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Of gentle blood (part fhed in Honour's cause, While yet in Britain Honour had applaufe,) Each parent fprung-A. What fortune, pray?P. Their own,
And better got, than Bestia's from the throne.
VER. 388. Of gentle blood] When Mr. Pope published the notes on the Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot, giving an account of his family, Mr. Pottinger, a relation of his, obferved, that his coufin Pope had made himself out a fine pedigree, but he wondered where he got it; that he had never heard any thing himself of their being defcended from the Earls of Downe; and, what is more, he had an old maiden aunt, equally related, a great genealogift, who was always talking of her family, but never mentioned this circumftance; on which the certainly would not have been filent, had fhe known any thing of it. Mr. Pope's grandfather was a clergyman of the church of England in Hampshire. He placed his fon, Mr. Pope's father, with a merchant at Lisbon, where he became a convert to Popery. (Thus far Dr. Bolton, late Dean of Carlisle, a friend of Pope; from Mr. Pottinger.) The burying-place and monuments of the family of the Popes, Earls of Downe, is at Wroxton, Oxfordshire. The Earl of Guildford fays, that he has seen and examined the pedigrees and descents of that family, and is fure that there were then none
His life, tho' long, to ficknefs past unknown,
To rock the cradle of repofing Age,
After Ver. 405. in the MS.
And of myfelf, too, fomething muft I fay?
The man whofe heart has ne'er forgot a Friend,
Or head, an Author; Critic, yet polite,
of the name of Pope left, who could be defcended from that family.(From John Loveday, of Caversham, Efquire.)
VER. 408. Me, let the tender office] Thefe exquifite lines give us a very interesting picture of the exemplary filial piety of our Author! There is a penfive and pathetic fweetnefs in the very flow of them. The eye that has been wearied and oppreffed by the harsh and auftere colouring of fome of the preceding paffages, turns away with pleasure from thefe afperities, and repofes with complacency on the foft tints of domeftic tenderness. We are naturally gratified to fee men defcending from their heights, into the familiar offices of common life; and the fenfation is the more pleafing to us, because admiration is turned into affection. In the very entertaining Memoirs of the Life of Racine (published by his fon) we find no paffage more amusing and interefting, than where that great Poet fends an excufe to Monfieur, the Duke, who had carneftly invited him to dine at the Hotel de Conde because he
Explore the thought, explain the asking eye,
And just as rich as when he ferv'd a QUEEN.
had promised to partake of a great fish that his children had got for him, and he could not think of disappointing them.
Melancthon appeared in an amiable light, when he was seen holding a book in one hand, and attentively reading, and with the other, rocking the cradle of his infant child. And we read with more fatisfaction,
παιδος ορεξάτο φαιδιμος Εκτωρ.
Αψ δ' ὁ παῖς προς κολπον ἐϋζωνοιο τιθησης
than we do,
Τρις μεν ορεξάτ ιων το δε τέτρατον σκετο τεκμωρ
VER. 409. To rock the cradle] This tender image is from the Effays of Montaign. Mr. Gray was equally remarkable for af. fectionate attention to his aged mother; fo was Ariofto. Pope's mother was a fifter of Cooper's wife, the very celebrated miniature painter. Lord Carleton had a portrait of Cooper, in crayons, which Mrs. Pope faid was not very like; and which, defcending to Lord Burlington, was given by his Lordship to Kent. " I have a drawing," fays Mr. Walpole, " of Pope's father, as he lay dead in his bed, by his brother-in-law, Cooper." It was Mr. Pope's. Anecdotes of Painting, vol. iii. p. 115.
VER. 417. And just as rich as when he ferv'd a QUEEN.] An honeft compliment to his Friend's real and unaffected difinterestednefs, when he was the favourite Phyfician of Queen Anne.