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Aut, si tantus amor scribendi te rapit, aude
H. Cupidum, pater optime, vires
Scipiadam ut sapiens Lucilius.
H. Haud mihi deero,
Ver. 23. What? like Sir Richard, &c.] Mr. Molyneux, a great mathematician and philosopher, had a high opinion of Sir Richard Blackmore's poetic vein. All our English poets, except Milton, (says he, in a letter to Mr. Locke,) have been mere ballad-makers in comparison of him. And Mr. Locke, in answer to this observation, replies: I find, with pleasure, a strange harmony throughout, between your thoughts and mine. Just so, a Roman lawyer, and a Greek historian, thought of the poetry of Cicero. But these being judgments made by men out of their own profession, are little regarded. And Pope and Juvenal will make Blackmore and Tully pass for poetasters to the world's end. Warburton.
Pope has turned the compliment to Augustus into a severe sarAll the wits seem to have leagued against Sir Richard Blackmore. In a letter now lying before me from Elijah Fenton to my father, dated Jan. 24, 1707, he says: "I am glad to hear Mr. Phillips will publish his Pomona. Who prints it? I shall be mightily obliged to you if you could get me a copy of his verses against Blackmore." As the letter contains one or two literary particulars, I will transcribe the rest. As "to what you write about making a collection, I can only advise you to buy what poems you can, that Tonson has printed, except the Ode to the Sun; unless you will take it in, because I writ it; which I am freer to own, that Mat. Prior may not suffer in his reputation by having it ascribed to him. My humble service to Mr. Sacheverell,
'Or, if you needs must write, write CESAR's praise, "You'll gain at least a knighthood, or the bays. P. What? like Sir Richard, rumbling, rough,
With ARMS, and GEORGE, and BRUNSWICK Crowd
Rend with tremendous sound your ears asunder, 25 With gun, drum, trumpet, blunderbuss, and thunder?
Or nobly wild, with Budgell's fire and force,
and tell him, I will never imitate Milton more, till the author of Blenheim is forgotten." In vain was Blackmore extolled by Molyneux and Locke: but Locke, to his other superior talents, did not add good taste. He affected to despise poetry, and he depreciated the ancients: which circumstance, as I was informed by the late Mr. James Harris, his relation, was the source of perpetual discontent and dispute betwixt him and his pupil Lord Shaftesbury; who, in many parts of his Characteristics, and Letters to a Clergyman, has ridiculed Locke's selfish philosophy, and has represented him as a disciple of Hobbes; from which writer it must in truth be confessed that Locke borrowed frequently and largely. Locke had not the fine taste of a greater philosopher, I mean Galileo, who wrote a comment on Ariosto, full of just criticism, and whose letter to Fr. Rinuccini on this subject may be seen in Martinelli's Letters, p. 255. London, 1758. Warton.
Ver. 28. falling horse?] The horse on which his Majesty charged at the battle of Oudenard; when the Pretender, and the princes of the blood of France, fled before him. Warburton.
Cum res ipsa feret: 'nisi dextro tempore, Flacci Verba per attentam non ibunt Cæsaris aurem : Cui malè si palpere, recalcitrat undique tutus.
T. "Quantò rectius hoc, quàm tristi lædere versu Pantolabum scurram, Nomentanumque nepotem! "Cùm sibi quisque timet, quanquam est intactus, et odit.
H. Quid faciam? saltat Milonius, ut semel icto Accessit fervor capiti, numerusque lucernis. PCastor gaudet equis; ovo prognatus eodem, Pugnis. Quot capitum vivunt, totidem studiorum
Ver. 39. Abuse the city's best good men in metre,] The best good man, a city phrase for the richest. Metre-not used here purely to help the verse, but to shew what it is a citizen esteems the greatest aggravation of the offence. Warburton.
Ver. 42. What should ail 'em?] Horace hints at one reason, that each fears his own turn may be next; his imitator gives another, and with more art, a reason which insinuates, that his very lenity, in using feigned names, increases the number of his enemies, who suspect they may be included under that cover. Warburton.
