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Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand,


They rave, recite, and madden, round the land.
What walls can guard me, or what shades can hide?
They pierce my Thickets, through my Grot they glide,
By land, by water, they renew the charge,

They stop the chariot, and they board the barge. 10
No place is sacred, not the Church is free,
Ev'n Sunday shines no Sabbath-day to me:
Then from the Mint walks forth the Man of rhyme,
Happy! to catch me, just at Dinner-time.


Le tombeau contre vous ne peut-il les défendre,
Et qu'on fait tant d'auteurs pour remuer leur cendre ?
Que vous ont fait Perrin, Bardin, Pradon, Hainaut,
Colletet, Pelletier, Tirseville, Quinaut.

Dont les noms en cent lieux, placés comme en leurs niches,
Vont de vos vers malins remplir les hemistiches."
Boileau, Sat. ix. 89.

This is exquisitely pleasant, and expressed with that purity and force both of thought and diction, that happy Horatian mixture of jest and earnest, that contribute to place Despreaux at the head of modern classics. I think it must be confessed, that he has caught the manner of Horace more successfully than Pope. It is observable that Boileau, when he first began to write, copied Juvenal, whose violent, downright, declamatory species of satire is far more easy to be imitated than the oblique, indirect, delicate touches of Horace. The judgment of L. Gyraldus concerning Juvenal seems to be judicious and well-founded: "If you think my opinion worth regarding, I would say, that the Satires of Juvenal ought never to be read till our taste is fixed and confirmed, and we are thoroughly tinctured with a knowledge of the Latin language: and I mention this my opinion more freely, because I perceive many masters use a contrary method." Dial. iv. Ver. 13. Mint] A place to which insolvent debtors retired, to enjoy an illegal protection, which they were there suffered to afford to one another, from the persecution of their creditors. W.

Is there a Parson much be-mus'd in beer,
A maudlin Poetess, a rhyming Peer,

A clerk, foredoom'd his father's soul to cross,
Who pens a Stanza, when he should engross?
Is there, who, lock'd from ink and paper, scrawls
With desp❜rate charcoal round his darken'd walls?
All fly to TWIT'NAM, and in humble strain
Apply to me, to keep them mad or vain.




After Ver. 20 in the MS.

Is there a Bard in durance? turn them free

With all their brandish'd reams they run to me :
Is there a' Prentice, having seen two plays,
Who would do somethiug in his Sempstress' praise--


Ver. 15. Is there a Parson] Some lines in this Epistle to Arbuthnot had been used in a letter to Thomson 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 earnestly exerted himself, and used all his interest to promote the success of Thomson's Agamemnon, and attended the first night of its being performed. Though Agamemnon is not a capital play on the whole, and abounds in languid and long declamatory speeches, yet parts of it are striking; particularly Melisander's account of the desert island to which he was banished, copied from the Philoctetes of Sophocles; and the prophetic speeches of Cassandra, during the moment of Agamemnon's being murdered, well calculated to fill the audience with alarm, astonishment, and suspense, at an awful event, obscurely hinted at in very strong imagery. These speeches are closely copied from the Agamemnon of Eschylus, as is a striking scene in his Eleonora from the Alcestis of Euripides. Thomson was well acquainted with the Greek Tragedies, on which I heard him talk learnedly, when I was once introduced to him by my friend Mr. W. Collins.

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Arthur, whose giddy son neglects the laws,
Imputes to me and my damn'd works the cause:
Poor Cornus sees his frantic wife elope,
And curses Wit, and Poetry, and Pope.

Friend to my life! (which did not you prolong,
The world had wanted many an idle song)


What Drop or Nostrum can this plague remove?
Or which must end me, a Fool's wrath or love? 30
A dire dilemma! either way I'm sped,

If foes, they write, if friends, they read me dead.
Seiz'd and tied down to judge, how wretched I!
Who can't be silent, and who will not lie:
To laugh, were want of goodness and of grace, 35
And to be grave, exceeds all Pow'r of face.

