Imágenes de página




This Epistle is addressed to colonel Cotterell, of Rousham, near Oxford, the descendant of sir Charles Cotterell, who, at the desire of Charles I., translated Davila into English. Pope in this poem once more gracefully alludes to his personal circumstances, his self-taught knowlege, his love of a country life, his indifference to wealth, and the resignation with which he was prepared to give up the great world and life together.

Dear colonel, Cobham's and your country's friend,
You love a verse; take such as I can send.
A Frenchman comes, presents you with his boy;
Bows, and begins :—* This lad, sir, is of Blois :
Observe his shape how clean! his locks how curl'd!
My only son! I'd have him see the world : 6
His French is pure; his voice too—you shall hear:
Sir, he's your slave, for twenty pound a year.
Mere wax as yet, you fashion him with ease,
Your barber, cook, upholsterer, what you please :

4 This lad, sir, is of Blois. A town in Beauce, where the French tongue is spoken in great purity.-Warburton.


A perfect genius at an opera-song:
To say too much might do my honor wrong.
Take him with all his virtues, on my word;
His whole ambition was to serve a lord :
But, sir, to you, with what would I not part? 15
Though, faith, I fear, 'twill break his mother's

heart. Once, and but once, I caught him in a lie, And then, unwhipp’d, he had the grace to cry: The fault he has I fairly shall reveal; (Could you o'erlook but that) it is to steal.' 20

If, after this, you took the graceless lad, Could you complain, my friend, he proved so bad ? Faith, in such case, if you should prosecute, I think sir Godfrey should decide the suit; Who sent the thief that stole the cash away, 25 And punish'd him that put it in his way.

Consider then, and judge me in this light: I told you, when I went, I could not write ; You said the same; and are you discontent With laws, to which you gave your own assent? Nay, worse,

to ask for verse at such a time! D'ye think me good for nothing but to rhyme ? In Anna's wars, a soldier poor

and old Had dearly earn'd a little purse of gold: Tired with a tedious march, one luckless night, 35 He slept, poor dog! and lost it, to a doit. This put the man in such a desperate mind, Between revenge, and grief, and hunger join'd, Against the foe, himself, and all mankind,



24 Sir Godfrey. Kneller, whom Pope pleasantly describes

• an eminent justice of peace, who decided much after the manner of Sancho Panza.'


And certain laws, by sufferers thought unjust, 60
Denied all posts of profit or of trust :
Hopes after hopes of pious papists fail'd,
While mighty William's thundering arm prevail'd.
For right hereditary tax’d and fined,
He stuck to poverty with peace of mind; 65
And me, the Muses help to undergo it;
Convict a papist he, and I a poet.
But, thanks to Homer! since I live and thrive,
Indebted to no prince or peer alive,
Sure I should want the care of ten Monroes, 70
If I would scribble rather than

repose. Years following years, steal something every

day; At last they steal us from ourselves away ; In one our frolics, one amusements end, In one a mistress drops, in one a friend : 75 This subtle thief of life, this paltry time, What will it leave me, if it snatch my rhyme ?

part which Horace took in the civil wars, are among the happiest instances of his felicitous style :

Dura sed emovere loco me tempora grato;
Civilisque rudem belli tulit æstus in arma,
Cæsaris Augusti non responsura lacertis.
Unde simul primum me dimisere Philippi,
Decisis humilem pennis, inopemque paterni
Laris et fundi; paupertas impulit audax

Versus ut facerem. Warton, in the spirit of a scholar, observes this apologetical delicacy of throwing the blame on necessity, inexperience, and the whirl of the time. Horace had the high command, of a legion ;-a command equivalent to that of a British majorgeneral.

70 Monroes. Dr. Monroe, physician to Bedlam-hospital.

« AnteriorContinuar »