This paragraph is a good instance of that obscurity which will sometimes result from the great familiarity of the writer with his subject-matter. Johnson has constructed the passage as if all his readers knew as much as himself of the history, personal and political, of Pope's time. John, Lord Hervey of Ickworth (1969-1743), was a strenuous supporter of the Walpole administration. His health in his youth had been extremely delicate, and the strict regimen necessary to preserve him was used by Pope as an opportunity for satire. Hervey wrote many pamphlets in defence of the Ministry; but the one which was answered by Pulteney and caused the quarrel was wrongly attributed to him, being really written by Sir William Yonge, then Secretary at War. Pope first attacked Hervey in the Miscellanies (1727), and towards the close of 1732 he was again sneered at in the Imitations of Horace, Satires ii. I, under the title of Lord Fanny. Hervey answered this with the assistance of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, on whom Pope, in the same composition, had made the most foul and brutal attack in all our literature. There was also another answer, 1733, wholly from Hervey's pen, 'An Epistle from a Nobleman to a Doctor of Divinity,' and it is in this that the hatter accusation is contained. In answer Pope again satirised Hervey in the Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot under the title of Sporus. These are 'the verses in this poem.' Cf. note on the Epistle to Arbuthnot, 1. 305, Clarenden Press Series.
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