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Has ev'n been prov'd to grant a Lover's pray’r, 55
NOTES. Juvenal, in his sixth satire, speaking of a great female talker, uses a pleasant hyperbole ;
“Una laboranti poterit succurrere lunæ.” Ver. 57. in a Christian trim,] This is finely expressed; implying that her very charity was as much an exterior of Religion, as the ceremonies of the season. It was not even in a Christian humour, it was only in a Christian trim: not so much as habit, only fashion.
Ver. 58. And made a Widow happy,] There are some female characters sketched with exquisite delicacy and deep knowledge of Nature, in a book where one would not expect to find them, Law's Christian Perfection.
Ver. 65. Now Conscience chills her,] Madame de Montespan, during her criminal intercourse with Louis XIV, kept her Lents so strictly, that she used to have her bread weighed out to her.
Ver. 68. Yet still a sad,] I have been informed, on good authority, that this character was designed for the then Dutchess of Hamilton.
See Sin in State, majestically drunk; Proud as a Peeress, Prouder as a Punk; 70 Chaste to her Husband, frank to all beside, A teeming Mistress, but a barren Bride. What then? let Blood and Body bear the fault, Her Head's untouch'd, that noble seat of thought; Such this day's doctrine-in another fit 75 She sins with Poets through pure Love of Wit. What has not fir'd her bosom or her brain? Cæsar and Tall-boy, Charles and Carlemaʼne. i As Helluo, late Dictator of the Feast, The Nose of Hautgout and the Tip of Taste, 80 Critiqu’d your wine, and analyz'd your meat, Yet on plain Pudding deign'd at home to eat : ' So Philomedé, lect'ring all mankind, On the soft Passion, and the Taste refin’d, Th’ address, the Delicacy-stoops at once, 85 And makes her hearty meal upon a Dunce.
Flavia's a Wit, has too much sense to pray ; To toast our wants and wishes, is her way ;
In whose mad brain the mixt ideas roll,
Ver. 70. Proud as a Peeress,] Designed for the Dutchess of Marlborough, who so much admired Congreve; and after his death caused a figure in wax-work to be made of him, and placed frequently at her table. This connexion is particularly hinted at in ver. 76.
She sins with PoetsOur Author's declaration, therefore, that no particular character was aimed at, is not true.
Ver. 87. VI. Contrarieties in the Witty and Refined. P. VOL. III.
Nor asks of God, but of her Stars, to give
Turn then from Wits; and look on Simo's Mate,
106 Or her, who laughs at Hell, but (like her Grace) Cries, “ Ah ! how charming if there's no such place;" Or who in sweet vissicitude appears, Of Mirth and Opium, Ratafie and Tears, 110
A Lady's soul in everlasting pain?
He's like themselves; or how could he be good ?” From Young, Sat. 5. The person Pope intended to ridicule was the Dutchess of Montague..
The daily Anodine, and nightly Draught,
But what are these to great Atossa's mind ? 115
After Ver. 122 in the MS.
Oppress'd with wealth and wit, abundance sad !
NOTES. Ver. 115. great Atossa's mind ?] Atossa is a name mentioned in Herodotus, and said to be a follower of Sappho. She was daughter of Cyrus and sister of Cambyses, and married Darius. She is also named in the Persæ of Æschylus. She is said to be the first that wrote Epistles. See Bensley on Phalaris, p. 385; and Dodswell against Bentley
Ver. 120. Yet is, whate'er she hates] These spirited lines, that paint a singular character, are designed for the famous Dutchess of Marlborough, whom Swift had also severely satirized in the Examiner. Her beauty, her abilities, her political intrigues, are sufficiently known. The violence of her temper frequently broke out into wonderful and ridiculous indecencies. In the last illness of the great Duke her husband, when Dr. Mead left his chamber, the Dutchess, disliking his advice, followed him down stairs, swore at him bitterly, and was going to tear off his periwig. Her friend Dr. Hoadley, Bishop of Winchester, was present at this scene. These lines were shewn to her Grace as if they were intended for the portrait of the Dutchess of Buckingham; but she soon stopped the person who was reading them to her, as the
Full sixty years the World has been her Trade,
Dutchess of Portland informed me, and called out aloud, “ I cannot be so imposed upon : I see plainly enough for whom they are designed:” and abused Pope most plentifully on the subject, though she was afterward reconciled to him, and courted him, and gave him a thousand pounds to suppress this portrait, which he accepted, it is said, by the persuasion of Mrs. M. Blount ; and, after the Dutchess's death, it was printed in a folio sheet, 1746, and afterward here inserted with those of Philomedé and Cloe. This is the greatest blemish in our Poet's moral character. These three portraits are all animated with the most poignant wit. That of Cloe is particularly just and happy, who is represented as content merely and only to dwell in decencies, and satisfied to avoid giving offence; and is one of those many insignificant and useless beings,
“ Who want, as thro' blank life they dream along,
Sense to be right, and passion to be wrong." As says the ingenious author of the Universal Passion ; a work that abounds in wit, observation on life, pleasantry, delicacy, urbanity, and the most well-bred raillery, without a single mark of spleen and ill-nature. These were the first characteristical satires in our language, and are written with an ease and familiarity of style very different from this author's other works. The four first were published in folio, in the year 1725; and the fifth and sixth, 1727.