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The prefaces to Homer and Shakespear are, of themselves, sufficient teslimonies of his extonsive learning, and critical skill. The other fugitive pieces, though excellent of their kind, are too inconsiderable to claim particular animadversion.
It would be unpardonable, however, to pass over his cpisolary correspondence, without diftinguished notice. These are in truth not less excellent in their kind, than his poetical pieces. In the turn of his letters, he displays that inimitable grace, in which we find all the wit, huinour, and enjoument of Voiture, joined to the icod sense and penetration of B----. It is not too much to say of them, that they afford the most perfect model of epistolary writing; such as becomes a correspondence between men of virtue, wit and learning, improved by a knowledge of the world. But what principally recommends the in, is that frank sincerity, that artless naiveti', that unaffected openness, which shews the amiable and virtuous disposition of the writer*.
* It is matcrial to observe, that it was the publication of Mr. Pope's Letters, which first endeared him to Mr. Allen. Though he had long been acquainted with our poet, and admired him for the excellence of his genius, yet the asperity of bis satirical pieces was so repugnant to the softness and fuavity of that worthy man's difpofition, that it in some deçrce áfranged him from his intimacy. But no fconer had he read our author's letters, than he loved him for the goodvers and virtues of his heart : and ever after entertained the iroft cordial affection for him,
Among these epistolary pieces, however, I inust not omit taking notice of the Character of the Duchess of Buckingham, which was pretended to have been penned by Mr. Pope; but in truth Mr. Pope feems to have had but little share in the composition of it, as appears by a letter of his to a friend, which is subjoined to the Chara&er.
This Lady seems to have been one of those in whose character our author appears to have been mistaken, as appears by a letter addressed to Mr. Bethel *
* In this letter, having acquainted his friend that his house and garden were offered to him in fale, he adds “ If I thought any very particular friend would be pleased to " live in it after my death (for as it is, it serves all my pur
poses as well during life) I would purchase it ; and more « particularly, could I hope two things, that the friend “ who should like it, was so much younger, and healthier « than myself, as to have a prospect of its continuing his “ some years longer than I can of its continuing mine. “ But most of those I love, are travelling out of the world,
nct into it ; and unless I had such a view given me, I have “ no vanity nor pleasure, that does not stop fort of the grave,
“ The Duchess of Buckingham has thought otheras wise, who ordered all manner of vanities for her own “ funeral, and a sum of money to be squandered on it, u which is but necessary to preserve from starving many
poor people, to whom she is indebted. I doubt not Mrs. « Pratt is as much astonished as you or I, at her leaving “ Sir Robert Walpole her trustee, and Lord Hervey her
executor, with a marriage-settlement on his daughter, so that will take place of all the prior debts the has in the 66 world. All her private papers, and those of her correso spondents, are left in the hands of Lord Hervey ; so that
Among our author's lefser pieces, may properly be classed the following copy of verfes, which have never yet.been printed, and for which the public is indebted to the honourable Mr. Yorke *. The verses, which appear to have been written in the year 1730, are addressed to Dr. Bolton, late Dean of Carlisle, who lived some time at Twickenham with old Lady Blount. On the death of her mother (Mrs. Butler of Sufsex) Dr. Bolton drew up the mother's character; from thence Mr. Pope took occasion to write this epistle to Dr. Bolton, in the name of Mrs. Butler's spirit, now in the regions of bliss.
“ Stript to the naked soul, escap'd from clay, “ From doubts unfetter'd, and dissolv’d in dạy; “ Unwarm'd by vanity, unreach'd by strife, " And all my hopes and fears thrown off with
Why am I charm’d by friendship's fond
essays, “And though unbody?d, conscious of thy
it is not impoffible another volume of my letters may " coine out. I am sure they make no part of her treasonable “ correspondence (which they say she has exprefly left to “ him) but sure this is infamous conduct towards any con
mon acquaintance. And yet this woman seemed once a << woman of great honour, and many generous principles.
1 * We have here another instance, that the character of a great lawyer, is not inconsistent with that of an elegant and refined fcholar. Were other instances in the profeffion wanting, I might point to a learned and able judge, who was rive long lince promoted to one of the chief seats of judicature.
« Has pride a portion in the parted foul ?
« That not its own applause, but thine approves,
Whose practice praises, and whose virtue
“ loves ;
“ Who liv'st to crown departed friends with
“ Then dying late, shalt all thou gav'st re
It must not be omitted, that in the year 1740, our Author appeared once more in the character of an Editor, having given an elegant edition in two volumes octavo, printed by Messrs. Knapton, of fome of the finest Latin poems of the best Italian poets. The principal in this collection are the Syphilis of FRACASTORIUS, the Bombyx, the Poetics and the Scacchia Lusus of VIDA, the De Animorum Immortalitate of PALEARIUS, the Eclogues and Elegies of SANNAZARIUS, and the Sylva of PolitiAN.
It has been before intimated, that our author had formed a design of writing an epic poem on a story related in the old annalist, Geoffery of Nionmouth, concerning the arrival of Brutus, the supposed grandson of Eneas, into our island,
and the settlement of the first foundations of the British monarchy.
A sketch of this intended piece, now lies before the writer of these sheets; and as the plan seems to be noble, extensive, and edifying, he trusts that an account of it will not only be entertaining, but instructive; as the design may ferve as a model to employ some genius, if any there be, or shall hereafter arise, equal to the execution of such an arduous task.
The poem, as has been observed, was to have been entitled Brutus. As Eneas was famed for his piety, fo his grandson's characteristic was benevolence; the first predominant principle of his character, which prompted his endeavours to redeem the remains of his countrymen, the descendants from Troy, then captives in Greece, and to establish their freedom and felicity in a just form of government.
He goes to Epirus, from thence he travels all over Greece; collects all the scattered Trojans; and redeems them with the treasures he brought from Italy.
Having collected his scattered countrymen, he consults the oracle of Dodona, and is promised a settlement in an island, which, from the description, appears to have been Britain. He then puts to sea, and enters the Atlantic ocean.