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Poor Cornus sees his frantic wife elope,
Friend to my life, (which did not you prolong,
With honest anguish and an aching head;
This saving counsel, "Keep your piece nine years." 40 "Nine years!" cries he, who high in Drury-lane,
Lull'd by soft zephyrs through the broken pane,
"The piece, you think, is incorrect? why, take it; 45
I want a patron; ask him for a place."
Ver. 33. Seized and tied down to judge,] Alluding to the scene in the Plain-Dealer, where Oldfox gags and ties down the Widow, to hear his well-penned stanzas.-Warburton.
Rather from Horace; vide his Druso.-Warton.
Ver. 40. "Keep your piece nine years."] Boileau employed eleven years in his short satire of L'Equivoque. Patru was four years altering and correcting the first paragraph of his translation of the Oration for Archias.
Ver. 49. Pitholeon] The name taken from a foolish poet of Rhodes,
Ver. 29 in the first Ed.
Dear Doctor, tell me, is not this a curse?
Pitholeon libell'd me-"but here's a letter Informs you, Sir, 'twas when he knew no better. Dare you refuse him? Curll invites to dine; He'll write a Journal, or he'll turn Divine."
Bless me! a packet.-""Tis a stranger sues,
If I dislike it, “Furies, death, and rage!"
60 Fired that the house reject him, "'Sdeath, I'll print it, And shame the fools-Your interest, Sir, with Lintot." Lintot, dull rogue! will think your price too much: "Not, Sir, if you revise it and retouch." All my demurs but double his attacks;
At last he whispers, "Do; and we go snacks."
Glad of a quarrel, straight I clap the door:
Sir, let me see your works and you no more."
who pretended much to Greek. Schol. in Horat. 1. i. Dr. Bentley pretends that this Pitholeon libelled Cæsar also. See notes on Hor. Sat. 10. 1. i.-Pope.
Ver. 54. He'll write a Journal,] Meaning the London Journal; a paper in favour of Sir R. Walpole's ministry. Bishop Hoadley wrote in it, as did Dr. Bland. - Warton.
Ver. 55. a packet.] Alludes to a tragedy called the Virgin Queen, by Mr. R. Barford, published 1729, who displeased Pope by daring to adopt the fine machinery of his Sylphs in an heroi-comical poem called the Assembly. 1726.-Warton.
Ver. 60. The players and I, &c.] On this passage, Cibber, in his curious letter, printed in 1742, addressed to Pope, has the following observation :
"I am glad to find in your smaller edition, that your conscience has since given this line some correction; for there you have taken off a little of its edge it there runs only thus:
The players and I are luckily no friends.'
This is so uncommon an instance of your checking your temper, and taking a little shame to yourself, that I cannot in justice omit my notice of it."-Bowles.
Ver. 53 in the MS.
If you refuse, he goes, as fates incline,
Ver. 60 in the former Ed.
Cibber and I are luckily no friends.
'Tis sung, when Midas' ears began to spring,
(Midas, a sacred person and a king,)
His very minister who spied them first,
(Some say his queen,) was forced to speak or burst. And is not mine, my friend, a sorer case,
When every coxcomb perks them in my
A. Good friend, forbear! you deal in dangerous
I'd never name queens, ministers, or kings.
Keep close to ears, and those let asses prick,
'Tis nothing-P. Nothing, if they bite and kick? Out with it, DUNCIAD! let the secret pass,
That secret to each fool, that he's an ass:
The truth once told (and wherefore should we lie?)
Ver. 69. 'Tis sung, when Midas', &c.] The poet means, sung by Persius; and the words alluded to are
Vidi, vidi ipse, Libelle.!
Auriculas asini Midas rex habet.
The transition is fine, but obscure; for he has here imitated the manner of that mysterious writer, as well as taken up his image. Our author had been hitherto complaining of the folly and importunity of indigent scribblers; he now insinuates that he suffered as much of both, from poetasters of quality.-Warburton.
Ver. 69. 'Tis sung, when Midas'] The abruptness with which this story from Persius is introduced, occasions an obscurity in the passage; for there is no connexion with the foregoing paragraph. Boileau says, Sat. ix. v. 221, I have nothing to do with Chapelain's honour, or candour, or civility, or complaisance; but if you hold him up as a model of good writing, and as the king of authors,
Ma bile alors s'échauffe, et je brûle d'écrire ;
There is much humour in making the prying and watchful eyes of the minister, instead of the barber, first discover the ass's ears; and the word perks has particular force and emphasis. Sir Robert Walpole and Queen Caroline were here pointed at.-Warton.
