The Vanity of Human Wishes

The Tenth Satire of Juvenal Imitated

Original Text: 
Robert Dodsley, A Collection of poems in four volumes / by several hands, 4 vols. (London: Printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1755). B-12 6037 Fisher Library (Toronto).
2Survey mankind, from China to Peru;
3Remark each anxious toil, each eager strife,
4And watch the busy scenes of crowded life;
5Then say how hope and fear, desire and hate,
6O'erspread with snares the clouded maze of fate,
7Where wav'ring man, betray'd by vent'rous pride
8To tread the dreary paths without a guide;
9As treach'rous phantoms in the mist delude,
10Shuns fancied ills, or chases airy good.
11How rarely reason guides the stubborn choice,
12Rules the bold hand, or prompts the suppliant voice,
13How nations sink, by darling schemes oppress'd,
14When vengeance listens to the fool's request.
16Each gift of nature, and each grace of art,
17With fatal heat impetuous courage glows,
18With fatal sweetness elocution flows,
19Impeachment stops the speaker's pow'rful breath,
22Fall in the gen'ral massacre of gold;
23Wide-wasting pest! that rages unconfin'd,
24And crowds with crimes the records of mankind,
25For gold his sword the hireling ruffian draws,
26For gold the hireling judge distorts the laws;
27Wealth heap'd on wealth, nor truth nor safety buys,
28The dangers gather as the treasures rise.
29     Let hist'ry tell where rival kings command,
30And dubious title shakes the madded land,
31When statutes glean the refuse of the sword,
32How much more safe the vassal than the lord,
35Untouch'd his cottage, and his slumbers sound,
36Though confiscation's vultures hover round.
37     The needy traveller, serene and gay,
38Walks the wild heath, and sings his toil away.
39Does envy seize thee? crush th' upbraiding joy,
40Increase his riches and his peace destroy,
41New fears in dire vicissitude invade,
43Nor light nor darkness bring his pain relief.
44One shews the plunder, and one hides the thief.
46And gain and grandeur load the tainted gales;
47Few know the toiling statesman's fear or care,
50With cheerful wisdom and instructive mirth,
51See motley life in modern trappings dress'd,
52And feed with varied fools th' eternal jest:
53Thou who couldst laugh where want enchain'd caprice,
54Toil crush'd conceit, and man was of a piece;
55Where wealth unlov'd without a mourner died;
56And scarce a sycophant was fed by pride;
57Where ne'er was known the form of mock debate,
59Where change of fav'rites made no change of laws,
60And senates heard before they judg'd a cause;
61How wouldst thou shake at Britain's modish tribe,
62Dart the quick taunt, and edge the piercing gibe?
64And pierce each scene with philosophic eye.
65To thee were solemn toys or empty show,
66The robes of pleasure and the veils of woe:
67All aid the farce, and all thy mirth maintain,
68Whose joys are causeless, or whose griefs are vain.
69     Such was the scorn that fill'd the sage's mind,
70Renew'd at ev'ry glance on humankind;
71How just that scorn ere yet thy voice declare,
72Search every state, and canvass ev'ry pray'r.
74Athirst for wealth, and burning to be great;
75Delusive Fortune hears th' incessant call,
77On ev'ry stage the foes of peace attend,
78Hate dogs their flight, and insult mocks their end.
79Love ends with hope, the sinking statesman's door
80Pours in the morning worshiper no more;
81For growing names the weekly scribbler lies,
83From every room descends the painted face,
85And smok'd in kitchens, or in auctions sold,
86To better features yields the frame of gold;
87For now no more we trace in ev'ry line
88Heroic worth, benevolence divine:
89The form distorted justifies the fall,
91     But will not Britain hear the last appeal,
92Sign her foes' doom, or guard her fav'rites' zeal?
94Degrading nobles and controlling kings;
95Our supple tribes repress their patriot throats,
96And ask no questions but the price of votes;
98Their wish is full to riot and to rail.
100Law in his voice, and fortune in his hand:
101To him the church, the realm, their pow'rs consign,
102Through him the rays of regal bounty shine,
103Turn'd by his nod the stream of honour flows,
104His smile alone security bestows:
105Still to new heights his restless wishes tow'r,
106Claim leads to claim, and pow'r advances pow'r;
107Till conquest unresisted ceas'd to please,
108And rights submitted, left him none to seize.
109At length his sov'reign frowns-the train of state
110Mark the keen glance, and watch the sign to hate.
