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Horace would say, Sir Billy served the Crown,
In reverend bishops note some small neglects,1
Could please at Court, and make Augustus smile:
His friend and shame, and was a kind of screen.6
8 Formerly jailor of the Fleet Prison, enriched himself by many exactions, for which he was tried and expelled.
[Huggins was warden of the prison, a patent office. The actual jailor was Thomas Baimbridge, to whom Huggins had let the appointment. This Baimbridge was guilty of cruelty and extortion, and was satirized by Hogarth. His gross abuse of his office at length led to inquiry, and he was subsequently expelled, and committed to Newgate. Huggins was also deprived of his patent. Swift, in his description of morning, touches on one of these prison abuses:
"The turnkey now his flock returning sees,
This was literally true under the reign of Huggins and Baimbridge.]
4 [In early editions "reverend Su--n," or Sir Robert Sutton. Warbur ton prevailed on Pope to make the alteration.]
5 Said to be executed by the captain of a Spanish ship on one Jenkins, a captain of an English one. He cut off his ears, and bade him carry them to the king his master.
[Jenkins had only one ear cut off, which he used to carry about with him in his pocket. He had been boarded and searched by a Spanish guardacosta, and though he had, as he alleged, no contraband goods on board, and had not violated the regulations of the Spanish government, he had been barbarously treated by the officers and crew of the guard-ship. The case occurred in 1731, but it made little noise till 1738, when it was taken up by the opposition in the House of Commons to show the barbarity of the Spaniards, and the pusillanimity of the British government. Jenkins was examined before the House of Commons, and his statement had the effect of swelling the popular cry against Spain. After all, it is doubtful whether the story was not an invention. Some said that Jenkins lost his ear in the pillory! Burke seems to have disbelieved the evidence, for he mentions the affair as "the fable of Jenkins's ear."]
6 "Omne vafer vitium ridenti Flaccus amico
Tangit, et admissus circum præcordia ludit."-Pers. A metaphor peculiarly appropriated to a certain person in power.
But 'faith your very friends will soon be sore;
P. See Sir ROBERT!-hum-
7 This appellation was generally given to those in opposition to the Court. Though some of them (which our author hints at) had views too mean and interested to deserve that name.
[Opposite the word "patriots," Lord Marchmont, Pope's friend and executor, wrote "Carteret and Pulteney." See Marchmont Papers.]
8 A phrase, by common use, appropriated to the first minister.
9 [A very pleasant and graceful allusion to the great Whig minister, whose bonhommie and good humour were remarkable considering his position
Would he oblige me? let me only find,
He does not think me what he thinks mankind.
Come, come, at all I laugh he laughs, no doubt;
F. Why yes: with Scripture still you may be free;
A joke on Jekyl, or some odd old Whig.10
Whom all Lord Chamberlains allow the stage:
and his difficulties. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu has some verses to the same effect on seeing a portrait of Walpole :
"Such were the lively eyes and rosy hue
Then every man found something to commend,
The pleasant neighbour and the worthy friend," &c.
Walpole's greatest error was in laughing at all public virtue and consistency, and in believing that men were only swayed by venal and selfish motives. He lowered the tone of public opinion, and in this respect degraded the character of a statesman. The immense sums which he lavished on hireling writers and in secret bribery are also indefensible. But let it be remembered that his strong good sense, his love of peace, and his generally able management of affairs, preserved the country from war, and frustrated all the ceaseless efforts and plots of the Jacobites. Walpole did not long enjoy his retirement from public life. He was created Earl of Orford in 1742, and died March 18, 1745,
10 Sir Joseph Jekyl, Master of the Rolls, a true Whig in his principles, and a man of the utmost probity, He sometimes voted against the Court, which drew upon him the laugh here described of ONE who bestowed it equally upon religion and honesty. He died a few months after the publication of this poem.
[Jekyl, the brother-in-law of Lord Somers, had a seat in Parliament in the reign of Queen Anne, and was one of the managers in the trial of Sacheverell. He was knighted by George I. The word "ONE," printed conspicuously in Pope's note, seems to point to some important person, and Mr. Croker con. jectures that the Queen was meant. This is a very probable supposition, though the horse-laugh at honesty is more in the style of the King or of Walpole. Pope picked up various items of Court scandal and gossip from Mrs. Howard.]
"Who's the man, so near
If any ask you,
Sets half the world, God knows, against the rest;
P. Dear Sir, forgive the prejudice of youth:
11 George Lyttelton, Secretary to the Prince of Wales, distinguished both
for his writings and speeches in the spirit of liberty.
12 [Lord Fanny-Lord Hervey-was then Vice-Chamberlain to the King.] 18 The one the wicked minister of Tiberius, the other of Henry VIII. The writers against the Court usually bestowed these and other odious names on the minister, without distinction, and in the most injurious manner. Dial. ii. ver. 137.
14 Cardinal, and Minister to Louis XV. It was a patriot-fashion, at that time, to cry up his wisdom and honesty.
15 See them in their places in the Dunciad.
16 In first edition
"The honey dropping from Ty- -l's tongue,
In the small edition of 1739 (Works, vol. ii.) the last name is given "Y▬▬▬▬nge,” showing that Sir William Yonge, not Dr. Young, the poet and friend of "Bubo," or Dodington, was meant. "Ty-1," was doubtless Lord Tyrconell.]
That first was H-vy's, F-'s next, and then,
All parts perform'd, and all her children bless'd!
No gazetteer more innocent than I
And let, a-God's name, every fool and knave
Be graced through life, and flatter'd in his grave.
F. Why so? if Satire knows its time and place,
You still may lash the greatest-in disgrace:
17 Alludes to some Court sermons, and florid panegyrical speeches; particularly one very full of puerilities and flatteries; which afterwards got into an address in the same pretty style: and was lastly served up in an epitaph, between Latin and English, published by its author.
[Lord Hervey wrote an epitaph, or éloge, on Queen Caroline; Mr. H. Fox moved for and drew up the address of the House of Commons to his Majesty on their first meeting after the Queen's death; Dr. Alured Clarke wrote an essay on the Queen's character; and Bishop Gilbert preached at Court on the occasion, and was said to cry in his sermon. The caution and prudence of Pope, in the midst of all his satirical allusions, is shown by his not printing even the name of the senate at length.]
18 Queen Consort of King George II. She died in 1737. Her death gave occasion, as is observed above, to many indiscreet and mean performances unworthy of her memory, whose last moments manifested the utmost courage and resolution.
[The four lines containing this bitter satire on the Queen's dying moments are not in the first edition, but appear in that of the following year. See Note at the end of this poem.]
19 A title given that lord by King James II. He was of the Bedchamber to King William; he was so to King George I., he was so to King George II.