Ver. 72. queen,] The story is told, by some, of his barber, but by Chaucer, of his queen. See Wife of Bath's Tale in Dryden's Fables. -Pope.
Ver. 80. That secret to each fool, that he's an ass:] i. e. that his ears (his marks of folly) are visible.-Warburton.
Let peals of laughter, Codrus! round thee break,
Who shames a scribbler? Break one cobweb through,
He spins the slight, self-pleasing thread anew:
The creature's at his dirty work again,
Lost the arch'd eye-brow, or Parnassian sneer?
Still to one bishop Philips seem a wit?
Ver. 86. the mighty crack:] A parody on Addison's translation of Horace, Ode iii. b. 3.
Should the whole frame of Nature round them break
In ruin and confusion hurl'd,
She unconcern'd would hear the mighty crack,
And stand secure amidst a falling world.
On which lines he observes, in the Bathos: "Sometimes a single word (as crack) will vulgarize a poetical idea.”— Warton. Ver. 88.] Si fractus illabatur orbis,
Impavidum ferient ruinæ.
Ver. 90. He spins the slight,] The metaphor in our author is most happily carried on through a variety of corresponding particulars, that exactly hit the nature of the two insects in question. It is not pursued too far, nor jaded out, so as to become quaint and affected; as is the case in many of Congreve's too witty comedies, particularly in the Way of the World, and in Young's Satires. For instance,
Critics on verse, as squibs on triumphs, wait, Proclaim the glory, and augment the state; Hot, envious, noisy, proud, the scribbling fry Burn, hiss, and bounce, waste paper, stink, and die! The epithets envious and proud, have nothing to do with squibs. last line is brilliant and ingenious, but perhaps too much so.-Warton. Ver. 98. His butchers Henley,] This alludes to Henley, commonly called Orator Henley, who declaimed on Sundays on religious subjects, and on Wednesdays on the sciences;-one shilling was the price of admittance. His oratory was among the butchers in Newport Market and Butcher Row.-Bowles.
Ver. 98. free-masons Moore?] He was of this society, and frequently headed their processions.-Warburton.
Ver. 100. Still to one bishop] Bishop Boulter, who was Ambrose
Still Sappho-A. Hold! for God's sake-you'll offend. No names-be calm-learn prudence of a friend:
I too could write, and I am twice as tall;
But foes like these-P. One flatterer's worse than all.
Of all mad creatures, if the learn'd are right,
It is the slaver kills, and not the bite.
A fool quite angry is quite innocent:
Alas! 'tis ten times worse when they repent.
One from all Grub-street will my fame defend,
Philips's great friend and patron. Boulter wrote, in conjunction with Philips, a paper called the Freethinker. He was then only minister of a parish in Southwark; but being considered of consequence to Government, he was first made Dean of St. Paul's, and afterwards Primate of Ireland; where, adds Johnson, his piety and charity will be long remembered.-Bowles.
Ver. 103. I too could write, &c.] Mr. Pope used to say, that of all the men he ever met with, Dr. Arbuthnot had the most prolific wit; and that here, Swift only held the second place. Nothing occurred of any consequence, but the Doctor wrote a pleasant essay upon it. A large folio paper-book, which used to lie in his parlour, was employed for this purpose; of which, however, he was so negligent, that while he was writing at one end, he would suffer his children to tear out what he had written at the other, for their paper-kites. The thing in which he was most serious, was the cause of religion. In a letter to Dr. Swift, in 1732, he has these words" But, thank God, he has not taken from me the freedom I have been accustomed to in my discourse (even with the greatest persons to whom I have access) in defending the cause of liberty, virtue, and religion: for the last, I have the satisfaction of suffering some of the ignominy that belonged to the first professors. This has been my lot, from a steady resolution I have taken, of giving these ignorant fellows battle upon all occasions."-Warburton.
Ver. 115. There are, who to my person] What Addison says in jest, and
Ver. 111 in the MS.
For song, for silence, some expect a bribe;