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PRIOR, 49 n. 4, for his going to have a bowl of punch at Bessy Cox's,' described by Johnson as 'a despicable drab of the lowest species.' He aided Gay in writing Three Hours after Marriage, a brutal and obscene attack on a man of science. Ante, GAY, 10. In The Tatler, ed. 1789, iv. 384 n., it is said 'that he liked an ill-natured jest the best of any good-natured man in the kingdom.' He was a gross feeder. 'He is gone,' wrote Bolingbroke, 'to take care of a brother glutton who is dying, and whose recovery, if by chance he does recover, will kill his physician by the confidence it will give him.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), vii. 438 n. 'He is a man,' said Swift, 'who can do everything but walk.' Ib. ix. 78. On his death Barber wrote:-'I am told he was a great epicure and denied himself nothing.' Swift's Works, xviii. 273. See also ib. xvii. 6. For his low opinion of man see ib. xvi. 192.
Swift, however, thought so highly of him that ten years earlier he had written to Pope :-'Oh, if the world had but a dozen Arbuthnots in it, I would burn my Travels [Gulliver].' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), vii. 54. See also Swift's praise of his 'moral and Christian virtues' in a letter to him in Cunningham's Lives of the Poets, iii. 205.
For a carefully written Life of him see his Life and Works by George A. Aitken, Clarendon Press, 1892.
APPENDIX M (PAGE 190)
'She was the daughter of Lister Blount, Esq., of Mapledurham. She was born on June 15, 1690.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), ix. 244. See also ib. vi. 30 n. Pope wrote to her sister Teresa in 1714: Even from my infancy I have been in love with one after the other of you, week by week.' Ib. ix. p. 248. There were passages in his letters to these sisters too indecent to publish. Ib. viii. 31 n., ix. 254, 267. See ante, FENTON, 19 n.
Writing to Gay on Oct. 1, 1730, he described her as 'a friend— a woman friend-with whom I have spent three or four hours a day these fifteen years.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), vii. 441. In the Epistle inscribed to a Lady (POPE, 207), he writes of her :
'This Phoebus promis'd (I forget the year)
The generous god, who wit and gold refines,
Kept dross for duchesses, the world shall know it,
Moral Essays, ii. 283.
Gay describes the sisters in Mr. Pope's Welcome from Greece:
'I see two lovely sisters, hand in hand,
Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), v. 173. 'Mr. Swinburne, the traveller,' writes Warton, 'who was her relation,
informs me that she died in 1762, at her house in Berkeley Square, Piccadilly. He tells me she was a little, neat, fair, prim, old woman, easy and gay in her manner and conversation, but seemed not to possess any extraordinary talents. Teresa had uncommon wit and abilities.' Warton, Preface, p. 50 n.
Malone recorded on the authority of Horace Walpole that 'she was red-faced, fat and by no means pretty. He remembered her walking ... after Pope's death, with her petticoats tucked up like a sempstress. She was the decided mistress of Pope, yet visited by respectable people.' Prior's Malone, p. 437.
'When she visited Pope in his last illness, and her company seemed to give him fresh spirits, the antiquated prude could not be prevailed on to pass the night at Twickenham, because of her reputation.' WARTON, Essay on Pope, ii. 466.
For Pope's defence against the charge that they had lived in a manner that gave scandal to many' see Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), vi. 287. Mr. Courthope believes in their innocence. Ib. V. 141-7, 207, 339.
Four portraits of her hung on the walls of Pope's house. N. & Q. 6 S. v. 364. For the bill of the expenses of her funeral on July 17, 1763, see ib. p. 425.
APPENDIX N (PAGE 238)
POPE, 93 m., 285 n. In the Preface to the Iliad, ed. 1760, p. 53, Pope writes:-'Next Virgil and Milton the Archbishop of Cambray's Telemachus may give the translator the truest idea of the spirit and turn of our author.'
With a humility sublime in its impudence Pope wrote to Broome :'Far from any thought of improving either Homer's thought or expression I try to be as exactly like him as I can.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), viii. 69.
