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Cloe is prudent-Would you too be wise?
Then never break your heart when Cloe dies. 180
Which Heav'n has varnish'd out, and made a Queen:
We owe to models of an humble kind.
If QUEENSBERRY to strip there's no compelling,
To draw the Man who loves his God, or King :
After Ver. 198 in the MS.
Fain I'd in Fulvia spy the tender Wife;
I cannot prove it on her,
Thus while immortal Cibber only sings
Ver. 180. when Cloe dies.] This highly-finished portrait was intended for Lady Suffolk, with whom, at the time he wrote it, he
But grant, in Public, Men sometimes are shown, A Woman's seen in private Life alone: Our bolder Talents in full light display'd; Your Virtues open fairest in the shade.
Bred to disguise, in Public 'tis you hide;
There, none distinguish 'twixt your Shame or Pride,
lived in a state of intimacy. At ver. 178 he alludes to a particular circumstance: Pope, being at dinner with her, heard her order her footman to put her in mind to send to know how Mrs. Blount, who was ill, had passed the night.
Ver. 190. conceals:] A bad rhyme to swells. Such blemishes should be noted.
Ver. 198. Mah'met, servant to the late King, said to be the son of a Turkish Bassa, whom he took at the siege of Buda, and constantly kept about his person. P.
Ver. 198. Dr. Stephen Hale; not more estimable for his useful discoveries as a natural Philosopher, than for his exemplary life and pastoral charity as a parish priest. W.
Ver. 199. But grant, in Public, &c.] In the former Editions, between this and the foregoing lines, a want of Connexion might be perceived, occasioned by the omission of certain Examples and Illustrations to the Maxims laid down; and though some of these have since been found, viz. the Characters of Philomedé, Atossa, Cloe, and some verses following, others are still wanting, nor can we answer that these are exactly inserted. P.
Ver. 201. light display'd ;] That is, are displayed.
Ver. 202. Your Virtues open] To balance the many severe things our Author has said of Women in this Epistle, I cannot forbear adding a passage from a writer who has been usually thought by no means a friend to the fair sex. And it may occasion surprise to find such a passage from Dean Swift. degeneracy of conversation, with the pernicious consequences thereof upon our humours and dispositions, hath been owing, among other causes, to the custom arisen, for some time past, of excluding women from any share in our society, farther than in parties at play, or dancing, or in the pursuit of an amour. I take the highest period of Politeness in England (and it is of
Weakness or Delicacy; all so nice,
Ver. 207 in the first Edition,
In sev'ral Men, we sev'ral Passions find;
the same date in France) to have been the peaceable part of King Charles the First's reign; and from what we read of those times, as well as from the accounts I have formerly met with from some who lived in that court, the methods then used for raising and cultivating conversation were altogether different from ours; several ladies, whom we find celebrated by the poets of that age, had assemblies at their houses, where persons of the best understanding, and of both sexes, met to pass the evenings in discoursing upon whatever agreeable subjects were occasionally started; and although we are apt to ridicule the sublime platonic notions they had, or personated, in love and friendship, I conceive their refinements were grounded upon reason, and that a little grain of the romance is no ill ingredient to preserve and exalt the dignity of human nature, without which it is apt to degenerate into every thing that is sordid, vicious, and low. If there were no other use in the conversation of ladies, it is sufficient that it would lay a restraint upon those odious topics of immodesty and indecencies into which the rudeness of our northern genius is so apt to fall."
Ver. 203. Bred to disguise, in Public 'tis you hide ;] There is something apparently exceptionable in the turn of this assertion, which makes their disguising in public the natural effect of their being bred to disguise: but if we consider that female education is the art of teaching, not to be but to appear, we shall have no reason to find fault with the exactness of the expression. W.
Ver. 207. The former part having shewn, that the particular Characters of Women are more various than those of Men, it is nevertheless observed, that the general Characteristic of the sex, as to the ruling Passion, is more uniform. P.
Ver. 208. In Women, two] I cannot think our Author would
Those, only fix'd, they first or last obey,
The Love of Pleasure, and the Love of Sway. 210
Men, some to Bus'ness, some to Pleasure take; But ev'ry Woman is at heart a Rake : Men, some to Quiet, some to public Strife; But ev'ry Lady would be Queen for Life.
Yet mark the fate of a whole sex of Queens! Pow'r all their end, but Beauty all the means: 220 In Youth they conquer, with so wild a rage, As leaves them scarce a subject in their Age:
suffer by a minute comparison of this Epistle with the most shining and applauded morsels of the tenth satire of Boileau, which undoubtedly are his portraits of the affected female Pedant, ver. 439. The Gamester, ver. 215. His Jealous Lady, ver. 378. The Haughty Lady of Family, ver. 470. And above all, what Boileau himself valued most, the Devout Lady and her Director, ver. 558. Boileau was severely attacked for this epistle by Perrault; but was powerfully defended by the great Arnauld, a rigid moralist, and also by La Bruyere.
Ver. 211. This is occasioned partly by their Nature, partly by their Education, and in some degree by Necessity. P.
Ver. 216. But ev'ry Woman is at heart a Rake:] This line has given offence: but in behalf of the Poet we may observe, that what he says amounts only to this, "Some men take to business, some to pleasure; but every woman would willingly make pleasure her business;" which being the proper periphrasis of a Rake, he uses that word, but of course includes in it no more of the Rake's ill qualities than is implied in this definition, of one who makes pleasure her business. W.
Ver. 219. What are the Aims and the Fate of this sex.-I. As to power. P.
For foreign glory, foreign joy, they roam;
Beauties, like Tyrants, old and friendless grown,
Worn out in public, weary ev'ry eye,
Nor leave one sigh behind them when they die. 230
Still out of reach, yet never out of view;
At last, to follies Youth could scarce defend, 235
Ver. 229. Worn out in public,] Copied from Young, Satire 5. written eight years before this Epistle appeared;
"Worn in the public eye, give cheap delight
To throngs, and tarnish to the sated sight."
Ver. 231.II. As to Pleasure.
Ver. 234. To covet flying,] It is impossible not to recollect the witty simile of Young, Sat. 5.
"Pleasures are few, and fewer we enjoy ;