ページの画像
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

terfion ; but he passed over peers and statesmen to infcribe it to Congreve. While the translation was in its progress, Mr. Craggs, Secretary of State, nobly offered to procure him a pension, which he thought proper to decliae.

Proud of the frank reward his talents find,
And nobly conscious of no venal mind;
With the jult world his fair account ke clears,
And owns no debt to princes or to peers.

HAILIT. The original manuscript of the Iliad, written upon envelopes of letters, and accidental fragments of paper, being obtained by Bolingbroke as a curiosity, descended from him to Mallet, and is now, by the folicitation of the late Dr. Maty, reposited in the Museum.

The first volume of the Iliad was published in 1715, and a version of the first book by Tickell, was published the same year, which Pope suspected was really written by Addison, with an intention to injure his character and interest.

In an advertisement prafixed by Tickell, he professes to have no “ other view in publishing this small specimen of Homer's Iliad, than to bespeak, if posible, the favour of the public co a translation of the Odyffry, wherein he had already made some progress.”

Whether that was, or was not his motive, there is no evidence that Addison caused it to be published from envy and malice, as has been alerted, to injure Pope. Addison's opposition to Pope, at that time, could do him no particular injury; for his subscription was full, and his contract with his bookseller completed; and if he had been actuated by jealousy, it is not probable he would have spoken so highly of Pope's Iliad in the “ Frecholder" of May 7,1716.

Pope, whose disposition is acknowledged to have been irritable, was hurt beyond measure at this translation ; and it is probable that the character of Atticus was written in the heat of his resentment on this occasion, as he expressed the very same sentiments to Mr. Craggs, in his letter of Jaly 15, 1715. But it does not appear, as Ruff head asserts, that there was any open breach between Addison and Pope upon this occasion, and Pope expressly tells Craggs there was none.

Addison, therefore, unless, better proof can be given, must be acquitted of this odious charge, which seems to have been founded on some misapprehension in Pope; who, however excuseable he may be thought in writing the character of Atticus in the first transports of poetical indignation, cannot be justified in suppressing it till after the death of Addison, and then permitting its publication; and at length, at the distance of eighteen years, transmitting it to posterity ingrafted in his Epifle to Dr. Arbutbnot.

The inferior tribe of writers endeavoured to depreciate the Iliad. Dennis attacked it with his usual bitterness and scurrility; and among others, Ducket and Burnet, who was afterwards a judge of no mean reputation, censured it in a piece called “ Homerides ;"

In 1715, he prevailed on his father, it is said, to sell the estate at Binfield, and purchased the lease of the house at Twickenham, so much celebrated for his residence in it. How his father could have saleable property in land, being a Papist, does not appear.

Here he planted the vines, and the quincunx, which he has celebrated in his poems; and being under the neceflity of making a subterraneous paTage to a garden on the other side of the road, he dignified it with the title of a grotto; the decoration of which was the favourite amusement of his declining years.

In 1717, he collected his former works into one quarto volume, to which he prefixed a preface, written with great spriteliness and elegance.

In this year his father died suddenly, in his 75th year, having passed twenty-nine years in retirement. He is not known but by the character which his fon has given him in the Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot.

In 1720, he was infected with the gçneral contagion; but on the first fall of the South Sea Stock, was cured. He fold out jul in time to save himself from loss.

The next year, he published the select poems of his friend Parnell, with an elegant poetical dedi. cation to the Earl of Oxford.

In 1721, he gave to the world his edition of Slal peare, in 6 vols. 4to.; for which Tonson demanded a subscription of six guineas, and was succes:ful in disposing of most of the copies. This undertaking, to which he was induced by a reward of ewo hundred and seventeen pounds twelve

tillinge, io not reckoned to have contributed much to his reputation. Dr. Johnson observes, he did many things wrong, and left many things undone.

Theobald, first in his “ Shakspeare Restored," and then in a formal edition, dete&ted his doficiencies with all the insolence of victory; from which time he became an enemy to editors, commentators,' and verbal critics.