Dr. Young wrote of Pope's Iliad :-'What a fall is it from Homer's numbers, free as air, lofty and harmonious as the spheres, into childish shackles and tinkling sounds! But in his fall he is still great
Less than archangel
"Nor appears [appear'd]
In Fielding's Amelia, Bk. viii. ch. 5, when a hack author says to Booth:-'Pray, Sir, don't you think Mr. Pope's Homer the best translation in the world?' Booth replies :-'Indeed, Sir, I think, though it is certainly a noble paraphrase, and of itself a fine poem, yet in some places it is no translation at all.'
Gibbon, speaking of reading it in his childhood, says :-'Nor was I then capable of discerning that Pope's translation is a portrait endowed with every merit, excepting that of likeness to the original.' Memoirs, p. 38.
'Mere English readers,' wrote Cowper, 'know no more of Homer in reality than if he had never been translated.' Southey's Cowper, vi. 106.
"Simplicity for ever!" cries
""Ornament for ever!" cries Pope! Homer.' Southey's Cowper, vi. 234.
'I have been charged by some,' said Wordsworth, 'with disparaging Pope and Dryden. This is not so. I have committed much of both to memory. As far as Pope goes, he succeeds; but his Homer is not Homer, but Pope.' Memoirs, 1851, ii. 470.
Rogers said of Pope's Homer:-'With all my love of Pope, I never could like it. I delight in Cowper's Homer; I have read it again and again.' Rogers's Table-Talk, p. 28. The editor adds:-Thomas Campbell once told me how greatly he admired Cowper's Homer.'
'Cowper's Miltonic rhythm was quite out of tune with Homer.' E. FITZGERALD, More Letters, p. 111.
'On the whole Pope's translation of the Iliad is more Homeric than Cowper's, for it is more rapid.' M. ARNOLD, On Translating Homer, 1896, p. 15.
All the felicities of Pope's higher style are concentrated in this translation . . . though a sufficiently free translation, it is a translation after all.' CONINGTON, Misc. Writings, i. 43.
Fenton wrote to Broome, who in his Epistle to Fenton (Eng. Poets, xliv. 170) had spoken of 'the Homeric lyre':-'I did not like Homeric; it has a burlesque sound.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), viii. 130.
APPENDIX O (PAGE 176)
[According to Curll, who in 1736 brought out a pirated edition, Pope received sixty guineas for the Sober Advice. Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), vi. 436 n., 437 n. Against Pope's outrageous conduct in attributing the obscene notes to Dr. Bentley, Richard Bentley, the great critic's son, remonstrated, it would seem, rather feebly (ib. vi. 355); but Thomas Bentley, the nephew, attacked Pope in a pamphlet, which however does not bear his name, entitled A Letter to Mr. Pope occasioned by Sober Advice from Horace, &c., London, 4to, 1735. In a copy in the possession of Mr. C. E. Doble, which by his kindness I have examined, 'T. Bentley' has been written on the title-page in a contemporary hand. At the end the following announcement is made:-'N.B. Shortly will be published more notes to the Sermon of Sober Advice in the manner of Mr. Pope's Friend and Admirer. By Mr. Alexander.' I cannot discover that these further notes were ever published, nor is it probable that the announcement was intended to be taken seriously. Pope retaliated by pillorying Thomas Bentley in the edition of The Dunciad of the following year. In the first edition, 1728, Dunc. ii. 205 had run :— •* * his mouth with classic flatt'ry opes.'
In 1729 'Welsted' took the place of the asterisks. In the quarto of 1735 'Welsted' is changed to 'B-y'; but the great critic himself is probably meant. Finally in 1736 Bentley is printed in full, and the following note is added:-'Not spoken of the famous Dr. Richard Bentley, but of one Tho. Bentley, a small critic who aped his uncle in a little Horace.' The note treats Thomas Bentley as the author of A Letter to Mr. Pope. See Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), iv. 145, 331.]
HRISTOPHER PITT, of whom whatever I shall relate 1 more than has been already published I owe to the kind communication of Dr. Warton 2, was born in 1699 at Blandford, the son of a physician much esteemed.
