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to the government, and that he had a hand in the famous party paper called The Examiner.
19. And own'd that nine such poets made a Tate.*
Young says, with equal pleasantry, of the same Nahum Tate,
He's now a scribbler, who was once a man.t
20. Peace to all such ! but were there one whose fires
True genius kindles, and fair fame inspires;
1 This is from Bacon de Augmentis Scient. lib. iii. p. 180. Etsi enim Aristoteles, more Ottomannorum, regnare se haud tutè posse putaret, nisi fratres suos omnes contrucidasset.
Which thought, and also that of Cato's little senate., are used in a letter to Mr. Craggs, dated July 15, 1715.
Our au. thor frequently has versified passages from his own letters. “It is usual with the smaller party to make up in interest what they want in number; and this is the case with the little senate of Cato. We have, it seems, a Great Turk in poetry, who can never bear a brother on the throne; and has his mutes too, a set of nodders, winkers, and whisperers, whose business it is to strangle all other offspring of wit in their birth.” Vol. vii. p. 300.
View him with scornful, yet with jealous eyes,
This is that famous character of ADDISON ;P which has been so much commended for its wit and poignancy, and so much censured for its bitterness and malignity. The provocations that induced our author to write it, which he did so,
* Ver. 193.
+ Old Jacob Tonson hated Addison. « You will see him (says he) one day a Bishop.” He intended to have given a translation of all the Psalms, of which design his version of the 23d is a beautiful specimen. Addison used to speak contemptuously of his own account of the English poets, addressed to his old friend Sacheverell. It is remarkable, that Addison declared he had never read Spenser when he gave his character in that account.
early as 1721, though it was not inserted in this epistle till 1733, have been touched upon in the first volume of this Essay, at page 152. Since that time, a writer of the first eminence, who to a consummate knowledge of the laws, history, and antiquities of his country, joined the most exquisite taste in polite literature, the late muchlamented Sir William Blackstone, drew up,
with his usual precision and penetration, a paper that minutely investigated all the facts that have been urged against Addison's conduct to Pope. The chain of his reasoning would be injured, by endeavouring to abridge this paper ; I must therefore refer the reader to the second volume of the Biographia Britannica, published by Dr. Kippis, page 56, and shall only insert the conclusion of it; which is as follows : “Upon the whole, however, Mr. Pope may be excusable for penning such a character of his friend in the first transports of poetical indignation, it reflects no great honour on his feelings, to have kept it in petto for six years, till after the death of Mr. Addison, and then to permit its publication, (whether by recital, or copy, makes no material difference ;) and at length, at the distance of 18 years, hand
it down to posterity ingrafted into one of his capital productions. Nothing surely could justify so long and so deep a resentment, unless the story be true of the commerce between Addison and Gildon, which will require to be very fully proved, before it can be believed of a gentleman who was so amiable in his moral character, and who (in his own case) had two years before expressly disapproved of a personal abuse upon Mr. Dennis. The person, indeed, from whoin Mr. Pope is said to have received this anecdote, about the time of his writing the character, (viz. .about July 1715,) was no other than the Earl of Warwick, son-in-law to Mr. Addison himself; and the something about Wycherly. (in which the story supposes that Addison hired Gildon to - abuse Pope and his family) is explained by a note on the Dunciad, vol. i. p. 296, to mean a pamphlet containing Mr. Wycherly's life. Now it happens, that in July, 1715, the Earl of Warwick (who died at the age of twenty-three, in August 1721) was only a boy of seventeen, and not likely to be entrusted with such a secret, by a statesman between forty and fifty, with whom it does not appear he was any-way con
nected or acquainted.
For Mr. Addison was not married to his mother, the Countess of Warwick, till the following year, 1716: nor could Gildon have been employed in July, 1715, to write Mr. Wycherly's life, who lived till the December following. As, therefore, so many inconsistencies are evident in the story itself, which never found its way into print till near sixty years after it is said to have happened, it will be no breach of charity to suppose, that the whole of it was founded on some misapprehension in either Mr. Pope or the Earl ; and unless better proof can be given, we shall readily acquit Mr. Addison of this most odious part of the charge.”
I beg leave to add, that as to the other accusation, Dr. Young, Lord Bathurst, Mr. Harte, and Lord Lyttelton, each of them assured me, that Addison himself certainly translated the first book of Homer. Yet I have very lately heard, that some proofs to the contrary have been just discovered, which every man of candour will be glad to see published.
21. Proud as Apollo on his forked hill,
Sate full-blown Bufo, puff’d by ev'ry quill;