Manners: A Satire

Original Text: 

photostats of separated sheets of the first edition, published by Robert Dodsley in London, 1739; Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto, shelfmark pam f 00465.

1Well--of all Plagues which make Mankind their Sport,
2Guard me, Ye Heav’ns! from that worst Plague--a Court.
4A Straw-crown’d Monarch, in mock Majesty;
5Rather than sovereign rule Britannia’s Fate,
6Curs’d with the Follies and the Farce of State.
8A doleful Tenant of the darkling Cell,
9Than swell in Palaces the mighty Store
10Of Fortune’s Fools, and Parasites of Pow’r.
11Than Crowns, Ye Gods! be any State my Doom;
14No Titles lessen, and no Stars disgrace.
16Still o’er the faithless Heart the Riband spread.
17Such Toys may serve to signalize the Tool,
18To gild the Knave, or garnish out the Fool;
20The tinsel Trappings and the glitt’ring Chain:
21Fond of your Freedom spurn the venal Fee,
24Too wise for Pow’r, too virtuous to be great.
27Is that the deadly Sin, mark’d out by Heav’n,
28For which no Mortal e’er can be forgiv’n?
29Must All, All suffer, who in Courts engage,
30Down from Lord Steward, to the puny Page?
31Can Courts and Places be such sinful Things?
32The sacred Gifts and Palaces of Kings.
33     A Place may claim our Rev’rence, Sir, I own;
34But then the Man its Dignity must crown:
36Can skreen the Coward, or the Knave can hide.
38The Judge and Gen’ral must be view’d with Awe:
39The Villain then would shudder at the Bar;
41     What Courts are sacred? when I tell your Grace,
42MANNERS alone must sanctify the Place.
43Hence only each its proper Name receives;
45Bring Whores and Thieves to Court, you change the Scene,
50Cries out, my King, “I have no God but Thee”:
51Lifts to the Royal Seat the asking Eye,
53Proves Sin alone from humble Roofs must spring,
54Nor can one earthly Failing stain a king.
56MANNERS alone claim Homage as their Due.
57Without, the Court and Church are both prophane,
58Whatever Prelate preach, or Monarch reign;
61     In vain behold yon rev’rend Turrets rise,
65No Rev’rence can the proud Cathedral claim,
68Whence? From the Virtue of his Sons within.
69But should some guileful Serpent, void of Grace,
70Glide in its Bounds, and poison all the Place;
71Should e’er the sacred Voice be set to Sale,
72And o’er the Heart the golden Fruit prevail;
73The Place is alter’d, Sir, nor think it strange,
76MANNERS alone beam Dignity on all.
77Without their Influence, Palaces are Cells;
79The solemn Bench no Bosom strikes with Awe,
80But Westminster’s a Ware-house of the Law.
81     These honest Truths, my Lord, deny who can;
82Since all allow that ‘MANNERS make the MAN.’
83Hence only Glories to the Great belong,
87Strip the gay Liv’ry from the Courtier’s back,
88What marks the Difference ’twixt My Lord and Jack?
89The same mean, supple, mercenary Knave,
90The Tool of power, and of State the Slave:
91Alike the vassal Heart in each prevails,
93     Wealth, Manors, Titles may descend ’tis true,
94But ev’ry Heir must Merit’s Claim renew.
97What piping, fidling, squeaking, quav’ring, bawling,
98What sing-song Riot, and what Eunuch-squawling:
99C[owper], thy worth all Italy shall own,
102Through the long Gallery trace his Lineage down,
103And claim each Hero’s Visage for his own.
104What tho’ in each the self-same Features shine,
105Unless some lineal Virtue marks the Line,
106In vain, alas! He boasts his Grandsire’s Name,
107Or hopes to borrow Lustre from his Fame.
108Who but must smile, to see the tim’rous Peer
109Point ’mong his Race our Bulwark in the War?
110Or in sad English tell how Senates hung
111On the sweet Music of his Father’s Tongue?
112Unconscious, tho’ his Sires were wise and brave,
113Their Virtues only find in him a Grave.
115Each hoary Honour which his Sires had gain’d.
118Descended down, by him to be enjoy’d,
120From hence behold his gen’rous Ardour rise,
121To swell the sacred Stream with fresh Supplies;
122Abroad the Guardian of his Country’s Cause;
124Senates with Awe the patriot Sounds imbibe,
125And bold Corruption almost drops the Bribe.
126Thus adding Worth to Worth, and Grace to Grace,
127He beams new Glories back upon his Race.
128     Ask ye what’s Honour? I’ll the Truth impart.
129Know, Honour, then, is Honesty of Heart.
131And search the Master’s Breast,----You’ll find it there.
132Too proud to grace the Sycophant or Slave,
133It only harbours with the Wise and Brave;
134Ungain’d by Titles, Places, Wealth, or Birth:
135Learn this, and learn to blush, ye Sons of Earth!
136Blush to behold this Ray of Nature made
137The Victim of a Riband, or Cockade.
