The Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets/Volume 4/Pope

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ALEXANDER POPE was born in London, May 22, 1688, of parents whose rank or station was never ascertained: we are informed that they were of "gentle blood;" that his father was of a family of which the earl of Downe was the head, and that his mother was the daughter of William Turner, Esquire, of York, who had likewise three sons, one of whom had the honour of being killed, and the other of dying, in the service of Charles the First; the third was made a general officer in Spain, from whom the sister inherited what sequestrations and forfeitures had left in the family.

This, and this only, is told by Pope; who is more willing, as I have heard observed, to shew what his father was not, than what he was. It is allowed that he grew rich by trade; but whether in a shop or on the Exchange was never discovered till Mr. Tyers told, on the authority of Mrs. Racket, that he was a linen-draper in the Strand. Both parents were papists.

Pope was from his birth of a constitution tender and delicate; but is said to have shewn remarkable gentleness and sweetness of disposition. The weakness of his body continued through his life[1]; but the mildness of his mind perhaps ended with his childhood. His voice, when he was young, was so pleasing, that he was called in fondness "the little Nightingale."

Being not sent early to school, he was taught to read by an aunt; and when he was seven or eight years old, became a lover of books. He first learned to write by imitating printed books; a species of penmanship in which he retained great excellence through his whole life, though his ordinary hand was not elegant.

When he was about eight, he was placed in Hampshire under Taverner, a Romish PoP.E. 3 priest, who, by a method very rarely pract tised, taught him the Greek and Latin rudi ments together. He was now first regularly initiated in poetry by the persual of “Ogil “by's Homer,” and “Sandys's Ovid.” Ogil by’s assistance he never repaidwith any praise; but of Sandys he declared, in h i s notes t o the “Iliad,” that English poetry owed much o f i t s beauty t o h i s translations. Sandys very rarely attempted original composition. . . . From the care o f Taverner, under whom his proficiency was confiderable, h e was r e moved t o a school a t Twyford near Winches t o park Corner; from which h e used fometimes t o stroll t o the playhouse, and was s o delighted with theatrical exhibitions, that h e formed a a kind o f play from “Ogilby's Iliad,” with some overses o f his own intermixed, which h e per “fuaded h i s school-fellows t o act, with the ad dition o f h i s master's gardener, who person i s ated Ajax. o, c .

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, o o: A t the two last schools h e used t o repre ... sent himself a s having lost part o f what Ta overner had taught him; and o n h i s master a t Twyford h e had already exercised h i s poetry s o i n a lampoon. Yet under those masters h e B , wanslated <-- - - - - oter, and again t o another school about Hyde 4 PoP.E. translated more than a fourth part of the “ Metamorphoses.” If he kept the same pro portion in his other exercises, it cannot be thought that his loss was great. - He tells of himself, in his poems, that “he “lisp'd in numbers;” and used to say that he could not remember the time when he began to make verses. . In the style of fićtion it might have been said of him as of Pindar, that, when he lay in his cradle, “the bees swarmed “ about his mouth.”. - - About the time of the Revolution, his fa ther, who was undoubtedly disappointed by the sudden blast of popish prosperity, quitted his trade, and retired to Binfield in Windsor Forest, with about twenty thousand pounds; for which, being conscientiously determined not to entrust it to the government, he found no better use than that of locking it up in a chest, and taking from it what his expences required; and his life was long enough to . consume a great part of i t , before h i s son came t o the inheritance. . . - a a “ To Binfield Pope was called b y h i s father when h e was about twelve years old; and there h e had for a few months the assistance o f one Deane, another priest, o f whom h e learned P.O.P.E. - 5


learned only to construe a little of “Tully's “Offices.” How Mr. Deane could spend, with a boy who had translated so much of “ Ovid,” some months over a small part of “Tully's Offices,” it is now vain to in quire.****

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. . . . . . . . .” -- . Of a youth so successfully employed, and so conspicuously improved, a minute account must be naturally desired; but curiosity must be contented with confused, imperfeót, and sometimes improbable intelligence. Pope, finding little advantage from external help, resolved thenceforward to direét himself, and at twelve formed a plan of study which he completed with little other incitement than the desire of excellence, on a ono His primary and principal purpose was to be a poet, with which his father accidentally concurred, by proposing subjećts, and obliging him to correót his performances by many re visals; after which the old gentleman, when he was satisfied, would say, “these are good “rhymes.” r In his perusal of the English poets he soon distinguished the versification of Dryden, which he considered as the model to be studied, and was impressed with such vene - - - B3 ration 6. PoP.E. ration for his instrućtor, that he persuaded some-friends to take him to the coffee-house which Dryden frequented, and pleased him iself with having seen him. “ , . Dryden died May 1, 17or, some days be: fore Pope was twelve, so early must he there fore have felt the power of harmony, and the zeal of genius. - Who does not wish that Dryden could have known the value of the homage that was paid him, and foreseen the greatness of h i s young admirer? . . . . . - The earliest o f Pope's produćtions i s his “Ode o n Solitude,” written before h e was twelve, i n which there i s nothing more than other forward boys have attained, and which i s n o t equal t o Cowley's performances a t the fame age.

His time was now wholly spent i n reading and writing. As h e read the Clafficks, h e amused himself with translating them; and a t fourteen made a version o f the first book o f t h e “Thebais,” which, with some revision, h e afterwards published. He must have been a t this time, i f h e had n o help, a considerable proficient i n the Latin tongue, B y Dryden's Fables, which had then been not long published, and were much i n the - - hands PoP.E. y hands of poetical readers, he was tempted to try his own skill in giving Chaucer a more fashionable appearance, and put “January “and May,” and the “Prologue of the Wife of

  • Bath,” into modern English. He translato

ed likewise the Epistle of “Sappho to Phaon” from Ovid, to complete the version which was before imperfect; and wrote some other small pieces, which he afterwards printed. -- He sometimes imitated the English poets, and professed to have written at fourteen his sm upon “Silence,” after Rochester's “No. “thing.” He had now formed h i s versifi tation, and the smoothness o f his numbers surpassed his original: but this i s a small part o f his praise; h e discovers such acquaintance both with human and publick affairs, a s i s not easily conceived t o have been attainable b y a boy o f fourteen i n Windsor Forest, ... Next year he was desirous o f opening t o himself new sources o f knowledge, b y mak ing himself acquainted with modern lane guages; and removed for a time t o London, that h e might study French and Italian, which, a s h e desired nothing more than t o read them, were b y diligent application soon dispatched, Of Italian learning h e does not appear t o

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. . . . . . B 4 - have 8 P.O.P.E. have ever made much use in his subsequent studies. . - . . . . . . . He then returned to Binfield, and delighted himself with his own poetry. He tried a l l styles, and many subjećts. He wrote a co medy, a tragedy, a n epick poem, with pane gyricks o n a l l the princes o f Europe; and, a s h e confesses, “ thought himself the greatest “genius that ever was.” Self-confidence i s the first requisite t o great undertakings. He, indeed, who forms his opinion o f himself i n solitude, without knowing the powers o f other men, i s very liable t o error: but i t was the felicity o f Pope t o rate himself a t his real value.

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Most o f his puerile produćtions were, by his maturer judgment, afterwards destroyed; “‘Alcander,” the epick poem, was burnt b y the persuasion o f Atterbury. The tragedy was founded o n the legend o f S t . Genevieve. Of the comedy there i s n o account. - - Concerning his studies i t i s related, that h e translated “ Tully o n old Age;” and that, besides his books o f poetry and criticism, h e read “ Temple's Essays” and “Locke o n “ Human Understanding.” . . . His reading, though his favourite authors are not known; appears PoPE. 9 appears to have been sufficiently extensive and multifarious; for his early pieces shew, with sufficient evidence, his knowledge of books. He that is pleased with himself, easily ima gines that he shall please others. Sir William Trumbal, who had been ambassador at Con stantinople, and secretary of state, when -he retired from business, fixed his residence in the neighbourhood of Binfield. Pope, not yet fixteen, was introduced to the statesman of sixty, and so distinguished himself, that their interviews ended in friendship and cor respondence. Pope was, through h i s whole life, ambitious o f splendid acquaintance; and h e seems t o have wanted neither diligence nor fuccess i n attracting the notice o f the great; for from his first entrance into the world, and his entrance was very early, h e was ad mitted t o familiarity with those whose rank o r station made them most conspicuous. . From the age o f sixteen the life o f Pope, a s a n author, may b e properly computed. He now wrote h i s Pastorals, which were shewn t o the Poets and Criticks o f that time: a s they well deserved, they were read with admiration, and many praises were bestowed upon upon them and upon the Preface, which is both elegant and learned in a high degree: they were, however, not published t i l l five years afterwards. - w - - - Cowley, Milton, and Pope, a r e distinguish e d among the English Poets b y the early ex ertion o f their powers; but the works o f Cow ley alone were published i n his childhood, and therefore o f him only can i t b e certain that his puerile performances received n o improve iment from his maturer studies. At this time began his acquaintance with Wycherley, a man who seems t o have had among his contemporaries his full share of reputation, t o have been esteemed without virtue, and caressed without good-humour. Pope was proud o f this notice; Wycherley wrote verses i n his praise, which h e was charged b y Dennis with writing t o himself, and they agreed for a while t o flatter one another. I t i s pleasant t o remark how soon Pope learned the cant o f a n author, and began t o treat criticks with contempt, though h e had yet suffered nothing from them.

-- But the fondness o f Wycherley was too violent t o last. His esteem o f Pope was such, that h e submitted some poems t o his revision, - and P.O.P.E. ff: and when Pope, perhaps proud of such con fidence, was sufficiently bold in h i s criticisms, and liberal i n h i s alterations, the old scribbler was angry t o s e e h i s pages defaced, and felt more pain from the detection than content . from the amendment o f h i s faults. They parted; but Pope always confidered him with kindness, and visited him a little time before he died. . . . . . . . . . Another o f his early correspondents was. Mr. Cromwell, o f whom I have learned: nothing particular but that h e used t o ride a hunting i n a tye-wig. He was fond, and perhaps vain, o f amusing himself with po etry and criticism

and sometimes sent his performances t o Pope, who did not forbear such remarks a s were now and then unwel come. Pope, i n his turn, put the juvenile version o f “ Statius” into his hands for correótion: o , to 3 . . . . .

Their correspondence afforded the publick i t s first knowledge o f Pope's Epistolary Pow ers; for his Letters were given b y Cromwell t o one Mrs. Thomas; and she many years afterwards sold them t o Curll, who inserted them i n a volume o f his Miscellanies. . . . . . . . . Walsh, H2 P.O.P.E. - Walsh, a name, yet preserved among the minor poets, was one of his first encouragers. His regard was gained by the Pastorals, and from him. Pope, received the council from which he seems to have regulated his studies. Walsh advised him to correótness, which, as he told him, , the English poets had hitherto neglected, and which therefore was left to him as a basis of fame; and being delighted with rural poems, recommended to him to write a pastoral comedy, like those which are read so eagerly in Italy; a design which Pope probably did not approve, as he did not follow i t . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . --- o Pope had now declared himself a poet; and thinking himself entitled t o poetical con versation, began a t seventeen t o frequent Will's, a coffee-house o n the north side o f Russel-Street i n Covent-gardan, where the wits o f that time used t o assemble, and where Dryden had, when h e lived, been accustomed t o preside. . . . - - - During this period o f his life h e was inde fatigably diligent, and insatiably curious; wanting health for violent, and money for expensive pleasures; and having excited i n himself POPE. 13 himself very strong desires of intelle&ual eminence, he spent much of his time over his books; but he read only to store his mind with faāts and images, seizing a l l that his authors presented with undistinguishing vora city, and with a n appetite for knowledge too eager t o b e nice. I n a mind like his, how ever, all the faculties were a t once involun tarily improving. Judgment i s forced upon u s b y experience. He that reads many books must compare one opinion o r one style with . another; and, when h e compares, must ne cessarily distinguish, rejećt, and prefer. But the account given b y himself o f his studies was, that from fourteen t o twenty h e read only f o r amusement, from twenty t o twenty seven for improvement and instrućtion; that i n the first part o f his time h e desired only t o know, and i n the second h e endeavoured t o judge. - • The Pastorals, which had been f o r sometime handed about among poets and criticks, were a t last printed (1709) i n Tonson's Miscellany, i n a volume which began with the Pastorals o f Philips, and ended with those o f Pope. The same year was written the “Essay o n “Criticism,” a work which displays such extent

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FOp#. •** o extent of comprehension, such nicety of dif: tinétion, such acquaintance with mankind, and such knowledge both of ancient and mo dern learning, as are not often attained by the maturest age and longest experience. It was published about two years afterwards; and, being praised by Addison in the “Spectator” with sufficient liberality, met with so much favour as enraged Dennis, “who,” he says, “found himself attacked, without any man “ner of provocation on h i s fide, and attacked “in h i s person, instead o f h i s writings, b y

one who was wholly a stranger t o him, a t “a time when a l l the world knew h e was “ persecuted b y fortune; and not only saw “ that this was attempted i n a clandestine

manner, with the utmost falsehood and ca “lumny, but found that a l l this was done “ b y a little affected hypocrite; who had “nothing i n h i s mouth a t the same time but “truth, candour, friendship, good-nature,

humanity, and magnanimity.” How the attack was clandestine i s not easily perceived, nor how his person i s depreciated; but h e seems t o have known something. o f Pope's charaćter, i n whom may b e discovered a n appetite t o talk too frequently o f h i s own virtues. - - The fOPE. 15

  • The pamphlet is such as rage might be

expected to dićtate. He supposes himself to be asked two questions; whether the Effay will succeed; and who or what is the author. I t s success h e admits t o b e secured b y the false opinions them prevalent; the author h e concludes t o b e “ young and raw.”

“First, because h e discovers a sufficiency “beyond h i s last ability, and hath rashly “undertaken a task infinitely above his force. “ Secondly, while this little author struts, “and affects the dićtatorian air, h e plainly “shews, that a t t h e same time h e i s under “the rod; and, while h e pretends t o give “law t o others, i s a pedantick slave t o au “thority and opinion. Thirdly, h e hath, “like school-boys, borrowed both from liv “ing and dead. Fourthly, h e knows not h i s “own mind, and frequently contradićts him “self. Fifthly, h e i s almost perpetually i n “the wrong.” - All these positions h e attempts t o prove b y quotations and remarks; but his desire t o d o mischief i s greater than his power. He has, however, justly criticised some passages i n - - . There 16 PoPE. There are whom Heaven has bless'd with store of wit, - Yet want as much again to manage i t

For wit and judgment ever a r e a t strise— I t i s apparent that wit has two meanings, and that what i s wanted, though called wit, i s truly judgment. S o far Dennis i s undoubt edly right; but not content with argument, he will have a little mirth, and triumphs over the first couplet i n terms too elegant t o b e forgotten. “By the way, what rare numbers

are here ! Would not one swear that this “ youngster had espoused some antiquated

Muse, who had sued out a divorce o n “ account o f impotence from some superan

nuated sinner; and, having been p—xed “by her former spouse, has got the gout i n

her decrepit age, which makes her hobble “...so damnably.” This was the man who would reform a nation finking into barbarity. I n another place Pope himself allowed that Dennis had detected one of those blunders which are called “bulls.” The first edition had this line: - What i s this wit— -- Where wanted, scorn'd; and envied where ac quir'd? “ How,” PO.P.E. 17 “How,” says t h e critick, “can w i t b e scorn’d “where i t i s n o t I s n o t this a figure fre “quently employed i n Hibernian land The “person that wants this w i t may indeed b e “ scorned, but t h e scorn shews t h e honour “which t h e contemner h a s f o r wit.” O f this remark Pope made t h e proper use, b y correčting t h e passage. I have preserved, I think, a l l that i s rea sonable i n Dennis's criticism; i t remains that justice b e done t o h i s delicacy. “For “his acquaintance (says Dennis) h e names Mr. “Walsh, who had b y n o means the qualifi “cation which this author reckons absolutely - “necessary t o a critick, i t being very certain “that h e was, like this Essayer, a very indif “ferent poet; h e loved t o b e well-dressed; “and I remember a little young gentleman “whom Mr. Walsh used t o take into h i s “company, a s a double f o i l t o h i s person “and capacity.—Inquire between Sunning “hill and Oakingham f o r a young, short, “squab gentleman, t h e very bow o f t h e God “of Love, and tell me whether h e b e a pro 6& per author t o make personal reflečtions?— “He may extol the ancients, but h e has rea $ Vol. IV. - C

son 18 POPE. “ son to thank the gods that he was born a “modern; for had he been born of Grecian “parents, and his father consequently had by “law had the absolute disposal of him, his “life had been no longer than that of one “of his poems, the life of half a day. —Let “ the person of a gentleman of his parts be “never so contemptible, his inward man is “ten times more ridiculous; it being impos “sible that his outward form, though it be “that of downright monkey, should differ so “much from human shape, as his unthink “ing immaterial part does from human un “derstanding.” Thus began the hostility be tween Pope and Dennis, which, though it was suspended for a short time, never was appeased. Pope seems, at first, to have at tacked him wantonly; but though he always, professed to despise him, he discovers, by mentioning him very often, that he felt his force or his venom. - Of this Essay Pope declared, that he did not expect the sale to be quick, because “not “one gentleman in fixty, even of liberal edu “...cation, could understand it.” The gentle men, and the education of that time, seem to - have POP.E.. 19 have been of a lower charader than they are of this. He mentioned a thousand copies as a numerous impression. : - Dennis was not h i s only censurer; the zealous papists thought the monks treated with too much contempt, and Erasmus too studiously praised; b u t t o these objections h e had not much regard. . . . . . . The “Essay” has been translated into French b y Hamilton, author o f the “Comte “ d e Grammont,” whose version was never printed, b y Robotham, secretary t o t h e King. f o r Hanover, and b y Resnel; and commented - b y D r . Warburton, who has discovered i n i t such order and connexion a s was not perceived b y Addison, nor, a s i s said, intended b y t h e author. - -

Almost every poem, confisting o f precepts, i s s o f a r arbitrary and immethodical, that many o f the paragraphs may change places with n o apparent inconvenience; for o f two o r more positions, depending upon some re mote and general principle, there i s seldom any cogent reason why one should precede the other. But for the order i n which they stand, whatever i t be, a little ingenuity may easily give a reason. “It i s possible,” says - C 2 - Hooker, 26. POPE. Hooker, “that, by long circumdućtion, from “any one truth a l l truth may b e inferred.” Of a l l homogeneous truths, a t least o f all. truths respecting the same general end, i n whatever series they may b e produced, a concatenation b y intermediate ideas may b e formed, such a s , when i t i s once shewn, shall appear natural; but i f this order b e reversed, another mode o f connexion equally specious may b e found o r made. Aristotle i s praised for naming Fortitude first o f the cardinal vir tues, a s that without which no other virtue can steadily b e pračtised; but h e might, with equal propriety, have placed Prudence and Justice before i t , fince without Prudence Fortitude i s mad; without Justice, i t i s mis chievous. , - - - - A s the end o f method i s perspicuity, that series i s sufficiently regular that avoids ob scurity; and where there i s n o obscurity, i t will not b e difficult t o discover method. I n the “ Spectator” was published the “Messiah,” which h e first submitted t o the perusal o f Steele, and correóted i n compliance with his criticisms. - - I t i s reasonable t o infer, from his Letters, that the verses o n the “Unfortunate Lady" IO - were

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P.O.P.E. 2I were written about the time when h i s “Essay” was published. The Lady's name and adven tures I have sought with fruitless inquiry”. I can therefore tell no more than I have learned from Mr. Ruffhead, who writes with the confidence o f one who could trust h i s i n formation. She was a woman o f eminent rank and large fortune, the ward o f a n uncle, who, having given her a proper education, expečted like other guardians that she should make a t least a n equal match; and fuch h e proposed t o her, but found i t rejećted i n favour o f a young gentleman o f inferior condition. -

Having discovered the correspondence be tween the two lovers, and finding the young lady determined t o abide b y her own choice, h e supposed that separation might d o what can rarely b e done b y arguments, and sent ther into a foreign country, where she was obliged t o converse only with those from whom her uncle had nothing t o fear. Her lover took care t o repeat his vows; but his letters were intercepted and carried t o her guardian, who direéted her t o b e watched

See Gent. Mag. vol. LI. p . 314. N . C 3 - with £2 POPE. with still greater vigilance, t i l l o f this restraint fhe grew s o impatient, that she bribed a wo. man-servant t o procure her a sword, which fhe direéted t o her heart. - From this account, given with evident in tention t o raise the Lady's chara&ter, i t does not appear that she had any claim t o praise, nor much t o compassion. She seems t o have been impatient, violent, and un governable. Her uncle's power could not have lasted long; the hour o f liberty and choice would have come i n time. But her desires were too hot for delay, and she liked self-murder better than suspence. . . . . . . Nor i s i t discovered that the uncle, who ever h e was, i s with much justice delivered t o posterity a s “a false Guardian;” h e seems t o have done only that for which a guardian i s appointed: h e endeavoured t o direct his niece till she should b e able t o direét herself. Poetry has not often been worse employed than i n dignifying the amorous fury o f a raving girl. Not long after, h e wrote the “Rape o f the “Lock,” the most airy, the most ingenious, and the most delightful o f a l l his compositions, occasioned b y a frolick o f gallantry, rather too POPE. 23 too familiar, in which Lord Petre cut o f f a lock o f Mrs. Arabella Fermor's hair. This, whether stealth o r violence, was s o much resented, that the commerce o f the two fami. lies, before very friendly, was interrupted. Mr. Caryl, a gentleman who, being secretary t o King James's Queen, had followed his Mistress into France, and who being the author o f “Sir Solomon Single,” a comedy, and some translations, was entitled t o the notice o f a Wit, solicited Pope t o endeavour a reconciliation b y a ludicrous poem, which might bring both the parties t o a better temper. I n compliance with Caryl's re quest, though his name was for a long time marked only b y the first and last letter, C–l, a poem o f two cantos was written (1711), a s i s said, i n a fortnight, and sent t o the offend e d Lady, who liked i t well enough t o shew it: and, with the usual process o f literary transačtions, the author, dreading a surrepti tious edition, was forced t o publish i t . The event i s said t o have been such a s was desired; the pacification and diversion o f a l l t o whom i t related, except Sir George Brown, who complained with some bitterness that, i n the charaćter o f Sir Plume, h e was - C 4 made 24 PoPE.

made to t a l k nonsense. Whether a l l t h i s b e true I have some doubt; f o r a t Paris, a few years ago, a niece o f Mrs. Fermor, who pre fided in, a n English Convent, mentioned Pope's work with very little gratitude, rather a s a n insult than a n honour; and s h e may b e supposed t o have inherited the opinion o f her family. . . . • - - A t i t s first appearance i t was termed b y Addison “merum sal.” Pope, however, saw that i t was capable o f improvement; and, having luckily contrived t o borrow his machinery from t h e Rosicrucians, imparted the scheme with which his head was teem ing t o Addison, who told him that h i s work, a s i t stood, was “a delicious little thing.” and gave him n o encouragement t o re touch i t . - -

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This has been too hastily confidered a s a n instance o f Addison's jealousy; for a s h e could not-guess the condućt o f the new design, o r the possibilities o f pleasure com prised i n a fićtion o f which there had been n o examples, h e might very reasonably and kindly persuade the author t o acquiesce i n h i s own prosperity, and forbear a n attempt which h e confidered a s a n unnecessary hazard. - - Addison's POPE. 25 Addison's council was happily rejected. Pope foresaw the future efflorescence of ima gery then budding in h i s mind, and resolved t o spare n o art, o r industry o f cultivation. The soft luxuriance o f h i s fancy was already shooting, and a l l the gay varieties o f dićtion - were ready a t his hand t o colour and embel lish i t . His attempt was justified b y i t s success. The “Rape o f the Lock” stands forward, i n the classes o f literature, a s the most exquisite example o f ludicrous poetry. Berkeley con gratulated him upon the display o f powers more truly poetical than h e had shewn before; with elegance o f description and justness o f precepts, h e had now exhibited boundless fertility o f invention. - He always confidered the intermixture o f the machinery with the aëtion a s his most successful exertion o f poetical art. He in deed could never afterwards produce any thing o f such unexampled excellence. Those performances, which strike with wonder, are combinations o f skilful genius with happy casualty; and i t i s not likely that any felicity, like the discovery o f a new race o f preter natural 26 POPE. natural agents, should happen twice to t h e same man. Of this poem the author was, I think, allowed t o enjoy the praise for a long time without disturbance. Many years afterwards Dennis published some remarks upon i t , with very little force, and with n o effect; for the opinion o f the publick was already settled, and i t was n o longer a t the mercy o f criticism. About this time h e published the “Temple “ o f Fame,” which, a s h e tells Steele i n their correspondence, h e had written two years before; that i s , when h e was only twenty two years old, a n early time o f life for s o much learning and s o much observation a s that work exhibits. On this poem Dennis afterwards published some remarks, o f which the most reasonable i s , that some o f the lines represent Motion a s exhibited b y Sculpture. -

Of the Epistle from “Eloísa t o Abelard,” I d o not know the date. His first inclination t o attempt a composition o f that tender kind arose, a s Mr. Savage told me, from his per usal o f Prior's “Nut-brown Maid.” How much POPE. 27 much he has surpassed Prior's work, it is not necessary to mention, when perhaps it may be said with justice, that he has excelled every composition of the same kind. The mixture of religious hope and resignation gives an elevation and dignity to disappointed love, which images merely natural cannot bestow. The gloom of a convent strikes the imagination with f a r greater force than the solitude o f a grove. - This piece was, however, not much his favourite i n his latter years, though I never heard upon what principle h e slighted i t . I n the next year (1713) h e published

Windsor Forest;” o f which part was, a s h e relates, written a t fixteen, about the same time a s his Pastorals; and the latter part was added afterwards: where the addition begins, we are not told. The lines relating t o the Peace confess their own date. I t i s dedicated t o Lord Lansdowne, who was then high i n reputation and influence among the Tories; and i t i s said, that the conclusion o f the poem gave great pain t o Addison, both a s a poet and a politician. Reports like this are often spread with boldness very disproportionate t o their evidence. Why should Addison receive any 28 P.O.P.E. ' any particular disturbance from the last lines of “Windsor Forest ?” If contrariety of opinion could poison a politician, he would not live a day; and, as a poet, he must have felt Pope's force of genius much more from many other parts of his works. The pain that Addison might feel it is not likely that he would confess; and it is certain that he so well suppressed his discontent, that Pope now thought himself his favourite; for, having been consulted in the revisal of “Cato,” he introduced it by a Prologue; and, when Dennis published his Remarks, undertook not indeed to vindicate but to revenge h i s friend, b y a “Narrative o f the “ Frenzy o f John Dennis.” . There i s reason t o believe that Addison gave n o encouragement t o this disingenuous hostility; for says Pope, i n a Letter t o him, “indeed your opinion, that 'tis entirely t o “ b e neglected, would b e my own i n my “own case; but I felt more warmth here “ than I did when I first saw his book “ against myself (though indeed i n two “ minutes i t made me heartily merry).” Addison was not a man on whom such cant o f sensibility could make much impression. He - P.O.P.E. 29 He left the pamphlet to itself, having dis owned it to Dennis, and perhaps did not think Pope to have deserved much by his officiousness. • - . . . " This year was printed i n the “ Guardian” the ironical comparison between the Pastorals o f Philips and Pope; a composition o f artifice, criticism, and literature, t o which nothing equal will easily b e found. The superiority o f Pope i s s o ingeniously dissembled, and the feeble lines o f Philips s o skilfully preferred, that Steele, being deceived, was unwilling t o print the paper left Pope should b e offended. Addison immediately saw the writer's design; and, a s i t seems, had malice enough t o con ceal his discovery, and t o permit a publica tion which, b y making h i s friend Philips ridiculous, made him for ever a n enemy t o Pope. - I t appears that about this time Pope had a strong inclination t o unite the a r t o f Paint ing with that o f Poetry, and put himself under the tuition o f Jervas. He was near fighted, and therefore not formed b y nature for a painter: h e tried, however, how far h e could advance, and sometimes persuaded his friends t o f i t . A pićture o f Betterton, supposed 3o P.O.P.E. fupposed to be drawn by him, was in the possession of Lord Mansfield*: if this was taken from life, he must have begun to paint earlier; for Betterton was now dead. Pope's ambition of this new art produced some encomiastick verses to Jervas, which certainly shew his power as a poet; but I have been told that they betray his ignorance of painting. He appears to have regarded Betterton with kindness and esteem; and after his death published, under his name, a version into modern English of Chaucer's Prologues, and one of his Tales, which, as was related by Mr. Harte, were believed to have been the performance of Pope himself by Fenton, who made him a gay offer of five pounds, if he would shew them in the hand of Betterton. - - The next year (1713) produced a bolder attempt, by which profit was sought as well as praise. The poems which he had hitherto written, however they might have diffused his name, had made very little addition to his fortune. The allowance which his father made him, though proportioned to what he

  • It is still at Caen Wood. N.

had, P.O.P.E. 31. had, it might be liberal, could not be large; his religion hindered him, from the occupa tion of any civil employment; and he com plained that he wanted even money to buy books “. - - - - . . . . . . . .

