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WELL, if it be my time to quit the stage,
Adieu to all the follies of the age !
I die in charity with fool and knave,
Secure of peace at least beyond the grave.
I've had my Purgatory here betimes,
5 And paid for all my fatires, all
The Poet’s hell, its tortures, fiends, and flames,
To this were trifles, toys, and empty names.
With foolish pride my heart was never fir’d,
Nor the vain itch t'admire, or be admir'd;
I hop'd for no commission from his Grace;
I bought no benefice, I begg'd no place;
Had no new verses, nor new suit to show
Yet went to Court !-the Dev'l would have it fo.
But, as the Fool that in reforming days
Would go to Mass in jest (as story says)
Could not but think, to pay his fine was odd,
Since 'twas no form’d design of serving God;
no new verses, nor new suit 10 low ;] Warburton says, this is an “ infinuation, that Court-Poetry, like Courtclothes, only comes thither in honour of the Sovereign; and serves but to supply a day's conversation !!”
VER. 14. the Dev'l would] This addition is mean. And line below, 26. is perhaps the greatest violation of harmony Pope has ever been guilty of, by beginning the Verse with the word Noah. And line 17, bis fine was odd, seems to be very exceptionable.
As prone to all ill, and of good as forget-
full, as proud, lustfull, and as much in debt,
As vain, as witless, and as false, as they
Which dwell in Court, for once going that way.
Therefore I suffer'd this ; towards me did run
A thing more strange, than on Nile's slime the Sun
E'er bred, or all which into Noah's Ark came:
A thing which would have pos'd Adam to name :
Stranger than seven Antiquaries studies,
Than Africk Monsters, Guianaes rarities,
Stranger than strangers : one who, for a Dane,
In the Danes Massacre had sure been flain,
If he had liv’d then; and without help dies,
When next the 'Prentices 'gainst strangers rise ;
One whom the wach at noon lets scarce go by;
One, to whom the examining Justice sure would cry,
Sir, by your Priesthood, tell me what you are?
His clothes were strange, tho' coarse, and black,
VER. 19. So was I punib'd,] Thus in former editions :
Such was my Fate, whom Heav'n adjudg'd, Pope made many alterations in this Satire, and seems to have taken pains in correcting it. Line 65, and succeeding ones, stood
Well met, he cries, and happy sure for each,
For I am pleas'd to learn, and you to teach.
Bine 86 stood as follows:
Obliging Sir, I love you I profess,
But with you lik'd Retreat a little less;
So was I punish’d, as if full as proud
As prone to ill, as negligent of good,
As deep in debt, without a thought to pay,
As vain, as idle, and as false, as they
Who live at Court, for going once that way.!
Scarce was I enter'd, when, behold! there came
A thing which Adam had been pos’d to name; 25
Noah had refus'd it lodging in his Ark,
Where all the Race of Reptiles might embark:
A verier monster, than on Africk's shore,
The sun e'er got, or limy Nilus bore,
Or Sloan or Woodward's wondrous shelves contain,
Nay, all that lying Travellers can feign.
The watch would hardly let him pass at noon,
At night would swear him dropt out of the Moon.
One, whom the mob, when next we find or make
A popish plot, shall for a Jesuit take,
35 And the wise Justice, starting from his chair, Cry, By your Priesthood tell me what you are? Such was the wight: Th' apparel on his back, Tho' coarse, was rev'rend, and tho' bare, was black:
Spirits like you, belive me, should be seen,
And like Ulysses visit Courts and men;
So much alone, to speak plain truth between us,
You'll die of spleen-excuse me, nunquam minus.
Line 154, ran thus :
Shows Poland's Interest, takes the Primate's Part. Dr. Johnson speaks, methinks, too Nightingly of these Imita tions of Donne, when he says, “ That Pope seems to have known their imbecillity.”
Sleeveless his jerkin was, and had it been
Velvet, but 'twas now (so much ground was seen)
Become Tufftaffaty; and our children shall
See it plain rafh a u hile, then nought at all.
The thing hath travail'd, and, faith, speaks all
And only knoweth what to all States belongs,
Made of th' accents, and best phrase of all these,
He speaks one language. If strange meats displease,
Art can deceive, or hunger force my tast;
But pedants motly tongue, souldiers bumbast,
Mountebanks drug-tongue, nor the terms of law,
Are strong enough preparatives to draw
Me to hear this, yet I must be content
With his tongue, in his tongue callid Complement:
In which he can win widows, and pay scores,
Make men speak treason, couzen subtlest whores,
Outflatter favourites, or outlie either
Jovius, or Surius, or both together.
He names me, and comes to me; I whisper, God, How have I finn'd, that thy wrath's furious Rod, This fellow, chuseth me! He faith, Sir, I love your judgment, whom do you prefer For the best Linguist ? and I feelily Said that I thought Calepine's Dictionary.
VER. 68. “ 7 he King's,” said I.] “This fneer,” said the ingenious Mr. Wilkes, “ is really indecent. The good Bishop who published an edition of his works, ought, in the mild limbo of his Commentary, to have softened the severity of this paflage.”
The suit, if by the fashion one might guess, 40
Was velvet in the youth of good Queen Bess,
But mere tuff-taffety what now remain’d;
So Time, that changes all things, had ordain'd!
Our fons shall see it leisurely decay,
First turn plain rash, then vanish quite away. 45
This thing has travell’d, speaks each language too,
And knows what's fit for ev'ry state to do;
Of whose best phrase and courtly accent join'd,
He forms one tongue, exotic and refin'd.
Talkers I've learn'd to bear; Motteux I knew, 50
Henley himself I've heard, and Budgel too.
The Doctor's Wormwood style, the Hash of tongues
A Pedant makes, the storm of Gonson's lungs,
The whole Artill’ry of the terms of War,
And (all those plagues in one) the bawling Bar : 55
These I could bear; but not a rogue so civil,
Whose tongue will compliment you to the devil.
that can cheat widows, cancel scores, Make Scots speak treason, cozen subtlest whores, With royal Favourites in flatt'ry vie,
бо And Oldmixon and Burnet both outlie.
He spies me out; I whisper, Gracious God!
What fin of mine could merit such a rod?
That all the shot of dulness now must be
From this thy blunderbuss discharg'd on me!
Permit (he cries) no stranger to your
To crave your sentiment, if —'s your name.
What Speech esteem you most ? “ The King's,” said I.
But the best words?" O, Sir, the Dictionary.”