to fee. WARTON. VER. 185. Japhet-Chartres] See the Epistle to Lord Ba. thurft.
Dr. Warton fays very juftly, we are wearied with the perpetual repetition of thefe names, and thofe of Ward, Waters, Den nis, &c.
In all the Courts of Pindus guiltless quite ;
But Pens can forge, my Friend, that cannot write;
Afk you what Provocation I have had?
F. You're ftrangely proud.
P. So proud, I am no Slave: So impudent, I own myself no Knave: 206 So odd, my Country's Ruin makes me grave. Yes, I am proud; I must be proud to see Men not afraid of God, afraid of me:
VFR. 204. And mine as Man, who feel for all Mankind.] From Terence: "Homo fum: humani nihil a me alienum puto."
VER. 208. Yes, I am proud, &c.] In this ironical exultation the Poet infinuates a fubject of the deepest humiliation.
Safe from the Bar, the Pulpit, and the Throne, 210
O facred weapon! left for Truth's defence,
The Muse may give thee, but the Gods must guide:
VER. 208. Yes, I am proud, &c.] This feems fabricated from the materials of Boileau, Difcours au Roi, ver. 99.
En vain d'un lâche orgueil leur efprit revétu
Se couvre du manteau d'une auftère vertu :
Leur cœur, qui fe connoit, et qui fuit la lumière,
S'il fe moque de Dieu, craint Tartuffe et Molière. WAKEFIELD.
VER. 211. Yet touch'd and fham'd by Ridicule alone.] The paffions are given us to awake and fupport Virtue. But they frequently betray their truft, and go over to the interefts of Vice. Ridicule, when employed in the caufe of Virtue, fhames and brings them back to their duty. Hence the use and importance of Satire. WARBURTON.
VER. 219. And goad the Prelate flumb'ring in his Stall.] The good Eufebius, in his Evangelical Preparation, draws a long parallel between the Ox and the Chriftian Priesthood. Hence the dignified Clergy, out of mere humility, have ever fince called their thrones by the name of flalls. 'To which a great Prelate of Winchester, one W. Edinton, modeftly alluding, has rendered his name immortal by this ecclefiaftical aphorifm, who would otherwife have been forgotten; Canterbury is the higher rack, but Winchefter is the better manger. By which, however, it appears that he was not one of those here condemned, who flumber in their falls.
Spin all your Cobwebs o'er the Eye of Day!
'VER. 220 Te Infects! The Musa's wing fball brush you all away:] This it did very effectually; and the memory of them had been now forgotten, had not the Poet's charity, for a while, protracted their miferable Being. There is now in his Library at Mr. Allen's, a complete collection of all the horrid Libels written and published against him;
"The tale reviv'd, the lie fo oft o'erthrown,
Th' imputed trash, and dulness not his own ;
These he had bound up in feveral volumes, according to their various fizes, from folios down to duodecimos; and to each of them hath affixed this motto out of the book of Job:
Behold, my defire is, that mine adversary fhould write a book. Surely I fhould take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me. Ch. xxxi. ver. 35, 36. WARBURTON.
VER. 220. Ye tinfel Infects !] Poets have frequently been partymen, ancient as well as modern, Euripides was of Alcibiades's faction, for war; Ariftophanes, for peace. Hence arose their mutual animofity. The Inferno of Dante is as much a political poem as the Abfalom and Achitophel of Dryden. The Eneid is alfo of this kind; and fo is the Pharfalia of Lucan, and the Henriade of Voltaire. WARTON.
VER. 222. Cobwebs] Weak and flight fophiftry against virtue and honour. Thin colours over vice, as unable to hide the light of Truth, as cobwebs to fhade the Sun. POPE.
VER. 223. 7 he MUSE's wing fball brush you all away:] An exquifite verse, of which Mr. Gray has made excellent use in his Ode on Spring:
Brufb'd by the hand of rough mischance,
Or chill'd by age—.
VER. 225. Gods of Kings.] When James the First had once befpeeched his Parliament, Bishop Williams, Keeper of the Great
All, all but Truth, drops dead-born from the Press,
When black Ambition stains a public Cause,
After VER. 227. in the MS.
Where's now the Star that lighted Charles to rife?
Seal, added-that, after his Majesty's DIVINUM ET IMMORTALE DICTUM, he would not dare mortale aliquid addere. On which, Wilson the Hiftorian obferves-This is not inferted to fhew the PREGNANCY and GENIUS of the man, but the temper of the times. WARBURTON.
VER. 228. When black Ambition, &c.] The cafe of Cromwell in the civil war of England; and (Ver. 229.) of Louis XIV. in his conqueft of the Low Countries. POPE.
VER. 230. Not Waller's Wreath] "Such a series of verses," fays Dr. Johnson, "as the Panegyric on Cromwell, had hardly appeared before in the English language." I cannot forbear adding, that I am furprized Waller should never name Milton, who was of the fame party, and which he had fo many opportunities of doing in his works. But Waller was not of Milton's school. WARTON. VER. 231. Nor Boileau turn the Feather to a Star.] See his Ode on Namur; where (to ufe his own words) "Il a fait un Aftre de la Plume blanche que le Roy porte ordinairement à fon Chapeau, et qui eft en effet une espece de Comete, fatale à nos ennemis.' ""