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The Scene, the Master, opening to my view,
But does the Court a worthy Man remove?
VER. 67. Kent and Nature] Means no more than art and nature. And in this consists the compliment to the Artist.
VER. 71. Secker is decent] These words (like those 135. of the first Dialogue) are another instance of the malignity of the public judgment. The Poet thought, and not without reason, that they conveyed a very high idea of the worthy person to whom they are applied; to be DECENT (or to become every station of life in which a man is placed) being the nobleł encomium on his wisdom and virtue. It is the very topic he employs in speaking of a 'favourite friend, one he most esteemed and loved,
Noble and young, who frikes the heart,
With ev'ry Sprightly, ev'ry DECENT part. The word in both places implying every endowment of the heart. As in that celebrated verse of Horace, from whence the expression was taken, aud which no one has a better right to apply to himself than this excellent prelate :
Quid verum atque DEÇENS curo et rogo, et omnis in hoc fum. So that to be decent is to excell in the moral character.
I fhun his Zenith, court his mild Decline;
80 Compar!d, and knew their gen'rous End the fame : How pleasing ATTERBURY's softer hour! How shin'd the Soul, unconquer'd in the Tow'r!
VER. 77. Sommers] John Lord Sommers died in 1716. He had been Lord Keeper in the reign of William III. who took from him the seals in 1700. The author had the honour of knowing him in 1706. A faithful, able, and incorrupt minister; who, to the qualities of a confummate statesman, added those of a man of Learning and Politeness. P.
Ibid Halifax]' A peer, no less distinguished by his love of letters than his abilities in Parliament.' He was disgraced in 1710, on the Change of Q. Anne's ministry. P.
VER. 79. Shrewsbury,] Charles Talbot, Duke of Shrewsbury, had been Secretary of Aate, Embassador in France, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 'Lord Chamberlain, and Lord Treasurer. He several times quicted his employments, and was often recalled. He died in 1718. P.
Ver. 80. Carleton] Hen. Boyle, Lord Carleton (nephew of the famous Robert Boyle, who was Secretary of state under William III. and President of the Council under Q. Anne, P.
Ibid. Stanhope] James Earl Stanhope. A Nobleman of equal courage, Ipirit, and learning. General in Spain, and Secretary of state. P.
How can I PULT'NEY, CHESTERFIELD forget,
89 Names, which I long have lov'd, nor lov'd in vain, Rank'd with their Friends, not number'd with their
Yet think not, Friendship only prompts my lays ;
Ver. 84. Chesterfield] Philip Earl of Chefterfield, commonly given by Writers of all Parties for an Example to the Age he lives in, of fuperior talents, and public Virtue.
VER. 88. Wyndham) Sir William Wyndham, Chancellor of the Exchequer under Queen Anne, made early a confiderable figure; but since a much greater both by his ability and eloquence, joined with the utmost judgment and temper.
P. Ver. 92. And if yet higher, etc.] He was at this time honoured with the esteem and favour of his Royal Highness the Prince.
Ver. 93. Still let me fay! No Follower, but a Friend.] i, e. Unrelated to their parties, and attached only to their perfons.
I never to my sorrow I declare)
P. Not fo fierce ;
105 But random Praise--the task can ne'er be done ; Each Mother asks it for her booby Son, Each Widow alks it for the Best of Men, For him she weeps, and him the weds agen. Praise cannot stoop, like Satire, to the ground; 110 The Number may be hang'd, but not be crown'd. Enough for half the Greatest of these days, To 'scape my Cenfure, not expect my Praise. Are they not rich? what more can they pretend ? Dare they to hope a Poet for their Friend?
Notes. Ver. 99. my Lord Mayr] Sir John Barnard, Lord Mayor in the year of the Poem, 1738. A Citizen eminent for his virtue, public Spirit, and great talents in Parliament. An excellent Man, Magistrate, and Senator. In the year 1747, the City of London, in memory of his many and signal services to his Country, erected a Statue to him. But his image had been placed long before in the heart of every good Man.
What RICHLIEU wanted, Louis scarce could gain,
P. If merely to come in, Sir, they go out,
Is that too little ? Come then, I'll comply
Ver. 127. I only call those Knaves who are so now.] He left it to Time to tell them,
Cato is as great a Rogue as you. not the Cath of Virgil, but the Cato of Mr. Pope. See the
VER. 129. Spirit of Arnall!] Look for him in his place. Dunc. B. ii. x 315.
Ep. on Riches.