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ON HIS GROTTO AT TWICKENHAM,
MARBLES, SPARS, GEMS, ORES, AND MINERALS.
Thou who shalt stop, where Thames' translucent
Shines a broad Mirror through the shadowy Cave;
On his Grotto] The improving and finishing his Grot was the favourite amusement of his declining years; and the beauty of his poetic genius, in the disposition and ornaments of this romantic recess, appears to as much advantage as in his best contrived Poems.
Warburton. Ver. 8. eye the Mine]
“ Aurum irrepertum, et sic melius situm
Horat. 1. 3. od. 3.
After Ver. 6. in the MS.
You see that Island's wealth, where, only free,
Earth to her entrails feels not Tyranny. i. e. Britain is the only place in the globe which feels not tyranny even to its very entrails.
Where British sighs from dying WYNDHAM stole,
Ver. 9. Aegerian Grot.] These are two charming lines; but are blemished by two bad rhymes, Grot to Thought; scarce excusable in so short a poem, in which every syllable ought to be correct.
It is remarkable that Juvenal, having mentioned this celebrated cave, takes occasion to inveigh against artificial grotto-work, and adulterating the simple beauties of nature, in lines uncommonly poetical :
" In vallent Ægeriæ descendimus, et Speluncas
Dissimiles veris; quanto præstantius esset
Sat. iii. v. 17. Milton, in an exquisite Latin poem, addressed to Salsillus, vol. ï. p. 532, has beautifully feigned that Numa is still living in this dark grove and grotto, in the perpetual enjoyment of his geria.
Warton. Ver. 10. Where nobly pensive St. John] Lord Bolingbroke's account of the conversations, and manner of Pope's friends passing their time in his Garden, is not uninteresting :
"All I dare promise you is, that my thoughts, in what order soever they flow, shall be communicated to you, just as they pass through my mind, just as they used to be when we conversed together on these or any other subject, when we sauntered alone, or, as we kare often done, with good Arbuthnot, and the jocose Dean of St. Patrick, among the multiplied scenes of your little Garden."
Letter to Sir William Wyndham.
To Wyndham's breast the patriot passions stole,
Let such, such only, tread this sacred Floor,
Ver. 11. dying Wyndham.] Sir William Wyndham was a most upright and amiable man, and conscientiously attached to the exiled House of James. Born of a Tory family; " imbued,” says Mr. Coxe,
“ from his earlier years with notions of Divine right, he uniformly opposed the succession of the House of Brunswick.”
By marriage, in the reign of Edward the Sixth, with the daughter of Sir John Sydenham, of Orchard, the elder line of the ancient family of this name, from Wymondham in Norfolk, was settled at Orchard, since called Orchard Wyndham in Somersetshire. Sir William was lineally descended from this branch. He was born in the year 1686, and upon the death of his father, succeeded to the title of Baronet. He married in 1708, Lady Catherine Seymour, daughter of Charles, Duke of Somerset.
Pope's connection with him was probably owing to Lord Bolingbroke, through life his intimate friend, and with whom he kept up a constant correspondence, which was continued with his son, afterwards Earl of Egremont, till the death of Lord Bolingbroke. Under Lord Oxford's administration he was made Master of the Buck-Hounds, and was afterwards Secretary at War, and Chancellor of the Exchequer. For obvious reasons, he experienced a great reverse of fortune on the accession of George I. and was committed to the Tower in 1716. He was released under bail, and continued to be highly respected for his probity and abilities. He died in 1740.
TO MR. GAY,
WHO HAD CONGRATULATED MR. POPE ON FINISHING HIS
HOUSE AND GARDENS.
“ Ay, friend ! 'tis true—this truth you lovers
knowIn vain my structures rise, my gardens grow, In vain fair Thames reflects the double scenes Of hanging mountains, and of sloping greens : Joy lives not here, to happier seats it flies, And only dwells where WORTLEY casts her eyes.
What are the gay parterre, the chequer'd shade,
VERBATIM FROM BOILEAU.
UN JOUR, DIT UN AUTEUR, &c.
Once (says an Author, where, I need not say)
It will be no unuseful or unpleasing amusement to compare this translation with the original : “ Un jour, dit un Auteur, n'importe en quel chapitre,
Deux voyageurs à jeun rencontrerent une huitre;
Messieurs, l'huître étoit bonne. Adieu, Vivez en paix." In the fifth, sixth, seventh, ninth, and twelfth verses, Pope is inferior to the original.