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Not fo, when diadem'd with rays divine, Touch'd with the Flame that breaks from Virtue's
Her Priestess Mufe forbids the Good to die,
There, other Trophies deck the truly brave,
may defcend to Mordington from STAIR;
Prior burlesqued this Ode with infinite pleasantry and humour. And the same may be faid of Prior's Epijile to Boileau. Louis XIV, who had a perfonal regard for Prior, did not, we may well imagine, know that he had ridiculed his favourite Poet. Another French flatterer read to Malherbe fome fulfome verses, in which he had represented France as moving out of its place to receive the King. "Though this," faid the honeft Malherbe, "was in my time, yet I protest I do not remember it."
VER. 233. Not so, when diadem'd with rays divine,
Touch'd with the Flame that breaks from Virtue's Shrine.] The whole of this paffage is highly animated and beautiful. The word diadem'd has a lofty and ftriking effect. In the whole paffage, Pope had a view to Horace and Milton.
VER. 235. And opes] From Milton's Comus, ver. 14. "That opes the Palace of Eternity."
VER. 237. Anftis] The chief Herald at Arms. It is the cuftom at the funeral of great peers, to cast into the grave the broken ftaves and enfigns of honour.
VER. 238. For other Stars than * and ** wear,] Kent and Grafton. The next line wants explanation. I have fome notion Lord Mordington kept a gaming-houfe.
VER. 239. STAIR ;] John Dalrymple Earl of Stair, Knight of the Thistle, ferved in all the wars under the Duke of Marlborough; and afterwards as Embaffador in France.
(Such as on HOUGH's unfully'd Mitre shine,
Or beam, good DIGBY, from a Heart like thine ;) Let Envy howl, while Heav'n's whole Chorus fings, And bark at Honour not conferr'd by Kings
Let Flatt'ry fick'ning fee the Incense rise,
Sweet to the World, and grateful to the Skies: 245
VER. 240, 241. HOUGH and DIGBY] Dr. John Hough, Biship of Worcester; and the Lord Digby. The one an affertor of the Church of England in oppofition to the false measures of King James II. The other as firmly attached to the cause of that King. Both acting out of principle, and equally men of honour and virtue. РОРЕ.
VER. 240. (Such as on HOUGH's unfull;'d mitre fbine,] Dr. John Hough, fucceffively Bishop of Oxford, Lichfield, and Worcester, was born in 1655, and died May 8, 1743, at the very advanced age of ninety two, after an epifcopacy of fifty three years. WAKEFIELD.
VER. 240. on HOUGH's unfully'd] In the fifty-feventn Pefian Letter, is an elegant and well written eulogium on this excellent prelate, by Lord Lyttelton. These Letters have been too much depreciated and neglected.
VER. 249. When Truth ftands trembling]
England, with all thy faults, I love thee ftill,
Here, Laft of Britons! let your Names be read ;
Fr. Alas! alas! pray end what you began,
VER. 255. in the MS.
Quit, quit these themes and write Essays on Man.
Lines of the tender and benevolent Cowper, which I here infert, in order to put us again in good humour with our country, after having juft feen her placed in a disagreeable light.
VER. 253 of their degen'rate Line ] Such was the language at that time, ufed by our Author and his friends and affociates. Lord Chefterfield ends the account of his friend Hammond, author of the Love Elegies, with thefe words: "He looked back with a kind of religious awe and delight, upon these glorious and happy times of Greece and Rome, when wisdom, virtue, and liberty formed the only triumvirates; in thefe fentiments he lived, and would have lived, even in thefe times; in thefe fentiments he died; but in these times too, ut non erepta a diis immortalibus vita, fed donata, mors videatur.
In every age, and in every nation, there is a conftant progression of manners; "For the manners of a people feldom ftand ftill, but are either POLISHING or SPOILING.” WARTON.
VER. 254. pray end what] We must own that these Dialogues, excellent as they are, exhibit many and ftrong marks of our Author's petulance, party-fpirit, and felf. importance;' and of affuming to himself the character of cenfor-general; who, alas! if he had poffeffed a thoufand times more genius, integrity, and ability, than he actually enjoyed, could not have altered or amended the manners of a rich and commercial, and consequently of a luxurious and diffipated nation. But we make ourselves unhappy, by hoping to poffefs incompatible things; we want to have wealth without corruption, and liberty without virtue! WARTON.
VER. ult.] This was the laft Poem of the kind printed by our Author, with a refolution to publish no more; but to enter thus, in the most plain and folemn manner he could, a fort of PROTEST against that infuperable corruption and depravity of manners, which he had been fo unhappy as to live to fee. Could he have hoped to have amended any, he had continued those attacks; but bad men were grown fo fhameless and so powerful, that Ridicule was become as unfafe as it was ineffectual The Poem raised him, as he knew it would, fome enemies; but he had reason to be fatisfied with the approbation of good men, and the teltimony of his own confcience, POPE.
Could Pope, with his good sense, unless felf-love had blinded him, seriously believe, that his pen could effect fuch mighty purpofes, even if the objects of his Satire were fo notorious, that every good and wife man would have been on his fide, and nothing was dictated by private spleen, and political asperity! Alas, we might fay, in the language of Poor Cowper,
"Leviathan is not fo tam'd;
Laugh'd at, he laughs again, and ftricken hard