He therefore resolved to try how far the

favour of the publick extended, by soliciting a subscription to a version of the “ Iliad,” with large notes.

To print by subscription was, for some

time, a pračtice peculiar to the English. The first considerable work, for which this ex pedient was employed, is said to have been Dryden’s “Virgilt;” and it had been tried again with great success when the “Tatlers” were colle&ted into volumes. There was reason to believe that Pope's attempt would be successful. He was in the full bloom of reputation, and was personally known to almost a l l whom dignity o f em ployment o r 'splendour o f reputation had made eminent; h e conversed indifferently with both parties, and never disturbed the

Spence. + Earlier than this, viz. i n 1688, Milton’s “Paradise Lost”. had been published with great success b y subscription, i n folio, under the patronage o f Mr. (afterwards Lord) Sommers. R. publick 32 P.O.P.E. f publick with his political opinions; and id might be naturally expečted, as each fačtion then boasted i t s literary zeal, that the great men, who on other occasions pračtised a l l the violence o f opposition, would emulate each other i n their encouragement o f a poet who delighted all, and by whom none had been offended. With those hopes, h e offered a n English

Iliad” t o subscribers, i n fix volumes i n quarto, for f i x guineas; a fum, according t o the value o f money a t that time, b y n o means inconsiderable, and greater than I believe t o have been ever asked before. His proposal, however, was very favourably received; and the patrons o f literature were busy t o recom mend his undertaking, and promote his in terest. Lord Oxford, indeed, hamented that such a genuis should b e wasted upon a work not original; but proposed n o means b y which h e might live without i t . Addison recom mended caution and moderation, and advised him not t o b e content with the praise o f half the nation, when h e might b e universally - - favoured. -- -- The greatness o f the design, the popularity o f the author, and the attention o f the literary world, PoPE. . . 33 world, naturally raised such expediations of the future sale, that the booksellers made their offers with great eagerness; but the highest bidder was Bernard Lintot, who became proprietor on condition of supplying, at his own expence, a l l the copies which were t o b e delivered t o subscribers, o r presented t o friends, and paying two hundred pounds for every volume. Of the Quartos i t was, I believe, stipulated that none should b e printed but for the author, that the subscription might not b e depreciated; but Lintot impressed, the same pages upón a small Folio, and paper perhaps a little thinner; and sold exačtly a t half the price, for half-a-guinea each volume, books s o little inferiour t o the Quartos, that b y a fraud o f trade, those Folios, being afterwards short ened b y cutting away t h e top and bottom, were sold a s copies printed f o r t h e subscribers. Lintot printed two hundred and fifty o n royal paper i n Folio, for two guineas a volume; o f the small Folio, having printed seventeen hundred and fifty copies o f t h e first volume, he reduced the number i n the other volumes t o a thousand. . . . " Vol. IV. D I t 34 PoPE. It is unpleasant to relate that the bookseller, after a l l his hopes and a l l his liberality, was, b y a very unjust and illegal ačtion, defrauded o f his profit. An edition o f the English “ Iliad” was printed i n Holland i n Duodeci mo, and imported clandestinely for the grati fication o f those who were impatient t o read what they could not yet afford t o buy. This fraud could only b e counteračted b y a n edi tion equally cheap and more commodious; and Lintot was compelled t o contračt his Folio a t once into a Duodecimo, and lose the advantage o f a n intermediate gradation. The notes, which i n the Dutch copies were placed a t the end o f each book, a s they had been i n the large volumes, were now subjoined to the text i n the same page, and are therefore more easily consulted. Of this edition two thousand five hundred were first printed, and five thousand a few weeks afterwards; but indeed great numbers were necessary t o pro duce considerable profit. - - -- Pope, having now emitted his proposals, and engaged not only his own reputation, but i n some degree that o f h i s friends who patronised h i s subscription, beganto b e frighted q . at POPE. 35 at his own undertaking; and finding him self at first embarrassed with difficulties, which retarded and oppressed him, he was for a time timorous and uneasy; had his nights disturbed by dreams of longjourneys through unknown ways, and wished, as he said, “that somebody “would hang him”.” - This misery, however, was not of long continuance; he grew by degrees more ac quainted with Homer's images and expres. fions, and practice increased h i s facility o f versification. I n a short time h e represents himself a s dispatching regularly fifty verses a day, which would shew him b y a n easy com putation the termination o f h i s labour. His own diffidence was not h i s only vexa tion. He that asks a subscription soon finds that h e has enemies. All who do not en courage him, defame him. He that wants money will rather b e thought angry than poor; and h e that wishes t o save his money conceals h i s avarice b y h i s malice. Addison had hinted his suspicion that Pope was too much a Tory; and some o f the Tories sus pećted h i s principles because h e had contri

, • Spence.

- j . buted 36 POP-E. buted to the “Guardian,” which was carried on by Steele. To those who censured his politicks were added enemies yet more dangerous, who called in question his knowledge of Greek, and his qualifications for a translator of Homer. To these he made no publick op position; but in one of his Letters escapes from them as well as he can. At an age like his, for he was not more than twenty-five, with an irregular education, and a course of life of which much seems to have passed in convers ation, it is not very likely that he overflowed with Greek. But when he felt himself de ficient he sought affistance; and what man of learning would refuse to help him : Minute inquiries into the force of words are less necessary in translating Homer than other poets, because h i s positions are general, and his representations natural, with very little dependence o n local o r temporary cus toms, o n those changeable scenes o f artificial life, which, b y mingling original with ac cidental notions, and crowding the mind with images which time effaces, produces ambiguity i n dićtion, and obscurity i n books. To POPE. 37 To this open display of unadulterated nature it must be ascribed, that Homer has fewer pas sages of doubtful meaning than any other poet either in the learned or in modern languages. I have read of a man, who being, by h i s ignorance o f Greek, compelled t o gratify his curiosity with the Latin printed o n the opposite page, declared that, from the rude simplicity o f the lines literally rendered, h e formed nobler ideas o f the Homeric majesty, than from the laboured elegance o f polished versions. Those literal translations were always a t hand, and from them h e could easily obtain his author's sense with sufficient certainty; and among the readers o f Homer the number i s very small o f those who find much i n the Greek more than i n the Latin, except the musick of the numbers, - ... I f more help was wanting, h e had the poetical translation o f “Eobanus Heffus,” a n unweared writer o f Latin verses; he had the French Homers o f La Valterie and Dacier, and the English o f Chapman, Hobbes, and Ogilby. With Chapman, whose work, though now totally negle&ted, seems t o have been popular almost t o the end o f the last century, D 3 he 38 PO.P.E. he had very frequent consultations, and perhaps never translated any passage t i l l h e had read his version, which indeed h e has been sometimes suspected o f using instead o f the original. -

Notes were likewise t o b e provided; f o r the f i x volumes would have been very little more than s i x pamphlets without them. What the mere perusal o f the text could suggest, Pope wanted n o affistance t o colleå . o r methodize; but more was necessary; many pages were t o b e filled, and learning.. . must supply materials t o wit and judgment. . . . Something might b e gathered from Dacier; but no man loves t o be indebted t o his contemporaries, and Dacier was accessible t o common readers. Eustathius was therefore necessarily consulted. To read Eustathius, o f whose work there was then n o Latin version, I suspe&t Pope, i f h e had been willing, not t o have been able; some other was therefore t o b e found, who had leisure a s well a s abilities; and h e was doubtless most readily employed who would d o much work for little money. . . . . . The history o f the notes has never been traced. Broome, i n h i s preface t o h i s poems,

declares POPE. 39. declares himself the commentator “in part “ upon the Iliad;” and it appears from Fen ton's Letter, preserved in the Museum, that Broome was at first engaged in consulting Eustathius; but that after a time, whatever was the reason, he desisted; another man of Cambridge was then employed, who soon grew weary of the work; and a third, that was recommended by Thirlby, is now dis covered to have been Jortin, a man since well known to the learned world; who complained that Pope, having accepted and approved his performance, never testified any curiosity to fee him, and who professed to have forgotten the terms on which he worked. The terms which Fenton uses are very mercantile: “I “think at first fight that his performance is “very commendable, and have sent word “ for him to finish the 17th book, and to “ send it with his demands for his trouble. “I have here enclosed the specimen; if the “rest come before the return, I will keep “ them till I receive your order.” " Broome then offered his service a second time, which was probably accepted, as they had afterwards a closer correspondence. Par nell contributed the Life of Homer, which D4 Pope 4o POP.E. Pope found. so harsh, that he took great pains in correóting it; and by his own dili gence, with such help as kindness or money could procure him, in somewhat more than five years he completed his version of the “ Iliad,” with the notes. He began it in 1712, his twenty-fifth year; and concluded it in 1718, his thirtieth year. - When we find him translating fifty lines a day, it is natural to suppose that he would have brought his work to a more speedy con clusion. The “Iliad,” containing less than fixteen thousand verses, might have been dis patched in less than three hundred and twenty days by fifty verses in a day. The notes, compiled with the affistance of his mer cenaries, could not be supposed to require more time than the text. According to this calculation, the progress of Pope may seem to have been slow; but the distance is com monly very great between ačtual perform ances and speculative possibility. It is natural to suppose, that as much as h a s been done t o day may b e done to-morrow; but o n the morrow some difficulty emerges, o r some ex ternal impediment obstructs. Indoleňce, interruption, business, and pleasure, a l l take their POPE. 41

their turns of retardation; and every long work is lengthened by a thousand causes that can, and ten thousand that cannot, be re counted. Perhaps no extensive and multi farious performance was ever effected within the term originally fixed in the undertaker's mind. He that runs against Time, has an antagonist not subjećt to casualties. The encouragement given to this transla tion, though report seems to have over-rated i t , was such a s the world has not often feen. The subscribers were five hundred and seventy-five. The copies for which subscrip tions were given, were fix hundred and fifty four; and only six hundred and sixty were printed. For those copies Pope had nothing t o pay; h e therefore received, including the two hundred pounds a volume, five thousand three hundred and twenty pounds four shil lings without dedućtion, a s the books were supplied b y Lintot. - - -- B y the success o f h i s subscription Pope was relieved from those pecuniary distresses with which, notwithstanding h i s popularity, h e had hitherto struggled. Lord Oxford had often lamented his disqualification f o r publick . - . . . employ

  1. 2

POPE. employment, but never proposed a pension. While the translation of “ Homer” was in i t s progress, Mr. Craggs, then secretary o f state, offered t o procure him a pension, which, a t least during h i s ministry, might b e enjoyed with secrecy. This was not accepted b y Pope, who told him, however, that i f h e should b e pressed with want o f money, h e would send t o him for occasional sup plies. - Craggs was not long i n power, and was never solicited f o r money b y Pope, who disdained t o beg what h e did. not Want. - With t h e produćt o f this subscription, which h e had too much discretion t o squander, h e secured h i s future life from want, b y con fiderable annuities. The estate o f the Duke o f Buckingham was found t o have been charged with five hundred pounds a-year, payable t o Pope, which doubtless his trans lation enabled him t o purchase. - I t cannot b e unwelcome t o literary curio fity, that I deduce thus minutely the history o f the English “Iliad.” I t i s certainly the noblest verfion o f poetry which the world has ever seen; and i t s publication must therefore 5 - be POPE. 43 be confidered as one of t h e great events i n the annals o f Learning. To those who have skill t o estimate the excellence and difficulty o f this great work, i t must b e very desirable t o know how i t was performed, and b y what gradations i t advanced t o correótness. Of such an intel leåual process the knowledge has very rarely been attainable; but happily there remains the original copy o f the “ Iliad,” which, being obtained b y Bolingbroke a s a curiosity, descended from him t o Mallet, and i s now by the solicitation o f the late Dr. Maty reposited in the Museum. - Between this manuscript, which i s written upon accidental fragments o f paper, and the printed edition, there must have been an intermediate copy, that was perhaps destroyed a s i t returned from the press. From the first copy I have procured a few transcripts, and shall exhibit first the printed lines; then, i n a small print, those o f the manuscripts, with a l l their variations. Those words i n the small print which are given i n . Italicks, are cancelled i n the copy, and the . . . words placed under them adopted i n their Read. - - The 44. POPE. The beginning of the first book stands thus: The wrath of Peleus’ son, t h e direful spring Of a l l the Grecian woes, O Goddess, fing, That wrath which hurl’d t o Pluto's gloomy reign The souls o f mighty chiefs untimely slain. The stern Pelides' rage, O Goddess, fing, wrath Of a l l the woes o f Greece the fatal spring, Grecian That strew’d with warriours dead the Phrygian plain, heroes And peopled the dark hell with heroes slain; fill'd the shady hell with chiefs untimely Whose limbs unburied o n the naked shore, Devouring dogs and hungry vultures tore, Since great Achilles and Atrides strove; Such was the sovereign doom, and such the will o f Jove. -

r

Whose limbs, unburied o n the hostile shore, Devouring dogs and greedy vultures tore, Since first Atrides and Achilles strove;


Such was the sovereign doom, and such the will o f Jove. Declare, O Muse, i n what ill-fated hour Sprung the fierce strife, from what offended Power P . Latona’s son a dire contagion spread, And heap'd the camp with mountains o f the dead; The King o f men h i s reverend priest defy'd, And f o r the King's offence the people dy’d. Declare, O Goddess, what offended Power Enflam'd their rage, i n that ill' omen’d hour; - anger fatal, hapless Phoebus PoPE. 45 Phoebus himself the dire debate procur'd, fierce T’avenge the wrongs his injur’d priest endur'd; For this the God a dire infection spread, And heap'd the camp with millions of the dead: The King of Men the Sacred Sire defy'd, And for the King’s offence the people dy’d. For Chryses sought with costly gifts to gain His captive daughter from the Vićtor's chain; Suppliant the venerable Father stands, Apollo's awful ensigns grace h i s hands; By these h e begs, and, lowly bending down, Extends the sceptre and the laurel crown. For Chryses sought b y presents t o regain costly gifts t o gain His captive daughter from the Vićtor's chain; Suppliant the venerable father stands, Apollo’s awful ensigns grac'd his hands. - By these h e begs, and lowly bending down - The golden sceptre and the laurel crown, Presents the sceptre . For these a s ensgns o f h i s God h e bare, 9she God that sends h i s golden shafts asar; The low o n earth, the venerable man, Suppliant before the brother kings began. He sued t o all, but chief implor'd for grace, The brother kings o f Atreus' royal race; Yekings and warriours, may your vows b e crown'd, And Troy's proud walls l i e level with t h e ground, May Jove restore you, when your toils are o'er, Safe t o the pleasures o f your native shore. To 46 PoPE. To a l l h e sued, but chief implor'd for grace The brother kings o f Atreus’ royal race. Yesöns o f Atreus, may your vows b e crown'd, Kings and warriours 7'our labours, b y t h e God b e a l l your labours crown'd; S o may t h e Gods your arms with conqueft bloss, And Troy's proud walls lie level with the ground:

  1. or

p laid ground; And crown your labours with deserv'd succes;

May Jove restore you, when your toils are o'er, Safe t o the pleasures o f your native shore. But, oh! relieve a wretched parent's pain, And give Chryseis t o these arms again; I f mercy fail, yet l e t my present move, And dread avenging Phoebus, son o f Jove. But, oh! relieve a hapless parent’s pain, And give my daughter t o these arms again; Receive m y gifts; i f mercy fails, yet l e t my present move, And fear the God that deals h i s darts around, avenging Phoebus, son o f Jove. The Greeks, i n shouts, their joint affent declare The priest t o reverence, and release the fair. Not s o Atrides; he, with kingly pride, Repuls'd the sacred Sire, and thus reply'd, He said, the Greeks their joint assent declare, The father said, the gen'rous Greeks relent, To accept the ransom, and release the fair: Revere the prieff, and speak their joint assents Not s o t h e tyrant, he, with kingly pride, Atrides, - Repuls’d the sacred Sire, and thus reply'd, [Not s o the tyrant. DRYDEN.] Of PoP. E . ' 47 Of these lines, and o f the whole first book, I am told that there was yet a former copy, more varied, and more deformed with inter lineations. - The beginning o f t h e secondbookvaries very little from the printed page, and i s therefore s e t down without any parallel; the few differences d o not require t o b e elaborately displayed. Now pleasing sleep had seal’d each mortal eye; Stretch'd i n their tents the Grecian leaders lie; Th’ Immortals slumber'd o n their thrones above, All but the ever-watchful eye o f Jove. To honour Thetis' son h e bends his care, And plunge the Greeks i n a l l the woes o f war. Then bids a n empty phantom rise t o sight, And thus commands the vision o f the night: dire&s - - •. Fly hence, delusive dream, and, light a s air, To Agamemnon's royal tent repair; Bid him i n arms draw forth t h ' embattled train, March a l l his legions t o the dusty plain. Now tell the King 'tis given him t o destroy Declare ev’n now The lofty walls o f wide-extended Troy; tow’rs . For now n o more the Gods with Fate contend; At Juno's suit the heavenly fačtions end. Destruction hovers o'er yon devoted wall, hangs And nodding Ilium waits t h ’ impending fall. Invocation 48 POPE. Invocation to the Catalogue of Ships. Say, Virgins, seated round the throne divine, . All-knowing Goddesses! immortal Nine ! Since earth's wide regions, heaven's unmeasur'd height, And hell's abyss, hide nothing from your fight, (We, wretched mortals! lost in doubt below, But guess by rumour, and but boast we know) Oh say what heroes, fir’d by thirst of fame, Or urg’d by wrongs, to Troy's destrućtion came ! To count them all, demands a thousand tongues, A throat of brass and adamantine lungs. Now, Virgin Goddesses, immortal Nine! That round Olympus' heavenly summit shine, Who sees through heaven and earth, and hell profound, And a l l things know, and all things can resound; Relate what armies sought the Trojan land, What nations follow'd, and what chiefs command; (For doubtful Fame distraćts mankind below, And nothing can w e tell, and nothing know) Without your aid, t o count th” unnumber'd train, A thousand mouths, a thousand tongues were vain. Book V. v . I . But Pallas now Tydides' soul inspires, Fills with her force, and warms with a l l her fires: Above the Greeks his deathless fame t o raise, And crown her hero with distinguish'd praise, High o n his helm celestial lightnings play, His beamy shield emits a living ray; Th'un POPE. 49 Th’ unwearied blaze incessant streams supplies, Like the red star that fires th’ autumnal skies. But Pallas now Tydides’ soul inspires, Fills with her rage, and warms with a l l her fires; force, O'er a l l the Greeks decrees his fame t o raise, Above the Greeks her warriour’s fame t o raise,

. his deathless And crown her hero with immortal praise: distinguish’d Bright from his beamy cres the lightnings play, High o n helm From his broad buckler flash'd the living ray, High o n his helm celestial lightnings play, His beamy shield emits a living ray. The Goddess with her breath the flame supplies, Bright a s the star whose fires i n Autumn rise; Her breath divine thick streaming flames supplies, Bright a s the star that fires th’ autumnal skies: Th’ unwearied blaze incessant streams supplies, Like the red star that fires th’ autumnal skies

When first h e rears h i s radient orb t o sight, And bath'd i n ocean shoots a keener light, Such glories Pallas o n the chief bestow'd, Such from his arms the fierce effulgence flow'd; Onward she drives him furious t o engage, Where the fight burns, and where the thickest rage,

When fresh h e rears his radient orb t o fight, And gilds old Ocean with a blaze o f light, Bright a s the star that fires the autumnal skies, Fresh from the deep, and gilds the seas and skies, - E . Vol. IV. Sach - o 5o P-OPE, Such glories Pallas on her chief bestow'd, Such sparkling rays from his bright armour flow’d, Such from his arms the fierce effulgence flow’d; Onward she drives him headlong to engage, furious Where the war bleed, and where the fierce? rage. fight burns, thickest The sons of Dares first the combat sought, A wealthy priest, but rich without a fault; In Vulcan's fane the father's days were led The sons to toils of glorious battle bred; There liv'd a Trojan–Dares was h i s name, The priest o f Vulcan, rich, yet void o f blame; The sons o f Dares first the combat sought, A wealthy priest, but rich without a fault. Conclusion o f Book VIII. v . 687. As when the moon, refulgent lamp o f night, O'er heaven's clear azure spreads her sacred light; When not a breath disturbs the deep serene, And not a cloud o'ercasts the solemn scene; Around her throne the vivid planets roll, And stars unnumber'd gild the glowing pole; " O'er the dark trees a yellower verdure shed, And t i p with silver every mountain's head; Then shine the vales—the rocks i n prospećt rise, - A flood o f glory bursts from a l l the skies; . . . | The conscious swains, rejoicing i n the sight, Eye the blue vault, and bless the useful light. ! ... t So o -- - P . . . O P E . 5 I 'So many flames before proud Ilion blaze,

- And lighten glimmering Xanthus with their rays; The long reflection o f the distant fires

. Gleam o n the walls, and tremble o n the spires: A thousand piles the dusky horrors gild, And shoot a shady lustre o'er the field; Full fifty guards each flaming pile attend, Whose umber'd arms by fits thick flashes send; Loud neigh the coursers o'er their heaps o f corn, And ardent warriours wait the rising morn. As when i n stillness o f the filent night, As when the moon i n a l l her lustre bright, As when the moon, refulgent lamp o f night, O'er heaven's clear azure sheds her silver light; ‘pure spreads sacred As still i n air the trembling lustre stood, And o'er i t s golden border shoots a flood; When n o loose gale disturbs the deep serene, not a breath - And n o dim cloud o'ercasts the solemn scene; i . not a Around her filver throne the planets glow, And stars unnumber'd trembling beams bestow; Around her throne the vivid planets roll, And stars unnumber'd gild the glowing pole: Clear gleams o f light o'er the dark trees are seen, - - o'er the dark trees a yellow sheds, O'er the dark trees a yellower green they shed, gleam verdure And tip with silver a l l the mountain heads forest Andip with filver every mountain's head. - - - - E 2 The

  • 52

P.O.P.E. - o The vallies open, and the forests rise,

  • The vales appear, the rocks in prospe&t rise,

Then shine the vales, the rocks in prospect rise, All nature stands reveal’d before our eyes; A flood of glory bursts from all the skies. The conscious shepherd, joyful at the fight, Eyes the blue vault, and numbers every light. The conscious swains rejoicing at the fight "fhepherds gazing with delight Eye the blue vault, and bless the vivid light, g glorious useful So many flames before the navy blaze, - preud Ilion And lighten glimmering Xanthus with their rays, Wide o'er the fields to Troy extend the gleams, And tip the distant spires with fainter beams; The long reflečtions of the distant fires Gild the high walls, and tremble on the spires; Gleam on the walls, and tremble on the spires; A thousand fires at distant stations bright, - Gild the dark prospect, and dispel the night. Of these specimens every man who has cultivated poetry, or who delights to trace the mind from the rudeness of i t s first concep tions t o the elegance o f i t s last, will naturally desire a greater number; but most other readers are already tired, and I am not writing only t o poets and philosophers. The “ Iliad” was published volume by volume, a s the translation proceeded; the 'four first books appeared i n 1715. The ex - pećtation PoPE. 53 i. - o f pećtation of this work was undoubtedly high, and every man who had connected his name with criticism, or poetry, was desirous of such intelligence as might enable him to talk upon the popular topick. Halifax, who, by having been first a poet, and then a patron of poetry, had acquired the right of being a judge, was willing to hear some books while they were yet unpublished. Of this rehearsal Pope afterwards gave the following account”. “. The famous Lord Halifax was rather a “pretender to taste than really possessed of “ it.— When I had finished the two or three “ first books of my translation of the “Iliad,” “ that Lord desired to have the pleasure of “hearing them read at his house—Addison, “ Congreve, and Garth were there at the “ reading. In four or five places, Lord “Halifax stopt me very civilly, and with a “ speech each time much of the same kind, “‘I beg your pardon, Mr. Pope; but there “is something in that passage that does not “ quite please me. Be so good as to mark “ the place, and consider it a little at your “ leisure.— I am sure you can give it a little “turn.” —I returned from Lord Halifax's “with Dr. Garth, in his chariot; and, as we - -

  • Spence.

- - - E3 44 Were 54 '. POPE. &&. &G &6 44 &G &G &G £& 44 44 &C. $6 4& &4 44 “ 46 {{ 44 &ć 44 £4. 44. Joo. £6 69. nothing can be better.” were going along, was saying to the Dočtor, that, my Lord had laid me under a great deal of difficulty by such loose and general observations; that I had been thinking over the passages almost ever since, and could not guess at what it was that offended his Lordship in either of them. Garth laughed heartily at my embarrassment; said, I had not been long enough acquainted with Lord Halifax to know his way yet; that I need not puzzle myself about looking ‘ those places over and over when I got {4 home.

  • All you need do (says he) is to

leave them just as they are ; call on Lord Halifax two or three months hence, thank him for his kind observations on those pas sages, and then read them to him as altered. I have known him much longer than you have, and will be answerable for the event.”

