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27 But the fondness of Wycherley was too violent to last. His
esteem of Pope was such that he submitted some poems to his revision; and when Pope, perhaps proud of such confidence, was sufficiently bold in his criticisms and liberal in his alterations, the old scribbler was angry to see his pages defaced, and felt more pain from the detection than content from the amendment of his faults'. They parted; but Pope always considered him with
kindness, and visited him a little time before he died?. 28 Another of his early correspondents was Mr. Cromwell, of
whom I have learned nothing particular but that he used to ride a-hunting in a tye-wig?. He was fond, and perhaps vain, of amusing himself with poetry and criticism, and sometimes sent his performances to Pope, who did not forbear such remarks as were now and then unwelcome*. Pope, in his turn, put the juvenile version of Statius into his hands for correction 5.
stood, the proud contempt of criti. the Protector. The Country Journal cism which
authors have says :-“ June 29, 1728, died Mr. publicly professed.' Misc. Works, Henry Cromwell, a noted critic and iv. 517.
poet, in his 70th year.”' Ib. v. 75. Good critics,' said Tennyson, 'are See also post, POPE, 142. For the rarer than good authors.' Life, ii. correspondence see ib. vi. 61. 423.
4 16. vii. 408. Spence's Anec. pp. 25, 150, 160. Pope, if we can trust the date of "All the ridicule,' says Mr. Elwin, his letter, sent Statius to Cromwell 'heaped upon Wycherley's irritable on Jan. 22, 1708-9. It was pubvanity and literary dotage was founded lished, he says, in 1711, with an upon the adulterated correspondence, Advertisement, stating that it was which was published [by Pope] to done when he was but fourteen.' "render justice to his memory.” Warburton, vii. 59: Pope's Works (Elwin and Court- 'It was not published till 1712. hope), viii. 259. See also ib. Preface, It represents the powers of the man p. 134; and ib. v. 387-407 for who completed the task, not of the Wycherley's genuine letters. He boy who began it.' Pope's Works used to address Pope as 'My Deare (Elwin and Courthope), i. 47. See Little Infallible,' or 'My Dear Little also Spence's Anec. p. 274. Great Friend.' Ib. pp. 388, 393. 'Gray's first attempt in English
"Several of Mr. Pope's lines, very verse,' Mason believed, was a transeasy to be distinguished, may be lation from Statius. Mason's Gray, found in the posthumous editions of i. 136. "It were to be wished that Wycherley's Poems, particularly in no youth of genius were suffered those On Solitude, On the Public, ever to look into Statius, Lucan, and on the Mixed Life.' War- Claudian, or Seneca the tragedian.' burton, vii, 17 n.
WARTON, Essay on Pope, ii. 84. Spence's Anec. p. 17.
'I have read Statius again, and 3. Honest, hatless Cromwell, with thought him as bad as ever.' MACred breeches.'
AULAY, Life, i. 461. For Dante's GAY, Mr. Pope's Welcome, Pope's admiration of Statius see the PurgaWorks (Elwin and Courthope), v. torio, canto xxi.
See also ante, 176.
DRYDEN, 205; Dryden's Works, 'He was of the same family as xvii. 330; and Warton's Pope, vii. 96. Their correspondence afforded the publick its first knowledge 29 of Pope's epistolary powers; for his letters were given by Cromwell to one Mrs. Thomas, and she many years afterwards sold them to Curll, who inserted them in a volume of his Miscellanies'.
Walsh, a name yet preserved among the minor poets, was one 30 of his first encouragers?. His regard was gained by the Pastorals, and from him Pope received the counsel by which he seems to have regulated his studies. Walsh advised him to correctness, which, as he told him, the English poets had hitherto neglected}, and which therefore was left to him as a basis of fame; and, being delighted with rural poems, recommended to him to write a pastoral comedy, like those which are read so eagerly in Italy * ; a design which Pope probably did not approve, as he did not follow it.
Pope had now declared himself a poet; and, thinking himself 31 entitled to poetical conversation, began at seventeen to frequent Will's, a coffee-house on the north side of Russel-street in Coventgarden, where the wits of that time used to assemble, and where Dryden had, when he lived, been accustomed to presides.
