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Verse prays for Peace, or sings down Pope and Turk.
The silenc'd Preacher yields to potent strain,
And feels that grace his pray'r besought in vain;
The blessing thrills thro' all the lab'ring throng,
And Heav'n is won by Violence of Songs

Our rural Ancestors, with little blest,
Patient of labour when the end was rest,
Indulgʻd the day that hous'd their annual grain,
With feasts, and off'rings, and a thankful strain:
The joy their wives, their sons, and servants share,
Ease of their toil, and partners of their care :
The laugh, the jest, attendants on the bowl,
Smooth'd ev'ry brow, and open'd ev'ry soul:
With growing years the pleasing Licence grew,
And Taunts alternate innocently flew.
But Times corrupt, and Nature, ill-inclin'd,
Produc'd the point that left a sting behind;
Till friend with friend, and families at strife,
Triumphant Malice rag'd thro’ private life.
Who felt the wrong, or fear'd it, took th'alarm,"
Appeald to Law, and Justice lent her arm.
At length, by wholesome dread of statutes bound,
The. Poets learn'd to please, and not to wound:
Most warp'd to Flatt'ry's side; but some, more nice,
Preserv'd the freedom, and forbore the vice.
Hence Satire rose, that just the medium hit,
And heals with Morals what it hurts with Wit.

We conquer'd France, but felt our Captive's charms;
Her Arts victorious triumph'd o'er our Arms;
Britain to soft refinements less a foe,
Wit grew polite, and Numbers, learn’d to flow.
Waller was smooth”; but Dryden taught to join
The varying verse, the full-resounding line,
The long majestic March, and Energy divine3.
Tho' still some traces of our rustic vein
And splay-foot verse, remain'd, and will remain.
Late, very late, correctness grew our care,
When the tir'd Nation breath'd from civil war.
Exact Racine, and Corneille's noble fire,
Show'd us that France had something to admire.
Not but the Tragic spirit was our own,
And full in Shakespear, fair in Otway shone*:

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[There is no direct historical allusion in this; the English dramatists of the Restoration than the law of libel was still very indefinite even in Corneille; although Hallam is doubtless right in Pope's times.)

agreeing with Sir Walter Scott that the unnatural Waller was smooth;] Mr. Waller, about dialogue which prevailed in the English tragedies this time with the Earl of Dorset, Mr. Godolphin, of that age was derived from baser models than and others, translated the Pompey of Corneille; these, viz. the French romances referred to ante, and the more correct French Poets began to be v. 145. The pathetic Otway (1651-1685) was in reputation. P.

indeed among the translators and adapters of 3 [Cf. Essay on Criticism, vv. 358—384.] Racine; but his Venice Preserved and Orpkas,

4 [Racine, the younger of the two great French on which his fame rests, were, as dramatic pieces tragedians, was more frequently translated by original.]





But Otway fail'd to polish or refine,
And fluent Shakespear scarceeffac'd a line.
Ev'n copious Dryden wanted, or forgota,
The last and greatest Art, the Art to blot.
Some doubt, if equal pains, or equal fire
The humbler Muse of Comedy require.
But in known Images of life, I guess
The labour greater, as th' indulgence less.
Observe how seldom ev'n the best succeed :
Tell me if Congreve's Fools are Fools indeed 3?
What pert, low Dialogue has Farquhar writ4 !
How Van wants grace, who never wanted wit"!
The stage how loosely does Astræa tread ,
Who fairly puts all Characters to bed!
And idle Cibber, how he breaks the laws,
To make poor Pinky eat with vast applause?!
But fill their purse, our Poet's work is done,
Alike to them, by Pathos or by Pun.

O you! whom Vanity's light bark conveys
On Fame's mad voyage by the wind of praise,
With what a shifting gale your course you ply,
For ever sunk too low, or borne too high!
Who pants for glory finds but short repose,
A breath revives him, or a breath o'erthrows.
Farewell the stage! if just as thrives the play,
The silly bard grows fat, or falls away.

There still remains, to mortify a Wit,
The many-headed Monster of the Pit :
A senseless, worthless, and unhonour'd crowd;
Who, to disturb their betters mighty proud,
Clatt’ring their sticks before ten lines are spoke,
Call for the Farce, the Bear, or the Black-joke8.
What dear delight to Britons Farce affords!
Ever the taste of Mobs, but now of Lords;
(Taste, that eternal wanderer, which flies


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' [I remember the players often mentioned it dies, though offensive on the ground mentioned as an honour to S., that in his writings, what- by Pope, are perhaps healthier in feeling than soever he penned, he never blotted out a line. those of any of his contemporaries.] My answer hath been, "Would he had blotted 6 Astræa] A Name taken by Mrs. Behn, out a thousand.' Ben Jonson's Discoveries.) Authoress of several obscene Plays, etc. P.

