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This Satire was published in 1733, in folio, under the singular title of 'Dialogue between Alexander Pope of Twickenham, in com. Midd., on the one part, and the learned Counsel on the other. The title must have been given by the learned counsel himself: it has the true obscurity of the law. The respondent was Fortescue, successively a judge of the exchequer court, and master of the rolls.
Of the poem, Warburton pronounces, in the first place, that if the reader should expect to find a faithful copy of the genius or manner of Horace in these imitations, he will be much disappointed;' and in the next, that. had it been Pope's purpose to paraphrase an ancient satirist, he would hardly have made choice of Horace.' The first he ought to have known to be false, the second he could not know to be true. Of all the writers of antiquity, every scholar will tell us that Horace is the happiest subject for imitation. Eminently the poet of human nature, his maxims belong to every age while human nature continues the same : not less eminently the poet of manners in an age altogether different from our own, the distinction allows room for all the dexterity of the imitator. Nothing gives a stronger idea of Pope's sensibility to attack, than his suffering Warburton to be thus his defender : alternately extolling imaginary beauties, and obscuring the true, it is doubtful whether he more encumbers the text by baseless panegyric or unlucky elucidation.
The occasion of publishing these Imitations was the clamor raised on some of my Epistles : an answer from Horace was both more full, and of more dignity, than any I could have made in my own person; and the example of much greater freedom in so eminent a divine as Dr. Donne, seemed a proof with what indignation and contempt a christian may treat vice or folly, in ever so low or ever so high a station. Both these authors were acceptable to the princes and ministers under whom they lived. The satires of Dr. Donne I versified, at the desire of the earl of Oxford, while he was lord treasurer; and of the duke of Shrewsbury, who had been secretary of state ; neither of whom looked on a satire on vicious courts as any reflection on those they served in: and indeed there is not in the world a greater error, than that which fools are so apt to fall into,
and knaves with good reason to encourage ;—the mistaking a satirist for a libeller ; whereas to a true satirist nothing is so odious as a libeller, for the same reason as to' a man truly virtuous nothing is so hateful as a hypocrite:
Uni æquus virtuti atque ejus amicis.-Pope.
THE FIRST SATIRE
SECOND BOOK OF HORACE
TO MR. FORTESCUE.
P. There are, (I scarce can think it, but am told)
and free, Advice; and, as you use, without a fee. 10 F. I'd write no more.
P. Not write? but then I think, And for
my soul I cannot sleep a wink : I nod in company, I wake at night; Fools rush into my head, and so I write. F. You could not do a worse thing for your
life. Why, if the nights seem tedious—take a wife :
6 Lord Fanny spins. Those were the lines by which Pope struck the first blow in the battle with lord Hervey. Lord Hervey's appearance was effeminate; and he was said to improve a peculiarly pale complexion by the unmanly aid of rouge.
Or rather truly, if your point be rest,
and fierce, With arms, and George, and Brunswick crowd
24 Rend with tremendous sound your ears asunder, With gun, drum, trumpet, blunderbuss, and thun
der? Or nobly wild, with Budgell's fire and force, Paint angels trembling round his falling horse?
F. Then all your Muse's softer art display ;
P. Alas! few verses touch their nicer ear;
F. Better be Cibber, I'll maintain it still, Than ridicule all taste, blaspheme quadrille,
23 What? like sir Richard. Johnson describes Blackmore as a man, who destroyed a good reputation as a physician by a bad one as a poet : yet Molyneux writes to Locke, that all our English poets, except Milton, have been mere balladmakers in comparison of him ;' and Locke replies,-I find, with pleasure, a strange harmony between your thoughts and mine.'
28 Falling horse. The horse on which his majesty charged at the battle of Oudenard; when the pretender and the princes of the blood of France fled before him.-Warton.