Page images

P. So proud, I am no Slave:

So impudent, I own myself no knave:


So odd, my Country's Ruin makes me grave.
Yes, I am proud; I must be proud to fee
Men not afraid of God, afraid of me:
Safe from the Bar, the Pulpit, and the Throne,
Yet touch'd and sham'd by Ridicule alone.

O facred weapon! left for Truth's defence,
Sole Dread of Folly, Vice, and Infolence!
To all but Heav'n-directed hands deny'd,


The Mufe may give thee, but the Gods muft guide: Rev'rent I touch thee! but with honeft zeal ; 216 To roufe the Watchmen of the public Weal,

VER. 208. Yes, I am proud; etc.] In this ironical exultation the Poet infinuates a fubject of the deepest humiliation.

VER. 211. Yet touch'd and sham'd by Ridicule alone.] The Paffions are given us to awaken and fupport Virtue. But they frequently betray their truft, and go over to the interefts of Vice. Ridicule, when employed in the cause of Virtue, fhames and brings them back to their duty. Hence the use and importance of Satire.

VER. 14. To all but Heav'n-directed hands] " The Citizen "(says Plato, in his fifth book of Laws) who does no injury 66 to any one, without question, merits our esteem. He, who, "" not content with being barely just himself, opposes the "course of injustice, by profecuting it before the Magistrate, "merits our esteem vaftly more. The firft difcharges the "duty of a fingle Citizen: but the other does the office of a

Body. But he whofe zeal stops not here, but proceeds to << ASSIST THE MAGISTRATE IN PUNISHING is the most "valuable bleffing of Society. This is the PERFECT

[ocr errors]

CITIZEN, to whom we should adjudge the prize of Virtue."


To Virtue's work provoke the tardy Hall,
And goad the Prelate flumb'ring in his Stall.
Ye tinfel Infects! whom a Court maintains,
That counts your Beauties only by your Stains,
Spin all your Cobwebs o'er the Eye of Day!
The Mufe's wing shall brush you all away:
All his Grace preaches, all his Lordship fings,
All that makes Saints of Queens, and Gods of Kings.
All, all but Truth, drops dead-born from the Preís,
Like the last Gazette, or the last Addrefs.

When black Ambition stains a public Cause,
A Monarch's Sword when mad Vain-glory draws,
Not Waller's Wreath can hide the Nation's Scar,
Nor Boileau turn the Feather to a Star.


After ver. 227. in the MS.

Where's now the Star that lighted Charles to rife?
---With that which follow'd Julius to the skies.
Angels, that watch'd the Royal Oak so well,
How chanc'd ye nod, when luckless Sorel fell?
Hence, lying miracles! reduc'd fo low
As to the regal-touch, and papal-toe;
Hence haughty Edgar's title to the Main,

Britain's to France, and thine to India, Spain?



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 fun.

VER. 228. When black Ambition, etc.]The cafe of Cromwell in the civil war of England; and (ver. 229.) of Louis XIV.' in his conqueft of the Low Countries.

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

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,
And opes the Temple of Eternity.

There, other Trophies deck the truly brave,
Than fuch as Anstis cafts into the Grave;
Far other Stars than * and ** wear,



And may defcend to Mordington from STAIR:
(Such as on HOUGH's unfully'd Mitre shine,
Or beam, good DIGBY, from a heart like thine)
Let Envy bowl, while Heav`n's whole Chorus fings,
And bark at Honour not confer'd by Kings;
Let Flatt'ry fick'ning fee the Incense rise,

Sweet to the World, and grateful to the Skies: 245
Truth guards the Poet, fanctifies the line,

And makes immortal, Verfe as mean as mine.

"à fon Chapeau, et qui eft en effet une efpece de Comete, fatale a nos ennemis."

VER. 237. Anftis] The chief Herald at arms. It is the cuftom, at the funeral of great peers, to caft into the grave the broken staves and enfigns of honour.

VER. 239. Stair ;] John Dalrymple Earl of Stair, Knight of the Thiftle; ferved in all the wars under the Duke of Marlborough; and afterwards as Embaffador in France.

VER. 240, 241. Hough and Digby] Dr. John Hough Bishop 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 caufe of that King. Both acting out of principle, and equally men of honour and virtue.

Yes, the last Pen for Freedom let me draw, When Truth ftands trembling on the edge of Law; Here, Last of Britons ? let your Names be read ; 250 Are none, none living ? let me praise the Dead, And for that Cause which made

Fathers shine, Fall by the Votes of their degen’rate Line. Fr. Alas! alas ! pray


end what you began, And write next winter more Essays on Man. 255

VER. 255. in the MS.

Quit, quit these themes, and write Eflays on Man.

Ver. ult.] This was the last poem of the kind printed by our author, with a resolution to publish no more ; but to enter thus, in the most plain and solemn manner he could, a sort of PROTEST against that insuperable corruption and depravity of manners, which he had been so unhappy as to live to see. Could he have hoped to have amended any, he had continued those attacks; but bad men were grown so Mameless and so powerful, that Ridicule was become as unsafe as it was ineffectual. The Poem raised him, as he knew it would, fome enemies; but he had reason to be satisfied with the approbation of good men, and the tefti. mony of his own conscience,



Receiving from the Right Hon. the Lady




'ES, I beheld th' Athenian Queen Defcend in all her fober charms; "And take (fhe faid, and fmil'd ferene) "Take at this hand celeftial arms:

"Secure the radiant weapons wield;
"This golden lance fhall guard Desert,

"And if a Vice dares keep the field,
"This fteel fhall ftab it to the heart."

Aw'd on my

bended knees I fell,

Receiv'd the weapons of the sky;

And dipt them in the fable Well,

The fount of Fame or Infamy.

The Lady Frances Shirley] A Lady whofe great Merit Mr. Pope took a real pleasure to celebrate.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »