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All fly to TwiT'NAM, and in humble strain 21 Apply to me, to keep them mad or vain. Arthur, whose giddy son neglects the Laws, Imputes to me and my damn'd works the cause: Poor Cornus sees his frantic wife elope, 25 And curses Wit, and Poetry, and Pope.
Friend to my life! (which did not you prolong, The world had wanted many an idle song) What Drop or Nostrum can this plague remove? Or which must end me, a Fool's wrath or love? 30 A dire dilemma! either way I'm sped, If foes, they write, if friends, they read me dead. Seiz'd and ty'd down to judge, how wretched I! Who can't be silent, and who will not lie: To laugh, were want of goodness and of grace, 35 And to be grave, exceeds all Pow'r of face. I sit with fad civility, I read With honest anguish, and an aching head;
Dear Doctor, tell me, is not this a curse?
NOT E s.
Ver. 33. Seiz'd and ty'd down to judge,] Alluding to the scene in the Plain-Dealer, where Oldfox gags, and ties down the Widow, to hear his well-penn'd fianzas.
Ver. 38. honest anguish,] i. e. undissembled.
Ibid. an aching head;] Alluding to the disorder he was then so constantly affliated with.
And drop at last, but in unwilling ears, 39
Nine years! cries he, who high in Drury-lane,
44 “ The piece, you think, is incorrect? why take it, “ I'm all submission, what you'd haveit, make it.”
Three things another's modest wishes bound, My Friendship, and a Prologue, and ten pound.
Pitholeon sends to me: “You know his Grace, “ I want a Patron; ask him for a Place.”
50 Pitholeon libell'd me" but here's a letter “Informs you, Sir, 'twas when he knew no better. « Dare
refuse him ? Curl invites to dine, He'll write a Journal, or he'll turn Divine.”
If you refuse, he goes, as fates incline,
NO TE s.
" --Dictates to me llumb'ring, or inspires
If I approve,
Bless me! a packet.--" 'Tis a stranger fues, 55 “ A Virgin Tragedy, an Orphan Muse.” If I dislike it, “Furies, death and rage !"
“ Commend it to the Stage.” There (thank mystars) my wholecommiffion ends, The Play’rs and I are, luckily, no friends.
60 Fir’d that the house reject him, “ 'Sdeath, I'll
print it, “ And shame the Fools--Your int’rest, Sir, with
" Lintot.” Lintot, dull rogue! will think your price too
much : « Not, Sir, if you
revise it, and retouch."
you 'Tis sung, when Midas' Ears began to spring, (Midas, a sacred person and a King) 70
NO TE S. VER. 69. 'Tis fung, when Midas', &c.] The Poet means, fung by Perfius; and the words alluded to are,
“ Vidi, vidi ipse, Libelle ! « Auriculas Asini Mida Rex habet.” The transition is fine, but obfcure: for he has here imitated the manner of that mysterious Writer, as well as taken up his
His very Minister who spy'd them first,
face? A. Good friend forbear! you deal in dang’rous things.
75 I'd never name Queens, Ministers, or Kings; Keep close to Ears, and those let asses prick, 'Tis nothing--P. Nothing ? if they bite and kick? Out with it, Dunciad! let the secret pass, That secret to each fool, that he's an Ass : 80 The truth once told (and wherefore shouldwelie?) The Queen of Midas slept, and so may I.
You think this cruel? take it for a rule, No creature smarts fo little as a fool. Let peals of laughter, Codrus! round thee break, Thou unconcern'd canst hear the mighty crack: Pit, box, and gall’ry in convulsions hurld, Thou stand'st unshook ainidst a bursting world.
NOTE s. image. Our Author had been hitherto complaining of the folly and importunity of indigent Scriblers; he now insinuates he suffered as much of both, from Poetasters of quality.
VER. 72. Queen] The story is told, by fome, of his Barber, but by Chaucer of his Queen. See Wife of Bath's Tale in Dryden's Fables.
VER. 80. That secret to each fool, that he's an Ass:] i. e. that, his ears (his marks of folly) are visible.
ALLUSION. VER. 88. “Si fractus illabatur orbis,
Impavidum ferient ruinæ," Hor. P.
Who Thames a Scribler? break one cobweb thro',
NOT E s. Ver. 92. The Creature's at his dirty work again,] This metamorphosis, as it were, of the Scribler into a Spider, is much more poetical than a con. parison would have been. But Poets should be cautious how they employ this figure ; for where the likeness is not very striking, instead of giving force, they become obscure. Here every thing concurs to make them run into one another. They both spin; not from the head (reason) but from the guts (passions and prejudices) and such a thread that can entangle none but creatures weaker than themselves.
VER.98. free-masons Mcore?] He was of this society, and frequently headed their processions.