About this time, he published proposals for a translation of the Odabey, in s vols. 4to. for five guineas, and was afsisted by Fenton, and Broome ; who, as Ruffhead relates, had already begun the work. He translated only twelve books himself, his associates the rest. The account of the several Thares, subjoined at the conclusion, is now known not to be true. The first, fourth, nineteenth, and ewentieth books were translated by Fenton ; the second, fixth, eighth, eleventh, twelfth, fixteenth, eighteenth, and twenty-third books, by Broome; but he revised their versions. Broome wrote the notes, for which he was not over liberally rewarded. The agreement with Lintot was the same as for the Iliad, except that he was to receive but one hundred pounds for each volume.

The subscribers were five hundred and seventy-four, and the copies cight hundred and pinc. teen; so that his profit, when he had paid Fenton 300 l. and Broome 600 l. was fill very conliderable.

Spence wrote a criticism on the English Odyssey, which was esteemed impartial, judicious, and candid. Pope was pleased with it, and sought the acquaintance of the writer, who lived with him from that time in great familiarity, compiled memorials of his conversation, and obtained, by his influcoce, very valuable preferments in the church.

In 1923, he appeared before the Lords at the trial of Bishop Atterbury, to give an account of his domestic life, and private employment, that it might appear how little time he had left for plots. He had but few words to utter, and in those few he made several blunders.

His letters to Atterbury, both before and after his misfortune, are full of esteem, gratitude, and tenderness. He often visited him in the Tower. At their last interview, Atterbury presented him with a Bible. Whatever mighe be Atterbury's political principles and views, he certainly possessed a highly cultivated understanding, an elegant taste, and a feeling heart.

In 1726, Voltaire having viQited England, was introduced to Pope, and wrote him a letter of confolation, on his being overturned in passing a river, in the night, in Bolingbroke's coach, with | the windows closed, from which the postillion snatched him, when he was in danger of being drowned, by breaking the glass; the fragments of which cut ewo of his fingers, in such a manner that he lost their use.

In 1727, Swist visited England, and joined with Pope in publishing threc volumes of Miscellanies. Pope contributed the Memoirs of a Paris Clerk, Stradling verfus Styles, Virgilius Refiauratus, the Ballet Table, and the Art of Sinking in Poetry, designed as a part of the Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus, a satire projected in conjunction with Arbuthuot and Swift, On tbe Abuses of Human Learning, in the manner of Cervantes.

The year following, he published the Dunciał, one of his greatest and most elaborate performances ; the history of which is very minutely related by himself, in a dedication which he wrote to Lord Middlesex, in the name of Savage.

Pope appears by this narrative to have been the aggressor; for nobody can believe that the letters in the Art of Sinking in Poetry were placed at random. If his intention had been to expose to ridicule and contempt, calumniators either of himself or of others, he ought to have confined himself to such libellers. If his design was to discourage bad writers from giving their produ&ions to the world, he should have satirized persons of that description only. Theobald, Eusden, Blackmore, Philips, De Foe, Bentley, Hill, Welled, and Cibber, were not such writers as deserved to be ridiculed; they were not generally flanderous, and had not calumniaced him in particular. There is much reason to believe that he composed the Dunciad, partly to be revenged on those who had abused him, and partly to display his own superiority. He degraded himself by bestowing on fcribbling calumniators, even the notice of reseatment; to display superiority was totally unne. cessary, where there could be no competition.

In the subsequent editions, he thought fit to omit the name of Hill, who expostulated with him in a manner superior to all mean solicitation, and obliged him to sneak and shume, sometimes to deny, and sometimes to apologise. He also omitted the game of Burnct, and substituted cordial friendship in the room of pious paffian, which was underifood by Ducket to convey a scandalous aspersion, and added a solemn disavowal of his malignant meaning.

The Dunciad is addressed to Swift; of the notes, part were written by Arbuthnot; and an apologetical letter was prefixed by Cleland, but supposed to have been written by Pope.

