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Pitholeon sends to me :—You know his grace ; I want a patron; ask him for a place. 50
Pitholeon libell’d me :--but here's a letter Informs you, sir, 'twas when he knew no better. Dare you refuse him ? Curll invites to dine; He'll write a Journal, or he'll turn divine.”.
Bless me! a packet.—“'Tis a stranger sues, 55 A virgin tragedy, an orphan Muse.' If I dislike it, “Furies, death, and rage ! If I approve, ‘Commend it to the stage.' There, thank my stars ! my whole commission
ends; The players and I are luckily no friends. 60 Fired that the house reject him,—“'Sdeath, I'll
print it, And shame the fools — Your interest, sir, with
Lintot.' Lintot, dull rogue ! will think your price too
much : • Not, sir, if you revise it and retouch.'
49 Pitholeon. The name taken from a foolish poet of Rhodes, who pretended much to Greek.-Pope.
54 He'll write a Journal, or he'll turn divine. A double shaft: the ‘London Journal' was sir Robert Walpole's paper, and bishop Hoadley was one of its occasional writers.
55 A packet. Alludes to a tragedy called “The Virgin Queen,' by Mr. R. Barford, published in 1729, who displeased Pope by daring to adopt the fine machinery of his sylphs in an heroi-comical poem called • The Assembly;' i. 26.
60 The players and I. In the first edition this was more particular :- Cibber and I are luckily no friends.' Cibber, in his letter, printed in 1742, remarks on this, that it was a touch of conscience; adding,- This is so uncommon an instance of your checking your temper, and taking a little shame to yourself, that I cannot, in justice, omit my notice of it.'
62 Lintot. Pope's usual publisher.
All my demurs but double his attacks;
'Tis sung, when Midas' ears began to spring, (Midas, a sacred person and a king)
70 His very minister who spied them first, Some say his queen, was forced to speak or
burst. And is not mine, my friend, a sorer case, When every coxcomb perks them in my face? A. Good friend, forbear! you deal in dangerous things;
75 I'd never name queens, ministers, or kings. Keep close to ears, and those let asses prick, 'Tis nothing.-P. Nothing, if they bite and kick? Out with it, Dunciad! let the secret pass, That secret to each fool, that he's an ass : 80 The truth once told, (and wherefore should we
lie?) The queen of Midas slept, and so may I.
You think this cruel? take it for a rule, No creature smarts so little as a fool.
84 Let peals of laughter, Codrus ! round thee break, Thou unconcern'd canst hear the mighty crack: Pit, box, and gallery in convulsions hurl'd, Thou stand’st unshook amidst a bursting world.
70 Midas, a sacred person and a king. Pope was weakly fond of showing his independence of courts : the minister and the queen were Walpole and queen Caroline, who were supposed to govern the king. The allusion had been already used by Boileau :
Midas, le roi Midas, a des oreilles d'âne.-Sat. 9. 86 The mighty crack. A slip of Addison's pen, which Pope
Who shames a scribbler ? Break one cobweb
Should the whole frame of Nature round them break, .
In ruin and confusion hurl'd,
And stand secure amid a falling world.
98 His butchers Henley. A contemptible fellow, whose life ought to be written as the model for a demagogue. Impudence, absurdity, and perseverance, made him notorious and popular. Unfortunately, a clergyman and the son of a clergyman, he soon became remarkable in London only by a contempt of all the decencies of his profession : he opened a chapel in the neighborhood of Newport-market, where on Sundays he declaimed on theology, for the amusement of the populace; and on Wednesdays on all other subjects, to the ridicule of all common sense. To those displays admission was given by tickets, with the true demagogue motto,
Inveniam viam, aut faciam. . He was long a favorite orator with the multitude, and his exhibition was crowded : satire could not reach so low, nor any burlesque go beyond his own. Thus inaccessible, and thus popular, he continued his career, until decay and debauchery wearing away his faculties, he ceased to amuse by ribaldry or stimulate by libel, and was deserted. His last removal was to Clare-market, where he attempted to court the butchers, but in vain ; and sinking into poverty, died in 1756.
Does not one table Bavius still admit?
than all. Of all mad creatures, if the learn’d are right, 105 It is the slaver kills, and not the bite. A fool quite angry is quite innocent: Alas! 'tis ten times worse when they repent.
One dedicates in high heroic prose, And ridicules beyond a hundred foes : 110 One from all Grub-street will my fame defend, And, more abusive, calls himself my friend. This prints my letters, that expects a bribe, And others roar aloud, Subscribe, subscribe!'
100 Still to one bishop. Pope here glances at bishop Boulter, - the friend of Ambrose Philips, whose poetic powers Pope held in something between awe and contempt. Boulter rose from a suburb living in London to the primacy of Ireland : a man of amiable manners, but thrown into an unfortunate time, and an unfortunate country for their display. His life was spent in feeble attempts to raise the Irish church, and put down Irish faction : in both he failed.
103 I too could write. Arbuthnot was acknowleged, among the wits themselves, to be the wittiest; but he was the wisest too. In one of his letters to Swift, in 1732, he says, Thank God, he has not taken from me the freedom I have been accustomed to use in my discourse, even with the greatest persons to whom I have access, in defending the cause of liberty, virtue, and religion: for the last, I have the satisfaction of suffering some of the ignominy that belonged to its first professors. This has been my lot, from a steady resolution I have taken, of giving those ignorant fellows (Bolingbroke, &c.) battle on all occasions.'
There are, who to my person pay their court: 115 I cough like Horace; and, though lean, am short: Ammon’s great son one shoulder had too high; Such Ovid's nose; and, “Sir, you have an eye!' Go on, obliging creatures; make me see All that disgraced my betters met in me. Say for my comfort, languishing in bed, • Just so immortal Maro held his head :' And when I die, be sure you let me know Great Homer died three thousand years ago.
Why did I write? what sin to me unknown 125 Dipp'd me in ink? my parents', or my own? As yet a child, nor yet a fool to fame, I lisp'd in numbers, for the numbers came. I left no calling for this idle trade, No duty broke, no father disobey'd. The Muse but served to ease some friend, not
wife, To help me through this long disease, my life; To second, Arbuthnot! thy art and care ; And teach, the being you preserved, to bear. A. But why then publish? P. Granville the polite,
135 And knowing Walsh, would tell me I could write; Well-natured Garth inflamed with early praise, And Congreve loved, and Swift endured my lays; The courtly Talbot, Somers, Sheffield, read; Ev'n mitred Rochester would nod the head; 140
139 Talbot, 8c. All these were patrons or admirers of Mr. Dryden ; though a scandalous libel against him, intitled, • Dryden's Satire to his Muse,' has been printed in the name of lord Somers, of which he was wholly ignorant.-Pope.
140 Ev'n mitred Rochester would nod the head. Atterbury's known gesture when he was pleased.