Page:Poems of Anne Countess of Winchilsea 1903.djvu/68

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Ixiv INTRODUCTION ���Hard Words, and Quibbles; but 'tis I that sting, And on the Stage th' Egyptian Lovers bring ; Miss Phoebe, Plotwell, Townley, all are Mine, And Sir Tremendous Fossile's only Thine. �The character of Fossile in the play was meant as a satire on Dr. Woodward, a well-known geologist, and it may easily be that Arbuthnot was the only one of the triumvirate suffi- ciently versed in scientific terms to reel off the jargon put into the mouth of this virtuoso. Sir Tremendous, a satirical portrait of John Dennis, must almost certainly be the work of Pope, who could hardly be expected to keep his hands off if his arch-enemy were thus to be exposed to a drubbing. Many strokes in the character of Plotwell are said to be levelled at Gibber, hence this character, too, may naturally be ascribed to Pope. Gay may have had some private grudge against Lady Winchilsea, as Baker says, and may have had a hand in the portrayal of Phoebe Clinket, but that this character was virtually Pope's is explicitly stated, not only by The Confederates, but also by the Complete Key by "E. Parker, Philomath," published a few months after the play. It is in this Key, too, that we find Lady Winchilsea given as the original of Phoebe. The Key reads as follows: �Phoebe Clinket. This character is a very silly Imitation of the Bays in the Rehearsal, but is design'd to Redicule the Countess of W n ea, who, Pope says, is so much given to writing of Verses that she keeps a Standish in every Room of the House, that she may immediately clap down her Thoughts, whether upon Pindaric, Heroic, Pastoral or Dramatical Subjects. This punning Char- acter was drawn by Pope. �So far as the plot is concerned Phoebe Clinket is an unimportant character in the farce. After the first act she comes in but twice, once to claim as her own the much- maligned invention whereby the two lovers, disguised as a mummy and a crocodile, gain access to their mistress; and again when a letter, which announces that her play, the off- ��� �