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14. No thought advances, but her eddy brain
Whisks it about, and down it goes again.
These spirited lines are part of a character designed for the famous Duchess of Marlborough, whom Swift had also severely satirized in the Examiner. Her beauty, her abilities, her political intrigues, are sufficiently known.t The
of this sort in Young's Satires on Women. I wish the delicacy and reservedness of four or five Ladies now living, who have real learning and taste, would permit me to insert their names in this place, as a contrast to this affected character in Boileau.
* Ver. 121. Epist. ii.
+ See the account of her own conduct, drawn up
under her owu eye and direction, by Mr. Hooke, author of the Roman History, of the Life of Fenelon, and of the translation of the Travels of Cyrus. Dr. King, of St. Mary Hall, in Oxford, informed me, that this elegant translation was made at Dr. Cheyne's house at Bath, and that he himself had often been Hooke's Amanuensis on this occasion, who dictated his translatiou to him with unconimon facility and rapidity. The Duchess rewarded Hooke with 5000l. for his trouble ;
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 Duchess, disliking his advice, followed him down stairs, swore at him bitterly, and was going to tear off his periwig Her friend, Dr. Hoadly, 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 Duchess of Buckingham; but she soon stopped the person that was reading them to her, 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 afterwards reconciled to, and courted him. This character, together with those of PHILOMEDE and Cloe, were first published in this edition of POPE. They are all animated
but quarrelled with him afterwards, because, as she affirmed, he attempted to convert her to Popery. Hooke was a Mystic, and a Quietist, and a warm disciple of Fenelon. It was he who brought a Catholic priest to take our author's confession on his death-bed. The priest had scarce departed, when Bolingbroke, coming over from Lattersea, flew into a great fit of passion and indignation on the occasion.
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,
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, incomparably
* In these, the characters of Clarinda, of Xantippe the violent lady, of Delia the chariot-driver, of Master Betty the huntress, of Daphne the critic, of Lemira the sick lady, of the female Philosopher, of the Theologist, of the languid lady, of Thalestris the swearer, of Lyce the old beauty, of Lavinia, of a nymph of spirit, of Julia the manager, of Alicia the sloven, of Clio the slanderer, of the affected Asturia, of the female
the best, on the characters of women, in the year 1727; that is, eight years before this epistle of POPE. Dr. Young was one of the most amiable and benevolent of men ; most exemplary in his life, and sincere in his religion.* Nobody ever said more brilliant things in conversation. The late Lord MELCOMBE informed me, that when he and Voltaire were on a visit to his Lordship at Eastbury, the English poet was far supe
Atheist, and of the female Gamester, are all of them drawn with truth and spirit. And the introductions to these two satires, particularly the address to the incomparable Lady Betty Germain, are perhaps as elegant as any thing in our language. After reading these pieces, so full of a knowledge of the world, one is at a loss. to know what Mr. Pope could mean by saying, that though Young was a man of genius, yet that he wanted common sense.
* Mr. Walter Harte assured me, he had seen the pressing letter that Dr. Young wrote to Mr. Pope, urging him to write something on the side of Revelation, in order to take off the impressions of those doctrines which the Essay on Man were supposed to convey. He alluded to this in the conclusion of his first Night-Thought.
O had he press'd his theme, pursu'd the track
rior to the French, in the variety and the novelty of his bon mots and repartees; and Lord Melcombe was himself a good judge of wit and humour, of which he himself had a great portion. If the friendship with whichi Dr. Young honoured me, does not mislead me, I think I may venture to affirm, that many high strokes of character in his Zanga, many sentiments and images in his Night-Thoughts, and many strong and forcible descriptions in his Paraphrase on Job, mark him for a sublime and original genius. Though at the same time I am ready to confess, that he is not a correct and equal writer, * and was too often turgid and hyperbolical.
15. See how the world its veterans rewards,
A youth of frolics, an old age of cards;
* So little sensible are we of our own imperfections, that the very last time I saw Dr. Young, he was severely censuring and ridiculing the false pomp of fustian writers, and the nauseousness of bombast. I remember he said, that such torrents of eloquence were muddy as well as noisy; and that these violent and tumultuous authors put him in mind of a passage in Milton, B. ii. v. 539.
Others, with vast Typhæan rage more fell,