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without good lines. While the author was unknown some, as will always happen, favoured him as an adventurer, and some censured him as an intruder', but all thought him above neglect: the sale increased, and editions were multiplied.
The subsequent editions of the first Epistle exhibited two memorable corrections. At first, the poet and his friend
Expatiate freely o'er this scene of man",
A mighty maze of walks without a plan.'
For which he wrote afterwards
'A mighty maze, but not without a plan':
for, if there were no plan, it was in vain to describe or to trace the maze.
The other alteration was of these lines:
'And spite of pride, and in thy reason's spite,
but having afterwards discovered, or been shewn, that the truth which subsisted in spite of reason could not be very clear, he substituted
'And spite of pride, in erring reason's spite.'
To such oversights will the most vigorous mind be liable when it is employed at once upon argument and poetry *.
The second and third Epistles were published, and Pope was,
Pope thought Swift had not discovered the authorship. Swift replied on Nov. 1, 1734:-'Surely I never doubted about your Essay on Man; and I would lay any odds that I would never fail to discover you in six lines, unless you had a mind to write below or beside yourself on purpose.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), vii. 324, 328.
'Expatiate free o'er all this scene
Ib. i. 293.
4 By the kindness of Mr. Arthur Marlow I have seen the first edition of the four Essays with corrections in Pope's hand. In the first Essay there are thirty-nine and two new lines; in the second, nine and two new lines; in the third, eight; and in the fourth only one-the substitution of St. John for Laelius.
5 'Pope told Harte that, in order to disguise his being the author of the
second Epistle, he made in the first edition the following bad rhyme :
A cheat! a whore! who starts not
In all the Inns of Court, or Drury
And Harte remembered to have often
This couplet followed line 220 of the revised edition.
Mr. Elwin, giving examples of other bad rhymes in the Epistles, says:- There must have been some strange peculiarity in the ears of a generation which could be revolted by "lane" and "name," and welcome such rhymes as these. The anecdote cannot be correct.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), ii. 274. I do not agree with him. These rhymes were either good
I believe, more and more suspected of writing them; at last, in 1734, he avowed the fourth, and claimed the honour of
a moral poet.
In the conclusion it is sufficiently acknowledged that the 179 doctrine of the Essay on Man was received from Bolingbroke 2, who is said to have ridiculed Pope, among those who enjoyed his confidence, as having adopted and advanced principles of which he did not perceive the consequence, and as blindly propagating opinions contrary to his own3. That those communications had been consolidated into a scheme regularly drawn, and delivered to Pope, from whom it returned only transformed from prose to verse, has been reported, but hardly can be true. The Essay plainly appears the fabrick of a poet : what Bolingbroke supplied could be only the first principles; the order, illustration, and embellishments must all be Pope's *.
rhymes to the eye or were conventional. To make a word ending in me rhyme with one ending in ne was not conventional.
[It was published in folio by Wilford. 1734. Mr. C. E. Doble has kindly shown me his copy of a quarto edition of the complete Essay, published by Gilliver the same year. In neither case does Pope's name appear on the title-page.]
2 Bolingbroke wrote to Swift in 1731-Does Pope talk to you of the noble work which, at my instigation, he has begun in such a manner that he must be convinced by this time I judged better of his talents than he did?' Ib. vii. 244. In Sept. 1734, at the end of a letter from Pope to Swift, he wrote:-' He [Pope] talks very pompously of my metaphysics.... It is true I have writ six letters and a half to him on subjects of that kind, and I propose a letter and a half more.' Ib. p. 325.
'Pope stated to Spence that "he had received seven or eight sheets from Bolingbroke in relation to it" [Spence's Anec. p. 144]. If the conjecture be right that these very sheets were the Fragments or Minutes of Essays printed in Bolingbroke's Works [vii. 278-viii. end], we have the means of judging for ourselves what was exactly the amount of his written contribution
to The Essay on Man. But whatever may be the truth... they are doctrines having no peculiarity about them by which they can be stamped as his; they... were current in the conversation of reading and thinking men. So familiar did they seem to Johnson that, instead of finding a special paternity for them, he sneers at them as "the talk of our mother and our nurse" [post, POPE, 365].' PATTISON, Essays, ii. 385. See also ante, SAVAGE, 119n.
