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But still the Great have kindness in reserve,

He help'd to bury whom he help'd to starve.

May fome choice patron blefs each grey goofe quill!

May ev'ry Bavius have his Bufo ftill!


So when a Statesman wants a day's defence,

Or Envy holds a whole week's war with Senfe,



was his intimate friend, and had been his master, informed him,
that Dryden, upon feeing fome of Swift's earlieft verfes, faid to
him, "Young man, you will never be a poet:" And that this
was the cause of Swift's rooted averfion to Dryden, mentioned
above. Baucis and Philemon was fo much and so often altered,
at the inftigation of Addison, who mentioned this circumstance to
my father at Magdalen College, that not above eight lines remain
as they originally ftood. Shaftesbury's refentment was excited by
the admirable poem of Abfolom and Achitophel; and particu-
larly by four lines in it that related to Lord Afhley, his father:
"And all to leave, what with his toil he won,

To that unfeather'd, two-legg'd thing, a son,
Got while his foul did huddled notions try,

And born a fhapelefs lump, like anarchy."

In the character which Dr. Johnfon has given of Dryden, with his ufual eloquence and energy, there is one fentence to which I cannot subscribe: "Dryden, ftanding in the highest place, was in no danger from his contemporaries." Where then was Milton? Dryden himself yielded the first place to Milton.

VER. 248. Help'd to bury] Mr. Dryden, after having lived in exigencies, had a magnificent Funeral beftowed upon him by the contribution of feveral perfons of Quality.


VER. 248. Help'd to ftarve.] Alluding to the fubfcription that was made for his funeral. Garth spoke an oration over him. His neceffities obliged him to produce (befides many other poetical pieces) twenty-feven plays in twenty-five years. He got 25 1. for the copy, and 701. for his benefits generally. Dramatic poetry was certainly not his talent. His plays, a very few paffages excepted, are infufferably unnatural. It is remarkable that he did not fcrupie to confefs, that he could not relish the pathos and fimplicity


Or fimple pride for flatt'ry makes demands,

May dunce by dunce be whistled off my hands! Blefs'd be the Great, for those they take away, 255 And those they left me; for they left me GAY;



plicity of Euripides. When he published his Fables, Tonfon agreed to give him two hundred and fixty-eight pounds for ten thousand verses. And, to complete the full number of lines ftipulated for, he gave the bookfeller the epiftle to his coufin, and the celebrated Mufic Ode. "Old Jacob Tonfon used to say, that Dryden was a little jealous of rivals. He would compliment Crown when a play of his failed, but was very cold to him if he met with fuccefs. He fometimes used to say that Crown had fome genius but then he added always, that his father and Crown's mother were very well acquainted." Mr. Pope to Mr. Spence.

VER. 251. So when a Statefman, &c.] Notwithstanding this ridicule on the public neceffities of the Great, our Poet was candid enough to confefs that they are not always to be imputed to them, as their private diftreffes generally may. For (when uninfected by the neighbourhood of Party) he fpeaks of thofe neceflities much more difpaffionately. W.- -In fact, neither great ministers, nor great princes, are either fo good or fo bad, as their flatterers and cenfurersrepresent them to be. This, however, ought not to prevent our keeping a jealous eye over every man in power.

VER. 256. Left me GAY;] The fweetnefs and fimplicity of Gay's temper and manners much endeared him to all his acquaintance, and made them always fpeak of him with particular fondnefs and attachment. He wrote with neatnefs and terfeness, æquali quâdam mediocritate, but certainly without any elevation; frequently without any fpirit. Trivia appears to be the best of his poems, in which are many strokes of genuine humour and pictures of London-life, which are now become curious, because our manners, as well as our dresses, have been so much altered and changed within a few years. His Fables, the most popular of all his works, have the fault of many modern fable-writers, the ascribing, to the different animals and objects introduced, fpeeches and actions inconfiftent with their feveral natures. An elephant can have no

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Left me to fee neglected Genius bloom,
Neglected die, and tell it on his tomb:
Of all thy blameless life the fole return
My Verfe, and QUEENSB'RY weeping o'er thy urn!


