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F. Why, yes; with scripture still you may be
free; A horse-laugh, if you please, at honesty; A joke on Jekyl, or some odd old whig Who never changed his principle or wig : A patriot is a fool in every age, Whom all lord chamberlains allow the stage: These nothing hurts; they keep their fashion still ; And wear their strange old virtue as they will.
If any ask you, · Who's the man so'near 45 His prince, that writes in verse, and has his ear?' personal experience. Corruption, in his day, was a notorious agent, and an agent on all sides alike : the ministerialist was corrupted by possession, the oppositionist was corrupted in prospect. The purse was the notorious instrument of political conversion.
Practices thus alien to the natural honesty of the British mind, were to be accounted for only by the rapid changes of party, which exhibited all things as saleable ; the anxious revolutions of government for the last fifty years, which exbibited all things as uncertain; and the result of both, and more powerful than either, the irreligion which had begun to usurp all men's minds. In Walpole's day, England was burrying down into the infidelity of the continent; and, but for the sudden awakening of her church to a sense of her danger, she might have shared the fearful punishment which, before the close of the century, was to cover the continent with such unexampled devastation.
Warton mentions, to the credit of Walpole's placability, that, during Atterbury's confinement in the Tower, a fine of a thousand pounds falling to him as dean of Westminster, which could not be received, except by setting the seal to the lease in full chapter; Walpole strongly interested himself to have the chapter held in the Tower, that the bishop might have the benefit of the fine. The chapter was held in the Tower, and Atterbury received the thousand pounds, immediately before his banishment.
39 A joke on Jekyl. Sir Joseph Jekyl, master of the rolls, a true whig in his principles, and a man of the utmost probity:Pope.
Why, answer, Littleton, and I 'll engage
Laugh then at any, but at fools or foes ;
55 So much the better, you may laugh the more. To vice and folly to confine the jest, Sets half the world, God knows, against the
rest; Did not the sneer of more impartial men At sense and virtue, balance all again. 60 Judicious wits spread wide the ridicule, And charitably comfort knave and fool.
P. Dear sir, forgive the prejudice of youth: Adieu, distinction, satire, warmth, and truth ! Come harmless characters that no one hit ; Come, Henley's oratory, Osborn's wit!
47 Why, answer, Littleton. George Littleton, secretary to the prince of Wales, distinguished for both his writings and speeches in the spirit of liberty.- Pope.
51 Sejanus. This minister, delivered down to immortal shame' by the pen of Tacitus, burned the panegyric of Crematius Cordus on Brutus and Cassius : the book immediately became popular. Bacon says, with his quaint force,• The punishing of wits enhances their authority : a forbidden writing is thought to be a certain spark of truth, that flies up in the faces of them that seek to tread it out.' 51 Fleury. Cardinal; and minister to Louis XV.
66 Henley-Osborn. See them in their places in the Dunciad.-Pope.
The honey dropping from Favonio's tongue,
68 Flow of Y-ng. Probably Dr. Young, who was much connected with Doddington.
71 F-'s. Fox's.
75 The pride of Middleton. Middleton's · Life of Cicero,' which appeared in 1741, was once regarded as a standard of English writing. Middleton, though an accomplished scholar and able man, yet disingenuous by habit, and discontented on principle, unfortunately signalised his career by attacking nearly all the eminent ecclesiastical names of his day, and is still remembered as the defeated assailant of Sherlock and Waterland. His latest work of notoriety, the · Free Inquiry into the Miraculous Powers,' brought down on him the resentment of his profession; and, as he lived useless, he died dishonored. He was acute without judgment, zealous without sincerity, and learned without knowlege.
80 Carolina. Consort to King George 11. She died in 1737. Queen Caroline had been charged with severity of temper; and it was openly said, that even on her deathbed, she had refused pardon to the prince her son, who had entreated that he might receive her blessing. Coxe says, on this point,- I am happy to have it in my power to remove the stigma from the memory of this great princess: she sent her blessing to her son, with a message of forgiveness, and
And hail her passage to the realms of rest,
F. Why so? if satire knows its time and place,
91 Immortal S—k, and grave De-re. Silent and soft, as saints remove to heaven, All ties dissolved and every sin forgiven, These may some gentle ministerial wing
95 Receive, and place for ever near a king! There, where no passion, pride, or shame trans
port, Lulld with the sweet nepenthe of a court; There, where no father's, brother's, friend's dis
grace Once break their rest, or stir them from their
place; But past the sense of human miseries, All tears are wiped for ever from all eyes;
told sir R. Walpole she would have seen him with pleasure, but prudence forbade the interview, as it might embarrass and irritate the king. This may be vindication ; but it must be limited to the queen. Courtiership on the deathbed !-prudence preventing a mother from seeing her son at the last glance that she was to give to this world. The genius of etiquette was probably never so honored before.
92 Immortal S-k. Charles Hamilton, third son of the duke of Hamilton, who was created earl of Selkirk in 1687.
No cheek is known to blush, no heart to throb,
their glory, Who know how like whig ministers to tory; And, when three sovereigns died, could scarce be
vex’d, Considering what a "gracious prince' was next. Have I, in silent wonder, seen such things As pride in slaves, and avarice in kings; And at a peer or peeress shall I fret, Who starves a sister, or forswears a debt? Virtue, I grant you, is an empty boast ; But shall the dignity of vice be lost ? Ye gods! shall Cibber's son, without rebuke, 115 Swear like a lord, or Rich outwhore a duke? A favorite's porter with his master vie? Be bribed as often, and as often lie? Shall Ward draw contracts with a statesman's skill? Or Japhet pocket, like his grace, a will ? Is it for Bond, or Peter, paltry things! To pay their debts, or keep their faith, like kings?
107 Three sovereigns died. Mary, William, and Anne : the gracious prince was George I.
111 Or peeress shall I fret. Bowles says, this alludes to lady M. Montague, who was reported to have suffered her sister, the countess of Mar, to sink into destitution in Paris. But he denies the destitution, chiefly on the ground that the earl's Scotch estate was given to his wife and daughter by George I. for their maintenance. Yet the Scotch estate might not be large; the rents paid to an exile are not always of the most punctual order; and lady Mary's personal profligacy was the natural school for hardness of heart.
115 Cibber's son-Rich. Two players : look for them in the Dunciad.-Pope. .