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himself, divided the other half between his partners, giving four books to Fenton, and eight to Broome. Fenton's books
I have enumerated in his Life'; to the lot of Broome fell the second, sixth, eighth, eleventh, twelfth, sixteenth, eighteenth, and twenty-third, together with the burthen of writing all the notes 2.
As this translation is a very important event in poetical 6 history, the reader has a right to know upon what grounds I establish my narration. That the version was not wholly Pope's was always known 3; he had mentioned the assistance of two friends in his proposals, and at the end of the work some account is given by Broome of their different parts, which however mentions only five books as written by the coadjutors: the fourth and twentieth by Fenton, the sixth, the eleventh, and the eighteenth by himself; though Pope, in an advertisement prefixed afterwards to a new volume of his works, claimed only twelve. A natural curiosity, after the real conduct of so great an undertaking, incited me once to enquire of Dr. Warburton, who told me, in his warm language, that he thought the relation given in the note a lie "'; but that he was not
Ante, FENTON, 10; post, POPE,
2 Post, POPE, 133, 355. Broome wrote to Fenton in 1722 :-' Pray consider what a weight lies upon my shoulders who, besides eight books of translation, am to write twenty-four of annotations.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), viii. 54. In 1726 he wrote to Pope :-'Huzza! I have finished the notes on the Odyssey.' Ib. p. 110. For the trouble Pope had in correcting Broome's version see post, POPE, 134.
Broome was not paid for his work on the Iliad. He wrote to Pope in 1735:-'I was so easy in my fortunes that I was grown above taking any reward.' Ib. p. 177.
Pope, in 1722, at the beginning of the undertaking wrote to Broome: -'I must once more put you in mind that the whole success of this affair will depend upon your secrecy.' Ib. p. 49. See also ib. p. 68.
Broome says in his note at the end of the Odyssey, speaking for himself and Fenton:-'It was our particular
request that our several parts might not be made known to the world till the end of it.' Odyssey, ed. 1760, iv. 266. This note, false in many particulars, written without Fenton's knowledge, and to his annoyance, professed to be in his name as well as Broome's. Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), viii. 121. Broome, as Mr. Elwin says, was both the tool of Pope and the dupe.' Ib. p. 127 n. See also ib. pp. 135, 148, 160, 169; ante, FENTON, 17 n.
Post, POPE, 130.
5 In Appendix vii to The Dunciad, 1729, p. 220, in 'A List of all our Author's Genuine Works' is 'Twelve Books of the Odyssey, with some parts of other books; and the Dissertation by way of Postscript at the end.' It is remarkable, that in the Life of Broome, Johnson takes notice of Dr. Warburton using a mode of expression which he himself used, and that not seldom, to the great offence of those who did not know him. . . . Johnson had accustomed himself to use the word lie, to express
able to ascertain the several shares. The intelligence which Dr. Warburton could not afford me, I obtained from Mr. Langton, to whom Mr. Spence had imparted it'.
The price at which Pope purchased this assistance was three hundred pounds paid to Fenton, and five hundred to Broome, with as many copies as he wanted for his friends, which amounted to one hundred more. The payment made to Fenton I know but by hearsay; Broome's is very distinctly told by Pope, in the notes to The Dunciad.
It is evident that, according to Pope's own estimate, Broome was unkindly treated. If four books could merit three hundred pounds, eight and all the notes, equivalent at least to four, had certainly a right to more than six 2.
Broome probably considered himself as injured, and there was for some time more than coldness between him and his employer. He always spoke of Pope as too much a lover of money 3, and Pope pursued him with avowed hostility, for he not only named him disrespectfully in The Dunciad, but quoted him
* Spence's Anec. p. 270. For an anecdote of Pope, 'when on a visit to Spence at Oxford,' see Boswell's Johnson, iv. 9. See also Johnson Letters, ii. 156, on the shares in the Odyssey.
'Broome and Fenton had £770 for half the translation and the whole of the notes, and Pope retained for his half of the translation and his general revision £3,767, or, with all deductions, upwards of £3,500.' He kept his brother poets waiting a whole year before he paid them. Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), viii. 129, 175.
3 In 1725 Broome compared himself and Fenton to the animals in the fable who hunted with the lion. Ib. p. 105. In 1728 he wrote:-'Now tell me, dear Fenton, am I unjust if
I call him false and ungrateful?' Ib. p. 150.
In The Dunciad, iii. 331, the following couplet:'Hibernian Politics, O Swift! thy fate;
And Pope's, ten years to comment
had stood in earlier editions:-
And Pope's, translating three whole
'On which was the following note:"He concludes his irony with a stroke upon himself for whoever imagines this a sarcasm on the other ingenious person is surely mistaken. The opinion our Author had of him was sufficiently shown by his joining him in the undertaking of the Odyssey; in which Mr. Broome, having engaged without any previous agreement, discharged his part so much to Mr. Pope's satisfaction, that he gratified him with the full sum of five hundred pounds, and a present of all those books for which his own interest could procure him subscribers, to the value of one hundred more. The author only seems to lament that he
more than once in The Bathos, as a proficient in the Art of Sinking; and in his enumeration of the different kinds of poets distinguished for the profound, he reckons Broome among 'the Parrots who repeat another's words in such a hoarse odd tone as makes them seem their own3.' I have been told that they were afterwards reconciled; but I am afraid their peace was without friendship*.
He afterwards published a Miscellany of Poems, which is 10 inserted, with corrections, in the late compilation.
He never rose to very high dignity in the church. He was 11 some time rector of Sturston in Suffolk, where he married a wealthy widow; and afterwards, when the King visited Cambridge (1728), became Doctor of Laws'. He was (in August
was employed in translation at all."' The Dunciad, 4to ed. 1729, iii. 327. For the falsity of this statement see Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), viii. 158. [The change was made in 1736.]
Spence (p. 326) records on the authority of Mr. Blount of Twickenham that Broome asked five hundred, and upon Mr. Pope's saying that was too little, and Broome naming seven; "Well then (says Pope), let's split the difference; there's six hundred for you.
'Only once, in ch. vii.
2 Fenton wrote to Broome :-'He has indeed discovered a keen appetite to quarrel with you.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), viii. 144. Pope tried to wriggle out of the authorship. Ib. pp. 159, 162.
Broome suffered also with Fenton from Pope's enemies for their share in the Odyssey. Fenton wrote to Broome in 1725:-'We have been but coarsely used this last summer, both in print and conversation.' Ib. p. 103.
3 Ch. vi.
Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), viii. 104.
The quotation is from Broome's lines To Mr. Pope, upon the Edition of his Works, 1725. Pope's Miscellany, 1726, 1727, vol. i. Pref. p. xxxvi. In his poem To Mr. Pope, who corrected my Verses (ib. p. 246) he writes:
'So when Luke drew the rudiments of man,
An angel finish'd what the saint began.'
In 1735 he wrote to Pope:-'I think it is about six years since I wrote to you.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), viii. 171. Pope replied:-'I sincerely embrace the pleasures of reconciliation.' Ib. p. 173. Broome was timid; otherwise he would never have been reconciled with a man who had used him so ill.
1728) presented by the Crown' to the rectory of Pulham in Norfolk 2, which he held with Oakley Magna in Suffolk, given him by the Lord Cornwallis, to whom he was chaplain, and who added the vicarage of Eye in Suffolk; he then resigned Pulham3, and retained the other two.
12 Towards the close of his life he grew again poetical, and amused himself in translating Odes of Anacreon, which he published in The Gentleman's Magazine, under the name of Chester *.
He died at Bath, November 16, 17455, and was buried in the Abbey Church.
14 Of Broome, though it cannot be said that he was a great poet, it would be unjust to deny that he was an excellent versifyer; his lines are smooth and sonorous, and his diction is select and elegant. His rhymes are sometimes unsuitable: in his Melancholy he makes breath rhyme to birth in one place, and to earth in another. Those faults occur but seldom; and he had such power of words and numbers as fitted him for translation, but, in his original works, recollection seems to have been his business more than invention. His imitations are so apparent that it is part of his reader's employment to recall the verses of some former poet. Sometimes he copies the most popular writers, for he seems scarcely to endeavour at concealment; and sometimes he picks up fragments in obscure corners. His lines to Fenton:
' Broome flattered Walpole in his Epistle to Mr. Fenton. Eng. Poets, xliv. 170. Fenton wrote to him in 1726:-'I hope you intend to fill up the vacancy where a character of eloquence is intended with Sir T. Hanmer's name. Whatever name is intended, I can never consent to have it begin with a W.' Broome thus filled the blank:
'O Compton, when this breath we once resign
My dust shall be as eloquent as thine.'
Nevertheless 'he introduced into another part of the Epistle' the following:
'Why flames the star on Walpole's gen'rous breast?
Not that he's highest, but because he's best,
Fond to oblige, in blessing others blest.'
Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), viii. 131.
For Compton see post, THOMSON, 9. 2 Ante, FENTON, 27.
3 He died Vicar of Pulham. [See his Will given in Barlow's Memoir, P. 16.]
* 'Charles Chester, M.D.' Broome was born in Cheshire. Gent. Mag. Nov. 1739 to June, 1740; Eng. Poets, xliv. 292.
5 Gent. Mag. 1745, p. 614.
Dr. Warton had justly described him as 'a mere versifier." Essay on Pope, Preface, p. 12.
7 With cries we usher in our birth, With groans resign our transient
breath.' Eng. Poets, xliv. 160. 'What art thou, gold, but shining earth?
Thou, common fame, but common breath?' Ib. p. 161.
'Serene, the sting of pain thy thoughts beguile,
brought to my mind some lines on the death of Queen Mary, written by Barnes, of whom I should not have expected to find an imitator:
'But [Yet] thou, O Muse, whose sweet nepenthean tongue Can charm the pangs of death with deathless song; Canst [Can] stinging plagues with easy thoughts beguile, Make pains and tortures [flames and torments] objects of a smile?'
To detect his imitations were tedious and useless. What he 15 takes he seldom makes worse; and he cannot be justly thought a mean man whom Pope chose for an associate, and whose co-operation was considered by Pope's enemies as so important, that he was attacked by Henley with this ludicrous distich:
'Pope came off clean with Homer; but they say Broome went before, and kindly swept the way 3.'
Eng. Poets, xli. 253. The author explains in a note that the pain is the gout-a disease of which Fenton died. Ante, FENTON, 18.
[Lines on the Untimely Death of the Queen, by Joshua Barnes, then Senior Fellow of Emmanuel, Cambridge; afterwards Professor of Greek at Cambridge. They are among the English poems in Lacrymae Cantabrigienses in obitum Reginae Mariae, Cantab. 1694-5.]
3 'Henley's joke was borrowed. In a copy of verses entitled The Time Poets, preserved in a Miscellany called Choice Drollery, 1656, are these lines:
"Sent by Ben Jonson, as some authors say,
Broom went before and kindly
[Richard Broome, the amanuensis or attendant of Jonson, is the author of several comedies. Randolph in An Answer to Mr. Ben Jonson's Ode, to persuade him not to leave the stage, has the following lines:
And let those things in plush
With what Broome swept from thee.'