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contrast, and raise no ideas of excellence, either intellectual or moral 1.
In the next couplet rage is less properly introduced after the 431 mention of mildness and gentleness, which are made the constituents of his character; for a man so mild and gentle to temper his rage was not difficult.
The next line is unharmonious in its sound, and mean in its 432 conception; the opposition is obvious, and the word lash used absolutely and without any modification is gross and improper.
To be above temptation in poverty and free from corruption 433 among the Great is indeed such a peculiarity as deserved notice. But to be a safe companion is praise merely negative, arising not from the possession of virtue but the absence of vice, and that one of the most odious.
As little can be added to his character by asserting that he 434 was lamented in his end. Every man that dies is, at least by the writer of his epitaph, supposed to be lamented, and therefore this general lamentation does no honour to Gay.
The first eight lines have no grammar; the adjectives are with- 435 out any substantive, and the epithets without a subject 2.
The thought in the last line, that Gay is buried in the bosoms 436 of the worthy and the good, who are distinguished only to lengthen the line, is so dark that few understand it; and so harsh, when it is explained, that still fewer approve 3.
' Swift wrote to Pope:-'Some gentlemen here object against the expression in the second line,-A child's simplicity; not against the propriety, but in compliance with the vulgar, who cannot distinguish simplicity and folly.... I confess I lay little weight upon this.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), vii. 300. 'Her wit was more than man, her innocence a child.' DRYDEN, To Mrs. Killigrew, 1. 70.
2 Swift objected:-'The whole is intended for an apostrophe to the dead person, which, however, does not appear till the eighth line.' Pope's Works (E. & C.), vii. 299.
3 The same thought is found in George Whetstone's epitaph on the good Lord Dyer, 1582:—
Intended for Sir ISAAC NEWTON.
Testantur, Tempus, Natura, Calum:
Hoc marmor fatetur.
Of this epitaph, short as it is, the faults seem not to be very few. Why part should be Latin and part English it is not easy to discover'. In the Latin the opposition of Immortalis and Mortalis is a mere sound or a mere quibble; he is not immortal in any sense contrary to that in which he is mortal.
'Nature, and Nature's laws, lay hid in night,
In the verses the thought is obvious, and the words night and light are too nearly allied".
On EDMUND Duke of BUCKINGHAM, who died in the 19th Year of his Age, 17353.
'If modest youth, with cool reflection crown'd,
* Ante, POPE, 407.
Bentley suggested the following epitaph :
'Hic quiescunt ossa et pulvis
Si quaeris, quis et qualis fuerit,
'Next in dignity to the bare name
is a short character simple and unadorned, without exaggeration, superlatives, or rhetorick. Such were the inscriptions in use among the Romans.... Such would be this epitaph, ISAACUS NEWTONUS, naturae legibus investigatis, hic quiescit.' JOHNSON, Works, v. 261.
3 The son of John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham. Ante, SHEFField, For his mother see POPE, Appendix K.
The living virtue now had shone approv'd,
This epitaph Mr. Warburton prefers to the rest, but I know 441 not for what reason. To crown with reflection is surely a mode of speech approaching to nonsense. Opening virtues blooming round is something like tautology; the six following lines are poor and prosaick. Art is in another couplet used for arts that a rhyme may be had to heart. The six last lines are the best, but not excellent.
The rest of his sepulchral performances hardly deserve the 442 notice of criticism. The contemptible Dialogue between HE and SHE should have been suppressed for the author's sake 2.
In his last epitaph on himself, in which he attempts to be 443 jocular upon one of the few things that make wise men serious, he confounds the living man with the dead:
'Under this stone, or under this sill,
When a man is once buried the question under what he is 444 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 445 have been borrowed from the following tuneless lines :
'Ludovici Areosti humantur ossa
Sub hoc marmore, vel sub hac humo, seu
Ut urnam cuperet parare vivens ;
Surely Ariosto did not venture to expect that his trifle would have ever had such an illustrious imitator 1.
APPENDIX K (PAGE 175)
One Miss Hamilton recorded in 1783:-'Ye Dss [Dowager Duchess of Portland, daughter of the second Earl of Oxford] and Mrs. Delany told me some anecdotes of Pope, his reading his satire of Atossa. his getting £3,000 from ye Dss of Marlborough to suppress Atossa, and published it after her death. Mrs. Delany's Auto. Second Series, iii. 182.