138     Ask the proud Peer, what’s Honour? He displays
140Or if the Royal Smile his Hopes has bless’d,
142Yet if beneath no real Virtue reign,
143On the gay Coat the Star is but a Stain:
144For I could whisper in his Lordship’s Ear,
145Worth only beams true Radiance on the Star.
146     Hence see the garter’d Glory dart its Rays,
148Ask ye from whence this Flood of Lustre’s seen?
149Why E[ssex] whispers, votes, and saw Turin.
151Loud his Eulogiums eccho’d thro’ the Town;
152Where e’er he went still Crouds around him throng,
153And hail’d the Patriot as he pass’d along.
154See the lost Peer, unhonour’d now by all,
156Applauding Sounds no more salute his Ear,
157But the loud Paeans sunk into a Sneer.
158Whence you’ll enquire could spring a Change so sad?
159Why the poor Man ran military mad:
160By this mistaken Maxim still misled,
161That Men of Honour must be cloth’d in Red.
163But know the Grandsire stain’d it red with Blood.
164First midst the deathful Dangers of the Field,
165He shone his Country’s Guardian and its Shield;
167Hence bloom’d the Laurel on the Grandsire’s Brow:
168But shall the Son expect the Wreath to wear
172Sooner a like Reward their Labours crown,
173Who storm a Dunghill, and who sack a Town.
174     Mark our bright Youths how gallant and how gay,
175Fresh plum’d and powder’d in Review array.
176Unspoil’d each Feature by the martial Scar,
178Yet vain, while prompt to Arms by Plume and Pay,
179He claims the Soldier’s Name from Soldier’s Play.
180This Truth, my Warrior, treasure in thy Breast,
181A standing Soldier is a standing Jest.
182When bloody Battles dwindle to Reviews,
183Armies must then descend to Puppet-shews;
184Where the lac’d Log may strut the Soldier’s Part,
185Bedeck’d with Feather, though unarm’d with Heart.
186      There are who say -- “You lash the Sons of Men!
188Hope not the Bays shall wreath around thy Head,
190Shall only One have Privilege to blame?
192Must all be Poachers who attempt to kill?
193All, but the mighty Sovereign of the Quill?
194Shall Pope, alone, the plenteous Harvest have,
195And I not glean one stragling Fool, or Knave?
196Praise, ’tis allow’d, is free to all Mankind;
197Say, why should honest Satire be confin’d?
198Tho’, like th’ immortal Bard’s, my feeble Dart
199Stains not its Feather in the culprit Heart;
200Yet know, the smallest Insect of the Wing
201The Horse may tease, or Elephant can sting:
206Secure the Muse may sport with Names of Kings,
210     Pope writes unhurt --- but know, ’tis different quite
211To beard the Lion, and to crush the Mite.
213Those dread his Satire, who dare punish mine.
214     Turn, turn your Satire then, You cry, to Praise.
215Why Praise is Satire, in these sinful Days.
219Or hope to lye a Dinner from his Grace?
220Though a Reward be graciously bestow’d
222     The Good and Bad alike with Praise are blest;
223Yet those who merit most, yet want it least:
224But conscious Vice still courts the chearing Ray,
225While Virtue shines, nor asks the Glare of day.
229While each fond Father marks it to his Son?
230     I cannot truckle to a Slave in State,
231And praise a Blockhead’s Wit, because He’s great;
234Behold the genial Ray of Gold appear,
237And follows Queens from Palaces to Urns:
238Tho’ cruel Death has clos’d the Royal Ear,
239The flatt’ring Fly still buzzes round the Bier:
240But what avails, since Queens no longer live?
241Why Kings can read, and Kings You know may give.
242A Mitre may repay his heav’nly Crown;
243And while he decks her Brow, adorn his own.
246While one is void of Wit, and one of Grace,
247Why should I envy either Song or Place?
248I could not flatter, the rich Butt to gain,
249Nor sink a Slave, to rise V[ic]e-C[hamberlai]n.
250     Perish my Verse, whene’er one venal Line
251Bedaubs a Duke, or makes a King divine.
252First bid me swear, He’s sound who has the Plague,
254What, shall I turn a Pander to the Throne,
258Sooner Iberia tremble for her Fate
260    Tho’ fawning Flatt’ry ne’er shall taint my Lays,
261Yet know, when Virtue calls, I burst to praise.
263Sacred to Worthies of his native Land:
264Ages were ransack’d for the Wise and Great,
265Till Barnard came, and made the Groupe complete.
266Be Barnard there--enliven’d by the Voice,
267Each Busto bow’d, and sanctify’d the Choice.
268     Pointless all Satire in these iron Times,
269Too faint are Colours, and too feeble Rhimes.
270Rise then, gay Fancy, future Glories bring,
272    Wrap’d into Thought, lo! I Britannia see
273Rising superior o’er the subject Sea;
275Big with the Fate of Empires and of Kings:
277And roll their Thunder through the Realms of Spain.
278Peace, violated Maid, they ask no more,
279But waft her back triumphant to our Shore;
280While buxom Plenty, laughing in her Train,
281Glads ev’ry Heart, and crowns the Warrior’s Pain.
