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and retirement had thrown him on the world,' and that there was danger lest "a glut of the world should throw him back upon study and retirement ! To this Swift answered with great propriety that Pope had not yet either acted or suffered enough in the world to have become weary of it. And, indeed, it must be some very powerful reason that can drive back to solitude
him who has once enjoyed the pleasures of society ?. 284 In the letters both of Swift and Pope there appears such
narrowness of mind as makes them insensible of any excellence that has not some affinity with their own, and confines their esteem and approbation to so small a number, that whoever should form his opinion of the age from their representation would suppose them to have lived amidst ignorance and barbarity, unable to find among their contemporaries either virtue or intelligence, and persecuted by those that could not under
stand them 3. 285' When Pope murmurs at the world, when he professes con
tempt of fame, when he speaks of riches and poverty, of success and disappointment, with negligent indifference, he certainly does not express his habitual and settled sentiments, but either wilfully disguises his own character, or, what is more likely, invests himself with temporary qualities, and sallies out in the colours of the present moment. His hopes and fears, his joys and sorrows,
) ? The letter quoted by Johnson hard, to know where to look for it.' was dated by Pope in the edition Pope's Works (Elwin and Courtof 1737, `August, 1723,' and in the hope), vii. 192. See also ih. pp. 46, edition of 1741, Jan. 12, 1723.' 264. Pope's Works (Elwin and Court- Lady M. W. Montagu wrote in hope), vii. 37. The date of Swift's 1755 (Letters, ii. 117) :-'Bolingreply-Sept. 20, 1723 (ib. p. 44) – broke's confederacy with Swift and makes the former date probable. Pope puts me in mind of that of Pope was thirty-five.
Bessus and his sword-men in the later Swift wrote to him :-“ To hear King and no King [by Beaumont boys like you talk of millenniums and Fletcher), who endeavour to and tranquillity!' Ib. p. 63.
support themselves by giving certi* Johnson, amidst the ruins of the ficates of each other's merit.' Cathedral at St. Andrews, said :- Mr. Courthope says of Pope's 'I have thought of retiring, and have intimacy with the men opposed to talked of it to a friend, but I find my Walpole :- No atmosphere could vocation is rather to active life.' have been more congenial to Pope's Boswell's Johnson, v. 63.
habits of self-deception. An Opposi3 Ante, Swift, 135. Pope wrote tion ... assumes toitself the monopoly to Swift in 1730:-* If there be any of virtue and enlightenment. ... He virtue in England I would try to stir caught with readiness the cant of it up in your behalf, but it dwells Opposition.' Pope's Works (Elwin not with power. It is got into so and Courthope), iii. 30. narrow a circle that it is hard, very
acted strongly upon his mind, and if he differed from others it was not by carelessness. He was irritable and resentful : his malignity to Philips ', whom he had first made ridiculous, and then hated for being angry, continued too long. Of his vain desire to make Bentley contemptible, I never heard any adequate reason?. He was sometimes wanton in his attacks, and before Chandos 3, Lady Wortley *, and Hill", was mean in his retreat.
The virtues which seem to have had most of his affection were 286 liberality and fidelity of friendship, in which it does not appear that he was other than he describes himself. His fortune did not suffer his charity to be splendid and conspicuous, but he assisted Dodsley with a hundred pounds that he might open a shop'; and of the subscription of forty pounds a year that he
'Ante, GAY, 4; POPE, 68; post, Essay on Pope, ii. 295. See ante, A. PHILIPS, 20.
SWIFT, 28. Pope meeting Bentley 'at Dr. 3 Ante, POPE, 157. Mead's addressed him thus:-“ Dr. Ante, POPE, 216 n.5, 265. Having Bentley, I ordered my bookseller to grossly libelled her as Sappho (Imit. send you your books. I hope you Hor., Sat. ii. 1. 83) he said in his received them.” Bentley, who had Letter to a Noble Lord :—'I protest purposely avoided saying anything I never applied that name to her in about Homer, pretended not to under- any verse of mine, public or private.' stand him, and asked,
Pope's Works (Elwin and Courtbooks! what books?” “My Homer,” hope), y: 430, replied Pope, “which you did me Ante, POPE, 154. the honour to subscribe for."
