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how little time he had left for plots. Pope had | ter, who lived with him from that time in great but few words to utter, and in those few he familiarity, attended him in his last hours, and made several blunders.
compiled memorials of his conversation. The His letters to Atterbury express the utmost regard of Pope recommended bim to the great esteem, tenderness, and gratitude; “ perhaps," and powerful; and he obtained very valuable says he, “it is not only in this world that I preferments in the church. may have cause to remember the Bishop of Ro- Not long after, Pope was returning home chester.” At their last interview in the Tower, from a visit in a friend's coach, which, in passAtterbury presented him with a Bible. * ing a bridge, was overturned into the water;
Of the “ Odyssey Pope translated only the windows were closed, and, being unable to twelve books; the rest were the work of Broome force them open, he was in danger of immediate and Fenton; the notes were written' wholly by death, when the postilion snatched him out by Broome, who was not over-liberally rewarded. breaking the glass, of which the fragments cut The public was carefully kept ignorant of the two of his fingers in such a manner that he lost several shares ; an•l an account was subjoined their use. at the conclusion which is now known not to Voltaire, who was then in England, sent him be true.
a letter of consolation. He had been enterThe first copy of Pope's books, with those of tained by Pope at his table, where he talked Fenton, are to be seen in the Museum. . The with so much grossness, that Mrs. Pope was parts of Pope are less interlined than the driven from the room. Pope discovered by a “ Iliad,” and the latter books of the “ Iliad” | trick, that he was a spy for the court, and less than the former. He grew dexterous by never considered him as a man worthy of conpractice, and every sheet enabled him to write fidence. the next with more facility. The books of He soon afterwards (1727) joined with Swift, Fenton have very few alterations by the hand who was then in England, to publish three voof Pope. Those of Broome have not been lumes of Miscellanies, in which among other found; but Pope complained, as it is reported, things he inserted the “ Memoirs of a Parish that he had much trouble in correcting them. Clerk,” in ridicule of Burnet's importance in
His contract with Lintot was the same as for his own History, and a “ Debate upon Black the “ Iliad,” except that only one hundred and White Horses,” written in all the formalipounds were to be paid him for each volume. ties of a legal process, by the assistance, as is The number of subscribers were five hundred said, of Mr. Fortescue, afterwards Master of and seventy-four, and of copies eight hundred the Rolls. Before these Miscellanies is a preand nineteen; so that his profit, when he had face signed by Swift and Pope, but apparently paid bis assistants, was still very considerable. written by Pope; in which he makes a ridi. The work was finished in 1725; and from culous and romantic complaint of the robberies that time he resolved to make no more trans- committed upon authors by the clandestine lations.
seizure and sale of their papers. He tells, in The sale did not answer Lintot's expectation; tragic strains, how “ the cabinets of the sick, and he then pretended to discover something of and the closets of the dead, have been broken fraud in Pope, and commenced or threatened a open and ransacked ;” as if those violences weré suit in Chancery.
often committed for papers of uncertain and On the English “ Odyssey” a criticism was accidental value which are rarely provoked by published by Spence, at that time prelector of real treasures; as if epigrams and essays were poetry at Oxford ; a man whose learning was in danger where gold and diamonds are safe not very great, and whose mind was not very A cat hunted for his musk is, according to puwerful. His criticism, however, was com- Pope's account, but the emblem of a wit winded monly just. What he thought, he thought by booksellers. rightly; and his remarks were recommended His complaint, however, received some attesby his coolness and candour. In him Pope had tation; for the same year the Letters written the first experience of a critic without malevo- by bim to Mr. Cromwell in his youth were sold lence, who thought it as much his duty to dis- by Mrs. Thomas, to Curll, who printed them. play beauties as expose faults; who censured In these Miscellanies was first published the with respect and praised with alacrity.
“ Art of Sinking in Poetry," which, by such a With this criticism Pope was so little offend-train of consequences as usually passes in lied, that he sought the acquaintance of the writerary quarrels, gave in a short time, according
to Pope's account, occasion to the “ Dunciad.”