111Where-e'er he turns he meets a stranger's eye,
112His suppliants scorn him, and his followers fly;
113At once is lost the pride of aweful state,
114The golden canopy, the glitt'ring plate,
115The regal palace, the luxurious board,
116The liv'ried army, and the menial lord.
117With age, with cares, with maladies oppress'd,
118He seeks the refuge of monastic rest.
119Grief aids disease, remember'd folly stings,
120And his last sighs reproach the faith of kings.
121     Speak thou, whose thoughts at humble peace repine,
122Shall Wolsey's wealth, with Wolsey's end be thine?
123Or liv'st thou now, with safer pride content,
125For why did Wolsey near the steeps of fate,
126On weak foundations raise th' enormous weight?
127Why but to sink beneath misfortune's blow,
128With louder ruin to the gulfs below?
132By kings protected, and to kings allied?
133What but their wish indulg'd in courts to shine,
134And pow'r too great to keep, or to resign?
136The young enthusiast quits his ease for fame;
137Through all his veins the fever of renown
141Are these thy views? proceed, illustrious youth,
142And virtue guard thee to the throne of Truth!
143Yet should thy soul indulge the gen'rous heat,
145Should Reason guide thee with her brightest ray,
146And pour on misty Doubt resistless day;
147Should no false Kindness lure to loose delight,
148Nor Praise relax, nor Difficulty fright;
149Should tempting Novelty thy cell refrain,
150And Sloth effuse her opiate fumes in vain;
151Should Beauty blunt on fops her fatal dart,
152Nor claim the triumph of a letter'd heart;
153Should no Disease thy torpid veins invade,
154Nor Melancholy's phantoms haunt thy shade;
155Yet hope not life from grief or danger free,
156Nor think the doom of man revers'd for thee:
157Deign on the passing world to turn thine eyes,
158And pause awhile from letters, to be wise;
159There mark what ills the scholar's life assail,
161See nations slowly wise, and meanly just,
162To buried merit raise the tardy bust.
163If dreams yet flatter, once again attend,
165     Nor deem, when learning her last prize bestows
166The glitt'ring eminence exempt from foes;
167See when the vulgar 'scape, despis'd or aw'd,
170The plunder'd palace or sequester'd rent;
171Mark'd out by dangerous parts he meets the shock,
172And fatal Learning leads him to the block:
173Around his tomb let Art and Genius weep,
174But hear his death, ye blockheads, hear and sleep.
176The ravish'd standard, and the captive foe,
178With force resistless o'er the brave prevail.
180For such the steady Romans shook the world;
181For such in distant lands the Britons shine,
183This pow'r has praise, that virtue scarce can warm,
184Till fame supplies the universal charm.
185Yet Reason frowns on War's unequal game,
186Where wasted nations raise a single name,
187And mortgag'd states their grandsires' wreaths regret,
188From age to age in everlasting debt;
189Wreaths which at last the dear-bought right convey
190To rust on medals, or on stones decay.
193A frame of adamant, a soul of fire,
194No dangers fright him, and no labours tire;
196Unconquer'd lord of pleasure and of pain;
197No joys to him pacific sceptres yield,
198War sounds the trump, he rushes to the field;
199Behold surrounding kings their pow'r combine,
201Peace courts his hand, but spreads her charms in vain;
202."Think nothing gain'd,." he cries, ."till nought remain,
204And all be mine beneath the polar sky.."
205The march begins in military state,
206And nations on his eye suspended wait;
207Stern Famine guards the solitary coast,
208And Winter barricades the realms of Frost;
209He comes, not want and cold his course delay;--
210Hide, blushing Glory, hide Pultowa's day:
211The vanquish'd hero leaves his broken bands,
212And shows his misery in distant lands;
213Condemn'd a needy suppliant to wait,
214While ladies interpose, and slaves debate.
215But did not Chance at length her error mend?
216Did no subverted empire mark his end?
217Did rival monarchs give the fatal wound?
218Or hostile millions press him to the ground?
219His fall was destin'd to a barren strand,
221He left the name, at which the world grew pale,
222To point a moral, or adorn a tale.
224From Persia's tyrant to Bavaria's lord.
225In gay hostility, and barb'rous pride,
226With half mankind embattled at his side,
228And starves exhausted regions in his way;
229Attendant Flatt'ry counts his myriads o'er,
230Till counted myriads soothe his pride no more;
231Fresh praise is tried till madness fires his mind,
233New pow'rs are claim'd, new pow'rs are still bestow'd,
234Till rude resistance lops the spreading god;
235The daring Greeks deride the martial show,
236And heap their valleys with the gaudy foe;
237Th' insulted sea with humbler thoughts he gains,
238A single skiff to speed his flight remains;
239Th' incumber'd oar scarce leaves the dreaded coast
240Through purple billows and a floating host.
242Tries the dread summits of Caesarian pow'r,
243With unexpected legions bursts away,
244And sees defenceless realms receive his sway;
245Short sway! fair Austria spreads her mournful charms,
246The queen, the beauty, sets the world in arms;
247From hill to hill the beacon's rousing blaze
248Spreads wide the hope of plunder and of praise;
250And all the sons of ravage crowd the war;
251The baffled prince in honour's flatt'ring bloom
252Of hasty greatness finds the fatal doom,
253His foes' derision, and his subjects' blame,
254And steals to death from anguish and from shame.
256In health, in sickness, thus the suppliant prays;
257Hides from himself his state, and shuns to know,
258That life protracted is protracted woe.
259Time hovers o'er, impatient to destroy,
260And shuts up all the passages of joy:
261In vain their gifts the bounteous seasons pour,
262The fruit autumnal, and the vernal flow'r,
263With listless eyes the dotard views the store,
264He views, and wonders that they please no more;
265Now pall the tasteless meats, and joyless wines,
266And Luxury with sighs her slave resigns.
267Approach, ye minstrels, try the soothing strain,
268And yield the tuneful lenitives of pain:
269No sounds alas would touch th' impervious ear,
271Nor lute nor lyre his feeble pow'rs attend,
272Nor sweeter music of a virtuous friend,
273But everlasting dictates crowd his tongue,
274Perversely grave, or positively wrong.
275The still returning tale, and ling'ring jest,
276Perplex the fawning niece and pamper'd guest,
277While growing hopes scarce awe the gath'ring sneer,
278And scarce a legacy can bribe to hear;
279The watchful guests still hint the last offence,
280The daughter's petulance, the son's expense,
282And mould his passions till they make his will.
283     Unnumber'd maladies his joints invade,
284Lay siege to life and press the dire blockade;
285But unextinguish'd Av'rice still remains,
286And dreaded losses aggravate his pains;
287He turns, with anxious heart and crippled hands,
288His bonds of debt, and mortgages of lands;
289Or views his coffers with suspicious eyes,
290Unlocks his gold, and counts it till he dies.
291     But grant, the virtues of a temp'rate prime
292Bless with an age exempt from scorn or crime;
293An age that melts in unperceiv'd decay,
294And glides in modest innocence away;
295Whose peaceful day Benevolence endears,
296Whose night congratulating Conscience cheers;
297The gen'ral fav'rite as the gen'ral friend:
298Such age there is, and who could wish its end?
299     Yet ev'n on this her load Misfortune flings,
300To press the weary minutes' flagging wings:
301New sorrow rises as the day returns,
302A sister sickens, or a daughter mourns.
303Now kindred Merit fills the sable bier,
304Now lacerated Friendship claims a tear.
305Year chases year, decay pursues decay,
306Still drops some joy from with'ring life away;
307New forms arise, and diff'rent views engage,
308Superfluous lags the vet'ran on the stage,
309Till pitying Nature signs the last release,
311     But few there are whom hours like these await,
312Who set unclouded in the gulfs of fate.
314By Solon caution'd to regard his end,
315In life's last scene what prodigies surprise,
316Fears of the brave, and follies of the wise?
320Begs for each birth the fortune of a face:
323Ye nymphs of rosy lips and radiant eyes,
324Whom Pleasure keeps too busy to be wise,
325Whom Joys with soft varieties invite,
326By day the frolic, and the dance by night,
327Who frown with vanity, who smile with art,
328And ask the latest fashion of the heart,
329What care, what rules your heedless charms shall save,
331Against your fame with fondness hate combines,
333With distant voice neglected Virtue calls,
334Less heard and less, the faint remonstrance falls;
335Tir'd with contempt, she quits the slipp'ry reign,
336And Pride and Prudence take her seat in vain.
337In crowd at once, where none the pass defend,
338The harmless freedom, and the private friend.
339The guardians yield, by force superior plied;
340By Int'rest, Prudence; and by Flatt'ry, Pride.
341Now Beauty falls betray'd, despis'd, distress'd,
342And hissing Infamy proclaims the rest.
