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Mist's JOURNAL, June 8, 1728. “Mr. Addison raised this author from obscurity, obtained him the acquaintance and friendship of the whole body of our nobility, and transferred his powerful interests with those great men to this rising bard, who frequently levied by that means unusual contributions on the public.” Which surely cannot be, if, as the author of the Dunciad dissected reporteth, “Mr. Wycherley had before introduced him into a familiar acquaintance with the greatest Peers and brightest Wits then living.”
“ No sooner (saith the same Journalist) was his body lifeless, but this author reviving his resentment, libelled the memory of his departed friend; and what was still more heinous, made the scandal public." Grievous the accusation! unknown the accuser! the person accused no witness in his own cause; the person, in whose regard accused, dead! But if there be living any one nobleman whose friendship, yea, any one gentleman whose subscription, Mr. Addison procured to our author; let him stand forth, that truth may appear! Amicus Plato, amicus Socrates, sed magis amica veritas.” In verity the whole story of the libel is a lie; witness those persons of integrity, who several years before Mr. Addison's decease, did see and approve of the said verses, in no wise a libel, but a friendly rebuke, sent privately in our author's own hand to Mr. Addison himself, and never made public, till after their own Journals, and Curl had printed the same. One name alone, which I am here authorized to declare, will sufficiently evince the truth, that of the right honourable the Earl of Burlington.
Next is he taxed with a crime (in the opinion of some authors, I doubt, more heinous than any in morality), to wit, plagiarism, from the inventive and quaint-conceited
JAMES MOORE SMITH, Gent. · Upon reading the third volume of Pope's Miscellanies, I found five lines which I thought excellent; and happening to praise them, a gentleman procured a modern comedy (the Rival Modes), published last year, where were the same verses to a tittle.
“ These gentlemen are undoubtedly the first plagiaries that pretend to make a reputation by stealing from a man's works in his own lifetime, and out of a public print.” Let us join to this what is written by the author of the Rival Modes, the said Mr. James Moore Smith, in a letter to our author himself, who had informed him, a month before that play was acted, Jan. 27, 1726-7, that“ These verses, which he had before given him leave to insert in it, would be known for his, some copies being got abroad. He desires, nevertheless, that since the lines had been read in his comedy to several, Mr. P. would not deprive it of them;" &c. Surely if we add the testimonies of the Lord Bolingbroke, of the lady to whom the said verses were originally addressed, of Hugh Bethel, Esq. and others who knew them as our author's long before the said gentleman composed his play ; it is hoped, the ingenuous that affect not error, will rectify their opinion by the suffrage of so honourable personages.
Daily Journal, March 18, 1728.
And yet followeth another charge, insinuating no less than his enmity both to Church and State, which could come from no other informer than the said
Mr. JAMES MOORE SMITH. 66 2 The Memoirs of a Parish Clerk was a very dull and unjust abuse of a person who wrote in defence of our Religion and Constitution, and who has been dead many years.” This seemeth also most untrue; it being known to divers that these Memoirs were written at the seat of the Lord Harcourt in Oxfordshire, before that excellent person (bishop Burnet’s) death, and many years before the appearance of that history, of which they are pretended to be an abuse. Most true it is that Mr. Moore had such a design, and was himself the man who pressed Dr. Arbuthnot and Mr. Pope to assist him therein; and that he borrowed those Memoirs of our author, when that history came forth, with intent to turn them to such abuse. But being able to obtain from our author but one single hint, and either changing his mind, or having more mind than ability, he contented himself to keep the said Memoirs, and read them as his own to all his acquaintance. A noble person there is, into whose company Mr. Pope once chanced to introduce him, who well remembereth the conversation of Mr. Moore to have turned upon the “Contempt he had for the work of that reverend prelate, and how full he was of a design he declared himself to have of exposing it.” This noble person is the Earl of Peterborough.
* Daily Journal, April 3, 1728.
Here in truth should we crave pardon of all the foresaid right honourable and worthy personages,
for having mentioned them in the same page with such weekly riff-raff railers and rhymers; but that we had their ever-honoured commands for the same; and that they are introduced not as witnesses in the controversy, but as witnesses that cannot be controverted; not to dispute but to decide.
Certain it is, that dividing our writers into two classes of such who were acquaintance, and of such who were strangers to our author ; the former are those who speak well, and the other those who speak evil of him. Of the first class, the most noble
John Duke of BUCKINGHAM sums up his character in these lines;
“ 3 And yet so wondrous, so sublime a thing,
Can all desert in sciences exceed.”
What laurel'd arch for thy triumphant Muse? . Tho' each great ancient court thee to his shrine,
Tho' ev'ry laurel through the dome be thine, * Go to the good and just, an awful train ; Thy soul's delight.”
3 Verses to Mr. P. on his translation of Homer,
* Poem prefixed to his works. VOL. V.
Recorded in like manner for his virtuous disposition, and gentle bearing, by the ingenious
Mr. WALTER HART, in this apostrophe :
“ 5 Oh! ever worthy, ever crown'd with praise !
Views with just scorn the malice of mankind.”
Dr. EDWARD YOUNG, wishing some check to the corruption and evil manners of the times, calleth out upon our poet to undertake a task so worthy of his virtue :
Why slumbers Pope, who leads the Muses' train, Nor hears that virtue, which he loves, complain?”
Mr. MALLET, in his epistle on Verbal Criticism :
“ Whose life severely scan'd, transcends his lays; For wit supreme, is but his second praise.”
Mr. HAMMOND, that delicate and correct imitator of Tibullus, in his Love Elegies, Elegy xiv. “ Now fir'd by Pope and Virtue, leave the age,
In low pursuit of self-undoing wrong,
* In his poems printed for B. Lintot.