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is the Epistle to Lord Bathurst (1733) on the Use of Riches, a piece on which he declared great labour to have been bestowed1. 199 Into this poem some incidents are historically thrown, and some known characters are introduced, with others of which it is difficult to say how far they are real or fictitious 2; but the praise of Kyrl, 'the Man of Ross',' deserves particular examination, who, after a long and pompous enumeration of his publick works and private charities, is said to have diffused all those blessings from 'five hundred a year!' Wonders are willingly told and willingly heard 5. The truth is that Kyrl was a man of known integrity and active benevolence, by whose solicitation the wealthy were persuaded to pay contributions to his charitable schemes; this influence he obtained by an example of liberality exerted to the utmost extent of his power, and was thus enabled to give more than he had. This account Mr. Victor received from the
Post, POPE, 272, 369. 'I never
was published in Jan. 1732-3. Gent.
2 Swift wrote of the poem to Pope:
3 Moral Essays, iii. 250. Fielding, in Joseph Andrews, Bk. iii. ch. 6, makes Joseph say in answer to Fanny's question, 'Are all the great folks wicked?': 'I have heard Squire Pope, the great poet, at my lady's table, tell stories of a man that lived at a place called Ross.'
4 'Of debts and taxes, wife and children clear,
This man possess’d—five hundred pounds a year.'
Moral Essays, iii. 279. According to R. Wheeler's letter to Spence (Anec. p. 425) 'his income was no more than £600 a year.' See also ib. p. 437, and Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), iii. 529. Pope thanking Tonson for giving me,' he writes, 'so many particulars of the Man of Ross,' continues :'A small exaggeration you must allow me as a poet.' Ib. ix. 551.
In his Iliad, xxii. 180 n., he quotes Aristotle [Poetics, xxiv. 17] as saying:-'What is wonderful is always agreeable, and, as a proof of it, we find that they who relate anything usually add something to the truth, that it may the better please those who hear it.'
'The value of every story,' said Johnson, depends on its being true. A story is a picture either of an individual or of human nature in general; if it be false, it is a picture of nothing.' Boswell's Johnson, ii. 433.
5 For the natural desire of man to propagate a wonder' see ante, COWLEY, 5.
For Benjamin Victor see Boswell's Johnson, iv. 53.
minister of the place, and I have preserved it, that the praise of a good man, being made more credible, may be more solid. Narrations of romantick and impracticable virtue' will be read with wonder, but that which is unattainable is recommended in vain: that good may be endeavoured it must be shewn to be possible.
This is the only piece in which the author has given a hint of 200 his religion by ridiculing the ceremony of burning the pope 2, and by mentioning with some indignation the inscription on the Monument 3.
When this poem was first published the dialogue, having no 201 letters of direction, was perplexed and obscure. Pope seems to have written with no very distinct idea, for he calls that an Epistle to Bathurst in which Bathurst is introduced as speaking *. He afterwards (1734) inscribed to Lord Cobham his Characters 202 of Men, written with close attention to the operations of the mind and modifications of life. In this poem he has endeavoured to establish and exemplify his favourite theory of the 'Ruling Passion", by which he means an original direction of desire to
Like a tall bully lifts the head and lies.'
Ib. 1. 339. Pope adds in a note:- The Monument, built in memory of the fire of London, with an inscription importing that city to have been burnt by the Papists.'
"The lie" was erased in the reign of James II, restored in the reign of William III, and finally erased in the reign of William IV. Pope's Works (E. & C.), iii. 155.
It would be easy to find passages in which Pope shows his contempt of much that Roman Catholics respect and even revere.
[Pope gave more than a hint of his religion in Imit. of Horace, Epist. ii. 2. 60-66.]
'Dr. Warton had heard Bathurst express his disgust at finding in
later editions this Epistle awkwardly
some particular object, an innate affection which gives all action a determinate and invariable tendency, and operates upon the whole system of life either openly or more secretly by the intervention of some accidental or subordinate propension.
Of any passion thus innate and irresistible the existence may reasonably be doubted. Human characters are by no means constant; men change by change of place, of fortune, of acquaintance; he who is at one time a lover of pleasure is at another a lover of money. Those indeed who attain any excellence commonly spend life in one pursuit, for excellence is not often gained upon easier terms. But to the particular species of excellence, men are directed not by an ascendant planet or predominating humour, but by the first book which they read, some early conversation which they heard, or some accident which excited ardour and emulation '.
204 It must be at least allowed that this 'ruling Passion,' antecedent to reason and observation, must have an object independent on human contrivance, for there can be no natural desire of artificial good. No man therefore can be born, in the strict acceptation, a lover of money, for he may be born where money does not exist; nor can he be born, in a moral sense, a lover of his country, for society, politically regulated, is a state contradistinguished from a state of nature, and any attention to that coalition of interests which makes the happiness of a country is possible only to those whom enquiry and reflection have enabled to comprehend it.
This doctrine is in itself pernicious as well as false; its tendency is to produce the belief of a kind of moral predestination or overruling principle which cannot be resisted: he that admits it is prepared to comply with every desire that caprice or opportunity shall excite, and to flatter himself that he submits only to the lawful dominion of Nature in obeying the resistless authority of his 'ruling Passion.'
Pope has formed his theory with so little skill that, in the
examples by which he illustrates and confirms it, he has confounded passions, appetites, and habits 1.
