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117

V.

Englische Brief e.

P

D p e.

Der Briefwechsel dieses berühmten Dichters mit seinen freunden, Blount, Digby, Dr. Atterbury, Gay, Swift, u. a. m. macht einen interessanten Theil seiner Werke aus, und if durch Inhalt und Schreibart sehr unterhaltend. Pope's cigne Briefe verrathen indeß mehr absichtliche Sunft, als die meiften Übrigen, wie Dr. Blair mit Recht beinerkt und an Beis spielen zeigt. Noch strenger aber ift das Urtheil Dr. Warton's (Essay, Vol. II, p. 407.): 1. Sie enthalten allerdings manche inis tereffante umfånde; aber sie haben einen sehr fehlerhaften Atts frich von Eitelkeit und Selbstgefälligkeit, und Pope macht darin zu viele Lobsprüche auf seine Rechtschaffenheit, Unabhängigkeit und Jugend. Pope, Swift und Bolingbroße scheinen, dies fen Briefen zufolge, eine Art von foljem Triumvirat ausgemacht zu haben, um Achtserklårungen wider alle die ausgehen zu lass fen, die nicht ihren Meinungen und Gesinnungen beitreten wolls ten. iind durch ihre Erfl&rungen über fich felbft mochten fie gern den Leser einbilden, daß fie ales Genie und alle Rechts schaffenheit der damaligen Zeit als Monopol gepachtet båtten, in welcher fie, ihrer Meinung nach, das unglúd batten, ju leben." – Hier nur zwei Proben von Pope's eignen Briefen, deren erfter das Lob menschenfreundlicher Sesinnungen und die Bortheile der Gleichheit für die Freundschaft zum Inhalt bat. Der zweite ist eine Antwort auf einen Brief, den Dr. Arbuths not in feiner Terten Krankheit geschrieben hatte.

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I.

TOHU G H BE THE L.

June 17. 1728. After the publishing of my boyish letters to Mr. Cromwell, you will not wonder if I should forswear writing a letter again while I live; since I do not correfpond with a friend upon the terms of

any

other free subject of this kingdom. But to you I can never be filent, or reserved; and, I am sure, my opinion of your heart is such, that I could open mine to you in no manner which I could fear the whole world should know. I could publish my own heart too, I will venture to say, for any mischief or malice there is in it: but a little too much folly or weakness might (I fear) appear, to make such a spectacle either instructive or agreeable to others.

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I am reduced to beg of all my acquaintance to see cure me from the like usage for the future, by returning me any letters of mine which they may have preserved; that I may not be hurt, after my death, by that which was the happiness of my life, their partiality and affection to me.

· I have nothing of myfelf to tell you, only that I have had but indifferent health, I have not made a visit to London: curiofity and the love of dillipation die apace in me. I am not glad nor sorry for it, but I am verry sorry for those who have nothing else to

live on.

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I have read much, But write no more. I have small hopes of doing good, no vanity in writing, and little ambition to please a world not very candid or deserving. If I can preserve the good opinion of a few friends, it is all I can exspect, considering how little good I can do even to them to merit it. Few people have your candour, or are so willing to think well of another from whom they receive no benest, and gratify no vanity. But of all the soft sensations, the greatest pleasure is to give and receive mutual trust. It is by belief and firm hope, that men are mad happy in this life, as well as in the other. “My confidence in your good opinion, and dependence upon that of one or two more, is the chief cordial drop. I taste, amidst the insipid, the disagreeable, the cloying or the dead-sweet, which are the 'common draughts of life. Some pleasures are too pert, as well as others too flat, to be relished long; and vivacity in some cases is worse than dulness. Therefore indeed for many years I have not chosen my companions for any of the qualities in fashion, but almost entirely for that which is the most out-of - fashion, fincerity. Before I am aware of it, I am inaking your panegyric, and perhaps žy own too; for next to possessing the best of qualities is the esteeming and distinguishing those who posless them. I truly love and value you, and so I stop short.

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II.

TO DR. A R B U T H NO T.

July 26. 1734. I thank you for your letter, which has all those genuine marks of a good mind by which I have ever distinguished yours, and for which I have so long loved you. Our friendship has been constant; because it was grounded on good principles, and therefore not only uninterrupted by any distrust, but by any vanity, much less any interest.

What you recommend to me with the folemnity of a last requeft, fhall have its due weight with me. That disdain and indignation against vice, is (I thank God) the only disdain and indignation I have: it is Sincere, and it will be a lasting one. But sure it is as impossible to have a just abhorrence of vice, without hating the vitious, as to bear a true love for virtue, without loving the good. To reforin and not to chastise, I am afraid, is impossible; and that the best precepts, as well as the best ławs, would prove of small use, if there were no examples to enforce them. To attack vices in the abstract, without touching persons, may be safe hghting indeed, but it is fighting with shadows. General propositions are obscure, misty, and uncertain, compared with plain, lull and home exam. ples: precepts only apply to our reason, which in most men is but weak: examples are pictures, and strike the senses, nay, raise the passions, and call in those (the strongest and most general of all motives) to the aid of reformation. Every vitious man makes the case his own, and that is the only way by which such men

can

can be affected, much less deterred. So that to chastise is to reform. The only sign by which I found my writ. ings ever did any good, or had any weight, has been that they raised the anger of bad men. And my greatest comfort, and encouragement to proceed, has been to see, that those who have no shame, and no fear of any thing elle, have appeared touched by my satires.

ves.

As to your kind concern for my safety, I can guess what occasions it at this time. Some characters I have drawn are such, that if there be any who deserve them, it is evidently a service to mankind to point those inen out; yet such as, if all the world gave them, none, I think, will own they take to themsel.

But if they should, those of whom all the world think in such a manner, must be inan I cannot fear! Such in particular as have the méanness to do misi chiefs in the dark , have seldom the courage to justify thein in the face of day; the talents that make a cheat or a whisperer, are not the same that qualify a man for an insulter; and as to private villany, it is not fo safe to join in a assassination, as in a libel. I will coni Cult my safety so far as I think becomes a prudent inan; but not so far as to omit any thing which I think becomes a honest one. As to personal attacks beyond the law, every man is liable to them: as for danger within the law, I am not guilty enough to fear any. For the good opinion of all the world, I know, it is not to be had: for that of worthy men, I hope, I shall not forfeit it: for that of the great, or those in power, I may wish I had it; but if, through misrepresentation's (too coinmion about persons in that station) I have it not, I shall be sorry, but not miserable in the want of it.

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