282On, Fancy, on: still stretch the pleasing Scene,
283And bring fair Freedom with her golden Reign;
284Cheer’d by whose Beams ev’n meagre Want can smile,
285And the poor Peasant whistles ’midst his Toil.
286     Such Days, what Briton wishes not to see?

Notes

3] mad Mansions of Moor-fields: the Royal Bethlem Hospital ("Bedlam") for the insane stood in Moorfields, just north of the old wall of the city of London, on a site near the modern Moorgate underground station. Back to Line
7] Newgate: London's most important prison housed both criminals and debtors; founded in the twelfth century, it had been rebuilt and enlarged in 1672, after the Great Fire of London (1666). Living conditions were notoriously over-crowded and unhealthy. Back to Line
12] Drawing Room: formal receptions given by the King and Queen were known as "drawing rooms" from their location. Back to Line
13] Patriot: Walpole's political opponents liked to style themselves "patriots," by way of underlining his supposed subservience to France and to George II's love of Hanover; the implication that his administration was unpatriotic gained force in the late 1730s as demand grew for a war with Spain that Walpole did his best to avoid. "Patriot" is here aligned, as so often by opposition writers, with ancient Roman civic virtue. While the patriot is not identified, he is praised for the characteristics imputed to William Pulteney in The State Dunces. Back to Line
15] Plumage: alluding to the plume of feathers in the cap worn by Knights of the Garter in their official garb; they wore a blue sash with their everyday attire, the "Riband" of the next line. Back to Line
19] Roman Virtue: the civic ideals enshrined in the ancient Roman republic: selfless patriotism, personal and public integrity, devotion to duty, especially as these were manifested in the founders of the republic, who expelled the last of the kings of Rome, Tarquinius Superbus ("the proud"), a vicious and self-indulgent ruler. Back to Line
22] Great: Sir Robert Walpole was referred to as the "great man;" his opponents called his followers slaves, and portrayed themselves as the apostles of freedom. Back to Line
23] Philemon: the name Whitehead gives to his spokesman is probably not a reference to the biblical Philemon, recipient of a brief epistle from St. Paul, but rather to the Greek comic poet of the fourth and third centuries B.C. Back to Line
25] his Grace: Philemon's interlocutor is a duke (or, less probably, an archbishop). Back to Line
26] to be in Place: to hold an official position at Court or in government. Back to Line
35] Truncheon: staff of office; here particularly the baton of a field-marshal.
Ermine: white fur used to line the robes of judges, signifying honour and probity. Back to Line
37] STAIR: John Dalrymple, second Earl of Stair (1673-1747), had a distinguished military career under William III in the War of the Grand Alliance and under Marlborough in the War of the Spanish Succession; he was an outstandingly effective ambassador to France in the early years of George I's reign. He had been dismissed from his post as Vice-Admiral of Scotland in 1733 for opposing Walpole's excise scheme. The head of the army was known as the General-in-Chief Command; this position was vacant from 1714 to 1744, when Stair was appointed to it.
***: "It is to be lamented that the Barrenness of the present Times, obliges the Author to trust to Posterity, for the Supply of a proper Character in this Place" (Whitehead's note). The head of the law would be the Lord Chancellor, who in 1739 was Philip Yorke (1690-1764), created Baron Hardwicke in 1733 , later first Earl of Hardwicke. "Hardwicke" fits the verse, and Hardwicke was an outstanding lawyer, but he was a loyal ally of Walpole and the Duke of Newcastle, and is therefore elided from the poem and insulted by implication in this footnote. Back to Line
40] Spain: rival power to Britain in the Caribbean, where British merchants complained of interference by Spanish privateers; Walpole's opponents campaigned bitterly against his attempts to resolve the problem through diplomacy, and finally forced him into a declaration of war in the fall of 1739. Back to Line
44] Haywood's: a well-known bagnio in Covent Garden, kept by "Mother" Haywood.