? Eun copious Dryden] copious aggravated [Mrs Aphra Behn owed her popularity not only the fault. For when a writer has great stores, to her sins, but to a wonderful knack of contrivhe is inexcusable not to discharge the easy task ing ingenious stage-situations which must arouse of choosing from the best. Warburton.

the envy of modern sensational playwrights. 3 [Another fault which often may befal,

Astræa is the title of a French romance by Is, when the wit of some great poet shall Honoré d'Urfé, published in 1610.1 So overflow, that is, be none at all

7 [Poor Pinky is the popular low comedian, That ev'n his fools speak sense, as if possessed, William Pinkethman, of whose face some writers, And each by inspiration breaks his jest.' according to Cibber, made a livelihood; and con

a Sheffield, Duke of Buckinghamshire, Essay on cerning whom the Tatler informs posterity, Poetry.)

among other things, that 'he devours a cold * (George Farquhar (1678–1707), the author chicken with great applause', (in the character of of Sir Harry Wildair and the Beaux' Stra- Harlequin). See Geneste's History of the Stage, tagem.)

III. pp. 136—9.] 5 (John Vanbrugh (1672–1726), author of the 8 [i.e. the black-pudding.) Relapse, and architect of Blenheim. His come




From heads to ears, and now from ears to eyes .)
The Play stands still; damn action and discourse,
Back fly the scenes, and enter foot and horse;
Pageants on Pageants, in long order drawn,
Peers, Heralds, Bishops, Ermine, Gold and Lawn;
The Champion too! and, to complete the jest,
Old Edward's Armour beams on Cibber's breast?
With laughter sure Democritus had died,
Had he beheld an Audience gape so wide.
Let Bear or Elephant be e'er so white,
The people, sure, the people are the sight!
Ah luckless Poet! stretch thy lungs and roar,
That Bear or Elephant shall heed thee more;
While all its throats the Gallery extends,
And all the Thunder of the Pit ascends!
Loud as the Wolves, on Orcas' stormy steeps,
Howl to the roarings of the Northern deep.
Such is the shout, the long-applauding note,
At Quin's* high plume, or Oldfield'spetticoat;
Or when from Court a birth-day suit bestow'd,
Sinks the lost Actor in the tawdry load.
Booth enters-hark! the Universal peal!
“But has he spoken?” Not a syllable.
What shook the stage, and made the People stare?
Cato's long Wig, flow'r'd gown, and lacquer'd chair,

Yet lest you think I rally more than teach,
Or praise malignly Arts I cannot reach,
Let me for once presume t'instruct the times,
To know the Poet from the Man of rhymes :
'Tis he, who gives my breast a thousand pains,
Can make me feel each Passion that he feigns;
Enrage, compose, with more than magic Art,
With Pity, and with Terror, tear my heart;
And snatch me, o'er the earth, or thro' the air,
To Thebes, to Athens, when he will, and where.

But not this part of the Poetic state
Alone, deserves the favour of the Great;
Think of those Authors, Sir, who would rely
More on a Reader's sense, than Gazer's eye.
Or who shall wander where the Muses sing?
Who climb their mountain, or who taste their spring?





· From heads to ears, and now from ears to rowed from the Tower, to dress the Champion. eyes.] From Plays to Operas, and from Operas P. [This spectacle was brought out in 1727, in to Pantomimes. Warburton. (Pantomimes were consequence of the coronation of George II., and brought into the full blaze of public favour by ran for 40 nights.] Rich, manager of Covent Garden, in 1723; and 3 Orcas' stormy steep.) The farthest Northern Çibber, at Drury Lane, was obliged to produce Promontory of Scotland, opposite to the Orcades. the same kind of entertainment in self-defence.) P.

2 Old Edward's Armour beams on Cibber's 4 [The famous tragic actor whose popularity breast.] The Coronation of Henry VIII. and was at its height at the time of Garrick's first Queen Anne Boleyn, in which the Playhouses appearance. See the celebrated character of him vied with each other to represent all the pomp in Churchill's Rosciad. He died in 1766.) of a Coronation. In this noble contention, the 5 [Mrs Oldfield, who died in 1730; the most Armour of one of the Kings of England was bor- popular comic actress of her age.]





How shall we fill a Library with Wit,
When Merlin's Cave is half unfurnish'd yet ??

