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F. Then why so few commended?
P. Not so fierce; Find you the virtue, and I'll find the verse. But random praise-the task can ne'er be done; Each mother asks it for her booby son, Each widow asks it for the best of men, For him she weeps, for him she weds again. Praise cannot stoop, like satire, to the ground; 110 The number may be hang'd, but not be crown'd. Enough for half the greatest of these days, To 'scape my censure, not expect my praise. Are they not rich? what more can they pretend? Dare they to hope a poet for their friend? What RICHLIEU wanted, Louis scarce could gain, And what young AMMON wish'd, but wish'd in
Ver. 102. To find an honest man, &c.] In this search, in which he was very sincere, it would have been well if he had not sometimes trusted to the reports of others, who had less penetration, but more passions to gratify. Warburton.
Ver. 116. What RICHLIEU wanted,] A curious and uncommon fact is mentioned by the learned Abbé Longuerue, Part ii. p. 5. That Cardinal Richlieu had, from time to time, fits of insanity, during which no person was permitted to approach him but a few confidents, and especially Bois-Robert. He gave, says Segrais, p. 170, one hundred and twenty thousand crowns a-year in pensions to men of learning and science. The history of his founding the French academy is well known; which is frequently said to have polished and fixed the French language. But Malherbe, their first correct writer, died before the institution of this academy. Warton.
Ver. 116. Louis scarce could gain,] By this expression finely insinuating, that the great Boileau always falls below himself in those passages where he flatters his master. Of which he gives
No power the Muse's friendship can command;
your friends are out, and would be in. P. If merely to come in, Sir, they go out, The way they take is strangely round about. 125 F. They too may be corrupted, you'll allow ? P. I only call those knaves who are so now. Is that too little? Come then, I'll complySpirit of Arnall! aid me while I lie.
us an instance in Ver. 231, where the topic of adulation is exceed-· ing childish and extravagant. Warburton.
The relentless despotism of Louis," says a certain eloquent writer, "was proudly arrayed in manners, gallantry, splendour, magnificence, and even covered over with the imposing robes of science and literature."-But the despotism was notwithstanding relentless. Warton.
Per me equidem sunt omnia protinus alba,
Nil moror; euge omnes, omnes, bene miræ eritis res :
Ver. 121. Oh let my country's friends illumine mine!] Warburton calls this a pretty expression, alluding to the old practice of illuminating MSS. with gold and vermilion ! ! ! Bowles.
Ver. 128. Come then, I'll comply-] Here is a most happy imitation of Persius, and of Boileau :
And thus Boileau, Sat. ix. v. 287.
Puisque vous le voulez, je vais changer de stile,
Persius, Sat. 1. ver. 110.
COBHAM's a coward, POLWARTH is a slave,
But pray, when others praise him, do I blame?
Call Verres, Wolsey, any odious name?
Why rail they then, if but a wreath of mine,
Oh all-accomplish'd ST. JOHN! deck thy shrine?
Cotin à ses sermons trainant toute la terre,
Fend les flots d'auditeurs pour aller à sa chaire.
But Pope has plainly the superiority by the artful and ironical compliments paid to his friends.
Ver. 129. Spirit of Arnall!] Look for him in his place, Dunc. B. ii. ver. 315.
Ver. 129. Spirit of Arnall!] Arnall was one of the writers for Sir Robert Walpole, and got by his writing, &c. a very large sum, an account of which may be seen in the notes to the Dunciad. Some of his letters now before me, for the sight of which I am indebted to Mr. Coxe, shew him to have been a shrewd and sensible man. What is curious, in one he talks very highly of his honour and veracity. He was as vain-glorious and important in his own ideas, as Pope, with much less reason: what he got, he spent as fast as it came, and many of his letters to Sir Robert shew great poverty and distress. They are full of earnest petitions for preferment, money, &c. He had a silver ink-stand, which he was proud of displaying, and boasted it was a present from his FRIEND WALPOLE! His distress at last, brought on by his own imprudence, induced him, it is supposed, to commit suicide.-Communicated by Mr. Coxe. Bowles.
Ver. 130. POLWARTH] The Hon. Hugh Hume, son of Alexander, Earl of Marchmont, grandson of Patrick, Earl of Marchmont, and distinguished, like them, in the cause of liberty. Pope.
What? shall each spur-gall'd hackney of the day,
Of honour bind me, not to maul his tools;
The prudent general turn'd it to a jest,
And begg'd he'd take the pains to kick the rest: 155 Which not at present having time to do—
F. Hold, Sir! for God's sake, where's the affront to you?
Against your worship when had Sk* writ?
Ver. 143. To break my windows] Which was done when Lord Bolingbroke and Lord Bathurst were one day dining with him at Twickenham. All the great persons celebrated in these Satires were in violent opposition to government. It is rather singular that he has not mentioned Mr. Pitt, one of the most able and most formidable; especially with his friends, Lyttelton, Cobham, and Pulteney.
Ver. 159. Or P-ge] Judge Page, who is said to have treateddelinquents too roughly.
Or grant the bard whose distich all commend, 160
The priest whose flattery be-dropp'd the crown, How hurt he you? he only stain'd the gown. 165 And how did, pray, the florid youth offend, Whose speech you took, and gave it to a friend?
Ver. 160. the bard] A verse taken out of a poem to Sir R. W. Pope. Ver. 161. In power] Lord Melcombe was the author of this line, in an Epistle to Sir Robert Walpole. Warton.
Mr. Wyndham, to whom I am so much indebted, informs me, that Lord Melcombe took the very same Epistle he had written to Sir Robert, and some years afterwards, when circumstances were changed, addressed it to Lord Bute. Bowles.
Ver. 164. The priest, &c.] Spoken not of any particular priest, but of many priests. Pope.
Meaning Dr. Alured Clarke, who wrote a panegyric on Queen Caroline. The two following unpublished lines of our author, have been communicated to me by a learned friend, on a picture of this queen, drawn by Lady Burlington:
Peace, flattering bishop, lying dean!
A comet happening to appear when Cardinal Mazarine lay on his death-bed, some of his many abject flatterers insinuated, that it had reference to him, and his destiny. The Cardinal pleasantly answered: "Gentlemen, the comet does me too much honour." Tenison preached a very fulsome funeral eulogium of Nell Gwyn.
Ver. 166. And how did, &c.] This seems to allude to a complaint made ver. 71, of the preceding dialogue. Pope.
Ver. 166. florid youth] Lord Hervey, alluding to his painting himself.