In the following year (1728) he began to put • The late Mr. Graves of Claverton informs us
Atterbury's advice in practice: and showed his that this Bible was afterwards used in the chapel of satirical powers by publishing the “ Dunciad,” Prior-park. Dr. Warburton probably presented it
one of his greatest and most elaborate performto Mr. Allen.--C.
which he endeavoured to sink into
contempt all the writers by whom he had been scurrilities they could possibly devise; a liberty attacked, and some others whom he thought no ways to be wondered at in those people, and unable to defend themselves.
in those papers, that, for many years during the At the head of the Dunces he placed poor uncontrolled license of the press, had aspersed Theobald, whom he accused of ingratitude : but almost all the great characters of the age; and whose real crime was supposed to be that of this with impunity, their own persons and having revised “ Shakspeare" more happily names being utterly secret and obscure. than himself. This satire had the effect which “ This gave Mr. Pope the thought, that he he intended, by blasting the characters which had now some opportunity of doing good, by deit touched. Ralph, who, unnecessarily inter- tecting and dragging into light these common posing in the quarrel, got a place in a subse- enemies of mankind; since, to invalidate this quent edition, complained that for a time he universal slander, it sufficed to show what conwas in danger of starving, as the booksellers temptible men were the authors of it. He was had no longer any confidence in his capacity. not without hopes, that by manifesting the dul
The prevalence of this poem was gradual and ness of those who had only malice to -recomslow; the pian, if not wholly new, was little mend them, either the booksellers would not understood by common readers. Many of the find their account in employing them, or the allusious required illustration; the names were men themselves, when discovered, want courage often expressed only by the initial and final let- to proceed in so unlawful an occupation. This ters, and, if they had been printed at length, it was that gave birth to the · Dunciad;' and he were such as few had known or recollected. thought it a happiness, that, by the late flood
The subject itself had nothing generally inter- of slander on himself, he had acquired such a esting, for whom did it concern to know that peculiar right over their names as was necessary one or another scribbler was a dunce ? If, to this design. therefore, it had been possible for those who “ On the 12th of March, 1729, at St. James's, were attacked to conceal their pain and their that poem was presented to the King and Queen resentment, the “ Dunciad” might have made (who had before been pleased to read it) by the its way very slowly in the world.
right honourable Sir Robert Walpole: and, This, however was not to be expected : every some days after, the whole impression was taken man is of importance to himself, and therefore, and dispersed by several noblemen and persons in his own opinion, to others; and, supposing of the first distinction. the world already acquainted with all his plea- “ It is certainly a true observation, that no sures and his pains, is perhaps the first to pub- people are so impatient of censure as those who lish injuries or misfortunes, which had never are the greatest slanderers, which was wonderbeen known unless related by himself, and at fully exemplified on the occasion. On the day which those that hear them will only laugh; the book was first vended, a crowd of authors for no man sympathizes with the sorrows of besieged the shop; entreaties, advices, threats of vanity.
law and battery, nay, cries of treason, were The history of the “ Dunciad” is very mi- all employed to hinder the coming out of the nutely related by Pope himself in a dedication • Dunciad;' on the other side the booksellers which he wrote to Lord Middlesex, in the name and hawkers made as great efforts to procure of Savage.
it. What could a few poor authors do against “ I will relate the war of the Dunces' (for so great a majority as the public? There 80 it has been commonly called) which gaa in was no stopping a current with a finger; so out the year 1727, and ended in 1730.
it came. “ When Dr. Swift and Mr. Pope thought it “ Many ludicrous circumstances attended it. proper, for reasons specified in the preface to The • Dunces' (for by this name they were their Miscellanies, to publish such little pieces called) held weekly clubs, to consult of hostiliof theirs as had casually got abroad, there was ties against the author : one wrote a letter to added to them the Treatise of the Bathos,' or a great minister, assuring him Mr. Pope was the · Art of Sinking in Poetry.' It happened the greatest enemy the government had ; and that, in one chapter of this piece, the several another bought his image in clay, to execute species of bad poets were ranged in classes, to him in effigy; with which sad sort of satisfacwhich were prefixed almost all the letters of tion the gentlemen were a little comforted. the alphabet (the greatest part of them at ran- “ Some false editions of the book having an dom); but such was the number of poets emi-owl in their frontispiece, the true one to distinnent in that art, that some one or other took guish, fixed in his stead an ass laden with every letter to liimself; all fell into so violent authors. Then another surreptitious one being a fury that, for half a year or more, the com- printed with the same ass, the new edition in mon newspapers (in most of which they had octavo returned for distinction to the owl again. some property, as being hired writers) were Hence arose a great contest of booksellers filied with the most abusive falsehoods and against booksellers, and advertisements against
advertisements; some recom
ommending the edition | he first endeavours to wound, and is then afraid of the owl, and others the edition of the ass; to own that he meant a blow. by which names they came to be distinguished, The “ Dunciad,” in the complete edition, is to the great honour also of the gentlemen of the addressed to Dr. Swift; of the notes, part were • Dunciad.'