* Post, POPE, 142, 163 n. The one great poet that was correct.' letters were published in 1727. Crom- POPE, Spence's Anec.p. 280. By corwell had given them to his mistress, rectness' Walsh meant (writes Mr. Elizabeth Thomas, many years ear- Courthope) not only accuracy of lier. She sold them to Curll, as she expression, but also propriety of sold the narrative of Dryden's funeral design, and justice of thought and (ante, DRYDEN, 153 n. 6). Pope's taste.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Works (Elwin and Courthope), vi. Courthope), v. 24. See also ib. ii. 131, 419; The Dunciad, ii. 70n. "The 28. Dryden had taught Walsh corfavourable reception of Pope's corre- rectness. Dryden's Works, xviii. 181. spondence,' writes Mr. Elwin, 'ori- See also ante, ROSCOMMON, 24; ginated the desire to give some ADDISON, 157; PRIOR, 70. further specimens to the world, and * It is more likely that the percepled him into the miserable series of tion of this virtue in the poetical falsehoods and frauds by which he intellect of Pope drew out the remark endeavoured to accomplish his design from Walsh than that the remark without seeming to be privy to it.' suggested to the poet the pursuit Pope's Works (Elwin and Court- of the virtue.' JOHN WILSON, Blackhope), Preface, p. 28; post, POPE, wood, 1845. lvii. 392. 162.
See Walsh's letter of June 24, He lied when he said to Spence 1706, and Pope's answer of July 2. (Anec. p. 167):-'My letters to Crom- Pope's Works (Elwin and Courtweli were written with a design that hope), vi. 50-53. See also ante, GAY, does not generally appear; they were 32 n., for the neglect of pastoral not written in sober sadness.'
plays in Italy. · Ante, WALSH, 5.
5. Ante, DRYDEN, 190; ADDISON, 3 “Though we had several great 116. Sir Charles Wogan wrote to poets (Walsh said) we never had any Swift on Feb. 27, 1732–3:—'I had
During this period of his life he was indefatigably diligent, and insatiably curious; wanting health for violent, and money for expensive pleasures, and having certainly excited in himself very strong desires of intellectual eminence, he spent much of his time over his books: but he read only to store his mind with facts and images, seizing all that his authors presented with undistinguishing voracity, and with an appetite for knowledge too eager to be nice! In a mind like his, however, all the faculties were at once involuntarily improving. Judgement is forced upon us by experience?. He that reads many books must compare one opinion or one style with another; and when he compares, must necessarily distinguish, reject, and prefer. But the account given by himself of his studies was that from fourteen to twenty he read only for amusement, from twenty to twenty-seven for improvement and instruction; that in the first part of this time he desired only to
know, and in the second he endeavoured to judge 3. 33 The Pastorals, which had been for some time handed about
among poets and criticks, were at last printed (1709) in Tonson's Miscellany, in a volume which began with the Pastorals of Philips,
and ended with those of Pope *. 34 The same year was written the Essay on Criticisms, a work
which displays such extent of comprehension, such nicety of distinction, such acquaintance with mankind, and such knowledge both of ancient and modern learning as are not often attained by the maturest age and longest experience. It was published
the honour to bring my friend, Mr. not so good; but I had all the facts.' Pope, up to London from our retreat Boswell's Johnson, i. 445. in the forest of Windsor, to dress Johnson's chief authority here is à la mode, and introduce at Will's.' Warburton, iv. 206. Swift's Works, xvii. 433.
Ante, ADDISON, 14; POPE, 24; ' Post, POPE, 291. 'Pope had post, POPE. 314; A. PHILIPS, 18. read a vast number of books, yet For Tonson's letter of April 20, 1706, he was very ignorant - ignorant, about one of Pope's Pastorals see that is, of everything but the one Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), thing which he laboured to acquire, the art of happy expression. He read Ante, DENHAM, 11; post, POPE, books to find ready-made images, 328. For Essay see ante, Rosand to feel for the best collocations COMMON, 25 n. 4. of words.' PATTISON, Essays, ii. • Post, POPE, 291. 'All the clas375.
sical information embodied in the JOHNSON. Sir, in my early Essay,' writes Mr. Elwin, "might years I read very hard. It is a sad have been picked up from his French reflection, but a true one, that I knew manuals in a single morning.' 10. ii. almost as much at eighteen as I do now. My judgment, to be sure, was
about two years afterwards", and being praised by Addison in The Spectator' with sufficient liberality, met with so much favour as enraged Dennis, 'who,' he says, “found himself attacked, without any manner of provocation on his side, and attacked 3 in his
person, instead of his writings, by one who was wholly a stranger to him, at a time when all the world knew he was persecuted by fortune; and not only saw that this was attempted in a clandestine manner, with the utmost falsehood and calumny, but found that all this was done by a little affected hypocrite, who had nothing in his mouth at the same time but truth, candour, friendship, goodnature, humanity, and magnanimity*.'
How the attack was clandestine is not easily perceived, nor 35 how his person is depreciated ; but he seems to have known
: 'It was written in 1709, and pub- and unclouded effulgence of general lished in 1711; which is as little time benevolence and particular fondness' as ever I let anything of mine lay in Pope's letters, see post, POPE, [sic] by me.' Spence's Anec: p. 170.273.
