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ALEXANDER POPE was born in London, May 22. , consume a great part of it, before his son came to the
1688, of parents wbose rank or station was never ascer- inberitance.
tained; we are informed that they were of “gentle To Binfield, Pope was called by his father when he
blood;" that his father was of a family of which the was about twelve years old : and there he had for a
Earl of Downe was the head; and that his mother was few months the assistance of one Deane, another priest,
the daughter of William Turner, Esq. of York, who had of whom he learned only to construe a little of Tully's
likewise three sons, one of whom had the honour of Offices.' How Mr. Deane could spend, with a boy who
being killed, and the other of dying, in the service of had translated so much of Ovid, some months over a
Charles the First: the third was made a general officer sinall part of Tully's Offices,' it is now vain to enquire.
in Spain, from whom the sister inherited what seques- Of a youth so successfully employed, and so con-
trations and forfeitures had left in the family.

spicuously improved, a minute account must be natu-
This, and this only, is told by Pope ; who is more rally desired; but curiosity must be contented with con-
willing, as I have heard observed, to shew what his fused, imperfect, and sometimes improbable intelligence.
father was not, than what he was. It is allowed that he Pope, finding little advantage from external help, re-
grew rich by trade; but whether in a shop or on the solved thenceforward to direct himself, and at twelve
Exchange, was never discovered, till Mr. Tyers told, on formed a plan of study, which he completed with little
the authority of Mrs. Racket, that he was a linen- other incitement than the desire of excellence.
draper in the Strand. Both parents were papists. His primary and principal purpose was to be a poet,

Pope was from his birth of a constitution tender and with which his father accidentally concurred, by proposdelicate ; but is said to have shewn remarkable gentle ing subjects, and obliging him to correct his performances ness and sweetness of disposition. The weakness of by many revisals: after which the old gentleman, when his body continued through his life* ; but the mildness he was satisfied, would say, " these are good rhymes."

; of his mind perhaps ended with his childhood. His In his perusal of the English poets he soon distinvoice, when he was young, was so pleasing, that he was guished the versification of Dryden, which he considered called in fondness “the little Nightingale."

as the model to be studied, and was impressed with Being not sent early to school, he was taught to read such veneration for his instructor, that he persuaded by an aunt; and, when he was seven or eight years old, some friends to take him to the coffee-house which Dryden became a lover of books. He first learned to write by frequented, and pleased himself with having seen him. imitating printed books ; a species of penmanship in Dryden died May 1, 1701, some days before Pope was which he retained great excellence through his whole twelve; so early must he therefore have felt the power life, though his ordinary hand was not elegant. of harmony, and the zeal of gepius. Who does not wish

When he was about eight, he was placed in Hamp- that Dryden could have known the value of the homage shire, under Taverner, a Romislı priest, who, by a that was paid him, and foreseen the greatness of his method very rarely practised, taught him the Greek and young admirer? Latin rudiments together. He was now first regularly The earliest of Pope's productions is his 'Ode on initiated in poetry by the perusal of Ogilby's Homer, Solitude,' written before he was twelve, in which there and · Sandys' Ovid.' Ogilby's assistance he never re- is nothing more than other forward boys have attained, paid with any praise ; but of Sandys he declared, in bis and which is not equal to Cowley's performances at the notes to the Diad, that English poetry owed much of same age. its beauty to his translations. Sandys very rarely at- His time was now wholly spent in reading and writtempted original composition.

ing. As he read the classics, he amused himself with From the care of Taverner, under whom his profi- translating them; and at fourteen made a version of ciency was considerable, he was removed to a school at the first book of the Thebais,' which, with some revisiou, Twyford, near Winchester, and again to another school be afterwards published. He must have been at this about Hyde Park Corner; from which he used some- time, if he had no help, a considerable proficient in the times to stroll to the play-house; and was so delighted Latin tongue. with theatrical exhibitions, that he formed a kiud of play By Dryden's' Fables,' which had then been not long from "Ogilby's Iliad,' with some verses of his own inter- published, and were much in the hands of poetical mixed, which he persuaded his schoolfellows to act, with readers, he was tempted to try his own skill in giving the addition of his master's gardener,who personated Ajax. Chaucer a more fashionable appearance, and put

At the two last schools he used to represent himselt * January and May,' and the Prologue of the Wife of as having lost part of what Taverner had taught him ; | Bath, into modern English. He translated likewise and on his master at Twyford he had already exercised the Epirtle of Sappho W Phaon' from Ovid, to comhis poetry in a lampoon. Yet under those masters he plete the version which was before iin perfect; and wrote translated more than a fourth part of the Metamor- some other small pieces, which he afterwards printed. phoses.' If he kept the same proportion in his other He sometimes imitated the English poets, and fro. exercises, it cannot be thought that his loss was great. fessed to have written at fourteen his poem upon