344Must dull Suspense corrupt the stagnant mind?
345Must helpless man, in ignorance sedate,
347Must no dislike alarm, no wishes rise,
348No cries attempt the mercies of the skies?
349Enquirer, cease, petitions yet remain,
350Which Heav'n may hear, nor deem religion vain.
351Still raise for good the supplicating voice,
352But leave to heav'n the measure and the choice.
353Safe in his pow'r, whose eyes discern afar
354The secret ambush of a specious pray'r.
355Implore his aid, in his decisions rest,
356Secure whate'er he gives, he gives the best.
358And strong devotion to the skies aspires,
359Pour forth thy fervours for a healthful mind,
360Obedient passions, and a will resign'd;
361For love, which scarce collective man can fill;
362For patience, sov'reign o'er transmuted ill;
363For faith, that panting for a happier seat,
364Counts death kind Nature's signal of retreat:
365These goods for man the laws of heav'n ordain,
366These goods he grants, who grants the pow'r to gain;
367With these celestial wisdom calms the mind,
368And makes the happiness she does not find.

Notes

1] Eighteenth-century literary criticism recognizedthree types of translation from other languages,principally from Greek and Latin: "metaphrase"(word-for-word translation; what we would call acrib or trot); "paraphrase" (a version that readswell in English, a literary translation), and"imitation." An "imitation" follows the structureand patterns of thought of the original, butupdates the content to the time of the imitation.On the broad moral topic of the vanity of humanwishes, much of Juvenal's Satire 10 was applicableto eighteenth-century civilisation.The exemplaryfigures, however, are chiefly modern, but Johnsonretains Xerxes, perhaps because there was no realmodern parallel in this case. Juvenal's poem has364 lines, Johnson's 368.The poem was first published, with Johnson namedas author, in 1749. The present text is that ofthe slightly revised version printed in the fourthvolume of Robert Dodsley's Collection ofPoems (1755). Johnson's footnotes, identicalin 1749 and 1755, indicating by line numbers thepassages in Juvenal being imitated, are reproducedhere, in the form "[Juvenal 1-11]." In 1755Johnson deleted one weak couplet and rewroteanother; these and other significant revisions inthe 1755 text are reported in the notes.Juvenal's Latin poem is available online in atext edited by Michael Hendry at www.curculio.org/Juvenal/s10.html. An Englishprose translation formerly published in the LoebClassical Library may be found at www.tertullian.org/fathers/juvenal_satires_10.htm.In book form, the new Loeb Classical Libraryedition (Latin with English prose translation onthe facing page) is recommended: Juvenal andPersius, ed. and trans. Susanna Morton Braund(Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2004).The standard edition of Johnson's verse is thesixth volume of the Yale Edition of the Works ofSamuel Johnson: Poems, ed. E. L. McAdam,Jr., and George Milne (New Haven and London: YaleUP, 1964).[Juvenal 1-11]. Back to Line
15] Our wishes serve as the feathers that guide thearrow of affliction. Back to Line
20] precipitates: falls headlong to ruin (withsecondary allusion to the language of chemistry,in which fire causes chemicals in solution toprecipitate and sink to the bottom of the vessel). Back to Line
21] [Juvenal 12-22]. Back to Line
33] Hind: peasant. Back to Line
34] wealthy traitor: in 1749, "bonny traitor", anallusion to the four Scottish lords convicted oftreason for supporting the Jacobite rising of1745-46. Three were executed in 1746-47, and onepardoned; by 1755 the allusion was outdated, andin any case it somewhat distorted the sense of thepassage away from the contrast of wealth andpoverty. Back to Line
42] brake: thicket. Back to Line
45] [Juvenal 23-27]. Back to Line
48] Perhaps a reference to the personal and politicalhostility between George II and his eldest son,Frederick, Prince of Wales (died 1751). Back to Line
49] [Juvenal 28-55] Democritus: the "laughingphilosopher" of Greece, appears in Juvenal's poem.He was familiar to eighteenth-century readers: cf.Pope, Epistle to Augustus, 320. In hisfamous Dictionary (1695-7; 1702; 1740),Pierre Bayle commented on Democritus: "Hislaughing at human life may be excused: it wasbetter for him to do so, than to imitateHeraclitus, who cried continually." Back to Line
58] Every year since 1535 the newly-elected Lord Mayorof London has travelled in procession from theGuildhall, accompanied by a great parade known asthe Lord Mayor?s Show, to Westminster to take theoath of allegiance to the Crown. In the 1740s thisevent took place annually on October 29, and theMayor often made the journey by barge on the riverThames. Back to Line