Ver. 45. Each mortal] These words, indeed, open the sense of Horace; but the quid faciam is better, as it leaves it to the reader to discover, what is one of Horace's greatest beauties, his secret and delicate transitions and connexions, to which those who do not carefully attend, lose half the pleasure of reading him.
Ver. 46. Darty his ham-pie;] This lover of ham-pie owned the fidelity of the Poet's pencil, and said he had done justice to his taste; but that if, instead of ham-pie, he had given him sweet-pie, he never could have pardoned him. Warburton.
Lyttelton, in his Dialogues of the Dead, has introduced Darteneuf, in a pleasant discourse betwixt him and Apicius, bitterly lamenting his ill fortune in having lived before turtle feasts were known in England. The story of the ham-pie was confirmed by
P. 'Alas! few verses touch their nicer ear;
They scarce can bear their Laureat twice a year ; And justly CESAR scorns the poet's lays;
It is to history he trusts for praise.
F. Better be Cibber, I'll maintain it still, Than ridicule all taste, blaspheme quadrille, Abuse the City's best good men in metre, And laugh at peers that put their trust in Peter. 40 "Even those you touch not, hate you.
P. What should ail 'em?
F. A hundred smart in Timon and in Balaam : The fewer still you name, you wound the more ; Bond is but one, but Harpax is a score.
P. Each mortal has his pleasure: none deny 45 Scarsdale his bottle, Darty his ham-pie;
Ridotta sips and dances, till she see
The doubling lustres dance as fast as she;
loves the Senate, Hockley-hole his brother,
Like in all else as one egg to another.
Mr. Dodsley, who knew Darteneuf, and, as he candidly owned, had waited on him at dinner.
Ver. 50. Like in all else,] This parallel is not happy and exact. To shew the variety of hurnan passions and pursuits, Castor and Pollux were unlike, even though they came from one and the same egg. This is far more extraordinary and marvellous than that two common brothers should have different inclinations. And afterwards, ver. 51,
"I love to pour out all myself, as plain
As downright SHIPPEN, or as old MONTAIGNE."
My chief pleasure is to write satires like Lucilius," says Horace. "My chief pleasure," says Pope, "is-what? to speak my mind freely and openly." There should have been an instance of some employment, and not a virtuous habit. Warburton.
Millia: me pedibus delectat claudere verba,
Ille velut fidis arcana sodalibus olim
Credebat libris; neque, si malè gesserat, usquam Decurrens aliò, neque si bene: quo fit, ut omnis Votivâ pateat veluti descripta tabellâ
Vita senis. Sequor hunc, 'Lucanus an Appulus, an
A poet, like Lucilius, ought to have been named, not a politician. In the original, Horace calls Lucilius, senis; not because he was an old man, but because he was of an ancient equestrian family, and was great uncle of Pompey the Great. Lucilius, among other inaccuracies of style, sometimes strangely disjoined words, as in cere comminuit brum, for cerebrum. Bowles.
Ver. 52. As downright SHIPPEN,] The noblest testimony to the character of Shippen, was given by Sir Robert Walpole, when he declared, which he repeatedly did, "that he would not say who was corrupted, but he would say who WAS NOT CORRUPTIBLE; that man was Shippen." Coxe's Memoirs of Sir Robert Walpole.
"He was born 1672, and was educated at Stockport school. He was first elected Member of Parliament in 1707 for Bramber in Sussex; and in 1714 he was elected for Newton in Lancashire, which place he represented till his death. His paternal estate was not more than 4001. per annum; but he obtained a large fortune, 70,000 pounds, by his wife, daughter and co-heiress of Sir Richard Stote, Knight, of Northumberland, by whom he left no children; his mode of living was simple and frugal. He kept up a constant correspondence with Atterbury, during his exile; and William Morrice mentions him in one of his letters, as a person who continued fixed to his principles, or, as he expresses himself, as honest as ever. He seems to have had no country residence, except a hired house on Richmond Hill, but made excursions in summer to his wife's relations in Northumberland, His usual place of abode was London, in the latter period of his life, in Norfolkstreet, and his house was the rendezvous for persons of rank, learning, and abilities; his manner was pleasing and dignified, and his conversation was replete with vivacity and wit.