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ON RECEIVING FROM
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
THE LADY FRANCES SHIRLEY,
A STANDISH AND TWO PENS.
Yes, I beheld the Athenian queen
Descend in all her sober charms; “ And take (she said, and smiled serene)
Take at this hand celestial arms :
“ Secure the radiant weapons wield;
This golden lance shall guard desert, And if a vice dares keep the field,
This steel shall stab it to the heart.”
The Lady Frances Shirley] A lady whose great merit Mr. Pope took a real pleasure in celebrating.
Warburton. Ver. 1. Yes, I beheld, &c.] To enter into the spirit of this address, it is necessary to premise, that the Poet was threatened with a prosecution in the House of Lords, for the two foregoing Poems, the Epilogue to the Satires. On which, with great resentment against his enemies, for not being willing to distinguish between
Grave epistles bringing vice to light, and licentious libels, he began a third Dialogue, more severe and sublime than the first and second; which being no secret, matters were soon compromised. His enemies agreed to drop the prosecution, and he promised to leave the third Dialogue unfinished
Awed, on my bended knees I fell,
Received the weapons of the sky; And dipp'd them in the sable, well,
The fount of fame or infamy.
“ What well? what weapon? (Flavia cries)
A standish, steel and golden pen!
to write again.
“ But, friend, take heed whom you attack;
You'll bring a house (I mean of peers) Red, blue, and green, nay, white and black, L-- and all, about your ears.
“ You'd write as smooth again on glass,
And run, on ivory, so glib, As not to stick at fool or ass,
Nor stop at flattery or fib.
“ Athenian queen! and sober charms !
I tell ye, fool, there's nothing in't: 'Tis Venus, Venus gives these arms;
In Dryden's Virgil see the print.
and suppressed. This affair occasioned this little beautiful poem, to which it alludes throughout, but more especially in the four last stanzas.
Warburton. Ver. 15. Bertrand's,] A famous toy-shop at Bath.
Warburton. Ver. 23. fool or ass,] The Dunciad.
Warburton. Ver. 24. Flattery or fib.] The Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot.
Warburton. VOL. VI.
ome, if you'll be a quiet soul, That dares tell neither truth nor lies, I'll list you in the harmless roll
Of those that sing of these poor eyes.
Ver. 27. these arms ;] Such toys being the usual presents from lovers to their mistresses.
Warburton. Ver. 28. see the print.] When she delivers Æneas a suit of heavenly armour.
Warburton. Ver. 30. neither truth nor lies,] i. e. If you have neither the courage to write Satire, nor the application to attempt an Epic poem. He was then meditating on such a work. Warburton.
Ver. 32. Of those that sing of these poor eyes.] Among the many swains who
sung of “ these poor eyes,” was Lord Chesterfield, in his well known ballad :
“ When Fanny, blooming fair,
First met my ravish'd sight,
I gazed with strange delight.” This beautiful Lady was fourth daughter of Earl Ferrers, who had at that time a house at Twickenham. Notwithstanding her numerous admirers, she died at Bath, unmarried, in the
year 1762. At Clarendon Park, near Salisbury, the seat of her sister's son, Henry Bathurst, esq. there is a full length painting, by Sir Godfrey Kneller ; and if she was as handsome as she is there represented, Lord Chesterfield's passionate address might be easily accounted for. The writer of this note had looked at it for some time with admiration, without knowing whose portrait it was, when the hospitable and benevolent owner of the mansion said, “ That is the celebrated Fanny blooming fair.” Her sister, married to Mr. Bathurst's father, is painted at full length in the same
Lady Frances is dressed in a Turkish habit, probably introduced by Lady M. W. Montagu to England at the time, as she lived at Twickenham. The dress is beautiful, and gives great effect to the attitude and countenance. The sketch of Earl Ferrers' house and gardens is in the back ground. Bowles.
I shall here present the Reader with a valuable literary curiosity, a Fragment of an unpublished Satire of Pope, intitled, ONE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED AND FORTY; communicated to me by the kindness of the learned and worthy Dr. Wilson, formerly fellow and librarian of Trinity College, Dublin ; who speaks of the Fragment in the following terms: “ This
poem I transcribed from a rough draft in Pope's own hand. He left many blanks for fear of the Argus eye of those, who, if they cannot find, can fabricate treason; yet, spite of his precaution, it fell into the hands of his enemies. To the hieroglyphics, there are direct allusions, I think in some of the notes on the Dunciad. It was lent me by a grandson of Lord Chetwynd, an intimate friend of the famous Lord Bolingbroke, who gratified his curiosity by a boxful of the rubbish and sweepings of Pope's study, whose executor he was, in conjunction with Lord Marchmont.”