63] descry: so in 1749; the 1755 text has "decry", atypographical error. Back to Line
73] [Juvenal 56-107] Back to Line
76] Johnson likens the ambitious to meteors, as theywere formerly supposed to rise from the earth. Back to Line
82] dedicator: an author who wishes to dedicate hiswork to a patron in return for financial supportand prestige. Back to Line
84] Palladium: the image of the goddess Pallas Athene at Troy, on the preservation of which the safety of the town depended. Back to Line
90] In his Dictionary, Johnson defines"indignant": "inflamed alike by anger anddisdain." Back to Line
93] remonstance: in 1641 Parliament presented CharlesI with a long list of grievances known as theGrand Remonstrance. Back to Line
97] libels: weekly newspapers; septennial ale:parliamentary elections were required atseven-year intervals; free beer was often used tobribe electors. Back to Line
99] Thomas, Cardinal Wolsey (ca. 1470/71-1530), Archbishop of York. As Lord Chancellor, Wolsey was Henry VIII's chief minister from 1515 until 1529. He accumulated great wealth and power, but his inability to secure an annulment of Henry's marriage to Catherine of Aragon cost him his place. He died at Leicester Abbey, under arrest, with the famous last words: "if I had served God as diligently as I have done the King, he would not have given me over in my grey hairs." Wolsey takes the place of Juvenal's Sejanus, the evil minister of the emperor Tiberius. Back to Line
124] wisest justice: i.e., Justice of the Peace, anoffice usually held by landowners. The 1749 textreads "richest landlord" which Johnson perhapsthought laid the emphasis in the wrong place.Trent: a river in the Midlands of England; itflows through Lichfield, Johnson's birthplace. Back to Line
129] [Juvenal 108-13] George Villiers, first Duke of Buckingham (1592-1628), the favourite of Charles I, was stabbed to death by a disgruntled soldier. Back to Line
130] Robert Harley, first Earl of Oxford and Mortimer (1661-1724), prime minister in the last years of the reign of Queen Anne, was disgraced and imprisoned under George I, though charges of treason were later dropped. His health deteriorated in the last five years of his life. Back to Line
131] Sir Thomas Wentworth, first Earl of Strafford (1593-1641) released Charles I from his promise of protection in the hope that his execution would reduce the antagonism between King and Parliament. Edward Hyde, first Earl of Clarendon (1609-1674), first minister of Charles II after the Restoration, was forced into exile in 1667; his daughter Anne was the first wife of the King's brother, later James II. Back to Line
135] [Juvenal 114-32]. Back to Line
138] Johnson alludes to the poisoned shirt that causedthe death of Hercules. Back to Line
139] Bodley's dome: the Bodleian Library of OxfordUniversity; dome: great building. Back to Line
140] Bacon: Roger Bacon (ca. 1214-1294). "There is a tradition that the study of friar Bacon, built on an arch over the bridge, will fall, when a man greater than Bacon shall pass under it" (note in 1755 edition). Back to Line
144] Science: here in the sense of an organized bodu ofknowledge, which, since the normal career path oflearning led into the Church, implies theology. Back to Line
160] patron: substituted in 1755 for "garret" in the1749 text. The change resulted from Johnson'sanger at Lord Chesterfield, who had failed tosupport him while he was compiling hisDictionary (published 1755), but seemed toseek credit for having done so. See Johnson'sfamous letter to Chesterfield, written in February1755. Back to Line
164] Lydiat: Thomas Lydiat (1572-1646), divine andchronologer, whose learning never won him tangiblerecognition, was imprisoned for debt in the 1630s,and suffered persecution by parliamentary forcesduring the Civil War of the 1640s; Galileo Galilei(1564-1642) spent the last ten years of his lifeunder house arrest because of his alleged heresy;his health deteriorated and he became blind. Back to Line
168] Laud: Archbishop Laud, impeached by the Long Parliament upon a false charge of high treason, and executed in 1645. Back to Line
169] The expression of these lines is highlyelliptical. "Although smaller penalties, such as aplundered [episcopal] palace or the confiscationof rent, are satisfactory [in the case of lesserminds], Laud's talents, dangerous to his opponentsand so to himself, distinguished him from lesserminds [and thus exposed him to more severepunishment]." Back to Line
175] [Juvenal 113-46]. Back to Line
177] The London Gazette was the official government newspaper. Back to Line
