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THE wit, the vigour, and the honesty of Mr. Pope's Satiric Writings had raised a great clamour against him, as if the Supplement, as he calls it, to the Public Laws, was a violation of morality and fociety. In answer to this charge he had it in his purpose to fhew, that two of the most respectable characters in the modest nd virtuous age of Elizabeth, Dr. Donne and Bishop Hall, had arraigned Vice publicly, and fhewn it in ftronger colours, than he had done, whether they found it,
"On the Pillory, or near the Throne.
In purfuance of this purpose, our Poet hath admirably verfified, as he expreffes it, two or three Satires of Dr. Donne. He intended to have given two or three of Bishop Hall's likewife, whose force and claffical elegance he much admired; but as Hall was a better verfifier, and, as a mere Academic, had not his vein vitiated like Donne's, by the fantastic language of Courts, Mr. Pope's purpose was only to correct a little, and fmooth the verfification. In the first edition of Hall's Satires, which was in Mr. Pope's library, we find that long Satire, called the First of the Sixth Book, corrected throughout, and the verfification mended for his ufe. He intitles it, in the beginning of his corrections, by the name of Sat. Opt. This writer, Hall, fell under a fevere examiner of his wit and reasoning, in the famous Milton. For Hall, a little before the unhappy breach between Charles I. and the long Parliament, having written in defence of Epifcopacy, Milton, who first fet out an advocate for Prefbytery, thought fit to take Hall's defence to task. And as he rarely gave quarter to his adversaries, from the Bishop's theologic writings, he fell upon his Poetry. But a stronger proof of the excellency of these Satires can hardly be given, than that all he could find to cavil at, was the title to the three firft Books, which Hall, ridiculously enough, calls TOOTHLESS SATIRE: on this, for want of better hold, Milton faftens, and fufficiently mumbles. WARBURTON.
Dryden was the first who recommended the plan pursued by Pope, in rendering Donne more harmonious, and who fays, if his fatires were tranflated into numbers, they would be admired.
SIR, though (I thank God for it) I do hate
That hate towards them, breeds pity towards the reft.
As, I think, that brings Dearth and Spaniards in: Though
VER. 1. Tes; thank my ftars!] Two noblemen of taste and learning, the Duke of Shrewsbury and the Earl of Oxford, defired Pope to melt down and caft anew, the weighty bullion of Dr. Donne's Satires; who had degraded and deformed a vast fund of fterling wit and ftrong sense, by the most harsh and uncouth diction. Pope fucceeded in giving harmony to a writer, more rough and rugged than even any of his age, and who profited fo little by the example Spencer had fet, of a moft mufical and mellifluous verfification; far beyond the verfification of Fairfax, who is frequently mentioned as the greatest improver of the harmony of our language The Satires of Hall, written in very fmooth and pleafing numbers, preceded thofe of Donne' many years for his Virgidemiarum were publifhed, in fix books, in the year 1597; in which he calls himself the very first English Satirift. This, however, was not true in fact; for Sir Thomas Wyatt, of Allington Caftle in Kent, the friend and favourite of Henry VIII. and, as was fuggefted, of Ann Boleyn, was our first writer of Satire worth notice. But it was not in his numbers only that Donge was reprehenfible. He abounds in falfe thoughts, in far-fought fentiments, in forced unnatural conceits. He was the first corrupter of Cowley. Dryden was the first who called him a metaphyfical poet. He had a confiderable fhare of learning, and though he entered late into orders, yet he was esteemed
my ftars! as carly as I knew
This Town, I had the fenfe to hate it too: Yet here, as ev'n in Hell, there must be still One Giant-Vice, fo excellently ill,
That all befide, one pities, not abhors;
As who knows Sappho, fmiles at other whores.
It brought (no doubt) th' Excise and Army in :
a good divine. James I. was fo earnest to prefer him in the church, that he even refufed the Earl of Somerset, his favourite, the request he earnestly made, of giving Donne an office in the council. In the entertaining account of that conversation, which Ben Jonfon is faid to have held with Mr. Drummond, of "Hauthornden in Scotland, in the year 16:9, containing his judgments of the English Poets, he fpeaks thus of Donne, (who was his intimate friend, and had frequently addressed him in various poems :) "Donne was originally a poet; his grand-father, on the mother's fide, was Heywood the epigrammatit; but for not being underflood, he would perish. He efteemed him the firft poet in the world for fome things; his Verses of the Loft Ochadine, he had by heart; and that paffage of the Calm, "that duft and feather, did not ftir, all was fo quiet." He affirmed, that Donne wrote all his beft pieces before he was twenty-five years of age.
Donne was one of our Poets who wrote elegantly in Latin; as did Ben Jonfon, Cowley, Milton, Addison, and Gray. The private character of Donne, the inconvenience he underwent on account of his early marriage, and his remarkable sensibility of temper, render him very amiable. WARTON.
Though like the peftilence, and old-fashion❜d love,
One (like a wretch, which at barre judg'd as dead,
Yet prompts him which stands next, and cannot read,
And faves his life) gives Idiot Actors means, (Starving himself,) to live by's labour'd fcenes. As in fome Organs, Puppits dance above, And bellows pant below, which them do move. One would move love by rhymes; but witchcraft's charms
Bring not now their old fears, nor their old harms: Rams and flings now are filly battery,
Pistolets are the best artillery.
And they who write to Lords, rewards to get,
But he is worst, who beggarly doth chaw Others wits fruits, and in his ravenous maw Rankly digefted, doth these things out-spue, As his own things; and they're his own, 'tis true, For if one eat my meat, though it be known The meat was mine, the excrement's his own. But thefe do me no harm, nor they which use, to out-ufure Jews,