written by Dr. Arbuthnot; and an apologetiPope appears by this narrative to have con- cal letter was prefixed, signed by Cleland, but templated his victory over the “ Dunces” with supposed to have been written by Pope. great exultation; and such was his delight in After this general war upon dulness, he seems the tumult which he had raised, that for awhile to have indulged himself awhile in tranquillity; his natural sensibility was suspended, and he but his subsequent productions prove that he read reproaches and invectives without emotion, was not idle. He published (1731) a poem on considering them only as the necessary effects of “ Taste,” in which he very particularly and sea that pain which he rejoiced in having given. verely criticises the house, the furniture, the
It cannot however be concealed, that by his gardens, and the entertainments of Timon, a own confession, he was the aggressor, for no- man of great wealth and little taste. By Tibody believes that the letters in the “ Bathos” mon he was universally supposed, and by the were placed at random; and it may be dis- Earl of Burlington, to whom the poem is adcovered that, when he thinks himself concealed, dressed, was privately said, to mean the Duke he indulges the common vanity of common of Chandos; a man perhaps too much delighted men, and triumphs in those distinctions which with pomp and show, but of a temper kind and he had affected to despise. He is proud that beneficent, and who had consequently the voice his book was presented to the King and Queen of the public in his favour. by the right honourable Sir Robert Walpole ; A violent outcry was therefore raised against he is proud that they had read it before; he is the ingratitude and treachery of Pope, who was proud that the edition was taken off by the no- said to have been indebted to the patronage of bilitv and persons of the first distinction. Chandos for a present of a thousand pounds,
The edition of which he speaks was, I believe, and who gained the opportunity of insulting him that which, by telling in the text the names, by the kindness of his invitation. and in the notes the characters, of those whom The receipt of the thousand pounds Pope he had satirized, was made intelligible and di- publicly denied; but, from the reproach which verting. The critics had now declared their the attack on a character so amiable brought approbation of the plan, and the common reader upon him, he tried all means of escaping. The began to like it without fear; those who were name of Cleland was again employed in an apostrangers to petty literature, and therefore un-logy, by which no man was satisfied; and he able to decipher initials and blanks, had now was at last reduced to shelter his temerity behind names and persons brought within their view, dissimulation, and endeavour to make that be and delighted in the visible effect of those shafts disbelieved which he never had confidence openly of malice which they had hitherto contemplated to deny. He wrote an exculpatory letter to as shot into the air.
the duke, which was answered with great magDennis, upon the fresh provocation now given nanimity, as by a man who accepted his excuse him, renewed the enmity which had for a time without believing his professions. been appeased by mutual civilities; and pub- that to have ridiculed his taste, or his buildlished remarks which he had till then suppress-ings, had been an indifferent action in another ed, upon “ The Rape of the Lock.” Many man; but that in Pope, after the reciprocal more grumbled in secret, or vented their re- kindness that had been exchanged between them, sentment in the newspapers by epigrams or in- it had been less easily excused. vectives.
Pope, in one of his letters, complaining of the Ducket, indeed, being mentioned as loving treatment which his poem had found, "owns Burnet with “pious passion,” pretended that that such critics can intimidate him, nay almost his moral character was injured, and for some persuade him to write no more, which is a time declared his resolution to take vengeance compliment this age deserves.” The man who with a cudgel. But Pope appeased him, by threatens the world is always ridiculous ; for changing “ pious passion” to “ cordial friend the world can easily go on without him, and in ship;” and by a note, in which he vehemently a short time will cease to miss him. I have disclaims the malignity of meaning imputed to heard of an idiot, who used to revenge his the first expression.
vexations by lying all night upon the bridge. Aaron Hill, who was represented as diving “ There is nothing,” says Juvenal, “ that a for the prize, expostulated with Pope in a man- man will not believe in his own favour.” Pope ner so much superior to all mean solicitation, had been flattered till he thought himself one that Pope was reduced to sneak and shuffle, of the moving powers in the system of life. sometimes to deny, and sometimes to apologize: When he talked of laying down his pen, those
who sat round him. entres.ted and implored ; | consequently not to deal with a nameless and self-love did not suffer him to suspect that agent. they went away and laughed.