My Liege! why Writers little claim your thought,
I guess; and, with their leave, will tell the fault:
We Poets are (upon a Poet's word)
Of all mankind, the creatures most absurd :
The season, when to come, and when to go,
To sing, or cease to sing, we never know;
And if we will recite nine hours in ten,
You lose your patience, just like other men.
Then too we hurt ourselves, when to defend
A single verse, we quarrel with a friend;
Repeat unask'd; lament, the Wit's too fine
For vulgar eyes, and point out ev'ry line.
But most, when straining with too weak a wing,
We needs will write Epistles to the King;
And from the moment we oblige the town,
Expect a place, or pension from the Crown;
Oro dubb'd Historians, by express command,
T' enroll your Triumphs o'er the seas and land,
Be callid to Court to plan some work divine,
As once for Louis, Boileau and Racine.

Yet think, great Sir! (so many Virtues shown)
Ah think, what Poet best may make them known?
Or choose at least some Minister of Grace,
Fit to bestow the Laureate's weighty place".

Charles, to late times to be transmitted fair,
Assign’d his figure to Bernini's care 6;
And great Nassau 6 to Kneller's hand decreed
To fix him graceful on the bounding Steed;
So well in paint and stone they judg’d of merit:
But Kings in Wit may want discerning Spirit.
The Hero William, and the Martyr Charles,
One knighted Blackmore, and one pension'd Quarles?;
Which made old Ben, and surly Dennis swear,
“No Lord's anointed, but a Russian Bear.”

Not with such majesty, such bold relief,
The Forms august, of King, or conqu’ring Chief,
E’er swell'd on marble; as in verse have shin'd
(In polish'd verse) the Manners and the Mind.
Oh! could. I mount on the Mæonian wing,
Your Arms, your Actions, your repose to sing!
'What seas you travers’d, and what fields you fought!





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La Library) Munus Apolline dignum. The Great George's acts let tuneful Cibber sing; Palatine Library then building by Augustus. P. For nature formed the poet for the king.'

3 Merlin's Cave] A Building in the Royal 5 [The Italian sculptor, Bernini, whose roccoco Gardens of Richmond, where is a small, but works fill St Peter's at Rome.] choice Collection of Books. P.

6 [King William III.] 3 [The office of Historiographer Royal was ? (Francis Quarles, the author of the Emblems, frequently united to that of Poet Laureate.] died in 1644. Pope has done this ingenious

4 Warton quotes Johnson's epigram on the member of the religious section of the Fantastic laureateship of Colley Cibber:

school great injustice in ranking him on a level * Augustus still survives in Maro's strain, with Blackmore.] And Spenser's verse prolongs Eliza's reign;


Your Country's Peace, how oft, how dearly bought?!
How barb'rous rage subsided at your word,
And Nations wonder'd while they dropp'd the sword!
How, when you nodded, o'er the land and deep,
Peace stole her wing, and wrapt the world in sleep;
'Till earth's extremes your mediation own,
And Asia's Tyrants tremble at your Throne
But Verse, alas! your Majesty disdains;
And I'm not us’d to Panegyric strains:
The Zeal of Fools offends at any time,
But most of all, the Zeal of Fools in rhyme.
Besides, a fate attends on all I write,
That when I aim at praise, they say I bite.
A vile Encomium doubly ridicules:
There's nothing blackens like the ink of fools.
If true, a woeful likeness; and if lies,
“Praise undeserv'd is scandal in disguise? :"
Well may he blush, who gives it, or receives;
And when I flatter, let my dirty leaves
(Like Journals, Odes, and such forgotten things
As Eusden?, Philips“, Settles, writ of Kings)
Clothe spice, line trunks, or, flutt'ring in a row,
Befringe the rails of Bedlam and Soho.






Ludentis speciem dabit, et torquebitur. HOR. [v. 124.] [Horace's Epistle is addressed to Julius Florus, an officer attached to the person of Tiberius in a military expedition abroad. Pope's Epistle, which like the Horatian treats the subject chiefly from a personal point of view, has much biographical value.]

EAR Col'nel, 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 :


1 [Ironical allusions to the Pacific policy of [Elkanah Şettle, the city-poet and the Doeg George II.'s minister Walpole.]

of Absalom and Achitophel.] From an anonymous poem,

*The Celebrated 6 Colonel Cotterell, of Rousham near Oxford, Beauties,' published in Tonson's Miscellany in the descendant of Sir Charles Cotterell, who, at 170g Carruthers.

the desire of Charles I., translated Davila into (Laurence Eusden,, poet laureate under English.. Warton. Charles II. Cf, Dunciad, 1. v. 104.)

1 This Lad, Sir, is of Blois:] A Town in 4 (Ambrose Philips, among other offences, Beauce, where the French tongue is spoken in perpetrated an Ode in honour of Walpole.] great purity. Warburton.

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