thing to do in a bookfeller's fhop. They are greatly inferior to the Fables of La Fontaine, which is perhaps the most unrivalled work in the whole French language. The Beggars' Opera has furely been extolled beyond its merits. I could never perceive that fine vein of concealed fatire fuppofed to run through it: And though I should not join with a bench of Westminster Justices in forbidding it to be reprefented on the ftage, yet I think pickpockets, ftrumpets, and highwaymen may be hardened in their vices by this piece: and that Pope and Swift talked too highly of its moral good effects. One undefigned and accidental mifchief attended its fuccefs: it was the parent of that most monstrous of all dramatic abfurdities, the Comic Opera. The friendship of two fuch excellent perfonages as the Duke and Duchefs of Queenfberry, did, in truth, compenfate poor Gay's want of penfion and preferment. They behaved to him conftantly with that delicacy and fenfe of feeming equality, as never to fuffer him for a moment to feel his ftate of dependence. Let every man of letters, who wishes for patronage, read D'Alembert's Effay on living with the Great, before he enters the house of a patron: And let him always remember the fate of Racine, who having drawn up, at Madame Maintenon's fecret requeft, a memorial that flirongly painted the diftreffes of the French nation, the weight of their taxes, and the expences of the court, fhe could not refift the importunity of Lewis XIV. but fhewed him her friend's paper, against whom the king immediately conceived a violent indignation, because a poet should dare to bufy himself with politics. Racine had the weakness to take this anger fo much to heart, that it brought on a low fever which haftened his death. The Duchefs of Queensberry would not fo have betrayed her poetical friend Gay. I was informed by Mr. Spence, that Mr. Addison, in his laft illness, fent to speak with Mr. Gay, and told him he had injured him; probably with respect to his gaining some employment "but," ," faid he, "if I recover I will endeavour to recompenfe you."

at court;

Oh let me live my own, and die fo too!


(To live and die is all I have to do :)

Maintain a Poet's dignity and ease,

And see what friends, and read what books I please: Above a Patron, tho' I condefcend

Sometimes to call a Minifter my friend.

I was not born for Courts or great affairs;

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I pay my debts, believe, and fay my pray❜rs;
Can fleep without a Poem in my head,


Nor know, if Dennis be alive or dead.

Why am I ask'd what next shall see the light? Heav'ns! was I born for nothing but to write?




After Ver. 270. in the MS.

Friendships from youth I fought, and feek them ftill:
Fame, like the wind, may breathe where'er it will.
The World I knew, but made it not my School*,
And in a courfe of flatt'ry liv'd no fool.

By not making the World bis School, he means, he did not form his system of morality on the principles or practice of men in business.


VER. 261. Oh let me live] In the first edition;

Give me on Thames's banks, in honest ease,

To see what friends, or read what books I please.

VER. 265. Tho' I condefcend, &c.] He thought it, and he juftly thought it, a condefcenfion in an honeft Man to accept the friendship of any one, how high foever, whofe conduct in life was governed only on principles of policy: for of what Minifters he speaks, may be seen by the character he gives, in the next line, of the Courts they belong to.


VER. 271. Why am I aff'd, &c.] This is intended as a reproof of those impertinent complaints, which were continually made to him by those who called themselves his friends, for not entertaining the Town as often as it wanted amusement.-A French

Has Life no joys for me? or (to be grave)

Have I no friend to ferve, no foul to fave?

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"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;" And then for mine obligingly mistakes

The first Lampoon Sir Will. or Bubo makes.


Poor guiltless I! and can I chufe but smile
When ev'ry Coxcomb knows me by my Style?



After Ver. 282. in the MS.

P. What if I fing Auguftus, great and good?
A. You did fo lately, was it understood?

P. Be nice no more, but, with a mouth profound,
As rumb'ling D- ―s or a Norfolk hound;
With GEORGE and FRED'RIC roughen ev'ry verse,
Then fmooth up all, and CAROLINE rehearse.
A. No the high task to lift up Kings to Gods,
Leave to Court-fermons, and to Birth-day Odes.
On themes like these, fuperior far to thine,
Let laurell❜d Cibber, and great Arnal shine.

P. Why write at all?A. Yes, filence if you keep,
The Town, the Court, the Wits, the Dunces weep.


Writer fays well on this occafion-Dès qu'on eft auteur, il semble qu'on foit aux gages d'un tas de fainéans, pour leur fournir de quoi amufer leur oifiveté.


VER. 282. When ev'ry Coxcomb knows me by my Style?] The discovery of a concealed author by his Style, not only requires a perfect intimacy with his writings, but great skill in the nature of compofition. But, in the practice of thefe Critics, knowing an Author by his ftyle, is like judging of a man's whole perfon from. the view of one of his moles.


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