Page images

Sometimes with Aristippus, or St. Paul,
Indulge my candor, and grow all to all;
Back to my native moderation slide,
And win my way by yielding to the tide.


In the second, read the following lines thus:

'Auspicious Pan, the monarch of the plain,
Shall come a suitor for his favourite swain,
For him, their loved musician, every fawn,
For him each blooming sister of the lawn.'

"In the third, instead of ' And fills with frantic pains, &c.'
'And blackens each fair image in our breast.'

"Again, instead of Pleased by not studying, &c.'

[ocr errors]

'He pleased, because he studied not to please.'


Perhaps, too, the verses would run better, if, instead of 'A town with spiring towers is crown'd;' you were to put, with spiring turrets crown'd;' but then the verb 'is' must be understood.

"I do not know whether you will not have reason to think I am too solicitous about those trifles, by my giving you the trouble to alter them; but I would have them appear in as good a dress as possible, for fear of their being a disgrace to the persons I have addressed them to. My father and mother desire their compliments. I am, with great respect and truth, your most obliged humble servant, "G. LYTTELTON."


I have admitted this as a circumstance connected with literature and with Pope. Ver. 31. Aristippus, or St. Paul,] There is an impropriety and indecorum, in joining the name of the most profligate parasite of the court of Dionysius, with that of an Apostle. In a few lines before, the name of Montaigne is not sufficiently contrasted by the name of Locke; the place required that two philosophers, holding very different tenets, should have been introduced. Hobbes might have been opposed to Hutcheson. I know not why he omitted a strong sentiment that follows immediately:

"Et mihi res, non me rebus, subjungere conor;"

which line Corneille took for his motto.


Ut nox longa, quibus mentitur amica; diesque Lenta videtur opus debentibus; ut piger annus Pupillis, quos dura premit custodia matrum: Sic mihi tarda 'fluunt ingrataque tempora, quæ


Consiliumque morantur agendi gnaviter 'id, quod
Equè pauperibus prodest, locupletibus æquè,
Æquè neglectum pueris, senibusque nocebit.
'Restat, ut his ego me ipse regam "solerque

"Non possis oculo quantum contendere Lynceus;
Non tamen idcirco contemnas lippus inungi:
Nec, quia desperes invicti membra Glyconis,
Nodosâ corpus nolis prohibere chiragrâ.
Est quadam prodire 'tenus, si non datur ultrà.

'Fervet Avaritiâ, miseroque cupidine pectus ? Sunt verba et voces, quibus hunc lenire dolorem Possis, et magnam morbi deponere partem.


Ver. 51. I'll do what Mead] Mr. Pope highly esteemed and loved this worthy man; whose unaffected humanity and benevolence have stifled much of that envy which his eminence in his profession would otherwise have drawn out. Speaking of his obligations to this great physician and others of the faculty, in a letter to Mr. Allen, about a month before his death, he says: "There is no end of my kind treatment from the faculty. They are in general the most amiable companions, and the best friends, as well as the most learned men I know." Warburton.

Ver. 51. Cheselden] Of the friendship which Pope entertained for Cheselden, many instances appear in his correspondence. Pray," says Swift in a letter to Pope, "put me out of fear as soon as you can, about that report of your illness, and let me know who this Cheselden is, that hath so lately sprung up in your


'Long as to him who works for debt, the day, 35 Long as the night to her whose love's away, Long as the year's dull circle seems to run, When the brisk minor pants for twenty-one; So slow the 'unprofitable moments roll, That lock up all the functions of my soul; That keep me from myself, and still delay Life's instant business to a future day: That 'task, which as we follow, or despise, The eldest is a fool, the youngest wise;


Which done, the poorest can no wants endure; 45 And which not done, the richest must be poor. 'Late as it is, I put myself to school, And feel some "comfort, not to be a fool. "Weak though I am of limb, and short of sight, Far from a lynx, and not a giant quite, I'll do what Mead and Cheselden advise,

[ocr errors]


To keep these limbs, and to preserve these eyes.
Not to go back, is somewhat to advance,
And men must walk at least before they dance.
Say, does thy 'blood rebel, thy bosom move 55
With wretched avarice, or as wretched love?
Know, there are words and spells, which can con-

Between the fits, this fever of the soul;


favour." Pope replies: "I wondered a little at your quære, who Cheselden was? It shews that the truest merit does not travel so far any way as on the wings of poetry. He is the most noted and most deserving man in the whole profession of chirurgery, &c."


Laudis amore tumes? Sunt certa piacula, quæ te Ter purè lecto poterunt recreare libello.

Invidus, iracundus, iners, vinosus, amator; Nemo adeò ferus est, ut non mitescere possit, Si modò culturæ patientem commodet aurem. Virtus est vitium fugere; et sapientia prima, Stultitiâ caruisse. Vides, quæ 'maxima credis Esse mala, exiguum censum, turpemque repulsam, Quanto devites animi capitisque labore. Impiger extremos curris mercator ad Indos, Per 'mare pauperiem fugiens, per saxa, per ignes: Ne cures ea, quæ stultè miraris et optas, Discere, et audire, et meliori credere non vis? Quis circum pagos et circum compita pugnax, Magna coronari contemnat Olympia, cui spes, Cui sit conditio dulcis sine pulvere palmæ? "Vilius est auro argentum, virtutibus aurum. O cives, cives! quærenda pecunia primùm est; Virtus post nummos:" hæc 'Janus summus ab imo Perdocet: hæc recinunt juvenes dictata senesque,


Ver. 65. to abhor;-more.] Dr. King informed me that these were two of the rhymes to which Swift, who was scrupulously exact in this respect, used to object, as he frequently did to some others in Pope; and particularly to two in the Essay on Criticism, Verse 237, where delight is made to rhyme to wit; and to many in his Homer. Warton.

Ver. 70. Scared at the spectre] Pope has given life to the image, and added terror to the simple expression, Pauperiem. Bolingbroke translated this passage in Horace, in about twenty-six lines, and sent them to Swift in a letter, dated March 16, 1719. But a poor performance. Pope has omitted the Olympian games.



Know, there are rhymes, which fresh and fresh


Will cure the arrantest puppy of his pride.

Be 'furious, envious, slothful, mad, or drunk,


[ocr errors]

Slave to a wife, or vassal to a punk,


A Switz, a High-Dutch, or a Low-Dutch bear;
All that we ask is but a patient ear.
'Tis the first virtue, vices to abhor;

And the first wisdom, to be fool no more.
But to the world no 'bugbear is so great,
As want of figure, and a small estate.

To either India see the merchant fly,


Scared at the spectre of pale poverty!



See him, with pains of body, pangs of soul,


Burn through the tropic, freeze beneath the pole!
Wilt thou do nothing for a nobler end,
Nothing to make philosophy thy friend?
To stop thy foolish views, thy long desires,
And ease thy heart of all that it admires?
Here, Wisdom calls: "Seek virtue first, be bold!
As gold to silver, virtue is to gold."

There, London's voice: "Get money, money still!
And then let virtue follow, if she will."

This, this the saving doctrine, preach'd to all,
From 'low St. James's up to high St. Paul;



Ver. 77. Here, Wisdom calls: &c.] All from hence to Ver. 110, is a pretty close translation; but in general done with so masterly a spirit, that the original, though one of the most finished passages in Horace, looks only like the imitation of it. Warburton.

Ver. 78. As gold to silver, virtue is to gold.] This perhaps is the most faulty line in the whole collection. The original is,


« PreviousContinue »