White's: " Dr. SWIFT says, 'That the late Earl of OXFORD, in the Time of his Ministry, never pass'd by White's Chocolate-house (the common Rendezvous of infamous Sharpers and noble Cullies) without bestowing a Curse upon that famous Academy, as the Bane of half the English Nobility' (Whitehead's note). Chocolate houses were associated with gambling and the aristocracy. Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford (1661-1724), was Queen Anne's first minister from 1711 to 1714, and a friend of Jonathan Swift. The quotation is from the ninth essay (on the education of the aristocracy) in The Intelligencer (1729); see Jonathan Swift, Irish Tracts 1728-1733, ed. Herbert Davis (Oxford: Blackwell, 1977), p. 50. Sharpers are professionally dishonest card-players; cullies are their victims. White's chocolate house was rebuilt after a disastrous fire in 1733, and later became White's Club, which still stands on St. James's Street in London. Back to Line
46] St. J[ames]s's: St. James's Palace, the official seat of royal government. Back to Line
47] courtly Chappel: the Chapel Royal in St. James's Palace, where its large window overlooks the street; hence perhaps the metonymy "wall" in the next line. Back to Line
48] the whole Bench: i.e., all the bishops of the Church of England. Back to Line
49] conscious of a See: aware that if he pleases the King appointment to a bishopric may follow. Back to Line
52] Tribute of the Sky: the devotion that should be God's, thus disobeying the command of Christ: "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22: 21). Back to Line
55] consecrate: when a see became vacant, the government advised the King whom to appoint; the King then issued permission to elect his appointee to the Dean and Chapter of the cathedral of the diocese, who made the appointment official; the new bishop would subsequently be presented to the Archbishop by two other bishops in the ritual of consecration. Back to Line
59] Rostrum: speaker's platform, here especially the pulpit. Back to Line
60] Raree-shows: boxes in which pictures or puppets were exhibited for money at fairs. etc., peep shows. Back to Line
62] Sarum: Latin name for Salisbury; the cathedral there has a magnificent spire. The bishop was Thomas Sherlock (1677-1761), a school-fellow of Sir Robert Walpole at Eton and his strong supporter in the House of Lords; opponents naturally asserted that his votes had bought his promotion from the impoverished see of Bangor to the wealthy see of Salisbury in 1734. Back to Line
63] lawn'd: wearing the fine linen (lawn) garment, the rochet. reserved for bishops.
Levite: of the tribe of Levi, which provided priests and their ritual assistants; here, priest. Back to Line
64] Mammon: god of avarice and worldly ambition; see Matthew 6: 24: "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." Back to Line
66] Henley: John Henley (1692-1756), known as "Orator Henley," had started out as a conventional clergyman, but after quarreling with the Bishop of London abandoned the Church of England and set up what he called an Oratory in 1726; from 1729 it was located in a disused theatre. His attempt to restore primitive Christianity attracted large audiences, outraging the conventionally religious. Admission to the Oratory was by metal token priced at one shilling: Whitehead implies that Bishop Sherlock is making religion profitable for himself just as Henley does. The deliberately insulting comparison gains venom from the fact that Henley was paid to write periodical papers in support of Walpole's administration. Note that Sherlock's name is given in full, not "dashed" like those of persons attacked later in the poem. Back to Line
67] St. Stephen's Walls: in the old Palace of Westminster, destroyed by fire in 1834, the House of Commons met in St. Stephen's Chapel. Back to Line
74] senate: Parliament. Change: an exchange, a place where business is done in money. Back to Line
75] Church: the Church of England, Senate-house: the Houses of Parliament. Hall: Westminster Hall (which survived the fire of 1834 and the bombing of 1941), adjacent to the Houses of Parliament at Westminster was used to house several courts of law; hence "Bench" (metonymy for "judges") below. Back to Line
78] Crane-Court: "The Royal Society" (Whitehead's note). The Royal Society had its headquarters in Crane Court, off Fleet Street. Back to Line
84] MANNERS: alluding to the proverb, "manners maketh man;" people define themselves by their behaviour. Good behaviour, well doing, alone makes persons in high positions great; lack of it reduces lords to the status of peasants. Back to Line
85] Ribands: see lines 15-16 above. his Grace: a duke. Back to Line
86] Lacquey: servant, especially a footman; because of their visibility, footmen were dressed in impressive livery to emphasize their master's superior social position. Back to Line
92] vales: vails; gratuities, tips, perquisites. Back to Line
95] C[owper's] Heir: William Clavering-Cowper (1709-1764), second Earl Cowper, a Gentleman of the Bedchamber to George II. His father, William Cowper, first Earl Cowper (1665-1723), was a lawyer who served as Lord Chancellor of Great Britain from 1707 to 1710, and again from 1714 to 1718; he was admired for his honesty and moderation during a time of corrupt and bitter political strife. Back to Line
96] Play'r: "That living Witness of the Folly, Extravagance and Depravity of the English; Farinello, who is now at the Court of Spain triumphing in the Spoils of our Nobility, as their Pyrates are in those of our injur'd Merchants" (Whitehead's note). Carlo Broschi, known as Farinelli (1705-1782), one of the most famous singers of the eighteenth century, was a castrato. He won European fame in the 1720s, and in 1734 came to London to sing with the Opera of the Nobility company that had broken away from G. F. Handel's Italian opera company. He was paid £1500 a season, and received perhaps twice as much in presents from admirers, hence the charge that he has pillaged the English. In 1737 he left London for a visit to Madrid, where he was to remain as a court musician for the next twenty-five years. Back to Line
100] Nero: "A Roman Emperor remarkable for his foolish Passion for Music" (Whitehead's note). Juvenal is particularly severe on Nero's bad singing in public (Satire 8: 225-227). Whitehead may also expect his readers to recall Nero's equally foolish passion for the castrated boy Sporus. Back to Line
101] Laevinus: no particular individual seems to be intended, although lines 110-111 might apply to the second Earl Cowper. The name was probably taken from Horace, Satires, I: 6, line 12: Publius Valerius Laevinus is a descendant of Publius Valerius, one of the founders of the Roman republic, yet all agree he is man without abilities. The character was probably devised to point the contrast with Chesterfield. Back to Line
114] Stanhope: "The Right Honourable the Earl of Chesterfield" (Whitehead's note). Philip Dormer Stanhope, fourth Earl of Chesterfield (1694-1773), had been a supporter of Walpole in the 1720s, and served successfully as Ambassador to the Netherlands from 1728 to 1732. Like a number of less prominent political figures, he broke with Walpole in 1733 over the excise scheme. He was rapidly dismissed from his position as Lord Steward of the Royal Household, and equally rapidly became a hero of the political opposition. Back to Line
116] Race: family. Back to Line
117] Portion: inheritance. Back to Line
119] the Talent lost, if unimploy'd: see Matthew 25: 14-30. Back to Line
123] Tully: Marcus Tullius Cicero, the famous Roman orator and statesman; the reference is to Chesterfield's speeches against Walpole's administration in the House of Lords; in 1737 he had been an eloquent opponent of the Licensing Act by which Walpole reined in political satire in the theatre. Back to Line
130] Stow: Stowe in Buckinghamshire, north of London, the seat of Richard Temple, first Viscount Cobham (1675-1749), who had a distinguished military career as a young man. Stowe was (and remains) famous for the gardens Cobham laid out. Following his break with Walpole over the excise scheme in 1733, Cobham made Stowe a focus of anti-ministerial feeling, which inspired its Temple of British Worthies, begun in 1734. See line 263 below. Back to Line
139] Patent: of nobility; the royal document that certified elevation to the peerage.
