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He grew dexterous by practice, and every sheet enabled him to write the next with more facility. The books of Fenton have very few alterations by the hand of Pope'. Those of Broome have not been found; but Pope complained, as it is reported,
that he had much trouble in correcting them”. 135 His contract with Lintot was the same as for the Iliad 3,
except that only one hundred pounds were to be paid him for each volume. The number of subscribers was five hundred and seventy-four, and of copies eight hundred and nineteen; so that his profit, when he had paid his assistants, was still very considerable". The work was finished in 1725, and from that time
he resolved to make no more translations 5. 136 The sale did not answer Lintot's expectation, and he then
pretended to discover something of fraud in Pope, and com
menced, or threatened, a suit in Chancery 6. 137 On the English Odyssey a criticism was published by Spence,
at that time Prelector of Poetry at Oxford ; a man whose learning was not very great, and whose mind was not very powerful'.
1 'Of Fenton's four books, the At the present day they would subMSS. of three are preserved in the scribe to Mudie's. The subscribers Brit. Mus. The ist and 4th are were not all satisfied. “There were crowded with Pope's alterations; the loud complaints of the extravagant 20th scarcely at all. Cunningham's prices for bad paper, old types, and Lives of the Poets, ii. 275.
journey-work poetry.' 16. v. 202. Pope wrote to Broome of Book 5 He wrote to Swift on Sept. 14, xxiji:- 1 have much altered, and 1725:- 'I mean no more translations, I hope not a little amended it.' Pope's but something domestic, fit for my Works (Elwin and Courthope), viii. own country and for my own time.' 110. See also ib.p. 60; ante, BROOME, Ib. vii. 50. His next great work was 9n. ; Spence's Anec. p. 271. C. Pitt The Dunciad, which can scarcely be sent Pope a version of this book. called domestic. Post, PITT, 10 n.
• For the probable grounds of this 3 Ante, POPE, 90.
suit see ib. v. 202, viii. 94, 136. Pope 4 The total amount received was attacked Lintot in The Dunciad, i. £4,500, out of which Pope reserved 40, ii. 53. Dr. Young described him for himself over £3,700. Pope's as a great sputtering fellow,' whom Works (Elwin and Courthope), v. it would have been very amusing 204, viii. 129 n.
to see in his rage.' Spence's Anec. It was a day of glorious subscrip- P. 355. tions. Pope wrote to Lord Oxford :- Ante, DRYDEN, 203. Spence I have set down the Duchess and published Part i of his Essay on the Duke of Buckingham for five sets. Odyssey about June, 1726, and art Will you allow me to do the same to ii in 1727. Pope's Works (Elwin yourself and Lady Oxford ? Mr. and Courthope), viii. 119 n. He Walpole and Lord Townshend are was appointed Professor of Poetry set down for ten each.' Lord Oxford in 1728. Spence's Anec. Preface, replied: 'I would be for ten sets, my wife for five sets, and Peggy (his 'I mentioned Pope's friend, Spence. daughter) for one.' 16. viii. 203-4. JOHNSON. He was a weak, conceited
His criticism, however, was commonly just; what he thought, he thought rightly, and his remarks were recommended by his coolness and candour. In him Pope had the first experience of a critick without malevolence, who thought it as much his duty to display beauties as expose faults; who censured with respect, and praised with alacrity.
With this criticism Pope was so little offended, that he sought 138 the acquaintance of the writer', who lived with him from that time in great familiarity, attended him in his last hours, and compiled memorials of his conversation. The regard of Pope recommended him to the great and powerful, and he obtained very valuable preferments in the Church?
Not long after Pope was returning home from a visit in 139 a friend's coach, which, in passing a bridge, was overturned into the water; the windows were closed, and being unable to force them open, he was in danger of immediate death, when the postilion snatched him out by breaking the glass, of which the fragments cut two of his fingers in such a manner that he lost their use 3.
that some favourite lines might be spared.' Warton's Essay, ii. 301.
For an anecdote of Pope sending from the Cross Inn at Oxford for Spence see Spence's Anec. Preface,
BOSWELL. A good scholar, Sir? JOHNSON. Why, no, Sir. BosWELL. He was a pretty scholar. JOHNSON. You have about reached him.' Boswell's Johnson, v. 317.
Johnson, in 1748, recommended Spence's Essay. Works, V. 240. The poet Pitt called him'the sweetesttempered gentleman breathing.' J. Hughes Corres. 1773, ii. 13. Somervile praised him in lines beginning • While Spence presides, and candour holds the scale.'