He tells of himself, in his poems, that "he lisp'd in Silence,' after Rochester's Nothing.' He had now numbers ;" and used to say that he could not remember formed his versification, and the smoothness of his the time when he began to make verscs. In the style numbers surpassed his original; but this is a small of fiction it might have been said of him as of Pindar, part of his praise ; he discovers such acquaintance both that, when he lay in his cradle, “the bees swarmed with human and public affairs, as is not easily conabout his mouth.

ceived to have been attainable by a boy of fourteen in About the time of the Revolution, his father, who was Windsor Forest. undoubtedly disappointed by the sudden blast of Popish Next year he was desirous of opening to himself new prosperity, quitted his trade, and retired to Binfield, in sources of knowledge, by making himself acquainted Windsor Forest, with about twenty thousand pounds; with modern languages; and removed for a time to for wbich, being conscientiously determined not to en- London, that he might study French and Italian, which, trust it to the government, he found no better use than as he desired nothing more than to read them, were by that of locking it up in a chest, and taking from it what diligent application soon despatched. Of Italian learnhis expenses required; and his life was long enough to ing he does not appear to have ever made much use in

his subsequent studies. # This weakness was so great that he constantly wore He then returned to Binfield, and delighted himself stays. His method of taking tlie air on the water was to with his own poetry. He tried all styles and many subhave a sedan chair in the boat, in which he sat with the ! jects. He wrote a comedy, a tragedy, an epic poem, glasses down.

| with panegyrics on all the princes of Europe ; and, as he

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confesses," thought himself the greatest genius that, of Russel-strect, in Covent-garden, where the wits of ever was." Self-confidence is the first requisite to that time used to assemble, and where Dryden had, great undertakings. He, indeed, who forms his opinion when he lived, been accustomed to preside. of himself in solitude, without knowing the powers of During this period of his life he was indefatigably other men, is very liable to error: but it was the felicity diligent, and insatiably curious: wanting health for of Pope to rate himself at his real value.

violent, and money for expensive pleasures, and having Most of his puerile productions were, by his maturer excited in himself very strong desires of intellectual emiJudgment, afterwards destroyed; `Alcander,' the epic nence, he spent much of his time over his books; but he poem, was burned by the 'persuasion of Atterbury. read only to store his mind with facts and images, seizing The tragedy was founded on the legend of St. Gene- all that his authors presented with undistinguishing vieve. Of the comedy there is no account.

voracity, and with an appetite for knowledge too eager to Concerning his studies, it is related, that he translated be nice. In a mind like his, however, all the faculties Tully on Old Age; and that, besides his books of poetry were at once involuntarily improving. Judgment is forced and criticism, he read Temple's Essays, and Locke on upon us by experience. He that reads many books must Human Understanding. His reading, though his favour- compare one opinion or one style with another; and ite authors are not known, appears to have been suf. when he compares, must necessarily distinguish, reject, ficiently extensive and multifarious ; for his early pieces and prefer. But the account given by himself of his shew, with sufficient evidence, his knowledge of books. studies was, that from fourteen to twenty he read only

He that is pleased with himself easily imagines that for amusement, from twenty to twenty-seven for in he shall please others. Sir William Trumball, who had provement and instruction ; that in the first part of this been ambassador at Constantinople, and secretary of time he desired only to know, aud in the second he enstate, when he retired from business fixed his residence deavoured to judge. in the neighbourhood of Binfield. Pope, not yet sixteen, The Pastorals, which had been for some time handel was introduced to the statesman of sixty, and so dis- about among poets and critics, were at last printed (1709) tinguished himself, that their interviews ended in friend-in Tonson's Miscellany,' in a volume which began with ship and correspondence. Pope was, through his the Pastorals of Phillips, and ended with those of Pope. whole life, ambitious of splendid acquaintance; and he The same year was written the ‘Essay on Criticism; seems to have wanted neither diligence nor success in a work which displays such extent of comprehension, attracting the notice of the great; for, from his first en- such nicety of distinction, such acquaintance with mantrance into the world, and his entrance was very early, kind, and such knowledge both of ancient and modern he was admitted to familiarity with those whose rank learning, as are not often attained by the maturest age or station made them most conspicuous.