6 Warburton mentions ‘his unsaid Bentley, “ay, now I recollect- feigned pleasure in acknowledging your translation :-it is a pretty poem, his mistakes.' Warburton, iv. 110. Mr. Pope ; but you must not call it 'Pope was as great an instance Homer." Johnson's Works, 1787, as any he quotes of the contrarieties iv. 126; post, POPE, 349.
and inconsistencies of human nature, Monk (Life of Bentley, ii. 372) lays for, notwithstanding the malignancy the scene of this meeting at Atter- of his satires, and some blamable bury's table, and adds that 'Bentley, passages of his life, he was charitable when asked what had been the cause to his power, and active in doing of Pope's dislike, replied :-“I talked good offices.' CHESTERFIELD, Misc. against his Homer, and the por- Works, iv. App. p. 15. tentous cub never forgives.”' Monk ?Dodsley, by his literary merit, points out that Bentley was the had raised himself from the station enemy of Swift, Atterbury, Boling- of a footman.' Boswell's Johnson, broke, and Oxford; the friend of ii. 446. In 1732 he published A Muse Queen Caroline ; 'but, above all, the in Livery: or the Footman's Mishead of the verbal critics of the age, cellany. Six years later he bought a race against whom Pope had de- the copyright of Johnson's London.
ever since his own 1b. i. 124. In the spring of 1734-5 failure as a critical editor of Shake- a play he had written under the title speare.' Another version of Bentley's of The Toy-Shop was, by Pope's saying is given in Gent. Mag. 1773, recommendation to Rich (ante, GAY, p. 499.
18), brought upon the stage. Genest's Swift,' writes Warton, 'imbibed Hist. of the Stage, iii. 460; Pope's from Temple, and Pope from Swift, Works (Elwin and Courthope), ix. aversion and contempt for Bentley.' 536.
raised for Savage' twenty were paid by himself. He was accused of loving money, but his love was eagerness to gain, not solici
tude to keep it? 287 In the duties of friendship he was zealous and constant: his
early maturity of mind commonly united him with men older than himself, and therefore, without attaining any considerable length of life, he saw many companions of his youth sink into the grave ? ; but it does not appear that he lost a single friend by coldness or by injury: those who loved him once continued their kindness. His ungrateful mention of Allen in his will was the effect of his adherence to one whom he had known much longer, and whom he naturally loved with greater fondness *. His violation of the trust reposed in him by Bolingbroke could have no motive inconsistent with the warmest affection; he either thought the action so near to indifferent that he forgot it,
or so laudable that he expected his friend to approve it. 288 It was reported, with such confidence as almost to enforce
belief, that in the papers intrusted to his executors was found a defamatory Life of Swift, which he had prepared as an instrument of vengeance to be used, if any provocation should be ever given. About this I enquired of the Earl of Marchmonto,
who assured me that no such piece was among his remains. 289 The religion in which he lived and died was that of the Church
of Rome, to which in his correspondence with Racine he professes himself a sincere adherent? That he was not scrupulously pious
''The subscription did not amount Pope's affection may have been as to fifty pounds a year.' Ante, real as Swift's, but it is hidden beSAVAGE, 272, 325.
neath the affectation of his letters. · Ante, POPE, 268.
Thus in the same letter he wrote:3 Swift wrote to Pope in 1736:- •You ask me if I have got any supply 'I was the other day recollecting of new friends to make up for those twenty-seven great ministers, or men that are gone. ... As when the conof wit and learning, who are all dead, tinual washing of a river takes away and all of my acquaintance, within our flowers and plants, it throws twenty years past. Pope, in his weeds and sedges in their room, so reply, quoted 'the motto prefixed to the course of time brings us somemy book of letters. It is from thing, as it deprives us of a great Catullus :
deal,' and so on with this rhetorical Quo desiderio veteres revocamus rubbish. amores, (amicitias !"
Ante, POPE, 254. Atque olim amissas flemus 5 Ante, POPE, 252, 263. Pope's Works (Elwin and Court- Ante, POPE, 243. hope), vii. 347, 350. (Pope substituted Ante, POPE, 131, 246. Louis “revocamus' for renovamus.' Catulli Racine was the poet's son. 'Il accuse Veronensis Liber, ed. Robinson Ellis, Pope d'irréligion. . . . Pope fut très Carm, xcvi. I. 2.]
piqué des accusations de Racine.
in some part of his life is known by many idle and indecent applications of sentences taken from the Scriptures"; a mode of merriment which a good man dreads for its profaneness, and a witty man disdains for its easiness and vulgarity. But to whatever levities he has been betrayed, it does not appear that his principles were ever corrupted, or that he ever lost his belief of Revelation'. The positions which he transmitted from Bolingbroke he seems not to have understood, and was pleased with an interpretation that made them orthodox 3.
