« PreviousContinue »
Mr. Thomson, in his elegant and philosophical poem of the Seasons :
“ Altho' not sweeter his own Homer sings, Yet is his life the more endearing song. To the same tune also singeth that learned clerk of Suffolk,
Mr. WILLIAM BROOM E.
From thy own life transcribe th’ unerring laws.” And, to close all, hear the reverend Dean of St. Patrick's :
“ A soul with ev'ry virtue fraught,
Whose meanest talent is his wit,” &c. Let us now recreate thee by turning to the other side, and shewing his character drawn by those with whom he never conversed, and whose countenances he could not know, though turned against him: first again commencing with the high voiced and never enough quoted
Mr. John DENNIS, who, in his Reflections on the Essay on Criticism, thus describeth him: “A little affected hypocrite, who has nothing in his mouth but candour, truth, friendship,good-nature, humanity, and magnanimity. He is so great a lover of falsehood, that whenever he has a mind to calumniate his contemporaries, he
' In his poems, and at the end of the Odyssey.
brands them with some defect which is just contrary to some good quality, for which all their friends and their acquaintance commend them. He seems to have a particular pique to people of quality, and authors of that rank. He must derive his religion from St. Omer's.”—But in the Character of Mr. P. and his writings (printed by S. Popping 1716), he saith, “though he is a professor of the worst religion, yet he laughs at it;” but that “nevertheless, he is a virulent Papist; and yet a pillar for the church of England.” Of both which opinions
Mr. LEWIS THEOBALD seems also to be; declaring in Mist's Journal of June 22, 1718, “That if he is not shrewdly abused, he made it his business to cackle to both Parties in their own sentiments.” But, as to his pique against people of quality, the same Journalist doth not
agree, but saith (May 8, 1728), “ He had, by some means or other, the acquaintance and
friendship of the whole body of our nobility.”
However contradictory this may appear, Mr. Dennis and Gildon, in the character last cited, make it all plain, by assuring us, “That he is a creature that reconciles all contradictions; he is a beast, and a man; a Whig and a Tory; a writer (at one and the same time) of Guardians and Examiners? an asserter of liberty, and of the dispensing power of kings; a Jesuitical professor of truth; a base and a foul pretender to candour.” So that, upon the whole
The names of two weekly papers,
account, we must conclude him either to have been a great hypocrite, or a very honest man; a terrible . imposer upon both parties, or very moderate to either.
Be it as to the judicious reader shall seem good. Sure it is, he is little favoured of certain authors, whose wrath is perilous: for one declares he ought to have a price set on his head, and to be hunted down as a wild beast'. Another protests that he does not know what may happen; advises him to ensure his person; says he has bitter enemies, and expressly declares it will be well if he escapes with his life'. One desires he would cut his own throat, or hang himself?. But Pasquin seemed rather inclined it should be done by the government, representing him engaged in grievous designs with a Lord of Parliament then under prosecution'. Mr. Dennis himself hath written to a Minister, that he is one of the most dangerous persons in this kingdom“; and assureth the public, that he is an open and mortal enemy to his country; a monster, that will, one day, shew as daring a soul as a mad Indian, who runs a muck to kill the first Christian he meets". Another gives information of Treason discovered in his poemo.
9 Theobald, letter in Mist's Journal, June 22, 1728.
Smedley, Pref. to Gulliveriana, p. 14, 16. ? Gulliveriana, p. 332. 3 Anno 1723. 4 Anno 1729.
* Pref. to Rem. on the Rape of the Lock, p. 12. and in the last page
of that treatise. Page 6, 7, of the Preface, by Concanen, to a book entitled, A collection of all the Letters, Essays, Verses, and Advertisements, occasioned by Pope and Swift's Miscellanies. Printed for A. Moore, octavo, 1712.
Mr. Curl boldly supplies an imperfect verse with Kings and Princesses?. And one Matthew Concanen, yet more impudent, publishes at length the two most SACRED NAMES in this nation, as members of the Dunciad 8!
This is prodigious! yet it is almost as strange, that in the midst of these invectives his greatest enemies have (I know not how) born testimony to some merit in him.
Mr. THEOBALD, in censuring his Shakspeare, declares, “He has so great an esteem for Mr. Pope, and so high an opinion of his genius and excellences; that notwithstanding he professes a veneration almost rising to Idolatry for the writings of this inimitable poet, he would be very loath even to do him justice, at the expense
of that other gentleman's charactero.”
Mr. CHARLES GILDON, after having violently attacked him in many pieces, at last came to wish from his heart,“ That Mr. Pope would be prevailed upon to give us Ovid's Epistles by his hand, for it is certain we see the original of Sappho to Phaon with much more life and likeness in his version, than in that of Sir Car. Scrope. And this (he adds) is the more to be wished, because in the English tongue we have scarce any thing truly and naturally written upon Love ?.” He also, in
Key to the Dunciad, 3d edit. p. 18. • A list of persons, &c. at the end of the forementioned Collection of all the Letters, Essays, &c. • Introduction to his Shakspeare Restored, in quarto, p. 3.
Commentary on the Duke of Buckingham's Essay, octavo, 1721, p. 97, 98.
taxing Sir Richard Blackmore for his heterodox opinions of Homer, challengeth him to answer what Mr. Pope hath said in his preface to that poet.
Mr. OLDMIXON calls him a great master of our tongue ; declares “the purity and perfection of the English language to be found in his Homer; and, saying there are more good verses in Dryden's Virgil than in any other work, excepts this of our author only.”
The author of a Letter to Mr. Cibber says, “ Pope was so good a versifier Conce], that his predecessor Mr. Dryden, and his contemporary Mr. Prior excepted, the harmony of his numbers is equal to any body's. And, that he had all the merit that a man can have that way.' And
Mr. Thomas CooKE, after much blemishing our author's Homer,.crieth out,
“But in his other works what beauties shine, While sweetest music dwells in ev'ry line ! These he admir’d, on these he stamp'd his praise,
And bade them live to brighten future days*.” So also one who takes the name of
H. STANHOPE, the maker of certain verses to Duncan Campbells, in that poem, which is wholly a satire on Mr. Pope, confesseth,
2 In his prose Essay on Criticism.
• Printed under the title of the Progress of Dulness, duodecimo, 1728.