and longest experience. It was published about two From the age of sixteen, the life of Pope, as an author, years afterwards; and, being praised by Addison in the may be properly computed. He now wrote his Pas- Spectator with sufficient liberality, met with so much torals, which were shewn to the poets and critics of favour as enraged Dennis," who," he says, “ found himthat time ; as they well deserved, they were read with self attacked, without any manner of provocation on his admiration, and many praises were bestowed upon them side, and attacked in his person, instead of his writings and upon the Preface, which is both elegant and learned by one who was wholly a stranger to him, at a time in a high degree; they were, however, not published when all the world knew he was persecuted by fortune; till five years afterwards.

and not only saw that this was attempted in a clandesCowley, Milton, and Pope, are distinguished among

tine manner, with the utmost falsehood and calumny, the English poets by the early exertion of their powers; but found that all this was done by a little affected hy. but the works of Cowley alone were published in his pocrite, who had nothing in his mouth at the same time childhood, and therefore of him only can it be certain but truth, candour, friendship, goud-nature, humanity, that his puerile performances received no improvement

and magnanimity.” from his maturer studies.

How the attack was clandestine is not easily perceived, At this time began his acquaintance with Wycherley, nor how his person is depreciated; but he seems to a man who seems to have had among his contemporaries have known something of Pope's character, in whom his full share of reputation, to have been esteemed with may be discovered an appetite to talk too frequently of out virtue, and caressed without good humour. Pope his own virtues. was proud of his notice: Wycherley wrote verses in his The pamphlet is such as rage might be expected to praise, which he was charged by Dennis with writing to dictate. He supposes himself to be asked two questions ; himself; and they agreed, for a while, to flatter one ano

whether the Essay will succeed? and who or what is ther. It is pleasant to remark how soon Pope learned the author ? the cant of an author, and began to treat critics with Its success he admits to be secured by the false contempt, though he had yet suffered nothing from them." opinions then prevalent; the author he concludes to be

But the fondness of Wycherley was too violent to young and raw." last. His esteem of Pope was such, that he submitted

“First, because he discovers a sufficiency beyond his some poems to his revision; and when Pope,

perhaps last ability, and hath rashly undertaken a task infinitely proud of such confidence,

was sufficiently bold in his above his force. Secondly, while this little author struts, criticisms, and liberal in his alterations, the old scribbler and affects the dictatorian air, he plainly shews, that at was angry to see his pages defaced, and felt more pain the same time he is under the rod : and, while he prefrom the detection, than content from the amendment of tends to give laws to others, is a pedantic slave to 'au. his faults. They parted; but Pope always considered thority and opinion. Thirdly, he hath, like school-boys, him with kindness, and visited him a little time before borrowed both from living and dead.

Fourthly, he he died.

knows not his own mind, and frequently contradicts Another of his early correspondents was Mr. Crom himself. Fifthly, he is almost perpetually in the wrong." well, of whom I have learned nothing particular but

All these positions he attempts to prove by quotations that he used to ride a hunting in a tye-wig. He was and remarks; but his desire to do mischief is greater fond, and perhaps vain, of amusing

himself with poetry than his power. He has, howerer, justly criticised some and criticism: and sometimes sent his performances to passages in these lines : Pope, who did not forbear such remarks as were now and There are whom Heaven has bless'd with store of wit, then unwelcome. Pope, in his turn, put the juvenile Yet wants as much again to manage it; version of Statius' into his hands for correction.

For Wit and Judgment ever are at strifeTheir correspondence afforded the public its first knowledge of Pope's epistolatory powers; for his Letters It is apparent that wit has two meanings, and that what were given by Cromwell to one Mrs. Thomas ; and she is wanted, though called wit, is truly judgment. So far many years afterwards sold them to Curll, who inserted Denuis is undoubtedly right; but not content with arthem in a volume of his Miscellanies.'

gument, he will have a little mirth, and triumphs over Walsh, a name yet preserved among the minor poets, the first couplet in terms too elegant to be forgotten. was one of his first encouragers. His

regard was gained By the way, what rare numbers are here! Wonld not by the ' Pastorals, and from him Pope received the one swear that this youngster had espoused some arti. counsel from which he seems to have regulated his quated Muse, who had sued out a divorce on account of studies. Walsh advised him to correctness, which, as impotence from some superannuated sinner; and, having he told him, the English poets had hitherto neglected, been p-xed by her former spouse, has got the gout in and which therefore was left to him as a basis of fame; her decrepit age, which makes her hobble so damnably?” and being delighted with rural poems, recommended This was the man who would reform a nation sinking bead so eagerly in Italy; a design which Pope probably bad detected one of those blunders which are called to him to write a pastoral comedy, like those which are

into barbarity.

