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Can fleep without a Poem in my head,
Why am I afk'd what next fhall fee the light? Heav'ns! was I born for nothing but to write? Has Life no joys for me? or (to be grave) Have I no friend to ferve, no foul to fave? 274 "I found him clofe with Swift-Indeed? no doubt "(Cries prating Balbus) fomething will come out." 'Tis all in vain, deny it as I will;
"No, fuch a Genius never can lie ftill;"
After Ver. 270. in the MS.
By not making the World his School, he means, he did not form his fyftem of morality on the principles or practice of men in business.
VER. 270. if Dennis be alive, &c.] This is the ftrongest proof of the contrary: Dennis would not have been mentioned, if Pope was fo indifferent.
VER. 271. Why am I afk'd, &c.] This is intended as a reproof of those impertinent complaints, which were continually made to him by thofe who called themfelves his friends, for not entertaining the Town as often as it wanted amusement. - A French Writer fays well on this occafion - Dès qu'on eft auteur, il femble qu'on foit aux gages d'un tas de fainéans, pour leur fournir de quoi amufer leur oifiveté.
VER. 280. Sir Will.] Sir William Young.
VER. 280. or Bubo makes.] By Bubo, it is univerfally confidered, Pope meant Bubb Dodington, afterwards Lord Melcombe.
Poor guiltless I! and can I chufe but fmile,
After Ver 282. in the MS.
P What if I fing Auguftus, great and good?
P. Be nice no more, but, with a mouth profound,
combe. By the kindness of Mr. Wyndham, member for Wiltshire, I have been able to examine all Lord Melcombe's correfpond. ence with many of the first characters in point of rank and literature and it is fingular, though there are letters from so many literary men, and upon literary fubjects, particularly from Voltaire, Young, Thomfon, &c. Pope's name is never once mentioned. Dodington, although it appears his governing principle was to fide with that party by which he could get moft, had in other refpects many good qualities. He was a liberal patron, and kind friend. His magnificent houfe at Eafbury was the refort of men of genius. Thomson was enabled, by his liberal bounty, to travel into France and Italy; and his letters to Dodington from thence are very interefting, and expreffive of the utmoft refpect and gratitude.
He was handsome, and of a striking figure, and was certainly poffeffed of wit and talents, if not of great parts. Some of his verses are written with great elegance and beauty, and are particularly animated. Lady M. W. Montagu in her letter calls him, "the all accomplished Mr. Dodington."
The manfion, which he built at Easbury, near Blandford, did not long furvive him. It came into the poffeffion of the Marquis of Buckingham, and was taken down a few years fince. Part of the offices were left ftanding, and have been turned into a very convenient and handsome house, now in the poffeffion of J. Wedgewood, Efq. who purchased the estate of the Marquis of Buckingham.
VER. 282. When ev'ry Coxcomb knows me by my Style?] The discovery of a concealed author by his Style, not only requires a
Curft be the verse, how well foe'er it flow, That tends to make one worthy man my foe,
With GEORGE and FRED'RIC roughen ev'ry verse,
perfect intimacy with his writings, but great skill in the nature of compofition. But, in the practice of these Critics, knowing an Author by his ftyle, is like judging of a man's whole person from the view of one of his moles.
When Mr. Pope wrote the Advertisement to the first edition of the New Dunciad, intimating, that it was by a different hand from the other, and found in detached pieces, incorrect and unfinished," I objected to him the affectation of ufing fo unpromifing an attempt to miflead his Reader. He replied, that I thought too highly of the public tafte; that, moft commonly, it was formed on that of half a dozen people in fashion; who took the lead, and who fometimes have intruded on the Town the dulleft performances, for works of wit: while, at the fame time, fome true effort of genius, without name or recommendation, hath paffed by the public eye unobserved or neglected: That he once before made the trial, I now objected to, with success, in the Effay on Man: which was at firft given (as he told me) to Dr. Young, to Dr. Defaguliers, to Lord Bolingbroke, to Lord Paget, and, in fhort, to every body but to him who was capable of writing it. However, to make him amends, this fame Public, when let into the fecret, would, for fome time after, fuffer no poem with a moral title, to pafs for any man's but his. So the Effay on Human Life, the Essay on Reason, and many others of a worse tendency, were very liberally bestowed upon him. WARBURTON.
Give Virtue fcandal, Innocence a fear,
And, if he lie not, must at least betray :
Curft be the verfe, how well foe'er it flow,
That tends to make one worthy man my foe,
Or from the foft-ey'd Virgin steal a tear!
VFR. 285. Give Virtue fcanda!, &c.] The whole of this pas fage is beautifully worked up; were Satire only fo employed, we fhould hail it as the aid of virtue, if not the corrector of vice. If there be a tone of asperity here, it appears the natural warmth of genuine and honeft feelings, and it is rendered more pleaf. ing on account of the fentiments, which Pope did not always, I fear, remember :
The mufical flow of the paffage, and the force of the words, need not be pointed out; who can read it, and not say,
Ofi, fic omnia?
Who reads, but with a luft to mifapply,
Let Sporus tremble-A. What? that thing of filk, Sporus, that mere white curd of Afs's milk?
VER. 299. Who to the Dean, and filver bell, &c.] Meaning the man who would have perfuaded the Duke of Chandos that Mr. Pope meant him in those circumstances ridiculed in the Epistle on Tafe. See Mr. Pope's letter to the Earl of Burlington concern. ing this matter. POPE.
VER. 305. Let Sporus tremble] Language cannot afford more glowing or more forcible terms to exprefs the utmost bitterness of contempt. We think we are here reading Milton against Salmafius. The raillery is carried to the very verge of railing, fome will fay ribaldry. He has armed his muse with a fcalping-knife. The portrait is certainly over-charged: for Lord H. for whom it was defign'd, whatever his morals might be, had yet confiderable abilities, though marred by affectation. Some of his fpeeches in parliament were much beyond florid impotence. They were, it is true, in favour of Sir R. Walpole; and this was fufficiently offenfive to Pope. The fact that particularly excited his indignation, was Lord H.'s Epiftle to a Doctor of Divinity (Dr. Sherwin) from a Nobleman at Hampton Court, 1733; as well as his having been concerned with Lady M. W. M. in Verfes to the Imitator of Horace, 1732. This Lady's beauty, wit, gerius, and travels, of which fhe gave an account in a series of elegant and entertaining letters, very characteristical of the manners of the Turks, and of which many are addreffed to Pope; are well known, and justly celebrated. With both noble perfonages had Pope lived in a state of intimacy. And justice obligeth us to confefs that he was the aggreffor in the quarrel with them; as he first affaulted and affronted Lord H. by these two lines in his Imita. tion of the firft Satire of Horace's fecond Book: