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Pleas'd let me own, in Esher's peaceful Grove
whose personal attachments to the King appeared from his steady adherence to the royal interest, after his resignation of his great employment of Master of the Horse, and whose known honour and virtue made him esteemed by all parties. P.
His character is ably and elegantly drawn by Lord Chesterfield, and the manner of his lamented death, minutely and pathetically related by Dr. Maty, in the Memoirs of Lord Chesterfield's Life.
Ver. 66. Esher's peaceful Grove,] The house and gardens of Esher in Surrey, belonging to the Honourable Mr. Pelham, brother of the Duke of Newcastle. The Author could not have given a more amiable idea of his Character, than in comparing him to Mr. Craggs. P.
Ver. 67. Kent and Nature] Means no more than art and nature. And in this consists the compliment to the Artist. W.
Ver. 71. Secker is decent,] To say of a prelate, whose life was exemplary, and his learning excellent, that he was only decent, is surely to damn with faint praise. His lectures and his sermons are written with a rare mixture of simplicity and energy, and contain (what sermons too seldom possess) a great knowledge of life and human nature. Dr. Lowth, Dr. Kennicott, and Mr. Merrick, frequently acknowledged his uncommon skill in Oriental learning; but the Author of Warburton's Life has lately thought proper to deny him this praise. The characters of Benson and Rundel are justly drawn. It was Gibson, Bishop of London, who prevented the latter, though strongly patronised by Lord Chancellor Talbot, from being an English Bishop, on account of some unguarded expressions he had used relating to Abraham's offering of his son Isaac.
Ver. 73. Berkeley, &c.] Dr. Berkeley was, I believe, a good
But does the Court a worthy man remove?
75 I shun his Zenith, court his mild Decline; Thus SOMMERS once, and HALIFAX, were mine.
Man, a good Christian, a good Citizen, and all, in an eminent degree. He was besides very learned; and of a fine and lively imagination; which he unhappily abused by advancing, and, as far as I can learn, throughout his whole life persisting in, the most outrageous whimsey that ever entered into the head of
any ancient or modern madman; namely, the impossibility of the real or actual existence of matter; which he supported on principles that take away the boundaries of truth and falsehood ; expose reason to all the outrage of unbounded Scepticism; and even, in his own opinion, make mathematical demonstration doubtful. To this man may be eminently applied that oracle of the Stagyrite, which says, To follow Reason against the Senses, is a sure sign of a bad understanding.
But if (though at the expense of his moral character) we should suppose, that all this was only a wanton exercise of wit; how his metaphysics came to get him the character of a great genius, unless from the daring nature of his attempt, I am at a loss to conceive. His pretended demonstration, on this capital question, being the poorest, lowest, and most miserable, of all sophisms; that is, a sophism which begs the question, as the late Mr. Baxter has clearly shewn: a few pages of whose reasoning have not only more sense and substance than all the elegant discourses of Dr. Berkeley, but infinitely better entitle him to the character of a great Genius. He was truly such: and a time will come, if learning ever revive amongst us, when the present inattention to his admirable Metaphysics, established on the Physics of Newton, will be deemed as great a dishonour to the Wisdom of this age as the neglect of Milton's Poetry was to the Wit of the
Ver. 77, SOMMERS] John Lord Sommers died in 1716. He had been Lord Keeper in the reign of William III. who took from him the seals in 1700. The Author had the honour of knowing him in 1706. A faithful, able, and incorrupt Minister; who, to qualities of a consummate statesman, added those of a man of Learning and Politeness. P.
Oft, in the clear, still Mirror of Retreat,
“ One of those divine men,” says Lord Orford finely, like a chapel in a palace, remains unprofaned, while all the rest is tyranny, corruption, and folly. All the traditional accounts of him, the historians of the last age, and its best authors, represent him, as the most incorrupt lawyer, and the honestest statesman; as a master orator, a genius of the finest taste, and as a patriot of the noblest and most extensive views; as a man, who dispensed blessings by his life, and planned them for posterity. He was at once the model of Addison, and the touchstone of Swift: the one wrote from him, the other for him.”
Ver. 77. Halifax,] A Peer, no less distinguished by his love of Letters than his abilities in Parliament. He was disgraced in 1710, on the change of Q. Anne's ministry. P.