Blaze: properly "blazon," the coat of arms that the College of Heralds prepared for a newly ennobled peer of the realm. Back to Line
141] Glory: the star of the Order of the Garter. Back to Line
147] E[ssex]: William Capell, third Earl of Essex (1697-1743), held the court office of Gentleman of the Bedchamber, and served from 1731 to 1736 as ambassador to the court of Sardinia at Turin. A reliable supporter of Walpole in the House of Lords, he had been appointed to the Order of the Garter in 1738. Back to Line
150] Milo: the name of a famous Greek wrestler of the sixth century B.C., Milo of Croton, best remembered for dying in an attempt to split an oak tree apart with his bare hands. When Croton went to war with the neighbouring city of Sybaris, Milo led the Crotonese forces in a lion skin and carrying a great club, the attributes of Hercules, and it is this use of costume to claim the capabilities of a great predecessor that is chiefly relevant to this attack on Charles Spencer, third Duke of Marlborough (1706-1758), son of the third Earl of Sunderland, to which title he succeeded his brother in 1729, and grandson of John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough, succeeding to this title on the death of his aunt (who had succeeded her father in the dukedom) in 1733. In the House of Lords he was at first a member of the patriot opposition to Walpole, and was an adherent of the Prince of Wales when, after a violent quarrel, George II expelled Frederick from St. James's Palace in 1737. A year later, however, impelled perhaps by shortage of money, he changed sides, and was promptly rewarded by being made colonel of the 38th regiment of foot, and at Court a Gentleman of the Bedchamber; other official appointments followed. This switch of allegiance, and Marlborough's belated adoption of high military rank without any military experience, inspire Whitehead's critique. Back to Line
155] the Mail: Pall Mall, a street in the fashionable area of London near St. James's Palace, so called because it was originally laid out as a long alley for the playing of a game called pall mall. Back to Line
162] Grandsire: John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough (1650-1722), brilliant military commander during the the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1713). Back to Line
166] Danube's Stream: in the battle of Blenheim, fought close to the Danube in southern Bavaria in 1704, Marlborough and the Austrian Prince Eugene won a decisive victory over a French and Bavarian army, changing the course of the war. Many French soldiers drowned in the Danube. Back to Line
169] Hyde-Park War: display of military manoeuvres at a review in Hyde Park. Back to Line
170] Bunhill: the Artillery Ground, an open space adjacent to Bunhill Fields cemetery north of the City of London, was used by the London trained bands (militia) for training purposes. Trained bands were mocked as amateurs, sedentary citizens playing at soldiers; see William Cowper's poem "John Gilpin." Sir William Billers, an eminent merchant, who had served as Lord Mayor of London in 1733, was colonel of the Blue Regiment of London trained bands. Whitehead is contrasting Bunhill, associated with the dull, unfashionable City of London and its amateur soldiers, with the military displays by smart regiments in the fashionable purlieus of Hyde Park, a royal park near St. James's Palace. Back to Line
171] Eugene: Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736), although French by birth, spent his life in the service of Austria, winning victories against the Ottoman Turks in the Balkans early in his career. In 1704 he began a very successful collaboration with Marlborough at the battle of Blenheim. When hostilities ceased in western Europe in 1713 he returned to win further victories over the Ottoman Turks, to the point where they were unable ever again to threaten an invasion of Austria. Back to Line
177] A[lbemarle]: Willem Anne van Keppel (1702-1754), second Earl of Albemarle, was a Gentleman of the Bedchamber to both George I and George II, and had been Colonel of the Third Troop of Horse Guards since 1733. His father had had a distinguished military career in the War of the Spanish Succession, implicitly contrasted with the second Earl's service in that great opposition bugbear, a standing army in peacetime, which mimics genuine military operations in reviews, mere displays for public entertainment. In the next decade Albemarle had extensive active service in the War of the Austrian Succession. Back to Line
187] poignance: sharpness. Back to Line
189] Fannius: a second-rate poet mocked by the Roman poet Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus); here Fannius refers to Lord Hervey, who had published poems attacking Pope. Pope on the other hand had published numerous "Imitations of Horace," and here is represented by Horace himself; his poems appeal to readers, Hervey's do not. See below, line 245. Back to Line
