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Grande malum Turius, si quid se judice certes,
bNe longum faciam: seu me tranquilla senectus Exspectat, seu mors atris circumvolat alis; Dives, inops; Romae, seu fors ita jusserit, exsul; cQuisquis erit vita?, scribam, color.
T. dO puer, ut sis Vitalis metuo; et majorum ne quis amicus Frigore te feriat.
racter or history of Cervius, which might bring up that line to the spirit and poignancy of the 82d verse of the Imitation. W. Ver. 85—90. Its proper power to hurt, &c] AH, except the two last lines, inferior to the elegance and precision of the original. W.
Ver. 91. Then, learned Sir!] The brevity and force of the original is evaporated in this long and feeble paraphrase of the next ten lines. The third and three succeeding verses are very languid and verbose, and perhaps some of the worst he has written.
Ver. 93—96. Whether old age—shade;] The original is more finished, and even more sublime. Besides, the last verse—To wrap me in the universal shade, has a languor and redundancy unusual with our Author. W.
Ver. 99. In durance, exile, Bedlam, or the Mint,] The Poet, in our equal government, might talk at his ease, and with all this levity of style, of the disasters incident to wit. But it was a serious matter with Horace; and is so still with our witty Neigh
zIts proper pow'r to hurt, each creature feels; 85 Bulls aim their horns, and Asses lift their heels; Tis a Bear's talent not to kick, but hug; And no man wonders he's not stung by pug. aSo drink with Walters, or with Chartres eat, They'll never poison you, they'll only cheat. 90
bThen, learned Sir! (to cut the matter short) Whate'er my fate, or well or ill at Court, Whether Old age with faint but cheerful ray, Attends to gild the Ev'ning of my day, Or Death's black wing already be display'd, 95 To wrap me in the universal shade; Whether the darken'd room to muse invite, Or whiten'd wall provoke the skew'r to write: In durance, exile, Bedlam, or the Mint, cLike Lee or Budgel, I will rhyme and print. 100 F. dAlas, young man! your days can ne'er be long; In flow'r of age you perish for a song!
bours; one of whom has well expressed their condition, in the following lines:
"Eh! Que sait-on? Un simple badinage, Mai entendu d'un Prude, ou d'un Sot, Peut vous jetter sur un autre rivage:Pour perdre un Sage, il ne faut qu'un Bigot." W. Ver. 100. Like Lee or Budget,'] One is sorry to see Lee, a true genius, coupled with Budgel, and his insanity ridiculed.
Ver. 101. your days can ne'er be long;"} The original says, "Lest any one of your powerful friends should strike you with a cold and contemptuous look."—" Racine meurt," says Voltaire, "par une foiblesse grande; parcequ'un autre homme en passant dans une galerie ne l'a pas regarde. J'en suis fache; mais le role de Pheedre n'en est pas moins admirable."
H. 'Quid? cum est Lucilius ausus Primus in hunc operis componere carmina morem, 'Detrahere et pellem, nitidus qua quisque per ora Cederet, introrsum turpis; num Laelius, aut qui
Ver. 104. Will club their Testers, &c] The image is exceeding humorous; and, at the same time, betrays the injustice of their resentment, in the very circumstance of their indulging it, as it shews the Poet had said no more of their avarice than was true. His abundance of wit has made his readers backward in acknowledging his talent for humour. But the veins are equally rich; and the one flows with ease, and the other is always placed with propriety. W.
Ver. 105. What? arm'dfor Virtue] From this line to Ver. 140, is a passage of as much force and energy as any that can be produced in the English language, in rhyme.
Ver. 110. Lights of the Church, or Guardians of the Laws?] Because just Satire is a useful supplement to the sanctions of Law and Religion; and has therefore a claim to the protection of those who preside in the administration either of Church of
. State. W.
Ver. 111. Could Bulletin—Could Dri/den] I believe neither of them would have been suffered to do this, had they not been egregious flatterers of the several Courts to which they belonged. W.