  • I followed his advice; waited on Lord

Halifax some time after; said, I hoped he would find his objećtions to those passages removed; read them to him exactly as they were at first; and his Lordship was extremely pleased with them, and cried out, “Ay, now they are perfectly right: It P.oPE.. 55. It is seldom that the great or the wise sus. ped that they a r e despised o r cheated. Halifax, thinking this a lucky opportunity o f securing - 2 immortality, made some advances o f favour and some overtures o f advantage t o Pope, which he seems t o have received with sullen coldness. All our knowledge o f this trans aćtion i s derived from a single Letter (Dec. 1 , 1714), i n which Pope says, “I am obliged “ t o you, both for the favours you have done “ me, and those you intend me. I distrust “neither your will nor your memory, when “it i s t o d o good; and i f I ever become. “ troublesome o r solicitous, i t must not b e “ out o f expectation, but out o f gratitude. “Your Lordship may cause m e t o live “ agreeably i n the town, o r contentedly in. “ the country, which i s really a l l the dif “ference I s e t between a n easy fortune and “a small one. I t i s indeed a high strain o f “generosity i n you t o think o f making “ me easy a l l my life, only because I have “ been s o happy a s t o divert you some “few hours: but, i f I may have leave t o add “it i s because you think me n o enemy “ t o my native country, there will appear “a better reason; for I must o f confe E 4 “quence 56. PoPE. “quence be very much ( a s I sincerely am) “yours, &c.” o r These voluntary offers, and this faint ac ceptance, ended without effect. The patron. was not accustomed t o such frigid gratitude; and the poet fed his own pride with the dig nity o f independence. They probably were: suspicious o f each other. Pope would not dedicate till h e saw a t what rate his praise was valued; h e would b e “troublesome out “ o f gratitude, not expectation.” Halifax' thought himself entitled t o confidence; and would give nothing, unless h e knew what h e Íhould receive. Their commerce had its be ginning i n hope o f praise o n one side, and o f money o n the other, and ended because Pope was less eager o f money than Halifax o f praise. I t i s not likely that Halifax had any personal benevolence t o Pope; i t i s evident that Pope looked o n Halifax with scorn and hatred.” - The reputation o f this great work failed o f gaining him a patron; but i t deprived him of a friend. Addison and he were now a t the head of poetry and criticism

and both i n such a state o f elevation, that, like the two rivals i n the Roman state, one could no . . - longer POPE. 57 - longer bear an equal, nor the other a supe rior. Of the gradual abatement of kindness between friends, the beginning is often scarce ly discernible by themselves, and the process is continued by petty provocations, and in civilities sometimes peevishly returned, and sometimes contemptuously neglečted, which would escape a l l attention but that o f pride, and drop from any memory but that o f re sentment. That the quarrel o f these two wits should b e minutely deduced, i s not t o b e expected from a writer t o whom, a s Homer says, “nothing but rumour has reach “ed, and who has n o personal knowledge.” Pope doubtless approached Addison, when the reputation o f their wit first brought them together, with the respect due t o a man whose abilities were acknowledged, and who, having attained that eminence t o which he was him self aspiring, had i n his hands the distribution o f literary fame. He paid court with suffi cient diligence b y his Prologue t o “Cato,” b y his abuse o f Dennis, and with praise yet more direct, by his poem o n the “Dialogues “ o n Medals,” o f which the immediate pub lication was then intended. I n a l l this there was n o hypocrisy; for h e confessed that h e 2 - found 58 POPE. found in Addison something more pleasing than in any other man. - It may be supposed, that as Pope saw himself favoured by the world, and more frequently compared his own powers with those of others, his confidence increased, and his submission lessened; and that Addison felt no delight from the advances of a young wit, who mightt soon contend with him for the highest place. Every great man, of whatever kind be his greatness, has among his friends those who officiously, or infidiously, quicken his attention to offences, heighten his dis gust, and stimulate his resentment. Of such adherents Addison doubtless had many; and Pope was now too high to be without them. From the emission and reception of the Proposals for the “ Iliad,” the kindness of Addison seems to have abated. Jervas the painter once pleased himself (Aug. 20, 1714) with imagining that he had re-established their friendship ; and wrote to Pope that Addison once suspećted him of too close a confederacy with Swift, but was now satisfied with his condućt. To this Pope answered, a week after, that h i s engagements t o Swift were such a s his services i n regard t o the ... A

  • -

- subscription PoPE. . 59 subscription demanded, and that the Tories never put him under the necessity of asking leave to be grateful. “But,” says he, “as “Mr. Addison must be the judge in what “ regards himself, and seems to have no very “just one in regard to me, so I must own to “ you I expect nothing but civility from “him.” In the same Letter he mentions Philips, as having been busy to kindle animosity between them; but, in a Letter to Addison, he expresses some consciousness of behaviour, inattentively deficient in respect. Of Swift's industry in promoting the subscription there remains the testimony of Kennet, no friend to either him or Pope. “Nov. 2, 1713, Dr. Swift came into the coffee-house, and had a bow from every body but me, who, I confess, could not “but despise him. When I came to the anti “ chamber to wait, before prayers, Dr. Swift was the principal man of talk and business, and ačted as master of requests. -Then he instructed a young nobleman that the bes? “Poet in England was Mr. Pope (a papist),

  • who had begun a translation of Homer

“ into English verse, f o r which h e must have “ them allsuscribe; for, says he, the author “shall £C &G &C. &C Gé

&C. Go PoPE. “shall n o t begin t o print t i l l I have a thou “ sand guineas for him.” About this time i t i s likely that Steele, who was, with a l l h i s political fury, good-natured. and officious, procured a n interview between, these angry rivals, which ended i n aggravated, malevolence. On this occasion, i f the reports, b e true, Pope made his complaint with frank ness and spirit, a s a man undeservedly ne gleaed o r opposed; and Addison affeded a contemptuous unconcern, and, i n a calm even voice, reproached Pope with h i s vanity, and, telling him o f the improvements which h i s early works had received from h i s own remarks and those o f Steele, said, that he, being now engaged i n publick business, had n o longer any care f o r h i s poetical reputation; nor had any other defire, with regard t o Pope, than that h e should not, b y too much arro gance, alienate the publick. To this Pope i s , said t o have replied with. great keenness and severity, upbraiding Ad dison with perpetual dependance, and with, the abuse o f those qualifications which h e had, obtained a t the publick cost, and charging him with mean endeavours t o obstruct the progress o f rising merit. The contest rose s o high, 'POPE. 61 high, that they parted at last without any interchange of civility. - - The first volume of “Homer” was (1715) in time published; and a rival version of the first “ Iliad,” for rivals the time of their appearance inevitably made them, was im mediately printed, with the name of Tickell. It was soon perceived that, among the follow ers of Addison, Tickell had the preference, and the criticks and poets divided into factions. “I,” says Pope, “have the town, that i s , the mob, o n my side; but i t i s not uncommon for the smaller party t o supply b y industry what i t wants i n numbers. - I appeal t o the people a s my rightful judges, and while “ they are not inclined t o condemn me, shall “ not fear the high-flyers a t Button’s.” This opposition h e immediately imputed t o Addison, and complained o f i t i n terms suf ficiently resentful t o Craggs, their common friend. - When Addison's opinion was asked, h e declared the versions t o b e both good, but Tickell's t h e best that had ever been written; and sometimes said, that they were both good, but that Tickell had more o f “ Ho IIler.” Pope 62 POPE. Pope was now sufficiently irritated; his reputation and his interest were at hazard. He once intended to print together the four versions of Dryden, Maynwaring, Pope, and Tickell, that they might be readily compared, and fairly estimated. This design seems to have been defeated, by the refusal of Tonson, who was the proprietor of the other three versions. Pope intended at another time, a rigorous criticism of Tickell's translation, and had marked a copy, which I have seen, in a l l places that appeared defeative. But while h e was thus meditating defence o r revenge, his adversary sunk before him without a blow; the voice o f the publick were not long divided, and the preference was universally given t o Pope's performance. He was convinced, b y adding one circum stance t o another, that the other translation was the work o f Addison himself; but i f he knew i t i n Addison's life-time, i t does not appear that h e told i t . He left his illustrious antagonist t o b e punished b y what has been confidered a s the most painful o f a l l reflec . . .tions, the remembrance o f a crime perpetrated i n vain. . The PoPE. 6; -

  • &G

“guineas after they were published. The

The other circumstances of their quarrel were thus related by Pope”. st to o46 {{

    • {{

& &G £C “ 46 - “ << “Philips seemed to have been encouraged to abuse me in coffee-houses, and convers ations: and Gildon wrote a thing about Wycherley, in which he had abused both me and my relations very grossly. Lord Warwick himself told me one day, that it was in vain for me to endeavour to be well with Mr. Addison; that his jealous temper would never admit of a settled friendship between us: and, to convince me of what he had said, assured me, that Addison had encouraged Gildon to publish those scandals, and had given him ten next day, while I was heated with what I had heard, I wrote a Letter to Mr. Addison, to let him know that I was not unacquainted with this behaviour of h i s

that i f I was t o speak severely o f him i n return for i t , i t should b e not i n such a dirty way; that I should rather tell him, himself, fairly o f his faults, and allow his good qualities; and that i t should b e some thing i n the following manner: I then

Spence. “ adjoined 64 PoP.E. “ adjoined the first sketch of what has “ since been called my satire on Addison. “Mr. Addison used me very civilly ever “aftero.” ". . . . . . The verses on Addison, when they were sent to Atterbury, were confidered by him as the most excellent of Pope's performances;, and the writer was advised, since he knew where h i s strength lay, not t o suffer i t t o r e main unemployed. ,

This year (1715) being, b y the subscription, enabled t o live more b y choice, having per suaded his father t o sell their estate a t Binfield, h e purchased, I think only for his life, that house a t Twickenham t o which h i s resi dence afterwards procured s o much celebra tion, and removed thither with his father and mother.

~

Here h e planted the vines and the quincunx which his verses mention; and being under . . . . the necessity o f making a subterraneous passage t o a garden o n the other side o f the road, h e adorned i t with fosfile bodies, and dignified i t with the title o f a grotto; a place o f filence and retreat, from which h e endeavoured t o Britannica, last edit. R . . . . .

- - - - - - -

- --- o persuade -- - - - - • S e e however t h e Life o f Addison i n t h e Biographia PoPE. 65 persuade his friends and himself that cares and passions could be excluded. A grotto is not often the wish or pleasure of an Englishman, who has more frequent need to solicit than exclude the sun; but Pope's excavation was requisite as an entrance to his garden, and, as some men try to be proud of their defe&ts, he extracted an ornament from an inconvenience, and vanity produced a grotto where necessity enforced a passage. It may be frequently remarked of the stu dious and speculative, that they are proud of trifles, and that their amusements seem frivolous and childish; whether it be that men conscious of great reputation think themselves above the reach of censure, and safe in the admisfion of negligent indulgences, or that mankind expect from elevated genius an uniformity of greatness, and watch i t s degradation with malicious wonder; like him who, having followed with his eye a n eagle into the clouds, should lament that she ever descended t o a perch. - While the volumes of his “Homer” were annually published, h e collečted his former works (1717) into one quarto volume, t o which h e prefixed a Preface, written with VOL. IV, F great 66 POPE. great sprightliness and elegance, which was afterwards reprinted, with some passages subjoined that he at first omitted; other marginal additions of the same kind he made in the later editions of his poems. Waller remarks, that poets lose half their praise, because the reader knows not what they have blotted. Pope's voracity of fame taught him the art of obtaining the accumulated honour both of what he had published, and of what he had suppressed.

. In this year his father died suddenly, in his feventy-fifth year, having passed twenty nine years in privacy. He is not known but by the chara&er which his son has given him. If the money with which he retired was a l l gotten by himself, h e had traded very successfully i n times when sudden riches were rarely attainable. - The publication o f the “Iliad” was a t last completed i n 1720. The splendour and suc cess o f this work raised Pope many enemies, that endeavoured t o depreciate his abilities. Burnet, who was afterwards a judge o f n o mean reputation, censured him i n a piece called “Homerides” before i t was published. Ducket likewise endeavoured t o make him ridi • culous. P.O.P.E. 67 culous. Dennis was the perpetual persecutor'. of all his studies. But, whoever his criticks were, their writings are lost; and the names which are preserved, are preserved in the “ Dunciad.” -

  • .

. . . . . . . . . In this disastrous year (1720) of national infatuation, when more riches than Peru can boast were expected from the South Sea, when the contagion of avarice tainted every mind, and even poets panted after wealth, Pope was seized with the universal passion, and ventured some of his money. The stock rose in i t s price; and for a while h e thought himself the lord of thousands. But this dream o f happiness did not last long; and h e seems t o have waked soon enough t o get clear with the loss o f what h e once thought himself t o have won, and perhaps not wholly o f that. Next year h e published some seleá poems o f his friend Dr. Parnell, with a very, elegant Dedication t o the Earl o f Oxford; who, after a l l his struggles and dangers, then lived i n retirement, still under the frown o f a vic torious fačtion, who could take n o pleasure i n hearing h i s praise. - He gave the same year (1721) a n edition o f “Shakspeare.” His name was now o f - F 2 fo 68 o'

  • --

- P-OPE. so much authority, that Tonson thought himself entitled, by annexing i t , t o demand a . subscription o f f i x guineas f o r Shakspeare's plays. i n f i x quarto volumes; nor did h i s expectation much deceive him; for o f seved hundred and fifty which h e printed, h e dis. persed a great number a t the price proposed. The reputation o f that edition indeed sunk afterwards s o low, that one hundred and forty copies were sold a t fixteen shillings each. ... On this undertaking, t o which Pope was induced b y a reward o f two hundred and seventeen pounds twelve shillings, h e seems never t o have refle&ted afterwards without vexation; f o r Theobald, a man o f heavy diligence, with very slender powers, first, i n a book called “Shakespeare Restored,” a n d , then i n a formal edition, detected h i s d e siencies with a l l t h e insolence o f vićtory; and a s h e was now high enough t o b e feared and hated, Theobald had from others a l l t h e

help that could b e supplied, b y t h e desire o f humbling a haughty charader. From this time Pope became a n enemy t o editors, collaters, commentators, and verbal criticks; and hoped t o persuade the world, that h e miscarried i n this undertaking only by POPE. 69 by having a mind too great for such minute employment. . . - - Pope in h i s edition undoubtedly did many things wrong, and l e f t many things undone; but l e t him n o t b e defrauded o f h i s due praise. He was t h e first that knew, a t least t h e first that told, b y what helps t h e text might b e improved. I f h e "inspected t h e early editions negligently, h e taught others t o b e more accurate. I n h i s Preface h e expanded with great skill and elegance the charaćter which had been given o f Shakspeare by Dryden; and h e drew the publick atten tion upon h i s works, which, though often mentioned, had been little read. "Soon after t h e appearance o f t h e “Iliad,” . resolving n o t t o l e t t h e general kindness cool, h e published proposals f o r a translation o f t h e “Odyssey,” i n five volumes, f o r five guineas. He was willing, however, now t o have asso ciates i n h i s labour, being either weary with toiling upon another's thoughts, o r having heard, a s Ruffhead relates, that Fenton and Broome had already begun the work, and liking better t o have them confederates than . rivals. - o r o a . . . " - " - of . . . . .”. . . . - - Q oo 4 . . . . .

  • .

F 3 - - I 70 POPE. . In the patent, instead of saying that he had “ translated” the “Odyssey,” as he had said of the “ Iliad,” he says that he had “ undertaken” a translation: and in the pro posals, the subscription is said to be not sole ly for his own use, but for that of “ two “ of his, friends who have assisted him in “ this work.” - - - In 1723, while he was engaged in this new version, he appeared before the Lords at the memorable trial of Bishop Atterbury, with whom he had lived in great familiarity, and frequent correspondence. Atterbury had honestly recommended to him the study of the popish controversy, in hope of his con version; to which Pope answered in a manner that cannot much recommend h i s principles, or his judgment. I n questions and projects o f learning, they agreed better. He was called a t the trial t o give a n account o f Atterbury's domestick life, a n d private em ployment, that i t might appear how little time h e had l e f t f o r plots. Pope had but few words t o utter, and i n those few h e made several blunders. . His Letters t o Atterbury express t h e utmost esteem, tenderness, and gratitude: “perhaps,” - - 2 - says w P.O.P. E. 71 says he, “. it is not only in this world that I “may have cause to remember the Bishop “ of Rochester.”. At their last interview in the Tower, Atterbury presented him with a Bible.... o 2. gotoa - Of the “Odyssey” Pope translated only twelve books; the rest were the work of Broome and Fenton: the notes were writ ten wholly by Broome, who was not over liberally rewarded. The Publick was care fully kept ignorant of the several shares; and an account was subjoined at the con clusion, which is now known not to be true. -**

- The first copy of Pope's books, with those of Fenton, are to be seen in the Museum. The parts of Pope are less interlined than the “Iliad;" and t h e latter books o f t h e “Iliad” l e s s than t h e former. H e grew dexterous b y practice, and every sheet enabled him t o write the next with more facility. The books o f Fenton have very few alterations b y the hand o f Pope. Those o f Broome have not been found; but Pope complained, a s i t i s reported, that h e had much trouble i n cor -

, "

"a t o a , , reding them. . . . . . o9, oil F 4

- y

t . . . ~ His t o . . . - o t %2 PoPE. -

-

"His contract with Lintot was the same as f o r the “Iliad,” except that only one hundred pounds were t o b e paid him f o r each volume." The number o f subscribers were five hundred and seventy-four, and o f copies eight hundred and nineteen; s o that h i s profit, when h e had paid h i s assistants, was still very confiderable.”The work was finished i n 1725; and from that time h e resolved t o make n o more translations. . . . . of The sale did not answer Lintot's expecta tion; and h e then pretended t o discover some thing o f fraud i n Pope, and commenced o r threatened a suit i n Chancery. ' ' ' .

o - -

O n t h e English “Odyssey” a criticism was published b y Spence, a t that time Preledor o f Poetry a t Oxford; a man whose learning was not very great, and whose mind was n o t very powerful. His criticism, however, was com monly just; "what h e thought, h e thought rightly; and h i s remarks were recommended b y h i s coolness and candour. I n him Pope had t h e first experience o f a critick without malevolence, who thought i t a s much h i s duty t o display beauties a s expose faults; who cen sured with respect, and praised with alacrity. w - . With POPE. . 73 With this criticism Pope was so little offended, that he sought the acquaintance of the writer, who lived with him from that time in great familiarity, attended him in his last hours, and compiled memorials of his conversation. The regard of Pope recom mended him to the great and powerful; and he obtained very valuable preferments in the Church. - ... . . . . . ... R. Not long after, Pope was returning home from a visit, in a friend's coach, which, in passing a bridge, was overturned into the water; t h e windows were closed, and being unable t o force them open, h e was i n danger o f immediate death, when the po stilion snatched him o u t b y breaking t h e glass, o f which t h e fragments c u t two o f h i s fingers i n such a manner, that h e l o s t their o Voltaire, who was then i n England, sent him a Letter o f Consolation. He had been entertained b y Pope a t h i s table, where h e a talked with s o much grossness, that Mrs. Pope was driven from the room. Pope discovered, by a trick, that h e was a s p y f o r the Court, and never considered him a s a man worthy of confidence. o a He 74 POPE. He soon afterwards (1727) joined with Swift, who was then in England, to publish three volumes of Miscellanies, in which amongst other things he inserted the “Me “ moirs of a Parish Clerk,” in ridicule of Burnet's importance in his own History, and a “Debate upon Black and White Horses,” written in a l l the formalities o f a legal process. by the assistance, a s i s said, o f Mr. Fortescue, afterwards Master o f the Rolls. Before these Miscellanies i s a preface figned b y Swift and Pope, but apparently written b y Pope; i n which h e makes a ridiculous and romantick complaint o f the robberies committed upon authors b y the clandestine seizure and sale o f their papers. He tells, i n tragick strains, how. “ the cabinets o f the Sick and the closets o f “ the Dead have been broke open and ran “ sacked;’ a s i f those violences were often committed for papers o f uncertain and ac cidental value, which are rarely provoked b y real treasures; a s i f epigrams and essays were i n danger where. gold and diamonds are safe. A cat hunted for his musk, i s , according t o Pope's account, but the emblem o f a wit, winded b y booksellers. . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . .” His POPE. 75 His complaint, however, received some at testation; for the same year the Letters writ ten by him to Mr. Cromwell, in his youth, were sold by Mrs. Thomas, to Curll, who printed them. In these Miscellanies was first published the “Art of Sinking in Poetry,” which, by such a train of consequences as usually passes in literary quarrels, gave in a short time, ac cording to Pope's account, occasion to the

  • Dunciad.”

In the following year (1728) he began to put Atterbury's advice in pračtice; and shewed his satirical powers by publishing the “ Dunciad,” one of his greatest and most elaborate performances, in which he endeavoured to fink into contempt a l l the writers b y whom h e had been attacked, and some others whom h e thought unable t o defend themselves. - - At the head o f the Dunces h e placed poor Theobald, whom h e accused o f ingratitude; but whose real crime was supposed t o b e that o f having revised “Shakspeare” more hap pily than himself. This satire had the effect which h e intended, b y blasting the chara&ters which i t touched. Ralph, who, unnecessarily

- inter 76. POPE. interposing in the quarrel, got a place in a subsequent edition, complained that for a time he was in danger of starving, as the booksellers had no longer any confidence in his capacity. - The prevalence of this poem was gradual and slow; t h e plan, i f n o t wholly new, was little understood b y common readers. Many of the allusions required illustration; the names were often expressed only b y the ini tial and final letters, and i f they h a d been printed a t length, were such a s few had known o r recolleded. The subject itself had no thing generally interesting, f o r whom d i d i t concern t o know that one o r another scribbler was a dunce? I f therefore i t had been possible f o r those who were attacked t o conceal their pain and their resentment, t h e “Dunciad” might have made i t s way very slowly i n t h e world. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ~ . . . This, however, was n o t t o b e expeded: every man i s o f importance t o himself, and therefore, i n h i s own opinion, t o others; and, supposing t h e world already acquainted with a l l h i s pleasures and h i s pains, i s perhaps the first t o publish injuries o r misfortunes, which had never been known unless related b y him - - - - self, of

o

~

... . . . POilPE, a 77 self, and at which those that hear them will only laugh; f o r n o man sympathizes with the sorrows o f vanity. The history o f the “Dunciad” i s very minutely related b y Pope himself, i n a Dedi cation which h e wrote t o Lord Middlesex i n the name o f Savage.

“I will relate the war o f the “Dunces' “ (for s o i t has been commonly called), “ which began i n the year 1727, and ended “ i n 1730." . . . “When D r . Swift and Mr. Pope thought “it proper, f o r reasons specified i n t h e Preface “to their Miscellanies, t o publish such little “ pieces o f theirs a s had casually got abroad,

there was added t o them t h e ‘Treatise

of the Bathos,” o r t h e “Art o f Sinking i n “Poetry.'" I t happened that i n one chapter “ o f this piece t h e several species o f bad “poets were ranged i n classes, t o which “were prefixed almost a l l the letters o f t h e “alphabet (the ‘eatest part o f them a t ran “dom); but such was the number o f poets “eminent i n that art, that some one o r other

took every letter t o himself: all fell into “so violent a fury, that f o r half a year o r “more, the common newspapers ( i n most - - “ of . . . 78 PO.P.E. GC Çg cc. G& 46 66 &c. &C C& &C. &c. &ć &ć &G &C. &C. co

  • C.

&Q. &C. «  &C. &C. &C. CQ. of which they had some property, as being hired writters) were filled with the most abusive falsehoods and scurrilities they could possibly devise; a liberty no way to be wondered at in those people, and in those papers, that for many years, during the uncontrolled licence of the press, . . . had aspersed almost a l l the great charaćters o f the age; and this with impunity, their own persons and names being utterly secret and obscure. - “ This gave Mr. Pope the thought that h e had now some opportunity o f doing good, b y detecting and dragging into light these common enemies o f -mankind; since, t o invalidate this universal slander, i t sufficed t o shew what contemptible men were the authors o f i t . He was not without hopes, that, b y manifesting the dulness o f those who had only malice t o recommend them, either the booksellers would not find their ac count i n employing them, o r the men them selves, when discovered, want courage t o proceed i n s o unlawful a n occupation. This i t was that gave birth t o the “Dunciad;’ and h e thought i t a n happiness, that, b y 4.0 . the late flood o f slander on himself, h e - “ had P-OPE. 79 &C. ÇG' -40. (4. «  (c. “ &C C& CC had acquired such a peculiar right over their names as was necessary to this design. - “On the 12th of March 1729, at St. James's, that poem was presented to the King and Queen (who had before been pleased to read i t ) b y the right honourable Sir Robert Walpole; and some days after the whole impression was taken and dis. persed b y several noblemen and persons o f the first distinčtion. “It i s certainly a true observation, that n o “ people are s o impatient o f censure a s those &c o &c. -44 &G {{ «  Co. &Q 4. $g &c. £0. 44 who a r e the greatest slanderers, which was wonderfully exemplified o n this occasion. 'On the day the book was first vended, a crowd o f authors befieged the shop; i n treaties, advices, threats o f law and battery, ngy cries o f treason, were a l l employed t o hinder the coming out o f the “Dunciad;’ o n the other fide, the booksellers and hawkers made a s great efforts t o procure i t . What could a few poor authors d o against s o great a majority a s the publick? There was n o stopping a torrent with a finger; s o out i t came. - go Many 8o P.O.P.E. &c. 6& &G 6& GG 66 6& 6& 66 &G &c. «ç Ge. {& &G «  &c. G& &C. G& {t “ 6& “Many Iudicrous circumstances attended i t . The “Dunces' (for b y this name they were called) held weekly clubs, t o consult o f hostilities against the author: one wrote a Letter t o a great minister, assuring him Mr. Pope was the greatest enemy the government had

and another bought his image i n clay, t o execute him i n effigy; with which sad sort of satisfaction the gentlemen were a little comforted. “Some false editions o f the book having a n owl i n their frontispiece, the true one, t o distinguish i t , fixed i n his stead

an ass laden with authors. Then another surreptitious one being printed with the same ass, the new edition i n oétavo re turned for distinétion t o the owl again. Hence arose a great contest o f booksellers against booksellers, and advertisements against advertisements; some recommend ing the edition o f the owl, and others the edition o f the ass; b y which names they came t o b e distinguished, t o the great honour also o f the gentlemen o f the

Dunciad.” Pope appears b y this narrative t o have contemplated his vićtory over the “Dunces” with P. O.P.E. 81. with great exultation; and such was his delight in the tumult which he had raised, that f o r a while h i s natural sensibility was fuspended, and h e read reproaches and in večtives without emotion, confidering them only a s the necessary effects o f that pain which h e rejoiced i n having given. " I t cannot however b e concealed that, b y his own confession, h e was the aggressor; f o r nobody believes that the letters i n the “Bathos” were placed a t random; and i t may b e discovered that, when h e thinks him selfconcealed, h e indulges t h e common vanity of common men, and triumphs i n those dis tinétions, which h e had affected t o despise. He i s proud that his book was presented t o the King and Queen b y the right honourable Sir Robert Walpole; h e i s proud that they had read i t , before; h e i s proud that the edition was taken o f f b y the nobility and persons o f the first distinétion. . . . . . . ” . . . The edition o f which h e speaks was, I believe, that which, b y telling i n the text the names, and i n the notes the charaćters, o f those whom h e had satirised, was filade intelligible and diverting. The criticks had now declared their-approbation o f the plan, . . . Wol, IV. G and 82. PoPE. and the common reader began to like it with out fear; those who were strangers to petty literature, and therefore unable to decypher initials and blanks, had now names and per sons brought within their view ; and delighted in the visible effect of those shafts of malice, which they had hitherto contemplated, as shot into the air. Dennis, upon the fresh provocation now given him, renewed the enmity which had for a time been appeased by mutual civilities; and published remarks, which he had till then suppressed, upon the “Rape of the Lock.” Many more grumbled in secret, or vented their resentment in the newspapers by epigrams or invečtives. - Ducket, indeed, being mentioned as loving Burnet with “pious passion,” pretended that his moral charaćter was injured, and for some time declared his resolution to take vengeance with a cudgel. But Pope appeased him, by changing “pious passion” to “cordial friend “ ship;” and by a note, in which he vehe mently disclaims the malignity of meaning imputed to the first expression. Aaron Hill, who was represented as diving for the prize, expostulated with Pope in a - Islan Iltis PoPE. 8 3 . manner s o much superiour t o a l l mean solici tation, that Pope was reduced t o sneak and shuffle, sometimes t o deny, and sometimes t o apologize; h e first endeavours t o wound, and i s then afraid t o own that h e meant a blow.

