Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/122

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Pope
Pope
116

cealed. He exhorted Broome to be reticent in regard to his share in the work, as the public would be attracted by their belief in Pope's authorship. Broome, however, was vain and talkative, and various rumours arose from his indiscretion. Upon the publication of the first three volumes, in April 1725, Lintot threatened Pope with a lawsuit, apparently on the question whether free copies were to be delivered to Broome's subscribers as well as to Pope's. Attacks upon the 'bad paper, ill types, and journey-work poetry' appeared in the papers. To meet them, Pope induced Broome to write the postscript above mentioned, in which he asserts that he had himself translated three books and Fenton two (the real numbers being eight and four). Though Broome was weak enough to consent to this virtual falsehood, both he and Fenton resented Pope's treatment of them. Pope retaliated by insulting Broome in the 'Bathos,' published in the 'Miscellany' of 1728. The correspondence dropped for a time ; but in 1730, when the accusations were revived in a satire called 'One Epistle,' Pope again applied to Broome for a statement in justification. Though Broome declined to make more than a dry statement, he resumed a friendly correspondence, and Pope tried to make some atonement. He disavowed responsibility for the 'Bathos,' altered a couplet in the 'Dunciad,' and in an appendix to the same poem claimed only twelve books of the 'Odyssey.' The 'Odyssey' brought an addition of fortune, though not much of fame. It also introduced him to the friendship of Joseph Spence [q. v.], who published a discriminative 'Essay' upon it in 1726 ; second part 1727. Pope had the good sense to be pleased with the criticism and make friends with the author.

Pope's domestic circle had meanwhile gone through various changes. His mother's life was in great danger at the end of 1725 ; his nurse, Mary Beach, died on 25 Nov. in the same year, and is commemorated by an epitaph in Twickenham church. Pope was much confined by his attendance upon his mother, his alfection for whom is his least disputable virtue. His friend Atterbury was exiled in 1723. Pope had to give evidence upon his trial, and was nervous and blundering. He was alarmed, it seems, by the prospect of being cross-examined as to his religious belief, and consulted Lord Harcourt as to the proper answer (Works, x. 199). His anxiety was increased by complaints made against him for editing the Duke of Buckingham's works (1723), which had been seized on account of Jacobite passages. The exile of Atterbury coincided with the return of Bolingbroke, to whom Pope had been slightly known in the 'Scriblerus Club.' Bolingbroke now renewed the acquaintance, and in 1725 settled at Dawley, within easy drive of Twickenham. Pope was a frequent visitor, and in September 1726 was upset in crossing a stream upon his return in Bolingbroke's coach. His fingers were badly cut by the glass of the window, and he nearly lost the use of them. Pope had at intervals corresponded with Swift after Swift's retirement to Ireland in 1714, and he now joined Bolingbroke in writing to their common friend. In 1725 Pope wrote to Swift, mentioning a satire which he had written, and suggesting a visit to England. Bolingbroke, Arbuthnot, Lord Oxford, and Pope would welcome him. Swift visited England in the summer of 1726, bringing 'Gulliver's Travels,' for the publication of which arrangements were made by Pope [see also Lewis, Erasmus]. The little circle also agreed to publish a miscellany. Swift contributed verses, which he sent to Pope with full powers to use as he pleased. Two volumes were published in June 1727. Swift had again visited England, in April 1727, and stayed for some time with Pope; but his infirmities and anxiety about Stella made him unfit for company, and he left Pope some time before his return to Ireland in September. The 'Dunciad' was by this time finished, and Swift, who had at first advised Pope not to make the bad poets immortal, was anxious for its appearance. Pope had probably withheld it with a view to one of his manoeuvres. The third volume of the 'Miscellanies,' published in March 1727-8, contained the 'Bathos,' a very lively satire, of which Pope, though he afterwards disavowed it, says that he had 'entirely methodised and in a manner written it all' (Works, vii. 110). It gave sarcastic descriptions of different classes of bad authors, sufficiently indicated by initials. If his purpose was, as Mr. Courthope suggests, to irritate his victims into retorts, in order to give an excuse for the 'Dunciad,' he succeeded. The 'Dunciad' appeared on 28 May 1728, and made an unprecedented stir among authors. Pope had made elaborate preparations to avoid the danger of prosecution for libel. The poem appeared anonymously ; a notice from the publisher implied that it was written by a friend of Pope, in answer to the attacks of the 'last two months' (i.e. since the 'Bathos') ; the names of the persons attacked were represented by initials: and the whole professed to be a reprint of a Dublin edition. On its success he published an enlarged edition, in March 1729, with