In another place Pope himself allowed that Dennis did not approve, as he did not follow it. Pope bad now declared himself a poet; and thinking

bulls." The first cdition had this line, hinself entiiled to poetical conversation, began at seven What is this witinyou to frequent. Will's, a coffee-bouse on the north side? Where wanted scorn'd; and cuvied whcre acquire 1 ?

" How," gays the critic, “ can wit be scorned where it is , who could trust his information. She was a woman of not? Is not this a figure frequently employed in Hiber- eminent rank and large fortune, the ward of an uncle, nian land? The person that wants this wit may indeed who, having given her a proper education, expected, be scorned, but the scorn shews the honour which the like other guardians, that she should make at least an contemner has for wit." Of this remark Pope made the equal match; and such he proposed to her, but found it proper use, by correcting the passage.

rejected in favour of a young gentleman of inferior I have preserved, I think, all that is reasonable in condition. Dennis's criticism ; it remains that justice be done to Having discovered the correspondence between the his delicacy. For his acquaintance," says Dennis, two lovers, and finding the young lady determined to "he names Mr. Walsh, who had by no means the abide by her own choice, he supposed that separation qualification which this author reckons absolutely ne- might do what can rarely be done by argument, and cessary to a critic, it being very certain that he was, sent her into a foreign country, where she was obliged like this Essayer, a very indifferent poet; he loved to to converse only with those from whom her uncle had be well dressed; and I remember a little young gentle- nothing to fear. man whom Mr. Walsh used to take into his company, Her lover took care to repeat his vows; but his lete as a double foil to his person and capacity. Inquire, ters were intereepted and carried to her guardian, who between Sunning-hill and Oakingham, for a young, directed her to be watched with still greater vigilance, short, squab, gentleman, the very Bow of the God of till of this restraint she grew so impatient, that she Love, and tell me whether he be a proper author to make bribed a woman servant to procure her a sword, which personal reflections ?-He may extol the ancients, but she directed to her heart. he has reason to thank the gods that he was born a From this account, given with evident intention to modern; for had he been born of Grecian parents, and raise the lady's character, it does not appear that she his father consequently had by law had the absolute had any claim to praise, nor much to compassion. She disposal of him, his life had been no longer than that seems to have been impatient, violent, and ungovernof one of his poems, the life of half a day.—Let the per- able. Her uncle's power could not have lasted long; son of a gentleman of his parts be never so contemptible, the hour of liberty and choice would have come in his inward man is ten times more ridiculous; it being time. But her desires were too hot for delay, and she impossible that his outward form, though it be that of liked self-murder better than suspense. downright monkey, should differ so much from human Nor is it discovered that the uncle, whoever he was, is shape, as his unthinking, immaterial part, does from hu- with much justice delivered to posterity as "a false man understanding.". Thus began the hostility between guardian;" he seems to have done only that for which Pope and Dennis, which, though it was suspended for a à guardian is appointed; he endeavoured to direct his short time, never was appeased. Pope seems, at first, niece till she should be able to direct herself. Poetry to have attacked him wantonly; but though he always has not often been worse employed than in dignifying professed to despise him, he discovers, by mentioning the amorous fury of a raving girl. him very often, that he felt his force or his venom. Not long after, he wrote the Rape of the Lock, the

Of this · Essay;' Pope declared, that he did not expect most airy, the most ingenious, and the most delightful the sale to be quick, because “not one gentleman in of all his compositions, occasioned by a frolic of gallantry, sixty, even of a liberal education, could understand it." | rather too familiar, in which Lord Petre cut off a lock The gentlemen, and the education, of that time, seem to of Mrs. Arabella Fermor's hair. This, whether stealth have been of a lower character than they are of this. or violence, was so much resented, that the conimerce of He mentioned a thousand copies as a numerous im- the two families, before very friendly, was interrupted. pression.

