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P. Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings,
benefit of your reading, and make his future Essays more clear and consistent."
Warton. Ver. 306. white curd] Lord Hervey, to prevent the attacks of an epilepsy, persisted in a strict regimen of daily food, which was a small quantity of ass's milk and a flour biscuit, with an apple once a week; and he used a little paint to soften his ghastly appearance.
Wurton. I must refer the reader to Mr. Coxe's humane and manly sentiments upon this occasion. Coxe's Walpole, oct. edit. vol. ii.
Bowles. Ver. 307. can Sporus feel?) In the first edition, Pope had the name “Paris," instead of Sporus; it seems a more suitable There is, I believe, no account why it was altered.
Bowles. Ver. 319.] See Milton, book iv. Pope.
Ver. 322. or blasphemies.] In former editions these two lines followed immediately :
Did ever smock-face act so vile a pari ?
A trifling head, and a corrupted heart. VOL. VI.
His wit all seesaw, between that and this,
Not fortune's worshipper, nor fashion's fool,
Ver. 340. That not in fancy's maze he wander'd long,] His merit in this will appear very great, if we consider, that in this walk he had all the advantages which the most poetic imagination could give to a great genius. M. Voltaire, in a MS. letter now before me, writes thus from England to a friend in Paris : “ I intend to send you two or three poems of Mr. Pope, the best poet of England, and at present of all the world. I hope you are acquainted enough with the English tongue, to be sensible of all the charms of his works. For my part, I look upon the Essay on Criticism as superior to the Art of Poetry of Horace ; and his Rape of the Lock is, in my opinion, above the Lutrin of Despreaux. I never saw so amiable an imagination, so gentle graces, so great variety, so much wit, and so refined knowledge
his poem called
That not for fame, but virtue's better end,
of the world, as in this little performance." MS. Lett. Oct. 15, 1726.
Warburton. Ver. 341. But stoop'd to truth, and moralized his song :] This may be said no less in commendation of his literary, than of his moral character; and his superior excellence in poetry is owing to it. He soon discovered in what his force lay; and he made the best of that advantage, by a sedulous cultivation of his proper talent. For having read Quintilian early, this precept did not escape him, Sunt hæc duo vitanda prorsus : unum, ne tentes quod effici non possit ; alterum, ne ab eo, quod quis optime facit, in aliud, cui minus est idoneus, transferas. It was in this knowledge and cultivation of his genius that he had principally the advantage of his great master, Dryden, who, by his Mac-Flecno, his Absalom and Achitophel, but chiefly by his Prologues and Epilogues, appears to have had great talents for this species of moral poetry, but, unluckily, he seemed neither to understand nor attend to it.
Warburton. Ver. 341. But stoop'd to truth,] The term is from falconry; and the allusion to one of those untamed birds of spirit, which sometimes wantons at large in airy circles, before it regards, or stoops to, its prey.
Warburton. Ver. 350. the lie so oft o'erthrown] As, that he received subscriptions for Shakespear, that he set his name to Mr. Broome's verses, &c. which, though publicly disproved, were nevertheless shamelessly repeated in the libels, and even in that called the Nobleman's Epistle.
The morals blacken'd, when the writings ’scape,
A. But why insult the poor, affront the great ? P. A knave's a knave to me, in every state;
Ver. 351. Th' imputed trash,] Such as profane Psalms, Court Poems, and other scandalous things, printed in his name by Curll and others.
Warburton. Ver. 353. the pictured shape;] Hay, in his Essay on Deformity, has remarked, that Pope was so hurt by the caricatura of his figure, as to rank it among the most atrocious injuries he received from his enemies.
Warton. Ver. 354. Abuse, on all he loved, or loved him, spread,] 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. Welsted, Tho. Bentley, and other obscure persons.
Pope. Ver. 356. The whisper, that to greatness still too near,] By the whisper is meant calumniating honest characters. Shakespear has finely expressed this office of the sycophant of greatness in the following line :
“Rain sacrificial whisperings in his ear." By which is meant the immolating men's reputations to the vice or vanity of his patron.
Warburton. Ver. 359. For thee, fair Virtue ! welcome, &c.] This line is remarkable for presenting us with the most amiable image of steady virtue, mixed with a modest concern for his being forced to undergo the severest proofs of his love for it; which was the being thought hardly of by his SOVEREIGN.
Alike my scorn, if he succeed or fail,
Yet soft by nature, more a dupe than wit,
Ver. 363. Sporus at court,] In former editions, Glencus at
Warton. In the folio edition of 1735, it is Sporus.
Ver. 374. ten years] It was so long after many libels, before the author of the Dunciad published that poem; till when, he never writ a word in answer to the many scurrilities and falsehoods concerning him.
Pope. Ver. 375. Welsted's lie.] This man had the impudence to tell in print, that Mr. P. had occasioned a Lady's deuth, and to name a person he never heard of. He also published that he libelled the Duke of Chandos ; with whom (it was added) that he had lived
Ver. 368. in the MS.
Once, and but once, his heedless youth was bit,