To the Characters of Men he added soon after, in an Epistle 207 supposed to have been addressed to Martha Blount, but which the last edition has taken from her, the Characters of Women2. This poem, which was laboured with great diligence, and, in the author's opinion, with great success, was neglected at its first publication, as the commentator supposes, because the publick was informed by an advertisement that it contained 'no Character drawn from the life'; an assertion which Pope probably did not expect or wish to have been believed, and which he soon gave his readers sufficient reason to distrust, by telling them in a note that the work was imperfect, because part of his subject was 'Vice too high' to be yet exposed 3.
The time, however, soon came in which it was safe to display 208 the Dutchess of Marlborough under the name of Atossa, and her character was inserted with no great honour to the writer's gratitude 5.
He published from time to time (between 1730 and 1740) 209 Imitations of different poems of Horace, generally with his
1735, p. 111.
Pope wrote to Swift on Feb. 16, 1732-3: 'Your lady-friend is semper eadem, and I have written an epistle to her on that qualification in a female character.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), vii. 298. Warburton says that 'the conclusion is an encomium on an imaginary lady to whom the epistle is addressed.' Warburton, iii. 216 n. See also ib. P. 233 n. For his 'foolish spite in depriving Martha Blount of the honour of this dedication' see Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), iii. 10, 95, 113. See also post, POPE, 243.
3 The commentator was Warburton. He adds:-'They [the public] believed Mr. Pope on his word, and expressed little curiosity about a satire in which there was nothing personal.' Warburton, iii. 214.
'In a note in the 8vo ed. of 1735 to l. 103, Pope says that he explains 'the want of connection occasioned
by the omission of certain examples
Is vice too high, reserve it for the
Pope's Works (Elwin and Court-
Mr. Courthope adds in a note on Pope's note on Moral Essays, ii. 14: 'It does not follow that the first edition contained a character of any particular person drawn from the life. The Advertisement may have been originally written in good faith, and the note to ver. 14, together with the one to which Johnson refers, may have been added to pique the public curiosity, when the poet found that the Epistle was coldly received.' Pope's Works (E. & C.), iii. 96.
Moral Essays, ii. 115; ante, SHEFFIELD, 20 n. 10; post, POPE, 368.
5 See Appendix K.
• Post, POPE, 372. The first (Sat.
name, and once, as was suspected, without it. What he was upon moral principles ashamed to own, he ought to have suppressed. Of these pieces it is useless to settle the dates, as they had seldom much relation to the times, and perhaps had been long in his hands 2.
This mode of imitation, in which the ancients are familiarised by adapting their sentiments to modern topicks, by making Horace say of Shakespeare what he originally said of Ennius3, and accommodating his satires on Pantolabus and Nomentanus* to the flatterers and prodigals of our own time, was first practised in the reign of Charles the Second by Oldham and Rochester, at least I remember no instances more ancient. It is a kind of middle composition between translation and original design, which pleases when the thoughts are unexpectedly applicable and the parallels lucky. It seems to have been Pope's favourite amusement, for he has carried it further than any
ii. 1) was registered on Feb. 14, 1732-3, and the last (Epis. ii. 2) on April 28, 1737. Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), iii. 285, 377. Of the two Dialogues of the Epilogue the first was registered on May 12, 1738, and the second on the following July 17. Ib. p. 455. The Imitations of Horace in the Manner of Dr. Swift first appeared in the 8vo ed. of Pope's Works, 1738. Ib. p. 397.
* Sober Advice from Horace to the Young Gentlemen about Town, as delivered in his Second Sermon. Imitated in the Manner of Mr. Pope. Together with the Original Text, as restored by the Rev. Richard Bentley, D.D. Warton, who includes the poem in his edition, vi. 35, suppresses
the nauseous notes.' Warburton excludes it, and so do Messrs. Elwin and Courthope. For Pope's meanness towards the younger Bentley as regards the use of Dr. Bentley's name see Pope's Works (E. & C.), vi. 355.
On June 27, 1734, Bolingbroke wrote to Swift of this Imitation of Horace (Sat. i. 2):-'Pope has chosen rather to weaken the images than to hurt chaste ears overmuch. He has sent it me.' Pope's Works (E. & C.), vii. 322. On Dec. 31 Pope wrote to Caryll: There is a piece of poetry
from Horace come out, which I warn you not to take for mine, though some people are willing to fix it on me; in truth I should think it a very indecent sermon after the Essay on Man. Ib. vi. 353. See Appendix O (p. 276).
2 For the printer's bill for 2,150 copies of 'the first Epistle of the Second Book of Horace imitated' see N. & Q. 1 S. xi. 377.
3 'Ennius, et sapiens, et fortis, et alter
HORACE, Epis. ii. 1. 50. 'Shakespeare (whom you and ev'ry play-house bill
Style the divine, the matchless, what you will)
For gain, not glory, wing'd his roving flight,
And grew immortal in his own despite.' POPE, Epis. ii. 1. 69.
I HORACE, Sat. ii. 1. 22.
5 Oldham anticipated Johnson in imitating Juvenal's Third Satire, and applying it to London. Boswell's Johnson, i. 118.
6 Ante, ROCHESTER, 19.
7 He said that one winter, when he was confined by a fever, he began these imitations at the suggestion