Mr. Caryl, a gentleman who, being secretary to King Dennis was not his only censurer : the zealous Papists James's queen, had followed his Mistress into France, thought the monks treated with too much contempt, and who, being the author of 'Sir Solomon Single, a and Erasmus too studiously praised; but to these ob- comedy, and soine translations, was entitled to the notice jections he had not much regard.

of a Wit, solicited Pope to endeavour a reconciliation The Essay' has been translated into French by famil- by a ludicrous poem, which might bring both parties to a ton, author of the Comte de Grammont,' whose version better temper. In compliance with Caryl's request, was never printed; by Robotham, secretary to the King though his name was for a long time marked only by for Hanover, and by Resnel; and commented by Dr. the first and last letter C-1, a poem of two cantos was Warburton, who has discovered in it such order and written (1711), as is said, in a fortnight, and sent to the connexion as was not perceived by Addison, nor, as is offended lady, who liked it well enough to shew it; and, said, intended by the author.

with the usual process of literary transactions, the author Almost every poem, consisting of precepts, is so far dreading a surreptitious edition was forced to publish it. arbitrary and immethodical, that many of the para- The event is said to have been such as was desired, graphs may change places with no apparent inconve- the pacification and diversion of all to whom it related, nience; for of two or more positions, depending upon except Sir George Brown, who complained with some some remote and general principle, there is seldom any bitterness, that in the character of Sir Plume, he was cogent reason why one should precede the other. But made to talk nonsense. Whether all this be true I have for the order in which they stand, whatever it be, a little some doubt; for at Paris, a few years ago, a niece of ingenuity may easily give a reason. " It is possible,” Mrs. Fermor, who presided in an English Convent, says Hooker, " that, by long circumduction, from any mentioned Pope's work with very little gratitude, rather one truth all truth may be inferred." Of all homoge- as an insult than an honour; and she may be supposed neous truths, at least of all truths respecting the same to have inherited the opinion of her family! general end, in whatever series they may be produced, At its first appearance it was termed by Addison à concatenation by intermediate ideas may be formed, “merum sal.” Pope, however, saw that it was capable such as, when it is once shewn, shall appear natural; of improvement; and, having luckily contrived to borrow but if this order be reversed, another mode of connexion bis machinery from the Rosicrusians, imparted the equally spacious may be found or made. Aristotle is scheme with which his head was teeming to Addison, praised for naming Fortitude first of the cardinal vir- who told him that his work, as it stood, was “a delicious tues, as that without which no other virtue can steadily little thing," and gave him no encouragement to be practised; but he might with equal propriety, have retouch it. placed Prudence and Justice before it, since without This has been too hastily considered as an instance of Prudence, Fortitude is mad; without Justice, it is mis- Addison's jealousy; for, as he could not guess the conchievous.

duct of the new design, or the possibilities of pleasure As the end of method is perspicuity, that series is comprised in a fiction of which there had been no sufficiently regular that avoids obscurity; and where examples, he might very reasonably and kindly persuade there is no obscurity, it will not be difficult to discovei the author to acquiesce in his own prosperity, and method.

forbear an attempt which he considered as an unnecesIn the Spectator' was published the 'Messiah, sary hazard. which he first submitted to the perusal of Steele, au

Addison's counsel was happily rejected. Pope foresatv corrected in compliance with his criticisms.

the future efflorescence of imagery then budding in his It is reasonable to infer, from his Letters, that his mind, and resolved to spare no art, or industry of culverses on the 'Unfortunate Lady' were written about the tivation. The soft luxuriance of his fancy was already time when his ' Essay' was published. The lady's name shooting, and all the gay varieties of diction were ready and adventures I have sought with fruitless inquiry.*

at his hand to colour and embellish it. I can therefore tell no more than I have learned from His attempt was justified by its success. The ‘Rape Mr. Ruffhead, who writes with the confidence of one of the Lock' stands forward, in the classes of literature,

as the most exquisite example of ludicrous poetry. * Consult, however, Gent. Mag. vol. ii. p. 314. Berkeley congratulated him upon the display of powers

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vi more truly poetical than he had shewn before: with inclination to unite the art of Painting with that of elegance of description and justness of precepts, he had Poetry, and put himself under the tuition of Jervas. now exhibited boundless fertility of invention.

He was near-sighted, and therefore not formed by naHe always considered the intermixture of the ma- ture for a painter : he tried, however, how far he could chinery with the action as his most succesful exertion advance, and sometimes persuaded his friends to sit. of poetical art. He indeed could never afterwards A picture of Betterton, supposed to be drawn by him, produce any thing of such unexampled excellence. was in the possession of Lord Mansfield* : if this was Those performances, which strike with wonder, are taken from life, he must have begun to paint earlier; combinations of skilful genius with happy casualty: for Betterton was now dead. Pope's ambition of this and it is not likely that any felicity, like the discovery new art produced some encomiastic verses to Jervas, of a new race of 'preternatural agents, should happen which certainly shew his power as a poet; but I have twice to the same man.

