Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

Pəxed by her former spouse, has got the gout in her decrepit age, which makes her hobble so damnably'' This was the man who would reform a nation sinking into barbarity.

In another place Pope himself allowed that Dennis had detected 39 one of those blunders which are called bulls ?. The first edition had this line:

What is this wit ...?

Where wanted, scorn'd; and envied where acquir'd?' 'How, says the critick, 'can wit be scorn'd where it is not? Is not this a figure frequently employed in Hibernian land? The person that wants this wit may indeed be scorned, but the scorn shews the honour which the contemner has for wit *.' Of this remark Pope made the proper use, by correcting the passage.

I have preserved, I think, all that is reasonable in Dennis's 40 criticism; it remains that justice be done to his delicacy.

'For his acquaintance (says Dennis) he names Mr. Walsh, who had by no means the qualification which this author reckons absolutely necessary to a critick, it being very certain that he was, like this Essayer, a very indifferent poet; he loved to be welldressed; and I remember a little young gentleman whom Mr. Walsh used to take into his company, as a double foil to his person and capacity.-Enquire between Sunninghill and Oakingham 6 for a young, short, squab gentleman, the very

bow of the God of Love, and tell me whether he be a proper author to make personal reflections. He may extol the antients, but he has reason to thank the gods that he was born a modern; for had he been born of Grecian parents, and his father consequently had by law had the absolute disposal of him, his life had been no longer than that of one of his poems, the life of half a day.-Let the person of a gentleman of his parts be never so contemptible, his inward man is ten times more ridiculous; it being impossible that his outward form, though it be that of downright monkey, should differ so much from

[ocr errors]

Reflections, &c., p. 11.

And still the more we give, the more Pope's Works (Elwin and Court- requir'd.' hope), vi. 147.

Pope's Works (Elwin and Court3 "The more his trouble as the more hope), ii, 64. admir'd,

Reflections, &c., p. 20. Where wanted, scorn'd; and en- s Essay on Criticism, 1. 729; ante, vied where acquir'd.

POPE, 30. First edition, 1. 502. • Dennis's pamphlet is addressed Pope twice corrected the couplet, to 'Mr. at Sunning-Hill, Berks.' and left it :

Oakingham is near Binfield, Pope's *Then most our trouble still when home. most admir'd,



human shape, as his unthinking immaterial part does from human understanding!! Thus began the hostility between Pope and Dennis, which, though it was suspended for a short time, never was appeased. Pope seems, at first, to have attacked him wantonly; but though he always professed to despise him, he discovers, by mentioning

him very often, that he felt his force or his venom. 41 Of this Essay Pope declared that he did not expect the sale to

be quick, because 'not one gentleman in sixty, even of liberal education, could understand it.' The gentlemen, and the education of that time, seem to have been of a lower character than they are of this. He mentioned a thousand copies as a numerous

a impression? 42 Dennis was not his only censurer; the zealous papists thought

the monks treated with too much contempt, and Erasmus too studiously praised ? ; but to these objections he had not much regard Reflections, &c., p. 28.

(Lewis was a schoolfellow and early * Pope, writing to Caryll on July 19, friend of Pope. Nichols's Lit. Anec. 1711, about a second edition, con- iï. 646, viii. 168.] tinues :—which I yet think the book It was either Lewis or his father who will never arrive at, for Tonson's introduced Gibbon to the priest ‘at printer told me he drew off a thousand whose feet he abjured the errors of copies in his first impression, and I heresy.' Gibbon's Memoirs, p. 72. fancy a treatise of this nature, which The second edition was published not one gentleman in three score even in the winter of 1712–13; the third of a liberal education can under- and fourth in 1713. Pope's Works stand, will hardly exceed the vent of (Elwin and Courthope), ii. 4. Johnthat number.' Pope's Works (Elwin son, referring to the age of Pope, and Courthope), vi. 152. In the said :-We have now more knowversion of the letter published by ledge generally diffused; all our ladies Pope the words italicized are printed read now, which is a great extension.' • will not so soon arrive at.' Warton's Boswell's Johnson, iii. 333. Pope, vii. 235.