The “Dunciad,” i n the complete edition, i s addressed t o Dr. Swift: o f the notes, part were written b y Dr. Arbuthnot; and a n apologetical Letter was prefixed, signed by Cleland, but supposed t o have been written by Pope. After this general war upon Dulness, h e seems t o have indulged himself a while i n tranquillity; but his subsequent produćtions prove that h e was not idle. He published (1731) a poem o n “Taste,” i n which h e very particularly and severely criticises the house, the furniture, the gardens, and the entertainments o f Timon, a man o f great wealth and little taste. By Timon h e was universally supposed, and b y the Earl o f Burlington t o whom the poem i s addressed, was privately said t o mean the Duke o f Chandos; a man perhaps too much delighted with pomp and show, but o f a temper kind G 2 - . and 84 PoPE. and beneficent, and who had consequently the voice of the publick in his favour. A violent outcry was therefore raised against the ingratitude and treachery of Pope, who was said to have been indebted to the patronage of Chandos for a present of a thousand pounds, and who gained the oppor tunity of insulting him by t h e kindness o f h i s invitation. . The receipt o f the thousand pounds Pope publickly denied

but from the reproach which the attack on a character s o amiable brought upon him, h e tried a l l means o f escaping. The name o f Cleland was again employed i n a n apology, b y which n o man was satisfied; and h e was a t last reduced t o shelter h i s temerity behind disfimulation, and endeavour t o make that disbelieved which h e never had confidence openly t o deny. He wrote a n “exculpatory letter t o the Duke, which was answered with great magnanimity, a s by a man who accepted his excuse without believing h i s professions. He said, that t o have ridiculed h i s taste, o r h i s buildings, had been a n indifferent ačtion i n another man; but that i n Pope, after - - - -

the POP.E. 85 the reciprocal kindness that had been ex changed between them, it had been less easily excused. - Pope, in one of his Letters, complaining of the treatment which his poem had found, “ owns that such criticks can intimidate him, “nay almost persuade him to write no more, “ which is a compliment this age deserves.” The man who threatens the world is always ridiculous; for the world can easily go on without him, and in a short time will cease to miss him. I have heard of an idiot, who used to revenge h i s vexations b y lying a l l night upon the bridge. “There i s nothing,” says Juvenal, “that a man will not believe i n “ his own favour.” Pope had been flattered . till h e thought himself one o f the moving powers i n the system o f life. When h e talked o f laying down his pen, those who s a t round him entreated and implored; and self-love did not suffer him t o suspect that they went away and laughed. - - The following year deprived him o f Gay, a man whom h e had known early, and whom h e seemed t o love with more tenderness than any other o f h i s literary friends. Pope was now forty-four years old; a n age a t which G 3 ' ' . . . . the ,86 POPE. the mind begins less easily to admit new con fidence, and the will to grow less flexible, and when, therefore, the departure of an old friend is very acutely felt. In the next year he lost his mother, not by an unexpected death, for she had lasted to the age of ninety-three; but she did not die unlamented. The filial piety of Pope was in the highest degree amiable and exemplary; his parents had the happiness of living t i l l he was a t the summit o f poetical reputation, till h e was a t ease i n his fortune, and without a rival i n his fame, and found no diminutions o f his respect o r tenderness. Whatever was h i s pride, t o them h e was obedient; and whatever was his irritability, t o them h e was gentle. Life has, among i t s soothing and quiet comforts, few things better t o give than such a son, - - One o f the passages o f Pope's life, which seems t o deserve some inquiry, was a publi cation o f Letters between him and many o f his friends, which falling into the hands o f Curll, a rapacious bookseller o f n o good fame, were b y him printed and sold. This volume containing some Letters from noblemen, Pope incited a prosecution against him i n the - House s PoPE. 87 House of Lords for breach of privilege, and attended himself to stimulate the resentment of his friends. Curll appeared at the bar, and, knowing himself in no great danger, spoke of Pope with very little reverence. “He has,” said Curll, “a knack at versifying, “but in prose I think myself a match for “ him.” When the orders of the House were examined, none of them appeared to have been infringed; Curll went away tri umphant; and Pope was left to seek some other remedy. Curll's account was, that one evening a man in a clergyman's gown, but with a lawyer's band, brought and offered to sale a number of printed volumes, which he found to be Pope's epistolary correspondence; that he asked no name, and was told none, but gave the price demanded, and thought himself authorized to use his purchase to his own advantage. That Curll gave a true account of the trans aćtion, it is reasonable to believe, because no falsehood was ever detected; and when some years afterwards I mentioned it to Lintot, the son of Bernard, he declared his opinion to be, that Pope knew better than any G4 body 88 POPE. body else how Curll obtained the copies, because another parcel was at the same time sent to himself, for which no price had ever been demanded, as he made known his resolution not to pay a porter, and consequently not to deal with a nameless agent. - Such care had been taken to make them publick, that they were sent at once to two booksellers; to Curll, who was likely to seize them as a prey; and to Lintot, who might be expected to give Pope information of the seeming injury. Lintot, I believe, did no thing; and Curll did what was expected. That to make them publick, was the only purpose may be reasonably supposed, because the numbers offered to sale by the private messengers shewed that hope of gain could not have been the motive of the impression. It seems that Pope, being defirous of print ing his Letters, and not knowing how to do, without imputation of vanity, what has in this country been done very rarely, contrived an appearance of compulsion; that when he could complain that his Letters were surrep titiously published, he might decently and defensively publish them himself, - Pope's P.OPE, - 89 Pope's private correspondence, thus pro mulgated, filled the nation with praises of his candour, tenderness, and benevolence, the purity of his purposes, and the fidelity of his friendship. There were some Letters which a very good or a very wise man would wish suppressed; but, as they had been already exposed, it was impracticable now to retraćt them. - - From the perusal of those Letters, Mr. Allen first conceived the defire of knowing him; and with so much zeal did he cultivate the friendship which he had newly formed, that, when Pope told his purpose of vindi cating his own property by a genuine edition, he offered to pay the cost. - This however Pope did not accept; but in time solicited a subscription for a Quarto volume, which appeared (1737) I believe, with sufficient profit. In the Preface he tells, that his Letters were reposited in a friend's library, said to be the Earl of Oxford's, and that the copy thence stolen was sent to the press. The story was doubtless received with different degrees of credit. It may be sus pećted that the Preface to the Miscellanies was written to prepare the publick for such -

- all 90 POPE. an incident; and to strengthen this opinion, James Worsdale, a painter, who was employed in clandestine negotiations, but whose veracity was very doubtful, declared that he was the messenger who carried, by Pope's direction, the books to Curll. When they were thus published and avow ed, as they had relation to recent facts, and persons either then living or not yet forgotten, they may be supposed to have found readers; but, as the facts were minute, and the charaćters, being either private or literary, were little known, or little regarded; they awaked no popular kindness or resentment; the book never became much the subječt of conversation; some read it as a contemporary history, and some perhaps as a model of epistolary language; but those who read it did not talk of i t . Not much therefore was added b y i t t o fame o r envy; nor d o I remember that i t produced either publick praise, o r publick censure. I t had however, i n some degree, the re commendation o f novelty. Our language has few Letters, except those o f statesmen. Howel indeed, about a century ago, pub lished his Letters, which are commended by Morhoff, POPE. 91 o Morhoff, and which alone of his hundred volumes continue his memory. Loveday's Letters were printed only once; those of Herbert and Suckling are hardly known. Mrs. Phillips's [Orinda's] are equally ne glečted; and those of Walsh seem written as exercises, and were never sent to any living mistress or friend. Pope's epistolary excellence had an open field; he had no English rival, living or dead. Pope is seen in this colle&tion as connected with the other contemporary wits, and cer tainly suffers no disgrace in the comparison: but it must be remembered, that he had the power of favouring himself; he might have originally had publication in his mind, and have written with care, or have afterwards selečted those which he had most happily con ceived, or most diligently laboured: and I know not whether there does not appear something more studied and artificial in his produćtions than the rest, except one long Letter by Bolingbroke, composed with a l l the skill and industry o f a professed author. I t i s indeed not easy t o distinguish affectation from habit; h e that has once studiously formed a style, rarely writes afterwards with - complete 92 POPE. complete ease. Pope may be said to write always with his reputation in his head; Swift perhaps like a man who remembered that he was writing to Pope; but Arbuthnot like one who lets thoughts drop from his pen as they rise into his mind. - Before these Letters appeared, he published the first part of what he persuaded himself to think a system of Ethicks, under the title of an “Essay on Man;” which, if his Letter to Swift (of Sept. 14, 1725) be rightly explained by the commentator, had been eight years under his confideration, and of which he seems to have desired the success with great solicitude. He had now many open and doubtless many secret enemies. The “Dunces” were yet smarting with the war; and the superiority which he publickly arrogated, disposed the world to wish his humiliation. . -

All this he knew, and against a l l this h e provided. His own name, and that o f his friend t o whom the work i s inscribed, were i n the first editions carefully suppressed; and the poem, being o f a new kind, was ascribed t o one o r another, a s favour determined, o r conjecture wandered; i t was given, says Warburton, POPE. 93 Warburton, to every man, except him only who could write i t . . Those who like only when they like the author, and who are under the dominion o f a name, condemned i t

and those admired i t who a r e willing t o scatter praise a t random, "which while i t - i s unappropriated excites n o envy. Those friends o f Pope, that were trusted with the secret, went about lavishing honours o n the, new-born poet, and hinting that Pope was ne ver s o much i n danger from any former rival. To those authors whom h e had personally offended, and t o those whose opinion the world confidered a s decifive, and whom h e suspected o f envy o r malevolence, h e sent his essay a s a present before publication, that they might defeat their own enmity b y praises which they could not afterwards de cently retraćt. -- - - With these precautions, i n 1733 was pub lished the first part o f the “Essay o n Man.” There had been for some time a report that Pope was busy upon a System o f Morality; but this design was not discovered i n the new poem, which had a form and a title with which i t s readers were unacquainted. I t s reception was not uniform; some thought i t a very 94. P.O.P.E. very imperfeót piece, though not without good lines. While the author was unknown, some, as will always happen, favoured him as an adventurer, and some censured him as an intruder; but a l l thought him above ne— gle&t; the sale increased, and editions were multiplied. The subsequent editions o f the first Epistle exhibited two memorable correótions. At first, the poet and his friend Expatiate freely o'er this scene o f man, A mighty maze o f walks without a plan. For which h e wrote afterwards, A might maze, but not without a plan

for, i f there was n o plan, i t was i n vain t o describe o r t o trace the maze. The other alteration was o f these lines; And spite o f pride, and i n thy reason's spite, One truth i s clear, whatever i s , i s right: but having afterwards discovered, o r been shewn, that the “truth” which subsisted “in “ spite o f reason” could not b e very “clear,” he substituted And spite o f pride, i n erring reason's Jpite. To POPE. 95 To such oversights will the most vigorous mind be liable, when it is employed at once upon argument and poetry. The second and third Epistles were pub lished; and Pope was, I believe, more and more suspected of writing them ; at last, in 1734, he avowed the fourth, and claimed the honour of a moral poet. In the conclusion it is sufficiently acknow ledged, that the doćtrine of the “Essay on “ Man” was received from Bolingbroke, who is said to have ridiculed Pope, among those who enjoyed h i s confidence, a s having adopted and advanced principles o f which h e did not perceive the consequence, and a s blindly propagating opinions contrary t o his own. That those communications had been consolidated into a scheme regularly drawn, and delivered t o Pope, from whom i t returned only transformed from prose t o verse, has been reported, but hardly can b e true. The Essay plainly appears the fabrick o f a poet: what Bolingbroke supplied could b e only the first principles; the order, illustration, and embellishments must a l l b e Pope's. These principles i t i s not my business t o clear from obscurity, dogmatism, o r false 6 hood; 96 P.O.P.E. hood; but they were not immediately exa mined; philosophy and poetry have not often the same readers; “and the Essay abounded in splendid : amplifications and sparkling sentences, which were read and admired with no great attention to their ultimate purpose; i t s flowers caught the eye, which did not see what the gay foliage con cealed, and for a time flourished i n the sun shine o f universal approbation. . . . So little was any evil tendency discovered, that, a s in nocence i s unsuspicious, many read i t for a manual o f piety. - -

I t s reputation soon invited a translator. I t was first turned into French prose, and after wards b y Resnel into verse. Both transla tions fell into the hands o f Crousaz, who first, when h e had the version i n prose, wrote a general censure, and afterwards reprinted Resnel's version, with particular remarks upon every paragraph. Crousaz was a professor o f Switzerland, eminent for his treatise o f Logick, and his “ . Examen d e Pyrrhonisme,” and, however little known o r regarded here, was n o mean antagonist. His mind was one o f those i n which philosophy and piety a r e happily

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united. P.O.P.E. 37

united. He was accustomed to argument and disquisition, and perhaps was grown too desirous of detecting faults; but his intentions were always right, his opinions were solid, and his religion pure: His incessant vigilance for the promotion of piety disposed him to look with distrust upon a l l metaphysical systems o f Theology, and a l l schemes o f virtue and happiness purely rational

and therefore i t was not long before h e was persuaded that the posi tions o f Pope, a s they terminated for the most part i n natural religion, were intended t o draw mankind away from revelation, and t o represent the whole course o f things a s a necessary concatenation o f indissoluble fata lity; and i t i s undeniable, that i n many passages a religious eye may easily discover expressions not very favourable t o morals, o r t o liberty. About this time Warburton began t o make his appearance i n the first ranks o f learning. He was a man o f vigorous faculties, a mind . . . fervid and vehement, supplied b y incessant and unlimited inquiry, with wonderful ex tent and variety o f knowledge, which yet had not oppressed his imagination, nor Vol. I V . H clouded ~ 98. P-O P. E." clouded his perspicacity. To every work he brought a memory full fraught, together with a fancy fertile of original combinations, and at once exerted the powers of the scholar, the reasoner, and the wit. But his know ledge was too multifarious to be always exact, and h i s pursuits too eager t o b e always cautions. His abilities gave him a n haughty confidence, which he disdained t o conceal o r mollify; and h i s impatience o f opposition disposed him t o treat his adversaries with such contemptuous superiority a s made his readers commonly his enemies, and excited against the advocate the wishes o f some who favoured the cause. He seems t o have adopted the Roman Emperor's determination, oderint dum metuant; h e used n o allurements o f gentle language, but wished t o compel rather than persuade. - His style i s copious without selečtion, and forcible without neatness; he took the words that presented themselves; his dićtion i s coarse and impure, and his sentences are unmeasured. - He had, i n the early part o f his life, pleased himself with the notice o f inferiour wits, and corresponded with the enemies o f Pope. A -

I 3 Letter POPE. 99 Letter was produced, when he had perhaps himself forgotten i t , i n which h e tells Con canen, “Dryden I observe borrows for want “ o f leisure, and Pope for want o f genius i “ Milton out o f pride, and Addison out o f “ modesty.” And when Theobald published “Shakspeare,” i n opposition t o Pope, the best notes were supplied b y Warburton. But the time was now come when War burton was t o change his opinion; and Pope was t o find a defender i n him who had con tributed s o much t o the exaltation of his rival. The arrogance o f Warburton excited against him every artifice o f offence, and therefore i t may b e supposed that his union with Pope was censured a s hypocritical in constancy; but surely t o think differently, a t different times, o f poetical merit, may b e easily allowed. Such opinions are often admit ted, and dismissed, without nice examination. Who i s there that has not found reason for changing his mind about questions o f greater importance? - Warburton, whatever was his motive, un dertook, without solicitation, t o rescue Pope from the talons o f Crousaz, b y freeing him from the imputation o f favouring fatality, o r . . . . H 2 reječting Ido PoP.E. reječting revelation; and from month to month continued a vindication of the “Essay “ on Man,” in the literary journal of that time called “The Republick of Letters.” Pope, who probably began to doubt the tendency of h i s own work, was glad that the positions, o f which h e perceived himself not t o know the full meaning, could b y any mode o f interpretation b e made t o mean well. How much h e was pleased with his gratuitous defender, the following Letter evidently shews: “S I R, April 11, 1739. “I have just received from Mr. R . two more o f your Letters. I t i s i n the greatest hurry imaginable that I write this

but I cannot help thanking you i n particular for your third Letter, which i s s o extremely “ clear, short, and full, that I think Mr. “Crousaz ought never t o have another answer, and deserved not s o good a n one, I can only say, you d o him too much honour, and me too much right, s o odd a s the expression seems; for you have made my system a s clear a s I ought t o “ have done, and could not. I t i s indeed - - “ the 44 &C. 44 &G

&G &c. &g &G 4& z POPE. IOI C S ©g 6& &G 44 Gs. &g 46 6% 66 Çs, Çs. &g GG Çs. &G &C. - 46

  • .

the same system as mine, but illustrated with a ray of your own, as they say our natural body is the same still when it is glorified. I am sure I like it better than I did before, and so will every man else. I know I meant just what you explain; but I did not explain my own meaning so well as you. You understand me as well as I do myself; but you express me better than I could express myself. Pray accept the sincerest acknowledgments. I cannot but wish these Letters were put together in one Book, and intend (with your leave) to procure a translation of part at least, or of a l l o f them into French; but I shall not proceed a step without your consent and opinion, &c,” By this fond and eager acceptance o f a n exculpatory comment, Pope testified that, whatever might b e the seeming o r real im port o f the principles which h e had received from Bolingbroke, h e had not intentionally attacked religion; and Bolingbroke, i f h e meant t o make him, without his own con

sent, a n instrument o f mischief, found him - now engaged, with his eyes open, o n the side o f truth. - H 3 I t IO2 s'O.P.E. It is known that Bolingbroke concealedo from Pope his real opinions. He once dis covered them to Mr. Hooke, who related them again to Pope, and was told by him' that he must have mistaken the meaning of what he heard; and Bolingbroke, when Pope's uneasiness incited him to desire an explanation, declared that Hooke had mis understood him. . . . Bolingbroke hated Warburton, who had drawn his pupil from him; and a little be fore Pope's death they had a dispute, from which they parted with mutual aversion. . From this time Pope lived in the closest intimacy with his commentator, and amply rewarded his kindness and his zeal; for he introduced him to Mr. Murray, by whose interest he became preacher at Lincoln's Inn, and to Mr. Allen, who gave him his niece and his estate, and by consequence a bishop rick. When he died, , he left him the pro perty of his works; a legacy which may be reasonably estimated at four thousand pounds. Pope's fondness for the “Essay on Man” appeared by his desire of i t s propagation. Dobson, who had gained reputation by his version o f Prior's “Solomon,” was employed by POPE. to3 by him to translate it into Latin verse, and was for that purpose some time at Twicken ham; but he left his work, whatever was the reason, unfinished; and, by Benson's invita tion, undertook the longer task of “Paradise “Lost.” Pope then desired his friend to find a scholar who should turn his Essay into Latin prose; but no such performance has ever appeared. - - - Pope lived a t , this time among t h e Great, with that reception and respect t o which h i s works entitled him, and which h e had not impaired by any private miscondućt o r fac tious partiality. Though Bolingbroke was his friend, Walpole was not his enemy; but treated him with s o much consideration as, a t his request, t o solicit and obtain from the French Minister a n abbey for Mr. Southcot, whom h e confidered himself a s obliged t o reward, by this exertion o f his interest, for the benefit which he had received from his attendance i n a long illness. . . . I t was said, that, when the Court was a t Richmond, Queen Caroline had declared her intention t o visit him. This may have been only a careless effusion, thought o n n o more

the report o f such notice, however, was soon H 4 . i n . IQ4 POPE. in many mouths; and if I do not forget or misapprehend Savage's account, Pope pre tending to decline what was, not yet offered, left his house for a time, not, I suppose, for any other reason than left he should be thought to stay at home in expe&tation of an honour which would not be con ferred. He was therefore angry at Swift, who represents him as “refusing the visits “ of a Queen,” because he knew that what had never been offered had never been refused, Beside the general system of morality, sup posed to be contained in the “Essay on Man,” it was his intention to write distinét poems upon the different duties or conditions of life; one of which is the Epistle to Lord Bathurst (1733) on the “Use of Riches,” a piece on which he declared great labour to have been bestowed”. . Into this poem some hints a r e historically thrown, and some known charaćters are introduced, with others o f which i t i s diffi cult t o say how far they are real o r fićtitious; but the praise o f Kyrl, the Man o f Ross deserves particular examination, who after a long and pompous enumeration o f h i s -

Spence. - publick POPE. fo; publick works and private charities, is said to have diffused a l l those blesfings from five hundred a-year. Wonders a r e willingly told, and willingly heard. The truth i s , that Kyrl was a man o f known integrity and aćtive benevolence, b y whose solicitation the wealthy were persuaded t o pay contributions t o his charitable schemes; this influence h e obtained b y a n example o f liberality exerted t o the utmost extent o f his power, and was thus enabled t o give more than h e had. This account Mr. Vićtor received from the minister o f the place; and I have preserved i t , that the praise o f a good man, being made more credible, may b e more solid. Narrations o f romantick and impračticable virtue will b e read with wonder, but that which i s unattainable i s recommended i n vain; that good may b e endeavoured, i t must b e shewn t o b e possible. v o This i s the only piece i n which the author has given a hint o f his religion, b y ridiculing the ceremony o f burning the pope, and b y mentioning with some indignation the in feription o n the Monument. . . . " -

When this poem was first published, the dialogue, having n o letters o f direétion, was perplexed and obscure. Pope seems t o have -

written 106 P.O.P.E. written with no very distinét idea; for he calls that an “Epistle to Bathurst,” in which Bathurst is introduced as speaking.

He afterwards (1734) inscribed to Lord

Cobham, his “Chara&ters of Men,” written with close attention to the operations of the mind and modifications of life. In this poem he has endeavoured to establish and exemplify his favourite theory of the ruling Pasion, by which he means an original direétion of desire to some particular obječt, an innate affection which gives a l l action a determinate and inva riable tendency, and operates upon the whole system o f life, either openly, o r more secretly b y the intervention o f some accidental o r sub ordinate propension. Of any passion, thus innate and irresistible, the existence may reasonably b e doubted. Human chara&ers are b y n o means constant; men change b y change o f place, o f fortune, o f acquaintance

h e who i s a t one time a lover o f pleasure, i s a t another a lover o f money. Those indeed who attain any excel lence, commonly spend life i n one pursuit; for excellence i s not often gained upon easier terms. But t o the particular species o f ex cellence men are directed, not b y a n ascendant - planet planet or predominating humour, but by the first book which they read, some early conversation which they heard, or some ac-, cident which excited ardour and emulation. It must be at least allowed that this ruling Pasion, antecedent to reason and observation, must have an objećt independent on human. contrivance; for there can be no natural de fire of artificial good. No man therefore can be born, in the strićt acceptation, a lover. of money; for he may be born where money does not exist: " nor can he be born, in a moral sense, a lover of his coun try; for society, politically regulated, is a state contradistinguished from a state of na ture; and any attention to that coalition of interests which makes the happiness of a country, is possible only to those whom inquiry and refle&tion have enabled to com prehend i t . . This doćtrine i s i n itself pernicious a s well a s false: i t s tendency i s t o produce the belief o f a kind o f moral predestination, o r over ruling principle which cannot b e resisted; h e that admits i t , i s prepared t o comply with every desire that caprice o r opportunity shall excite, and t o flatter himself that h e submits - only 108. POP.E. only to the lawful dominion of Nature, in obeying the refiftless authority of his ruling Pasion. - Pope has formed h i s theory with s o little skill, that i n the examples by which h e i l lustrates and confirms i t , he has confounded passions, appetites, and habits. To the “Charaćters o f Men,” h e added soon after, i n a n Epistle supposed t o have been addressed t o Martha Blount, but which the last edition has taken from her, the “Charac “ters o f Women.” This poem, which was laboured with great diligence, and i n the author's opinion with great success, was negle&ted a t i t s first publication, a s the com mentator supposes, because the publick was informed, by a n advertisement, that i t con tained n o Charaffer drawn from t h e Life; a n assertion which Pope probably did not expect o r wish t o have been believed, and which he soon gave his readers sufficient reason t o distrust, b y telling them i n a note, that the work was imperfeót, because part o f h i s subjećt was Vice t o o high t o b e yet exposed. The time however soon came, i n which i t was safe t o display the Dutchess o f Marlbo rough under the name o f 4tasa; and her charaćter PoP.E. Hog charaćter was inserted with no great honour to the writer's gratitude.

He published from time to time (between 1736 and 1740) Imitations of different poems of Horace, generally with h i s name, and once, was a s suspected, without i t . 'What h e was upon moral principles ashamed t o own, h e ought t o have suppressed. O f these pieces i t i s useless t o settle the dates, a s they had seldom much relation t o the times, and perhaps had been long i n his hands. . . . . . . . . . This mode o f imitation, i n which t h e an- . cients a r e familiarised, b y adapting their sen timents t o modern topicks, b y making Horace say o f Shakspeare what h e originally said o f Ennius, and accommodating h i s satires o n Pantolabus and Nomentanus t o t h e flatterers and prodigals o f our own time, was first practised i n t h e reign o f Charles t h e Second b y Oldham and Rochester, a t least I remem ber n o instances more ancient. I t i s a kind o f middle composition between translation and original design, which pleases when t h e thoughts are unexpečtedly applicable, and the parallels lucky. I t seems t o have been Pope's favourite amusement; for h e has carried i t further than any former poet. He iIo P.O.P.E. He published likewise a revival, in smoother numbers, of Dr. Donne's Satires, which was recommended to him by the Duke of Shrews bury and the Earl of Oxford. They made no great impression on the publick. Pope seems to have known their imbecility, and therefore suppressed them while he was yet contending to rise in reputation, but ventured them when he thought their deficiencies more likely to be imputed to Donne than to himself. The Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot, which seems. to be derived in i t s first design from Boileau's Address a son Esprit, was published i n January 1735, about a month before the death o f him. t o whom i t i s inscribed. I t i s t o b e regretted, that either honour o r pleasure should have been missed by Arbuthnot; a man estimable for his learning, amiable for his life, and venerable for his piety. Arbuthnot was a man o f great comprehen sion, skilful i n his profession, versed i n the sciences, acquainted with ancient literature, and able t o animate his mass o f knowledge b y a bright and ačtive imagination

a scholar with great brilliance o f wit; a wit, who, i n the crowd o f life, retained and discovered a noble ardour o f religious zeal.

In P’OPE. III • In this poem Pope seems to reckon with the publick. He vindicates himself from censures; and with dignity, rather than arrogance, enforces his own claims to kind ness and respect. Into this poem are interwoven several paragraphs which had been before printed as a fragment, and among them the satirical lines upon Addison, of which the last couplet has been twice correóted. It was at first, Who would not smile if such a man there be? Who would not laugh if Addison were he? Then, Who would not grieve if such a man there be? Who would not laugh if Addison were he? At last it i s , Who but must laugh i f such a man there be? Who would not weep i f Atticus were h e He was a t this time a t open war with Lord Hervey, who had distinguished himself a s a steady adherent t o the Ministry; and being offended with a contemptuous answer t o one o f his pamphlets*, had summoned

Intitled “Sedition and Defamation displayed,” 8vo. 1733. R . - Pulteney I12 POPE. f Pulteney to a duel. Whether he or, Pöpe made the first attack, perhaps, cannot now be easily known : he had written an invečtive against Pope, whom he calls, “Hard as thy “ heart, and as thy birth obscure;” and hints that his father was a batter. To this Pope wrote a reply in verse and prose: the verses are in this poem; and the Prose, though it was never sent, is printed among his Letters, but to a cool reader of the present time exhi bits nothing but tedious malignity. His l a s t Satires, o f t h e general kind, were tWO dialogues, named, from the year i n which they were published, “Seventeen Hundred “ and Thirty-eight.” I n these poems many are praised and many are reproached. Pope was then entangled i n the opposition; a fol lower o f the Prince o f Wales, who dined a t his house, and the friend o f many who obstructed and eensured the condućt o f the Ministers. His political partiality was too plainly shewn

h e forgot the prudence with which h e passed, i n his earlier years, unin jured and unoffending, through much more violent conflićts of faction. I n the first Dialogue, having a n opportunity o f praising Allen o f Bath, h e asked his leave to PoPE." I13 to mention him as a man not illustrious by any merit of his ancestors, and called him in: his verses “low-born Allen.” . Men are sel dom satisfied with praise introduced or fol lowed by any mention of defect. Allen seems not to have taken any pleasure in his epithet, which was afterwards softened into “humble: 66 Allen.” .. -, - - 2 , , In the second Dialogue he took some liberty with one of the Foxes, among others; which Fox, in a reply to Lyttelton, took an oppor tunity of repaying, by reproaching him with the friendship of a lampooner, who scattered his ink without fear or decency, and against whom he hoped the resentment of the Legis lature would quickly be discharged, ". . . . . About this time Paul Whitehead, a smalf poet, was summoned before the Lords for a poem called “ Manners,” together with Dodsley h i s publisher. Whitehead, who hung loose upon society, sculked and escaped; but Dodsley's shop and family made his appear ance necessary. He was, however, soon dis- . missed; and the whole process was probably intended rather t o intimidate Pope, than t o punish Whitehead. s VOL. IV . I Pope II.4 . POPE.