'The Essay was anonymous, Spectator, No. 65, May 15, 1711.' and his assailant concealed.' Pope's Warton's Pope, i. 223.
Works (Elwin and Courthope), ii. · No. 253, Dec. 20, 1711. Addison, 13: after stating that 'in our own country Pope describes how Dennis, a man seldom sets up for a poet under the name of Appius, without attacking the reputation of ‘reddens at each word you speak, all his brothers in the art, continues: And stares tremendous, with —'I am sorry to find that an author threat'ning eye, who is very justly esteemed among Like some fierce tyrant in old the best judges has admitted some tapestry. strokes of this nature into a very
Essay on Criticism, l. 585. fine poem. Pope, in the belief that Pope, who had tried to get subthis Spectator was by Steele, wrote scribers to an edition of Dennis's to him :-'I am obliged to you for Works, who was in distress in his your candour and frankness in ac- old age, wrote to Hill on Feb. 5, quainting me with the error I have 1730-1:-'Mr. Dennis did, in print, been guilty of in speaking too freely lately represent my poor, undesigning of my brother moderns.' Pope's subscriptions to him, to be the effect Works (Elwin and Courthope), vi. of fear.' Pope's Works (Elwin and 389. See ib. p. 410, for his forged Courthope), x. 18. Hill replied :letter to Addison, where he says:
I have seen that low turn which 'This period is the only one Mr.Dennis gave to your good-nature.' could wish omitted of all you have Hill's Works, ed. 1754, i. 78. In written.
1733 Pope wrote A Prologue to a Essay on Criticism, 11. 269, 584. Play for Mr. Dennis's Benefit, when
Reflections Critical and Satyrical he was old, blind, and in great disupon a Late Rhapsody; Calid An tress.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Essay upon Criticism. n. d. Preface. Courthope), iv. 417. Mr. Tovey, in The passage quoted is in the first Thomson's Works, 1897, Preface, p. person.
Part of this attack Pope 47, points out that even in this Proquotes in Scriblerus's Prolegomena. logue Pope's ‘malignity' is seen. Pope's Works (Elwin and Court- See also ante, ADDISON, 64, 138 ; hope), iv. 67. For the perpetual SAVAGE, III ; post, POPE, 60, 152.
something of Pope's character, in whom may be discovered an
appetite to talk too frequently of his own virtues. 86 The pamphlet is such as rage might be expected to dictate.
He supposes himself to be asked two questions: whether the
Essay will succeed, and who or what is the author. 37 Its success he admits to be secured by the false opinions then prevalent; the author he concludes to be 'young and raw".'
'First, because he discovers a sufficiency beyond his little ability, and hath rashly undertaken a task infinitely above his force. Secondly, while this little author struts, and affects the dictatorian air, he plainly shews that at the same time he is under the rod; and while he pretends to give law to others, is a pedantick slave to authority and opinion. Thirdly, he hath, like schoolboys, borrowed both from living and dead. Fourthly, he knows not his own mind, and frequently contradicts himself.
Fifthly, he is almost perpetually in the wrong?' 88 All these positions he attempts to prove by quotations and
remarks; but his desire to do mischief is greater than his power. He has, however, justly criticised some passages: in these lines,
'There are whom heaven has bless'd with store of wit,
For wit and judgement ever are at strife3": it is apparent that wit has two meanings, and that what is wanted, though called wit, is truly judgement. So far Dennis is undoubtedly right; but, not content with argument, he will have a little mirth, and triumphs over the first couplet in terms too elegant to be forgotten. 'By the way, what rare numbers are here! Would not one swear that this youngster had espoused some antiquated Muse, who had sued out a divorce on account of impotence from some superannuated sinner, and, having been
"It was writ by some young or
(Elwin and Courthope), ii. 38 n. some raw author.' Reflections, &c., 4 'Awit with Pope was now a p. 1.
jester, now an author, now a poet, • Ib. pp. 1, 2, 6, 7. The various and now, again, was contradistinquotations from Dennis are not guished from poets. Wit was the exact.
intellect, the judgment, the antithesis In the edition of 1743 the first to judgment, a joke, and poetry. The couplet was thus amended :
word does duty, with a perplexing 'Some, to whom heav'n in wit has want of precision, throughout the been profuse,
Essay, and furnishes a dozen rhymes Want as much more, to turn it to alone. 16. ii. 25. its use.'
5 Wycherley. Part of this attack In the last of the three lines ever Pope quotes in Scriblerus's Prolewas changed into often. Essay on gomena. 16. iv. 55. Criticism, 11. 80-2. Pope's Works