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In this piece, which was first published by Dodsley in 1737, Pope, as in several of the preceding Imitations, has frequently referred to the circumstances of his early life, in a manner well calculated to conciliate the favour of the reader, and indirectly to elucidate some parts of his own history. His self-taught acquirements, and the disadvantages he had to sustain on account of his religious tenets, are noticed at ver. 52, &c. His distaste to a town life, at ver. 88, &c. The philosophic indifference with which he regards superlative wealth and extensive possessions, at ver. 212, &c. The firmness and resignation with which he looks forwards towards the close of life, are finely expressed at the conclusion, where he has modified, and chastened, and perhaps excelled, his original.

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FLORE, bono claroque fidelis *amice Neroni,
'Si quis fortè velit puerum tibi vendere natum
Tibure vel Gabiis, et tecum sic agat: "Hic et
Candidus, et talos à vertice pulcher ad imos,
Fiet eritque tuus nummorum millibus octo;
Verna ministeriis ad nutus aptus heriles;
Literulis Græcis imbutus, idoneus arti
Cuilibet; argilla quidvis imitaberis udâ:
Quin etiam canet indoctum, sed dulce bibenti:
Multa fidem promissa levant, ubi pleniùs æquo
Laudat venales, qui vult extrudere, merces.
Res urget me nulla meo sum pauper in ære;
Nemo hoc mangonum faceret tibi: non temerè à


Quivis ferret idem: semel hic cessavit, et (ut fit)
In scalis latuit metuens pendentis habenæ :
Des nummos, excepta nihil te si fuga lædat."


Ver. 1. Dear Colonel,] Addressed to Colonel Cotterell, of Rousham, near Oxford, the descendant of Sir Charles Cotterell, who, at the desire of Charles the First, translated Davila into English. The second line of this Imitation, "You love," &c. is feeble and useless. Horace, without preface, enters at once, in his second line, on the story, "Si quis forte," &c. And the fifteenth line, "But, Sir, to you," is uncommonly languid and prosaic.


Ver. 4. "This lad, Sir, is of Blois :] A town in Beauce, where

the French tongue is spoken in great purity.



DEAR Colonel, COBHAM's and your country's "friend,
You love a verse; take such as I can send.

A Frenchman comes, presents you with his boy,
Bows and begins: "This lad, Sir, is of Blois :
Observe his shape how clean! his locks how curl'd!
My only son! I'd have him see the world:
His French is pure; his voice too-you shall hear-
Sir, he's your slave, for twenty pound a-year.
Mere wax as yet, you fashion him with ease,
Your barber, cook, upholsterer, what you please:
A perfect genius at an opera-song-

To say too much might do my honour wrong.
Take him with all his virtues, on my word;
His whole ambition was to serve a Lord;

But, Sir, to you, with what would I not part? 15
Though faith, I fear, 'twill break his mother's heart.
Once (and but once) I caught him in a lie,
And then, unwhipp'd, he had the grace to cry;
The fault he has I fairly shall reveal,

(Could you o'erlook but that) it is-to steal." 20


Ver. 20. it is to steal."] The fault of the slave-seller's boy is only his having run away; but the young Frenchman has been guilty of stealing; this makes his behaviour more unpardonable, and less likely to be overlooked by the purchaser: a circumstance that alters the nature of the allusion, and the probability of the bargain. Warton.

"Ille ferat pretium, pœnæ securus, opinor. Prudens emisti vitiosum: dicta tibi est lex: Insequeris tamen hunc, et lite moraris iniquâ.

"Dixi me pigrum proficiscenti tibi; dixi Talibus officiis propè mancum: ne mea sævus Jurgares ad te quòd epistola nulla veniret. Quid tum profeci, mecum facientia jura

Si tamen attentas? quereris super hoc etiam, quòd Exspectata tibi non mittam carmina mendax. Luculli miles collecta viatica multis

Ærumnis, lassus dum noctu stertit, ad assem Perdiderat post hoc vehemens lupus, et sibi et hosti

Iratus pariter, jejunis dentibus acer,

Præsidium regale loco dejecit, ut aiunt,
Summè munito, et multarum divite rerum.


Ver. 24. I think Sir Godfrey] An eminent Justice of Peace, who decided much in the manner of Sancho Pancha. Pope. Warburton.

Sir Godfrey Kneller.

Ver. 27. Consider then,] Horace offers seven reasons by way of apology for not sending an Epistle to his friend Florus; that he told him he was naturally indolent; that no man in his senses would write verses, if not compelled by necessity; that he was now too old to be writing verses; that it was impossible to gratify the different tastes of readers; that it was also impossible to write amidst the noise and bustle of Rome; that the profession of a poet is subject to many inconveniences, arising from envy, jealousy, and flattery; that it is time to leave off trifling studies and pursuits, and fix his whole attention on morals and the duties of life. Warton. Ver. 33. In ANNA's wars, &c.] Many parts of this story are well told; but, on the whole, it is much inferior to the original.


'If, after this, you took the graceless lad, Could you complain, my friend, he proved so bad? Faith, in such case, if you should prosecute, I think Sir Godfrey should decide the suit; Who sent the thief that stole the cash away, And punish'd him that put it in his way.


Consider then, and judge me in this light;
I told you when I went, I could not write;
You said the same; and are you discontent
With laws, to which you gave your own assent? 30
Nay worse, to ask for verse at such a time!
D'ye think me good for nothing but to rhyme?
In ANNA's wars, a soldier poor and old
Had dearly earn'd a little purse of gold:

Tired with a tedious march, one luckless night, 35
He slept, poor dog! and lost it, to a doit.
This put the man in such a desperate mind,
Between revenge, and grief, and hunger join'd,
Against the foe, himself, and all mankind,
He leap'd the trenches, scaled a castle-wall,
Tore down a standard, took the fort and all.


Prodigious well!" his great commander cried, Gave him much praise, and some reward beside.



Marlborough is placed here to answer Lucullus in the original. The character of the latter is so well and elegantly drawn by Middleton in the first volume of the Life of Tully, as to make it one of the most pleasing parts of that celebrated work.


Ver. 37. This put the man, &c.] Much below the original ;

"Post hoc vehemens lupus, et sibi et hosti

Iratus pariter, jejunis dentibus acer;"

The last words are particularly elegant and humorous.


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