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ON RECEIVING FROM
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
THE LADY FRANCES SHIRLEY
A STANDISH AND TWO PENS.
YES, I beheld th' Athenian Queen
Defcend in all her fober charms; "And take (she said, and smil'd serene) "Take at this hand celeftial arms;
The Lady Frances Shirley] A Lady whofe great Merit Mr. Pope took a real pleasure in celebrating.
Yes, I beheld, &c.] To enter into the spirit of this Addrefs, it is neceffary to premise, that the Poet was threatened with a profecution in the House of Lords, for the two foregoing poems, the Epilogue to the Satires. On which, with great resentment against his enemies, for not being willing to diftinguish between
Grave Epifles bringing Vice to light,
and licentious Libels, he began a third Dialogue, more fevere and fublime than the first and second; which being no fecret, matters were foon compromised. His enemies agreed to drop the prosecution, and he promised to leave the third Dialogue unfinished and fuppreffed. This affair occafioned this little beautiful poem, to which it alludes throughout, but more especially in the four last ftanzas. W.
Thefe ftanzas are obfcure and hard, and below the ufual precifion and elegance of our Author. See particularly the fecond, third, fifth, and eighth ftanzas.
"Secure the radiant weapons wield;
"This golden lance fhall guard Defert, "And if a Vice dares keep the field,
"This fteel fhall ftab it to the heart."
Aw'd, on my bended knees I fell,
Receiv'd the weapons of the fky; And dipt them in the fable Well, The Fount of Fame or Infamy.
"What Well? what Weapon? (Flavia cries)
"But, Friend, take heed whom you attack;
"You'd write as fmooth again on glass,
A famous toy-fhop at Bath.
+ The Dunciad.
The Epifle to Dr. Arbuthnot.
"Athenian Queen! and fober charms!
"I tell ye, fool, there's nothing in't: "'Tis Venus, Venus gives these arms* ; "In Dryden's Virgil fee the print †.
"Come, if you'll be a quiet foul,
"That dares tell neither Truth nor Lies †, "I'll lift you in the harmless roll
"Of those that fing of these poor eyes."
**Such toys being the ufual prefents from lovers to their miftreffes. W.
+ When she delivers Æneas a fuit of heavenly armour.
‡i. e. If you have neither the courage to write Satire, nor the application to attempt an Epic Poem.-He was then meditating on fuch a work. W.