Abbildungen der Seite

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, obseryed, 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
Healthy by temperance, and by exercise;
His life, tho' long, to sickness past unknown,
His death was instant, and without a groan.
O grant me thus to live, and thus to die!
Who sprung from kings shall know less joy than I.

O Friend ! may each domestic bliss be thine;
Be no unpleasing melancholy mine.
Me, let the tender office long engage,
To rock the cradle of reposing age,


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.

After Ver. 405 in the MS.

And of myself, too, something must I say?
Take then this verse, the trifle of a day;
And if it live, it lives but to commend
The man whose heart has ne'er forgot a friend,
Or head, an author; critic, yet polite,
And friend to learning, yet too wise to write.

With lenient arts extend a mother's breath, 410
Make languor smile, and smooth the bed of death,
Explore the thought, explain the asking eye,
And keep a while one parent from the sky!
On cares like these, if length of days attend,
May Heaven, to bless those days, preserve my

Preserve him social, cheerful, and serene,
And just as rich as when he served a QUEEN.
A. Whether that blessing be denied or given,
Thus far was right; the rest belongs to Heaven.


Ver. 409. To rock the cradle] This tender image is from the Essays of Montaigne. Mr. Gray was equally remarkable for affectionate attention to his aged mother; so was Ariosto. Pope's mother was a sister of Cooper's wife, the very celebrated miniature painter. Lord Carleton had a portrait of Cooper, in crayons, which Mrs. Pope said was not very like; and which, descending to Lord Burlington, was given by his Lordship to Kent. “I have a drawing," says Mr. Walpole, “ of Pope's father, as he lay dead in his bed, by his brother-in-law, Cooper." It was Mr. Pope's.. Anecdotes of Painting, vol. iii. p. 115. Warton.

Ver. 417. And just as rich as when he served a Queen.] An honest compliment to his friend's real and unaffected disinterestedness, when he was the favourite physician of Queen Anne.

Warburton. Ver. 418. Whether that blessing, &c.] He makes his friend close the dialogue with a sentiment very expressive of that religious resignation, which was the character both of his temper and his piety.






Ludentis speciem dabit, et torquebitur.


« ZurückWeiter »