been told that they betray bis ignorance of painting. of this poem the author was, I think, allowed to He appears to have regarded Betterton with kindness enjoy the praise for a long time without disturbance and esteem; and after his death published, under his Many years afterwards Dennis published some remarks name, a version into moder English of Chaucer's Proupon it, with very little force, and with no effect; for logues, and one of his Tales, which, as was related by the opinion of the public was already settled, and it Mr. Harte, were believed to have been the performance was no longer at the mercy of criticism.

of Pope himself by Fenton, who made him a gay offer of About this time he publishied the “Temple of Fame,' five pounds, if he would shew them in the hand of which, as he tells Steele in their correspondence, he Betterton. had written two years before; that is, when he was The next year (1713) produced a bolder attempt, by only twenty-two years old, an early time of life for so which profit was sought as well as praise. The poems much learning, and so much observation as that work which he had bitherto written, however they might exhibits.

have diffused his name, had made very little addition to On this poem Dennis afterwards published some his fortune. The allowance which his father made remarks, of which the most reasonable is, that some of him, though proportioned to what he had, it might be the lines represent Motion as exhibited by Sculpture. liberal, could not be large; his religion hindered him

Of the Epistle from 'Eloisa to Abelard,' I do not from the occupation of any civil employment; and he know the date. His first inclination to attempt a complained that he wanted even money to buy bookst. composition of the tender kind arose, as Mr. Savage He therefore resolved to try how far the favour of the told me, from his perusal of Prior's Nut-brown Maid.' / public extended, by soliciting a subscription to a version How much he has surpassed Prior's work it is not of the “Iliad,' with large notes. necessary to mention, when perhaps it may be said To print by subscription was, for some time, a pracwith justice, that he excelled every composition of the tice peculiar to the English. The first considerable same kind. The mixture of religious hope and resig, work, for which this expedient was employed, is said to nation gives an elevation and dignity to disappointed have been Dryden's · Virgil ;' f and it had been tried love, which images merely natural cannot bestow.. The with great success when the • Tatlers' were collected gloom of a convent strikes the imagination with far into volumes. greater force than the solitude of a grove.

There was reason to believe that Pope's attempt This piece was, however, not much his favourite in would be successful. He was in the full bloom of repuhis latter years, though I never heard upon what prin- tation, and was personally known to almost all whom ciple he slighted it.

dignity of employment or splendour of reputation had In the next year (1713) he published Windsor made éminent; he conversed indifferently with both Forest:' of which part was, as he relates, written at parties, and never disturbed the public with his political sixteen, about the same time as his Pastorals; and the opinions ; and it might naturally be expected, as each latter part was added afterwards; where the addition faction then boasted its literary zeal, that the great begins, we are not told. The lines relating to the men, who on other occasions practiced all the violence Peace confess their own date. It is dedicated to Lord of opposition, would emulate each other in their enLansdowne, who was then in high reputation and in- couragement of a poet who delighted all, and by whom luence among the Tories; and it is said, that the con- none had been offended. clusion of the poem gave great pain to Addison, both With those hopes, he offered an English Iliad: to as a poet and a politician. Reports like this are often subscribers, in six volumes in quarto, for six guineas; a spread with boldness very disproportionate to their evi- sum, according to the value of money at that time, by tence. Why should Addison receive any particular no means inconsiderable, and greater than I believe to disturbance from the last lines of · Windsor Forest ?: have been ever asked before. His proposal, however, If contrariety of opinion could poison a politician, he was very favourably received ; and the patrons of literawould not live a day; and as a poet, he must have felt ture were busy to recommend his undertaking, and proPope's force of genius much more from many other mote his interest. Lord Oxford, indeed, lamented that parts of his works.

such a genius should be wasted upon a work not ori. The pain that Addison might feel it is rot likely that ginal; but proposed no means by which he might he would confess; and it is certain that he so well sup- live without it. Addison recommended caution and pressed his discontent, that Pope now thought himself moderation, and advised him not to be content with the his favourite : for, having been consulted in the revisal praise of half the nation, when he might be universally of 'Cato,' he introduced it by a Prologue; and, when favoured. Dennis published his Remarks, undertook, not indeed The greatness of the design, the popularity of the to vindicate, but to revenge his friend, by a · Narrative | author, and the attention of the literary world, naturally of the Frenzy of Joha Dennis.'