Such care had been taken to make them pub. The following year deprived him of Gay, a lic, that they were sent at once to two bookman whom he had known early, and whora he sellers ; to Curll, who was likely to seize them seemed to love with more tenderness than any as prey; and to Lintot, who might be expected other of his literary friends. Pope was now to give Pope information of the seeming injury. forty-four years old ; an age at which the mind Lintot, I believe, did nothing; and Curll did begins less easily to admit new confidence, and what was expected. That to make them public the will to grow less flexible; and wben, there- was the only purpose may be reasonably supfore, the departure of an old friend is very ac- posed, because the numbers offered to sale curately felt.
by the private messengers showed that hope In the next year he lost his mother, not by an of gain could not have been the motive of the unexpected death, for she lasted to the age of impression. ninety-three; but she did not die unlamented. It seems that Pope being desirous of printing The filial piety of Pope was in the highest de his Letters, and not knowing how to do withgree amiable and exemplary; his parents had out imputation of vanity, what has in this the happiness of living till he was at the summit country been done very rarely, contrived an apof poetical reputation, till he was at ease in his pearance of compulsion; that, when he could fortune, and without a rival in his fame, and complain that his letters were surreptitiously found no diminution of his respect or tender- published, he might decently and defensively
Whatever was his pride, to them he was publish them himself. obedient; and whatever was his irritability, to Pope's private correspondence, thus promulthem he was gentle. Life has, among its sooth-gated, filled the nation with praises of his caning and quiet comforts, few things better to dour, tenderness, and benevolence, the purity of give than such a son.
his purposes, and the fidelity of his friendship. One of the passages of Pope's life which seems There were some letters, which a very good or to deserve some inquiry was a publication of a very wise man would wish suppressed; but, letters between him and many of his friends, as they had been already exposed, it was ime which falling into the hands of Curll, a rapa- practicable now to retract them. cious bookseller of no good fame, were by him From the perusal of those Letters, Mr. Allen printed and sold. This volume containing some first conceived the desire of knowing him; and letters from noblemen, Pope incited a prosecu- with so much zeal did he cultivate the friendtion against him in the House of Lords for ship which he had newly formed, that when breach of privilege, and attended himself to Pope told his purpose of vindicating his own stimulate the resentment of his friends. Curll property by a genuine edition, he offered to pay appeared at the bar, and, knowing himself in the cost. no great danger, spoke of Pope with very little This however Pope did not accept; but in reverence: “ He has,” said Curll, “ a knack at time solicited a subscription for a quarto volume, versifying, but in prose I think myself a match which appeared (1737) I believe, with sufficient for him.”
When the orders of the House were profit. In the preface he tells, that his Letters examined, none of them appeared to be in- were reposited in a friend's library, said to be fringed; Curll went away triumphant, and the Earl of Oxford's, and that the copy thence Pope was left to seek some other remedy. stolen was sent to the press. The story was
Curll's account was, that one evening a man doubtless received with different degrees of in a clergyman's gown, but with a lawyer's credit. It may be suspected that the preface to band, brought and offered to sale a number of the Miscellanies was written to prepare the printed volumes, which he found to be Pope's public for such an incident; and to strengthen cpistolary correspondence; that he asked no this opinion, James Worsdale, a painter, who name, and was told none, but gave the price was employed in clandestine negotiations, but demanded, and thought himself authorized to whose veracity was very doubtful, declared use his purchase to his own advantage.