191] Royal Game: animals so rare that they are reserved to be hunted only by royalty. Whitehead is alluding to Pope's One Thousand Seven Hundred and Thurty-Eight (later renamed Epilogue to the Satires), Dialogue II, lines 27-29. Pope's poem had been published about six months before Manners. Back to Line
202] pour: discharge (usually of multiple missiles, not as here a single arrow). Back to Line
203] Leviathan: originally a vast sea creature mentioned in the Bible (e.g., Job 41); hence a dangerous monster of any kind. Back to Line
204] W[alpol]e: Sir Robert Walpole (1676-1745), held the office of First Lord of the Treasury from 1721 to 1742; as his grip on power was increasingly challenged in the late 1730s he took more measures to silence his opponents. Back to Line
205] Harpy: in classical mythology, a vulture-like winged monster with a woman's face and extremely sharp claws. Back to Line
207] Ministers: Walpole's opponents objected to his long preeminence in government as a violation of the fundamental principles of the constitution, and sneered st him as "the minister" or "the prime minister." Back to Line
208] P[axto]n: "A famous Sollicitor" (Whitehead's note). Nicholas Paxton (1690?-1744) was Solicitor to the Treasury and one of Walpole's chief agents in the distribution of funds for electioneering and propaganda, which might include answers to specific published attacks on the government. As a lawyer he was in a position to initiate legal prosecutions of writings against the government. Pope refers to him in this role in the opening lines of One Thousand Seven Hundred and Thurty-Eight (later renamed Epilogue to the Satires), Dialogue II. Back to Line
209] special Juries: in trials for seditious libel, the charge most commonly brought against writings that attacked Walpole's administration, the prosecution typically requested a special jury. This was a jury drawn from a list of persons who satisfied certain qualifications as to wealth, occupation and social position, who could be relied on to favour the government rather than a poet or a printer. Back to Line
212] dash: a pun, meaning both to splash the politician with abuse, and to replace letters of his name with dashes, for prudential reasons. "Statesman" did not have the positive sense that it has since acquired, and was frequently applied to Walpole with derogatory intent. Back to Line
216] Sir Bill: Sir William Yonge, 4th Baronet (1693-1756), M.P. for Honiton, Secretary at War since 1735, was one of Walpole's most reliable supporters in the House of Commons, and most unlikely to become a "patriot," i.e., join the opposition--and if he did, he would have no appointments in his gift. Back to Line
217] G[rafto]n: Charles Fitzroy, second Duke of Grafton (1683-1757), a senior Whig peer, Lord Chamberlain of the [Royal] Household since 1724. His chief interests were fox-hunting and horse-racing, hence the gibe at his lack of wit. Back to Line
218] gull'd: tricked, misrepresented. Back to Line
221] Birth-day Ode: each year the Poet Laureate had to write an ode in celebration of the King's birthday, which was set to music and performed by chorus and orchestra as part of the birthday celebrations. The Poet Laureate (since 1730) was Colley Cibber (see below, line 244), a skillful playwright in his youth, but a woefully incompetent writer of verse. His laudations of George II are thus unintentional satires on their subject. Notwithstanding this deficiency, the Laureate receives rewards for his efforts. Back to Line
226] Pulteney: William Pulteney (1684-1764), the leader of opposition to Walpole in the House of Commons. Back to Line
227] Carteret: John Carteret, Baron Carteret (1696-1763), leader of the opposition to Walpole in the House of Lords, was highly esteemed as a speaker in debate. Back to Line
228] Pitt: William Pitt (1708-1776), the future prime minister, at this time winning fame as the most outspoken of the young men of the patriot opposition to Walpole. Back to Line
232] Garretteers: the hack writers of Grub Street, who had take rooms in the highest attics because they could afford no better. Back to Line
233] Call W[alpol]e Burleigh: "See these two Characters compar'd in the Gazetteers; but lest none of those Papers should have escap'd their common Fate, see the two Characters distinguish'd in the Craftsman" (Whitehead's note). Gazettes were pro-government papers; their common fate was to be used for toilet paper. William Cecil, Baron Burghley or Burleigh (1520/21-1598), the long-serving first minister of Queen Elizabeth I. A favourite topic of the opposition was the contrast between the glorious reign of Elizabeth, especially the defeat of the Spanish Armada, and the humiliating appeasement of Spain by Walpole. The Daily Gazette was an official government paper, which by likening Walpole to Burleigh sought to appropriate some Elizabethan glory for the administration; the Craftsman was the leading opposition paper, which had responded by contrasting Walpole to Burleigh, much to his discredit. Back to Line
235] Grub-street:originally an actual street in London, metonymically associated with the hack writers supposed to reside there.