raised such expectations of the future sale, that the There is reason to believe that Addison gave no en- booksellers made their offers with great eagerness; but couragement to this disingenuous hostility ; for, says the highest bidder was Bernard Lintot, who became Pope, in a letter to him, " indeed your opinion, that 'tis proprietor on condition of supplying at his own expense, entirely to be neglected, would be my own in my own all the copies which were to be delivered to subscribers, case; but I felt more warmth here than I did when I

or presented to friends, and paying two hundred pounds first saw his book against myself (though indeed in two for every volume. minutes it made me heartily merry).” Addison was Of thé Quartos it was, I believe, stipulated, that none not a man on whom such cant of sensibility could make should be printed but for the author, that the subscripmuch impression. He left the pamphlet to itself, hav- tion might not be depreciated; but Lintot impressed ing disowned it to Dennis, and perhaps did not think the same pages upon a small Folio, and paper perhaps Pope to have deserved much by his oficiousness. a little thinner; and sold exactly at half the price, for

This year was printed, in the Guardian,' the ironi- half a guinea each volume, books so little inferior to the cal comparison between the Pastorals of Philips and Quartos, that by a fraud of trade, those Folios, being Pope ; a composition of artifice, criticism, and litera. afterwards shortened by cutting away the top and ture, to which nothing equal will easily be nd. bottom, were sold as copies printed for the subscribers. The superiority of Pope is so ingeniously dissembled, Lintot printed two hundred and fifty on royal paper and the feeble lines of Philips so skilfully preferred, in Folio, for two guineas a volume; of the small Folio, that Steele, being deceived, was unwilling to print the paper, lest Pope should be offended. Addison immedi. ately saw the writer's design; and, as it seems, had * It is still at Caen Wood. malice enough to conceal his discovery, and to permit *Spence. a publication, which, by making his friend Phillips | Milton's Paradise Lost' had been published with ridiculous, inade him for ever an enemy to Pope. great success by subscription in folio, 1688, under the

It appears that about this time Pope had a strong patronage of Mr. (afterwards Lord) Somers.

having printed seventeen hundred and fifty copies of had read his version, which indeed he has been some the first volume, he reduced the number in the other times suspected of using instead of the original, volumes to a thousand.

Notes were likewise to be provided; for the six volumes It is unpleasant to relate, that the bookseller, after all would have been very little more than six pamphlets his hopes and all his liberality, was, by a very unjust without them. What the mere perusal of the text could and illegal action, defrauded of his profit. An edition suggest, Pope wanted no assistance to collect or me. of the English · Iliad, was printed in Holland in Duo. thodize; but more was necessary; many pages were to decimo, and imported clandestinely for the gratification be filled, and learning must supply materials to wit and of those who were impatient to read what they could judgment. Something might be gathered from Dacier ; not yet afford to buy. This fraud could only be coun- but no man loves to be indebted to his contemporaries, teracted by an edition equally cheap and more commo. and Dacier was accessible to common readers. Eustadious; and Lintot was compelled to contract his folio atthius was therefore necessarily consulted. To read once into a duodecimo, and lose the advantage of an Eustathius, of whose work there was then no Latin intermediate gradation. The notes, which in the Dutch version, I suspect Pope, if he had been willing, not to copies were placed at the end of each book, as they had have been able ; some other was therefore to be found, been in the large volumes, were now subjoined to the who had leisure as well as abilities; and he was doubtless text in the same page, and are therefore more easily most readily employed who would do much work for consulted. Of this edition two thousand five hundred | little money. were first printed, and five thousand a few weeks after- The history of the notes has never been traced. wards : but indeed great numbers were necessary to Broome, in his preface to his poems, declares himself produce considerable profit.

the commentator“ in part upon the Iliad;" and it apPope, having now emitted his proposals, and engaged pears from Fenton's letter, preserved in the British not only his own reputation, but in some degree that of Museum, that Broome was at first engaged in consulting his friends who patronized his subscription, began to Eustathius; but that after a time, whatever was the be frighted at his own undertaking; and finding him- reason he desisted ; another man of Cambridge was self at first embarrassed with difficulties, which retarded then employed, who soon grew weary of the work; and and oppressed him, he was for a time timorous and a third, that was recommended by Thirlby, is now dis. uneasy, had his nights disturbed by dreams of long covered to have been Jortin, a man since well known to journeys through unknown ways, and wisbed, as he the learned world, who complained that Pope, having said, “ that somebody would hang him.*"

accepted and approved his performance, never testified This misery, however, was not of long continuance; any curiosity to see him, and who professed to have for. he grew by degrees more acquainted with Homer's gotten he terms on which he worked. The terms which images and expression, and practice increased his fa- Fenton uses are very mercantile : “I think at first sight cility of versification. In a short time he represents that his performance is very commendable, and have himself as dispatching regularly fifty verses a day which sent word for him to finish the 17th book, and to send it would shew him by an easy computation the termina- with his demands for his trouble. I have here enclosed tion of his labour.