In 1735, he published an Epifle to ibe Earl of Burlington, on Tafle: in which he severely criticises the house, furniture, garden, and entertainments of Timon, who was supposed to mean the Duke of Chandos, to whom he had been obliged. He wrote an exculpacory letter to the Duke, who accepeed of his excuse, without believing his professions.

The next year he lot his friend Gay; who was a molt amiable nian, and loved by Pope with great tenderness.

The following year deprived him of his mother, who lived to the age of ninety-three; and did not die unlamented. His filial piety, Dr. Johnson observes, was, in the highest degree, amiable, and exemplary; his parents had the happiness of living till he was at the summit of his poctical reputation, till he was at ease in his fortune, and without a rival in his same; and found no dimipution of his resped or tenderness. Whatever was his pride, to them he was obedient; and whatever was his irritability, to them he was gentle. Life has among its soothing and quiet comforts few things better to bestow than such a son.

About this time, Curll published the surreptitious copy of Letters between Pape and bis Friends ; which were clandestinely conveyed to him for publication, as is believed, by Pope's direction, thac he might decently and defensively publish them himself. The messenger was Worsdale the painter.

From the perusal of his Letters, Mr. Allen conceived the desire of being acquainted with him. When Pope told him his parpose of asserting his property by a genuinc edition, he offered to pay the cost. This, however, Pope did not accept; but, in time, with success, solicited a subscription for a quarto volume, which appeared in 1737.

In 1733, he published the first epistle of his El vy on Man, .without his name, which, being fa. vourably received, the second and third Epistles were published ; and being now generally suspected of writing them, at last, in 1734, he avowed the fourth, and claimed the honour of a moral poet.

In the conclusion, it is acknowledged, that the doctrine of the Elity was received from Bolingbroke, to whom it is inscribed, who is said to have ridiculed Pope, as having advanced principles contrary to his own; and of which he did not perceive the consequences. However that may be, it is manifest that the pleasure of the taste and fancy, from the perusai of the Ejay, is much greater than the informatiot or convi&ion of the understanding.

'The fame of the Elay on Man was very great; it was translated into French prose, and afterwards, by Resnel, into verse. The translations were read by Croufaz, a professor in Switzerland. He believed that the positions of Pope were intended to represent the whole course of things as a chain of fatality, and made remarks on the Ejay, tending to establish the free agency of

The celebrated Warburton undertook the defence of Pope, against the imputation of fatalism in " the Republic of Letters.” Warburton, in his exculpatory comment, howed very great ingenuity, but is not generally reckoned to have completely removed the objections.

From this time, Pope lived in the closest intimacy with his commentator, who had before fa. voured his adversaries, and amply rewarded his kindness and zeal; for he introduced him to Mr. Murray, afterwards Lord Mansfield, by whose interest he became preacher at Lincolo's lon, and to Mr. Allen, who gave him his niece and his estate.

He was now received with actention, not only by the nobility, but by the Prince of Wales, who honoured him with his friendship, and dined at his house. It is said that Queen Caroline expressed an intention of visiting him at Twickenham, but it was never accomplished.

lo 1733, he publilhed the Epifle to Lord Batburst, on the Use of Riches; in which he draws the celebrated character of Kyrl che Mesof Rofs.

lo 1734, hę inscribed to Lord Cobham his Charaflers of Men, in which he endeavours to esta. blish and exemplify his favourite theory of the Ruling Paffion; but with so little skill, that in the examples by which he illustrates and confirms it, he has confounded pasions, appetites, and habits,

He added, soon after, an Epifle on the Charaflers of Womer; supposed to have buen addreded to

man.

[ocr errors]

a

Martha Blount, to whom, during the greatest part of his life, he had been very much attached. The character of the Duchess of Marlborough, under the name of Aloja, was afterwards inserted, with no great honour to his gratitude.

