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So well in paint and stone they judgød of merit:
Not with such a majesty, such bold relief, 390
year 1671, tells the following story: "I and John Echard, the Author of the Contempt of the Clergy, dined with Archbishop Sheldon. After dinner, when the Archbishop had withdrawn and selected his company, I was called into the withdrawing room, and Echard was left behind to go drink and smoke with the Chaplains :" So well adjusted was this respect of persons ; Echard, the wittiest man of the age, was very fitly left to divert the Chaplains ; and Anthony Wood, without all per-adventure the dullet, was called in to enjoy the conversation of his Grace. WARBURTON.
VER. 385. But Kings in Wit] They may, nevertheless, be very good Kings. It is not for his verses, any more than for his victo. ries, that the late King of Prussia will be celebrated by pofterity: but for softening the rigours of a despotic government, by a code of milder laws than his crouching people had known before ; and for building many villages and farm-houses, to encourage agricul. ture, and repair the waltes and ravages
of He must there. fore be pardoned for an absurd judgment, which he has passed on Homer, whom he could not read in the Original, where he says; “ Ses chants et l'action ont peu ou point de liason les uns avec les autres, ce qui leur a mérité le nom de rapsodies.” Preface to the Henriade.
WARTON. Ver. 389. pension'd Quarles;] Who has lately been more favourably spoken of by some ingenious critics; particularly by the author of Thirty Letters.
Aufpiciis totum confe&ta duella per orbem,
vum * Carmen majestas recipit tua ; nec meus audet Rem tentare pudor, quam vires ferre recusent. Sedulitas autem ftulte, quem diligit, urget ; Præcipue cum fe numeris commendat et arte. Discit enim citius, meminitque libentius illud Quod quis " deridet, quam quod probat et veneratur. Nil moror" officium, quod me gravat : ac neque ficto In • pejus vultu proponi cereus usquam, Nec prave
factis decorari versibus opto :
VER. 397. how dearly bought!] All this is in the spirit of the molt contemptuous irony.
Ver. 409. they say I bite. If any key had been wanting to the artful irony contained in this imitation, especially in the last sixteen lines, this one verse would have been suficient to fix the Poet's intention. Neither Dr Warburton nor Dr. Hurd take the least notice of any irony being intended in this imitation. To what motive fhall we ascribe this cautious fiience? Wartos.
Oh! could I mount on the Mæonian wing, 394 Your Arms, your Actions, your Repose to sing ! What' seas you travers’d, and what fields you fought! Your Country's Peace, how oft, how dearly bought! How & barb'rous
subsided at your word, And Nations wonder'd while they dropp'd the sword! How, when you nodded, o'er the land and deep, 400 * Peace stole her wing, and wrapt the world in sleep; Till earth's extremes your mediation own, And ' Asia’s Tyrants tremble at your Throne But * Verse, alas ! your Majesty disdains ; And I'm not us’d to Panegyric strains : 405 The Zeal of Fools offends at any time, But most of all, the Zeal of Fools in rhyme. Besides, a fate attends on all I write, That when I aim at praise, they say " I bite. A vile · Encomium doubly ridicules :
410 There's nothing blackens like the ink of fools. If true, a owoful likeness; and if lies, « Praise undeserv'd is scandal in disguise :") Well
may he ' blush, who gives it, or receives ; And when I flatter, let my dirty leaves
415 (Like 9 Journals, Odes, and such forgotten things As Eusden, Philips, Settle, writ of Kings) Cloath spice, line trunks, or flutt'ring in a row, Befringe the rails of Bedlam and Soho.
Pope, in his celebrated letter to Lord Hervey, has the hardi. bood to boaft himself “ a man who never wrote a line in which “the religion or government of his country, the ROYAL FAMILY, " or their ministry, were disrespectfully mentioned." The case was very much altered, when he wrote this Imitation, the drift of which cannot be mistaken. I have before taken notice of the circum. fances of the times when it was published, which the reader should keep in mind, as they are the best comment on some passages of particular severity.
No one, however, can be insensible of the great powers of language, and consummate dexterity of satire, which this Epiftle evinces.