3 At length Erasmus, that great old Mr. [William] Lewis, the injur'd name, bookseller in Russell Street, who (The glory of the Priesthood and printed the first edition of this Essay the shame!) in quarto (1711), without Pope's name, Stemm'd the wild torrent of a informed me (writes Warton, Preface,

barb'rous age, p. 9) that it lay many days in his And drove those holy Vandals off shop unnoticed; and that, piqued the stage.' Essay on Crit. 1. 693. with this neglect, the author came Johnson refers to Pope's three one day, and packed up and directed Letters to the Hon. J. C. Èsq. (John twenty copies to several great men, Caryll). Warton, vii. 223-36. See and that, in consequence of these also Pope's Works (Elwin and Courtpresents and his name being known, hope), vi. 141, 163. the book began to be called for.'

* See Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), vi. 152 n., for the name of the printer.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

The Essay has been translated into French by Hamilton, 43 author of the Comte de Grammont, whose version was never printed, by Robotham, secretary to the King for Hanover, and by Resnel"; and commented by Dr. Warburton ?, who has discovered in it such order and connection as was not perceived by Addison, nor, as is said, intended by the author.

Almost every poem, consisting of precepts, is so far arbi- 44 trary and immethodical, that many of the paragraphs may change places with no apparent inconvenience; for of two or more positions, depending upon some remote and general principle, there is seldom any cogent reason why one should precede the other. But for the order in which they stand, whatever it be, a little ingenuity may easily give a reason. 'It is possible,' says Hooker, ‘that by long circumduction, from any one truth all truth may be inferred.' Of all homogeneous truths at least, of all truths respecting the same general end, in whatever series they may be produced, a concatenation by intermediate ideas may be formed, such as, when it is once shewn, shall appear natural; but if this order be reversed, another mode of connection equally specious may be found or made. Aristotle is praised for naming fortitude first of the cardinal virtues, as that without which no other virtue can steadily be practised; but he might, with equal propriety, have placed prudence and justice before it, since without prudence fortitude is mad; without justice, it is mischievous.

As the end of method is perspicuity, that series is sufficiently 45 regular that avoids obscurity; and where there is no obscurity it will not be difficult to discover method.

he says,

· Pope, in 1735, published a letter, other like those in Horace's Art of dated Oct. 10, 1713, from himself to Poetry, without that methodical reguHamilton about his translation. In larity which would have been requisite a note he adds that it was never in a prose author.' Spectator, No.253. printed. The version by Robotham, Jon. Richardson says that Pope

was printed in quarto at spoke of it as “an irregular collecAmsterdam and at London, 1717. tion of thoughts—written in imitation The other by the Abbé Resnel in of the irregularity in Horace's Art of octavo at Paris, 1730.' 16. x. 104. Poetry, which he said was beautiful."

For Resnel see ante, GARTH, 17; Richardsoniana, 1776, p. 264. post, POPE, 181.

'By long circuit of deduction it ? His Commentary is given in foot- may be that even all truth out of any notes. Warburton, i. 89-161. It is truth may be concluded.' Eccles. reprinted in Pope's Works (Elwin Pol. Bk. ii. ch. i. sec. 2. and Courthope), ii. 85-102.

[avdpein. Nic. Ethic. Bk. iii. ch. 3 «The observations follow one an

Courage' is the more modern

[ocr errors]




In The Spectator' was published The Messiah', which he first submitted to the perusal of Steele, and corrected in compliance

with his criticisms 3. 47 It is reasonable to infer, from his letters, that the verses on The

Unfortunate Lady were written about the time when his Essay was published. The lady's name and adventures I have sought

with fruitless enquiry. 48 I can therefore tell no more than I have learned from Mr. Ruff

head, who writes with the confidence of one who could trust his information". She was a woman of eminent rank and large fortune, the ward of an unkles, who, having given her a proper education, expected like other guardians that she should make at least an equal match“; and such he proposed to her, but found it

rejected in favour of a young gentleman of inferior condition. 49 Having discovered the correspondence between the two lovers,

and finding the young lady determined to abide by her own




rendering. See Prof. J. A. Stewart's writes Mr. Elwin, followed W. Ayre's Notes on the N. E., Clarendon Press, Memoirs of Pope (i. 75], 'a miserable 1892, i. 282.]

compilation.' Pope's Works (Elwin * No. 378. Pope says he had and Courthope), ii. 201. Pope written a few Spectators and Guar. adopted the common incident' of a dians.' For The Guardians see girl's suicide, and he wished to have Pope's Works(Elwin and Courthope), it believed that he had a personal X. 498. The Spectators have not interest in her fate.' Ib. p. 204. See been identified. 16. i. 15 .

also ib. v. 130. The account by ? Post, POPE, 318.