3 Warburton states this. 1811, xii. 335. Bolingbroke wrote to Marchmont in 1742:-'I should be sorry to shake even error, which it is useful to maintain in society for no reason but this, that it is established.... On this principle I have cautioned Pope; and your Lordship will oblige me greatly in taking and repeating the same caution.' Marchmont Papers, ii. 285.
4 Johnson, criticizing this report, which reached him from Lord Bathurst through Dr. Blair, said:'Pope may have had from Bolingbroke the philosophic stamina of his Essay. . . . We are sure that the poetical imagery, which makes a great part of the poem, was Pope's own.' Boswell's Johnson, iii. 403. Dr. Warton had the same account from Bathurst. Essay on Pope, ii. 123.
These principles it is not my business to clear from obscurity, dogmatism, or falsehood, but they were not immediately examined; philosophy and poetry have not often the same readers, and the Essay abounded in splendid amplifications and sparkling sentences, which were read and admired with no great attention to their ultimate purpose: its flowers caught the eye which did not see what the gay foliage concealed, and for a time flourished in the sunshine of universal approbation. So little was any evil tendency discovered that, as innocence is unsuspicious, many read it for a manual of piety.
181 Its reputation soon invited a translator1. It was first turned into French prose, and afterwards by Resnel into verse 2. Both translations fell into the hands of Crousaz, who first, when he had the version in prose, wrote a general censure, and afterwards reprinted Resnel's version with particular remarks upon every paragraph.
Crousaz was a professor of Switzerland, eminent for his treatise
'On peut le traduire parce qu'il est extrêmement clair, et que ses sujets, pour la plupart, sont généraux et du ressort de toutes les nations.' VOLTAIRE, Œuvres, xxiv. 134. 'Il a été traduit par des hommes dignes de le traduire. Ib. x. 115.
Pope, in an undated letter, mentions two Italian versions, two French, one German, one in Latin verse printed at Wirtemberg, and another in French prose. Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), x. 98. There are in the Brit. Mus. Cata. seven translations into French verse, and one into French prose, coming down to 1864; five into German, coming down to 1874; five into Italian, coming down to 1856; two into Portuguese, one into Polish; two into Latin verse.' Ib. v. 250. There is also a copy in English, Latin, Italian, French, and German, printed at Amsterdam in 1772. Professor Morfill tells me he has a Russian translation, Moscow, 1757. Among the few English books Boswell found in Paoli's library in Corsica was The Essay on Man. Boswell's Corsica, 1768, p. 297.
• Warburton attacked Resnel and Crousaz. Resnel corrected Pope's irregularity of method. The French,' Warburton wrote, 'are not satisfied
with sentiments, however beautiful, unless they be methodically disposed.' Warburton, iii. 167. Resnel's translation, abounding in absurdities,' Crousaz used in writing his Commentary. Ib. p. 17. Pope's lines (i. 277):
As full, as perfect in vile Man that
As the rapt Seraph that adores and
are translated :-
Que dans le Séraphin, rayonnant
On this Crousaz remarked:-' For all that, we sometimes find in persons of the lowest rank a fund of probity and resignation which preserves them from contempt.' Ib. p. 37. See also Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), ii. 494, 502, v. 327.
Johnson, in 1743, wrote a short letter on the controversy to The Gentleman's Magazine, the first five paragraphs of which appeared in March, and the last eight in November. Works, v. 202; Boswell's Johnson, i. 157 n. See also ib. i. 137. For Resnel see ante, GARTH, 17; POPE, 43.
of Logick and his Examen de Pyrrhonisme', and, however little known or regarded here, was no mean antagonist. His mind was one of those in which philosophy and piety are happily united. He was accustomed to argument and disquisition, and perhaps was grown too desirous of detecting faults; but his intentions were always right, his opinions were solid, and his religion pure.
