The Poetical Works Of Alexander Pope, Vol. 1
Alexander Pope et al

Part 7 out of 7

Not more amazement seized on Circe's guests,
To see themselves fall endlong into beasts,
Than mine, to find a subject, staid and wise,
Already half turn'd traitor by surprise.
I felt the infection slide from him to me, 170
As in the pox, some give it to get free;
And quick to swallow me, methought I saw
One of our giant statues ope its jaw.

In that nice moment, as another lie
Stood just a-tilt, the minister came by.
To him he flies, and bows, and bows again,
Then, close as Umbra, joins the dirty train.
Not Fannius' self more impudently near,
When half his nose is in his prince's ear.
I quaked at heart; and still afraid, to see 180
All the court fill'd with stranger things than he,
Ran out as fast, as one that pays his bail,
And dreads more actions, hurries from a jail.

Bear me, some god! oh quickly bear me hence
To wholesome solitude, the nurse of sense,
Where Contemplation prunes her ruffled wings,
And the free soul looks down to pity kings!
There sober thought pursued the amusing theme,
Till fancy colour'd it, and form'd a dream.
A vision hermits can to Hell transport, 190
And forced ev'n me to see the damn'd at court.
Not Dante, dreaming all the infernal state,
Beheld such scenes of envy, sin, and hate.
Base fear becomes the guilty, not the free;
Suits tyrants, plunderers, but suits not me:
Shall I, the terror of this sinful town,
Care if a liveried lord or smile or frown?
Who cannot flatter, and detest who can,
Tremble before a noble serving-man?
O my fair mistress, Truth! shall I quit thee 200
For huffing, braggart, puff'd nobility?
Thou, who since yesterday hast roll'd o'er all
The busy, idle blockheads of the ball,
Hast thou, O Sun! beheld an emptier sort,
Than such as swell this bladder of a court?
Now pox on those who show a court in wax!
It ought to bring all courtiers on their backs:
Such painted puppets! such a varnish'd race
Of hollow gewgaws, only dress and face!
Such waxen noses, stately staring things-- 210
No wonder some folks bow, and think them kings.

See! where the British youth, engaged no more
At Fig's,[174] at White's, with felons, or a whore,
Pay their last duty to the court, and come
All fresh and fragrant, to the drawing-room;
In hues as gay, and odours as divine,
As the fair fields they sold to look so fine.
'That's velvet for a king!' the flatterer swears;
'Tis true, for ten days hence 'twill be King Lear's.
Our court may justly to our stage give rules, 220
That helps it both to fools' coats and to fools.
And why not players strut in courtiers' clothes?
For these are actors too, as well as those:
Wants reach all states; they beg, but better dress'd,
And all is splendid poverty at best.

Painted for sight, and essenced for the smell,
Like frigates fraught with spice and cochineal,
Sail in the ladies: how each pirate eyes
So weak a vessel, and so rich a prize!
Top-gallant he, and she in all her trim, 230
He boarding her, she striking sail to him:
'Dear Countess! you have charms all hearts to hit!'
And, 'Sweet Sir Fopling! you have so much wit!'
Such wits and beauties are not praised for nought,
For both the beauty and the wit are bought.
'Twould burst ev'n Heraclitus with the spleen,
To see those antics, Fopling and Courtin:
The Presence seems, with things so richly odd,
The mosque of Mahound, or some queer pagod.
See them survey their limbs by Durer's rules, 240
Of all beau-kind the best proportion'd fools!
Adjust their clothes, and to confession draw
Those venial sins, an atom, or a straw;
But oh! what terrors must distract the soul
Convicted of that mortal crime, a hole;
Or should one pound of powder less bespread
Those monkey tails that wag behind their head.
Thus finish'd, and corrected to a hair,
They march, to prate their hour before the fair.
So first to preach a white-gloved chaplain goes, 250
With band of lily, and with cheek of rose,
Sweeter than Sharon, in immaculate trim,
Neatness itself impertinent in him,
Let but the ladies smile, and they are blest:
Prodigious! how the things protest, protest:
Peace, fools! or Gonson will for Papists seize you,
If once he catch you at your Jesu! Jesu!

Nature made every fop to plague his brother,
Just as one beauty mortifies another.
But here's the captain that will plague them both, 260
Whose air cries, Arm! whose very look's an oath:
The captain's honest, sirs, and that's enough,
Though his soul's bullet, and his body buff.
He spits fore-right; his haughty chest before,
Like battering rams, beats open every door:
And with a face as red, and as awry,
As Herod's hangdogs in old tapestry,
Scarecrow to boys, the breeding woman's curse,
Has yet a strange ambition to look worse;
Confounds the civil, keeps the rude in awe,
Jests like a licensed fool, commands like law. 270

Frighted, I quit the room, but leave it so
As men from jails to execution go;
For hung with deadly sins[175] I see the wall,
And lined with giants deadlier than 'em all:
Each man an Ascapart,[176] of strength to toss
For quoits, both Temple-bar and Charing-cross.
Scared at the grisly forms, I sweat, I fly,
And shake all o'er, like a discover'd spy.

Courts are too much for wits so weak as mine:
Charge them with Heaven's artillery, bold divine! 280
From such alone the great rebukes endure,
Whose satire's sacred, and whose rage secure:
'Tis mine to wash a few light stains, but theirs
To deluge sin, and drown a court in tears.
Howe'er, what's now Apocrypha, my wit,
In time to come, may pass for holy writ.

