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Give virtue scandal, innocence a fear,
285 Or from the soft-eyed virgin steal a tear ! But he who hurts a harmless neighbour's peace, Insults fallen worth, or beauty in distress, Who loves a lie, lame slanders helps about, Who writes a libel, or who copies out; 290 That fop, whose pride affects a patron's name, Yet absent, wounds an author's honest fame: Who can your merit selfishly approve, And show the sense of it without the love; Who has the vanity to call you friend,
295 Yet wants the honour, injured, to defend;
Ver. 295, 296. Who has the vanity to call you friend,
Yet wants the honour, injured, to defend ;] When a great genius, whose writings have afforded the world much pleasure and instruction, happens to be enviously attacked, or falsely accused, it is natural to think, that a sense of gratitude for so agreeable an obligation, or a sense of that honour resulting to our country from such a writer, should raise amongst those who call themselves his friends a pretty general indignation. But every day's experience shews us the very contrary. Some take a malignant satisfaction in the attack; others a foolish pleasure in a literary conflict; and the far greater part look on with a selfish indifference. Horace warned his friend against this excessive selfishness, not to say, baseness of mind :
Ut penitùs notum, si tentent crimina, serves,
Ad te post paulo ventura pericula sentis ? A late imitator of Horace, in the manner of Mr. Pope, has turned this with great elegance and spirit; which, because it so well suits the occasion, I shall here transcribe :
But should the man in whom (rare union !) shine
Who tells whate'er you think, whate'er you say,
LetSporus tremble-A. What ? that thing of silk, Sporus, that mere white curd of ass's milk?
Whose modest manners virtue's sel' approves,
Warburton. Ver. 299. Who to the Dean, and silvr bell, &c.] Meaning the man who would have persuaded the Duke of Chandos that Mr. Pope meant him in those circumstance ridiculed in the Epistle on Taste. See Mr. Pope's letter to the larl of Burlington concerning this matter.
Pope. Ver. 305. Let Sporus tremble-] Lnguage cannot afford more glowing or more forcible terms to exprss the utmost bitterness of contempt. We think we are here reaing Milton against Salmasius. The raillery is carried to the ery verge of railing, some will say ribaldry. He has armed his nuse with a scalping knife. The portrait is certainly over-charged for Lord H., for whom it was designed, whatever his morals miht be, had yet considerable abilities, though marred by affectatior Some of his speeches in parliament were much beyond florid inpotence. They were, it is true, in favour of Sir R. Walpole ; and this was sufficiently offensive to Pope. The fact that paricularly excited his indigna
Satire or sense, alas ! can Sporus feel ?
tion, was Lord H.'s Epistle to a Doctor of Divinity (Dr. Sherwin) from a Nobleman at Hampton Court, 1733; as well as his having been concerned with Lady M. W. M. in Verses to the Imitator of Horace, 1732 This lady's beauty, wit, genius, and travels, of which she gave an account in a series of elegant and entertaining letters, very characteristical of the manners of the Turks, and of which mny are addressed to Pope, are well known, and justly celebrated. With both noble personages had Pope lived in a state of intimacy. And justice obligeth us to confess that he was the aggressor in the quarrel with them; as he first assaulted and affronted Lord H. by these two lines in his Imitation of the first Satire of Honce's second Book :
The lines are wak, another's pleas’d to say;
Lord Fanny spiis a thousand such a day. And Lady M. W. M., by the eighty-third line of the same piece, too gross to be here repated.
But can this be the noleman (we are apt to ask) whom Middleton, in his Dedication tothe History of the Life of Tully, has so seriously and so earnestl praised, for his strong good sense, his consummate politeness, lis real patriotism, his rigid temperance, his thorough knowledgeand defence of the laws of his country, his accurate skill in histoy, his unexampled and unremitted diligence in literary pursuits who added credit to this very history, as Scipio and Lælius did o that of Polybius, by revising and correcting it; and brightenig it, as he expresses it, by the strokes of his pencil ? The man hat had written this splendid encomium on Lord H. could not, w may imagine, be very
well affected to the bard who had painte Lord Fanny in so ridiculous a light. We find him writing thu to Dr. Warburton, January 7, 1740: “You have evinced the othodoxy of Mr. Pope's principles; but, like the old commentatorson his Homer, will be thought perhaps, in some places, to have found a meaning for him, that he himself never dreamt of. However, if you did not find him a philosoplier, you will make him one; for he will be wise enough to take the
P. Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings,
puns, or politics, or tales, or lies, Or spite, or smut, or rhymes, or blasphemies.
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 part ?
A trifling head, and a corrupted heart.
His wit all seesaw, between that and this,
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;
Ver. 340. Thut 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
called 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