Rag-fair: a market for used clothing near the Tower of London, supposed to be a haunt of impoverished writers; see Pope, Dunciad 1: 27-42. Back to Line
236] tiny Insect: "A certain Court Chaplain, who wrote or rather stole a Character of the late Q[uee]n from Dr. Burnet's Character of Queen Mary" (Whitehead's note). Dr. Alured Clarke (1696-1742), royal chaplain and Deputy Clerk of the Closet to George II, was a staunch supporter of Walpole and an admirer of Queen Caroline. When she died, in November 1737, Clarke, whose health was poor, was compelled by illness to withdraw from her funeral service, but he subsequently published An Essay towards the Character of Her Late Majesty Caroline, Queen Consort of Great Britain, which was went into several editions. He was naturally accused, as here, of flattery intended to recommend him for promotion to a bishopric, but his only advancement was to the deanery of Exeter. His Essay covers topics (Protestant faith, abundant charities, devotion to her husband, steadfastness in the face of death) similar to some of those of Thomas Burnet's Essay on the Memory of the Late Queen [Mary II] (1695), but they are perhaps inevitable in such a eulogy; Burnet provided a model rather than a source. Back to Line
244] C[ibbe]r: Colley Cibber (1671-1757), successful actor, playwright and theatre manager, was appointed Poet Laureate in 1730. His woeful incapacity as a writer of verse was publicly demonstrated every year in the odes he was required to write in celebration of the King's birthday (see above, line 221). The Poet Laureate was entitled to an annual barrel of sack (white wine from Spain), the "rich butt." Back to Line
245] Fanny: Pope's derogatory nickname for John, Lord Hervey of Ickworth (1696-1743), who had rejected the efforts of William Pulteney to enlist him in the opposition, and instead supported Walpole, being rewarded in 1730 with the post of Vice-Chamberlain of the Royal Household. Back to Line
253] Horace: Horatio Walpole (1678-1757), younger brother of Sir Robert, a politician and diplomat, served as British Ambassador to the United Provinces of the Netherlands at the Hague from 1734 to 1740. The post had been held from 1728 to 1732 by the Earl of Chesterfield; see line 114 above. Back to Line
255] Bell: "A noted Agent to a Mob-Regiment, who is employ'd to reward their venal Vociferations on certain Occasions, with Half-a-Crown each Man" (Whitehead's note). Noisy street demonstrations were an important element in politics in this period. Back to Line
256] T[y]r[conne]l: Sir John Brownlow (1690-1756), fifth baronet, M.P. for Grantham 1713-15, for Lincolnshire 1715-22, and for Grantham again 1722-41, was created Viscount Tyrconnel in the Peerage of Ireland in 1718. He drifted back and forth between opposition and support of the government, and had the reputation of being very silly; George II called him "a puppy who never votes twice together on the same side."
Tully: see line 123 above. Back to Line
257] W[i]n[ningto]n: Thomas Winnington (1695-1746), M.P. for Droitwich, had been raised in a Jacobite family, and in his early years in Parliament belonged to the Tory opposition. Then in the early 1730s he suddenly switched allegiance to Walpole, whose close associate he became, and was rewarded first with a lordship of the Admiralty and then in 1735 with a lordship of the Treasury. Unlike many other self-interested politicians of the time, he made no secret of his cynicism. Back to Line
259] M[arlboroug]h: see line 150 above. Ab[ercor]n: James Hamilton, seventh Earl of Abercorn (1686-1754), succeeded his father in 1734. He was a man of scientific interests, a Fellow of the Royal Society from 1715. Back to Line
262] Temple: "The Temple of British Worthies in the Gardens at Stow, in which the Lord Cobham has lately erected the Busto of Sir John Barnard" (Whitehead's note). See line 130 above. The inside walls of the Temple had niches in which busts of the worthies were placed, with inscriptions denoting their achievements. In rough chronological order, they were: King Alfred, the Black Prince, Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Thomas Gresham, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake, William Shakespeare, Sir Francis Bacon, John Hampden, Inigo Jones, John Milton, John Locke, Sir Isaac Newton,William III, Alexander Pope, and Sir John Barnard (1685-1764). Barnard was a leading wine merchant who had done well in marine insurance, and sat as M.P. for London from 1722. A prominent speaker for the opposition with a reputation for integrity, Barnard won his place in the Temple by proposing in 1737 that the interest payable on the national debt be reduced from 4% to 3%. This would have affected primarily the wealthy investors who made a key element of Walpole's parliamentary support, and would have weakened his grip on power. The proposal was defeated. Back to Line
271] healing wing: Malachi 4: 2: "But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall." Back to Line
274] Pendants: the flags (white with a red St. George's cross) flown at the masthead of British warships. Back to Line
276] Barks: originally bark or barque denoted a small sailing ship, but here is used poetically for warships. Back to Line
287] FREDERICK: the Prince of Wales (1707-1751), son of George II and father of George III.In 1737 he quarreled violently with his parents, who expelled him from St. James's Palace. Opposition politicians and writers naturally adopted him as another victim of the "prime minister" and made him a hero, the king in waiting who would sweep away the wicked ways of Walpole. The Prince, nothing loath, surrounded himself with opposition supporters. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1739
Publication Notes: 

Since there is no modern critical edition of Paul Whitehead's verse, the present text is not modernized, with the following exceptions: apostrophes have been regularized according to modern usage; quotation marks have been modernized where they appear in the original (lines 1-22, 50, and 186-189); the capitalization of the first word of every verse paragraph has been abandoned except at line 55. Otherwise, the text reproduces the first edition, published by Robert Dodsley on February 6, 1739.

