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And great Nassau to Kneller's hand decreed
One knighted Blackmore, and one pension'd
Which made old Ben and surly Dennis swear, 'No Lord's anointed, but a Russian bear.'
Not with such majesty, such bold relief, The forms august of king or conquering chief E'er swell'd on marble, as in verse have shined (In polish'd verse) the manners and the mind. O, could I mount on the Mæonian wing,
Your arms, your actions, your repose to sing! 395 What seas you traversed, and what fields you fought!
Your country's peace, how oft, how dearly bought!
choly fate, is not easily comprehended. It is much more probable, that the artist, accustomed to the study of the human features, saw in the countenance of the future victim of faction that feebleness of temperament, and indecision of purpose, which were the true causes of his ruin.
390 Not with such majesty. The close of this poem is a tissue of angry reflections on royal patronage. Pope should have disdained such querulousness, and enjoyed himself in the knowlege that his genius placed him above the necessity of protection by any rank. Pensions for literature may be important to the character of kings, as a proof that they have the taste or the wisdom to honor the great source of national civilisation; but the writer who feels no dignity in independence can derive no fame from a pension. The craving for ribands and orders belongs to the Continent: no decoration on the coat can add true honor to the man of learning, genius, or virtue. Yet those who are fond of factitious honor will crave alike in every land.
How barbarous rage subsided at your word,
And nations wonder'd while they dropp'd the sword!
How, when you nodded, o'er the land and deep, Peace stole her wing, and wrapp'd the world in sleep;
Till earth's extremes your mediation own,
And I'm not used to panegyric strains:
But most of all the zeal of fools in rhyme.
THE SECOND EPISTLE
SECOND BOOK OF HORACE.
THIS Epistle is addressed to colonel Cotterell, of Rousham, near Oxford, the descendant of sir Charles Cotterell, who, at the desire of Charles I., translated Davila into English. Pope in this poem once more gracefully alludes to his personal circumstances, his self-taught knowlege, his love of a country life, his indifference to wealth, and the resignation with which he was prepared to give up the great world and life together.
DEAR Colonel, Cobham's and your country's friend,
4 This lad, sir, is of Blois. A town in Beauce, where the French tongue is spoken in great purity.-Warburton.
A perfect genius at an opera-song:
To say too much might do my honor wrong.
His whole ambition was to serve a lord:
But, sir, to you, with what would I not part? 15
Once, and but once, I caught him in a lie,
If, after this, you took the graceless lad,
Consider then, and judge me in this light:
In Anna's wars, a soldier poor and old
24 Sir Godfrey. Kneller, whom Pope pleasantly describes as an eminent justice of peace, who decided much after the manner of Sancho Panza.'
He leap'd the trenches, scaled a castle-wall, Tore down a standard, took the fort and all. 'Prodigious well!' his great commander cried; Gave him much praise, and some reward beside. Next pleased his excellence a town to batter: (Its name I know not, and 'tis no great matter) 45 Go on, my friend,' he cried; see yonder
Advance and conquer! go where glory calls!
55 To know the good from bad. The original, 'curvo dignoscere rectum,' produces some critical skirmishing. Dacier pronounces it to mean, the study of geometry; Warton pronounces Dacier's meaning to be absurd; Wakefield pronounces that Pope was wrong, and Warton puzzled ; and repeats, with Dacier, that the true purport is,-' to distinguish a right line from a curve,' geometry being one of the preliminary studies of the Academy.
57 In Maudlin's learned grove. Pope had a partiality for this college in Oxford, in which he had spent many agreeable days with his friend Mr. Digby, who provided rooms for him at that college. Warton.
59 Deprived us soon. The apologies of the original for the