I sit with sad civility, I read

With honest anguish, and an aching head;
And drop at last, but in unwilling years,

This saving counsel, "Keep your piece nine years.”

Ver. 29 in the first Ed.


Dear Doctor, tell me, is not this a curse?

Say, is their anger, or their friendship worse?


Ver. 23. Arthur Moore, Esq.

Ver. 33. Seiz'd and tied down to judge,] Alluding to the scene in the Plain-Dealer, where Old-fox gags and ties down the Widow, to hear his well-penn'd stanzas. W.-Rather from Horace; vide his Druso.

Ver. 38. an aching head;] Alluding to the disorder he was then so constantly afflicted with. W.

Ver. 40. Keep your piece nine years.] Boileau employed eleven years in his short satire of L'Equivoque. Patru was four years altering and correcting the first paragraph of his translation of the oration for Archias.


Nine years! cries he, who high in Drury-lane, 41
Lull'd by soft Zephyrs through the broken pane,
Rhymes ere he wakes, and prints before Term ends,
Oblig'd by hunger, and request of friends:
"The piece, you think, is incorrect? why take it,
I'm all submission, what you'd have it, make it.”
Three things another's modest wishes bound,
My Friendship, and a Prologue, and ten pound.
Pitholeon sends to me: "You know his Grace,
I want a Patron; ask him for a Place."
Pitholeon libell'd me-" but here's a letter
Informs you, Sir, 'twas when he knew no better.
Dare you refuse him? Curl invites to dine,
He'll write a Journal, or he'll turn Divine."
Bless me! a packet.-"Tis a stranger sues,
A Virgin Tragedy, an Orphan Muse.'

Ver. 53 in the MS.


If you refuse, he goes, as fates incline,
To plague Sir Robert, or to turn Divine.



The Ple

Fid th




All T

At la


Sir, le




Ver. 49. Pitholeon] The name taken from a foolish Poet of Rhodes, who pretended much to Greek. Schol. in Horat. I. i. Dr. Bentley pretends, that this Pitholeon libelled Cæsar also. See notes on Hor. Sat. 10. 1. i. P.

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.

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 heroi-comical poem called the Assembly. 1726.


Ver. 43. Rhymes ere he wakes,]

"Dictates to me slumb'ring, or inspires Easy my unpremeditated Verse."

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If I dislike it, "Furies, death and rage!"
If I approve," Commend it to the Stage."
There (thank my stars) my whole commission ends,
The Play'rs and I are, luckily, no friends.
Fir'd that the house reject him, "'Sdeath, I'll print it,
And shame the Fools-Your int'rest, Sir, with Lintot."
Lintot, dull rogue! will think your price too much :
"Not, Sir, if you revise it, and retouch."
All my demurs but double his attacks ;

At last he whispers, "Do; and we go snacks."
Glad of a quarrel, straight I clap the door,
Sir, let me see your works and you no more.

'Tis sung, when Midas' Ears began to spring (Midas, a sacred person and a King),




Ver. 60 in the former Ed.

Cibber and I are, luckily, no friends.


Ver. 69. 'Tis sung, when Midas'] The abruptness with which this story from Persius is introduced, occasions an obscurity in the passage; for there is no connexion with the foregoing paragraph. Boileau says, Sat. ix. v. 221, I have nothing to do with Chapelain's honour, or candour, or civility, or complaisance; 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'est permis de le dire au papier;
J'irai creuser la terre, et comme ce barbier,

Faire dire aux roseaux par un nouvel organe,
Midas, le Roi Midas, a des oreilles d'Asne."

There is much humour in making the prying and watchful eyes of the minister, instead of the barber, first discover the ass's ears; and the word perks has particular force and emphasis. Sir Robert Walpole and Queen Caroline were here pointed at. Boileau wrote his ninth Satire first in prose; of which there was a copy in the late French King's Library.

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