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subjoined to the text in 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 to produce considerable profit.

80

Pope, having now emitted his proposals, and engaged not only his own reputation, but in some degree that of his friends who patronised his subscription, began to be frighted at his own undertaking; and finding himself 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 long journeys through unknown ways, and wished, as he said, 'that somebody would hang him".'

81

In

This misery, however, was not of long continuance; he grew by degrees more acquainted with Homer's images and expressions, and practice increased his facility of versification. a short time he represents himself as despatching regularly fifty verses a day3, which would shew him by an easy computation the termination of his labour.

82

His own diffidence was not his only vexation. He that asks a subscription soon finds that he has enemies. All who do not

I In the first edition:-'Of this edition the sale was doubtless very numerous.'

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I am inclined to think he would not
have been my predecessor in these
labours.' Southey's Cowper, vi. 76.
Cowper was overwhelmed by his
engagement to edit Milton. Ib. vii.

163.

Post, POPE, 89, 300. 'I wrote most of the Iliad fast; a great deal of it on journeys, from the little pocket Homer on that shelf there; and often forty or fifty verses in a morning in bed.' Spence's Anec. p. 142. See also ib. p. 218, where he says:-'I translated thirty or forty verses before I got up, and piddled with it the rest of the morning.'

'Some persons, ... to prevent the expense of subscribing to so many authors, invented a method to excuse themselves from all subscriptions whatever; and this was to receive a small sum of money in consideration of giving a large one if ever they subscribed..., and this is what they call being tied up from subscribing.' Joseph Andrews, Bk. iii. ch. 3.

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encourage him defame him. He that wants money will rather be thought angry than poor, and he that wishes to save his money conceals his avarice by his malice. Addison had hinted his suspicion that Pope was too much a Tory; and some of the Tories suspected his principles because he had contributed to The Guardian, which was carried on by Steele.

To those who censured his politicks were added enemies yet 83 more dangerous, who called in question his knowledge of Greek, and his qualifications for a translator of Homer2. To these he made no publick opposition, but in one of his letters escapes from them as well as he can3. 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 conversation, it is not very likely that he overflowed with Greek *.

I

Johnson refers, I think, to the letter published as Addison's by Pope, dated Nov. 2, 1713, quoted ante, POPE, 75, and to Pope's fabricated answer. Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), vi. 401-3. Pope wrote to Caryll on May 1, 1714:'Others have styled me a Whig, because I have been honoured with Mr. Addison's good words, and Mr. Jervas's good deeds, and of late with my Lord Halifax's patronage.' Ib. p. 208. When he published this letter as if written to Addison he substituted :—'some calling me a Whig, because I have been favoured with yours, Mr. Congreve's, and Mr. Craggs's friendship, and of late,' &c. lb. p. 407.

Dennis wrote of him :-' The little gentleman, with a most unparalleled assurance, has undertaken to translate Homer from Greek, of which he does not know one word, into English, which he understands almost as little.' Remarks on Pope's Homer, p. 12. Quoted by Pope (with variations) in The Dunciad, Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), iv. 241.

Hearne recorded on July 18, 1729: This Alexander Pope, though he be an English poet, yet he is but an indifferent scholar, mean at Latin and can hardly read Greek.' Hearne's Remains, iii. 23. Pope had attacked him in The Dunciad, iii. 185.

LIVES OF POETS. I

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subjoined to the text in 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 to produce considerable profit.

80

Pope, having now emitted his proposals, and engaged not only his own reputation, but in some degree that of his friends who patronised his subscription, began to be frighted at his own undertaking; and finding himself 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 long journeys through unknown ways, and wished, as he said, 'that somebody would hang him".'

81

This misery, however, was not of long continuance; he grew by degrees more acquainted with Homer's images and expressions, and practice increased his facility of versification. In a short time he represents himself as despatching regularly fifty verses a day 3, which would shew him by an easy computation the termination of his labour.

82

His own diffidence was not his only vexation. He that asks a subscription soon finds that he has enemies. All who do not

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encourage him defame him. He that wants money will rather be thought angry than poor, and he that wishes to save his money conceals his avarice by his malice. Addison had hinted his suspicion that Pope was too much a Tory'; and some of the Tories suspected his principles because he had contributed to The Guardian, which was carried on by Steele.

To those who censured his politicks were added enemies yet 83 more dangerous, who called in question his knowledge of Greek, and his qualifications for a translator of Homer2. To these he made no publick opposition, but in one of his letters escapes from them as well as he can 3. 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 conversation, it is not very likely that he overflowed with Greek *.

' Johnson refers, I think, to the letter published as Addison's by Pope, dated Nov. 2, 1713, quoted ante, POPE, 75, and to Pope's fabricated answer. Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), vi. 401-3. Pope wrote to Caryll on May 1, 1714:'Others have styled me a Whig, because I have been honoured with Mr. Addison's good words, and Mr. Jervas's good deeds, and of late with my Lord Halifax's patronage.' Ib. p. 208. When he published this letter as if written to Addison he substituted:-'some calling me a Whig, because I have been favoured with yours, Mr. Congreve's, and Mr. Craggs's friendship, and of late,' &c. Ib. p. 407.

Dennis wrote of him:-'The little gentleman, with a most unparalleled assurance, has undertaken to translate Homer from Greek, of which he does not know one word, into English, which he understands almost as little.' Remarks on Pope's Homer, p. 12. Quoted by Pope (with variations) in The Dunciad, Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), iv. 241.

Hearne recorded on July 18, 1729: -This Alexander Pope, though he be an English poet, yet he is but an indifferent scholar, mean at Latin and can hardly read Greek.' Hearne's Remains, iii. 23. Pope had attacked him in The Dunciad, iii. 185.

LIVES OF POETS. III

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But when he felt himself deficient he sought assistance; and what man of learning would refuse to help him? Minute enquiries into the force of words are less necessary in translating Homer than other poets, because his positions are general, and his representations natural, with very little dependence on local or temporary customs, on those changeable scenes of artificial life, which, by mingling original with accidental notions, and crowding the mind with images which time effaces, produce ambiguity in diction, and obscurity in books. To this open display of unadulterated nature it must be ascribed, that Homer has fewer passages of doubtful meaning than any other poet either in the learned or in modern languages. I have read of a man, who being, by his ignorance of Greek, compelled to gratify his curiosity with the Latin printed on the opposite page, declared that from the rude simplicity of the lines literally rendered, he formed nobler ideas of the Homerick majesty than from the laboured elegance of polished versions 2.

84

Those literal translations were always at hand, and from them he could easily obtain his author's sense with sufficient certainty; and among the readers of Homer the number is very small of those who find much in the Greek more than in the Latin, except the musick of the numbers.

85

If more help was wanting, he had the poetical translation of Eobanus Hessus 3, an unwearied writer of Latin verses; he had the French Homers of La Valterie and Dacier 5, and the English

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