Between 1730 and 1740, he published, from time to time, his Imitations of Horace, generally with his name, which modernize ancient ideas and characters, more successfully than any which had before appeared.

His Epifle ta Dr. Arbuthnot, was published in January 1735, about a month before the death of his friend. It is to be regretted, Dr. Johnson observes, that either honour or pleasure should have been missed by Arbuthnot; a man estimable for his learning, amiable for his life, and venesable for his piety.

Arbuthnot was a man of great comprehension, skilful in his profession, versed in the sciences, acquainted with ancient literature, and able to animate his mass of knowledge, by a bright and active imagination ; a scholar, with great brilliance of wit; a wit, who in the crowd of life retained and discovered a noble ardour of religious zeal.

In this epistle, Pope vindicates himself from censures, and, with dignity rather than arrogance, enforces his own ciaims to kindness and respect. In the character of Sporus he ridicules Lord Hervey, who had written an invective against him. Whether he or Pope made the first attack, perhaps cannot now be easily known.

In 1738, he published roo satirical dialogues, named from the year of their appearance. In the first he degraded himself, by descending to party politics. In the second he attacked several private characters, which had nearly exposed him to the resentment of the legislature.

The Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus were published about this time, extending to the first book of a work, projected by the Scrillerus Club; the production, probably of Arbuthnot, with a few touches perhaps by Pope. Besides its general resemblance to “Don Quixote,” there will be found in it particular imitations of " The History of Mr. Ouffle."

In 1940, he published a collection of Latin poems, written by Italians, in 2 vols. 12mo. including the former collection made by Atterbury, but injurioudy omitting his preface.

He published likewise about this time, a revival in smoother numbers, of Dorne's Satires, which was recommended to him by the Duke of Shrewsbury, and the Earl of Oxford.

In 1742, he added, at Warburton's request, another book to the Duneiad.

In the Epifle to Arbutbrot, as in the Lunciad, he had attacked Cibber with great severity. Cibber, who well know the irritability of Pope, and confident that he could give him pain, wrote a spirited pamphlet, containing several stories, tending to make him ridiculous. The incessant and unaprealeable malignity of Pope, he imputes to his ridicule of the exploded scene of the mummy and the crocodile in The Three Hours after Marriage, supposed to be the joint production of Gay, Pope, and Arbuthnot. Pope enraged, published a new edition of the Dunciat, in which he degraded Theobald, and enthroned Cibber in his stead. By transferring the same ridicule from one to another, he destroyed its efficacy. Unhappily the two heroes were of opposite characters, and Pope was unwilling to lose what he had already written; he has therefore depraved his poem, by giving to Cibber the old books, the cold pedantry, and fluggish pertinacity of Theobald. Cibber repaid the Dunciad with another pamphlet, which, though he pretended to disregard, really gave him great uneasiness.

From this time, finding his diseases more oppreslive, and his vital powers gradually declining, he wrote nothing new, but satisfied himself with revising his former works, in which he received advice and asistance from Warburton, whose hints, in the warmth of gratitude, he followed with all the blindness of infatuated affc&tion.

He laid afide his epic poem, on the ridiculous fiction of the arrival of Brutus, the Trojan, in Britain ; which he had begun in blank verse. The plan is exhibited by Ruffhead; but though the MS. was before him, he has given no specimen.

In 1743, he began to consider himself as approaching to his end. He had for at lea?t five years been aflicted with an asthma, and other disorders, which his physicians were unable to relieve. While he was yet capable of amusement and coversation, his literary friends were almot condtinually with him, and endeavoured to alleviate his pain. His favourite, Martha Blount, is said to have neglected him, with shameful unkindness, in the latter time of his decay. 'Of this, hoxcver, he does not seem to have been feafble, as he left her the greater part of his property,

[ocr errors]

In May 1744, his death was approaching ; on the 6th he was all day delirious. He afterwards complained of seeing things as through a curtain. He said that his greatest inconvenience was inability to think. He received the Sacrament from a Romish prielt; aad expressed undoubted confidence of a future state. He died on the evening of the 30th day of May, 1744, in perfect tranquillity; having, a few days before, entered the 57th year of his age. He was buried at Twickenham, near bis father and mother, where a monument has been erected to him, by his friend Warburton.