Pope never afterwards attempted to join the patriot with the poet, nor drew his pen upon statesmen. That he desisted from his attempts of reformation is imputed, by his commentator, to his despair of prevailing over the corruption of the time. He was not likely to have been ever of opinion, that the dread of his satire would countervail the love of power or of money; he pleased himself with being important and formidable, and gratified sometimes his pride, and sometimes his resentment; till at last he began to think he should be more safe, if he were less busy. - . . . . . . . The “Memoirs of Scriblerus,” published about this time, extend only to the first book of a work proječted in concert by Pope, Swift, and Arbuthnot, who used to meet in the time of Queen Anne, and de nominated themselves the “Scriblerus Club.” Their purpose was to censure the abuses of learning by a fićtitious Life of an infatuated Scholar. They were dispersed; the design was never completed; and Warburton la ments i t s miscarriage, a s a n event very dis astrous t o polite letters. I f P.O.P.E. I15

If the whole may be estimated by this spe cimen, which seems to be the produćtion of Arbuthnot, with a few touches perhaps by Pope, t h e want o f more will not b e much lamented; for the follies which the writer ridicules a r e s o little pračtised, that they are not known; nor can the satire b e understood but by the learned

h e raises phantoms o f absurdity, and then drives them away. He cures diseases that were never felt. r For this reason this joint produćtion o f three great writers has never obtained any notice from mankind; i t has been little read, o r when read has been forgotten, a s n o man could b e wiser, better, o r merrier, by re-s membering i t . - The design cannot boast o f much ori ginality; for besides i t s general resemblance to Don Quixote, there will be found in i t particular imitations o f the History o f Mr. Ouffle. - Swift carried s o much of i t into Ireland as supplied him with hints for his Travels; and with those the world might have been con tented, though the rest had been suppressed. Pope had sought for images and sentiments i n a region not known t o have been explored I 2 by 116 POPE. by many other of the English writers; he had consulted the modern writers of Latin poetry, a class of authors whom Boileau en deavoured to bring into contempt, and who are too generally neglected. :: Pope, however, was not ashamed of their acquaintance, nor ungrateful for the advantages which he might have derived from i t . A small selection from the Italians, who wrote i n Latin, had been published a t London, about the latter end o f the last century, b y a man

who concealed his name, but whom his Preface shews t o have been well qualified for his undertaking. This colle&tion Pope amplified b y more than half, and (1740) published i t i n two volumes, but injuriously omitted his predecessor's pre face. To these books, which had nothing but the mere text, n o regard was paid, the authors were still neglected, and the editor was neither praised nor censured. - H e d i d n o t fink into idleness; h e had plan. ned a work, which h e confidered a s subsequent t o his “Essay o n Man,” o f which h e has given this account t o Dr. Swift

Since discovered t o have been Atterbury, afterwards Bishop o f Rochester. R . - “ March PO.P.E. i17 - “March 25, 1736. “If ever I write any more Epistles in verse, “one of them shall be addressed to you. I “ have long concerted i t , and begun i t

but

I would make what bears your name a s “ finished a s my last work ought t o be, that “ i s t o say, more finished than any o f the “ , rest. The subječt i s large, and will divide. into four Epistles, which naturally follow “ the ‘Essay o n Man; viz. I . O f the Extent and Limits o f Human Reason and Science. “ . 2 . A View o f the useful and therefore at “tainable, and o f the unuseful and therefore “unattainable, Arts. 3 . O f the Nature, Ends, “ Application, and Use o f different Capaci “ ties. 4 . Of the Use o f Learning, o f the “Science, o f the World, and o f Wit. I t will conclude with a Satire against the Mis application o f a l l these, exemplified b y Pic tures, Charaćters, and Examples.” . . . •

This work i n i t s full extent, being now af. flićted with a n asthma, and finding the powers. o f life gradually declining, h e had n o longer courage t o undertake; but, from the materials which h e had provided, h e added, a t War burton's request, another book t o the “Dun “ciad,” o f which the design i s t o ridicule such - I 3 studies i18 P.O.P.E. studies as are either hopeless or useless, as either pursue what is unattainable, or what, if it be attained, is of no use. When this book was printed (1742) the lau rel had been for some time upon the head of Cibber; a man whom it cannot be supposed that Pope could regard with much kindness or esteem, though in one of the imitations of Horace he has liberally enough praised the “Careless Husband.” In the “ Dunciad,” among other worthless scribblers, he had men tioned Cibber; who, in his “ Apology,” complains of the great Poet's unkindness as more injurious, “because,” says he, “I “ never have offended him.” It might have been expečted that Pope should have been, in some degree, mollified by this submissive gentleness, but no such consequence appeared. Though he conde scended to commend Cibber once, he men tioned him afterwards contemptuously in one of his satires, and again in his Epistle to Arbuthnot; and in the fourth book of the “ Dunciad” attacked him with acrimony, to which the provocation is not easily discover able. Perhaps he imagined that, in ridiculing the Laureat, he satirised those by whom the laurel - PO.P.E. I19 laurel had been given, and gratified that am bitious petulance with which he affeded to insult the great. -The severity of this satire left Cibber no longer any patience. He had confidence enough in his own powers to believe that he could disturb the quiet of his adversary, and doubtless did not want instigators, who, with out any care about the vićtory, desired to amuse themselves by looking on the contest. He therefore gave the town a pamphlet, in which he declares h i s resolution from that time never t o bear another blow without returning i t , and t o tire out his adversary b y perseverance, i f h e cannot conquer him b y strength. The incessant and unappeasable malignity o f Pope h e imputes t o a very distant cause. After the “Three Hours after Marriage” had been driven off the stage, b y the offence which the mummy and crocodile gave the audience, while the exploded scene was yet fresh i n memory, i t happened that Cibber played Bayes i n the Rehearsal; and, a s i t had been usual t o enliven the part b y the mention of any recent theatrical transactions, h e said, that h e once thought t o have intro duced his lovers disguised i n a Mummy and - I 4 a Cro I20 - POP.E. a Crocodile. “This,” says he, “was received “ with loud claps, which indicated contempt “ of the play.” Pope, who was behind the scenes, meeting him as he left the stage, at tacked him, as he says, with a l l the virulence of a “Wit out o f his senses;” t o which h e replied, “that h e would take no other notice “ o f what was said by s o particular a man, “ than t o declare, that, a s often a s h e played “ that part, h e would repeat the same pro “ vocation.” He shews his opinion t o be, that Pope was one o f the authors o f the play which h e s o zealously defended; and adds a n idle story o f Pope's behaviour a t a tavern. - The pamphlet was written with little power o f thought o r language, and, i f suffered t o remain without notice, would have been very soon forgotten. Pope had now been enough acquainted with human life t o know, i f his passion had not been too powerful for his understanding, that, from a contention like h i s with Cibber, the world seeks nothing but diversion, which i s given a t the expence o f t h e higher charader. When Cibber lam pooned Pope, curiosity was excited; what Pope would say o f Cibber nobody inquired, - o - but - - o POPE, 121 but in hope that Pope's asperity might betra his pain and lessen his dignity. - - He should therefore have suffered the pam phlet to flutter and die, without confessing that it stung him. The dishonour of being shewn as Cibber's antagonist could never be compensated by the vićtory. Cibber had nothing to lose : when Pope had exhausted a l l his malignity upon him, h e would rise i n the esteem both o f his friends and his enemies. Silence only could have made him despicable; the blow which did not appear t o b e felt would have been struck i n vain.

But Pope's irascibility prevailed, and h e resolved t o tell the whole English world that he was a t war with Cibber; and t o shew that h e thought him n o common adversary, h e prepared n o common vengeance; h e published a new edition o f the “Dúnciad,” i n which h e degraded Theobald from his painful pre eminence, and enthroned Cibber i n his stead. Unhappily the two heroes were o f opposite charaćters, and Pope was unwilling t o lose what h e had already written; h e has therefore depraved his poem b y giving t o Cibber the old books, the cold pedantry, and sluggish pertinacity o f Theobald.

y Pope I22 POPE. Pope was ignorant enough of his own in terest, to make another change, and intro duced Osborne contending for the prize among the booksellers. Osborne was a man entirely destitute of shame, without sense of any dis grace but that of poverty. He told me, when he was doing that which raised Pope's resent ment, that he should be put into the “Dun. “ciad;” but he had the fate of “Cassandra.” I gave no credit to his predićtion, till in time I saw it accomplished. The shafts of satire were direéted equally in vain against Cibber and Osborne; being repelled by the impene trable impudence of one, and deadened by the impassive dulness of the other. Pope con fessed his own pain by his anger; but he gave no pain to those who had provoked him. He was able to hurt none but himself; by trans. ferring the same ridicule from one to another, he destroyed i t s efficacy; for, b y shewing that what h e had said o f one h e was ready t o say o f another, h e reduced himself t o the in significance o f his own magpie, who from his cage calls cuckold a t a venture. Cibber, according t o h i s engagement, re paid the “Dunciad” with another pamphlet, which, Pope said, “would b e a s good a s a dose “ o f hartshorn t o him;’ but his tongue and I 3 his POPE. 123 his heart were at variance. I have heard Mr. Richardson relate, that he attended his father the painter on a visit, when one of Cibber's pamphlets came into the hands of Pope, who said, “These things are my diversion.” They s a t b y him while h e perused i t , and saw his features writhen with anguish; and young Richardson said t o his father, when they re turned, that h e hoped t o b e preserved from such diversion a s had been that day the lot o f Pope. . . - From this time, finding his diseases more oppressive, and h i s vital powers gradually declining, h e n o longer strained his faculties with any original composition, nor proposed any other employment for his remaining life than the revisal and corre&tion of his former works; i n which h e received advice and affistance from Warburton, whom h e appears t o have trusted and honoured i n the highest degree. - - - He laid aside his Epick Poem, perhaps without much loss t o mankind; for his hero was Brutus the Trojan, who, according t o a ridiculous fićtion, established a colony i n Britain. The subječt therefore was o f the fabulous age; the ačtors were a race upon whom 124 . POPE. whom imagination has been exhausted, and attention wearied, and to whom the mind will not easily be recalled, when it is invited in blank verse, which Pope had adopted with great imprudence, and I think without due consideration of the nature of our language. The sketch i s , a t least i n part, preserved b y Ruffhead; b y which i t appears, that Pope was thoughtless enough t o model the names of his heroes with terminations not consistent with the time o r country i n which h e places them. - - He lingered through the next year; but perceived himself, a s h e expresses i t , “going “ down the hill.” He had for a t least five years been afflićted with a n asthma, and other disorders, which his physicians were unable t o reheve. Towards the end o f his life h e consulted Dr. Thomson, a man who had, b y large promises, and free censures o f the com mon practice o f physick, forced himself u p into sudden reputation. Thomson declared his distemper t o b e a dropsy, and evacuated part o f the water b y tinéture o f jalap; but confessed that h i s belly did not subside. Thomson had many enemies, and Pope was persuaded t o dismiss him. - - - While POPE. I25 While he was yet capable of amusement and conversation, as he was one day sitting in the air with Lord Bolingbroke and Lord Marchmont, he saw his favourite Martha Blount at the bottom of the terrace, and asked Lord Bolingbroke to go and hand her up. Bolingbroke, not liking his errand, crossed h i s legs and s a t still

but Lord Marchmont, who was younger and less captious, waited - o n the lady; who, when h e came t o her, asked, “ What, i s h e not dead yet?” She i s said t o have neglected him, with shameful unkindness, i n the latter time o f h i s decay; yet, o f the little which h e had t o leave, she had a very great part. Their acquaintance began early

the life o f each was pićtured o n the other's mind; their conversation therefore was endearing, for when they met, there was a n immediate coalition o f congenial notions, Perhaps h e confidered her unwillingness t o approach the chamber o f fickness a s female weakness, o r human frailty; perhaps h e was conscious t o himself o f peevishness and im patience, o r , though h e was offended b y her inattention, might yet consider her merit a s overbalancing her fault; and, i f h e had suf. fered his heart t o b e alienated from her, h e could have found nothing that might fill her - place; 126 pOPE. place; he could have only shrunk within him self; it was too late to transfer his confidence or fondness. } of In May 1744 his death was approaching”; on the sixth, he was a l l day delirious, which h e mentioned four days afterwards a s a suff cient humiliation o f the vanity o f man; h e afterwards complained o f feeing things a s through a curtain, and i n false colours, and one day, i n the presence o f Dodsley, asked what arm i t was that came out from the wall. He said that his greatest inconvenience was inability t o think. - Bolingbroke sometimes wept over him i n this state o f helpless decay; and being told b y Spence, that Pope, a t the intermission o f his deliriousness, was always saying something kind either o f his present o r absent friends, . and that his humanity seemed t o have sur vived h i s understanding, answered, “It has so.” And added, “I never i n my life knew a man “ that had s o tender a heart for h i s particular “friends, o r more general friendship for man “kind.” A t another time h e said, “ I have “known Pope these thirty years, and value “myself more i n h i s friendship than”—his grief then suppressed his voice.

Spence, Pope POPE. 127 Pope expressed undoubting confidence of a future state. Being asked by his friend Mr. Hooke, a papist, whether he would not die like his father and mother, and whether a priest {hould not be called, he answered, “I do not “think it essential, but it will be very right; and “I thank you for putting me in mind of it.” In the morning, after the priest had given him the last sacraments, he said, “There is “ nothing that is meritorious but virtue and “friendship, and indeed friendship itself is “only a part of virtue.” He died in the evening of the thirtieth day of May 1744, so placidly, that the at tendants did not discern the exact time of his expiration. He was buried at Twicken ham, near his father and mother, where a monument has been erected to him by his commentator, the Bishop of Gloucester. He left the care of his papers to his execu tors; first to Lord Bolingbroke, and if he should not be living to the Earl of March mont; undoubtedly expecting them to be proud of the trust, and eager to extend his fame. But l e t no man dream o f influence beyond his life. After a decent time, Dodsley the bookseller went t o solicit preference a s the publisher, -128 P.O.P.E. publisher, and was told that the parcel had not been yet inspected; and whatever was the reason, the world has been disappointed of what was “reserved for the next age.” He lost, indeed, the favour of Bolingbroke by a kind of posthumous offence. The poli tical pamphlet called “The Patriot King” had been put into his hands that he might procure the impression of a very few copies, to be distributed, according to the author's direétion, among his friends, and Pope assured him that no more had been printed than were allowed; but, soon after his death, the printer brought and resigned a complete edition of fifteen hundred copies, which Pope had ordered him to print, and to retain in secret. He kept, as was observed, h i s engagement t o Pope better than Pope had kept i t t o his friend; and no thing was known o f the transaction, till,

  • Pgn the death

o f his employer, h e thought himself obliged t o deliver the books t o the right owner, who, with great indignation, made a fire i n h i s yard, and delivered the whole impresfion t o the flames. Hitherto nothing had been done which was not naturally dićtated b y resentment o f violated faith; résentment more acrimonious, aS POPE. I29 as the violator had been more loved or more trusted. But here the anger might have stop ped; the injury was private, and there was little danger from the example. Bolingbroke, however, was not yet satis. fied; his thirst of vengeance excited him to blast the memory of the man over whom he had wept in his last struggles; and he employed Mallet, another friend of Pope, to tell the tale to the publick, with a l l i t s aggra vations. Warburton; whose heart was warm with his legacy, and tender by the recent separation, thought i t proper for him t o in terpose; and undertook, not indeed t o vindi cate the ačtion, for breach o f trust has always something criminal, but t o extenuate i t b y a n apology. Having advanced what cannot b e denied, that moral obliquity i s made more o r less excusable b y the motives that produce i t , h e inquires what evil purpose could have in duced Pope t o break his promise. He could not delight his vanity b y usurping the work, which, though not sold i n shops, had been shewn t o a number more than sufficient t o preserve the author's claim

h e could not gratify his avarice, for h e could not sell his " plunder t i l l Bolingbroke was dead; and even . Vol. IV. K then, 13o POPE. then, if the copy was left to another, his fraud would be defeated, and if left to himself, would be useless. Warburton therefore supposes, with great appearance of reason, that the irregularity of his condućt proceeded wholly from his zeal f o r Bolingbroke, who might perhaps have destroyed the pamphlet, which Pope thought i t his duty t o preserve, even without i t s author's approbation. To this apology an answer was written i n “A Letter t o the most “ impudent man living.” He brought some reproach upon his own memory b y the petulant and contemptuous mention made i n his will o f Mr. Allen, and a n affected repayment o f his benefactions. Mrs. Blount, a s the known friend and favourite o f Pope, had been invited t o the house o f Allen, where she comported herself with such indecent arrogance, that she parted from Mrs. Allen i n a state of irreconcilable dislike, and the door was for ever barred against her. This exclusion she resented with s o much bitterness a s t o refuse any legacy from Pope, unless h e left the world with a disavowal o f obligation t o Allen. Having been long under her dominion, now tottering - in P"OP.E. 131. in the decline of life, and unable to resist the violence of her temper, o r , perhaps, with the prejudice o f a lover, persuaded that she had suffered important treatment, h e complied with her demand, and polluted his will with female resentment. Allen accepted the legacy, which h e gave t o the Hospital a t Bath, observing that Pope was always a bad accomptant, and that, i f t o 1.5ol. h e had put a cypher more, h e had come nearer t o the truth

. THE

This account o f the difference between Pope and Mr. Allen i s not s o circumstantial a s i t was i n Johnson's power t o have made i t . The particulars communicated t o him concerning i t h e was too indolent t o commit t o writing: the business o f this note i s t o supply his omissions. Upon a n invitation i n which Mrs. Blount was included, Mr. Pope made a visit t o Mr. Allen a t Prior-park, and having occasion t o g o t o Bristol for a few days, left Mrs. Blount behind him. I n his absence Mrs. Blount, who was o f the Romish persuasion, signified a n inclination t o go t o the Popish chapel a t Bath, and desired o f Mr. Allen the use o f his chariot for the purpose

but h e being a t that time mayor o f the city, suggested the impropriety o f having his carriage seen a t the door o f a place o f worship, t o which a s a magistrate h e was a t least restrained from giving a sanétion, and might b e required t o suppress, and therefore desired t o be excused. Mrs. Blount resented this refusal, and told Pope o f i t a t his return, and s o infected him with her rage that they both left the house abruptly, K 2 . An I32 - POPE. THE person of Pope is well known not to have been formed by the nicest model. He has, in his account of the “Little Club,” compared himself to a spider, and by another is described as protuberant behind and before. He is said to have been beautiful in his in fancy; but he was of a constitution originally feeble and weak; and as bodies of a tender frame are easily distorted, his deformity was probably in part the effect of his application. His stature was so low, that, to bring him to a level with common tables, it was necessary to raise his seat. But his face was not dis pleasing, and his eyes were animated and vivid. By natural deformity, or accidental distor tion, his vital funètions were so much dis ordered, that his life was a “long disease.” An instance of the like negligence may be noted in his relation of Pope's love of painting, which differs much from the information I gave him on that head. A pićture of Betterton, certainly copied from Kneller by Pope, Lord Mansfield once shewed me at Kenwood-house, adding, that it was the only one he ever finished, for that the weakness of his eyes was an obstruction to his use of the pencil. H . His . P,OPE. I33 His most frequent assailant was the headach, which he used to relieve by inhaling the steam of coffee, which he very frequently required. - Most of what can be told concerning his petty peculiarities was communicated by a female domestick of the Earl of Oxford, who knew him perhaps after the middle of life. He was then so weak as to stand in perpetual need of female attendance; extremely sensible of cold, so that he wore a kind of fur doublet, under a shirt of a very coarse warm linen with fine sleeves. When he rose, he was invested in boddice made of stiff canvas, being scarce able to hold himself erect till they were laced, and he then put on a flannel waistcoat. One side was contračted. His legs were so slen der, that he enlarged their bulk with three pair of stockings, which were drawn on and off by the maid; for he was not able to dress or undress himself, and neither went to bed nor rose without help. His weakness made it very difficult for him to be clean. - His hair had fallen almost a l l away; and h e used t o dine sometimes with Lord Oxford, privately, i n a velvet cap. His dress o f ce K 3 - remony I34 POPE. remony was black, with a tie-wig, and a little sword. The indulgence and accommodation which his fickness required, had taught him a l l the unpleasing and unsocial qualities o f a vale tudinary man. He expeãed that every thing should give way t o his ease o r humour, a s a child, whose parents will not hear her cry, has a n unresisted dominion i n the nursery. Coff que l'enfant toffours o f f homme, C’eft que l'homme o f f toffourt enfant. When h e wanted t o sleep h e “nodded i n “ company;” and once slumbered a t his own table while the Prince o f Wales was talking o f poetry. The reputation which his friendship gave procured him many invitations; but h e was a very troublesome inmate. He brought n o servant, and had s o many wants, that a numerous attendance was scarcely able t o fupply them. Wherever h e was, h e left n o room for another, because he exacted the at tention, and employed the activity o f the whole family. His errands were s o frequent , - . . . . . . 1 3 and POP.E. I35 o and frivolous, that the footmen in timeavoid ed and neglected him; and the Earl of Ox ford discharged some of the servants for their resolute refusal of his messages. The maids, when they had negle&ted their business, al leged that they had been employed by Mr. Pope. One of his constant demands was of coffee in the night, and to the woman that waited on him in his chamber he was very burthensome: but he was careful to recom pense her want of sleep; and Lord Oxford's servant declared, that in a house where her business was to answer his call, she would not ask for wages. He had another fault, easily incident to those who, suffering much pain, think them selves entitled to what pleasures they can snatch. He was too indulgent to his ap petite; he loved meat highly seasoned and of strong taste; and, at the intervals of the table, amused himself with biscuits and dry con serves. If he s a t down t o a variety o f dishes, h e would oppress his stomach with repletion; and though h e seemed angry when a dram was offered him, did not forbear t o drink i t . His friends, who knew the avenues t o his heart, pampered him with presents o f luxury, K 4 which 136 PoP.E. which he did not suffer to stand negleded. The death of great men is not always pro portioned to the lustre of their lives. Han nibal, says Juvenal, did not perish by a javelin or a sword; the slaughters of Canng were revenged by a ring. The death of Pope was imputed by some of his friends to a silver saucepan, in which it was his delight to heat potted lampreys. - That he loved too well to eat, is certain; but that his sensuality shortened his life will not be hastily concluded, when it is re membered that a conformation so irregular lasted six and fifty years, notwithstanding such pertinacious diligence of study and meditation. In a l l his intercourse with mankind, h e had great delight i n artifice, and endeavoured t o attain a l l his purposes b y indirect and un fuspected methods. “He hardly drank tea “ without a stratagem.” I f , a t the house o f his friends, h e wanted any accommodation, h e was not willing t o ask for i t i n plain terms, but would mention i t remotely a s something convenient; though, when i t was procured, h e soon made i t appear for whose sake i t had been recommended. Thus h e teized Lord Orrery _ | s

- POP,"E. 137 Orrery t i l l h e obtained a screen. He practised his arts o n such small occasions, that Lady Bolingbroke used t o say i n a French phrase, that “he played the politician about cabbages “ and turnips.” His unjustifiable impression o f the “Patriot King,” a s i t can b e imputed t o n o particular motive, must have proceeded from his general habit o f secrecy and cunning; h e caught a n opportunity o f a s l y trick, and pleased himself with the thought o f outwittin Bolingbroke, - I n familiar o r convivial conversation, i t does not appear that h e excelled. He may b e said t o have resembled Dryden, a s being not one that was distinguished by vivacity i n company. I t i s remarkable, that, s o near his time, s o much should be known of what he has writ ten, and s o little o f what h e has said

tra ditional memory retains n o fallies o f raillery, nor sentences o f observation; nothing either pointed o r solid, either wise o r merry. One apophthegm only stands upon record. When a n obječtion raised against his inscription for Shakspeare was defended b y the authority o f “Patrick,” h e replied—“ horresco referens”— that “he would allow the publisher o f a “Dićtionary t o know the meaning o f a , - 46 fingle 138 POPE. “single word, but not of two words put “together.” - . He was fretful, and easily displeased, and allowed himself to be capriciously resentful. He would sometimes leave Lord Oxford silently, no one could tell why, and was to be courted back by more letters and messages than the footmen were willing to carry. The table was indeed infested by Lady Mary Wortley, who was the friend of Lady Oxford, and who, knowing his peevishness, could by no entreaties be restrained from contradićting him, till their disputes were sharpened to fuch asperity, that one or the other quitted the house. - He sometimes condescended to be jocular with servants or inferiours; but by no merri ment, either of others or his own, was he ever seen excited to laughter. Of his domestick chara&ter, frugality was a part eminently remarkable. Having deter mined not to be dependent, he determined not to be in want, and therefore wisely and magnanimously reječted a l l temptations t o expence unsuitable t o his fortune. This general care must b e universally approved; but i t sometimes appeared i n petty artifices o f - parfi 3 . POPE. 139 w parfimony, such as the practice of writing his compositions on the back of letters, as may be seen in the remaining copy of the “"Iliad,” by which perhaps in five years five fhillings were saved; or in a niggardly recep tion of his friends, and scantihess of entertain ment, a s , when h e had two guests i n his house, h e would s e t a t supper a single pint upon the table; and, having himself taken two small glasses, would retire and say, “Gentlemen, “I leave you t o your wine.” Yet h e tells his friends, that “he has a heart for all, a “house for all, and, whatever they may “ think, a fortune for all.” He sometimes, however, made a splendid dinner, and i s said t o have wanted n o part o f the skill o r elegance which such performances require. That this magnificence should b e often displayed, that obstinate prudence with which h e condućted his affairs would not permit; for his revenue, certain and casual, amounted only t o about eight hundred pounds a-year, o f which however h e declares himself able t o assign one hundred t o charity”.

Part o f i t arose from a n annuity o f two hundred pounds a-year, which h e had purchased either o f the last Duke o f . Buckinghamshire, o r the Dutchess his mother, and which was charged o n some estate o f that family. The deed b y which i t was granted was some years i n my custody. H . Of 14o POPE. Of this fortune, which as it arose from publick approbation was very honourably obtained, his imagination seems to have been too full: it would be hard to find a man, so well entitled to notice by his wit, that ever delighted so much in talking of his money. In his Letters, and in his Poems, his garden - and his grotto, his quincunx and his vines, or some hints of his opulence, are always to be found. The great topick of h i s ridicule i s poverty; the crimes with which h e reproaches his antagonists are their debts, their habitation i n the Mint, and their want o f a dinner. He seems t o b e o f a n opinion not very uncommon i n the world, that t o want money i s t o want every thing. Next t o the pleasure o f contemplating his possessions, seems t o b e that of enumerating the men o f high rank with whom h e was acquainted, and whose notice h e loudly proclaims not t o have been obtained b y any practices o f meanness o r servility; a boast . which was never denied t o b e true, and t o which very few poets have ever aspired. Pope never s e t genius t o sale, h e never flat tered those whom h e did not love, o r praised those whom h e did not esteem. Savage . . . - - how POPE. 141 however remarked, that he began a little to relax his dignity when he wrote a distich for “ his Highness's dog.” His admiration of the Great seems to have. increased in the advance of life. He passed over peers and statesmen to inscribe his “Iliad” to Congreve, with a magnanimity of which the praise had been complete, had his friend's virtue been equal to his wit. Why he was chosen for so great an honour, it is not now possible to know; there is no trace in literary history of any particular intimacy between them. The name of Congreve appears in the Letters among those of his other friends, but without any observable distinétion or consequence. To h i s latter works, however, h e took care t o annex names dignified with titles, but was not very happy i n h i s choice; for, except Lord Bathurst, none o f his noble friends were fuch a s that a good man would wish t o have his intimacy with them known t o posterity: he can derive little honour from the notice of Cobham, Burlington, o r Bolingbroke. O f h i s social qualities, i f a n estimate b e made from h i s Letters, a n opinion too favour able cannot easily b e formed; they exhibit a perpe I42 POP.E. perpetual and unclouded effulgence of general benevolence, and particular fondness. There is nothing but liberality, gratitude, constancy, and tenderness. It has been so long said as to be commonly believed, that the true cha raēters of men may be found in their Letters, and that he who writes to his friend lays his heart open before him. But the truth i s , that such were the simple friendships o f the “Golden Age,” and are now the friendships only o f children. Very few can boast o f hearts which they dare lay open t o themselves, and o f which, b y whatever accident exposed, they d o not shun a distinét and continued view

and, certainly, what we hide from ourselves we do not shew t o our friends. There i s , indeed, no transačtion which offers stronger temptations t o fallacy and sophistica tion than epistolary intercourse. I n the eager ness of conversation the first emotions of the mind often burst out before they are con sidered; i n the tumult o f business, interest and passion have their genuine effect; but a friendly Letter i s a calm and deliberate performance, i n the cool o f leisure, i n the still ness o f solitude, and surely n o man sets down t o depreciate b y design his own chara&ter. - Friend

  • PoPE.

I43 Friendship has no tendency to secure vera city; for by whom can a man so much wish to be thought better than he i s , a s b y him whose kindness h e desires t o gain o r keep Even i n writing t o the world there i s less constraint; the author i s not confronted with his reader, and takes his chance o f approbation among the different dispositions o f mankind;. but a Letter i s addressed t o a single mind, o f which the prejudices and partialities are known

and must therefore please, i f not b y favouring them, b y forbearing t o oppose them. w To charge those favourable representations, which men give o f their own minds, with the guilt o f hypocritical falsehood, would shew more severity than knowledge. The writer commonly believes himself. Almost every man's thoughts, while they are general, are right; and most hearts are pure, while temptation i s away. I t i s easy t o awaken generous sentiments i n privacy; t o despise death when there i s n o danger; t o glow with benevolence when there i s nothing t o b e given. While such ideas are formed they are felt, and self-love does not suspect the gleam o f virtue t o b e the meteor o f fancy. If 144 POPE. If the Letters of Pope are confidered merely as compositions, they seem to be premedi tated and artificial. It is one thing to write, because there is something which the mind wishes to discharge; and another, to solicit the imagination, because ceremony or vanity requires something to be written. Pope con fesses his early Letters to be vitiated with affe&#ation aud ambition : to know whether he disentangled himself from these perverters of epistolary integrity, his book and his life must be s e t i n comparison. - One o f h i s favourite topicks i s contempt o f his own poetry. For this, i f i t had been real, The would deserve n o commendation; and i n this h e was certainly not fincere, f o r his high value o f himself was sufficiently observed; and o f what could h e b e proud but o f his poetry

He writes, h e says, when “he has just no “ thing else t o do;" yet Swift complains that h e was never a t leisure for conversation, because h e “had always some poetical scheme “ i n his head.” I t was punctually required that his writing-box should b e set upon his bed before h e rose; and Lord Oxford's do mestick related, that, i n the dreadful winter o f Forty, she was called from her bed b y him - - - - four . . .

  • P.O.P.E.

i45 | four times in one night, to supply him with paper, left he should lose a thought. . . . He pretends insensibility to censure and cri ticism, though it was observed by a l l who knew him that every pamphlet disturbed his quiet, and that his extreme irritability laid him open t o perpetual vexation; but h e wished t o despise his criticks, and therefore hoped that h e did despise them. . A s h e happened t o live i n two reigns when the Court paid little attention t o poetry, h e nursed i n h i s mind a foolish disesteem o f Kings, and proclaims that “he never sees Courts.” Yet a little regard shewn him b y the Prince o f Wales melted his obduracy; and h e had not much t o say when h e was asked b y his Royal Highness, “How h e could love a Prince while “ h e disliked Kings " - . . . He very frequently professes contempt o f the world, and represents himself a s looking on mankind, sometimes with gay indifference, a s on emmets o f a hillock, below his serious at tention; and sometimes with gloomy indigna tion, a s o n monsters more worthy o f hatred - than o f pity. These, were dispositions appa rently counterfeited. How could h e despise those whom h e lived b y pleasing, and o n whose Vol. IV, - L appro 146 POPE. approbation h i s esteem o f himself was super structed? Why should h e hate those t o whose favour he owed his honour and his ease ? Of things that terminate i n human life, the world i s the proper judge; t o despise i t s sentence, i f i t were poffible, i s not just; and i f i t were just, i s not possible. Pope was far enough from this unreasonable temper; h e was sufficiently a fool t o Fame, and his fault was, that h e pretended t o neglect i t . His levity and his sullenness were only i n his Letters; h e passed through common life, sometimes vexed, and sometimes pleased, with the natural emotions o f common IIlCI1, His scorn o f the Great i s repeated too often t o b e real; no man thinks much o f that which h e despises; and a s falsehood i s always i n dan ger o f inconsistency, h e makes i t his boast a t another time that h e lives among them. I r i s evident that his own importance swells often i n his mind. He i s afraid o f writing, left the clerks o f the Post-office should know his secrets; h e has many enemies; h e considers himself a s surrounded b y universal jealousy; “ after many deaths, and many dispersions, “ two o r three o f us,” says he, “may still b e “brought together, not t o plot, but t o divert o “ourselves, “ourselves, and the world too, if it pleases;” and they can live together, and “shew what “friends wits may be, in spite of a l l the fools “in the world.” All this while i t was likely . that the clerks did not know his hand; h e cer tainly had n o more enemies than a publick chara&erlike his inevitably excites; and with what degree o f friendship t h e wits mightlive, very few were s o much fools a s ever t o in guire, - t . . . . . . . . . . . . Some part o f this pretended discontent he learned from Swift, and expresses i t , I think, -most frequently i n his correspondence with him. Swift's resentment was unreasonable, dout i t was sincere; Pope's was the mere mi - mickry o f his friend, a fićtitious part which the began t o play before i t became him. When she was only twenty-five years old, h e related that “a glut o f study and retirement had “thrown him o n the world,” and that there was danger l e f t “ a glut o f t h e world should “throw him back upon study and retirement.” To this Swift answered with great propriety, . ..that Pope had not yet either ačted o r suffered — enough i n the world t o have become weary o f -it. And, indeed, i t must b e some very power -ful reason that can drive back t o solitude . . L 2 him.

- 148 POPE. him who has once enjoyed the pleasures of society. In the Letters both of Swift and Pope there appears such narrowness of mind, as makes them insensible of any excellence that has not some affinity with their own, and confines their esteem and approbation to so small a number, that whoever should form his opinion of the age from their representation, would sup pose them to have lived amidst ignorance and 'barbarity, unable to find among their contem poraries either virtue or intelligence, and perse cuted by those that could not understand them. When Pope murmurs at the world, when he professes contempt of fame, when he speaks of riches and poverty, of success and disap "pointment, with negligent indifference, he certainly does not express his habitual and settled sentiments, but either wilfully disguises his own charaćter, or, what is more likely, invests himself with temporary qualities, and sallies out in the colours of the present mo ment. His hopes and fears, his joys and sor rows, ačted strongly upon h i s mind; and i f h e differed from others, i t was not b y careless ness; h e was irritable and resentful; his ma lignity t o Philips, whom h e had first made r i diculous, P . . . O P E . , I49 diculous, and then hated for being angry, con tinued too long. Of his vain desire t o make Bentley contemptible, I never heard any ade quate reason. He was sometimes wanton i n his attacks; and, before Chandos, Lady Wort ley, and Hill, was mean i n his retreat. - The virtues which seem t o have had most. o f his affection were liberality and fidelity o f friendship, i n which i t does not appear that h e . was other than h e describes himself. His for tune did not suffer his charity t o b e splendid and conspicuous; but h e assisted Dodsley with. a hundred pounds, that h e might open a shop; and o f the subscription o f forty pounds a-year that h e raised f o r Savage, twenty were paid b y himself. He was accused o f loving money, but his love was eagerness t o gain, not solici tude t o keep i t ,

I n the duties o f friendship h e was zealous and constant; his early maturity o f mind com monly united him with men older than him self; and therefore, without attaining any confiderable length o f life, h e saw many com panions o f his youth fink into the grave; but i t does not appear that h e lost a single friend b y coldness o r b y injury; those who loved him once, continued their kindness. His un , , . L 3 grateful 15o POPE. grateful mention of Allen in h i s will, was the effect o f his adherence t o one whom h e had known much longer, and whom h e naturally loved with greater fondness. His violation o f the trust reposed i n him b y Bolingbroke could have no motive inconsistent with the warmest affe&tion; h e either thought the aëtion s o near t o indifferent that h e forgot i t , o r s o laudable that h e expected his friend t o approve i t . . I t was reported, with such confidence a s a l most t o enforce belief, that i n the papers in trusted t o his executors was found a defama tory Life o f Swift, which h e had prepared asart instrument o f vengeance, t o b e used i f any provocation should b e ever given. About this I inquired o f the Earl o f Marchmont, who assured m e that n o such piece was among h i s TCII) all lS, - The religion i n which h e lived and died was that o f the Church o f Rome, t o which i n his correspondence with Racine h e professes him self a sincere adherent. That he was not scru pulously pious i n some part o f his life, i s known b y many idle and indecent applications o f sentences taken from the Scriptures; a mode o f merriment which a good man dreads sor i t s profaneness, and a witty man disdains for i t s easiness _ POPE. 15I easiness and vulgarity. But to whatever le vities he has been betrayed, it does not appear that his principles were ever corrupted, or that he ever lost his belief of Revelation. The positions which he transmitted from Bolingbroke he seems not to have understood, and was pleased with an interpretation that made them orthodox.

- - A man of such exalted superiority, and so little moderation, would naturally have a l l h i s delinquencies observed and aggravated: those who could not deny that h e was excellent, would rejoice t o find that h e was not perfeót. Perhaps i t may b e imputed t o the unwilling ness with which the same man i s allowed t o possess many advantages, that his learning has been depreciated. He certainly was, i n his early life, a man o f great literary curiosity; and when h e wrote his “Essay o n Criticism” . had, for his age, a very wide acquaintance with books. When h e entered into the living world, i t seems t o have happened t o him a s t o many others, that h e was less attentive t o dead masters; h e studied i n the academy o f Paracelsus, and made the universe his favourite volume. He gathered h i s notions fresh from reality, not from the copies o f authors, but L 4 the 152 PO.P.E. the originals of Nature. Yet there is no reason to believe that literature ever lost his esteem; he always professed to love reading; and Dobson, who spent some time at his house translating his “Essay on Man,” when I asked him what learning he found him to possess, answered, “More than I expected.” His frequent references to history, his allu fions to various kinds of knowledge, and his images selected from art and nature, with his observations on the operations of the mind and the modes of life, shew an intelligence perpetually on the wing, excursive, vigorous, and diligent, eager to pursue knowledge, and attentive to retain i t . - - - From this curiosity arose the desire o f tra velling, t o which h e alludes i n his verses t o Jervas, and which, though h e never found a n opportunity t o gratify i t , did not leave him t i l l h i s l i f e declined. - - Of his intelle&tual charaćter, the constituent and fundamental principle was Good Sense, a prompt and intuitive perception o f consonance and propriety. He saw immediately, o f his own conceptions, what was t o b e chosen, and what t o b e reječted; and, i n the works o f others, what was t o b e shunned, and what was t o b e copied. But' POPE. 153 But good sense alone is a sedate and quiescent quality, which manages i t s possessions well, but does not increase them; i t colle&ts few materials for i t s own operations, and preserves safety, but never gains supremacy. Pope had likewise genius; a mind ačtive, ambitious, and adventurous, always investigating, always aspiring; i n i t s widest searches still longing t o g o forward, i n i t s highest flights still wishing t o b e higher; always imagining something greater than i t knows, always endeavouring more than i t can do. To assist these powers, h e i s said t o have had great strength and exactness o f memory. That which h e had heard o r read was not easily lost; and h e had before him not only what his own meditations suggested, but what h e had found i n other writers, that might b e accommodated t o his present purpose. These benefits o f nature h e improved b y incessant and unwearied diligence; h e had recourse t o every source o f intelligence, and lost n o opportunity o f information; h e con sulted the living a s well a s the dead; h e read his compositions t o his friends, and was never content with mediocrity when excellence could b e attained. He confidered poetry a s the i o business I 54. POPE. business of his life; and, however he might seem to lament his occupation, he followed it with constancy; to make verses was his first labour, and to mend them was his last. From his attention to poetry he was never diverted. If conversation offered any thing that could be improved, he committed it to paper; if a thought, or perhaps an expression more happy than was common, rose to his mind, he was careful to write it ; an inde pendent distich was preserved for an oppor tunity of insertion; and some little fragments have been found containing lines, or parts of lines, to be wrought upon at some other time. He was one of those few whose labour is their pleasure: he was never elevated to ne gligence, nor wearied to impatience ; he never passed a fault unamended by indifference, nor quitted it by despair. He laboured his works first to gain reputation and afterwards to keep i t . . Of composition there are different methods. . Some employ a t once memory and invention, and, with little intermediate use o f the pen, form and polish large masses b y continued meditation, and write their produćtions only when, i n their own opinion, they have com 4 . pleted z POpF, I55 pleted them. It is related of Virgil, that h i s custom was t o pour out a great number o f verses i n the morning, and pass the day i n retrenching exuberanees and correàing in accuracies. The method o f Pope, a s may b e collečted from his translation, was t o write his first thoughts i n his first words, and gradually t o amplify, decorate, reëtify, and refine them. - With such faculties, and such dispositions, h e excelled every other writer i n poetical prudence; h e wrote i n such a manner a s might expose him t o few hazards. He used almost always the same fabrick o f verse; and, indeed, b y those few essays which h e made o f any other, h e did not enlarge his reputation. O f this uniformity the certain consequence was readiness and dexterity. By perpetual pračtice, language had, i n his mind, a systema tical arrangement; having always the same tise for words, h e had words s o selected and combined a s t o b e ready a t his call. This in crease o f facility h e confessed himself t o have perceived i n the progress o f h i s translation. But what was y e t o f more importance, h i s effusions were always voluntary, and h i s sub jećts chosen b y himself. His independence - secured 156 POPE. secured him from drudging at a task, and labouring upon a barren topick: he never exchanged praise for money, nor opened a shop of condolence or congratulation. His poems, therefore, were scarce ever temporary. He suffered coronations and royal marriages to pass without a song, and derived no op portunities from recent events, nor any po pularity from the accidental disposition of his readers. He was never reduced to the ne cessity of soliciting the sun to shine upon a birth-day, of calling the Graces and Virtues to a wedding, or of saying what multitudes have said before him. When he could pro duce nothing new, he was at liberty to be silent. - His publications were for the same reason never hasty. He is said to have sent nothing to the press till it had lain two years under his inspection: it is at least certain, that he ventured nothing without nice examination. He suffered the tumult of imagination to subside, and the novelties of invention to grow familiar. He knew that the mind is always enamoured of i t s own produćtions, and did not trust h i s first fondness. He consulted h i s friends and listened with great -

- willingness POPE. 157 willingness to criticism; and, what was of more importance, he consulted himself, and l e t nothing pass against his own judgment. He professed t o have learned h i s poetry from Dryden, whom, whenever a n opportunity was presented, h e praised through his whole life with unvaried liberality; and perhaps his charaćter may receive some illustration, i f h e b e compared with his master. . . . . .

Integrity o f understanding and nicety o f discernment were not allotted i n a less propor tion t o Dryden than t o Pope. The rečtitude o f Dryden's mind was sufficiently shewn b y the dismission o f his poetical prejudices, and the rejećtion o f unnatural thoughts and rugged numbers. But Dryden never defired t o apply a l l the judgment that h e had. He wrote, and professed t o write, merely for the people; and when h e pleased others, h e contented himself. He spent n o time i n struggles t o rouse latent powers; h e never attempted t o make that better which was already good, nor 3often t o mend ‘what he must have known t o b e faulty. He wrote, a s h e tells us, with very little consideration; when occasion o r neces 'sity called upon him, h e poured out what the present moment happened t o supply, and, - when

    • 158

POP.E. when once it had passed the press, ejećted it from h i s mind; for when h e had n o pecuniary interest, h e had no further solicitude. - Pope was not content t o satisfy; h e desired t o excel, and therefore always endeavoured t o do his best: h e did not court the candour, but dared the judgment o f his reader, and, ex pećting n o indulgence from others, h e shewed none t o himself. He examined lines and words with minute and punétilious observa tion, and retouched every part with indefati gable diligence, t i l l h e had left nothing t o b e forgiven. - for this reason h e kept his pieces very long i n his hands, while h e considered and recon sidered them. The only poems which can b e supposed t o have been written with such regard t o the times a s might hasten their publication, were the two satires o f “Thirty “eight;" o f which Dodsley told me, that they were brought t o him b y the author, that they might b e fairly copied. “Almost every “ line,” h e said, “ was then written twice “Lover: " I gave him a clean transcript, which “...he sent some time afterwards t o me for the “press, with almost every line written twi “...over a second time.” ... - His POPE. 139 His declaration, that his care for his works ceased at their publication, was not strićtly true. Hisparental attention neverabandoned them; what he found amiss in the first edition, he silently correóted in those that followed. He appears to have revised the “Iliad,” and freed it from some of i t s imperfeótions; and the “Essay o n Criticism” received manyim y yrm provements after i t s first appearance. I t will seldom befound that h e altered without adding clearness, elegance, o r vigour. Pope had per. haps the judgment o f Dryden; but Dryden certainly wanted the diligence o f Pope. ... I n acquired knowledge, the superiority must “be allowed t o Dryden, whose education was more feholastick, and who before h e became an author had been allowed more time for study, with better means o f information. His mind has a larger range, and h e colle&ts his images and illustrations from a more - extensive circumference o f science. Dryden

  • knew more

o f man i n his general nature, and Pope, i n his local manners. The notions o f (Dryden were formed by comprehensive spe cilation; and those o f Pope b y minute atten ‘tion. There i s more dignity i n the know Io ledge 16o POPE. ledge of Dryden, and more certainty in that of Pope. Poetry was not the sole praise of either; for both excelled likewise in prose; but Pope did not borrow his prose from his predecessor. The style of Dryden is capricious and varied; that of Pope is cautious and uniform. Dry den observes the motions of his own mind; Pope constrains his mind to his own rules of composition. Dryden is sometimes vehe ment and rapid ; Pope is always smooth, uniform, and gentle. Dryden's page is a . natural field, rising into inequalities, and di versified by the varied exuberance of abundant vegetation; Pope's is a velvet lawn, shaven by the scythe, and levelled by the roller. Of genius, that power which constitutes a poet; that quality without which judgment is cold, and knowledge is inert ; that energy which colle&ts, combines, amplifies, and ani mates; the superiority must, with some hesi tation, be allowed to Dryden. It is not to be inferred that of his poetical vigour Pope had only a little, because Dryden had more; for every other writer fince Milton must give place to Pope; and even of Dryden it must be PoP.E. 161 be said, that, if he has brighter paragraphs, he has not better poems. Dryden's perform ances were always hasty, either excited by some external occasion, or extorted by do mestick necessity; he composed without con sideration, and published without correčtion. What his mind could supply at call, or gather in one excursion, was a l l that h e sought, and a l l that h e gave. The dilatory caution o f Pope enabled him t o condense his sentiments, t o multiply his images, and t o accumulate a l l that study might produce, o r chance might supply. I f the flights o f Dryden therefore are higher, Pope continues longer o n the wing. I f o f Dryden's fire the blaze i s bright e r , o f Pope's the heat i s more regular and constant. Dryden often surpasses expediation, and Pope never falls below i t . Dryden i s read with frequent astonishment, and Pope with perpetual delight. - This parallel will, I hope, when i t i s well confidered, b e found just

and i f the reader should suspect me, a s I suspect myself, o f some partial fondness for the memory o f Dryden, l e t him not too hastily condemn me; for meditation and inquiry may, per haps, shew him the reasonableness o f my determination. Vol. IV. M . THE 162 PoPE. THE Works of Pope are now to be dis tinétly examined, not so much with atten tion to slight faults or petty beauties, as to the general charader and effect of each performance. It seems natural for a young poet to initiate himself by Pastorals, which, not professing to imitate real life, require no experience; and, exhibiting only the fimple operation of un mingled passions, admit no subtile reasoning or deep inquiry. Pope's pastorals a r e not however composed but with close thought; they have reference t o the times o f the day, the seasons o f the year, and the periods o f human life. The last, that which turns the attention upon age and death, was the author's favourite. To tell o f disappointment and misery, t o thicken the darkness o f futurity, and perplex the labyrinth o f uncertainty, has been always a delicious employment o f the poets. His preference was probably just. I wish, however, that his fondness had not overlooked a line i n which the Zephyrs are made t o lament i n silence. • To charge these pastorals with want o f invention, i s t o require what was never - - - intended. P.O.P.E. 163

intended. The imitations are so ambitiously frequent, that the writer evidently means rather to shew his literature than his wit. It is surely sufficient for an author of sixteen, not only to be able to copy the poems of antiquity with judicious selection, but to have obtained sufficient power of language, and skill in metre, to exhibit a series of versification, which had in English poetry no precedent, nor has since had an imi tation, The design of “Windsor Forest” is evi dently derived from “Cooper's Hill,” with some attention to Waller's poem on “ The “ Park;” but Pope cannot be denied to excel his masters in variety and elegance, and the art of interchanging description, narrative, and morality. The obječtion made by Dennis is the want of plan, of a regular subordination of parts terminating in the principal and original design. There is this want in most descriptive poems, because, as thescenes, which they must exhibit successively, are a l l subsist ing a t the same time, the order i n which they are shewn must b y necessity b e arbitrary, and more i s not t o b e expected from the last part than from the first. The attention, therefore, M 2 which 164 P. O.P.E. which cannot be detained by suspense, must be excited by diversity, such as his poem offers to its reader, But the desire of diversity may be too much indulged ; the parts of “Windsor Forest” which deserve least praise, are those which were added to enliven the stillness of the scene, the appearance of Father Thames, and the transformation of Lodona. Addison had in his “ Campaign” derided the rivers that “rise from their oozy beds” to tell stories of heroes; and it is therefore strange that Pope should adopt a fićtion not only unnatural but lately censured. The story of Lodoma is told with sweetness; but a new metamorphosis is a ready and puerile expedient; nothing is easier than to tell how a flower was once a blooming virgin, or a rock an obdurate tyrant. - - The “Temple of Fame” has, as Steele warmly declared, “ a thousand beauties.” Every part is splendid; there is great luxuri ance of ornaments; the original vision of Chaucer was never denied to be much im proved; the allegory is very skilfully con tinued, the imagery is properly selected, and learnedly displayed; yet, with a l l this com - - - prehension . . . P . O . P . E . 16; prehension o f excellence, a s i t s scene i s laid i n remote ages, and i t s sentiments, i f the concluding paragraph b e excepted, have little relation t o general manners o r common life, i t never obtained much notice, but i s turned filently over, and seldom quoted o r mentioned with either praise o r blame. That the “ Messiah” excels the “Pollio” i s n o great praise, i f i t b e confidered from what original the improvements are de rived. - - The “Verses o n the unfortunate Lady” have drawn much attention b y the illaudable fingularity o f treating suicide with respect; and they must b e allowed t o b e written i n some parts with vigorous animation, and i n others with gentle tenderness; nor has Pope produced any poem i n which the sense predominates more over the dićtion. But the tale i s not skilfully told

i t i s not easy t o discover the chara&ter o f either the Lady o r her Guardian. History relates that she was about t o disparage herself b y a marriage with a n inferiour; Pope praises her for the dignity o f ambition, and yet condemns the uncle t o detestation for his pride; the ambitious love o f a niece may b e . . e opposed b y the interest, malice, o r envy o f a n - M 3 uncle, 166 P.O.P.E. uncle, but never by his pride. On such an occasion a poet may be allowed to be obscure, but inconsistency never can be right*. The “Ode for S t . Cecília's Day” was un dertaken a t the desire of Steele: i n this the author i s generally confessed t o have miscar ried, yet h e has miscarried only a s compared with Dryden; for h e has far outgone other competitors. Dryden's plan i s better chosen; history will always take stronger hold o f the attention than fable: the passions excited by Dryden are the pleasures and pains o f real life, the scene o f Pope i s laid i n imaginary ex istence; Pope i s read with calm acquiescence, Dryden with turbulent delight; Pope hangs

The account herein before given o f this lady and her catastrophe, cited b y Johnson from Ruffhead with a kind o f acquiescence i n the truth thereof, seems n o other than might have been extracted from the verses themselves. I have i n my possession a letter t o Dr. Johnson, containing the name o f the lady; and a reference t o a gentleman well known i n the literary world for her history. Him I have seen; and, from a memorandum o f some particulars t o the purpose communicated t o him b y a lady o f quality, h e informs me that the unfortunate lady's name was Withinbury, corruptly pronounced Winbury; that she was i n love with Pope, and would have married him; that her guardian, though she was deformed i n her person, looking upon such a match a s be neath her, sent her t o a convent, and that a noose, and not a sword, put a n end t o her life. H . - 1 3 upon POPE. 167 upon the ear, and Dryden finds the passes of the mind. - Both the odes want the essential constituent of metrical compositions, the stated recurrence of settled numbers. It may be alleged, that Pindar is said by Horace to have written nume r i s legesoluti:

but a s n o such lax performances have been transmitted t o us, the meaning o f that expression cannot b e fixed; and perhaps the like return might properly b e made t o a modern Pindarist, a s Mr. Cobb received from Bentley, who, when h e found his criticisms upon a Greek Exercise, which Cobb had pre sented, refuted one after another b y Pindar's authority, cried out a t last, “Pindar was a “bold fellow, but thou art a n impudent “ one.” I f Pope's ode b e particularly inspected, i t will be found that the first stanza consists of sounds well chosen indeed, but only sounds. The second consists o f hyperbolical com mon-places, easily t o b e found, and per haps without much difficulty t o b e a s well ex pressed. I n the third, however, there are numbers, images, harmony, and vigour, not un worthy the antagonist o f Dryden. Had a l l - M 4 - been 168 POP.E., been like this—but every part cannot be the best. The next stanzas place and detain us in the dark and dismal regions of mythology, where neither hope nor fear, neither joy nor sorrow, can be found: the poet however faithfully at tends us; we have a l l that can b e performed b y elegance o f dićtion, o r sweetness o f versi fication

but what can form avail without better matter The last stanza recurs again t o common places. The conclusion i s too evidently mo delled b y that o f Dryden; and i t may b e re marked that both end with the same fault; the comparison o f each i s literal o n one side, and metaphorical o n the other. Poets d o not always express their own thoughts: Pope, with a l l this labour i n the praise o f Musick, was ignorant o f i t s prin ciples, and insensible o f i t s effects. One o f his greatest, though o f his earliest works, i s the “Essay o n Criticism,” which, i f h e had written nothing else, would have placed him among the first criticks and the first poets, a s i t exhibits every mode o f excellence that can embellish o r dignify didačtick composition, felećtion o f matter, novelty o f arrangement, justness PoPE. 169 justness of precept, splendour of illustration, and propriety of digression. I know not whe ther it be pleasing to consider that he produced this piece at twenty, and never afterwards excelled it: he that delights himself with ob serving that such powers may be soon attained, cannot but grieve to think that life was ever after at a stand. - To mention the particular beauties of the Essay would be unprofitably tedious : but I cannot forbear to observe, that the comparison of a student's progress in the sciences with the journey of a traveller in the Alps, is perhaps the best that English poetry can shew. A simile, to be perfeót, must both illustrate and ennoble the subjećt; must shew it to the un derstanding in a clearer view, and display it to the fancy with greater dignity; but either of these qualities may be sufficient to recommend i t . I n didaćtick poetry, o f which the great purpose i s instruction, a fimile may b e praised which illustrates, though i t does not ennoble; i n heroicks, that may b e admitted which en nobles, though i t does not illustrate. That i t may b e complete, i t i s required t o exhibit, independently o f i t s references, a pleasing image; for a simile i s said t o b e a short episode. To 17o fOPE. To this antiquity was so attentive, that cir cumstances were sometimes added, which, having no parallels, served only to f i l l the imagination, and produced what Perrault lu dicrously called “comparisons with a long “ tail.” I n their fimiles the greatest writers have sometimes failed; the ship-race, compared with the chariot-race, i s neither illustrated nor aggrandised; land and water make a l l the difference: when Apollo, running after Daph ne, i s likened t o a greyhound chasing a hare, there i s nothing gained

the ideas o f pursuit and flight are too plain t o b e made plainer;" and a god and the daughter o f a god are not represented much t o their advantage b y a hare and dog. The simile o f the Alps has n o use less parts, yet affords a striking pićture b y i t self; i t makes the foregoing position better understood, and enables i t t o take faster hold o n the attention; i t affists the apprehension, and elevates the fancy. Let me likewise dwell a little on the ce lebrated paragraph, i n which i t i s direéted that “the sound should seem an echo t o the “sense;” a precept which Pope i s allowed t o have observed beyond any other English - poet. This PoPE. 171 This notion of representative metre, and the desire of discovering frequent adaptations of the sound to the sense, have produced, in my opinion, many wild conceits and imagi nary beauties. All that can furnish this repre sentation are the sounds of the words consi dered fingly, and the time in which they are pronounced. Every language has some words framed to exhibit the noises which they ex press, as thump, rattle, growl, his. These however are but few, and the poet cannot make them more, nor can they be of any use but when sound is to be mentioned. The time of pronunciation was in the daćtylick measures of the learned languages capable of confiderable variety; but that variety could be accommodated only to motion or duration, and different degrees of motion were perhaps expressed by verses rapid or slow, without much attention of the writer, when the image had full possession of his fancy; but our lan 'guage having little flexibility, our verses can differ very little in their cadence. The fancied resemblances, I fear, arise sometimes merely from the ambiguity of words; there is sup posed to be some relation between a soft line - and 172 POPE. and soft couch, or between hard syllables and hard fortune. -

Motion, however, may be in some sort ex emplified; and yet it may be suspected that in such resemblances the mind often governs the ear, and the sounds are estimated by their meaning. One of their most successful at tempts has been to describe the labour of Sisyphus: - With many a weary step, and many a groan, Up a high hill he heaves a huge round stone; The huge round stone, resulting with a bound, Thunders impetuous down, and smokes along the ground. - Who does not perceive the stone to move slowly upward, and roll violently back? But set the same numbers to another sense; While many a merry tale, and many a song, Cheer'd the rough road, we wished the rough road long. t The rough road then, returning in a round, Mock'd our impatient steps, for a l l was fairy ground. We have now surely lost much o f the delay, and much o f the rapidity. . - But, POP.E. - 173 But, to shew how little the greatest master of numbers can fix the principles of repre sentative harmony, it will be sufficient to re mark that the poet, who tells us, that When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw - The line too labours, and the words move slow: Not s o , when swift Camilla scours the plain, Flies o'erth' unbending corn, and skims along the - main; when h e had enjoyed for about thirty years the praise o f Camilla's lightness o f foot, h e tried another experiment upon sound and time, and produced this memorable triplet; The varying verse, the full resounding line, Waller was smooth; but Dryden taught t o o The long majestick march, and energy divine. Here are the swiftness o f the rapid race, and the march o f slow-paced majesty, exhi bited b y the same poet i n the same sequence o f syllables, except that the exact prosodist will find the line o f swiftnes; b y one time longer than that o f tardings. Beauties o f this kind are commonly fancied; and, when real, are technical and nugatory, 174 P.G.P.E. nugatory, not to be rejećted, and not to be folicited. To the praises which have been accumu lated on “The Rape of t h e Lock” b y readers o f every class, from the critick t o the waiting maid, i t i s difficult t o make any addition. Of that which i s universally allowed t o b e the most attractive of all ludicrous com positions, l e t i t rather b e now inquired from what sources the power o f pleasing i s derived. Dr. Warburton, who excelled i n critical perspicacity, has remarked that the preterna tural agents are very happily adapted t o the purposes o f the poem. The heathen deities can n o longer gain attention: we should have turned away from a contest between Venus and Diana. The employment o f allegorical persons always excites convićtion o f i t s own absurdity; they may produce effects, but cannot condućt ačtions: when the phantom i s put i n motion, i t dissolves: thus Discord may raise a mutiny; but Discord cannot con dućt a march, nor besiege a town. Pope brought i n view a new race o f Beings, with powers and passions proportionate t o their operation. The Sylphs and Gnomes ačt a t the . . POPE. 175 the toilet and the tea-table, what more terri fick and more powerful phantoms perform on the stormy ocean, or the field of battle; they give their proper help, and do their proper mischief. w - Pope is said, by an objećtor, not to have been the inventer of this petty nation; a charge which might with more justice have been brought against the author of the “Iliad,” who doubtless adopted the religious system of his country; for what is there but the names of his agents which Pope has not invented Has he not affigned them cha raćters and operations never heard of before ? Has he not, at least, given them their first poetical existence : If this is not sufficient to denominate his work original, nothing ori ginal ever can be written. In this work are exhibited, in a very high degree, the two most engaging powers of an author. New things are made familiar, and familiar things are made new. A race of aërial people, never heard of before, is pre sented to us in a manner so clear and easy, that the reader seeks for no further informa tion, but immediately mingles with his new acquaintance, adopts their interests, and at - tends 176 POPE. tends their pursuits, loves a Sylph, and detests a Gnome. - That familiar things are made new, every paragraph will prove. The subjećt of the poem is an event below the common incidents of common life; nothing real is introduced that is not seen so often as to be no longer regarded; yet the whole detail of a female day is here brought before us, invested with so much a r t o f decoration, that, though nothing i s disguised, every thing i s striking, and w e feel a l l the appetite o f curiosity for that from which we have a thousand times turned fastidiously away. - The purpose o f the poet i s , a s h e tells us, t o laugh a t “the little unguarded follies o f “ the female sex.” I t i s therefore without justice that Dennis charges the “Rape o f “ the Lock” with the want o f a moral, and for that reason sets i t below the “Lutrin,” which exposes the pride and discord o f the clergy. Perhaps neither Pope nor Beileau has made the world much better than he found i t

but, i f they had both succeeded, i t were easy t o tell who would have deserved most from publick gratitude. The freaks, and humours, and spleen, and vanity o f women, PO.P.E. 177 women, as they embroil' families in discord, and f i l l houses with disquiet, d o more t o ob strućt the happiness o f life i n a year than the ambition o f the clergy i n many centuries. I t has been well observed, that the misery o f man proceeds not from any single crush o f overwhelming evil, but from small vexations continually repeated. I t i s remarked b y Dennis likewise, that the machinery i s superfluous; that, b y a l l the bustle o f preternatural operation, the main event i s neither hastened nor retarded. To this charge a n efficacious answer i s not easily made. The Sylphs cannot b e said t o help o r t o oppose; and i t must b e allowed t o imply some want o f art, that their power has not been sufficiently intermingled with the adion. Other parts may likewise b e charged with want o f connexion; the game a t ombre might b e spared, but i f the Lady had lost her hair while s h e was intent upon her cards, i t might have been inferred that those who are too fond o f play will b e i n danger o f negled ing more important interests. Those perhaps are faults; but what are such faults t o s o much excellences

The Epistle o f “Eloise t o Abelard” i s one o f the most happy produćtions o f human wit: , VOL. IV . N the

  1. 78.

P.O.P.E. the subjećt is so judiciously chosen, that it would be difficult, in turning over the annals of the world, to find another which so many circumstances concur to recommend. We regularly interest ourselves most in the fortune of those who most deserve our notice. Abelard and Eloise were conspicuous in their days for eminence of merit. The heart naturally loves truth. The adventures and misfortunes of this illustrious pair are known from undisputed history. Their fate does not leave the mind in hopeless dejećtion; for they both found quiet and consolation in retirement and piety. So new and so affecting is their story, that it supersedes invention, and imagination ranges at full liberty without straggling into scenes of fable. -- The story, thus skilfully adopted, has been diligently improved. Pope has left nothing behind him, which seems more the effect of studious perseverance and laborious revisal. Here is particularly observable the curiosa felicitas, a fruitful soil, and careful cultivation. Here is no crudeness of sense, nor asperity of language. , The sources from which sentiments, which have so much vigour and efficacy, have been drawn, are shewn to be the mystick writers , , - by PoPE. 179 by the learned author of the “Essay on the “Life and Writings of Pope;” a book which teaches how t h e brow o f Criticism may b e smoothed, and how she may b e enabled, with a l l her severity, t o attract and t o delight. The train o f my disquisition has now con dućted me t o that poetical wonder, the trans. lation o f the “Iliad;” a performance which n o age o r nation can pretend t o equal. To the Greeks translation was almost unknown; i t was totally unknown t o the inhabitants o f Greece. They had n o recourse t o the Bar barians for poetical beauties, but sought for every thing i n Homer, where; indeed, there i s but little which they might not find. The Italians have been very diligent trans. lators; but I can hear o f n o version, unless perhaps Anguilara's Ovid may b e excepted, which i s read with eagerness. The “Iliad” o f Salvini every reader may discover t o b e punétiliously exact; but i t seems t o b e the work o f a linguist skilfully pedantick; and his bountrymen, the proper judges o f i t s power t o please, reject i t with disgust. - Their predecessors the Romans have left forme specimens o f translation behind them, and that employment must have had some •

... N 2 credit 18o POPE. credit in which Tully and Germanicus en gaged; but unless we suppose, what is perhaps true, that the plays of Terence were versions of Menander, nothing translated seems ever to have risen to high reputation. The French, in the meridian hour of their learning, were very laudably industrious to enrich their own language with the wisdom of the ancients; but found themselves reduced, by whatever necessity, to turn the Greek and Roman poetry into prose. Whoever could read an author, eould translate him. From such rivals little can be feared. The chief help of Pope in this arduous undertaking was drawn from the versions of - Dryden. Virgil had borrowed much of his imagery from Homer; and part of the debt was now paid by his translator. Pope search ed the pages of Dryden for happycombinations. of heroic dićtion; but it will not be denied that he added much to what he found. He cultivated our language with so much diligence and art, that he has left in his “ Homer” a treasure of poetical elegances to posterity. His version may be said to have tuned the English tongue; for since i t s appearance n o writer, however deficient i n other powers, - has w P.O.P.E. 181

has wanted melody. Such a series of lines so elaborately correóted, and so sweetly modu lated, took possession of the publick ear; the vulgar was enamoured of the poem, and the learned wondered at the translation. But in the most general applause discordant voices will always be heard. It has been obječted by some, who wish to be numbered among the sons of learning, that Pope's version of Homer is not Homerical ; that it exhibits no resemblance of the original and chara&teristick manner of the Father of Poetry, as it wants h i s awful fimplicity, h i s artless grandeur, his unaffected majesty”. This, cannot b e totally denied

but i t must b e re membered that necessitas quod cogit defendit; that may b e lawfully done which cannot b e forborn. Time and place will always enforce

Bentley was one o f these. He and Pope, soon after the publication o f Homer, met a t Dr. Mead's a t dinner; when Pope, desirous o f his opinion o f the translation, addressed him thus: “Dr. Bentley, I ordered my bookseller t o send you “ your books; I hope you received them.” Bentley, who had purposely avoided saying any thing about Homer, pretended not t o understand him, and asked, ‘Books 1

books what books: ‘My Homer,” replied Pope, “which “ you did me the honour t o subscribe for.” —“Oh,” said Bent isy, “ay now I recolled—your translation *—it i s a pretty “ poem, Mr. Pope; but you must not call i t Homer.’’ H . N 3 regard. 182 POPE. regard. In estimating this translation, confi deration must be had of t h e nature o f our lan guage, the form o f our metre, and, above all, o f the change which two thousand years have made i n the modes o f life and the habits o f thought. Virgil wrote i n a language o f the same general fabrick with that o f Homer, i n verses o f the same measure, and i n a n age nearer t o Homer's time b y eighteen hundred years; y e t h e found, even then, t h e state o f t h e world s o much altered, and t h e demand f o r 'elegance s o much increased, that mere nature would b e endured n o longer; and perhaps, i n the multitude o f borrowed passages, very few can b e shewn which h e has not embellished. There i s a time when nations emerging from barbarity, and falling into regular subordina tion, gain leisure t o grow wife, and feel t h e fhame o f ignorance and the craving pain o f unsatisfied curiosity. To this hunger o f the mind plain sense i s grateful

that which fills the void removes uneasiness, and t o b e free from pain f o r a while i s pleasure; b u t reple tion generates fastidiousness

a saturated i n telle&t soon becomes luxurious, and know ledge finds n o willing reception t i l l i t i s re commended b y artificial dićtion. Thus i t . . . . will PoPE. 183 will be found, in the progress of 1earning, that in a l l nations the first writers are simple, and that every age improves i n elegance. . One refinement always makes way for an other; and what was expedient t o Virgil was necessary t o Pope. I suppose many readers o f the English “ Iliad,” when they have been touched with some unexpected beauty o f the lighter kind, have tried t o enjoy i t i n the original, where, alas ! i t was not t o be found. Homer doubt less owes t o his translator many Ovidian graces not exactly suitable t o his charaćter; but t o have added can b e n o great crime, i f nothing b e taken away. Elegance i s surely t o b e de fired, i f i t b e not gained a t the expence o f dignity. A hero would wish t o b e loved, a s well a s t o be reverenced. - - To a thousand cavils one answer i s suffi cient; the purpose o f a writer i s t o b e read, and the criticism which would destroy the power o f pleasing must b e blown aside. Pope wrote for his own age and his own nation: h e knew that i t was necessary t o colour the images and point the sentiments o f his author; h e therefore made him graceful, but lost him fome o f his sublimity. - - N 4 The 184 PoPE. - The copious notes with which the version is accompanied, and by which it is recom mended to many readers, though they were undoubtedly written to swell the volumes, ought not to pass without praise: commen taries which attract the reader by the pleasure of perusal have not often appeared; the notes of others a r e read t o clear, difficulties, those o f Pope t o vary entertainment, . . . I t has however been obječted, with suffi cient reason, that there i s i n the commentary too much o f unseasonable levity and affected gaiety; that too many appeals a r e made t o the Ladies, and the ease which i s s o care fully preserved i s sometimes the ease o f a trifler. Every art has i t s terms, and every kind o f instruction i t s proper style; the gravity o f common criticks may b e tedi ous, but i s less despicable than childish mer riment. - - Of the “Odyssey” nothing remains t o b e observed: the same general praise may b e given t o both translations, and a particular examination o f either would require a large volume. The notes were written by Broome, who endeavoured, not unsuccessfully, t o imi tate his master, . . . O f POPE. 185 Of the “Dunciad” the hint is confessedly taken from Dryden’s “Mac Flecknoe;” but the plan is so enlarged and diversified as justly to claim the praise of an original, and affords perhaps the best specimen that has yet appear ed of personal satire ludicrously pompous. That the design was moral, whatever the author might tell either his readers or himself, I am not convinced. The first motive was the desire of revenging the contempt with which Theobald had treated his “Shakspeare,” and regaining the honour which he had lost, by crushing his opponent. Theobald was not of bulk enough to f i l l a poem, and therefore i t was necessary t o find other enemies with other names, a t whose expence h e might di vert the publick. - I n this design there was petulance and malignity enough; but I cannot think i t very criminal. An author places himself uncalled before the tribunal o f Criticism, and solicits fame a t the hazard o f disgrace. Dulness o r deformity are not culpable i n themselves, but may b e very justly reproached when they pre tend t o the honour of wit o r the influence o f beauty. I f bad writers were t o pass without reprehension, what should restrain them? im pune 386 POPE. fune diem consump/erit ingens Telephur; and jupon bad writers only will censure have much effect. The satire which brought Theobald and Moore into contempt, dropped impotent from Bentley, like the javelin of Priam. All truth is valuable, and satirical criticism may be considered as useful when it rectifies error and improves judgment; he that refines the publick taste is a publick benefactor. The beauties of this poem are well known; i t s chief fault i s the grossness o f i t s images. Pope and Swift had a n unnatural delight i n ideas physically impure, such a s every other tongue utters with unwillingness, and o f which every ear shrinks from the mention. But even this fault, offensive a s i t i s , may b e forgiven for the excellence o f other pas sages; such a s the formation, and dissolution o f Moore, the account o f the Traveller, the misfortune o f the Florist, and the crowded thoughts and stately numbers which dignify the concluding paragraph. - The alterations which have been made i n the “Dunciad,” not always for the bet ter, require that i t should b e published, a s i n the present collection, with a l l i t s varia tions. ... . " . . - •

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The pOPE. 187 The “Essay on Man” was a work of great labour and long confideration, but certainly not the happiest of Pope's performances. The subjećt is perhaps not very proper for poetry, and the poet was not sufficiently master of his subjećt; metaphysical morality was to him a new study, he was proud of his acquisitions, and, supposing himself master of great secrets, was in haste to teach what he had not learned. Thus he tells u s , i n the first Epistle, that from the nature o f the Supreme Being may b e de duced a n order o f beings such a s mankind, because Infinite Excellence can d o only what i s best. He finds out that these beings must b e “somewhere,” and that “all the question “is whether man b e i n a wrong place.” Surely i f , according t o the poet's Leibnitian reasoning, we may infer that man ought t o be, only because h e i s , we may allow that h i s place i s the right place, because h e has i t . Supreme Wisdom i s not less infallible i n disposing than i n creating. But what i s meant b y somewhere and place, and wrong place, i t had been vain t o ask Pope, who probably had never asked himself. - Having exalted himself into the chair o f wisdom, h e tells u s much that every man - - - knows, - 188 PoPE. knows, and much that he does not know himself; that we see but little, and that the order of the universe is beyond our compre hension; an opinion not very uncommon; and that there is a chain of subordinate beings “ from infinite to nothing,” of which himself , and his readers are equally ignorant. But he gives us one comfort, which, without his help, he supposes unattainable, in the position “that though we are fools, yet God is wise.” This Essay affords an egregious instance of the predominance of genius, the dazzling splendour of imagery, and the sedućtive powers of eloquence. Never was penury of knowledge and vulgarity of sentiment so hap pily disguised. The reader feels h i s mind full, though h e learns nothing; and when h e meets i t i n i t s new array, n o longer knows the talk of his mother and his nurse. When these wonder-working sounds sink into sense, and the doćtrine o f the Essay, disrobed o f i t s or naments, i s left t o the powers o f i t s naked excellence, what shall we discover?. That we are, i n comparison with our Creator, very weak and ignorant; that we d o not uphold the chain o f existence; and that we could not make one another with more skill than we are - I 3 made. P.O.P.E. 189 made. We may learn yet more; that the arts of human life were copied from the instinétive operations of other animals; that if the world be made for man, it may be said that man was made for geese. To these profound prin ciples of natural knowledge are added some moral instructions equally new ; that self-in terest, well understood, will produce social concord; that men are mutual gainers by mutual benefits; that evil is sometimes ba lanced by good; that human advantages are unstable and fallacious, of uncertain duration and doubtful effect; that our true honour i s , not t o have a great part, but t o act i t well: that virtue only i s our own

and that happi ness i s always i n our power. Surely a man o f n o very comprehensive search may venture t o say that h e has heard a l l this before

but i t was never till now re commended by such a blaze o f embellish ments, o r such sweetness o f melody. The vigorous contračtion o f some thoughts, the luxuriant amplification o f others, the incidental illustrations, and sometimes the dignity, some times the softness o f the verses, enchain phi losophy, suspend criticism, and oppress judg ment b y overpowering pleasure. . . . This 19% P.O.P.E.,

. This is true of many paragraphs; yet if f had undertaken to exemplify Pope's felicity of composition before a rigid critick, I should not. select the “Essay on Man;” for it contains more lines unsuccessfully laboured, more harshness of dićtion, more thoughts imper fečtly expressed, more levity without ele gance, and more heaviness without strength, than will easily be found in a l l his other - works. The “Charaćters of Men and Women” are the produćt o f diligent speculation upon hu man life; much labour has been bestowed upon them, and Pope very seldom laboured i n vain. That his excellence may b e properly estimated, I recommend a comparison o f his

Charaćters of Women” with Boileau's Satire; i t will then b e seen with how much more perspicacity female nature i s investigated, and female excellence selected; and h e surely i s no mean writer t o whom Boileau flall be found inferiour. The “Charaćters o f Men,” however, are written with more, i f not with deeper, thought, and exhibit many passages exquisitely beautiful. The “Gem and the “Flower” will not easily b e equalled. I n the women's part are some defe&ts; the charaćter of P.O.P.E. 191. of Atossa is not so neatly finished as that of Clodio ; and some of the female charaćters' may be found perhaps more frequently among men; what is said of Philomede was true of Prior. In the Epistles to Lord Bathurst and Lord Burlington, Dr. Warburton has endeavoured to find a train of thought which was never in the writer's head, and, to support his hy pothesis, has printed that first which was pub lished last. In one, the most valuable passage is perhaps the Elegy on “Good Sense;” and the other, the “End of the Duke of Buck “ingham.” - - The Epistle to Arbuthnot, now arbitrarily called the “Prologue to the Satires,” is a per formance confisting, as it seems, of many frag ments wrought into one design, which by this union of scattered beauties contains more strik ing paragraphs than could probably have been brought together into an occasional work. As there is no stronger motive to exertion than self-defence, no part has more elegance, spirit, or dignity, than the poet's vindication of his own charaćter. The meanest passage is the satire upon Sporus. Of fg2 . POPE. Of the two poems which derived their names from the year, and which are called the “Epi “ logue to the Satires,” it was very iustly remarked by Savage, that the second was in the whole more strongly conceived, and more equally supported, but that it had no single passages equal to the contention in the first for the dignity of Vice, and the celebration of the triumph of Corruption. The Imitations of Horace seem to have been written as relaxations of his genius. This employment became his favourite by i t s facility; the plan was ready t o his hand, and nothing was required but t o accommodate a s he could the sentiments of an old author t o recent facts o r familiar images; but what i s easy i s seldom excellent

such imitations cannot give pleasure t o common readers; the man o f learning may b e sometimes surprised and delighted by a n unexpected parallel; but the comparison requires knowledge o f the original, which will likewise often detect strained applications. Between Roman images and English manners there will b e a n irre concilable dissimilitude, and the works will b e generally uncouth and party-coloured;. - - neither

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PoPE. 193 neither original nor translated, neither ancient nor modern”. -- . . . Pope had, in proportions very nicely ad justed to each other, a l l the qualities that con stitute genius. He had Invention, b y which, new trains of events are formed, and new scenes o f imagery displayed; a s i n the “Rape “ o f the Lock;” and b y which extrinsick and adventitious embellishments and illustrations. are conneéted with a known subject, a s i n the “Essay o n Criticism.” He had Imagination, which strongly impresses o n the writer's mind, and enables him t o convey t o the reader, the various forms o f nature, incidents o f life, and energies o f passion, a s i n h i s “Eloísa,” • I n one o f these poems i s a couplet, t o which belongs a - story that I once heard the reverend Dr. Ridley relate: “Slander o r poison dread from Delia's rage; “Hard words, o r hanging i f your judge b e

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Sir Francis Page, a judge well known i n h i s time, conceiv ing that his name was meant t o fill u p the blank, sent his clerk t o Mr. Pope, t o complain o f the insult. Pope told the young man, that the blank might b e supplied b y many. monosyllables, other than the judge's name:—“but, fir,” faid the clerk," the judge says that n o other word will make “sense o f the passage.”—“So then i t seems,’ says Pope, ‘your “master i s not onl a judge, but a poet: a s that i s the case,

the odds are against me. Give my respects t o the judge, ‘and tell him, I will not contend with one that has the “advantage o f me, and h e may f i l l u p the blank a s h e “pleases.” H . - - VOL. IV . O “ Wind 194 POPE. “ Windsor Forest,” and the “Ethick Epis. “tles.” He had judgment, which selects from life or nature what the present purpose requires, and by separating the effence of things from i t s concomitants, often makes the repre sentation more powerful than the reality: and h e had colours o f language always before him, ready t o decorate his matter with every grace o f elegant expression, a s when h e ac commodates his dićtion t o the wonderful multiplicity o f Homer's sentiments and de scriptions. Poetical expression includes sound a s well a s meaning; “Musick,” says Dryden, “is in “articulate poetry;” among the excellences o f Pope, therefore, must b e mentioned the melody o f his metre. By perusing the works o f Dryden, h e discovered the most perfect fabrick o f English verse, and habituated him self t o that only which h e found the best; i n consequence o f which restraint, his poetry has been censured a s too uniformly musical, and a s glutting the ear with unvaried sweetness. I sus pećt this objećtion t o b e the cant o f those who judge b y principles rather than perception; and who would even themselves have less plea sure i n his works, i f h e had tried t o relieve a t , - tention POPE. 195 tention by studied discords, or affected to break his lines and vary his pauses. But though he was thus careful of his versi fication, he did not oppress his powers with superfluous rigour. He seems to have thought with Boileau, that the prattice of writing might be refined till the difficulty should over balance the advantage. The construction of his language is not always strićtly gramma tical; with those rhymes which prescription had conjoined, he contented himself, without regard to Swift's remonstrances, though there was no striking consonance; nor was he very careful to vary his terminations, or to refuse admission, at a small distance, to the same rhymes. To Swift's edićt for the exclusion of Alex andrines and Triplets he paid little regard; he admitted them, but, in the opinion of Fenton, too rarely; he uses them more libe rally in his translation than his poems. He has a few double rhymes; and always, I think, unsuccessfully, except once in the “ Rape of the Lock.” -- Expletives he very early ejećted from his verses; but he now and then admits an epithet rather commodious than important. Each of O2 - the 196

