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SUMMARY OF JOHNSON'S LIFE OF POPE.
1. Life of Pope
i. Early years : Born in 1688 of Papist parents-delicate constitution, gentle and sweet disposition.
ii. Education : Excluded from best schools on account of religion ; taught by his aunt, by Romish priests, at private schools; went to London to study French and Italian.
iii. Early poems : A lampoon at school; Ode on Solitude at twelve; Thebais at fourteen ; Chaucer's Tales and Silence about the same time.
iv. Early friends: Dryden, a slight acquaintance ; Sir William Trumbal at Binfield; Wycherley, the poet, offended by Pope's free criticism; Mr. Cromwell, received many letters from Pope; Walsh, advised Pope to practise correctness. At seventeen he began to frequent Will's coffee-house, and to read diligently for improvement and instruction. Tonson, the famous bookseller, published Pope's Pastorals in his Miscellany (1709).
v. From 1709 to 1715. Essay on Criticism : Praised by Addison and Warburton; considered by Dennis (the critic) as an attack on himself, Dennis attacked Pope in an abusive pamphlet. The Messiah, corrected by Steele, published in the Spectator ; Verses on the Unfortunate Lady written. The Rape of the Lock, written at the
request of Mr. Caryl to conciliate an offended lady. Addison praised the incomplete poem, and advised Pope not to alter it. Pope assumed that this advice was caused by jealousy. Years after Dennis criticised the poem. The Temple of Fame published after being written two years. Eloisa to Abelard excels all other similar compositions. Windsor Forest is said to have offended Addison, but evidently but little as Pope wrote a Prologue to Addison's Cato, and a reply to Dennis's remarks on Cato. A comparison of the Pastorals of Philips and Pope in the Guardian increased Pope's hostility to Addison. About this time Pope studied painting under Jervas.
vi. The Iliad: In 1713 Pope solicited a subscription to a translation with notes, in six volumes, at six guineas. Lintot bought the work. Other editions were published in Holland. Critics questioned Pope's qualifications as a translator, but he used other translations freely, and was assisted by Broome, Fenton, Jortin, and Parnell. The work was completed in 1718, and brought Pope above five thousand pounds. This success procured Pope friends. Pope read parts to Lord Halifax, who offered Pope favours; Mr. Craggs offered him a pension; both offers were declined. The manuscripts in the British Museum show Pope's careful method of work. The success of Pope put an end to his friendship with Addison. Adherents of each promoted rivalry between these two literary chiefs. Jervas tried to re-establish their friendship; Swift promoted the subscription to the Iliad, thereby perhaps offending Addison; Steele procured an interview between the rivals, but it proved stormy, and they parted in mutual