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This subtle thief of life, this paltry time,
"But after all, what would you have me do? 80
85 Hard task! to hit the palate of such guests, When Oldfield loves what Dartineuf detests.
But grant I may relapse, for want of grace, Again to rhyme; can London be the place ? Who there his Muse, or self, or soul attends, 90 In crowds, and courts, law, business, feasts, and
friends! My counsel sends to execute a deed: A poet begs me I will hear him read : In Palace-yard at nine you'll find me thereAt ten for certain, Sir, in Bloomsbury-square- 95
were most excellent reciters. Just reading is an uncommon talent. The Duke de la Rochefoucault would never become a member of the French Academy, lest he should expose himself by his pronunciation of the speech necessary on that occasion. I had once the pleasure of hearing Quin read the Second Book of Milton, with marvellous propriety and harmony. And the late Mr. Henderson excelled in recitation.
Warton. Ver. 94. In Palace-yard] I am sorry he omitted, intervalla humanè commoda ; which heightens the distress and inconvenience. In verse 101, a backney-coach is better than, calidus redemptor. But verse 107, contains an image unnecessarily coarse and filthy.
Omnibus officiis : cubat hic in colle Quirini,
'Ingenium, sibi quod vacuas desumpsit Athenas Et studiis annos septem dedit, insenuitque
And verse 115, is little to the purpose. I will give the reader an opportunity of comparing, and if he is impartial, of preferring, this passage of Pope with one of Boileau on the same subject :
Qu'en tous lieux les chagrins m'attendent un passage;
Epitre vi. v.47. Compare also the sixth satire of Boileau, containing the description of Les Embarras de Paris, from verse 3 to verse 82 ; particularly verse 45.
Warton. Ver. 112. Blackmore himself,] In the Battle of the Books, we are surprized to find Swift preferring Blackmore to Dryden.
Before the Lords at twelve my cause comes on-
105 And peers give way, exalted as they are, Even to their own S-r-V-nce in a car?
"Go, lofty poet! and in such a crowd, Sing thy sonorous verse-but not aloud. Alas! to grottoes and to groves we run,
110 To ease and silence, every Muse's son: Blackmore himself, for any grand effort, Would drink and doze at Tooting or Earl's-Court. How shall I rhyme in this eternal roar! How match the bards whom none e'er match'd before?
115 "The man, who stretch'd in Isis' calm retreat, To books and study gives seven years complete, See! strow'd with learned dust, his nightcap on, He walks, an object new beneath the sun! The boys flock round him, and the people stare : So stiff, so mute! some statue you would swear, Stepp'd from its pedestal to take the air !
Ver. 113. Tooting-Earl's. Court.] Two villages within a few miles of London.
Libris et curis, statuả taciturnius exit
m Frater erat Romæ consulti rhetor; ut alter
Carmina compono, hic elegos; mirabile visu, Cælatumque novem Musis opus. Aspice primum,
Ver. 123. court, and city roars,] Not so strong as the original metaphor :
Fluctibus in mediis, et tempestatibus urbis, Milton wrote his Paradise Lost in London, as did Thomson his three last Seasons, and his charming Castle of Indolence; and Armstrong his Art of Preserving Health, a fine classical poem, omitted in the Collection of English Poets.
Warton. Ver. 132. And shook his head at Murray, as a wit.] It is the silly consolation of blockheads in all professions, that he, whom nature has formed to excel, does it not by his superior knowledge, but his wit; and so they keep themselves in countenance as not fairly outdone, but only outwitted. The miserable glory of knowing nothing but in their own trade, M. de Voltaire has well exposed, where, speaking of a great French Lawyer, of the like genius and talents with our admirable countryman, he says: faisait ressouvenir la France de ces tems, où les plus austères Magistrats, consommés comme lui dans l'étude des Lois, se delassoient des fatigues de leur état, dans les travaux de la literature, Que ceux qui méprisent ces travaux amiables ; que ceux qui mettent je ne sai quelle miserable grandeur à se renfermer dans le cercle étroit de leurs emplois, sont à plaindre! ignorent ils que CICERON, après avoir rempli la première place du monde, plaidoit encore les causes des Citoyens, écrivoit sur la nature des Dieux, conferoit avec des Philosophes ; qu'il alloit au Théatre; qu'il daignoit cultiver l'amitié d'Esopus et de Roscius, et laissoit
And here, while town, and court, and city roars, With mobs, and duns, and soldiers, at their doors, Shall I, in London, act this idle part ? 1.25 Composing songs, for fools to get by heart ?
- The Temple late two brother serjeants saw, Who deem'd each other oracles of law; With equal talents, these congenial souls, One lulld th’Exchequer, and one stunn’d the Rolls; Each had a gravity would make you split, And shook his head at MURRAY, as a wit. 'Twas, “Sir, your law," and, “Sir,your eloquence,”“ Yours, Cowper's manner”-“and
" and yours, Talbot's
*Thus we dispose of all poetic merit, 135 Yours Milton's genius, and mine Homer's spirit.
aur petits esprits, leur constante gravité, qui n'est que la masque de la mediocrité?"
*The miserable malice of the human heart has been always backward to confess that great parts and great science were to be found together. The eminent person, here mentioned, hath long triumphed over so vile a prejudice. BAСon was not so happy. The blemishes in his moral character disabled him from stemming and subduing it. Indeed, endy was ever unwilling to allow any man to excel in more than one accomplishment. As to the particular application of this wayward judgment, it is sometimes right and sometimes wrong. Thus, for instance, when the public would not allow the great lawyer, Coke, to be a classic scholar and a wit too, (though he had given so many delectable specimens of both,) they were perhaps in the right. But when they assumed (though they spoke by the organ of Queen Elizabeth herself) that Bacon, a great philosopher, was yet no lawyer, they were certainly in the wrong.
Warburton. Ver. 132. MURRAY, as a wit.] Alluding to the common cant of that time, as if this eminent and accomplished person was more of