POPF. the six first lines of the “Iliad” might lose two syllables with very little diminution of the meaning; and sometimes, after a l l his art and labour, one verse seems t o b e made for the sake o f another. I n his latter produc tions the dićtion i s sometimes vitiated by French idioms, with which Bolingbroke had perhaps infected him. I have been told that the couplet b y which h e declared his own ear t o b e most gratified was this: Lo, where Moeotis sleeps, and hardly flows The freezing Tanais through a waste o f shows. But the reason o f this preference I cannot discover. - I t i s remarked b y Watts, that there i s scarcely a happy combination o f words, o r a phrase poetically elegant i n the English lan guage, which Pope has not inserted into his version o f Homer. How h e obtained posses. fion o f s o many beauties o f speech, i t were defirable t o know. That h e gleaned from authors, obscure a s well a s eminent, what h e thought brilliant o r useful, and preserved i t a l l i n a regular collection, i s not unlikely. When, i n h i s l a s t years, Hall's Satires were shewn P.O. P. E. 197 shewn him, he wished that he had seen them sooner. New sentiments and new images others may produce; but to attempt any further improvement of versification will be danger ous. Art and diligence have now done their best, and what shall be added will be the effort of tedious toil and needless curiosity. After a l l this, i t i s surely superfluous t o answer the question that has once been asked, Whether Pope was a poet? otherwise than by asking i n return, I f Pope b e not a poet, where i s poetry t o b e found 2 To circumscribe poetry by a definition will only shew the narrowness o f the definer, though a definition which shall exclude Pope will not easily b e made. Let u s look round upon the present time, and back upon the past; l e t u s enquire t o whom the voice of mankind has decreed t h e wreath o f poetry; l e t their productions b e examincd, and their claims stated, and the pretensions o f Pope will b e n o more disputed. Had h e given the world only his version, the name o f poet must have been allowed him; i f the writer o f the “ Iliad” were t o class his successors, h e would assign a very high place t o his translator, without requiring any other evidence of Genius. - O 3 The 198 POPE. The following Letter, of which the original is in the hands of Lord Hardwicke, was communicated to me by the kindness of Mr. Jodrell. “To Mr. BRIDGEs, at the Bishop of London's at Fulham. - “ SIR, “The favour of your Letter, with. your Remarks, can never be enough acknowledged; and the speed with which you discharged so troublesome a task, doubles the obligation. “I must own, you have pleased me very much by the commendations so i l l bestowed upon me; but, I assure you, much more by the frankness o f your censure, which I ought t o take the more kindly o f the two, a s i t i s more advantageous t o a scribbler t o b e im proved i n his judgment than t o b e soothed i n h i s vanity. The greater part o f those de viations, from the Greek, which you have observed, I was led into by Chapman and Hobbes; who are, i t seems, a s much cele brated for their knowledge o f the original, a s they are decryed for the badness o f their translations. Chapman pretends t o have re -

stored PoPE 199

stored the genuine sense of the author, from the mistakes of a l l former explainers, i n several hundred places: and the Cambridge editors o f the large Homer, i n Greek and Latin, attributed s o much t o Hobbes, that they confess they have correóted the old Latin interpretation very often b y his version. For my part, I generally took the author's mean ing t o b e a s you have explained i t

yet their authority, joined t o the knowledge o f my . own imperfeótness i n the language, over ruled me. However, Sir, you may b e con fident, I think you i n the right, because you happen t o b e o f my opinion: (for men (let them say what they will) never approve any other's sense, but a s i t squares with their own.) But you have made me much more proud o f , and positive i n my judgment, since i t i s strengthened b y yours. I think your criticisms, which regard the expression, very just, and shall make my profit o f them: t o give you some proof that I am i n earnest, I will alter three verses o n your bare obječtion, though I have Mr. Dryden's example for each o f them. And this, I hope, you will account n o small piece o f obedience, from O 4 One, .20o POPE. one, who values the authority of one true . . . poet above that o f twenty criticks o r com mentators. But, though I speak thus o f , commentators, I will continue t o read carefully a l l I can procure, t o make up, that way, f o r . . . my own want o f critical understanding i n the original beauties o f Homer. Though t h e greatest o f them are certainly those o f Inven tion and Design, which a r e not a t a l l con . . . fined t o the language: for the distinguish - ingexcellences o f Homer are (by the consent o f t h e best criticks o f a l l nations) first i n t h e manners, (which include a l l the speeches, a s being n o other than the representations o f o each person's manners by his words:) and , then i n that rapture and fire, which carries you away with him, with that wonderful force, that n o man who has a true poetical spirit i s master o f himself, while h e reads him. Homer makes you interested and con cerned before you are aware, a l l a t once; whereas Virgil does i t b y soft degrees. This, I believe, i s what a translator o f Homer ought principally t o imitate; and i t i s very hard for any translator t o come u p t o i t , because the chief reason why a l l translations 2 . ' fall POPE. zer fall short of their originals i s , that the very constraint they are obliged to, renders them heavy and dispirited. . - “The great beauty o f Homer's language, a s I take i t , confifts i n that noble simplicity which runs through a l l h i s works; (and yet his dićtion, contrary t o what one would imagine consistent with simplicity, i s a t the same time very copious.) I don't know how I have run into this pedantry i n a Letter, but I find I have said too much, a s well a s spoken too inconsiderately: what farther thoughts I have upon this subjećt, I shall b e glad t o communicate t o you (for my own improve ment) when w e meet; which i s a happiness I very earnestly desire, a s I d o likewise some opportunity o f proving how much I think myself obliged t o your friendship, and how truly I am, Sir, - “Your most faithful, humble servant, “A. Pope.” The awa P-OPE.

The Criticism upon Pope's Epitaphs, which was printed in “ The Universal Visitor,” is placed here, being t o o minute and particular t o b e inserted i n the Life. EVERY Art i s best taught b y example. Nothing contributes more t o the cultivation o f propriety, than remarks o n the works o f those who have most excelled. I shall there fore endeavour, a t this visit, t o entertain the young students i n poetry with a n examination o f

Pope's Epitaphs. - - T o define a n epitaph i s useless; every one knows that i t i s a n inscription o n a Tomb. An epitaph, therefore, implies n o particular character o f writing, but may b e composed i n verse o r prose. I t i s indeed commonly panegyrical

because we are seldom distin guished with a stone but b y our friends; but i t has n o rule t o restrain o r mollify i t , except this, that i t ought not t o b e longer than common beholders may b e expected t o have leisure and patience t o peruse. I . On POPE. aes I. . On CHARLEs Earl of DoRSET, in t h e Church o f Wythyham i n Sussex, Dorset, the grace o f courts, the Muse's pride, Patron o f arts, and judge o f nature, dy’d. The scourge o f pride, though sanétify'd o r great, Of fops i n learning, and o f knaves i n state; Yet soft i n nature, though severe h i s lay, His anger moral, and his wisdom gay. Blest satyrist! who touch'd t h e means s o true, As show’d, Vice had his hate and pity too. Blest courtier who could king and country please, Yet sacred kept his friendship, and his ease. Blest peers h i s great forefather's every grace Reflecting, and reflected o n his race;

Where other Buckhursts, other Dorsets shine, , And patriots still, o r poets, deck the line. The first distich o f this epitaph contains a kind o f information which few would want, that the man for whom the tomb was erected, . . . died. There are indeed some qualities worthy o f praise ascribed t o the dead, but none that were likely t o exempt him from the lot o f man, o r incline u s much t o wonder that he should die. What i s meant b y “ judge o f “nature,” i s not easy t o say. Nature i s not the z 2O4. POPE. the objećt of human judgment; for it is in vain to judge where we cannot alter. If by nature is meant, what is commonly called nature by the criticks, a just representation of things really existing, and actions really performed, nature cannot be properly opposed to art; nature being, in this sense, only the best effect of art. The scourge of pride— Of this couplet, the second line is not, what is intended, an illustration of the former. Pride, in the Great, is indeed well enough connected with knaves in state, though knaves is a word rather too ludicrous and light; but the mention of sančiffed pride will not lead f the thoughts to fops in learning, but rather to some species of tyranny or oppression, some thing more gloomy and more formidable than foppery, Yet soft his nature— This is a high compliment, but was n o t first bestowed o n Dorset b y Pope. The next verse i s extremely beautiful. Blest satyrist !—- In this distich i s another line of which Pope was not the author. I d o not mean t o blame POPE. zos blame these imitations with much harshness; in long performances they are fearcely to be avoided, and in shorter they may be indulged, because the train of the composition may naturally involve them, or the scantiness of the subject allow little choice. However, what is borrowed is not to be enjoyed as our own; and it is the business of critical justice to give every bird of the Muses his proper feather. - Blest courtier!— Whether a courtier can properly be com mended for keeping his ease sacred, may perhaps be disputable. To please king and country, without sacrificing friendship to any change of times, was a very uncommon in stance of prudence or felicity, and deserved to be kept separate from so poor a commendation as care of his ease. I wish our poets would attend a little more accurately to the use of the word sacred, which surely should never be applied in a serious composition, but where. some reference may be made to a higher Being, or where some duty is exacted or implied. A man may keep his friendship sacred, because promises of friendship are very awful ties; but methinks he cannot, but 1.It 206 POPE. in a burlesque sense, be said to keep h i s ease sacred. Blest peer!— The blesfing ascribed t o the peer has no conneétion with his peerage: they might happen t o any other man, whose ancestors were remembered, o r whose posterity were likely t o b e regarded. I know not whether this epitaph b e worthy either o f the writer o r the man entombed. - II. On Sir WILLIAM TRUMRAL, one o f the Principal Secretaries o f State t o King ! . WILLIAM III. who having resigned h i s place, died i n h i s retirement a t Easthamstead i n Berkshire, 1716. - o A pleasing form, a firm, yet cautious mind, Sincere, though prudent; constant, yet resign'd, Honour unchang'd, a principle profest, Fix'd t o one side, but moderate t o the rest: An honest courtier, yet a patriot too, Just t o his prince, and t o his country true. - Fill'd with the sense o f age, the fire o f youth, - A scorn o f wranging, yet a zeal for truth; A ge / P.O . P. E. - 207 A generous faith, from superstition free; A love to peace, and hate of tyranny: . Such this man was; who now, from earth remov’d, At length enjoys that liberty he lov’d. In this epitaph, as in many others, there appears, at the first view, a fault which I, think scarcely any beauty can compensate. The name is omitted. The end of an epi taph is to convey some account of the dead; and to what purpose is any thing told of . him whose name is concealed An epi taph, and a history of a nameless hero, are equally absurd, since the virtues and qualities so recounted in either are scattered at the mercy of fortune to be appropriated by guess. The name, it is true, may be read upon the stone; but what obligation has it to the poet, whose verses wander over the earth, and leave their subjećt behind them, and who is forced, like an unskilful painter, to make his purpose known by adventitious help? - This epitaph is wholly without elevation, and contains nothing striking or particular ; but the poet is not to be blamed for the de fečts of his subjećt. He said perhaps the best that could be said. There are, however, I3 some 208. POPE. some defeóts which were not made necessary by t h e character i n which h e was employed. There i s n o opposition between a n hones? courtier and a patriot; for a n homes courtier cannot but b e a patriot, I t was unsuitable t o the nicety required i n . short compositions, t o close h i s verse with the word too: every rhyme should b e a word o f emphasis, nor can this rule b e safely negle&ted, except where the length o f the poem makes slight inaccuracies excusable, o r allows room for beauties sufficient t o overpower the effects o f petty faults. t - A t the beginning o f the seventh line the word filled i s weak and prosaic, having n o particular adaptation t o any o f the words that follow i t . The thought i n the last line i s impertinent, having n o connexion with the foregoing cha raćter, nor with the condition o f the man de scribed. Had the epitaph been written o n the poor conspirator

who died lately i n pri son, after a confinement o f more than forty years, without any crime proved against him, the sentiment had been just and pathetical;

Major Bernardi; who died i n Newgate Sept, z o , 1736, See Gent, Mag. vol. 1 . p . 125. N. but why should Trumbal be congratulated upon his liberty, who had never known restraint? _ ! III. On the Hon. SIM on HARcourt, only Son of the Lord Chancellor HARcourt, at the Church of Stanton-Harcourt in Oxford shire, 1720. To this sad shrine, whoe'er thou art, draw near, Here lies the friend most lov’d, the son most dear: Who ne'er knew joy, but friendship might divide, Or gave his father grief but when he dy'd, How vain is reason, eloquence how weak! If Pope must tell what Harcourt cannot speak. Oh, l e t thy once-lov'd friend inscribe thy stone, And with a father's sorrows mix his own I This epitaph i s principally remarkable for the artful introdućtion o f the name, which i s inserted with a peculiar felicity, t o which chance must concur with genius, which n o man can hope t o attain twice, and which can not b e copied but with servile imitation. I cannot but wish that, o f this inscription, the two last lines had been omitted, a s they itake away from the energy what they d o not add t o the sense, VoI. IV. P IV. On 2IO PoP.E. t IV. On JAMEsCRAGGs, Eft. In Westminster-Abbey. JACoBUS CRAGGs, REGI M A GNAE BRIT ANN IAE A SECRETIS ET CONSIL IIS SAN CTIOR IB WS PRINCIPIs PARITER Ac PopULIAMoR ET DELIcIAE: v1x1T TITULIs ET INvid IA MAJoR, ANNoS HEv PAvcos, xxxv. OB. F.E.B . XVI . MDCCXX. i Statesman, yet friend to truth! of soul sincere, In action faithful, and in honour clear ! Who broke no promise, serv'd no private end, Who gain’d no title, and who lost no friend; Ennobled by himself, by a l l approv’d, Prais'd, wept, and honour’d b y the Muse h e lov’d. The lines o n Craggs were not originally i n tended for a n epitaph; and therefore some faults are t o b e imputed t o the violence with which they a r e torn from the poems that first contained them. We may, however, observe some defects. There i s a redundancy o f words i n the first couplet: i t i s superfluous t o tell o f him, who was sincere, true, and faithful, that he was i n honour clear. . . . . . . . - - There seems t o b e a n opposition intended i n the fourth line, which i s not very obvious: ‘ . . . . . I3 - . . . . where

POpE. 2II where is the relation between the two posi tions, that he gained no title and lost no friend? - - It may be proper here to remark the ab surdity of joining, in the same inscription, Latin and English, or verse and prose. If either language be preferable to the other, l e t that only b e used; for n o reason can b e given why part o f the information should b e given i n one tongue, and part i n another, o n a tomb, more than i n any other place, o n any other occasion; and t o tell a l l that can b e con veniently told i n verse, and then t o call'in the help o f prose, has always the appearance o f a very artless expedient, o r o f a n attempt unac complished. Such a n epitaph resembles the conversation o f a foreigner, who tells part o f his meaning b y words, and conveys part b y figns. - V. Intended for Mr. Row E . I n Westminster-Abbey. Thy reliques, Rowe, t o this fair urn w e trust, And sacred, place b y Dryden's awful dust; Beneath a rude and nameless stone h e lies, To which thy tomb shall guide inquiring eyes. - P 2 Peace 2I2 POPE. Peace to thy gentle shade, and endless rest! Blest in thy genius, in thy love too blest; One grateful woman to thy fame supplies What a whole thankless land to his denies. Of this inscription the chief fault i s , that i t belongs less t o Rowe, f o r whom i t was writ ten, than t o Dryden, who was buried near him; and indeed gives very little information concerning either. . . . . . To wish, Peace t o thy shade, i s too mytho logical t o b e admitted into a Christian temple: the ancient worship has infected almost a l l our other compositions, and might therefore b e contented t o spare our epitaphs. Let fićtion, a t least, cease with life, and l e t u s b e serious over the grave. . . . . . . . . . . VI. . - - O n Mrs. Co R B E T , . who died o f a Cancer i n her Breas.

. Here rests a woman, good without pretence, Blest with plain reason, and with sober sense; , No conquest she, but o'er herself desir'd; -- No arts essay’d, but not t o b e admir’d. Passion and pride were t o her soul unknown, Convinc'd that Virtue only i s our own. - . . I n the North aile o f the parish church o f S t . Margaret Westminster. H . - - - So POPE. 213 So unaffected, so compos'd a mind, - So firm, yet soft, so strong, yet so refin'd, Heaven, as i t s purest gold, b y tortures try’d; The saint sustain'd i t , but the woman dy’d. I have always considered this a s the most valuable o f a l l Pope's epitaphs; t h e subjea o f i t i s a charaćter not discriminated by any shin ing o r eminent peculiarities; yet that which really makes, though not the splendour, the felicity o f life, and that which every wise man will choose for his final and lasting companion i n the languor o f age, i n the quiet o f privacy, when h e departs weary, and disgusted from s the ostentatious, the volatile, and the vain. Of such a charaćter, which the dull overlook, and the gay despise, i t was f i t that the value should b e made known, and the dignity esta blished. Domestic virtue, a s i t i s exerted without great occasions, o r conspicuous con sequences, i n a n even unnoted tenor, required the genius o f Pope t o display i t i n such a manner a s might attract regard, and enforce reverence. Who can forbear, t o lament, that this amiable woman has no name in the verses? - I f t h e particular lines o f this inscription b e examined, i t will appear less faulty than the . . . . . . . . . . P 3 rest. ) 214 PoPE. rest. There is scarce one line taken from com mon places, unless it be that in which only Virtue is said to be our own. I once heard a Lady of great beauty and excellence objećt to the fourth line, that it contained an unnatural and incredible panegyrick. Of this l e t the Ladies judge. VII. O n the Monument o f the Hon. RoBERT DIGBY, and o f h i s SifterMARy, creded b y their Fa ther the Lord D1GBY, i n the church o f Sher borne i n Dorsetshire, 1727. - Go! fair example o f untainted youth, Of modest wisdom, and pacific truth:

Compos'd i n sufferings, and i n joy sedate, Good without noise, without pretension great. Just o f thy word, i n every thought sincere, . Who knew n o wish but what the world might hear: Of softest manners, unaffected mind, Lover o f peace, and friend o f human kind: Go, live for heaven's eternal year i s thine, Go, and exalt thy mortal t o divine. And thou, blest maid! attendant o n his doom, Penfive hast follow'd t o the filent tomb, Steer'd t h e same course t o t h e same quiet shore, Not parted long, and now t o part n o more! - Go, PoPE. 215 Go, then, where only bliss sincere is known!. Go, where to love and to enjoy are one | Yet take these tears, Mortality's relief, And t i l l w e share your joys, forgive our grief;. These little rites, a stone, a verse receive, 'Tis a l l a father, a l l a friend can give 1 This epitaph contains o f the brother only a general indiscriminate charaćter, and o f the sister tells nothing but that she died. The dif ficulty i n writing epitaphs i s t o give a parti cular and appropriate praise. This, however, " . i s not always t o b e performed, whatever b e the diligence o r ability o f the writer; for the greater part o f mankind have n o charaćier a t all, have little that distinguishes them from others equally good o r bad, and therefore no thing can b e said o f them which may not b e applied with equal propriety t o a thousand more. I t i s indeed n o great panegyrick, that there i s inclosed i n this tomb one who was born i n one year, and died i n another; yet many useful and amiable lives have been spent, which yet leave little materials for any other memorial. These are however not the proper subjects o f poetry; and whenever friendship, o r any other motive, obliges a poet t o write o n such subječts, h e must b e forgiven i f h e - P 4 sometimes 216 POPE. sometimes wanders in generalities, and utters the same praises over different tombs. The scantiness of human praises can scarce ly be made more apparent, than by remarking how often Pope has, in the few epitaphs which he composed, found it necessary to borrow from himself. The fourteen epitaphs, which he has written, comprise about an hun dred and forty lines, in which there are more repetitions than will easily be found in a l l the rest o f his works. I n the eight lines which make the charaćter o f Digby, there i s scarce any thought, o r word, which may not b e found i n the other epitaphs.

The ninth line, which i s far the strongest and most elegant, i s borrowed from Dryden. The conclusion i s the same with that o n Harcourt, but i s here more elegant and better connected. VIII. O n Sir Go DFREY KN ELLE R . I n Westminster-Abbey, 1723. Kneller, b y Heaven, and not a master taught, Whose art was nature, and whose pictures thought, Now f o r two ages, having snatch'd from fate Whate'er was beauteous, o r whate'er was great,

" . . Lies POpE. 217 Lies crown'd with Princes honours, Poets lays, Due to his merit, and brave thirst of praise. . . . Living, great Nature fear'd he might outvie. Her works; and dying, fears herself may die. . . Of this epitaph the first couplet is good, the second not bad, the third is deformed with a broken metaphor, the word crowned not being applicable to the honours or the lays, and the fourth is not only borrowed from the epitaph on Raphael, but of a very harsh construction. IX. - On General HENRY WITH E Rs. In Westminster-Abbey, 1729. . Here, Withers, rest! thou bravest, gentlest mind, Thy country's friend, but more of human kind. " O ! born to arms O ! worth in youth approv'd to O ! soft humanity in age belov'd . . . • - For thee the hardy veteran drops a tear, And the gay courtier feels the figh sincere.

Withers, adieu ! yet not with thee remove Thy martial spirit, o r thy social love Amidst corruption, luxury, and rage, . . . . Still leave some ancient virtues t o our age

, , , Nor l e t u s s a y (those English glories gone) The last true Briton lies beneath this stone. . . .

The 218 POPE. The epitaph on Withers affords another instance of common places, though somewhat diversified, by mingled qualities, and the peculiarity of a profession. The second couplet is abrupt, general, and unpleasing; exclamation seldom succeeds in our language; and, I think, it may be ob served that the particle O ! used at the begin ning of a sentence, always offends. The third couplet is more happy; the value expressed for him, by different sorts of men, raises him to esteem; there is yet something of the common cant of superficial satirists, who suppose that the infincerity of a courtier destroys a l l his sensations, and that h e i s equally a diffembler t o the living and the dead. At the third couplet I should wish the epitaph t o close, but that I should b e un willing t o lose the two next lines, which yet are dearly bought i f they cannot b e retained without the four that follow them.

- - - - X. On

-

- ..o P-OPE. 219 X. On Mr. ELIJAH FENTon. At Easthamstead in Berkshire, 1730. This modest stone, what few vain marbles can, May truly say, Here lies an honest man: A poet, blest beyond the poet's fate, Whom Heaven kept sacred from the Proud and Great: . . . " Foe t o loud praise, and friend t o learned ease, Content with science i n the vale o f peace. - Calmly h e look'd o n either life; and here Saw nothing t o regret, o r there t o fear; From Nature's temperate feast rose satisfy'd, Thank'd Heaven that h e liv'd, and that h e dy’d. The first couplet o f this epitaph i s borrowed from Crashaw. The four next lines contain a species o f praise peculiar, original, and just. Here, therefore the inscription should have ended, the latter part containing nothing but what i s common t o every man who i s wise and good. The charaćter o f Fenton was s o amiable, that I cannot forbear t o wish for some poet o r biographer t o display i t more fully f o r the advantage o f posterity. I f h e did not stand i n the first rank o f genius, h e may claim a place i n t h e second; and, what {. ~

, ever 22O - PoPE. t ever criticism may objećt to his writings, censure could find very little to blame in his life.

XI. On Mr. GAY. In Westminster-Abbey, 1732. Of manners gentle, of affections mild; In wit, a man; simplicity, a child: With native humour tempering virtuous rage, Form'd to delight at once and lash the age: Above temptation, in a low estate, And uncorrupted, ev’n among the Great: A safe companion and an easy friend, - - - Unblam'd through life, lamented in thy end, These are thy honours! not that here thy bust Is mix'd with heroes, or with kings thy dust; But that the Worthy and the Good shall say, Striking their pensive bosoms—Here lies GAY. As Gay was the favourite of our author, this epitaph was probably written with an uncommon degree of attention; yet it is not more successfully executed than the rest, for it will not always happen that the success of a poet is proportionate to his labour. The same observation may be extended to all works o POPE. 221 works of imagination, which are often in fluenced by causes wholly out of the per former's power, by hints of which he per ceives not the origin, by sudden elevations of mind which he cannot produce in himself, and which sometimes rise when he expects them least. o The two parts of the first line are only echoes of each other; gentle manners and mild affections, if they mean any thing, must mean the same. - - - . . . .. . ... . . That Gay was a man in wit is a very frigid commendation ; to have the wit of a man is not much for a poet. The wit of man, and the simplicity of a child, make a poor and vulgar contrast, and raise no ideas of excel lence, either intelledual or moral. In the next couplet rage is less properly introduced after the mention of mildness and gentlenes, which are made the constituents. of his chara&ter; for a man so mild and gentle to temper his rage, was not difficult. - The next line is inharmonious in its sound, and mean in i t s conception; the op position i s obvious, and the word lash used absolutely, and without any modification, i s gross and improper. " To .# 222 POPE. , To be above temptation in poverty and free from corruption among the Great, is indeed such a peculiarity as deserved notice. But to be a soft companion is a praise merely negative, arising not from possession of vir tue, but the absence of vice, and that one of the most odious. As little can be added to his character, by asserting that he was lamented in h i s end. Every man that dies i s , a t least b y the writer o f his epitaph, supposed t o b e lamented, and therefore this general lamentation does no honour t o Gay. - The first eight lines have n o grammar; the adjećtives are without any substantive, and the epithets without a subječt. - The thought i n the last line, that Gay i s buried i n the bosoms o f the worthy and the good, who are distinguished only t o lengthen the line, i s s o dark that few understand it; and s o harsh, when i t i s explained, that still fewer approve. . - XII. Motejida'

POP.E. 223 XII. Intended for Sir Is AAc Newton. In Westminsler-Abbey. IsAAcUSNEwToNIUs: Quem Immortalem Testantur, Tempus, Natura, Calum: Mortalem Hoc marmor fatetur. Nature, and Nature's laws, lay hid in night: God said, Let Newton be 1 And a l l was light. . . Of this epitaph, short a s i t i s , the faults seem not t o b e very few. Why part should b e Latin, and part English, i t i s not easy t o discover. I n the Latin the opposition o f Immortalis and Mortalir, i s a mere found, o r a mere quibble; h e i s not immortal i n any sense contrary t o that i n which h e i s mortal. I n the verses the thought i s obvious, and the words might and light are too nearly allied. XIII. On EDMUND Duke o f BUCKINGHAM, who died i n the 19th Year o f his Age, 1735. I f modest youth, with cool refle&tion crown'd, And every opening virtue blooming round, Could save a parent's justest Pride from fate, Or add one patriot t o a sinking state; 3.24. POPE. This weeping marble had not ask'd thy tear, Or sadly told how many hopes l i e here ! The living virtue now had shone approv’d, The senate heard him, and his country lov’d. Yet softer honours, and less noisy fame, Attend the shade o f gentle Buckingham: I n whom a race, for courage fam'd and art, Ends i n the milder merit o f the heart: And, chiefs o r sages long t o Britain given, Pays the last tribute o f a saint t o heaven. This epitaph Mr. Warburton prefers t o the rest, but I know not for what reason. To crown with refleãion i s surely a mode of speech approaching t o nonsense. Opening virtues blooming round, i s something like tautology; the six following lines are poor and prosaick. Art i s i n another couplet used for arts, that a rhyme may b e had t o . heart. The six last lines are the best, but not excellent. - The rest o f his sepulchral performances hardly deserve the notice o f criticism. The contemptible “Dialogue” between HE and SHE should have been suppressed for the author's sake. - . I n his last epitaph o n himself, i n which h e attempts t o b e jocular upon one o f the few - things things that make wise men serious, he confounds the living man with the dead:

Under this stone, or under this sill,
Or under this turf, &c.

When a man is once buried, the question, under what he is buried, is easily decided. He forgot that though he wrote the epitaph in a state of uncertainty, yet it could not be laid over him till his grave was made. Such is the folly of wit when it is ill employed.

The world has but little new; even this wretchedness seems to have been borrowed from the following tuneless Lines:

Ludovici Areosti humantur offa
Sub hoc marmore, vel sub hac humo, seu
Sub quicquid voluit benignus hæres
Sive hærede benignior comes, seu
Opportunius incidens Viator:
Nam scire haud potuit futura, sed nec
Tanti erat vacuum sibi cadaver
Ut utnam cuperet parare vivens,
Vivens ista tamen sibi paravit.
Quæ inscribi voluit suo sepulchro
Olim siquod haberetis sepulchrum.

Surely Ariosto did not venture to expect that his trifle would have ever had such an illustrious imitator.

  1. This weakness was so great that he constantly wore stays, as I have been assured by a waterman at Twickenham, who, in lifting him into his boat, had often felt them. His method of taking the air on the water, was to have a sedan chair in the boat, in which he sat with the glasses down. H.