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Alas! how little from the grave we claim !
Ver. 78. a Name.] Pope used to say, that Jervas translated Don Quixote without understanding Spanish. Warburton added a supplement to the preface of this translation, concerning the origin and nature of romances of chivalry; which supplement Pope extols in his letters; but the opinions in it are thoroughly and entirely confuted by Mr. Tyrrwhit, in vol. ii. of Supplemental Observations on Shakspeare, p. 373.
WITH THE WORKS OF VOITURE.
In these gay thoughts the Loves and Graces shine, And all the Writer lives in ev'ry line;
His easy heart may happy Nature seem,
Ver. 1. In these gay] The works of Voiture, after having been idolized in France, are now justly sunk into neglect and oblivion.
The truest hearts for Voiture heav'd with sighs,
Let the strict life of graver mortals be
Few write to those, and none can live to these. 30
Ver. 19. The Smiles] Alluding to an elegant epitaph on Voiture:
"Etrusca Veneres, Camœnæ Iberæ,
Hermes Gallicus, et Latina Siren;
Many curious particulars of his life may be found in the entertaining Miscellanies of Vigneul Marville, vol. ii. p. 409.
Corneille was invited to read his Polyeucte at the Hotel de Rambouillet, where the wits of that time assembled, and where Voiture presided. It was coldly received; and Voiture was sent. to tell Corneille in gentle terms, that it was the opinion of his friends that Polyeucte would not succeed. Such judges were the most fashionable wits of France!
By nature yielding, stubborn but for fame :
Well might you wish for change by those accurst,
The Gods, to curse Pamela with her pray'rs,
She sighs, and is no Dutchess at her heart.
As flow'ry bands in wantonness are worn,
Thus Voiture's early care still shone the same,
Ver. 69. Thus Voiture's] Mademoiselle Paulet. P.
Ver. 76. And finds a fairer] Our author's attachment to this lady ended but with his life. Her affectation and ill-temper gave him, however, many hours of uneasiness and disquiet. When she visited him in his very last illness, and her company seemed to give him fresh spirits, the antiquated prude could not be prevailed on to stay and pass the night at Twickenham, because of her reputation. She occasioned an unhappy breach betwixt him and his old friend Allen, because he would not lend his coach to carry her to a mass-house at Bath during his mayoralty.
The characteristical difference betwixt Voiture and Balsac is well expressed by Boileau, in two letters written under their names, from the Elysian Fields to the Duc de Vivonne, in p. 155 of vol. iii. of his works. And Boileau, speaking often of absurd readers and critics, loved to relate, that one of his relations, to whom he had presented his works, said to him, "Pray, Cousin, how came you to insert any other person's writings among your own? I find in your works two letters, one from Balsac, and the other from Voiture." Descartes, who, as well as Leibnitz, was an elegant scholar, wrote a judicious censure of Balsac, in admirable Latin. Balsac was, however, superior to Voiture. But he was affectedly turgid, pompous, and bloated, on all subjects and