« PreviousContinue »
lished and pathetic verses, addressed to the Earl of Warwick, with the following fine lines :
These works divine, which, on his death-bed laid,
42. Statesman, yet friend to truth ! of soul sincere,
In action faithful, and in honour clear ;
* Addison's Works (says Atterbury, Letter x. v. 8.) came to my
hands yesterday, Oct. 15, 1721. I cannot but think it a very odd set of incidents, that the book should be dedicated by a dead man to a dead man, (Mr. Craggs ;) and even that the new patron, (Lord Warwick,) to whom Tickell chose to inscribe his verses, should be dead also before they were pub. lished. Had I been in the Editor's place, I should have been a little apprehensive for myself, under a thought that every one who had any hand in that work, was to die before the publication of it.
+ Ver. 67.
These nervous and finished lines were afterwards inscribed as an epitaph on this worthy man's monument in Westminster Abbey, with the alteration of two words in the last verse; which there stands thus :
Prais'd, wept, and honour'd, by the Muse he lov'd.
It was CRAGGS, who, in the most friendly and alluring manner, offered our author a pension of three hundred pounds per annum; which, if he had accepted, we should have been deprived of his best satires. Poets have a high spirit of liberty and independence : They neither seek or expect rewards. MEC ÆNASES do not create geniuses. Neither SPENSER or Milton, or Dante or Tasso, or CORNEILLE,* were patronised by the governments under which they lived. And Horace, and Virgil, and Boileau, were formed before they had an opportunity of flattering Augustus and Lewis XIV.
* Il n'aimoit point le Cour, (says Fontenelle, speaking of his uncle Corneille,) il y apportoit un visage presqu' inconnu, un grand nom qui ne s'attiroit que des louanges, & un merite qui n'etoit point le merite de ce pays-là. Tom, iii. p. 126.
Though Pope enlisted under the banner of BOLINGBROKE, in what was called the country party, and in violent opposition to the measures of Walpole, yet his clear and good sense enabled him to see the follies and virulence of all parties; and it was his favourite maxim, that, however factious men thought proper to distinguish themselves by names, yet, when they got into power, they all acted much in the same manner; saying,
I know how like Whig ministers to Tory.
And among his manuscripts were four very sensible, though not very poetical, lines, which contain the most solid apology that can be made for a minister of this country :
Our ministers like gladiators live;
Yet he appears sometimes to have forgotten this candid reflection.
SECTION SECTION XI.
OF THE EPISTLE TO DR. ARBUTHNOT.
1. SHUT, shut the door, good John, (fatigu’d, I said ;)
Tie up the knocker; say I'm sick, I'm dead!
This abrupt exordium is animated and dramatic. Our poet, wearied with the impertinence and slander of a multitude of mean scribblers that attacked him, suddenly breaks out with this spirited complaint of the ill usage he had sustained. This piece was published † in the
+ With this motto, since omitted: Neque sermonibus Vulgi dederis te, nec in premiis humanis spem posueris rerum tua. rum: suis te oportet illecebris ipsa Virtus trahat ad verum decus. Quid de te alii loquantur, ipsi videant sed loquentur tamen. TULLY.
year 1734, in the form of an epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot; it is now given as a Dialogue, in which a very small share indeed is allotted to his friend. Arbuthnot was a man of consummate probity, * integrity, and sweetness of temper : he liad infinitely more learning than Pope or Swift, and as much wit and humour as either of them. He was an excellent mathematician and physician, of which his letter on the usefulness of mathematical learning, and his treatise on air and aliment, are sufficient proofs. His tables of ancient coins, weights, and measures, t are the work of a man intimately acquainted with an. cient history and literature, and are enlivened with many curious and interesting particulars of the manners and ways of living of the ancients. The History of John Bull, the best parts of the Memoirs of Scriblerus, the Art of Political Lying,
* Swift said, " he was a man that could do every thing but walk.” His chearfulness was remarkable: “ As for your humble servant, with a great stone in his kidneys, and a fainily of men and women to provide for, he is as chearful as ever in public affairs.” Letters, vol. xx. p. 206.
+ "Oh, (says Swift) if the world had but a dozen of Arbuthpots in it, I would burn my Travels !" Letters, vul. ix. p. 50.