* * * * *





_Fr_. Not twice a twelvemonth you appear in print,
And when it comes, the court see nothing in 't.
You grow correct, that once with rapture writ,
And are, besides, too moral for a wit.
Decay of parts, alas! we all must feel--
Why now, this moment, don't I see you steal?
'Tis all from Horace; Horace long before ye
Said, 'Tories call'd him Whig, and Whigs a Tory;'
And taught his Romans, in much better metre,
'To laugh at fools who put their trust in Peter.' 10

But, Horace, sir, was delicate, was nice;
Bubo[178] observes, he lash'd no sort of vice:
Horace would say, Sir Billy[179] served the crown,
Blunt could do business, Huggins[180] knew the town;
In Sappho touch the failings of the sex,
In reverend bishops note some small neglects,
And own, the Spaniard did a waggish thing,
Who cropp'd our ears,[181] and sent them to the king.
His sly, polite, insinuating style
Could please at court, and make Augustus smile: 20
An artful manager, that crept between
His friend and shame, and was a kind of screen.
But, faith, your very friends will soon be sore;
Patriots there are, who wish you'd jest no more--
And where's the glory? 'twill be only thought
The great man[182] never offer'd you a groat.
Go see Sir Robert--

_P_. See Sir Robert!--hum--
And never laugh--for all my life to come?
Seen him I have,[183] but in his happier hour
Of social pleasure, ill-exchanged for power; 30
Seen him, uncumber'd with the venal tribe,
Smile without art, and win without a bribe.
Would he oblige me? let me only find,
He does not think me what he thinks mankind.
Come, come, at all I laugh he laughs, no doubt;
The only difference is, I dare laugh out.

_F_. Why, yes: with Scripture still you may be free;
A horse-laugh, if you please, at honesty;
A joke on Jekyl,[184] or some odd old Whig
Who never changed his principle, or wig: 40
A patriot is a fool in every age,
Whom all Lord Chamberlains allow the stage:
These nothing hurts; they keep their fashion still,
And wear their strange old virtue, as they will.

If any ask you, 'Who's the man, so near
His prince, that writes in verse, and has his ear?'
Why, answer, Lyttleton,[185] and I'll engage
The worthy youth shall ne'er be in a rage:
But were his verses vile, his whisper base,
You'd quickly find him in Lord Fanny's case. 50
Sejanus, Wolsey,[186] hurt not honest Fleury,[187]
But well may put some statesmen in a fury.

Laugh then at any, but at fools or foes;
These you but anger, and you mend not those.
Laugh at your friends, and, if your friends are sore,
So much the better, you may laugh the more.
To vice and folly to confine the jest,
Sets half the world, God knows, against the rest;
Did not the sneer of more impartial men
At sense and virtue, balance all again. 60
Judicious wits spread wide the ridicule,
And charitably comfort knave and fool.

_P_. Dear sir, forgive the prejudice of youth:
Adieu distinction, satire, warmth, and truth!
Come, harmless characters that no one hit;
Come, Henley's oratory, Osborn's[188] wit!
The honey dropping from Favonio's tongue,
The flowers of Bubo, and the flow of Yonge!
The gracious dew of pulpit eloquence,
And all the well-whipt cream of courtly sense, 70
That first was Hervy's, Fox's next, and then
The senate's, and then Hervy's once again.
Oh come, that easy, Ciceronian style,
So Latin, yet so English all the while,
As, though the pride of Middleton and Bland,
All boys may read, and girls may understand!
Then might I sing, without the least offence,
And all I sung should be the nation's sense;[189]
Or teach the melancholy Muse to mourn,
Hang the sad verse on Carolina's[190] urn, 80
And hail her passage to the realms of rest,
All parts perform'd, and all her children bless'd!
So--satire is no more--I feel it die--
No gazetteer[191] more innocent than I--
And let, a-God's-name! every fool and knave
Be graced through life, and flatter'd in his grave.

_F_. Why so? if satire knows its time and place,
You still may lash the greatest--in disgrace:
For merit will by turns forsake them all;
Would you know when exactly when they fall. 90
But let all satire in all changes spare
Immortal Selkirk,[192] and grave Delaware.[193]
Silent and soft, as saints remove to heaven,
All ties dissolved, and every sin forgiven,
These may some gentle ministerial wing
Receive, and place for ever near a king!
There, where no passion, pride, or shame transport,
Lull'd with the sweet nepenthe of a court;
There, where no father's, brother's, friend's disgrace
Once break their rest, or stir them from their place: 100
But past the sense of human miseries,
All tears are wiped for ever from all eyes;
No cheek is known to blush, no heart to throb,
Save when they lose a question, or a job.

_P_. Good Heaven forbid that I should blast their glory,
Who know how like Whig ministers to Tory,
And when three sovereigns died, could scarce be vex'd,
Considering what a gracious prince was next.
Have I, in silent wonder, seen such things
As pride in slaves, and avarice in kings; 110
And at a peer, or peeress, shall I fret,
Who starves a sister,[194] or forswears a debt?
Virtue, I grant you, is an empty boast;
But shall the dignity of vice be lost?
Ye gods! shall Cibber's son,[195] without rebuke,
Swear like a lord, or Rich[195] out-whore a duke?
A favourite's porter with his master vie,
Be bribed as often, and as often lie?
Shall Ward draw contracts with a statesman's skill?
Or Japhet pocket, like his Grace, a will? 120
Is it for Bond, or Peter, (paltry things)
To pay their debts, or keep their faith, like kings?
If Blount[196] dispatch'd himself, he play'd the man,
And so may'st thou, illustrious Passeran![197]
But shall a printer,[198] weary of his life,
Learn from their books to hang himself and wife?
This, this, my friend, I cannot, must not bear:
Vice thus abused, demands a nation's care:
This calls the Church to deprecate our sin,
And hurls the thunder of the laws on gin,[199] 130
Let modest Foster, if he will, excel
Ten metropolitans in preaching well;
A simple Quaker, or a Quaker's wife,[200]
Outdo Landaff[201] in doctrine,--yea, in life:
Let humble Allen,[202] with an awkward shame,
Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame.
Virtue may choose the high or low degree,
'Tis just alike to virtue, and to me;
Dwell in a monk, or light upon a king,
She's still the same beloved, contented thing. 140
Vice is undone, if she forgets her birth,
And stoops from angels to the dregs of earth:
But 'tis the fall degrades her to a whore;
Let greatness own her, and she's mean no more:
Her birth, her beauty, crowds and courts confess,
Chaste matrons praise her, and grave bishops bless:
In golden chains the willing world she draws,
And hers the gospel is, and hers the laws,
Mounts the tribunal, lifts her scarlet head,
And sees pale virtue carted in her stead. 150
Lo! at the wheels of her triumphal car,
Old England's genius, rough with many a scar,
Dragg'd in the dust! his arms hang idly round,
His flag inverted trails along the ground!
Our youth, all liveried o'er with foreign gold,
Before her dance: behind her, crawl the old!
See thronging millions to the pagod run,
And offer country, parent, wife, or son!
Hear her black trumpet through the land proclaim,
In soldier, churchman, patriot, man in power,
'Tis avarice all, ambition is no more!
See, all our nobles begging to be slaves!
See, all our fools aspiring to be knaves!
The wit of cheats, the courage of a whore,
Are what ten thousand envy and adore!
All, all look up with reverential awe,
At crimes that 'scape, or triumph o'er the law:
While truth, worth, wisdom, daily they decry--
'Nothing is sacred now but villany.' 170

