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P. Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings,
This painted child of dirt, that stinks and stings;
Whose buzz the witty and the fair annoys,
Yet wit ne'er tastes, and beauty ne'er enjoys:
So well-bred spaniels civilly delight
In mumbling of the game they dare not bite.
Eternal smiles his emptiness betray,

315
As shallow streams run dimpling all the way;
Whether in florid impotence he speaks,
And, as the prompter breathes, the puppet squeaks;
Or at the ear of Eve, familiar toad,
Half froth, half venom, spits himself abroad, 320
In puns, or politics, or tales, or lies,
Or spite, or smut, or rhymes, or blasphemies.

NOTES.

p. 164.

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.

G

name.

His wit all seesaw, between that and this,
Now high, now low, now master up, now miss,
And he himself one vile antithesis.

325
Amphibious thing! that acting either part,
The trifling head, or the corrupted heart,
Fop at the toilet, flatterer at the board,
Now trips a lady, and now struts a lord.
Eve's tempter thus the Rabbins have express'd 330
A cherub's face, a reptile all the rest,
Beauty that shocks you, parts that none will trust,
Wit that can creep, and pride that licks the dust.

Not fortune's worshipper, nor fashion's fool,
Not lucre's madman, nor ambition's tool, 335
Not proud nor servile; be one poet's praise,
That, if he pleased, he pleased by manly ways;
That flattery, even to kings, he held a shame,
And thought a lie in verse or prose the same;
That not in fancy's maze he wander'd long, 340
But stoop'd to truth, and moralized his song;

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NOTES.

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

of

his poem called

That not for fame, but virtue's better end,
He stood the furious foe, the timid friend,
The damning critic, half-approving wit,
The coxcomb hit, or fearing to be hit; 345
Laugh'd at the loss of friends he never had,
The dull, the proud, the wicked, and the mad;
The distant threats of vengeance on his head,
The blow unfelt, the tear he never shed;
The tale revived, the lie so oft o'erthrown, 350
Th' imputed trash, and dulness not his own;

NOTES.

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.

Pope.

The morals blacken'd, when the writings ’scape,
The libelled person, and the pictured shape;
Abuse, on all he loved, or loved him, spread,
A friend in exile, or a father dead;

355
The whisper, that to greatness still too near,
Perhaps, yet vibrates on his Sov'REIGN's ear.
Welcome for thee, fair Virtue, all the past ;
For thee, fair Virtue! welcome even the last!

A. But why insult the poor, affront the great ? P. A knave's a knave to me, in every state;

NOTES.

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.

Warburton.

Alike my scorn, if he succeed or fail,
Sporus at court, or Japhet in a jail,
A hireling scribbler, or a hireling peer,
Knight of the post corrupt, or of the shire; 365
If on a pillory, or near a throne,
He gain his prince's ear, or lose his own.

Yet soft by nature, more a dupe than wit,
Sappho can tell you how this man was bit:
This dreaded satirist Dennis will confess 370
Foe to his pride, but friend to his distress :
So humble, he has knock'd at Tibbald's door,
Has drunk with Cibber, nay, has rhymed for Moore.
Full ten years slander'd, did he once reply?
Three thousand suns went down on Welsted's lie.

NOTES.

court.

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

in

VARIATIONS.

Ver. 368. in the MS.

Once, and but once, his heedless youth was bit,
And like that dangerous thing, a female wit :
Safe as he thought, though all the prudent chid ;
He writ no libels, but my Lady did :
Great odds in amorous or poetic game,
Where woman's is the sin, and man's the shame.

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