Mr. Courthope has sifted the evidence of the accusation of ingratitude, first by the help of documents long published, and next by Pope's letters to the Duchess, first printed in the Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. viii. Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), iii. 76-93, 103, v. 348-51, 408-22. The character of Atossa, he shows, 'had been prepared for publication in the edition printed under Pope's supervision, on the eve of his death, and before the death of the Duchess.' Ib. iii. 77 (she outlived him by five months). This edition was suppressed by Warburton. Ib. v. 346.
The character was first published in 1746, in a folio sheet 'with the following note:-"These verses are part of a poem entitled Characters of Women. It is generally said the D-ss gave Mr. Pope £1,000 to suppress them: he took the money, yet the world sees the verses; but this is not the first instance where Mr. P.'s practical virtue has fallen very short of those pompous professions of it he makes in his writings.' Ib. iii. 78. The enemy who published this sheet was almost certainly Bolingbroke. Ib. p. 79; POPE, 250. The character was first included as part of the Epistle in Warburton's edition of 1751. Ib. p. 76. It was written in 1732, when the Duchess was supporting
Gibbon, in The Decline and Fall,
(the late Dr. Johnson), who has severely scrutinised the epitaphs of Pope, might cavil in this sublime inscription at the words, "repair to Maru," since the reader must already be at Maru before he could peruse the inscription.'
Walpole; by 1735 she was in league with the leaders of the opposition. Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthorpe), v. 349. In that year Pope suppressed an attack on the Duke. b. iii. 87. By 1741 she was corresponding with Pope. She pressed him to accept a present; he at first refused, but on Jan. 18, 1743, yielded. Ib. v. 350, 418. Long before this he had quarrelled with the Duchess of Buckingham. Unwilling to let the character be lost most likely he altered it so as to fit her. b. iii. 91. 'With the relations existing between him and the Duchess of Marlborough, it is utterly incredible that Pope would have ventured to publish, as he was about to do, the character in her lifetime, had there either been any specific bargain on his part to suppress it, or had he even believed that she any longer supposed it to be meant for a satire on herself. He must have intended to let it be known on its appearance that its original was the Duchess of Buckingham, who had recently died. His own death prevented the explanation.' Ib. v. 350. See also Spence's Anec. p. 364; Warton, iii. 211; Walpole's Letters, Preface, p. 144; Marchmont Papers, ii. 265, 268.
APPENDIX L (PAGE 177)
In the proof-sheet, 'retained and professed religious zeal.' corrected into, 'retained and diffused a noble ardour,' &c. proof 'diffused' must have been changed into 'discovered.'
Cowper, after reading the first eight volumes of the Lives, wrote:'I know not but one might search these eight volumes with a candle, as the prophet says [Zephaniah, i. 12], to find a man, and not find one, unless, perhaps, Arbuthnot were he.' Southey's Cowper, v. 14.
'Dr. Arbuthnot was not only Lord Chesterfield's physician, but his friend. He more than once declared himself in his presence a patron of Christianity.' Chesterfield's Misc. Works, i. 76.
Chesterfield said of him :-'Without any of the craft he had all the skill of his profession, which he exerted with the most care and pleasure upon those unfortunate patients who could not give him a fee. To great and various erudition he joined an infinite fund of wit and humour, to which his friends Pope and Swift were more obliged than they have acknowledged themselves to be.' Chesterfield's Letters, ed. Mahon, ii. 446.
This was In a later
'Jervas, the painter (POPE, 69), piqued himself on total infidelity. Dr. Arbuthnot said to him, "Come, Jervas, this is all an air and affectation; nobody is a sounder believer than you." "I!" said Jervas; "I believe nothing." "Yes, but you do," replied the Doctor; "nay, you not only believe, but practise; you are so scrupulous an observer of the Commandments that you never make the likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or on the earth beneath, or," &c. WALPOLE, Letters, vii. 473.
'Dr. Arbuthnot was well skilled in the science of music. An anthem of his composition, "As pants the hart," is to be found in the books of the Chapel Royal.' HAWKINS, Hist. of Music, v. 270 n.
His piety, 'venerable' though it made him, was imperfect. See ante,
LIVES OF POETS. III