179] rapid Greek: Alexander the Great. Back to Line
182] Referring to Marlborough's victory at Blenheim onthe Danube in 1704, and George II's victory atDettingen (actually on the Main) in 1743. Back to Line
191] [Juvenal 147-67]. Back to Line
192] Swedish Charles: Charles XII of Sweden replaces Juvenal's Hannibal. Both won great renown as generals very early, then after a major defeat, endured exile, and finally met an inglorious death. Charles XII became king of Sweden in 1697, at the age of fifteen; within five years he had overcome the neighbouring states that had sought to take advantage of his youth, and took control of the kingdom of Poland. He met with a crushing defeat at the hands of Peter the Great of Russia at Pultowa, in 1709, and spent several years in exile at Bender in modern Moldova, then part of the Ottoman empire. On his return to Sweden, he went to war with Norway, and was killed, probably by a musket ball, at the siege of Fredrikshald in 1718. Back to Line
195] fear: replaces "force" in the 1749 text, withincreased emphasis on subjective qualities. Back to Line
200] The King of Denmark capitulated, and the King of Poland was deposed and replaced by a nobleman loyal to Charles. Back to Line
203] Gothic: Germanic; here, Swedish. Back to Line
220] dubious: unidentifiable. Back to Line
223] [Juvenal 168-87]. Back to Line
227] Xerxes, emperor of Persia, led a vastexpeditionary force to conquer Greece in acampaign that ran from 482 to 479 BCE, but washeld up by the Spartans at the pass ofThermopylae, and his naval force was destroyed atSalamis. On his return journey, he was forced tocross the Hellespont in a small boat. Back to Line
232] When wind and waves destroyed a lightweight bridgehis engineers had constructed across theHellespont, Xerxes ordered the waters to be given300 strokes of the whip. Back to Line
241] bold Bavarian: Charles Albert, Prince-Elector ofBavaria, on the death of his father-in-law, theEmperor Joseph I, rejected the claim of Joseph'sdaughter Maria Theresa to the throne of the HolyRoman Empire, and thus began the War of theAustrian Succession in 1741. He held the title ofEmperor as Charles VII from 1742 until his deathin 1745, but Austrian and Prussian forcesprevailed militarily, and Maria Theresa becameEmpress of all the Habsburg lands. Back to Line
249] Austrian forces included troops from Croatia; hussars were light cavalry from Croatia or Hungary. Back to Line
255] [Juvenal 188-288]. Back to Line
270] Orpheus' skill in music was fabled to attract rocks and trees to his lyre. Back to Line
281] heady: impetuous. Back to Line
310] Croesus, the wealthy king of Lydia, was told by Solon, the Athenian law-giver, that no man was happy until he had finished his life happily. Back to Line
313] Referring to the famous advice given to Croesus,the wealthy king of Lydia, by Solon, the Athenianlaw-giver: "Count no man happy until he is dead." Back to Line
317] John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough (1650-1722),was somewhat impaired in his last years, havingsuffered two strokes in 1716. Back to Line
318] Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) was ill and incapableof managing his affairs in the last three years ofhis life; it was rumoured that his servants wouldallow strangers to see him in this state. Back to Line
319] [Juvenal 289-345]. Back to Line
321] Vane: Anne Vane (died 1736) was mistress toFrederick, Prince of Wales, from whom she partedwith acrimony before her early and unhappy death. Back to Line
322] Catharine Sedley (1657-1717): longtime mistress ofthe Duke of York who continued to see him evenafter he had pensioned her off on his accession asJames II. Despite Johnson's line, it is not clearthat she regretted this association. Back to Line
330] In the 1755 text, Johnson deleted the followingcouplet at this point: "An envious breast withcertain mischief glows, / And slaves, the maximtells, are always foes." Back to Line
332] mines: undermines; the metaphor is that of asiege, in which the woman's reputation is visiblyattacked by her rival, as with a battering-ram,while the lover, like the sapper digging a tunnelunder the fortifications, compromises it insecret. Back to Line
343] [Juvenal 346-66]. Back to Line
346] darkling: increasingly overtaken by darkness. Back to Line
357] In the 1749 text, this couplet reads: "Yet withthe sense of sacred presence prest, / When strongdevotion fills thy glowing breast." Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1749
RPO poem Editors: 
G. G. Falle; John D. Baird
RPO Edition: 
3RP 2.200 (excerpt ed. Falle); and 2008 (completed Baird)
Form: