Alexander Pope.

The works of Alexander Pope Esq. : In nine volumes, complete. With his last corrections, additions, and improvements; as they were delivered to the editor, a little before his death. Together with the commentary and notes of Mr. Warburton (Volume 4) online

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Online LibraryAlexander PopeThe works of Alexander Pope Esq. : In nine volumes, complete. With his last corrections, additions, and improvements; as they were delivered to the editor, a little before his death. Together with the commentary and notes of Mr. Warburton (Volume 4) → online text (page 8 of 18)
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and therefore compares him, not to thofe who defolatcd,



Ep. I. OF HORACE.

EPISTLE I.

To AUGUSTUS.

tT7 HiJe vou g reat Patron of Mankind ! fuftain
* The balanc'd World, and open all the Main ;
Your Country, chief, in Arms abroad defend,
At home, with Morals, Arts, and Laws amend ;

* How fhall the Mufe, from fuch a Monarch, fteal 5
An hour, and not defraud the Public Weal ?

c Edward and Henry, now the Boaft of Fame,
And virtuous Alfred, a more d facred Name,
After a Life of gen'rous Toils endur'd,
The Gaul fubdu'd, or Property fecur'd, IO

Ambition humbled, mighty Cities ftorm'd,
Or Laws eftabliih'd, and the world reform'd ;

* Clos'd their long Glories with a figh, to find
Th' unwilling Gratitude of bafe mankind !

All human Virtue, to its lateft breath, 15

f Finds Envy never conquer'd, but by Death,

N o T E i.

but to thofe who civilized mankind. The imitation wants
this grace: and, for a very obvious reafon, mould not
have aimed at it, as he has done in the mention of Alfred.

VER. 13. Chid their long Glories ivitb afigh^\ The ex-
preffion is extremely beautiful; and the p/oravere judici-
oufly placed.

VER. 16. Finds envy nrvtr conquer d t &c .] It hath been

VOL. IV. . L



I M I T A T I O N S Book II.

5 Ui it enim fulgorc luo, qui praegravat artcs
Infra fe pofitas : extin6lus amabitur idem.

! Praefenti tibi matures largimur honores,
' JuranJafque tuum per numcn ponimus aras,
k Nil oriiurum alias, ml ortum tale fatentes.
Sed tuus hoc populus fapiens et juftus in uno,
* Te noftrh ducibus^ te Gratis anteferendo,

NOTES.

the common practice of thofe amongft us, who have di-
ftinguifhed themfelves in the learned world, to afcribe the
ill treatment they have met with, from thofe they endeavour
to oblige, to fo bad a caufe as envy. But furely without
reafon ; for we find our Countrymen of the fame candid
difpofition with the Athenians, as Socrates defcribes it, in
the Euthypbro of Plato, They art well content (fays he) to
allonv the Pretenfans of refuted eminence; it is only when a
man will write, and prefume to give a proof of it, that they
beght to grow angry. We, too, are as ready to allow the
reputation of eminence, to thofe whofe modelry has made
them decline giving us a fpecimen of it. A temper furely
very diftant from envy. We ought not then to afcribe that
violent ferment good men are apt to work themfelves into,
and the ftruggle they make to fupprefs the reputation of
him who pretends to give a proof of what they are fo wil-
ling to take for granted, to any thing but an eager concern
for the public welfare. Which, nothing better fecures than



Ep. I. OF HORACE. 147

The great Alcides, ev'ry Labour paft,

Had ftill this Monfter to fubdue at laft.

g Sure fate of all, benea h whofe rifing ray

Each ftar of meaner merit fades away ! 20

Opprefs'd we feel the beam directly beat,

Thofe Sims of Glory pleafe not till they fet.

To thee, the World its prefent homage pays,
The Harveft early, h but mature the prdife :
Great Friend of LIBERTY ! in Kings a Name 25
Above all Greek, above all Roman Fame * :
Whofe Word is Truth, as facred and rever'd,
'As Heav'n's own Oracles from Altars heard.
Wonder of King ! like whom, to mortal eyes
k None e'er has rifen, and none e'er mail rife. 30

NOTES,

the fpeedy damping Popularity ; fo dangerous to the com-
munity when joined to great Talents. SCRIEL.

VER. 17. The great Alcide^ This inftance has not the
fame grace here as in the original, where it comes in well
after thofe of Romulus, Bacchus, Caftor, and Pollux, tho 1
aukwardly after Edward and Henry. But it was for the
fake of the beautiful thought in the next line ; which, yet,
does not equal the force of his original.

VER. 21. Opprefs'd i^efee/, &c.] " Les hommes, nez
ingrats et jnloux (fays an ingenious French Writer with
becoming indignation) ne pardonnent pas ceux qui
pretend a Icur admiration : de la meriter ils en font un
crime, qu'ils puniflent par des calemnies, des critiques
ameres, et des mtpris affettex. La Pcfterite le vcngera
de fes opprefieurs, en le comblant de louanges, tandis
que fes imbecills detradteurs, ces hommes c'/Zr, qui

L 2



J4 8 IMITATIONS Book II.

Caetera ncquaquam fimili ratione modoque

Aeftimat j et, nifi quae terris femota fuifque
Temporibus defuncla videt, faflidit et odit :
1 Sic fautor veterum t ut tabulas peccare vetantes
Quas bis quinque viri fanxerunt, foedera regum,
Vel Gabiis vel cum rigidis aequata Sabinis,
Pontificum libros, annofa volumina Vatum,
111 Didtitet Albano Mufas in monte locutas.

Si, quia " Graiorum funt antiqutflima quaequc
Scripta vel optima, Romani penfantur eadem
Scriptores trutina ; non eft quod multa loquamur :
Nil intra eft oleam, nil extra eft in nuce duri.
Venimus ad fummum fortnnae : pinglmuf^ atque
Pfallimus, et p lufiamur Achivis dofJius unfits.
Si * meliora dies, ut vina, poemata reddit j

NOTES.

" pour etre oubliez, n'ont pas befoin de cefler d'etre, re-
" fteront pour jamais plongez dans Toubli."

VER. 38. And beaflly Skelton, &c.] Skelton, Poet Lau-
reat to Hen. vm. a volume of whofe verfeshas been lately
reprinted, confifting almoft wholly of ribaldry, obfcenity,
and fcurrilous language. P.



Ep. I. OF HORACE. 149

Juft in one inftance, be it yet confeft
Your People, Sir, are partial in the reft :
Foes to all living worth except your own,
And Advocates for folly dead and gone.
Authors, like coins, grow dear as they grow old j 35
It is the ruft we value, not the gold.
1 Chaucer's worft ribaldry is learn'd by rote,
And beaftly Skelton Heads of houfes quote :
One likes no language but the Faery Queen ;
A Scot will fight for Chrift's Kirk of the Green j 40
And each true Briton is to Ben fo civil,
111 He fwears the Mufes met him at the Devil.

Tho' juftly n Greece her eldeft fons admires,
Why Ihould not We be wifer than our fires ?
In ev'ry Public virtue we excel! ; 45

We build, we paint, we fing, we dance as well,
And p learned Athens to our art muft {loop,
Could {he behold us tumbling thro* a hoop.

If i Time improve our Wit as well as Wine,
Say at what age a Poet grows divine ? 50

NOTES.

VER. 40. CbriJTs Kirk of the Green ;] A Ballad made by a
King of Scotland. P .

VER. 42. The Mufes met him] This inftance of the Peo-
ple's ill tafte was both well chofen and happily exprefled.
Johnfon's talents were learning, judgment, and indullry,
rather than wit, or natural genius.

VE R . 42 . met him at the Devil] The Devil Tavern, where
Ben. Johnfon held his Poetical Club. P.



15 IMITATIONS Book II.

Scire velim, chartis pretium quotus arrogct annus.
Scriptor ab hinc annos centum qui decidit, inter
Perfe&os veteiefque referri debet, an inter
Viles atque novos ? excludat jurgia finis.
Eft vetus atque probus, r centum qui perficit annos.
Quid ? qui deperiit minor uno menfe vel anno,
Inter quo? referendus erit ? * veterefne poetas,
An quos et praefens et poftera rcfpuat aetas ?
Iftc quidem veteres inter ponetur l hjncfte,
Qui vel menfe brevi, vel toto eft junior anno.

L'tor permiflb, caudaeque pilos ut v equinac
Paulatim vello : et demo unum, demo et item unum ;
Dum cadat elufus rationc w ruentis acervi,
Qui redit in *faftosi et virtutem aeftimat annis,
Miraturque nihil, nifi quod y Libitina facravit.

z Ennius et fapiens, ct fort is, et alter Hornet u: y

NOTES.

VER. 68. Befto<iv a Garland only on a Bier.~\ The thought
is beautiful, and alludes to the old practice of our Ance-
ftors, of covering the Bier (on which the dead were carried
to their interment) with Garlands. A manly and pious
cuftom, which arofe from the ancient pradlice of reward-
ing viftors ; and from thence was brought into the
Church, and applied to thofe who had fought the good
fght o



Ep. I. OF HORACE. i 5I

Shall we, or fhall we not account him fo,
Who dy'd, perhaps, an hundred years ago ?
End all difpute ; and fix the year precife
When Britifh bards begin t' immortalize ?

" Who lafb a r century can have no flaw, 55
" I hold that Wit a Claflic, good in law.

Suppofe he wants a year, will you compound ?
And {hall we deem him s Ancient, right and found,
Or damn to all eternity at once,
At ninety nine, a Modem and a Dunce ? 60

" We fhall not quarrel for a year or two ;
" By l courtefy of England, he may do.

Then, by the rule that made the v Horfe-tail bare,
I pluck out year by year, as hair by hair,
And melt w down Ancients like a heap of fnow : 65
Wbile you, to meafure merits, look in * Stowe,
And eftimating authors by the year,
Beftow a Garland only on a y Bier.

z Shakefpear (whom you and ev'ry Play-houfe bill
Style the divine, the matchlefs, what you will) 70

NOTES.

VER. 69. Shake/fear.} Shakefpear and Ben Johnfon may
truly be faid not much to have thought of this Immorta-
lity ; the one in many pieces compofed in halte for the
Stage ; the other in his Litter works in general, which
Dryden call'd hii Dotages. P.

Ibid. ShaJufptar For g ~.ln not glory, &c.~\ SHAKESPEAR
knew perfectly well what belonged to a true compofitionj
as appears from the Tt'npefl, and the Mt-rry Wi-ves



IMITATIONS Book II,
Ut critic! dicunt, leviter curare videtur

Quo promijja cadant, et fomnia Pytbagorea.

Naevius in manibus non eft ; at c mcntibus haeret
Pene recens : d adeo fanctum eft vetus omne poema.
Ambigitur c quoties, uter utro fit prior j aiifert
Pacuvius docli famam fenis, Accius alti :

NOT E s.

for. But he generally complied with the ignorance, and
the ill tafte of his Audience. However, in his moft irre-
gular plays his wit and fublimity make amends for his
tranfgreflion of the rules of art ; and fupport him in it.
But, happily for the improvement of the Drama, he had
a competitor in JOHNSON, who, with a greater temptation
to comply with the bad tafte of the age, had not the fame
force of genius to fupport him in it. Johnfon, therefore,
borrowed all he could from art ; and like an experienced
general, when he could not depend on his natural ftrength,
kept ftill behind his lines. The confequence was, that
Shakefpear having once tried to reform the tafte [See
Hamlet] and on failing, had complied with it, became
the favourite Poet of the People ; while Johnfon, who,
for the reafon given above, could not be ib complaifant,
was all his life long in a ftate of war with them. This,
and not (as is commonly fuppofed) the ignorance of one,
and the fuperior knowledge of the other, was the true
caufe of that difference which we find between thefe two
Capital Writers, in the art and conftruftion of their pieces.
So that here, we fee, a want of fufficient natural genius



Ep. I. OF H O R A C E. 153

For gain, not glory, winged his roving Right,

And grew Immortal in his own defpight.

Ben, old and poor, as little feem'd to heed

J The Life to come, in ev'ry Poet's Creed.

Who now reads b Cowley ? if he pleafes yet, 75

His Moral pleafes, not his pointed wit j

Forgot his Epic, nay Pindaric Art,

But ftill c I love the language of his heart.

" Yet furely, d furely, thefe were famous men !
" What boy but hears the fay ings of old Ben ? 80
" In all debates where Critics hear a part,
" Not one but nods, and talks of Johnfon's Art,

NOTES.

accidentally contributed to the refinement of the Englifh
ftage.

Ibid, and wry Playboufe bill] A ridicule on thofe who
talk of Shakefpear, becaufe he is in fafhion ; who, if they
dared to do juitice, to their taile or conference, would own
they liked Durfey better.

VER. 74. The life to come, in ev'ry PoefsCreed^

Quo promifla cadant, et fomnia Pythagorea.
The beauty of this arifes from a circumftance in Ennius's
ftory. But as this could not be imitated, our Poet endea-
voured to equal it ; and has fucceeded.

VER. 77. Pindaric Art ',] Which has much more merit
than his Epic, but very unlike the Character, as well as
Numbers of Pindar. P.

Vt K . 8 1 . Li ail debates l$c .] The Poet has here put the
bald cant of women and boys into extreme fine verfe.
This is in fhift imitation of his Original, where the fame
impertinent aud gratuitous criticiim is admirably ridi-
culed.



IMITATIONS Book II.
Dicitur Afrani toga conveniflc Mcnandro ;

Plautus ad exemplar Siculi properare Epicharmi
Vincerc Caecilius gravitate, Terentius arte :
Hos edifcit, et hos arclo ftipata thcatro
Spectat Roma potens -, f habet hos numeratque poetas
Ad noftrum tempus, Livi fcriptoris ab aevo.
Interdum vulgus redtum videt : eft ubi peccat.
Si h veteres ita miratur laudatque poetas,
Ut nihil anteferat, nihil illis comparet ; errat :
Si qtiaedam nimis ' antique, fi pleraque k dure

NOTES.

VER. 85. Wycberly] The chief fupport of this writer's
reputation is his famous comedy of the Plain Dealer ;
which is taken from Moliere's Mifantbrope. But it has fo
happen'd that while Moliere's Mifantbrope is but a Plain
D*a/er, Wycherly's Plain Dealer is a downright Mifa/i-
tkrope. Whether this was owing to the different genius of
the Nations, or to the different Judgments of the Poets, is
left for the Critics to determine.

Ibid. Sbadiuell bajly, Wycherly ivasjlom.'} Nothing was
lefs true than this particular : But the whole paragraph has
a mixture of Irony, and muft not altogether be taken for
Horace's own Judgment, only the common Chat of the
pretenders to Criticifm ; in fome things right, in others,
wrong ; as he tells us in his anfwer.

Iiiterdum vulgus reftum videt : eft ubi peccat. P.



Ep. I. OF HORACE. 155

* Of Shakefpear's Nature, and of Cowley's Wit j
* How Beaumont's judgment check'd what Fletcher

" writ ;

" How Shadwell haftv, Wycherly was flow ; 85

" But, for the Paflions, Southern fure and Rowe.
" Thefe, f only thefe, fupport the crouded ftage,
** From eldeit Hey wood down to Gibber's age.

All this may be ; the People's Voice is odd,
It is, and it is not, the voice of God. 90

To h Gammer Gurton if it give the bays,
And yet deny the Carelefs Hufband praife,
Or fay our Fathers never broke a rule ;
Why then, I fay, the Public is a fool.
But let them own, that greater Faults than we 95
They had, and greater Virtues, I'll agree,
Spenfer himfelf affects the ' Obfolcte,
And Sydney's verfe halts ill on k Roman feet :

NOTES.

VER. 91, Gammer Gurton'] A piece of very low humour,
one of the full printed Plays in Englilh, and therefore
much valued by ibme Antiquaries.

Ibid. To Gammer Gurton, And yet deny, 5?f.] i. e. If they
give the bays to one play becaufe it is old, and deny it to
another becaufe it is new, why then, I fay, the Public
acYs a very foolifh part.

VER. 97. Spencer himfelf offers the Obfolete,} This is
certainly true ; he extended, beyond all reafon, that pre-
of Horace,

Obfcurata diu populo bonus eruet, atque
Profcret in lucem fpeciofa vocabuJa rerum. etc.



IMITATIONS Book II.
Dicere ccdit eos, ' ignave multa fatetur ;
Et fapit, etmccum facit, et Jovejudicat aequo.
m Non cquidem infedor, delendaque carmina Livi

NOTES.

VER. 98. And Sydney's *verfe halts ill on Roman feet :~\ Si r
Philip Sidney. He attempted to introduce the Roman
hexameter and pentameter meafure into Englifh verfe. Baif,
9. French poet in the time of their Hen. II. had attempted
the fame thing before him, and with the fame fuccefs.

VER. I O2. And God the Father turns a School-divine.] Ben
Johnfon ridicules the humour of his age, when the au-
dience chofe to take their knowledge of Englifh hiftory
from Shakefpear's plays. The prefent fafhion for Milton
makes us as ready to learn our religion from the Paradife
lojl : tho' it be certain, he was as poor and fanciful a Di-
vine, as Shakefpear was a licentious Hiftorian. This ap-
pears from many places of that admirable Poem. As he
here degrades iheFafker by making him follow the School-
fyjiems ; fo, in his Paradife regained, he difhonours the Son,
by making him Author of the MAHOMETAN Oeconomy
of grace.

" Victorious deeds

Flam'd in my heart, heroic afts, one while
To refcue Ifrael from the Roman yoke ;
Then to fubdue and quell o'er all the Earth
Brute violence, and proud tyrannic pow'r,
Till truth was freed and equity reftor'd :
Yet held it more humane, more heav'nly, FIRST
By winning words to conquer willing hearts,
And make perfuafion do the work of fear ;
At leaft to try, and teach the erring foul
Not willingly mifdoing, but unaware
Mifled ; the ftubborn only to deftroy.



Ep. I. OF HORACE. 157

Milton's ftrong pinion now not Heav'n can bound,
Now Serpent-like, in ' profe he fweeps the ground,
In Quibbles, Angel and Archangel join, 101

And God the Father turns a School-divine.
m Not that I'd lop the Beauties from his book,
Like n flafhing Bentley with his defp'rate hook,

NOTES.

VER. 104. Bent/ey.] This excellent critic, who had the
fortune to be extravagantly defpifed and ridiculed by two
of the greateft wits, and as extravagantly feared and flat-
tered by two of the greateft Scholars of his time, will de-
ferve to have that juftice done him now, which he never
met with while alive.

He was a great matter both of the languages and the
learning of polite Antiquity; whofe writings he ftudied
with no other defign than to corredl the errors of the text.
For this he had a flrong natural underftanding, a great
mare of penetration, and a fagacity and acumen very un-
common. All which qualities he had greatly improved by
long exercife and application. Yet, at the fame time, he
had fo little of that elegance of judgment, we call Tafie,
that he knew nothing of Style, as it accommodates itielf,
and is appropriated to the various kinds of compofition.
And his reafoning faculty being infinitely better than that
of his Imagination, the ftyle of poetry was what he the
leaft understood. So that, that clearnefs of conception,
which fo much aflifted his critical fagacity, in difcovering
and reforming errors in books of fcience, where a philo-
fophical precifion, and grammatical exa&nefs of language
is employed, ferved but to betray him into abfurd and ex-
travagant conjeftures when ever he attempted to reform
the text of a Poet, whofe diction he was always for dedu-
cing to the profaic rules of logical feverity ; and whenever
he found what a great mafter of fpeech calls <verbum ar-
Jens, he was fure not to leave it till he had thoroughly



158 IMITATIONS Book II.

Efle reor, memini quac * plagofum mihi paruo

Or hi II urn dilare ;

fed emendata vidcii
Pulchraque, et exa&is minimum diftantia, miror :

NOTES.

quenched it in his critical ftandim. But tD make philology
amends, he was a perfedl matter of all the myfteries of the
ancient Rytbmus.

The moft important of his works, as a fcholar, is his
Critic on the Epi/lez ofPhalaris : and the leaft confiderable,
his Remarks on the Difcourfe concerning Free-thinking. Yet the
firft, with all its fuperiority of Learning, Argument, and
Truth, was borne down by the vivacity and clamour of a
Party, which (as ufual) carried the Public along with
them : while the other, employed only in the eafy and
trifling tafk of expofmg a very dull and very ignorant
Rhapfodift, was as extravagantly extolled. For it was
his odd fortune (as our Poet exprefles it) to pafs for
A Wit with Dunces, and a Dunce with Wits :
whereas in truth he was neither one nor the other. The
injuftice that had been done him in the f:rjl cafe, made
him always fpeak, amongft his friends, of the blind par-
tiality of the public in the latter, with the contempt it de-
ferved. For however he might fometime miitake his fort,
he was never the dupe of the Public judgment. Of which
a learned Prelate, now living, gave me this inflance :
He accidentally met Bentley in the days of Phalaris ; and
after having complimented him on that noble piece of
Criticifm (the Anfaer to the Oxford writers) he bad him
not be difcouraged at this run upon him : for tho' they
had got the laughers on their fide, yet mere wit and rail-
lery could not hold it out long againft a work of fo much
went. To which the other replied, " Indeed, Dr. S. I am



Ep. I. OF HORACE. 159

Or damn all Shakefpear, like th' affeaed Fool 105
At court, who hates whate'er he read at fchool.

But for the Wits of either Charles's days,
The Mob of Gentlemen who wrote with Eafe;
Sprat, Carcw, Sedley, and a hundred more,
(Like twinkling ftars the Mifcellanies o'er) 1 10

NOTES.

" in no pain about the matter. For it is my maxim, that
" no man was ever written out of reputation, bat by
" himfclf."

Ibid, bis defy' rate book] Alluding to the feveral paflages
of Milton, which Bentley has reprobated, by includin-g
within hocks, fome with judgment, and fome without.

YER 108. 'Ike Mob of Gentlemen ivbo i<:rote with Eafe j]
The Poet has here very happily exemplified this envied
quality of eafy ~c:ritng in the turn of the verfes that expoie
it. Thefe wits formed themfelves, for the moft part, on
Suckling , a fine original genius . But on fo flippery a ground
it was 110 wonder fuch Imitators mould fall ; and either
fink his free and eafy manner into infipidity, or abufe it
to ribaldry and licentioumefs : they did both ; till eafy
writing came to be defined a negligence of iv&atthey faid,
and how they faid it. This was called writing like a Gen-
tleman. But as fafhions take their turn, Lord Shaftefbury
has introduced a new fort of Gentleman like writing, which
confiils indeed, like the other, in a negligence of what is
faid, but joined to much affeftation in the manner of fay-
ing it.

VER. 109. Sprat,'] Rightly put at the head of the fmall
wits. He is now known to moft advantage as the friend
of Mr. Cowley. His Learning was comprifed in the well
rounding a period : For, as Seneca faid of Triarius,
" Compofkione verborum belle cadentium multos Scbola-
" jlicos deledabat, omses decipiebat." As to the turn of
his piety and genius,, it is belt feen by his laft Will and
Teftament, where he gives God thanks, that he, who had



160 IMITATIONS Book II.

Inter quae p verbum emicuit fi forte decorum,
Si * verfus paulo concinnior unus et alter ;
Injufte totum ducit venitque poema.

r Indignor quidquam reprehend!, non quia crafTe
Compofitum, illepideve putetur, fed quia nuper ;
Nee veniam antiquis, fed honorem et praemia pofci.

* Recle necne crocumflorefque perambulet Aitae
Fabula^ fi dubitem ; clamant periifle pudorem
Cundti pene patres : ea cum reprehendere coner,
Quae ' gravis Aefopus> quae dodlus Rofcius egit.

NOTES.

been bred neither at Eaton nor Wefttninfter, but at a lit-
tle country fchool by the Church-yard fide, fhould at laft
come to be a Biftiop. But the honour of being a Weft-
minfter School-boy fome have at one age, and fome at an-
other, and fome all their life long. Our grateful bi(hop,
tho' he had it not in his youth, yet it came upon him in
his old age.

VER. 113. gleams thro 1 many a page,~] The image is ta-
ken from half-formed unripe lightening, which ftreams
along the sky, and is jull fufficient to (hew the deformity
of thofe black vapours to which it ferves {as Milton ex-
prefles it) for a filver lining.

VER. 119. On A<vons bank,} At Stratford in Warwick-
mire, where Shakefpear had his birth. The thought of
the Original is here infinitely improved. Perambulet is
low allufion to the name and imperfections of dtta.

VER. 121. One Tragic fentence if 1 dare deride, ~\ When
writers of our Author's rank have once effe&ually expofed



Ep. I. OF HORACE. 161

One Simile, that P folitary (hines

In the dry defert of a thoufand lines,

Or * lengthen'd Thought that gleams through many a

page,

Has fanctify'd whole poems for an age*
r I lofe my patience, and I own it too, 1 1 ?

When works are cenfur'd, not as bad but new j
While if our Elders break all reafon's laws,
Thefe fools demand not pardon, but applaufe.

* On Avon's bank, where flow'rs eternal blow,
If I but afk, if any weed can grow ; 1 20

One Tragic fentence if I dare deride,
Which ' Better ton's grave aftion dignify'd,

NOTES.

turgid exprejfion, and reduced it to its juft value, which,
hitherto, the fmall critics had raiftakeu for the fublimf t
thefe latter are now apt to fufped all they do not under-
Hand, to be bombaft : like the Idiot in Cervantes, who
having been beat for not diitinguifhing between a Cur and
a Greyhound, imagined every dog he met, to be a Cur-
dog. So our refpeclable Laureat will needs imitate his
betters, and dare to deride too with the beft. " In what
" raptures (fays he) have I feen an audience, at the
" furious fuftian, and turgid rants of Nat. Lee's Alexan-
" der the Great. Let me give you a fample. Alexander,
" in a full croud of courtiers, fays,

When Glory, like the dazzling Eagle, flood
Perch' d on my Beaver in the Granic flood ;
When Fortuned felf my Itandard trembling bore,


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Online LibraryAlexander PopeThe works of Alexander Pope Esq. : In nine volumes, complete. With his last corrections, additions, and improvements; as they were delivered to the editor, a little before his death. Together with the commentary and notes of Mr. Warburton (Volume 4) → online text (page 8 of 18)