His incessant vigilance for the promotion of piety disposed 183 him to look with distrust upon all metaphysical systems of Theology, and all schemes of virtue and happiness purely rational, and therefore it was not long before he was persuaded that the positions of Pope, as they terminated for the most part in natural religion, were intended to draw mankind away from revelation, and to represent the whole course of things as a necessary concatenation of indissoluble fatality; and it is undeniable that in many passages a religious eye may easily discover expressions not very favourable to morals or to liberty2.
About this time Warburton began to make his appearance in 184 the first ranks of learning. He was a man of vigorous faculties, a mind fervid and vehement, supplied by incessant and unlimited enquiry, with wonderful extent and variety of knowledge, which yet had not oppressed his imagination nor clouded his perspicacity 3. To every work he brought a memory full fraught,
* 'The first text of my philosophical studies, the book which taught me the use and conduct of my understanding, was the Logic of Mr. de Crousaz, a native and Professor of Lausanne, who died about five years before my arrival. His reputation is already faded;, but his moderate and methodical writings were useful in their day to form the reason, the taste, and even the style of his countrymen; and he rescued the clergy of the Pays de Vaud from the heavy and intolerant yoke of the theology of Calvin.' GIBBON, Autobiographies, 1896, p. 234. See also ib. p. 135, and Gibbon's Memoirs, pp. 87, 96.
That Young saw nothing against religion in the poem is shown by his allusion to Pope and the Essay on Man at the end of the first canto of his Night Thoughts:—
'Oh had he press'd his theme, pursued the track
Which opens out of darkness into
Oh had he, mounted on his wing of
Soar'd where I sink, and sung im-
How had it bless'd mankind, and
"The Essay is not a system at all;
""If you did not find Pope a philosopher, you have made him one," Middleton told Warburton.' Ib. p. 130. See also post, POPE, 191, 246.
3 Gray said Warburton's learning was a late acquisition, and did not sit
together with a fancy fertile of original combinations, and at once exerted the powers of the scholar, the reasoner, and the wit. But his knowledge was too multifarious to be always exact, and his pursuits were too eager to be always cautious. His abilities gave him an haughty confidence which he disdained to conceal or mollify, and his impatience of opposition disposed him to treat his adversaries with such contemptuous superiority as made his readers commonly his enemies, and excited against the advocate the wishes of some who favoured the cause. He seems to have adopted the Roman Emperor's determination, oderint dum metuant'; he used no allurements of gentle language, but wished to compel rather than persuade2.
185 His style is copious without selection, and forcible without neatness; he took the words that presented themselves: his diction is coarse and impure, and his sentences are unmeasured. He had, in the early part of his life, pleased himself with the notice of inferior wits and corresponded with the enemies of Pope. A letter was produced, when he had perhaps himself forgotten it, in which he tells Concanen3, 'Dryden I observe borrows for want of leisure, and Pope for want of genius; Milton out of pride, and Addison out of modesty *' And when Theobald published
miserable scribblers can be supposed to ruffle. Of all that gross Beotian phalanx who have written scurrilously against me I know not so much as One whom a writer of reputation would not wish to have his enemy, or whom a man of honour would not be ashamed to own for his friend.'
3 For Matthew Concanen see Nichols's Lit. Hist. ii. 189. For Warburton's letter see ib. p. 195; post, AKENSIDE, 6n. See also The Dunciad, ii. 299.
For Warburton's assistance to Theobald see his correspondence in Nichols's Lit. Hist. ii. 189–647, 741 n.
Cibber, writing to Warburton about the change of the hero of The Dunciad (post, POPE, 237), speaks of 'your willingness to redeem your old ally Mr. Tibbald from his dishonour.' Letter to Mr. Pope, 1744, p. 28.
4 In the first edition:-'he tells Concanen that Milton borrowed by affectation, Dryden by idleness, and Pope by necessity.'