The motto on the titlepage, "Paulus vel Cossus vel Drusus MORIBUS esto," comes from Juvenal, Satire 8, line 21; "Be Paulus or Cossus or Drusus in behaviour." These were three models of the good soldier. In this satire, Juvenal is addressing a young man who is proud of his pedigree, and trying to persuade him that it is not his ancestry but his conduct that matters. In contrast to the passages wich precede and follow, which attack politics and the culture of the court in a stridently anti-Walpole strain, lines 93 to 185 are inspired by Juvenal's poem, and attack young noblemen who fall short of their merits of their distinguished forebears, with contrasted praise of the Earl of Chesterfield, who fulfills the promise of his ancestors. This passage may have been inserted to bring the poem to a suitable length for independent publication in folio.

As was common practice in satirical writing, Whitehead "dashes" the names of his targets; that is, first and sometimes later or final letters are given, and the omitted letters are represented by a sometimes equivalent number of hyphens. This was a defence against prosecution, and a source of obscurity to contemporaries not familiar with the political scene. The importance of dashing was demonstrated by what happened in the days immediately following publication, since the name of Bishop Sherlock was, alone among the names persons attacked, not dashed but written out in full.

Sherlock rose in the House of Lords on February 9 to denounce Manners as a gross breach of privilege, and author and publisher were summoned to appear to explain themselves on February 12. Dodsley appeared, but Whitehead did not; a messenger reported that he was not at home. Dodsley was remanded in custody, and there matters rested for several days. Dodsley, whose shop was in Pall Mall, in the heart of the fashionable part of London, was well known to many of the lords, and their carriages crowded the streets near the sponging house where he was confined. Finally the Earl of Essex, who had been mildly aspersed in the poem, rose to propose that the House deal with the matter. On February 22 Dodsley was brought to the bar of the House, where, kneeling, he was admonished by the Lord Chancellor, and dismissed.

Six months earlier, Dodsley had published the second Dialogue of a two-part poem by Alexander Pope entitled One Thousand Seven Hundred and Thirty-Eight. The two dialogues "something like Horace" comprised Pope's most critical comments on the current political scene, though written with all his exquisite art so as to frustrate prosecution. It was widely assumed that he would publish a sequel for the following year even more damaging to the administration of Sir Robert Walpole. That sequel never appeared; the two dialogues were subsequently retitled Epilogue to the Satires, and Pope refrained from publishing political poetry thereafter (the expanded Dunciad of 1742-43 focuses on culture rather than politics). It has been generally assumed, following the comments of Dr. Johnson in his life of Pope, that the prosecution of Manners was intended as a warning to Pope, one which he heeded.

The persons attacked in Manners were members of the House of Lords, in contrast with the State Dunces, which castigates lords and M.P.s equally. And, except for Bishop Sherlock and Lord Hervey, the lords most severely attacked in Manners were not particularly eminent supporters of Walpole: Cowper was a young man who clearly lacked the powerful mind and personality of his father; Marlborough too was young, and his switch of allegiance to Walpole was rewarded by a series of appointments to largely ceremonial offices, but he was not a major player; Albemarle likewise was a secondary figure. They were in Walpole's camp, but as followers rather than leaders. The targets are courtiers rather than politicians: Albemarle, Cowper, Essex and Marlborough were all Gentlemen of the Bedchamber. Concentration on lords favoured the response to the poem as an action by the House of Lords, which had freedom to act as it pleased; in this case, causing Dodsley some expense and inconvenience, but not harming him in any material way. So convenient was the content and publication of the poem for such a prosecution, the possibility must be considered that Whitehead was hired to write the poem in such a way as to facilitate the kind of prosecution that occurred.

The prosecution of course made it impossible for Dodsley to have anything further to do with the poem, which enjoyed considerable popularity during the rest of 1739 in a number of unauthorized reprints with various fraudulent or missing imprints. Whitehead may have had some concern in the two London reprints that also reprint the State Dunces, but no changes were made to Manners. The same is true of the 1747 collection of Whitehead's satires. The posthumous edition of Whitehead's collected poems was based on printed editions; Whitehead destroyed all his personal papers before his death.

RPO poem Editors: 
John Baird
RPO Edition: 
2015
Rhyme: 
Form: