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Then shine the vales, the socks in prospect rise,
The conscious shepherd, joyful at the sight,
Eyes the blue vault, and numbers every light.
shepherds gazing with delight
Of thesé specimens every man who has cultivated poetry, or who delights to trace the mind from the rudeness of its first conceptions to the elegance of its'last, will naturally desire a greater number; but most other readers are already tired, and I am not writing only to poets and philosophers.
The “ Iliad” was published volume by volume, as the translation proceeded; the four first books appeared in 1915. The expectation of this work was undoubtedly high, and every man who had connected his name with criticism, or poetry, was desirous of such intelligence as might enable him to talk upon the popular topick. Halifax, who, by having been first a poet, and then a patron of poetry, had acquired the right of being a judge, was willing to hear some books while they were yet unpublished. Of this rehearsal Pope afterwards gave the following account*.
“The famous Lord Halifax was rather a pretender to taste than really possessed of it.-When I had finished the two or three first books of my
translation of the "Iliad," that Lord desired to have the pleasure of hearing "them read at his house--Addison, Congreve, and Garth, were there at the “ reading. In four or five places, Lord Halifax stopt me very civilly, and, " with a speeeh each time much of the same kind, 'I beg your pardon, Mr.
Pope ; but there is something in that passage that does not quite please me. Be so good as to mark the place, and consider it a little at your lei
sure.— I am sure you can give it a little turn.'-I returned from Lord Ha“ lifax's with Dr. Garth, in his chariot; and, as we were going along, was
saying to the Doctor, that my Lord had laid me under a great deal of dif“ficulty by such loose and general observations; that I had been thinking over the
passages almost ever since, and could not guess at what it was
« that offended his Lordship in either of them. Garth laughed heartily at
my embarrassment; said, I had not been long enough acquainted win " Lord Halifax to know his way yet; that I need not puzzle myself abou: “ looking those places over and over when I got home. . “ All you need “ do (says he) is to leave them just as they are ; call on Lord Halifax two
or three months hence, thank him for his kind observations on those pas
sages, and then read them to him as altered. I have known him much “ longer than you have, and will be answerable for the event.' I followed “ his advice; waited on Lord Halifax some time after; said, I hoped be “ would find his objections to those passages removed; read them to him “exactly as they were at first; and his Lordship was extremely pleased « with them, and cried out, 'Ay, now they are perfectly right: nothing can 6 be better."
It is seldom that the great or the wise suspect that they are despised of cheated. Halifax, thinking this a lucky opportunity of securing immortality, made some advances of favour and some overtures of advantage to Pope, which he seems to have received with sullen coldness.' All our knowledge of this transaction is derived from a single Letter (Dec. 1, 1714), in which Pope says, “ I am obliged to you, both for the favours you have done me, « and those
intend me. I distrust neither your will nor your memory, « when it is to do good; and if I ever become troublesome or solicitous, it “ must not be out of expectation, but out of gratitude. Your Lordshiy
may cause me to live agreeably in the town, or contentedly in the cour
try, which is really all the difference I set between an easy fortune and a o sinall one
It is indeed a high strain of generosity in you to think of “ making me easy all my life, only because I have been so happy as to di
vert you some few hours: but, if I may have leave to add it is because
you think me no enemy to my native country, there will appear a bette: “ reason; for I must of consequence be very much as I sincerely an, “ your's, &c.''
These voluntary offers, and this faint acceptance, ended without effect. The patron was not accustomed to such frigid gratitude ; and the poet his own pride with the dignity of independence. They probably were suse picious of each other. Pope would not dedicate till he saw at what rate his praise was valued; he would be “troublesone out of gratitude, not expecta~ tion.” Halifax thought himself entitled to confidence; and would give nothing, unless he knew what he should receive. Their commerce had iis beginning in hope of praise on one side, and of money on the other, all ended because Pope was less eager of money than Halifax of praise. It is not likely that Halifax had any personal benevolence to Pope; it is evident that Pope looked on Halifax with scorn and hatred.
The reputation of this great work failed of gaining him a patron; but it deprived him of a friend. Addison and he were now at the head of poetry and criticism; and both in such a state of elevation, that, like the two rivals
in the Roman state, one could no longer bear an equal, nor the other a superior. Of the gradual abatement of kindness between friends, the beginning is often scarcely discernible by themselves, and the process is continued by' petty provocations, and incivilities sometimes peevishly returned, and sometimes contemptuously neglected, which would escape all attention but that of pride, and drop from any memory but that of resentment. That the quarrel of these two wits should be minutely deduced, is not to be expected from a writer to whom, as Homer says, “nothing but rumour has “ reached, and who has no personal knowledge.”
Pope doubtless approached Addison, when the reputation of their wit first brought them together, with the respect due to a man whose abilities were acknowledged, and who, having attained that eminence to which he was himself aspiring, had in his hands the distribution of literary fame. He paid court with sufficient diligence by his Prologue to “Cato,” by his abuse of Dennis, and with praise yet more direct, by his poem on the “ Dialogues “on Medals,”, of which the immediate publication was then intended. In all this there was no hypocrisy; for he confessed that he found in Addison something more pleasing than in any other man.
It may be supposed, that as Pope saw himself favoured by the world, and more frequently compared his own powers with those of others, his confidence increased, and his submission lessened: and that Addison felt no de light from the advances of a young wit, who might soon contend with him for the highest place. Every great man, of whatever kind be his greatness, has among his friends those who ofiiciously, or insidiously, quicken hiş attention 10 offences, heighten his disgust, and stimulate his resentment. Of such adherenis Aduison doubtless had many; and Pope was now too high to be without them.
From the emission and reception of the Proposals for the “ Iliad,” the kindness of Addison seems to have abated. Jervas the painter once pleased himself (Aug. 20, 1714) with imagining that he had re-established their friendship; and wrote to Pope that Addison once suspected him of too close a confederacy with Swift, but was now satisfied with his conduct. To this Pope answered, a week after, that his engagements to Swift were such as his services in regard to the subscription demanded, and that the Tories never put him under the necessity of asking leave to be grateful. “ But,” says he, “ as Mr. Addison must be the judge in what regards himself, and
seems to have no very just one in regard to me, sp I must own to you I " expect nothing but civility from him." In the same Letter he mentions Philips, as having been busy to kindle animosity between them; but, in a Letter to Addison, he expresses some consciousness of behaviour, inattentively deficient in respect.
Of Swift's industry in promoting the subscription, there remains the testimony of Kennet, no friend to either him or Pope. VOL. I. 3 X
“ Nov. 2, 1713, Dr. Swift came into the coffee-house, and had a bow “ from every body but me, who, I confess, could not but despise him. • Wben I came to the anti-chamber 10 wait, before prayers, Dr. Swift was " the principal man of talk and business, and acted as master of requests. « Then he instructed a young nobleman that the best poet in England was 6 Mr. Pope (a papist), who had begun a translation of Homer into English “ verse, for which he must have them all subscrite; for, says he, the author “ shall not begin to print till I have a thousand guineas for him."
About this time it is likely that Steele, who was, with all his political fury, good-natured and officious, procured an interview between these ang y rivals, which ended in aggravated malevolence. On this occasion, if the reports be true, Pope made his complaint with frankness and spirit; as 2 man unde servedly neglected or opposed; and Addison affected a contemptuous unconcern, and, in a calm even voice, reproached Pope with his vanity, and, telling him of the improvements which his early works had received from his own remarks and those of Steele, said that he, being nos engaged in public business, had no longer any care for his poetical reputation; nor had any other desire, with regard to Pope, than that he should not, by too much arrogance, aliene the publick.
To this Pope is said to have replied with great keenness and severity, upbraiding Addison with perpetual dependence, and with the abuse of those qualifications which he had obtained at the public cost, and charging him . with mean endeavours to ohrtruct the progress of rising merit. The contes: rose so high, that thev parted at last without any interchange of civility.
The first volume of “ Homer” was (1715) in time published; and a rival version of the first “Iliad," for rivals the time of their appearance inevitably made them, was immediately printed, with the name of Tickell. I: was soon perceived that, among the followers of Addison, Tickell had the preference, and the criticks and poets divided into factions. “l,” says Pope, “ have the
town, that is, the mob, on my side; but it is not uncommon for the “ smaller party to supply by industry what it wants in numbers- I appeal “ to the people as my right!ul judges, and, while they are not inclined to “ condemn me, shall not fear the high-flyers at Button's.” This opposition he immediately imputed to Addison, and complained of it in terms sufficiently reseniful to Craggs, their common friend.
When Addison's opinion was asked, he declared the versions to be both good, but Ticketi's the best that had ever been written; and sometiines said that they were both good, but that Tickell had more of Homer.”
Pope was now sufficiently irritated; his reputation and his interest were at hazard. Ile once intended to print together the four versions of Dryden, Maynwaring, Pope, and Tickell, that they might be readily compared, and
fairly estimated. This design seems to have been defeated by the refusal of Tonson, who was the proprietor of the other three versions.
Pope intended at another time a rigorous criticism of Tickell's translation, and had had marked a copy, which I have seen, in all places that appeared defective. But while he was thus meditating defence or revenge, his adversary sunk before him without a blow; the voice of the public were not long divided, and the preference was universally given to Pope's performance.
He was convinced, by adding one circumstance to another, that the other translation was the work of Addison himself; but if he knew it in Addison's life time, it does not appear that he told it. He left his illustrious antagonist to be punished by what has been considered as the most painful of all reflections, the remembrance of a crime perpetrated in vain.
The other circumstances of their quarrel were thus related by Pope*.
“ Philips seemed to have been encouraged to abuse me in coffee- houses, “and conversations: and Gildon wrote a thing about Wycherly, in which " he had abused both me and my relations very grosly. Lord Warwick him“self told me one day, that it was in vain for me to endeavour to be well “with Mr. Addison, that his jealous temper would never admit of a settled “friendship between us; and, to convince me of what he had said, assured “ me, that Addison had encouraged Gildon to publish those scandals, and “had given him ten guineas after they were published. The next day, " while I was heated with what I had heard, I wrote a letter to Mr. Addison "to let him know that I was not unacquainted with this behaviour of his; " that if I was to speak severely of him, in return for it, it should be not in “ such a dirty way; that I should rather tell him, himself, fairly of his “ faults, and allow his good qualities; and that it should be something inz “the following manner: I then adjoined the first sketch of what has since “ been called my satire on Addison. Mr. Addison used me very civilly
The verses on Addison when they were sent to Atterbury, were considered by him as the most excellent of Pope's performances; and the writer was advised, since he knew where his strength lay, not to suffer it to remain unemployed.
This year (1715) being, by the subscription, enabled to live inore by choice, having persuaded his father to sell their estate at Binfield, he purchased, I think only for his life, that house at Twickenham to which his residence afterwards procured so much celebration, and removed thicker with his father and mother.
Here he planted the vines and the quincunx which his verses mention; and being under the necessity of making a subterraneous passage to a garden on the other side of the road, he adorned it with fossile bodies, and dignified it with the title of a grotto; a place of silence and retreat, from which he en
3 X 2
deavoured Spence, See however the Life of Addison in the Biographia Britanoica, last ed. E.