the specimen; if the rest come before the return, I will His own diffidence was not his only vexation. He keep them till I receive your order.” that asks subscriptions soon finds that he has enemies. Broome then offered his service a second time, which All who do not encourage him, defame him. He that wants was probably accepted, as they had afterwards a closer money will rather be thought angry than poor : and he correspondence. Parnell contributed the Life of Homer, that wishes to save his money, conceals his avarice by which Pope found so harsh, that he took great pains in his malice. Addison had hinted his suspicion that Pope correcting it; and by his own diligence, with such help was too much a Tory; and some of the Tories suspected as kindness or money could procure him, in somewha* his principles, because he had contributed to the Guar- inore than five years he completed his version of the dian,' which was carried on by Steele.

Iliad,' with the notes. He began it in 1712, his twenty. To those who censured lis politics were added ene- fifth year; and concluded it in 1718, his thirtieth year. mies yet more dangerous, who called in questiou his When we find him translating fifty lines a day, it is knowledge of Greek, and his qualifications for a trans- natural to suppose that he would have brought his work lator of Homer. To these he made no public opposition; to a more speedy conclusion. The 'Iliad, containing but in one of his Letters escapes from them as well as less than sixteen thousand verses, might have been dis. he can.

At an age like his, for he was not more than patched in less than three hundred and twenty days by twenty five with an irregular education, and a course fifty verses in a day. The notes, compiled with the asof life of which much seems to have passed in conver- sistance of his mercenaries, could not be supposed to sation, it is not very likely that he overflowed with require more time than the text. Greek. But when he felt himself deficient he sought According to this calculation, the progress of Pope assistance; and what man of learning would refuse to may seem to have been slow; but the distance is comhelp him? Minute inquiries into the force of words are monly very great between actual performances and less necessary in translating Honier than other poets, speculative possibility. It is natural to suppose, that as because his positions are general, and his representations much as has been done to-day may be done to-morrow; natural, with very little dependence on local or temporary but on the morrow some difficulty emerges, or some ex: customs, on those changeable scenes of artificial life, ternal impediment obstructs. Indolence, interruption, which, by mingling original with accidental notions, and business, and pleasure, all take their turns of retardacrowding the mind with images which time effaces, tion; and every long work is lengthened by a thousand produces ambiguity in diction, and obscurity in books, causes that can, and ten thousand that cannot, be reTo this open display of unadulterated nature it must be counted. Perhaps no extensive and multifarious perascribed, that Homer has fewer passages of doubtful formance was ever effected within the term originally meaning than any other poet either in the learned or in fixed in the undertaker's mind. He that runs against modern languages. I have read of a man, who being, Time has an antagonist not subject to casualties. by his ignorance of Greek, compelled to gratify his cu- The encouragement given to this translation, though riosity with the Latin printed on the opposite page, de report seems to have overrated it, was such as the world clared that, from the rude simplicity of the lines literally has not often seen. The subscribers were five hundred rendered, he formed nobler ideas of the Homeric majes- and seventy-five. The copies, for which subscriptions ty, than from the laboured elegance of polished versions. were given, were six hundred and fifty-four; and only

Those literal translations were always at hand, and six hundred and sixty were printed. For these copies from them he could easily obtain his author's sense with Pope had nothing to pay; he therefore received, includ. sufficient certainty; and among the readers of Homer, ing the two hundred pounds a volume, five thousand the number is very small of those who find much in the three hundred and twenty pounds four shillings without Greek more than in the Latin, except the music of the deduction, as the books were supplied by Lintot. numbers.

By the success of his subscription Pope was relieved If more help was wanting, he had the poetical trans- from those pecuniary distresses with which, notwith lation of 'Eohanus Hessus, an unwearied writer of standing his popularity, he had hitherto struggled. Latin versez ; he had the French Homers of La Valtiere Lord Oxford had often lamented his disqualification for and Dacier, and the English of Chapman, Hobbes, and public employment, but never proposed a pension. While Ogilby. With Chapman, whose work, though now to the translation of Homer' was in its progress, Mr. tally reglected, seems to have been popular almost to the Craggs, then secretary of state, offered to procure him end of the last century, he had very frequent consulta- a pension, which, at least during his ministry, might be tions, and perhaps never translated any passage till he enjoyed with secrecy. This was not accepted by Pope,

who told him, however, that if he should be pressed

with want of money, he would send to him for occasional * Spence.

supplies. Craggs was not long in power, and was never

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