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To a Play for Mr. DENNIS's Benefit in 1733, when he was old, blind, and in great Diftrefs, a little before bis Death.

As when that Hero, who in each Campaign,

Had brav'd the Goth, and many a Vandal sain, Lay fortune-ftruck, a fpectacle of Woe! Wept by each Friend, forgiv'n by ev'ry Foe; Was there a gen'rous, 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?





VER. 6. But pitied Belifarius, &c.] Nothing could be more hap pily imagined than this allution, nor more finely conducted. continued pleafantry is fo delicately touched, that it took nothing from the felf-fatisfaction which the critic who heard it, had in his own merit, or the audience in their charity. In a word, this benevolent irony is profecuted with fo mafterly a hand, that the Poet fuppofed, had Dennis himfelf the wit to fee it, he would have had the ingenuity to approve of it.

"This dreaded Satʼrift, Dennis will confefs,

Foe to his pride, but friend to his diftrefs."


VER. 7. Was there a Chief, &c.] The fine figure of the Com mander in that capital picture of Belifarius at Chifwick, fupplied

the Poet with this beautiful idea.


Such, fuch emotions fhould in Britons rise,

When prefs'd by want and weakness DENNIS lies;
Dennis, who long had warr'd with modern Huns,
Their Quibbles routed, and defy'd their Puns;
A defp'rate Bulwark, sturdy, firm, and fierce
Against the Gothic Sons of frozen verfe:


How chang'd from him who made the boxes groan,
And shook the Stage with Thunders all his own! 16
Stood up to dafh each vain PRETENDER's hope,'
Maul the French Tyrant, or pull down the POPE!
If there's a Briton then, true bred and born,
Who holds Dragoons and wooden fhoes in fcorn;
If there's a Critic of diftinguifh'd rage;

If there's a Senior, who contemns this age;




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 ufed to frequent Button's coffee-house, told me they had many pleasant scenes of Dennis's indignation and refentment, when Steele and Rowe, in particular, teized him with a pun. WARTON.

VER. 13. A defp'rate Bulwark, &c.] Alluding to his hatred WARTON.

of rhime.

VER. 16 And book the Stage with Thunders all his own!] See Dunciad, Note on v. 226. B. II.

VER. 17. Stood up to dafb, &c.] See Dunciad, Note on v. 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 diftinguifb'd rage;] See Dunciad, Notes on v.106. B. I.

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Let him to-night his just affistance lend,

And be the Critic's, Briton's, Old Man's Friend.


Dr. WARTON thinks that much "bitter fatire is concealed under these topics of commiferation." If farcafms were intended upon fuch an occafion, they were as ill-timed as they were cruel. I perceive nothing bitter, but a good-humoured fmile, on poor Dennis's favourite topics. Hard, indeed, must be the heart, that could ftrike a blow at a fallen enemy, difarmed and poor, under the fhew of pity and generofity. I dare fay, the old man heard the Prologue, not only with complacency but with delight. It is added, that Mallet and Thomfon interefted themselves much in procuring him a good benefit.



WHEN fimple Macer, now of high renown,
First sought a Poet's Fortune in the Town,



MACER:] Dr. Warton thinks this character was intended for J. Moore Smith; but it feems to me more likely that Phillips, Pope's redoubted rival in Pastoral, was intended. My reasons for thinking fo are, he is elsewhere called lean Phillips,

"Lean Phillips and fat Johnson."

"Macer" certainly alludes to this. He began his literary career with worshipping "Steel" and Addifon. He "borrow'd" a play from Voltaire, the Diftreft Mother; "Simplicity," is ap. plied to the "Pastorals," and " Translated Suit," to the transla tion of the Perfian Tales:

"And turns a Perfian tale for half-a crown!"

I will give the reader, however, Warton's opinion.

VER. 1. When fimple Macer,] Said to be the character of James Moore Smith, author of the Rival Modes, a comedy, in 1726. He pilfered verses from Pope. He joined in a political paper with the Duke of Wharton, called The Inquifitor, written with fuch violence against government, that he was foon 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 Dublin, told me, that Dr. Swift had long conceived a mean opinion of Mr. Pope, on account of his jealous, peevish, avaricious temper. The Doctor gave Mr. Pope the property of his Gulliver, which he fold the copy of for three hundred pounds; and gave up to him, in 1727, his fhare of the copy of the three volumes of their Miscellanies, which came to one hundred and fifty pounds. The Doctor was

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'Twas all th' Ambition his high foul could feel,
To wear red Stockings, and to dine with Steel.
Some Ends of verse his betters might afford,
And gave the harmless fellow a good word.
Set up with thefe, he ventur'd on the Town,
And with a borrow'd Play, out-did poor Crown.
There he stop'd short, nor fince has writ a tittle,
But has the wit to make the most of little :
Like stunted hide-bound Trees, that just have got
Sufficient Sap at once to bear and rot.

Now he begs Verfe, and what he gets commends,
Not of the Wits his foes, but Fools his friends.

So fome coarse Country Wench, almost decay'd, Trudges to town, and first turns Chambermaid;






angry with Mr. Pope for his fatire upon Mr. Addison, whom the former esteemed as an honeft, generous, and friendly man. Worfdale the painter was employed by Mr. Pope to go to Curl in the habit of a clergyman, and fell him the printed copies of his LetMr. Pope fent to Ireland to Dr. Swift, by Mr. Gerrard, an Irish gentleman, then at Bath, a printed copy of their letters, with an anonymous letter, which occafioned Dr. Swift to give Mr. Faulkner leave to reprint them at Dublin, though Mr. Pope's Edition was published firft."


I would obferve, on this anecdote, that it is not very probable that Swift should condemn Pope's Verfes on Addison, as they were first printed in the Mifcellanies, which publication was their joint work; and the verfes themfelves are mentioned in the preface to thefe Mifcellanies. WARTON.

VER. 4. To wear red Stockings,] I remember old Demoivre told me, about fifty years ago, that all he remembered of Corneille was, that he had feen him in red stockings at the theatre.


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