A man of such exalted superiority and so little moderation 290 would naturally have all his delinquences observed and aggravated: those who could not deny that he was excellent would rejoice to find that he was not perfect.
Perhaps it may be imputed to the unwillingness with which 291 the same man is allowed to possess many advantages that his learning has been depreciated. He certainly was in his early
Ramsay entreprit de les concilier. Warburton told Spence that he
. . Il imagina d'écrire à Racine une said to Pope :-““Why should you lettre sous le nom de Pope, dans not conform with the religion of your laquelle celui-ci semble se justifier. country? He seemed in himself J'avais vécu une année entière avec not averse to it (Warburton added), Pope ; je savais qu'il était incapable and replied, there were but two d'écrire en français. . . . J'avertis reasons that kept him from it: one, Racine que cette lettre était de Ram- that the doing so would make him say, et non de Pope. Je voulus lui a great many enemies, and the other faire sentir le ridicule de cette super- that it would do nobody else any cherie ; j'en instruisis même le public good.' Spence's Anec. p. 364. dans un chapitre sur Pope, qui a été Ante, BLACKMORE, 31. imprimé plusieurs fois du vivant de Pope, in Epil. Sat. i. 37Pope même.' VOLTAIRE, Euvres, "Why yes; with Scripture still you xvii. 146. See also ib. xxiv. 136.
may be free, Racine attacked Pope in his poem, implies that impiety was allowed at La Religion. Ramsay's letter, says Court. Mr. Elwin, was a translation of one In I. 102 he describes how in Court written by Pope in English. “Vol- *All tears are wiped for ever from taire was annoyed that Pope should all eyes.' "retract” his deism, and wanted to On this Mr. Courthope remarks:have it believed that Ramsay alone 'The parody in this line is but one was responsible for the sentiments among the offences of the same kind in the letter.' Pope's Works (Elwin against decency and good taste which and Courthope), ii. 291. This letter abound in his writings. The line is not printed by Mr. Elwin, who itself is an adaptation of a verse in refers to Euvres de Louis Racine, his Messiah, as it was first printed, 1808; i. 444. Pope's letter in English " He wipes the tears for ever from dated Sept. 1, 1742, and a translation our eyes.”' of Racine's reply are given in Gent. Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), Mag. 1754, p. 177. Racine ends by iii. 466. See also ante, POPE, 46 n. 3. saying that the greatest poet in ? Ante, POPE, 246. England is one of the humblest sons Ante, POPE, 191. of the Church.'
* Ante, POPE, 83.
life a man of great literary curiosity, and when he wrote his Essay on Criticism had for his age a very wide acquaintance with books! When he entered into the living world it seems to have happened to him as to many others that he was less attentive to dead masters 2: he studied in the academy of Paracelsus, and made the universe his favourite volume. He gathered his notions fresh from reality, not from the copies of authors, but the originals of Nature. Yet there is no reason to believe that literature ever lost his esteem; he always professed to love reading, and Dobson, who spent some time at his house translating his Essay on Man, when I asked him what learning he found him to possess, answered, 'More than I expected 3. His frequent references to history, his allusions to various kinds of knowledge, and his images selected from art and nature, with his observations on the operations of the mind and the modes of life, shew an intelligence perpetually on the wing, excursive, vigorous, and diligent, eager to pursue knowledge, and attentive
to retain it. 292 From this curiosity arose the desire of travelling, to which he
alludes in his verses to Jervas“, and which, though he never found
an opportunity to gratify it, did not leave him till his life declined. 298 Of his intellectual character the constituent and fundamental
principle was Good Sense”, a prompt and intuitive perception of consonance and proprietyo. He saw immediately, of his own
Ante, POPE, 32, 34 n. 6.
travelled had it not been for his ill.
Johnson, iii. 449.
of Heaven, "What fatt'ring scenes
And though no science, fairly d'ring fancy wrought,
worth the seven.' Rome's pompous glories rising to
Moral Essays, iv. 41.
See on this Pope's Works (Elwin
6 "It is perhaps singularly remark-