Yet may this verse (if such a verse remain)
Show, there was one who held it in disdain.

* * * * *


After VER. 2 in the MS.--

You don't, I hope, pretend to quit the trade,
Because you think your reputation made:
Like good Sir Paul, of whom so much was said,
That when his name was up, he lay a-bed.
Come, come, refresh us with a livelier song,
Or, like Sir Paul, you'll lie a-bed too long.

_P_. Sir, what I write, should be correctly writ.

_F_. Correct! 'tis what no genius can admit.
Besides, you grow too moral for a wit.

VER. 112 in some editions--'Who starves a mother.'


_Fr_. 'Tis all a libel--Paxton[203] (sir) will say.

_P_. Not yet, my friend! to-morrow, faith, it may;
And for that very cause I print to-day.
How should I fret to mangle every line,
In reverence to the sins of thirty-nine!
Vice with such giant strides comes on amain,
Invention strives to be before in vain;
Feign what I will, and paint it e'er so strong,
Some rising genius sins up to my song.

_F_. Yet none but you by name the guilty lash; 10
Ev'n Guthrie[204] saves half Newgate by a dash.
Spare then the person, and expose the vice.

_P_. How, sir! not damn the sharper, but the dice?
Come on then, Satire! general, unconfined,
Spread thy broad wing, and souse on all the kind.
Ye statesmen, priests, of one religion all!
Ye tradesmen, vile, in army, court, or hall!
Ye reverend atheists----

_F_. Scandal! name them, who?

_P_. Why that's the thing you bid me not to do.
Who starved a sister, who forswore a debt, 20
I never named; the town's inquiring yet.
The poisoning dame----

_F_. You mean----

_P_. I don't.

_F_. You do.

_P_. See, now I keep the secret, and not you!
The bribing statesman----

_F_. Hold, too high you go.

_P_. The bribed elector----

_F_. There you stoop too low.

_P_. I fain would please you, if I knew with what;
Tell me, which knave is lawful game, which not?
Must great offenders, once escaped the crown,
Like royal harts, be never more run down?
Admit, your law to spare the knight requires, 30
As beasts of nature may we hunt the 'squires?
Suppose I censure--you know what I mean--
To save a bishop, may I name a dean?

_F_. A dean, sir? no: his fortune is not made,
You hurt a man that's rising in the trade.

_P_. If not the tradesman who set up to-day,
Much less the 'prentice who to-morrow may.
Down, down, proud Satire! though a realm be spoil'd,
Arraign no mightier thief than wretched Wild;[205]
Or, if a court or country's made a job, 40
Go drench a pickpocket, and join the mob.

But, sir, I beg you (for the love of vice!)
The matter's weighty, pray consider twice;
Have you less pity for the needy cheat,
The poor and friendless villain, than the great?
Alas! the small discredit of a bribe
Scarce hurts the lawyer, but undoes the scribe.
Then better, sure, it charity becomes
To tax directors, who (thank God) have plums;
Still better, ministers; or, if the thing 50
May pinch ev'n there--why lay it on a king.

_F._ Stop! stop!

_P._ Must Satire, then, nor rise nor fall?
Speak out, and bid me blame no rogues at all.

_F._ Yes, strike that Wild, I'll justify the blow.

_P._ Strike! why the man was hanged ten years ago:
Who now that obsolete example fears?
Ev'n Peter trembles only for his ears.

_F._ What, always Peter! Peter thinks you mad,
You make men desperate if they once are bad:
Else might he take to virtue some years hence 60

_P._ As Selkirk, if he lives, will love the Prince.

_F._ Strange spleen to Selkirk!

_P._ Do I wrong the man?
God knows, I praise a courtier where I can.
When I confess, there is who feels for fame,
And melts to goodness,[206] need I Scarb'rough[207] name?
Pleased, let me own, in Esher's peaceful grove[208]
(Where Kent and nature vie for Pelham's love)
The scene, the master, opening to my view,
I sit and dream I see my Craggs anew!
Ev'n in a bishop I can spy desert; 70
Secker is decent--Rundel has a heart--
Manners with candour are to Benson given--
To Berkeley, every virtue under heaven.

But does the court a worthy man remove?
That instant, I declare, he has my love:
I shun his zenith, court his mild decline;
Thus Somers once, and Halifax, were mine.
Oft, in the clear, still mirror of retreat,
I studied Shrewsbury, the wise and great:
Carleton's[209] calm sense, and Stanhope's noble flame, 80
Compared, and knew their generous end the same:
How pleasing Atterbury's softer hour!
How shined the soul, unconquer'd in the Tower!
How can I Pulteney, Chesterfield, forget,
While Roman spirit charms, and Attic wit:
Argyll,[210] the state's whole thunder born to wield,
And shake alike the senate and the field:
Or Wyndham,[211] just to freedom and the throne,
The master of our passions, and his own.
Names, which I long have loved, nor loved in vain, 90
Rank'd with their friends, not number'd with their train:
And if yet higher[212] the proud list should end,
Still let me say,--No follower, but a friend.[213]

Yet think not Friendship only prompts my lays;
I follow Virtue; where she shines, I praise:
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)
Dined with the Man of Ross, or my Lord Mayor.[214]
Some, in their choice of friends, (nay, look not grave) 100
Have still a secret bias to a knave:
To find an honest man I beat about.
And love him, court him, praise him, in or out.