By his will, made in the end of 1743, he appointed Lord Bathurst, Lord Marchmont, Mr. Murray, and Mr. Arbuthnot, his executors, and left the care of his papers to Lord Boling broke; and failing him, to Lord Marchmont; and to Warburton, the property of all his works, on which he had written, or should write commentaries, except those of which the property had been sold. To his noble friends he left his pictures, and statues, with some of his favourite books; with other legacies to his other friends, and to his favourite dumeftics; and the refidue of his fortune, to Martha Blount, for her life, and then to be divided among his relations.

The contemp'uous mention made in his will of Mr. Allen, and an affected repayment of his berefactions with 150 l., brought some reproach on his memory. Martha Blonnt had been invited with Pope to Mr. Allen's house at Prior Park. Having occasion to go to Bristol for a few days, he left her behind him. In his absence, the signified an inclination to go to the Popish chapel at Bath, and defired of Mr. Allen the use of his chariot; but he, being at that time Mayor of the city, suggested the impropriety of having his carriage seen at the door of a place of worship, to which, as a magiftrare, he was at lealt restrained from giving a sandion, and might be required to suppress; and therefore desired to be excused.

Mrs. Blount resented this refusal, and told Pope of it at his return; and fo infected him with her rage, that they both left the house abruptly. She parted from Mr. Allen in a state of irreconcileable dilike, and refused any legacy from Pope, unless he left the world with a disavowal of obligation to him. Pope complied with her demand, and polluted his will with female resentment. Mr. Allen accepted the legacy which he gave to the hospital at Bath.

He lost the favour of Bolingbroke, by a kind of posthumous offence. He had been desired by Bolingbroke to procure the impression of a very few copies of the “ Patriot King ;” and he assured him that no more copies had been printed than were allowed; but after his death the printer resigned a complete edition of 1500 copies, to the right owner, which Pope had ordered him to print, and to retain in fecret. Bolingbroke delivered the whole impression to the flames, and enployed Mallet, another friend of Pupe, to expose the breach of trust to the public, with all its · aggravations. Warburton undertook not indeed to vindicate the action, but to extenuate it by an apology. To this apology an answer was written, in “ A leiter to the most impudent man living."

His works were published in 9 vols. 8vo. 1751, with a commentary and notes by Warburton. Another edition appeared in 5 vols. 410. 1769, with an account of his life, and observations on his writings, by Owen Ruff head, Esq. An edition with notes, has been lately announced by Mr. Wakefield, the learned author of the “ Silva Critica” and another by Dr. Warton, the elegant author of the “ Essays on the Genius and writings of Pope,” in 2 vols. 8vo. 1762, and 1782: A work abounding with information, learning and just principles of taste.

The person of Pope was diminutive and mislapen. In the “ Guardian," he compares himself to a spider, and is said to have been protuberant behind and before. His stature was so low, that, to bring him to a level with common tables, it was necessary to raise his feat. But his face was sweet and animated, and his eye remarkably intelligent and piercing. One side was contra&cd. He wore a fur doublet under a shirt of coarse linen with fine sleeves. When he rose, he was invested in boddice made of tiff canvass, being scarce able to hold himself erect till they were laced. His legs were so flender, that he enlarged their bulk with three pair of stockings, which were drawn on and off by the maid; for he was not able to dress or undress himself, and ncither went to bed nor rose without help. His weakness made it very difficult for him to be clean. The feebleness of his {same made him fickly and impatient. Both these causes made him a troubicfome guest in the families which he visited. He was perpetually sending the servants on frivolous errands, but took care to Compensate their trouble by pecuniary rewards. He expected that every thing should give way to

a

[ocr errors]
« 前へ次へ »