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WRITTEN IN MDCCXXXVIII.
FR. NOT twice a twelvemonth you appear in Print, And when it comes, the Court fee nothing in't.
After Ver. 2. in the MS.
You don't, I hope, pretend to quit the trade,
VER. 1. Not twice a twelvemonth, &c.] Thefe two lines are from Horace; and the only lines that are fo in the whole Poem; being meant to give a handle to that which follows in the character of an impertinent Cenfurer,
""Tis all from Horace," &c.
By long habit of writing, and almost constantly in one fort of measure, he had now arrived at a happy and elegant familiarity of
You grow correct that once with Rapture writ,
ftyle, without flatnefs. The fatire in these pieces is of the strongest kind; fometimes, direct and declamatory, at others, ironical and oblique. It must be owned to be carried to excefs. Our country is reprefented as totally ruined, and overwhelmed with diffipation, depravity, and corruption. Yet this very country, so emafculated and debased by every fpecies of folly and wickedness, in about twenty years afterwards, carried its triumphs over all its enemies, through all the quarters of the world, and astonished the most diftant nations with a difplay of uncommon efforts, abilities, and virtue. So vain and groundlefs are the prognoftications of poets, as well as politicians. It is to be wifhed, that a genius could be found to write an One Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty-one, as a counter-part to these two Dialogues, which were more diligently laboured, and more frequently corrected than any of our Author's compofitions. I have often heard Mr. Dodfley say, that he was employed by the Author to copy them fairly. Every line was then written twice over; a clean tranfcript was then delivered to Mr. Pope, and when he afterwards fent it to Mr. Dodsley to be printed, he found every line had been written twice over a second time. Swift tells our Author, thefe Dialogues are equal, if not fuperior, to any part of his works. They are, in truth, more Horatian than the profeffed Imitations of Horace. They at first were intitled, from the year in which they were published, One Thoufand Seven Hundred and Thirty-eight. They were afterwards called, fantaftically enough, Epilogue to the Satires, as the Epiftle to Arbuthnot was intitled Prologue to the Satires. It is remarkable that the first was published the very fame morning with Johnfon's admirable London; which Pope much approved, and fearched diligently for the Author, who lived then in obscurity. London had a fecond edition in a week. Pope has himself given more notes and illuftrations on thefe Dialogues than on any other of his poems.
VER. 2. See nothing in't.] He used this colloquial (I will not fay barbarifm, but) abbreviation, to imitate familiar converfation.
'Tis all from Horace; Horace long before ye
Said, "Tories call'd him Whig, and Whigs a
And taught his Romans, in much better metre,
VER. 9, 10. And taught his Romans in much better metre, "To laugh at Fools who put their truft in Peter."] The general turn of the thought is from Boileau, "Avant lui, Juvénal avoit dit en Latin, Qu'on eft affis à l'aise aux fermons de Cotin."
VER. 12. Bubo obferves,] Some guilty person, very fond of making fuch an observation.
Bubo is faid to mean Mr. Doddington, afterward Lord Melcombe.
VER. 13. Horace would fay,] The bufinefs of the friend here introduced is to diffuade our Poet from perfonal invectives. But he dexterously turns the very advice he is giving into the bitterest fatire. Sir Billy was Sir William Young, who, from a great fluency, was often employed to make long speeches till the minifter's friends were collected in the House.
VER. 15. In Sappho touch] In former Editions,
Sir George of fome flight gallantries fufpect.
VER. 14. H-ggins] Formerly Gaoler of the Fleet prison, enriched himself by many exactions, for which he was tried and expelled. P.
He was the father of the Author of the abfurd and profaïc Translation of Ariosto; an account of him is given in the Anecdotes of Hogarth.
And own, the Spaniard did a waggish thing,
Could please at Court, and make AUGUSTUS fmile:
P. See Sir ROBERT!-hum
And never laugh-for all my life to come?
After Ver. 26. in the MS.
There's honeft Tacitus * once talk'd as big,
* Mr. Thomas Gordon, who was bought off by a place at Court.
VER. 18. Who cropt our Ears,] Said to be executed by the Captain of a Spanish ship on one Jenkins, a Captain of an English one. He cut off his ears, and bid him carry them to the King his master. P.
VER. 22. Screen.]
"Omne vafer vitium ridenti Flaccus amico Tangit, et admiffus circum præcordia ludit." PERS. A metaphor peculiarly appropriated to a certain perfon in P.
VER. 24. Patriots there are, &c.] This appellation was generally given to thofe in oppofition to the Court. Though fome of them (which our Author hints at) had views too mean and interested to deferve that name. P.
VRR. 26. The Great man] A phrase, by common use, appropriated to the firft Minifter.