_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, and 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 Richelieu wanted, Louis scarce could gain,
And what young Ammon wish'd, but wish'd in vain.
No power the Muse's friendship can command;
No power, when Virtue claims it, can withstand:
To Cato, Virgil paid one honest line; 120
Oh let my country's friends illumine mine!
--What are you thinking?

_F_. Faith, the thought's no sin--
I think 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.

_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 comply--
Spirit of Arnall![215] aid me while I lie.
Cobham's a coward, Polwarth[216] is a slave, 130
And Lyttleton a dark, designing knave,
St John has ever been a wealthy fool--
But let me add, Sir Robert's mighty dull,
Has never made a friend in private life,
And was, besides, a tyrant to his wife.

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,
O all-accomplish'd St John! deck thy shrine?

What! shall each spur-gall'd hackney of the day, 140
When Paxton gives him double pots and pay,
Or each new-pension'd sycophant, pretend
To break my windows if I treat a friend?
Then wisely plead, to me they meant no hurt,
But 'twas my guest at whom they threw the dirt?
Sure, if I spare the minister, no rules
Of honour bind me, not to maul his tools;
Sure, if they cannot cut, it may be said
His saws are toothless, and his hatchet's lead.

It anger'd Turenne, once upon a day, 150
To see a footman kick'd that took his pay:
But when he heard the affront the fellow gave,
Knew one a man of honour, one a knave,
The prudent general turn'd it to a jest,
And begg'd he'd take the pains to kick the rest:
Which not at present having time to do----

_F_. Hold sir! for God's-sake where 'a the affront to you?
Against your worship when had Selkirk writ?
Or Page pour'd forth the torrent of his wit?
Or grant the bard[217] whose distich all commend 160
'In power a servant, out of power a friend,'
To Walpole guilty of some venial sin;
What's that to you who ne'er was out nor in?

The priest whose flattery bedropp'd the crown,
How hurt he you? he only stain'd the gown.
And how did, pray, the florid youth offend,
Whose speech you took, and gave it to a friend?

_P_. Faith, it imports not much from whom it came;
Whoever borrow'd, could not be to blame,
Since the whole house did afterwards the same. 170
Let courtly wits to wits afford supply,
As hog to hog in huts of Westphaly;
If one, through Nature's bounty, or his lord's,
Has what the frugal, dirty soil affords,
From him the next receives it, thick or thin,
As pure a mess almost as it came in;
The blessed benefit, not there confined,
Drops to the third, who nuzzles close behind;
From tail to mouth, they feed and they carouse:
The last full fairly gives it to the House. 180

_F_. This filthy simile, this beastly line
Quite turns my stomach----

_P_. So does flattery mine;
And all your courtly civet-cats can vent,
Perfume to you, to me is excrement.
But hear me further--Japhet,[218] 'tis agreed,
Writ not, and Chartres scarce could write or read,
In all the courts of Pindus guiltless quite;
But pens can forge, my friend, that cannot write;
And must no egg in Japhet's face be thrown,
Because the deed he forged was not my own? 190
Must never patriot then declaim at gin,
Unless, good man! he has been fairly in?
No zealous pastor blame a failing spouse,
Without a staring reason on his brows?
And each blasphemer quite escape the rod,
Because the insult's not on man, but God?

Ask you what provocation I have had?
The strong antipathy of good to bad.
When truth or virtue an affront endures,
The affront is mine, my friend, and should be yours. 200
Mine, as a foe profess'd to false pretence,
Who think a coxcomb's honour like his sense;
Mine, as a friend to every worthy mind;
And mine, as man, who feel for all mankind.

_F_. You're strangely proud.

_P_. So proud, I am no slave:
So impudent, I own myself no knave:
So odd, my country's ruin makes me grave.
Yes, I am proud; I must be proud to see
Men not afraid of God, afraid of me:
Safe from the bar, the pulpit, and the throne, 210
Yet touch'd and shamed by ridicule alone.

O sacred weapon! left for truth's defence,
Sole dread of folly, vice, and insolence!
To all but heaven-directed hands denied,
The Muse may give thee, but the gods must guide:
Rev'rent I touch thee! but with honest zeal;
To rouse the watchmen of the public weal,
To virtue's work provoke the tardy Hall,
And goad the prelate slumbering in his stall.
Ye tinsel insects! whom a court maintains, 220
That counts your beauties only by your stains,
Spin all your cobwebs o'er the eye of day!
The Muse's wing shall brush you all away:
All his grace preaches, all his lordship sings,
All that makes saints of queens, and gods of kings,--
All, all but truth, drops dead-born from the press,
Like the last gazette, or the last address.

When black ambition[219] stains a public cause,
A monarch's sword when mad vain-glory draws,
Not Waller's wreath can hide the nation's scar, 230
Nor Boileau[220] turn the feather to a star.

Not so, when, diadem'd with rays divine,
Touch'd with the flame that breaks from Virtue's shrine,
Her priestess Muse forbids the good to die,
And opes the temple[221] of Eternity.
There, other trophies deck the truly brave,
Than such as Anstis[222] casts into the grave;
Far other stars than ---- and ---- wear,[223]
And may descend to Mordington from Stair:[224]
(Such as on Hough's unsullied mitre shine, 240
Or beam, good Digby,[225] from a heart like thine)
Let Envy howl, while Heaven's whole chorus sings,
And bark at honour not conferr'd by kings;
Let Flattery sickening see the incense rise,
Sweet to the world, and grateful to the skies:
Truth guards the poet, sanctifies the line,
And makes immortal verse as mean as mine.

Yes, the last pen for freedom let me draw,
When truth stands trembling on the edge of law;
Here, last of Britons! let your names be read; 250
Are none, none living? let me praise the dead,
And for that cause which made your fathers shine,
Fall by the votes of their degenerate line.

_F_. Alas! alas! pray end what you began,
And write next winter more 'Essays on Man.'

