« PredošláPokračovať »
WRITTEN IN MDCCXXXVIII.
NOT twice a twelvemonth you appear in Print,
And when it comes, the Court fee nothing in't.
After Ver. 2. in the MS.
You don't, I hope, pretend to quit the trade,
VER. 1. Not twice a twelvemonth, &c.] Thefe two lines are from Horace; and the only lines that are fo in the whole Poem ; being meant to give a handle to that which follows in the charac ter of an impertinent Cenfurer,
" "Tis all from Horace," &c.
By long habit of writing, and almost conftantly in one fort of measure, he had now arrived at a happy and elegant familiarity of Ayle,
You grow correct that once with Rapture writ,
ftyle, without flatnefs. The fatire in these pieces is of the strongest kind; fometimes, direct and declamatory, at others, ironical and oblique. It must be owned to be carried to excess. Our country is reprefented as totally ruined, and overwhelmed with diffipation, depravity, and corruption. Yet this very country, fo emafculated and debased by every species of folly and wickedness, in about twenty years afterwards, carried its triumphs over all its enemies, through all the quarters of the world, and aftonished the most diftant nations with a display of uncommon efforts, abilities, and virtue. So vain and groundless are the prognoftications of poets, as well as politicians. It is to be wifhed, that a genius could be found to write an One Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty-one, as a counter-part to these two Dialogues, which were more diligently laboured, and more frequently corrected than any of our Author's compofitions. I have often heard Mr. Dodsley fay, that he was employed by the Author to copy them fairly. Every line was then written twice over; a clean transcript was then delivered to Mr. Pope, and when he afterwards fent it to Mr. Dodsley to be printed, he found every line had been written twice over a second time. Swift tells our Author, these Dialogues are equal, if not fuperior, to any part of his works. They are, in truth, more Horatian, than the profeffed Imitations of Horace. They at first were intitled, from the year in which they were published, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Thirty-eight. They were afterwards called, fantastically enough, Epilogue to the Satires, as the Epistle to Arbuthnot was intitled Prologue to the Satires. It is remarkable that the first was published the very same morning with Johnfon's admirable London; which Pope much approved, and fearched diligently for the Author, who lived then in obfcurity. London had a second edition in a week. Pope has himself given more notes and illuftrations on these Dialogues than on any of his poems.
VER. 2. fee nothing in't.] He used this colloquial (I will not fay barbarifm, but) abbreviation, to imitate familiar converfation.
'Tis all from Horace; Horace long before ye
VER. 9, 10. And taught his Romans, in much better metre, "To laugh at Fools who put their trufl in Peter."] The general turn of the thought is from Boileau, "Avant lui, Juvénal avoit dit en Latin,
Qu'on eft affis à l'aise aux fermons de Cotin."
VER. 12. Bubo obferves,] Some guilty perfon, very fond of making fuch an observation.
POPE. Bubo is faid to mean Mr. Doddington, afterward Lord Melcombe. WARTON.
Pope has before claffed together "Sir Will, and Bubo." See note on that line, Prologue to the Satires.
VER. 13 Horace would fay.] The bufinefs of the friend here introduced is to diffuade our Poet from personal invectives. But he dexterously turns the very advice he is giving into the bitterest fatire. Sir Billy was Sir William Young, who, from a great fluency, was often employed to make long fpeeches till the minifter's friends were collected in the House. WARTON.
VER. 14. H-ggins] Formerly Gaoler of the Fleet prifon, enriched himself by many exactions, for which he was tried and expelled. POPE.
He was the father of the Author of the abfurd and profaïc Translation of Ariofto; an account of him is given in the Anccdotes of Hogarth. WARTON
And own, the Spaniard did a waggish thing,
Could please at Court, and make AUGUSTUS fmile:
VER. 15. In Sappho touch] In former Editions,
After Ver. 26. in the MS.
There's honeft Tacitus * once talk'd as big,
* Mr. Thomas Gordon, who was bought off by a place at Court.
VER. 18. Who cropt our Ears,] 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 bid him carry them to the King his Mafter. POPE.
VER. 18. Who cropt cur Ears,] This circumftance has been ludicrously called by Burke, "the Fable of Captain Jenkins's Ears!" See Coxe's Memoirs.
VER. 22. Screen.
"Omne vafer vitium ridenti Flaccus amico Tangit, et admiffus circum præcordia ludit." PERS. A metaphor peculiarly appropriated to a certain perfon in power.
VER. 24. Patriots there are, &c.] This appellation was generally given to thofe in oppofition to the Court. Though fome of them (which our Author hints at) had views too mean and interested to deferve that name. POPE.
And where's the Glory? 'twill be only thought 25
P. See Sir ROBERT!-hum-
VER 26. That Great men] A phrafe, by common ufe, appro priated to the first Minister.
VER. 27. Go fee Sir ROBERT] We must not judge of this minister's character from the Dissertation on Parties, nor from the eloquent Philippics, for eloquent they were, uttered against him in both Houfes of Parliament. Hume has drawn his portrait with candour and impartiality. And some of his most vehement antagonists, particularly the great Lord Chatham, lived to allow the merits of that long and pacific miniftry, which so much extended the commerce, and confequently enlarged the riches of this country. WARTON.
The nobleft monument that has been raised to the memory of Sir Robert Walpole, has been by Mr. Coxe, who, from fources of authentic information, has moft ably illuftrated the eventful period of our Hiftory, during the adminiftration of Sir Robert. There is not a circumftance or character connected with the Hiftory of the time, but what has received new light from that accurate and elegant hiftorian.
VER. 29. Seen him I have, &c.] The pleasant, amiable character of Sir Robert in private life, is here most admirably touched. Lady M. W. Montagu's portrait of this eminent statesman, in his character as a private man, gives alfo a most pleasing idea
of him :
On feeing a Portrait of Sir Robert Walpole.