Eng. Poets, xl. 221. For Gray's contemptuous mention of his pretty book' Polymetis see Gray's Letters, i. 164, and for Gibbon's praise of it in his youth see his Misc. Works, iv.6. On a copy of the Essay he wrote:—Pleased Pope, and can please none else; dry and narrow.' 1b. v. 583. 1 'Did some more sober critic come
abroad, If wrong, I smild; if right, I kiss'd
the rod.' Prol. Sat. l. 157. Warton had seen a copy of Spence's Essay, 'with marginal observations in Pope's own hand, ... in a few instances pleading humorously enough
• He was Prebendary of Durham and Rector of Great Horwood, Bucks. In 1742 he was appointed Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford. He lived chiefly at Durham or at Byfleet in Surrey. Ib. pp. 30, 32. For his eminent virtues as a nonresident Rector see ib.
3 The accident happened in Sept. 1726, as Pope was returning from Bolingbroke's. Bolingbroke wrote to Swift :-'A bridge was down, the coach forced to go through the water, the bank steep, a hole on one side, a block of timber on the other, the night as dark as pitch.' Gay added that 'Pope was up to the knots of his periwig in water.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), vii. 77. For the accident to his fingers see ib.
Bishop Burnet had much the same escape. Hist. of my own Time, 1818, Preface, p. 39.
140 Voltaire, who was then in England, sent him a letter of con
solation". He had been entertained by Pope at his table, where he talked with so much grossness that Mrs. Pope was driven from the room. Pope discovered, by a trick, that he was a spy for the Court, and never considered him as a man worthy of
confidence ? 141 He soon afterwards (1727) joined with Swift, who was then
in England, to publish three volumes of Miscellanies», in which, amongst other things, he inserted the Memoirs of a Parish Clerk, in ridicule of Burnet's importance in his own History“, and a Debate upon Black and White Horses', written in all the formalities of a legal process by the assistance, as is said, of Mr. Fortescue, afterwards Master of the Rolls 6. Before these Miscellanies is a preface signed by Swift and Pope, but apparently written by Pope ?, in which he makes a ridiculous and romantick complaint of the robberies committed upon authors by the clandestine seizure and sale of their papers. He tells, in tragick strains, how 'the cabinets of the Sick and the closets of the Dead have been broke open and ransacked 8'; as if those
: He dated his letter :- In my Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), Lord Bolingbroke's House, Friday at
For the payment for the noon, Nov. 16, 1726.' Pope's Works copyright see ib. ix. 525; Swift's (Elwin and Courthope), X. 132. Works, xviii. 322; ante, Swift, 84 n.
• Ruffhead (Life of Pope, p. 213) * In the Prolegomena to The Duntells these anecdotes on the authority ciad Pope asserted, falsely no doubt, of one of Pope's 'most intimate that 'these Memoirs were written friends.'
many years before the appearance of Voltaire wrote in 1772:—'Ceux that History.' Pope's Works (Elwin qui ont crié que tout est bien sont and Courthope), iv. 64, X. 335. Gay des charlatans. Shaftesbury, qui mit 'had some hand in these Memoirs.' ce conte à la mode, était un homme Ib. vi. Introd. p. 47. They are intrès malheureux. J'ai vu Bolingbroke cluded also in Swift's Works, xiii. 156. rongé de chagrins et de rage, et For Burnet see ante, MILTON, 101; Pope, qu'il engagea à mettre en vers SWIFT, 50. cette mauvaise plaisanterie, était un Stradling versus Stiles. Pope's des hommes les plus à plaindre que Works (Elwin and Courthope), x, j'aie jamais connus, contrefait dans
430. son corps, inégal dans son humeur, • To him Pope addressed the first toujours malade, toujours à charge à Satire in Imit. Hor. For their corlui-même, harcelé par cent ennemis respondence see Pope's Works (Elwin jusqu'à son dernier moment. Qu'on and Courthope), ix. 96-146. me donne du moins des heureux qui For this querulous and apolome disent, tout est bien.' Euvres, getical Preface' see ante, SWIFT, 84. xxix. 164.
I do not find it included in Pope's For Voltaire's attack on Johnson Works. It is printed among Swift's see Boswell's Johnson, i. 499 n. Works, xiii. 1, though evidently not
For Pope's being 'prodigiously his. pleased with this joint volume' see Post, POPE, 169.
violences were often committed for papers of uncertain and accidental value, which are rarely provoked by real treasures, as if epigrams and essays were in danger where gold and diamonds are safe. A cat hunted for his musk is, according to Pope's account, but the emblem of a wit winded by booksellers.
His complaint, however, received some attestation, for the 142 same year the Letters written by him to Mr. Cromwell in his youth were sold by Mrs. Thomas to Curll, who printed them '.
In these Miscellanies was first published The Art of Sinking 143 in Poetry, which, by such a train of consequences as usually passes in literary quarrels, gave in a short time, according to Pope's account, occasion to The Dunciad?.
In the following year (1728) he began to put Atterbury's 144 advice in practice, and shewed his satirical powers by publishing The Dunciad, one of his greatest and most elaborate performances, in which he endeavoured to sink into contempt all the writers by whom he had been attacked, and some others whom he thought unable to defend themselves.