* * * * *


VER. 185 in the MS.--

I grant it, sir; and further, 'tis agreed,
Japhet writ not, and Chartres scarce could read.

After VER. 227 in the MS.--

Where's now the star that lighted Charles to rise?
--With that which follow'd Julius to the skies
Angels that watch'd the Royal Oak so well,
How chanced ye nod, when luckless Sorel fell?
Hence, lying miracles! reduced so low
As to the regal-touch, and papal-toe;
Hence haughty Edgar's title to the main,
Britain's to France, and thine to India, Spain!

VER. 255 in the MS.--

Quit, quit these themes, and write 'Essays on Man.'


[1] We may mention that Roscoe and Dr Croly (in his admirable
Life of Pope, prefixed to an excellent edition of his works) take a
different view, and defend the poet.

[2] 'Preface:' to the miscellaneous works of Pope, 1716.

[3] Written at sixteen years of age.

[4] 'Trumbull:' see Life. He was born in Windsor Forest.

[5] 'Phosphor:' the planet Venus.

[6] 'Wondrous tree:' an allusion to the royal oak.

[7] 'Thistle:' of Scotland.

[8] 'Lily:' of France.

[9] 'Garth:' Dr Samuel Garth, author of the 'Dispensary.'

[10] 'The woods,' &c., from Spenser.

[11] 'Wycherley:' the dramatist. See Life.

[12] This pastoral, Pope's own favourite, was produced on
occasion of the death of a Mrs Tempest, a favourite of Mr Walsh, the
poet's friend, who died on the night of the great storm in 1703, to
which there are allusions. The scene lies in a grove--time, midnight.

[13] 'Stagyrite: Aristotle.

[14] 'La Mancha's knight:' taken from the spurious second part
of 'Don Quixote.'

[15] 'Unlucky as Fungoso:' see Ben Johnson's 'Every Man in his

[16] 'Timotheus:' see 'Alexander's Feast.'

[17] 'Scotists and Thomists:' two parties amongst the schoolmen,
headed by Duns Scotus and Thomas Aquinas.

[18] 'Duck-lane:' a place near Smithfield, where old books were

[19] 'Milbourns:' the Rev. Mr Luke Milbourn, an opponent of

[20] Hall has imitated and excelled this passage. See his
pamphlet, 'Christianity consistent with a Love of Freedom.'

[21] In this passage he alludes to Cromwell, Charles II., and
the Revolution of 1688, and to their various effects on manners,
opinions, &c.

[22] 'Appius:' Dennis.

[23] 'Garth did not write:' a common slander at that time in
prejudice of that author.

[24] 'Maeonian star:' Homer.

[25] 'Dionysius:' of Halicarnassus.

[26] 'Mantua:' Virgil's birth-place.

[27] 'Such was the Muse:' Essay on poetry by the Duke of

[28] 'Caryll:' Mr Caryll (a gentleman who was secretary to Queen
Mary, wife of James II., whose fortunes he followed into France, author
of the comedy of 'Sir Solomon Single,' and of several translations in
Dryden's Miscellanies) originally proposed the subject to Pope, with the
view of putting an end, by this piece of ridicule, to a quarrel that had
arisen between two noble families, those of Lord Petre and of Mrs
Fermor, on the trifling occasion of his having cut off a lock of her
hair. The author sent it to the lady, with whom he was acquainted; and
she took it so well as to give about copies of it. That first sketch (we
learn from one of his letters) was written in less than a fortnight, in
1711, in two cantos only, and it was so printed; first, in a miscellany
of Ben. Lintot's, without the name of the author. But it was received so
well that he enlarged it the next year by the addition of the machinery
of the Sylphs, and extended it to five cantos.

[29] 'Sylph:' the Rosicrucian philosophy was a strange offshoot
from Alchemy, and made up in equal proportions of Pagan Platonism,
Christian Quietism, and Jewish Mysticism. See Bulwer's 'Zanoni.' Pope
has blended some of its elements with old legendary stories about
guardian angels, fairies, &c.

[30] 'Baron:' Lord Petre.

[31] Burns had this evidently in his eye when he wrote the lines
'Some hint the lover's harmless wile,' &c., in his 'Vision.'

[32] 'Atalantis:' a famous book written about that time by a
woman: full of court and party-scandal, and in a loose effeminacy of
style and sentiment which well suited the debauched taste of the better

[33] 'Winds:' see Odyssey.

[34] 'Thalestris:' Mrs Morley.

[35] 'Sir Plume:' Sir George Brown.

[36] 'Maeander:' see Ovid.

[37] 'Partridge:' see Pope's and Swift's Miscellanies.

[38] This poem was written at two different times: the first
part of it, which relates to the country, in the year 1704, at the same
time with the Pastorals; the latter part was not added till the year
1713, in which it was published.

[39] 'Stuart:' Queen Anne.

[40] 'Savage laws:' the forest-laws.

[41] 'The fields are ravish'd:' alluding to the destruction made
in the New Forest, and the tyrannies exercised there by William I.

[42] 'Himself denied a grave:' the place of his interment at
Caen in Normandy was claimed by a gentleman as his inheritance, the
moment his servants were going to put him in his tomb: so that they were
obliged to compound with the owner before they could perform the king's

[43] 'Second hope:' Richard, second son of William the

[44] 'Queen:' Anne.

[45] 'Still bears the name:' the river Loddon.

[46] 'Trumbull:' see Pastorals.

[47] 'Cooper's Hill:' celebrated by Denham.

[48] 'Flowed from Cowley's tongue:' Mr Cowley died at Chertsey,
on the borders of the forest, and was from thence conveyed to

[49] 'Noble Surrey:' Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, one of the
first refiners of English poetry; who flourished in the time of Henry

[50] 'Edward's acts:' Edward III., born here.

[51] 'Henry mourn:' Henry VI.

[52] 'Once-fear'd Edward sleeps:' Edward IV.

[53] 'Augusta:' old name for London.

[54] 'And temples rise:' the fifty new churches.

[55] The author of 'Successio,' Elkanah Settle, appears to have
been as much hated by Pope as he had been by Dryden. He figures
prominently in 'The Dunciad.'

[56] This was written at twelve years old.

[57] This ode was written in imitation of the famous sonnet of
Adrian to his departing soul. Flaxman also supplied hints for it. See
'The Adventurer.'

[58] See Memoir.

[59] 'But what with pleasure:' this alludes to a famous passage
of Seneca, which Mr Addison afterwards used as a motto to his play, when
it was printed.

[60] Done by the author in his youth.

[61] Dr Johnson in the _Literary Review_ highly commends this

[62] This, it is said, was intended for Queen Caroline.

[63] 'Zamolxia:' a disciple of Pythagoras.

[64] 'The youth:' Alexander the Great: the tiara was the crown
peculiar to the Asian princes: his desire to be thought the son of
Jupiter Ammon, caused him to wear the horns of that god, and to
represent the same upon his coins; which was continued by several of his

[65] 'Timoleon:' had saved the life of his brother Timophanes in
the battle between the Argives and Corinthians; but afterwards killed
him when he affected the tyranny.

[66] 'He whom ungrateful Athens:' Aristides.

[67] 'May one kind grave:' Abelard and Eloisa were interred in
the same grave, or in monuments adjoining, in the monastery of the
Paraclete: he died in the year 1142; she in 1163.

[68] 'Robert, Earl of Oxford:' this epistle was sent to the Earl
of Oxford with Dr Parnell's poems, published by our author, after the
said earl's imprisonment in the Tower, and retreat into the country, in
the year 1721.

[69] 'Secretary of State:' in the year 1720.

[70] 'Work of years:' Fresnoy employed above twenty years in
finishing his poem.

[71] 'Worsley:' Lady Frances, wife of Sir Robert Worsley.

[72] 'Voitnre:' a French wit, born in Amiens 1598, died in 1648;
a favourite of the Duke of Orleans, and member of the French Academy.

[73] 'Monthansier:' Mademoiselle Paulet.

[74] 'Coronation:' of King George the First, 1715.

[75] 'M.B.:' Martha Blount.

[76] 'Southern:' author of 'Oronooko,' &c. He lived to the age
of eighty-six.

[77] 'A table:' he was invited to dine on his birthday with this
nobleman, who had prepared for him the entertainment of which the bill
of fare is here set down.

[78] 'Harp:' the Irish harp was woven on table-cloths, &c.

[79] 'Prologues:' Dryden used to sell his prologues at four
guineas each, till, when Southern applied for one, he demanded six,
saying, 'Young man, the players have got my goods too cheap.'

[80] 'Mr C.:' Mr Cleland, whose residence was in St James's
Place, where he died in 1741. See preface to 'The Dunciad.'

[81] 'Trumbull:' one of the principal Secretaries of State to
King William III., who, having resigned his place, died in his
retirement at Easthamstead, in Berkshire, 1746.

[82] 'Heaven's eternal year is thine:' borrowed from Dryden's
poem on Mrs Killigrew.

[83] 'Fenton:' Pope's joint-translator of Homer's Odyssey. See
Johnson's 'Lives of the Poets.'

[84] His only daughter expired in his arms, immediately after
she arrived in France to see him.

[85] Lady Mary Montague wrote a rejoinder to this poem, in a
caustic, sneering vein.

[86] 'Vindicate the ways,' &c.: borrowed from Milton.

[87] 'Egypt's God:' Apis.

[88] 'Thin partitions' from Dryden.

[89] 'Glory, jest, and riddle of the world:' Pascal in his
'Pensees' has a thought almost identical with this.

[90] 'Good bishop:' De Belsance, who distinguished himself by
attention to the sick of the plague, in his diocese of Marseilles in

[91] 'Bethel:' a benevolent gentleman in Yorkshire, a great
friend of Pope's.

[92] 'Chartres:' Colonel, infamous for every vice--a fraudulent
gambler, &c. &c.

[93] 'Cromwell:' it is not necessary now to answer this insult
to the greatest of Britain's kings. It is a clever ape chattering at a
dead lion.

[94] 'Good John:' John Serle, his old and faithful servant.

[95] 'Mint:' a place to which insolvent debtors retired, to
enjoy an illegal protection, which they were there suffered to afford
one another, from the persecution of their creditors.--P.

[96] 'Pitholeon:' The name taken from a foolish poet of Rhodes,
who pretended much to Greek.--P.

[97] 'Butchers, Henley:' Orator Henley used to declaim to the
butchers in Newport market.

[98] 'Freemasons, Moore:' he was of this society, and frequently
headed their processions.

[99] 'Bishop Boulter:' friend of Ambrose Philips.

[100] 'Burnets, &c.:' authors of secret and scandalous history.

[101] 'Gildon:' a forgotten critic and dramatist--a bitter
libeller of Pope.

[102] 'A Persian tale:' Ambrose Philips translated a book called
the 'Persian Tales.'

[103] 'Bufo:' most commentators refer this to Lord Halifax.

[104] 'Sir Will:' Sir William Young.

[105] 'Bubo:' Babb Dodington.

[106] 'Who to the dean, and silver bell:' meaning the man who
would have persuaded the Duke of Chandos that Mr P. meant him in those
circumstances ridiculed in the 'Epistle on Taste.'--_P_.

[107] 'Sporus:' Lord Hervey.

[108] 'The lie so oft o'erthrown:' as, that he received
subscriptions for Shakspeare; that he set his name to Mr Broome's
verses, &c., which, though publicly disproved, were nevertheless
shamelessly repeated.--_P_.

[109] 'The imputed trash:' such as profane psalms, court-poems,
and other scandalous things, printed in his name by Curll and

[110] 'Abuse:' namely, on the Duke of Buckingham, the Earl of
Burlington, Lord Bathurst, Lord Bolingbroke, Bishop Atterbury, Dr Swift,
Dr Arbuthnot, Mr Gay, his friends, his parents, and his very nurse,
aspersed in printed papers, by James Moore, G. Ducket, L. Wolsted, Tho.
Bentley, and other obscure persons.--_P_.

[111] 'Sappho:' Lady M.W. Montague.

[112] 'Welsted:' accused Pope of killing a lady by a satire.

[113] 'Budgell:' Budgell, in a weekly pamphlet called _The Bee_,
bestowed much abuse on him.

[114] 'Except his will:' alluding to Tindal's will, by which,
and other indirect practices, Budgell, to the exclusion of the next
heir, a nephew, got to himself almost the whole fortune of a man
entirely unrelated to him.--_P_.

[115] 'Curlls of town and court:' Lord Hervey.

[116] 'Noble wife:' alluding to the fate of Dryden and Addison.

[117] 'An oath:' Pope's father was a nonjuror.

[118] Curll set up his head for a sign.

[119] His father was crooked.

[120] His mother was much afflicted with headaches.

[121] 'Fortescue:' Baron of Exchequer, and afterwards Master of
the Mint.

[122] 'Fanny:' Hervey.

[123] 'Falling horse:' the horse on which George II. charged at
the battle of Oudenarde.

[124] 'Shippen:' the only member of parliament Sir R. Walpole
found incorruptible.

[125] 'Lee:' Nathaniel, a wild, mad, but true poet of Dryden's

[126] 'Budgell:' Addison's relation, who drowned himself in the

[127] 'And he whose lightning:' Charles Mordaunt, Earl of
Peterborough, a man distinguished by the rapidity of his military
movements--a petty Napoleon.

[128] 'Oldfield:' this eminent glutton ran through a fortune of
fifteen hundred pounds a-year in the simple luxury of good

[129] 'Bedford-head:' a famous eating-house.

[130] 'Proud Buckingham:' Villiers, Duke of Buckingham.

[131] 'Aristippus:' the licentious parasite of Dionysius.

[132] 'Sticks:' Exchequer tallies--an old mode of reckoning.

[133] 'Barnard:' Sir John Barnard, an eminent citizen of the

[134] 'Lady Mary:' Montague, who was as great a sloven as a

[135] 'Murray:' afterwards Lord Mansfield.

[136] 'Creech:' the translator of Horace.

[137] 'Craggs:' his father was originally a humble man.

[138] 'Cornbury:' an excellent and high-minded nobleman,
great-grandson of Lord Clarendon, the historian.

[139] 'Tindal:' the infidel, author of 'Christianity as Old as
the Creation.'

[140] 'Anstis:' Garter King-at-Arms.

[141] 'Luckless play:' Young's 'Buseris;' the name of the
spendthrift is not known.

[142] 'Augustus:' referring ironically to George II., then
excessively unpopular for refusing to enter into a war with Spain, which
was supposed to have insulted our commerce.

[143] 'Skelton:' poet laureate to Henry VIII.

[144] 'Christ's Kirk o' the Green:' a ballad made by James I. of

[145] 'The Devil:' the Devil Tavern, where Ben Johnson held his
poetical club.

[146] 'Horse-tail bare:' referring to Sertorius, who told one of
his soldiers to pluck off a horse's tail at one effort. He failed, of
course. Sertorius then told another to pluck it away, hair by hair. He
succeeded; and thus Sertorius taught the lesson of hard-working, patient

[147] 'Gammer Gurton:' one of the first printed plays in English,
and therefore much valued by some antiquaries.

[148] 'All, by the king's example:' a line from Lord Lansdown.

[149] 'Lely:' Sir Peter, who painted Cromwell and all the
celebrities of his day.

[150] 'Ripley:' the government architect who built the Admiralty;
no favourite except with his employers.

[151] 'Van:' Vanbrugh.

[152] 'Astraea:' Miss Bolin, author of obscene, but once popular

[153] 'Old Edward's armour beams on Cibber's breast:' the
coronation of Henry VIII. and Queen Anne Boleyn, in which the
play-houses vied with each other to represent all the pomp of a
coronation. In this noble contention, the armour of one of the kings of
England was borrowed from the Tower, to dress the champion.--_P_.

[154] 'Bernini:' a great sculptor. He is said to have predicted
Charles the First's melancholy fate from a sight of his bust.

[155] 'Colonel:' Cotterel of Rousham, near Oxford.

[156] 'Blois:' a town where French is spoken with great purity.

[157] 'Sir Godfrey:' Sir Godfrey Kneller.

[158] 'Monroes:' Dr Monroe, physician to Bedlam Hospital.

[159] 'Oldfield, Daitineuf:' two celebrated gluttons mentioned

[160] 'Tooting, Earl's Court:' two villages within a few miles of

[161] 'Composing songs:' Burns imitates this in the 'Vision'--

'Stringin' blethers up in rhyme,
For fules to sing.'

[162] 'Stephen:' Mr Stephen Duck.

[163] 'Servile chaplains:' Dr Kenett, who wrote a servile
dedication to the Duke of Devonshire, to whom he was chaplain.

[164] 'Abbs Court:' a farm over against Hampton Court.

[165] 'Townshend's turnips:' Lord Townshend, Secretary of State
to Georges the First and Second. When this great statesman retired from
business, he amused himself in husbandry, and was particularly fond of
the cultivation of turnips; it was the favourite subject of his

[166] 'Bu----:' Bubb Doddington.

[167] 'Oglethorpe:' employed in settling the colony of Georgia.
See Boswell's 'Johnson.'

[168] 'Belinda:' in 'The Rape of the Lock.'

[169] 'Tips with silver:' occurs also in the famous moonlight
scene in the 'Iliad'--

'Tips with silver every mountain's head.'

[170] 'Adieu!' how like Burns's lines, beginning--

"But when life's day draws near the gloaming,
Farewell to vacant, careless roaming!" &c.

[171] 'Donne:' Pope, it is said, imitated Donne's 'Satires' to
show that celebrated men before him had been as severe as he. Donne was
an extraordinary man--first a Roman Catholic, then a barrister, then a
clergyman in the Church of England, and Dean of St Paul's,--a vigorous
although rude satirist, a fine Latin versifier, the author of many
powerful sermons, and of a strange book defending suicide; altogether a
strong, eccentric, extravagant genius.

[172] 'Paul:' supposed to be Paul Benfield, Esq., M.P., who was
engaged in the jobbing transactions of that period; others fill up the
blank in the original copy with Hall--as, for instance, Croly in his
excellent edition.

[173] 'Hoadley:' Bishop, whose sentences were wire-drawn.

[174] 'Figs:' a prize-fighting academy; 'White's:' a
gaming-house, both much frequented by the young nobility.

[175] 'Deadly sins:' the room hung with old tapestry,
representing the seven deadly sins.

[176] 'Ascapart:' a giant of romance.

[177] 'Epilogue:' the first part of which was originally
published as 'One thousand seven hundred and thirty-eight.' It appeared
the same day with Johnson's 'London.'

[178] 'Bubo:' Bubb Duddington.

[179] 'Sir Billy:' Tonge.

[180] 'Huggins:' formerly jailor of the Fleet prison, enriched
himself by many exactions, for which he was tried and expelled.--P.

[181] 'Cropp'd our ears:' said to be executed by the captain of a
Spanish ship on one Jenkins, the captain of an English one. He cut off
his ears, and bid him carry them to the king his master.--P.

[182] 'The great man:' the first minister.

[183] 'Seen him I have:' alluding to Pope's service to Abbe
Southcot, see 'Life.'

[184] 'Jekyl:' Sir Joseph Jekyl, master of the rolls, a true Whig
in his principles, and a man of the utmost probity.--P.

[185] 'Lyttleton:' George Lyttleton, secretary to the Prince of
Wales, distinguished both for his writings and speeches in the spirit of

[186] 'Sejanus, Wolsey:' the one the wicked minister of
Tiberius; the other, of Henry VIII. The writers against the court
usually bestowed these and other odious names on the minister, without
distinction, and in the most injurious manner.--P.

[187] 'Fleury:' Cardinal; and minister to Louis XV. It was a
patriot-fashion, at that time, to cry up his wisdom and honesty.--P.

[188] 'Henley, Osborn:' see them in their places in 'The

[189] 'Nation's sense:' the cant of politics at that time.

[190] 'Carolina:' Queen-consort to King George II. She died in
1737. See, for her character, 'Heart of Midlothian.'

[191] 'Gazetteer:' then Government newspaper.

[192] 'Immortal Selkirk:' Charles, third son of Duke of
Hamilton, created Earl of Selkirk in 1887.

[193] 'Grave Delaware:' a title given that lord by King James
II. He was of the bed-chamber to King William; he was so to King George
I.; he was so to King George II. This Lord was very skilful in all the
forms of the House, in which he discharged himself with great gravity.--

[194] 'Sister:' alluding to Lady M.W. Montague, who is said to
have neglected her sister, the Countess of Mar, who died destitute in

[195] 'Cibber's son, Rich:' two players; look for them in 'The

[196] 'Blount:' author of an impious and foolish book, called
'The Oracles of Reason,' who, being in love with a near kinswoman of
his, and rejected, gave himself a stab in the arm, as pretending to kill
himself, of the consequence of which he really died.--P.

[197] 'Passerau:' author of another book of the same stamp,
called 'A Philosophical Discourse on Death,' being a defence of suicide.
He was a nobleman of Piedmont.

[198] 'A printer:' a fact that happened in London a few years
past. The unhappy man left behind him a paper justifying his action by
the reasonings of some of these authors.--P.

[199] 'Gin:' a spirituous liquor, the exhorbitant use of which
had almost destroyed the lowest rank of the people, till it was
restrained by an Act of Parliament in 1736.--P.

[200] 'Quaker's wife:' Mrs Drummond, a preacher.

[201] 'Landaff:' Harris by name, a worthy man, who had somehow
offended the poet.

[202] 'Allen:' of Bath, Warburton's father-in-law, the prototype
of All-worthy in 'Tom Jones.'

[203] 'Paxton:' late solicitor to the Treasury.

[204] 'Guthrie:' the ordinary of Newgate, who publishes the
memoirs of the malefactors, and is often prevailed upon to be so tender
of their reputation, as to set down no more than the initials of their

[205] 'Wild:' Jonathan, a famous thief, and thief-impeacher, who
was at last caught in his own train and hanged.--P. See Fielding, and
'Jack Shepherd.'

[206] 'Feels for fame, and melts to goodness:' this is a fine
compliment; the expression showing, that fame was but his second

[207] 'Scarb'rough:' Earl of, and Knight of the Garter, 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._

[208] 'Esher's peaceful grove:' the house and gardens of Esher,
in Surrey, belonging to the Hon. Mr Pelham, brother of the Duke of

[209] 'Carleton:' Lord, nephew of Robert Boyle.

[210] 'Argyll:' see 'Heart of Midlothian.'

[211] 'Wyndham:' Chancellor of Exchequer; for the rest, see

[212] 'Yet higher:' he was at this time honoured with the esteem
and favour of his Royal Highness the Prince.

[213] 'A friend:' unrelated to their parties, and attached only
to their persons.

[214] 'Lord Mayor:' Sir John Barnard, Lord Mayor in the year of
the poem, 1738.

[215] 'Spirit of Arnall:' look for him in his place, Dunciad, b.
ii., ver. 315.

[216] '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.--P.

[217] 'The bard:' a verse taken out of a poem to Sir R.W.--P.

[218] 'Japhet, Chartres:' see the epistle to Lord Bathurst.

[219] 'Black ambition:' the case of Cromwell in the civil war of
England; and of Louis XIV. in his conquest of the Low Countries.--P.

[220] 'Boileau:' see his 'Ode on Namur.'

[221] 'Opes the temple:' from Milton--'Opes the palace of

[222] 'Anstis:' the chief herald-at-arms. It is the custom, at
the funeral of great peers, to cast into the grave the broken staves and
ensigns of honour.--P.

[223] 'Ver. 238:' some fill up the blanks with George II., and
Frederick, Prince of Wales--others, with Kent and Grafton.

[224] 'Stair:' John Dalrymple, Earl of Stair, Knight of the

[225] 'Hough and Digby:' Dr John Hough, Bishop of Worcester, and
the Lord Digby.



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