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Custom, grown blind with Age, must be your guide;
But, Madam, if the fates withstand, and you
Pride, Pomp, and State but reach_her_outward part;
Still makes new conquests, and maintains the past;
Love, rais'd on Beauty, will like that decay,
Our hearts may bear its slender chain a day;
As flow'ry bands in wantonness are worn,
A morning's pleasure, and at evening torn;
Thus Voiture's i early care still shone the same,
Now crown'd with Myrtle, on th' Elysian coast,
Amid those Lovers, joys his gentle Ghost:
Pieas'd, while with smiles his happy lines you view,
The brightest eyes of France inspir'd his Muse;
charm the world beside.
1 Mademoiselle Paulet. P.
2 [The Duke of Montausier, governor to the Dauphin son of Louis XIV., married Mdlle. de
Rambouillet. He was believed to have been the original of Molière's Misanthrope.]
EPISTLE1 TO THE SAME, ON HER LEAVING THE TOWN
S some fond Virgin, whom ber mother's care
Drags from the Town to wholesome Country air,
Just when she learns to roll a melting eye,
Or o'er cold coffee trifle with the spoon,
Count the slow clock, and dine exact at noon;
There starve and pray, for that's the way to heav'n'.
Before you pass th' imaginary sights
Of Lords, and Earls, and Dukes, and garter'd Knights,
1 [This Epistle is cited by M. Taine (Lit. Angl. IV. c. 7) to exemplify the realistic element which, according to his theory, was no more absent from Pope than from any of the contemporary English poets.]
2 Coronation.] Of King George the first,
Bowles. [James Moore Smythe.] Originally, according to Warburton (cited from Ruffhead by Carruthers):
'So fair Teresa gave the town a view.' 4 [Sheridan may have remembered this passage, when writing the famous scene between Sir Peter and Lady Teazle, School for Scandal, Act II. Sc. 1.]
5 [According to Dr Johnson, the word whist was vulgarly pronounced whisk.]
So when your Slave, at some dear idle time,
ON RECEIVING FROM THE
RIGHT HON. THE LADY FRANCES SHIRLEY
A STANDISH AND TWO PENS2.
VES, I beheld th' Athenian Queen3
Descend in all her sober charms;
"Secure the radiant weapons wield;
Aw'd, on my bended knees I fell,
'What well? what weapons?' (Flavia cries,)
In the first edition it is 'the blush of Parthenissa,' which was the principal designation of Martha Blount in the correspondence of the sisters with James Moore. Carruthers.
2 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 poems entitled 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 pro
secution, and he promised to leave the third
3 [Pallas Athene.]
4 A famous toy-shop at Bath. Warburton
'But, Friend, take heed whom you attack;
'You'd write as smooth again on glass,
'Athenian Queen! and sober charms!
'I tell ye, fool, there's nothing in't:
'Come, if you'll be a quiet soul,
"That dares tell neither Truth nor Lies",
[No observations would be called for upon these Epitaphs, composed at different periods of Pope's life, were it not that they were subjected to a minute, and indeed a petty, criticism by Dr Johnson, in his Dissertation on the Epitaphs written by Pope, (contributed to a paper called the Universal Visitor in 1756, and afterwards thought worthy of republication in the Idler.) Johnson's criticisms, though occasionally just, are in this instance too thoroughly in the Ricardus Aristarchus style to need quotation. Perhaps the most pointed is that on the Epitaph on Rowe, concerning which Johnson remarks that its chief fault is that it belongs less to Rowe than to Dryden, and indeed gives very little information concerning either.' The Epitaph on Newton, (which he afterwards declared to Mrs Piozzi to be little less than profane, as designed for the tomb of a Christian in a Christian Church,) the Dissertation condemned because 'the thought is obvious, and the words night and light too nearly allied!' Johnson afterwards remembered (Hayward's Autobiography, &c. of Mrs Piozzi, II. p. 159) that something like this was said of Aristotle,' but he forgot by whom.' Pope's Epitaphs-with the exception of the charming lines on Gay-only rise above the ordinary level of this class of composition, because that level is so extremely low.]
1 Lambeth; alluding to the Scandal hinted at in Epil. to Satires, Dial. I. v. 120. Carru
2 The Dunciad. Warburton. 3 The Epistle to Arbuthnot.
4 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.
ON CHARLES EARL OF DORSET,
In the Church of Withyam in Sussex1.
ORSET, the Grace of the Courts, the Muses' Pride,
Patron of Arts, and Judge of Nature, died.
The scourge of Pride, tho' sanctify'd or great,
Of Fops in Learning, and of Knaves in State:
Blest Courtier! who could King and Country please,
Yet sacred keep his Friendships, and his Ease.
Reflecting, and reflected in his Race;
Where other BUCKHURSTS2, other DORSETS shine,
ON SIR WILLIAM TRUMBAL,
One of the Principal Secretaries of State to King WILLIAM III. who having resigned his Place, died in his Retirement at Easthamsted in Berkshire, 17163.
PLEASING Form; a firm, yet cautious Mind;
Sincere, tho' prudent; constant, yet resign'd:
Honour unchang'd, a Principle profest,
Fix'd to one side, but mod'rate to the rest:
Just to his Prince, and to his Country true:
Fill'd with the Sense of Age, the Fire of Youth,
Such this Man was; who now, from earth remov'd,
[As to Dorset, cf. Imitations of English Poets in Juvenile Poems, p. 183.]
2 [Thomas Sackville, first Lord Buckhurst and first Earl of Dorset, author of the Mirror for Magistrates, and Gorboduc, the first English tragedy, died in 1608. Edward, Earl of Dorset, was a prominent Royalist in the first part of the Civil war, and was, according to Clarendon, distinguished for his wit and learning. His grandson
is the subject of Pope's epitaph.]
3 [As to Sir William Trumball, see note to p. 13.] The first six lines of this epitaph were originally written for John Lord Caryll, afterwards Secretary of State to the exiled king James II.; the remainder of the same epitaph on Caryll being inserted in the Epistle to Jervas. Athenæum, July 15th, 1854.