Ver. 79. SHREWSBURY,] Charles Talbot, Duke of Shrewsbury, had been Secretary of State, Ambassador in France, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Chamberlain, and Lord Treasurer. He several times quitted his employments, and was often recalled. He died in 1718. P.
Ver. 80. CARLETON] Hen. Boyle, Lord Carleton (nephew of the famous Robert Boyle), who was Secretary of State under William III. and President of the Council under Q. Anne. P.
Ver. 80. STANHOPE] James Earl Stanhope. A Nobleman of equal courage, spirit, and learning. General in Spain, and Secretary of State. P.
Ver. 80. STANHOPE's noble Flame,] Who confessed to old Whiston, that, in his opinion, it was almost impossible for a Minister of State to be an honest man.
Ver. 83. How shin'd the Soul,] Among these, Atterbury was his chief intimate. The turbulent and imperious temper of this haughty prelate was long felt and remembered in the college
How can I PUL’TNEY, CHESTERFIELD forget, While Roman Spirit charms, and Attic Wit: 85 ARGYLE, the State’s whole Thunder born to wield, And shake alike the Senate and the Field :
over which he presided. It was with difficulty Queen Anne was persuaded to make him a bishop; which she did at last, on the repeated importunities of Lord Harcourt; who pressed the Queen to do it, because truly she had before disappointed him, in not placing Sacheverell on the bench. After her decease, Atterbury vehemently urged his friends to proclaim the Pretender; and on their refusal, upbraided them for their timidity with many oaths; for he was accustomed to swear on any strong provocation. In a Collection of Letters, lately published by Mr. Duncombe, it is affirmed, on the authority of Elijah Fenton, that Atterbury, speaking of Pope, said, there was, ,
Mens curva in corpore curvo. This sentiment seems utterly inconsistent with the warm friendship supposed to subsist between these celebrated men. But Dr. Herring, in the 2d vol. of this collection, p. 104, says, “ If Atterbury was not worse used than any honest man in the world ever was, there were strong contradictions between his public and private character.”
Ver. 84. PULT'NEY, CHESTERFIELD] I have heard a lady of exquisite wit and judgment, say of these two celebrated men, “The latter was always striving to be witty, and the former could not help being so.”
The two lines on Argyle are said to have been added, on the Duke's declaring in the House of Lords, on occasion of some of Pope's satires, that if any man dared to use his name in an invective, he would run him through the body, and throw himself on the mercy of his Peers, who, he trusted, would weigh the provocation.
Bolingbroke's Letters to Wyndham, is one of the most curious of his works, and gave a deadly and incurable blow to the folly and madness of Jacobitism.
Ver, 84. CHESTERFIELD forget,] His character was much sunk by the publication of the loose and libertine Letters to his Son.
Or WYNDHAM, just to Freedom and the Throne,
91 And if yet higher the proud List should end, Still let me say! No Follower, but a Friend.
Yet think not, Friendship only prompts my lays; I follow Virtue; where she shines, I praise : 95 Point she to Priest or Elder, Whig or Tory, Or round a Quaker's Beaver cast a Glory. I never (to my sorrow I declare) Din'd with the Man of Ross, or my LORD MAY'R.
Ver. 88. WYNDHAM,] Sir William Wyndham, Chancellor of the Exchequer under Queen Anne, made early a considerable figure; but since a much greater, both by his ability and eloquence, joined with the utmost judgment and temper. P. Ver. 88. Or WYNDHAM, just to] In former Editions,
Or WYNDHAM arm’d for FreedomVer. 92. And if yet higher, &c.] He was at that time honoured with the esteem and favour of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. W.
Frederic Prince of Wales ; who possessed many of what the King of Prussia called, ces qualités sociables qui s'allient si rarement avec la morgue et la grandeur des Souverains.
Ver. 93. Still let me say! No Follower, but a Friend.] i. e. Un: related to their parties, and attached only to their persons. W.
Ver. 93. a Friend.] At a visit at Twickenham, the Prince very pleasantly observed to Pope, that his professed love to Princes was inconsistent with his dislike of Kings, since Princes may in time be Kings. “Sir," replied Pope, “ I consider Royalty, under the known and authorized type of a Lion; whilst he is young, and before his nails are grown, he
may be approached and caressed with safety and pleasure.”