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bis demands for his trouble, I bove bere enclosed the fpecimen ; if the rest come before the return, I will keep them till I receive your order.
Broome then offered his service a second time, which was probably accepted, as they had afterwards a closer correspondence. Parnell contributed the Life of Homer, which Pope found so harsh, that he took great pains in correcting it; and by his own diligence, with such help as kindness or money could procure him, in somewhat more than five years he completed his version of the Iliad, with the notes. He began it in 1712, his twenty-fifth year; and concluded it in 1718, his
When we find him translating fifty lines a day, it is natural to suppose that he would have brought his work to a more speedy conclusion. The Iliad, containing less than fixteen thousand verses, might have been dispatched in less than three hundred and twenty days by fifty yerses in a day. The notes, compiled with the assistance of his mercenaries, could not be supposed to require more time than the text. According to this calculation, the progress of Pope may seem to have been slow; but the distance is commonly very great between actual performances and speculative possibility. It is natural to suppose, that as much as has been done to-day may be done to-morrow; but on the morrow some difficulty emerges, or some external impediment obstructs. Indolence, interruption, business, and pleasure, all take their turns of retardation; and every long work is lengthened by a thoufand causes that can, and ten thousand that cannot, be recounted. Perhaps no extensive and multifarious performance was ever effected within the term originally
fixed in the undertaker's mind. He that runs againft Time, has an antagonist not subject to casualties.
The encouragement given to this translation, though report seems to have over-rated it, was such as the world has not often seen. The fubscribers were five hundred and seventy-five. The copies for which subscriptions were given were fix hundred and fifty-four; and only fix hundred and fixty were printed. For those copies Pope had nothing to pay; he therefore re- ; ceived, including the two hundred pounds a volume, five thousand three hundred and twenty pounds four Shillings, without deduction, as the books were fupplied by Lintot.
By the success of his fubscription Pope was relieved from those pecuniary distreffes with which, notwithstanding his popularity, he had hitherto ftruggled. Lord Oxford had often lamented his disqualification for publick employment, but never proposed a pensione While the translation of Homer was in its progrefs, Mr. Craggs, then secretary of state, offered to procure him a pension, which, at least during his ministry, might be 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 supplies. Craggs was not long in power, and was never folicited for money by Pope, who disdained to beg what he did not want.
With the product of this subscription, which he had too much discretion to squander, he secured his future life from want, by considerable annuities. The estate of the Duke of Buckingham was found to have been charged with five hundred pounds a year, payable to Pope, which doubtless his translation enabled him to purchase.
It cannot be unwelcome to literary curiosity, that I deduce thus minutely the history of the English Iliad. It is certainly the noblest version of poetry which the world has ever seen; and its publication must therefore be considered as one of the great events in the annals of Learning
To those who have kill to estimate the excellence and difficulty of this great work, it must be very deJirable to know how it was performed, and by what gradations it advanced to correctness. Of such an intellectual process the knowledge has very rarely been attainable; but happily there remains the original copy of the Iliad, which, being obtained by Bolingbroke as a curiosity, descended from him to Mallet, and is now by the solicitation of the late Dr. Maty reposited in the Museum.
Between this inanufcript, which is written upon accidental fragments of paper, and the printed edition, there must have been an intermediate copy, that was perhaps destroyed as it returned from the press.
From the first copy I have procured a few trana scripts, and Ahall exhibit first the printed lines; then, in a sinall print, those of the manuscripts, with all Their variations. Those words in the small print which are given in Italicks, are cancelled in the copy, and the words placed under thein adopted in their Itead. The beginning of the first book stands thus:
The wrath of Peleus' fon, the direful spring
The stern Pelides' rage, O Goddess, fing,
fill'd the shady hell with chiefs untimely
Whose limbs, unburied on the hostile shore,
Such was the sovereign doom, and such the will of Jove.
Declare, O Goddess, what offended Power
anger fatal, hapless
And for the King's offence the people dy'd.
For Chryfes fought by presents to regain
cotly gifts to gain
Suppliant before the brother kings began.
To all he sued, but chief implor'd for grace
Kings and warriors
Safe to the pleasures of your native fhore.
But, oh! relieve a hapless parent's pain,