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Alike my scorn, if he succeed or fail,
Yet soft by nature, more a dupe than wit,
Ver. 363. Sporus at court,] In former editions, Glencus at court.
Warton. In the folio edition of 1735, it is Sporus.
Ver. 374. ten years] It was so long after many libels, before the author of the Dúnciad published that poem; till when, he never writ a word in answer to the many scurrilities and falsehoods concerning him.
Pope. Ver. 375. Welsted's lie.] This man had the impudence to tell in print, that Mr. P. had occasioned a Lady's death, and to name a person he never heard of. He also published that he libelled - the Duke of Chandos ; .with whom (it was added) that he had lived
Ver. 368. in the MS.
Once, and but once, his heedless youth was bit,
To please his mistress, one aspersed his life;
in familiarity, and received from him a present of five hundred pounds; the falsehood of both which is known to his Grace. Mr. P. never received any present, farther than the subscription for Homer, from him, or from any great man whatsoever. Pope.
Ver. 378. Let Budgel] Budgel, in a weekly pamphlet, called the Bee, bestowed much abuse on him, in the imagination that he writ some things about the Last Will of Dr. Tindal, in the Grubstreet Journal ; a paper wherein he never had the least hand, direction, or supervisal, nor the least knowledge of its author.
Pope. Ver. 379. except his will ;] Alluding to Tindal's will: by which, and other indirect practices, Budgel, to the exclusion of the next heir, a nephew, got to himself almost the whole fortune of a man entirely unrelated to him.
Pope. Respecting the circumstance hinted at, of Eustace Budgel having forged Dr. Tindal's will, the reader might perhaps wish to have some further account. Dr. Tindal, of All Souls College, Oxford, of notorious character, the author of Christianity as old as the Creation, left the following will :
" I Matthew Tindal, &c. (after a legacy to his maid servant) give and bequeath to Eustace Budgel, the sum of two thousand one hundred pounds, that his great talents may serve his country, &c. my strong box, my diamond ring, MS. books, &c.
(Signed) MAT. TINDAL.” The reverend Nicholas Tindal, his nephew, author of the Continuation of Rapin, declared his suspicion that this will was forged. This was generally credited, and Budgel, in 1737, threw himself out of a boat and was drowned. He wrote several of the Spectators; the History of the Boyles, Earls of Shannon, &c, and a weekly pamphlet called the- Bee. The cause of his death was supposed to have been in relation to this will.
Yet why? that father held it for a rule,
Of gentle blood (part shed in honour's cause,
Ver. 381. His father, mother, &c.] In some of Curll's and other pamphlets, Mr. Pope's father was said to be a mechanic, a hatter, a farmer, nay a bankrupt. But, what is stranger, a nobleman (if such a reflection could be thought to come from a nobleman) had dropped an allusion to that pitiful untruth, in a paper called an Epistle to a Doctor of Divinity; and the following line,
“ Hard as thy heart, and as thy birth obscure,” had fallen from a like courtly pen, in certain Verses to the Imitator of Horace. Mr. Pope's father was of a gentleman's family in Oxfordshire, the head of which was the Earl of Downe, whose sole heiress married the Earl of Lindsay. His mother was the daughter of William Turner, Esq. of York : she had three bro. thers, one of whom was killed; another died in the service of King Charles; the eldest following his fortunes, and becoming a general officer in Spain, left her what estate remained after the sequestrations and forfeitures of her family. Mr. Pope died in 1717, aged 75; she in 1733, aged 93, a very few weeks after this poem was finished. The following inscription was placed by their son on their monument in the parish of Twickenham, in Middlesex :
D. O. M.
QUI. VIXIT. ANNOS. LXXV. OBMDCCXVII.
ET. EDITHÆ. CONIVGI. INCULPABILI.
PIENTISSIMÆ. QUÆ. VIXIT. ANNOS.
XCIII. OB. MDCCXXXIII.
Each parent sprung—A. What fortune pray?P. Their own,
390 And better got, than Bestia's from the throne. Born to no pride, inheriting no strife, Nor marrying discord in a noble wife, Stranger to civil and religious rage, The good man walk'd innoxious through his age. No Courts he saw, no suits would ever try, 396 Nor dared an oath, nor hazarded a lie. Unlearn’d, he knew no schoolman's subtle art, No language, but the language of the heart.
Ver. 388. Of gentle blood] When Mr. Pope published the notes on the Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot, giving an account of his family, Mr, Pottinger, a relation of his, observed, that his cousin Pope had made himself out a fine pedigree, but he wondered where he got it; that he had never heard any thing himself of their being descended from the Earls of Downe; and, what is more, he had an old maiden aunt, equally related, a great genealogist, who was always talking of her family, but never mentioned this circumstance; on which she certainly would not have been silent, had she known any thing of it. Mr. Pope's grandfather was a clergyman of the church of England in Hampshire. He placed his son, Mr. Pope's father, with a merchant at Lisbon, where he became a convert to Popery. (Thus far Dr. Bolton, late Dean of Carlisle, a friend of Pope ; from Mr. Pottinger.) The burying-place and monuments of the family of the Popes, Earls of Downe, is at Wroxton, Oxfordshire. The Earl of Guildford says, that he has seen and examined the pedigrees and descents of that family, and is sure that there were then none of the name of Pope left, who could be descended from that family.—(From John Loveday, of Caversham, Esquire.)
Warton. This account is also confirmed to me by my friend Mr. Dallaway, of the Heralds' College.
Bowles. Ver. 397. Nor dared an oath,] He was a non-juror, and would not take the oath of allegiance or supremacy, or the oath against the Pope.
By nature honest, by experience wise, 400
O Friend ! may each domestic bliss be thine;
Ver. 408. Me, let the tender office] These exquisite lines give us a very interesting picture of the exemplary filial piety of our author. There is a pensive and pathetic sweetness in the very flow of them. The eye that has been wearied and oppressed by the harsh and austere colouring of some of the preceding passages, turns away with pleasure from these asperities, and reposes with complacency on the soft tints of domestic tenderness. We are naturally gratified to see men descending from their heights, into the familiar offices of common life; and the sensation is the more pleasing to us, because admiration is turned into affection. In the very entertaining Memoirs of the Life of Racine (published by his son) we find no passage more amusing and interesting, than where that great poet sends an excuse to Monsieur, the Duke, who had earnestly invited him to dine at the Hôtel de Condé, because he had promised to partake of a great fish that his children had got for him, and he could not think of disappointing them.
And of myself, too, something must I say?