that he was the messenger who carried, by That Curll gave a true account of the trans-Pope's direction, the books to Curll. action it is reasonable to believe, because no When they were thus published and avowed, falsehood was ever detected ; and when, some as they had relation to recent facts and persons years afterwards, I mentioned it to Lintot, the either then living or not yet forgotten, they may. son of Bernard, he declared his opinion to be, be supposed to have found readers ; but as the that Pope knew better than any body else how facts were minute, and the characters, being Curll obtained the copies, because another was either private or literary, were little known or at the same time sent to himself, for which no little regarded, they awakened no popular kindprice had ever been demanded, as he made ness or resentment: the book never became known his resolution not to pay a porter, and much the subject of conversation; some read it
as a contemporary history, and some perhaps as to whom the work is inscribed, were in the first a model of epistolary language; but those who editions carefully suppressed ; and the poem, read it did not talk of it. Not much therefore being of a new kind, was ascribed to one or anwas added by it to fame or envy; nor do I re- other, as favour determined or conjecture wanmember that it produced either public praise or dered : it was given, says Warburton, to every public censure.
man, except him only who could write it. It had however, in some degree, the recom- Those who like only when they like the author, mendation of novelty; our language had few and who are under the dominion of name, letters, except those of statesmen. Howel, in- condemned it; and those admired it who are deed, about a century ago, published his Letters, willing to scatter praise at random, which, which are commended by Morhoff, and which while it is unappropriated, excites no envy. alone, of his hundred volumes, continue his Those friends of Pope that were trusted with memory. Loveday's Letters were printed only the secret, went about lavishing honours on the once; those of Herbert and Suckling are hardly new-born poet, and hinting that Pope was never known. Mrs. Phillip's (Orinda's) are equally so much in danger from any former rival. neglected. And those of Walsh seem written To those authors whom he had personally ofas exercises, and were never sent to any living fended, and to those whose opinion the world mistress or friend. Pope's epistolary excellence considered as decisive, and whom he suspected had an open field; he had no English rival liv- of envy or malevolence, he sent his essay as a ing or dead.
present before publication, that they might dePope is seen in this collection as connected feat their own enmity by praises which they with the other contemporary wits, and certainly could not afterwards decently retract. suffers no disgrace in the comparison; but it With these precautions, 1733, was published must be remembered, that he had the power of the first part of the “ Essay on Man.' There favouring himself; he might have originally had been for some time a report that Pope was had publication in his mind, and have written busy on a system of morality; but this design with care, or have afterwards selected those was not discovered in the new poem, which had which he had most happily conceived or most a form and a title with which its readers were diligently laboured ; and I know not whether unacquainted. Its reception was not uniform; there does not appear something more studied some thought it a very imperfect piece, though and artificial* in his productions than the rest, not without good lines. When the author was except one long letter by Bolingbroke, composed unknown, some, as will always happen, fawith the skill and industry of a professed au- voured him as an adventurer, and some centhor. It is indeed not easy to distinguish af- sured him as an intruder; but all thought him fectation from habit; he that has once studious- above neglect; the sale increased and editions ly formed a style rarely writes afterwards with were multiplied. complete ease. Pope may be said to write al- The subsequent editions of the first epistle, ways with his reputation in his head; Swift, exhibited two memorable corrections. At tirst, perhaps, like a man who remembered he was the poet and his friend writing to Pope; but Arbuthnot, like one who lets thoughts drop from his pen as they rise into
Ex patiate freely o’er the scene of man, his mind.
A mighty maze of walks without a pian; Before these Letters appeared, he published for which he wrote afterwards, the first part of what he persuaded himself to think a system of ethics, under the title of A mighty maze, but not without a plan : “ An Essay on Man;" which, if his letter to Swift (of Sept. 14. 1725) be rightly explained for, if there were no plan, it were in vainto by the commentator, had been eight years un describe or to trace the maze. der his consideration, and of which he seems to
The other alteration was of these lines : have desired the success with great solicitude. He had now many open and doubtless many
And spite of pride, and in thy reason's spite, secret enemies. The “ Dunces” were yet
One truth is clear, whatever is, is right; smarting with the war; and the superiority but having afterwards discovered, or been which he publicly arrogated disposed the world shown, that the “ truth,” which subsisted“ in to wish his humilation. AU this he knew, and against all this he pro- substituted
spite of reason” could not be very “ clear,” he vided. His own name, and that of his friend
And spite of pride, in erring reason's spite :
• These Letters were evidently prepared for the
To such oversights will the most vigorous press by Pope himself. Some of the originals, lately mind be liable when it is employed at once upon diolovered, will prove this beyond all dispute.-C. argument and poetry.