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but because he was a favourite of Queen Caro
In our author's manuscripts were two. other lines upon this writer :
Let CLARKE live half his days the poor's support,
His Attributes, and his Sermons, will be read and admired by all lovers of good reasoning, as long as this Epistle by all lovers of good poetry.
29. At Timon's villa let us pass a day, Where all cry out,
" What sums are thrown away!
The whole gang of malignant and dirty scribblers, who envied the success and superior merit of Pope, was in arms at this description, which they applied to the Duke of Chandos, and his house at Canons. Welsted published in folio, a most abusive libel, entitled, Of Dulness and Scandal, occasioned by the Character of Lord Timon, &c. And Lady Wortley Montague joined in the accusation, in her Verses addressed to the Imita
tor of Horace.* The Duke, though at first alarmed, was, it is said, afterwards convinced of our author's innocence. I have thought it not improper to insert at length the following letter, as it contains the most direct and positive denial of this fact; as it was written at the very time to a private friend, and expressed all Pope's feelings on the subject; and as it is not to be found in this edition of his works. It is addressed to Aaron Hill, Esq. an affected and fustian writer, t
* These are the lines. Page 5, folio. London, for A. Dodd.
But if thou see'st a great and generous heart,
+ See his Athelwood ; and his translation of that fine play Merope, which I have frequently reproached Mr. Garrick for acting : his Poem on Acting : his Poem in Praise of Blank Verse, which begins thus; and which one would think was burlesque :
Up, from Rhyme's poppied vale ! and ride the storm
but who, by some means or other, gained our author's confidence and friendship.
Twickenham, Dec. 22, 1731.
bs DEAR SIR,
“ I thank you for your tragedy Athelwood, which I have read over a sixth time, and of which I not only preserve, but increase, my esteem. You have been kind to this age, in not telling the next, in your preface, the ill taste of the town; of which the reception you describe
See his works throughout, in 4 vols. octavo; from which the Treatise on the Bathos might have been much enriched with many truly ridiculous examples, viz.
Some black-sould fiend, some fury ris'n from hell,
Thro' night's eye
Some bint's officious reach had touch'd her ear.
One is surprised that such a writer could be an intimate friend of Bolingbroke, Pope, and Thomson. He had, however, the merit of being one of the very first
who took notice of Thomson, on the publication of Winter, on which he wrote a complimentary copy of verses. See a letter of Thomson's to Hill, dated Goodman's Coffee-house, 1726.
it to have given of your play-worse, indeed, than I had heard, or could have imagined-is a more flagrant instance than any of those trifles mentioned in my Epistle ; which yet, I hear, the sore vanity of our pretenders to taste flinches at extremely The title you mention had been properer to that Epistle. I have heard no criticisms about it, nor do I listen after them. Nos hæc novinius esse nihil. (I mean, I think the verses to be so :) But as you are a man of tender sentiments of honour, I know it will grieve you to hear another undeservedly charged with a crime his heart is free from ; for, if there is truth in the world, I declare to you, I never imagined the least application of what I said of Timon could be made to the D- of Chs, than whom there is scarce a more blameless, worthy, and rous, beneficent character, among all our nobility : And if I have not lost my senses, the town has lost 'em, by what I heard so late as but two days ago, of the uproar on this head.
I am certain, if you calmly read every particular of that description, you'll find almost all of 'em pointblank the reverse of that person's villa. It's an awkward thing for a man to print, in defence of
his own work, against a chimæra : you know not who, or what, you fight against ; the objections start up in a new shape, like the armies and phantoms of magicians, and no weapon can cut a mist or a shadow. Yet it would have been a pleasure to me, to have found some friend saying a word in my justification, against a malicious falsehood. I speak of such as have known, by their own experience, these twenty years, that I always took up their defence, when any stream of calumny ran upon them. If it gives the Duke one moment's uneasiness, I should think myself ill paid, if the whole earth admir'd the poetry; and, believe me, would rather never have written a verse in my life, than any one of 'em should trouble a truly good man. It was once my case before, but happily reconciled ; and, among generous minds, nothing so endears friends, as the having offended one another. I lament the mae lice of the age, that studies to see its own likeness in every thing; I lament the dulness of it, that cannot see an excellence. The first is my ûnhappiness, the second yours. the fate of your piece, like that of a great treasure, which is bury'd as soon as brought to
I look upon