Ibid. Could pension'd Boileau—Could Laureat Dryden] It was Horace's purpose to compliment the former times; and therefore he gives the virtuous examples of Scipio and Leelius : it was Mr. Pope's design to satirize the present; and therefore he gives the vicious examples of Louis, Charles, and James. Either way the instances are fully pertinent; but in the latter they have rather greater force. Only the line,
"Uni eequus virtuti atque ejus amicis," loses something of its spirit in the imitation; for the amici, referred to, were Scipio and Leelius. W.
Ver. 111. Could pension'd Boileau] Boileau acted with much caution and circumspection when he first published his Lutrin here alluded to, and endeavoured to cover and conceal his subject by a preface intended to mislead his reader from the real
Plums and Directors, Shylock and his Wife,
scene of action ; but it ought to be observed, that he afterward, in the year 1683, threw aside this disguise, openly avowing the occasion that gave rise to the poem, the scene of which was not Bourges or Pourges, as before he had said, but Paris itself; the quarrel he celebrated being betwixt the treasurer and the chanter of the Holy Chapel in that city. The canons were so far from being offended, that they shewed their good sense and good temper by joining in the laugh. Upon which Boileau compliments them, and adds, that many of that society were persons of so much wit and learning, that he would as soon consult them upon his Works as the members of the French Academy. The name of the chanter was Barrin; that of the treasurer, Claude Avri, bishop of Constance in Normandy. The quarrel began in July, 1667. See Letters of Brossette to Boileau: a Lyon, 1770; p. 242. v. 1.; et CEuvres de M. Boileau, Despreaux, par M. de Saint Marc, tome ii. 177. Paris, 1747. He justly says, "e'en in Louis' reign;" for his bigotry was equally contemptible and cruel; and, if we may credit St. Simon, he actually died a Jesuit.
Ver. 116. Unplac'd, vnpension'd, no man's heir or slave!] Mr. Pope, it is well known, made his fortune by his Homers. Lord
Duxit ab oppressa meritum Carthagine nomen, Ingenio offensi? aut laeso doluere Metello, Famosisque Lupo cooperto versibus? atqui Primores populi arripuit populumque tributim; Scilicet 8uni Jeqijus Virtuti Atque Ejus Amicis. hQuin ubi se a vulgo et scena in secreta remorant Virtus Scipiadce et mitis sapientia Lceli,
Treasurer Oxford affected to discourage that design; for so great a genius (he said) ought not to be confined to Translation. He always used Mr. Pope civilly; and would often express his concern that his religion rendered him incapable of a place. At the same time, he never spoke one word of a pension. For this offer, he was solely indebted to the Whig-Ministers. In the beginning of George I. Lord Halifax, of his own motion, sent for Mr. Pope, and told him, it had often given him concern that so great a Poet had never been distinguished; that he was glad it was now in his power to serve him; and, if he cared to accept of it, he should have a pension not clogged with any engagements. Mr. Pope thanked him, and desired time to consider of it. After three months (having heard nothing farther from that Lord) he wrote him a Letter to repeat his Thanks; in which he took occasion to mention the affair of the pension with much Indifference. So the thing dropt, till Mr. Craggs came into the Ministry. The affair of the pension was then resumed. And this Minister, in a very frank and friendly manner, told Mr. Pope, that three hundred pounds a-year were then at his service: he had the management of the secret-service money, and could pay him such a pension without its being known, or ever coming to account. But now Mr. Pope declined the offer without hesitation: only, in return for so friendly a proposal, he told the Secretary, that if at any time he wanted Money, he would draw upon him for 100 or 200/. Which liberty, however, he did not take. Mr. Craggs more than once pressed him on this head, and urged to him the conveniency of a Chariot; which Mr. Pope was sensible enough of: but the Precariousness of that supply made him very prudently decline the thoughts of an Equipage; which it was much better never to set up, than not properly to support. From Spence. W.