Warton (Essay, i. 247; Pope's Works,

i. 3 Steele wrote to Pope from 'a i. 386) and in Johnson's Works, viii. solitude, an house between Hamp. 327 n., is a legend. 'Ruffhead, said stead and London' (a tavern, bearing Johnson, 'knew nothing of Pope and his name, is close to the site) : nothing of poetry.'. Boswell's: John• There is but one line which I think son, ii. 166. His book is worthless below the original

except for a few anecdotes by War“ He wipes the tears for ever from burton. our eyes."

Horace Walpole, on Dec. 9, 1784, You have expressed it with a good mentions the pretended discovery of and pious, but not so exalted and the lady's name ' in Gent. Mag. Nov. poetical a spirit as the prophet--- 1784, p. 807. 'The writer,' he adds, is The Lord God will wipe away tears corroborates the circumstance of the from off all faces.'

16. vi. 389.

sword. ... My Lady Hervey, who Pope, who had borrowed the line was acquainted with Pope, and who from Lycidas (1. 181), changed it lived at the time, gave me a very into :

different name, and told me the exit . From ev'ry face he wipes off ev'ry was made in a less dignified manner

tear.' The Messiah, l. 46. -by the rope. Letters, viii. 534. Warton points out that this repeti- See also post, POPE, 319, and Gent. tion of the word every is a quaint Mag. 1781, p. 314. and pretty modernism, unsuited to Johnson gives this spelling in his the subject.' Warton, vii. 248. See Dictionary:Unkle, see Uncle.' also post, POPE, 289 n. 1, 318.

• For Johnson on equal matches Ruffhead, p. 133. Ruffhead, see Boswell's Johnson, ii. 328.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

choice, he supposed that separation might do what can rarely be done by arguments, and sent her into a foreign country, where she was obliged to converse only with those from whom her unkle had nothing to fear.

Her lover took care to repeat his vows; but his letters were 50 intercepted and carried to her guardian, who directed her to be watched with still greater vigilance; till of this restraint she grew so impatient, that she bribed a woman-servant to procure her a sword, which she directed to her heart.

From this account, given with evident intention to raise the 51 lady's character, it does not appear that she had any claim to praise, nor much to compassion. She seems to have been impatient, violent, and ungovernable. Her unkle's power could not have lasted long; the hour of liberty and choice would have come in time. But her desires were too hot for delay, and she liked self-murder better than suspence.

Nor is it discovered that the unkle, whoever he was, is with 52 much justice delivered to posterity as a 'false Guardian”'; he seems to have done only that for which a guardian is appointed; he endeavoured to direct his niece till she should be able to direct herself. Poetry has not often been worse employed than in dignifying the amorous fury of a raving girl.

Not long after, he wrote The Rape of the Lock, the most airy, 53 the most ingenious, and the most delightful of all his compositions, occasioned by a frolick of gallantry, rather too familiar, in which Lord Petre cut off a lock of Mrs. Arabella Fermor's hair? This, ''But thou, false guardian of a charge also post, POPE, 335. too good,

Lord Petre married Miss WalmesThou,

deserter of thy ley in 1712, and died of small-pox brother's blood.'

the year after.

Burke's Peerage. Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortu- The Petre family suffered greatly from nate Lady, l. 29.

that disease. In Ann. Reg. 1762, i. a "The original sketch came out in 78, it is recorded that the Hon. 1712 in Lintot's Misc.; the machinery John Petre, who died lately aged was added in 1713, and the enlarged twenty-four, is said to be the eighteenth poem was not published till the spring person of that family that has died of of 1714. Pope's Works (Elwin and it in twenty-seven years. Miss FerCourthope), ii. 114, 120. For the mor, in 1714, married Mr. Perkins, sketch Lintot paid Pope £7, and for of Ufton Court, near Reading. She the enlarged poem £15. Ib. p. 114. died in 1738. Pope's Works (Elwin Pope wrote to Caryll on March 12, and Courthope), ii. 146. The title of 1714:— It has in four days' time Mrs.' was still applied to young unsold t) the number of three thousand.' married ladies.

* Miss

was often Ib. vi. 204.

For a reprint of the used of courtesans. See Boswell's sketch see ib. ii. 185, and for the Johnson, v. 185, n. 1. characters see Warton, i. 335. See




[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »