« НазадПродовжити »
OCCASIONED BY SOME VERSES OF HIS GRACE
THE DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM.
Muse, 'tis enough : at length thy labour ends, And thou shalt live, for Buckingham commends. Let Crowds of Critics now my Verse assail, Let Dennis write, and nameless numbers rail : This more than pays whole years of thankless pain, Time, health, and fortune, are not lost in vain. Sheffield approves, consenting Phæbus bends, And I and Malice from this hour are friends.
NOTES. Ver. 2. Buckingham commends.] It would be difficult to add any thing to the finished portrait of this nobleman, given by Mr. Walpole in his Anecdotes, vol, ü. p. 118.
Ver. 5 and 6. This more] A very groundless complaint ! Few authors, during their lives, were more respected and revered than himself by persons of rank and judges of merit.
BY MR. POPE,
To a Play for MR. Dennis's Benefit, in 1733, when he was old, blind, and in great Distress, a little before his Death.
As when that Hero, who in each Campaign, Had brav'd the Goth, and many a Vandal slain Lay fortune-struck, a spectacle of Woe! Wept by each Friend, forgiv'n by ev'ry Foe; Was there a generous, a reflecting mind, But pitied BELISARIUS old and blind? Was there a Chief but melted at the Sight? A common soldier, but who clubb'd his Mite? :: Such, such emotions should in Britons rise, 9 When press’d by want and weakness, Dennis lies;
NOTES. Ver. 6. But pitied Belisarius, &c.] Nothing could be more happily imagined than this allusion, nor more finely conducted. The continued pleasantry is so delicately touched, that it took nothing from the self-satisfaction which the critic who heard it, had in his own merit, or the audience in their charity. In a word, this benevolent irony is prosecuted with so masterly a hand, that the Poet supposed, had Dennis himself the wit to see it, he would have had the ingenuity to approve of it.
“ This dreaded Satrist, Dennis will confess,
Foe to his pride, but friend to his distress.” W. Ver. 7. Was there a Chief, &c.] The fine figure of the Commander in that capital picture of Belisarius at Chiswick, supplied the Poet with this beautiful idea. W.
Dennis, who long had warr'd with modern Huns,
Ver. 12. Their Quibbles routed, and defy'd their Puns ;] See Dunciad, Note on v. 63. B. I.
An old gentleman of the last century, who used to frequent Button's coffee-house, told me they had many pleasant scenes of Dennis's indignation and resentment, when Steele and Rowe, in particular, teized him with a pun.
Ver. 13. A desp'rate Bulwark, &c.] Alluding to his hatred of rhyme.
Ver. 16. And shook the stage with Thunders all his own!] See Dunciad, Note on v. 226. B. JI.
Ver. 17. Stood up to dash, &c.] See Dunciad, Note on v. 173. B. III.
Ver. 18. Maul the French Tyrant,-] See Dunciad, Note on v. 413. B. II.
Ibid. or pull down the Pope! See Dunciad, Note on v. 63. B. I.
Ver. 21. If there's a Critic of distinguish'd rage ;] See Dunciad, Notes on v. 106. B. I.
Bitter satire is concealed under the appearance of these topics of pity and commiseration. It is said that poor Dennis did not perceive the force of these sarcasms, and heard the prologue spoke with great complacency. Mallet and Thomson also interested themselves much in procuring the old man a good benefit.,
WHEN simple Macer, now of high renown, First sought a Poet's Fortune in the Town,
Ver. 1. When simple Macer,] Said to be the character of James Moore Smyth, author of the Rival Modes, a comedy, in 1726. He pilfered verses from Pope. He joined in a political papet with the Duke of Wharton, called The laquisitor, written with such violence against government, that he was soon obliged to drop it. This character was first printed in the Miscellanies of Swift and Pope, 1727, concerning which the following anecdote is transcribed from Dr. Birch's manuscripts in the British Museum:
“August 17, 1749. Mr. George Faulkner, of Dublín, told me, that Dr. Swift had long conceived a meati opinion of Mr. Pope, on account of his jealous, peevish, avarícious temper. The Doctor gave Mr. Pope the property of his Gulliver, which he sold the copy of for three hundred pounds"; and gave up to him, in 1727, his share of the copy of the three volumes of their Miscellanies, which came to one hundred and fifty pounds. The Doctor was angry with Mr. Pope for his satire upon Mr. Addison, whom the former esteemed as an honest, generous, and friendly man. Worsdale the painter was employed by Mr. Pope to go to Curl in the habit of a clergyman, and sell bim the printed copies of his Letters. Mr. Pope sent to Freland' to Dr. Swift, by Mr. Gerrard, an Irish gentleman, then at Bath, a printed copy of their letters, with an anonymous letter, which occasioned Dr. Swift to give Mr. Faulkner leave to reprint them at Dublin, though Mr. Pope's Edition was published first."
I would observe, on this anecdote, that it is not very probable that Swift should condenin Pope's Verses on Addisont, as they were first printed in the Miscellanies, which publication was their joint work ; and the verses themselves are mentioned id the preface to these Miscellanies.
'Twas all th' Ambition his high soul could feel,
So some coarse Country Wench, almost decay'd,
24 Now nothing left, but wither'd, pale, and shrunk, To bawd for others, and go shares with Punk.
Ver. 4. To wear red stockings,] I remember old Demoivre told me, above fifty years ago, that all he remembered of Corneille was, that he had seen him in red stockings at the theatre.