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"the place, and consider it a little at your leisure. "—I am sure you can give it a little turn.'—I re"turned from Lord Halifax's with Dr. Garth, in "his chariot; and, as we were going alone, was "saying to the Doctor, that my Lord had laid me "under a great deal of difficulty by such loose and "general observations; that I had been thinking "over the passages almost ever since, and could "not guess at what it was that offended his Lord"ship in either of them. Garth laughed heartily "at my embarrassment; said I had not been long "enough acquainted with Lord Halifax to know "his way yet; that I need not puzzle myself about "looking those places over and over when I got "home. 'All you need do (says he) is to leave "them just as they are; call on Lord Halifax two "or three months hence, thank him for his kind "observations on those passages, and then read "them to him as altered. I have known him "much longer than you have, and will be answer"able for the event.' I followed his advice; "waited on Lord Halifax some time after; said, "I hoped he would find his objections to those "passages removed; read them to him exactly as "they were at first; and his Lordship was ex"tremely pleased with them, and cried out, 'Ay, "now they are perfectly right: nothing can be "better.'"
It is seldom that the great or the wise suspect that they are despised or cheated. Halifax, thinking this a lucky opportunity of securing immortality, made some advances of favour and some overtures of advantage to Pope, which he seems to have received with sullen coldness. All our knowledge ef this transaction is derived from a single Letter (Dec. 1, 1714,) in which Pope says, "I am obliged "to you, both for the favours you have done me, "and those you intend me. I1 distrust neither "your Will nor your memory, when it is to do "good; and if I ever become troublesome or soli"citous, it must not be out of expectation, but out "of gratitude. Your Lordship may cause me to "live agreeably in the town or contentedly in the "country, which is really all the difference I set "between an easy fortune and a small one. It is "indeed a high strain of generosity in you to think "of making me easy all my life, only because I "have been so happy as to divert you some few '' hours: but, if I may have leave to add, it is because *' you think me no enemy to my native country, "there will appear a better reason; for I must of *' consequence be very much (as I sincerely am) "yours, &c."
These voluntary offers, and this faint acceptance, ended without effect: The patron Was not accustomed to such frigid gratitude: arid the poet fed his own pride With the dignity of independence. They probably were suspicious of each other. Pope would not dedicate till he saw at what rate his praise was valued; he would be " troublesome out "of gratitude, not expectation." Halifax thought himself entitled to confidence; and would give nothing*, unless he knew what he should receive. Their commerce had its'beginning in hope of praise oil' one side, and of money on the other, and ended beMuse Pope was less eager of money than Halifax of praise. It is not likely that Halifax had any personal benevolence to> Pope; it is eviden* that Pope looked on Halifax with' scorn and hatred.
The reputation of this great work failed' of gaining' him a patron; but it deprived him of a friend. Addison and he were now at the head of poetry and criticism'; and both in such a state of elevation, that, like the two Rivals in the Roman state, one could no' longer bear an equal, nor the other a superior* Of the gradual abatement of kindness between friends, the beginning is often scarcely discernible to themselves, and the process is continued by petty provocations, and incivilities sometimes peevishly returned, and sometimes contemptuously neglected, which would escape all attention but that of pride, and drop from any memory but that of resentment. That the quarrel of these two witsi should be minutely deduced, is not to be expected from a writer to whom, as Homer says, "nothing but rumour "has reached, and who has no personal know"ledge."
Pope doubtless approached Addison, when the reputation of their wit first brought them together, with the respect due to a man whose abilities were acknowledged, and who, having attained that eminence to which he was himself aspiring, had in his bands the distribution of literary fame. He paid court with sufficient diligence by his Prologue to "Cato," by his' abuse of Dennis, and with praise yet more direct, by his poem on the "Dialogues^ Medate," of which the immediate publication was then. intended. In ail this there was no hypocrisy; for he confessed that hte' fbund' in Addison something. more pleasing than in any other man.
It may be supposed, that as Pope saw himself favoured by the world, and more frequently compared his own powers with those of others, his confidence increased, and his submission lessened; and that Addison felt no delight from the advances of a. young: wit, who might soon contend with him for the highest place. Every great man, of whatever kind be his greatness, has among his friends those who officiously or insidiously quicken his attention to offenees, heighten his disgust, and stimulate his resentment. Of such adherents Addison doubtless had many; and Pope was now too high to be without them.
From the emission and reception of the Proposals for the "Iliad," the kindness of Addison seems to have abated. Jervas the painter once pleased himself (Aug. 20,1714) with imagining that he had reestablished their friendship; and wrote to Pope that Addison once suspected him of too close a confederacy with Swift, but was now satisfied with his conduct. To this Pope answered, a week after, that his engagements to Swift were such as his services in regard to the subscription demanded, and that the Tories never put him under the necessity of asking leave to be grateful. "But," says he, "as Mr. "Addison must be the judge in what regards him"self, and seems to have no very just one in regard "to me, so I must own to you I expect nothing but "civility from him." In the same letter he mentions Philips, as having been busy to kindle animosity between them; but in a Letter to Addison, he expresses some consciousness of behaviour, inattentively deficient in respect.
Of Swift's industry in promoting the subscription there remains the testimony of Kennet, no friend to either him or Pope.
"Nov. 2, 1713, Dr. Swift came into the coffee'' house, and had a bow from every body but me, '' who, I confess, could not but despise him. When "I came to the anti-chamber to wait, before prayers, "Dr. Swift was the principal man of talk and bu'' siness, and acted as master of request.—Then he *' instructed a young nobleman that the best Poet '' in England was Mr. Pope (a Papist,) who had be"gun a translation of Homer into English verse, "for which he must have them all subscribe; for, ". says he, the author shall not begin to print till / "have a thousand guineas for him."
About this time it was likely that Steele, who was, with all his political fury, good-natured and officious, procured an interview between these angry rivals, which ended in aggravated malevolence. On this occasion, if the reports be true, Pope made his complaint with frankness and spirit, as a man undeservedly neglected or opposed; and Addison affected a contemptuous unconcern, and, in a calm even voice, reproached Pope with his vanity, and, telling him of the improvements which his early works had received from his own remarks and those of Steele, said, that he, being now engaged in public business, had no longer any care for his poetical reputation, nor had any other desire, with regard to Pope, than that he should not, by too much arrogance, alienate the public.
To this Pope is said to have replied with great keenness and severity, upbraiding Addison with per
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