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And now this incomparable Poem, which holds fo much of the DRAMA, and opens with all the disorder and vexation that every kind of impertinence and flander could occafion, concludes with the utmost calmnefs and ferenity, in the retired enjoyment of all the tender offices of FRIENDSHIP and PIETY (ver. 387 to the End). WARBURTON.
In this kind of writing, Pope is unrivalled; the Imitation has all the air of an original, and is at once lively, pointed, and happy.
One Imitation from Horace has been, for obvious reasons, rejected. I must ever feel regret, that my late refpected master was fo inconfiderate as to admit it in his Edition. Pope certainly
never owned it. How indeed could he own a production written in his earlier day, which "called virtue, hypocrite ;" and was doubly odious, as coming from a man who profeffed, with such parade,
"In virtue's cause to draw the Pen!"
It were also to be wished, that charity had induced him a moment to paufe, before he published fome lines, which no provocation from woman to man could justify: I need not point them out. Let us alfo remember, that Satire in verfe must be deliberate, and therefore is lefs excufable. I am not attempting to plead the cause of affected candour; but of those feelings, which distinguish the man, and the gentleman.
PROLOGUE TO THE SATIRES.
Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand,
VER. 1. Shut, Shut the door, good John!] John Searl, his old and faithful fervant; whom he has remembered, under that character, in his Will: of whofe fidelity Dodfley, from his own observation, used to mention many pleafing inftances. His wife was living at Ecclefhall, 1783, ninety years old, and knew many anecdotes of Pope. WARTON.
VER. 1. Shut, but the door,] This abrupt exordium is animated and dramatic. Our Poet, wearied with the impertinence and flander of a multitude of mean fcriblers that attacked him, suddenly breaks out with this fpirited complaint of the ill-ufage he had sustained. This piece was published in the year 1734, in the form of an Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot: It is now given as a Dialogue, in which a very small share indeed is allotted to his friend. Arbuthnot was a man of confummate probity, integrity, and sweetness of temper: he had infinitely more learning than Pope or Swift, and as much wit and humour as either of them. He was an excellent mathematician and phyfician, of which his letter on the Ufeful
What walls can guard me, or what shades can hide? They pierce my Thickets, through my Grot they glide,
By land, by water, they renew the charge,
They stop the chariot, and they board the barge. 10
Is there a Parfon much be-mus'd in beer,
nefs of Mathematical Learning, and his Treatife on Air and Aliment, are fufficient proofs. His tables of ancient coins, weights, and measures, are the work of a man intimately acquainted with ancient history and literature, and are enlivened with many curious and interesting particulars of the manners and ways of living of the ancients. The Hiftory of John Bull, the best parts of the Memoirs of Scriblerus, the Art of Political Lying, the Freeholder's Catechifm, It cannot rain but it pours, &c. abound in ftrokes of the most exquifite humour. It is known that he gave numberless hints to Swift, and Pope, and Gay, of fome of the most striking parts of their works. He was fo neglectful of his writings that his children tore his manufcripts and made paper-kites of them. Few letters in the English language are fo interefting, and contain fuch marks of Chriftian refignation and calmnefs of mind, as one that he wrote to Swift a little before his death, and is inferted in the third volume of Letters, p. 157. He frequently, and ably, and warmly, in many converfations, defended the caufe of revelation against the attacks of Bolingbroke and Chesterfield.
VER. 13. Mint] A place to which infolvent debtors retired, to enjoy an illegal protection, which they were there fuffered to afford to one another, from the perfecution of their creditors.
A Clerk, foredoom'd his father's foul to cross,
Arthur, whofe giddy fon neglects the Laws,
And curfes Wit, and Poetry, and Pope.
Friend to my life! (which did not you prolong, The world had wanted many an idle fong)
After Ver. 20 in the MS.
Is there a Bard in durance? turn them free,
Dear Doctor, tell me, is not this a curfe?
Say, is their anger, or their friendship worse?
VER. 15. Is there a Parfon] Some lines in this Epiftle to Arbuthnot had been used in a letter to Thomson when he was in Italy, and transferred from him to Arbuthnot, which naturally displeased the former, though they lived always on terms of civility and friendship and Pope earnestly exerted himfelf, and ufed all his interest to promote the fuccefs of Thomson's Agamemnon, and attended the first night of its being performed. WARTON. VER. 20. defp'rate charcoal] The idea is from Boileau's art. of Poetry" Charbonner les murailes.”
VER. 23. Arthur,] Arthur Moore, Efq.
What Drop or Noftrum can this plague remove?
Or which must end me, a Fool's wrath or love? 301
If foes, they write, if friends, they read me dead.
With honest anguish, and an aching head;
VER. 33. Seiz'd and ty'd down to judge,] Alluding to the scene in the Plain-Dealer, where Oldfox gags, and ties down the Widow, to hear his well-penn'd ftanzas. Warburton. Rather from Horace; vide his Drufo. WARTON.
VER. 28. an aching head;] Alluding to the diforder he was then fo conftantly afflicted with. WARBURTON.
VER. 40. "Keep your piece nine years."] Boileau employed eleven years in his fhort fatire of L'Equivoque. Patru was four years altering and correcting the first paragraph of his tranflation of the oration for Archias.
VER. 43. Rhymes ere he wakes,]
"Dictates to me flumb'ring, or infpires Eafy my unpremeditated Verfe."