He was, in 1714, received as a scholar into Winchester College, 2 where he was distinguished by exercises of uncommon elegance; and, at his removal to New College in 1719 3, presented to the electors, as the product of his private and voluntary studies, a compleat version of Lucan's poem, which he did not then know to have been translated by Rowe *.
This is an instance of early diligence which well deserves to be 3 recorded. The suppression of such a work, recommended by such uncommon circumstances, is to be regretted. It is indeed culpable to load libraries with superfluous books; but incitements to early excellence are never superfluous, and from this example the danger is not great of many imitations.
When he had resided at his College three years he was pre- 4 sented to the rectory of Pimpern in Dorsetshire (1722) by his relation, Mr. Pitt of Stratfeildsea in Hampshire 3, and, resigning his fellowship, continued at Oxford two years longer, till he became Master of Arts (1724).
He probably about this time translated Vida's Art of Poetry, 5
In Cibber's Lives, v. 298.
2 Warton, as first a pupil and then Head Master of Winchester College, would be likely to know whatever traditions were preserved of him. [For more information see Nichols's Lit. Anec. ii. 260, where are given the Latin inscription written by him on his parents' monument at Blandford and that on his own tomb.]
3 The following note I owe to the late Dr. Sewell, Warden of New Col
lege:- Pitt matriculated at Wadham College on March 31, 1718, aged 18; was admitted to a Scholarship at New College on March 5, 1718-9, and to a Fellowship on March 5, 1720-1. He vacated it in 1723.'
Ante, ROWE, 35.
5 George Pitt, father of George Pitt, first Baron Rivers. Governor Thomas Pitt, Lord Chatham's grandfather, was the poet's first cousin. Dict. Nat. Biog. [Vida's Art of Poetry translated
which Tristram's splendid edition had then made popular. In this translation he distinguished himself, both by its general elegance and by the skilful adaptation of his numbers to the images expressed; a beauty which Vida has with great ardour enforced and exemplified 2.
6 He then retired to his living, a place very pleasing by its situation, and therefore likely to excite the imagination of a poet, where he passed the rest of his life, reverenced for his virtue and beloved for the softness of his temper and the easiness of his manners. Before strangers he had something of the scholar's timidity or distrust, but when he became familiar he was in a very high degree chearful and entertaining. His general benevolence procured general respect; and he passed a life placid and honourable, neither too great for the kindness of the low nor too low for the notice of the great.
AT what time he composed his Miscellany, published in 1727 3, it is not easy or necessary to know: those which have dates appear to have been very early productions, and I have not observed that any rise above mediocrity.
8 The success of his Vida animated him to a higher undertaking, and in his thirtieth year he published a version of the first book of the Eneid. This being, I suppose, commended by his friends, he some time afterwards added three or four more; with an advertisement, in which he represents himself as translating with great indifference, and with a progress of which himself was hardly conscious. This can hardly be true, and, if true, is nothing to the reader.
9 At last, without any further contention with his modesty, or any awe of the name of Dryden 5, he gave us a complete English
into English verse by C. Pitt, 1725. Brit. Mus. Cata.]
'Six or seven hundred copies of it,' wrote Pitt, were soon disposed of.' Hughes Corres. 1773, ii. 94. See ante, ROWE, 35 n. 3.
In the first edition, 'elegant edition.' Johnson, by his correction, avoided the juxtaposition of 'elegant' and 'elegance.'
T. Tristram's edition of Vida's De Arte Poetica was published by the Clarendon Press in 1722.
* Johnson, in The Rambler, No. 92,
quotes a long passage from Vida, with Pitt's version, on 'the felicity of Virgil's numbers.'
'Vida's poem is one of the first, if not the very first, pieces of criticism that appeared in Italy since the revival of learning; for it was finished in 1520.' J. WARTON, Essay on Pope, i. 191.
Poems and Translations.
4 This sentence is not in the first edition.
5 Ante, DRYDEN, 311.