At the head of the Dunces he placed poor Theobald, whom 145
Ante, POPE, 29. 'They were last,” which still left the blot that the published in Curll's Miscellanea, of last volume is dated 1728, and the which the title-page says, “ Printed nominal third volume 1732. 16. p. in 1727"; but it was in 1726 that 296. Motte, the publisher, said in they appeared.' Pope's Works (Elwin 1735 that Pope disowned The Art of and Courthope), Introd. p. 28. Sinking.' Swift's Works, xviii. 322.
Dr. Warton has the following For . Pope's account of the origin curious note :-'We are surprised to of The Dunciat see post, POPE, 148. see these critics and poets writing to The Dunciad, as first published in each other with seriousness and 1728, was in three books; a fourth earnestness about translations of was added in 1742. Post, POPE, 229. Ovid's Elegies and Epistles ; which The first edition contained 920 lines. the youths of our great schools would Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), almost think it a disgrace to be em- iv. 271-97. To what Pope called ployed about at present.' Warton, 'the first correct edition' (1729) (ib.
iv. 41) ninety-four lines were added, · • Post, POPE, 356. Pope, writing as well as Prolegomena, Notes, &c. to Swift in Jan. 1727-8 about what In the final edition the poem conhe calls the third volume of the tained 1,754 lines. Miscellanies,' says of The Art of 3 Ante, Pope, 116. When AtterSinking :-'I have entirely method- bury read The Dunciad he wrote: ised, and in a manner written it all.' 'I think the writer has engaged himPope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), self in a very improper and troublevii. 110. This volume was entitled, some scuffle, not worthy of his pen at Miscellanies: The Last Volume. A all. Atterbury Corres. iv. 136. fourth volume, brought out in 1732, * 'It cost me,' he said, 'as much 'has for a title-page, Miscellanies : pains as anything I ever wrote.' The Third Volume, to avoid the con- Spence's Anec. p. 142. tradiction of a volume later than "the
LIVES OF POETS. 111
he accused of ingratitude', but whose real crime was supposed to be that of having revised Shakespeare more happily than himself. This satire had the effect which he intended, by blasting the characters which it touched. Ralph, who, unnecessarily interposing in the quarrel, got a place in a subsequent edition", complained that for a time he was in danger of starving, as the
booksellers had no longer any confidence in his capacity:. 146 The prevalence of this poem was gradual and slow: the plan,
if not wholly new, was little understood by common readers. Many of the allusions required illustration; the names were often expressed only by the initial and final letters, and, if they had been printed at length, were such as few had known or recollected. The subject itself had nothing generally interesting; for whom did it concern to know that one or another scribbler was a dunces? If therefore it had been possible for those who
* Ante, POPE, 126; post, 357. 1753 :—'Mr. Ralph told me he had Pope, in the 8vo ed. of The Dun. made his peace with the Ministry, ciad, 1729, says in a note to Bk. i. and was to have £300 a year.' Diary, ver. 106 :-“During two whole years ed. 1809, p. 222. while Mr. Pope was preparing his • "The poem,' writes Mr. Court. edition (of Shakespeare), this restorer hope, 'appeared on May 28, 1728.' [Theobald, author of Shakespeare Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), Restored], who was at this time soli- v. 215. A letter of Pope's to Lord citing favours of him by letters, did Oxford, dated May 20, implies that it wholly conceal his design.”' Pope's was in print. On May 27 Lord OxWorks (Elwin and Courthope), iii. ford replied :-'I see Curll has ad245. Theobald, Mr. Courthope points vertised a key to the Dunciad! 16. out, was aimed at in the following viii. 235-6. couplet :
By July 16 Swift had read an Irish "Three things another's modest wishes edition. Works, xvii. 1824, 200. bound,
In The Daily Journal, May II, My friendship, and a prologue, and 1728, it is mentioned that Pope is
ten pound.' Prol. Sat. 1. 47. writing The Progress of Dulness. In The Censor (1717), No. 33, See À Complete Collection of Verses, Theobald had said of Pope's Iliad:- &c. Occasioned by the Miscellanies “The spirit of Homer breathes all of Pope and Company, 1728, p. 51. through it.
Johnson repeated to us, in his • The Dunciad, iii. 165. Pope says
forcible melodious manner, the conin a note that Ralph's name was not cluding lines of The Dunciad. While known to him, till he abused him in he was talking loudly in praise of 'a swearing-piece called Sawney those lines, one of the company (no A curious account of him is given in doubt Boswell] ventured to say,“ Too Franklin's Memoirs, ed. 1818, i. 54- fine for such a poem :-a poem on 245.
what?” JOHNSON (with a disdain"He ended at last,' writes War- ful look), "Why, on dunces. It was burton, 'in the common sink of all worth while being a dunce then. such writers, a political newspaper, Ah, Sir, hadst thou lived in those and received a small pittance for days! It is not worth while being a pay.' Warburton, v. 139.
dunce now, when there are no wits.": Dodington recorded on Nov. 3, Boswell's Johnson, ii. 84.