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and retirement had thrown him on the world,' and that there was danger lest 'a glut of the world should throw him back upon study and retirement. To this Swift answered with great propriety that Pope had not yet either acted or suffered enough in the world to have become weary of it. And, indeed, it must be some very powerful reason that can drive back to solitude him who has once enjoyed the pleasures of society 2.` 284 In the letters both of Swift and Pope there appears such narrowness of mind as makes them insensible of any excellence that has not some affinity with their own, and confines their esteem and approbation to so small a number, that whoever should form his opinion of the age from their representation would suppose them to have lived amidst ignorance and barbarity, unable to find among their contemporaries either virtue or intelligence, and persecuted by those that could not understand them 3.

285

When Pope murmurs at the world, when he professes contempt of fame, when he speaks of riches and poverty, of success and disappointment, with negligent indifference, he certainly does not express his habitual and settled sentiments, but either wilfully disguises his own character, or, what is more likely, invests himself with temporary qualities, and sallies out in the colours of the present moment. His hopes and fears, his joys and sorrows,

The letter quoted by Johnson was dated by Pope in the edition of 1737, 'August, 1723,' and in the edition of 1741, Jan. 12, 1723.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), vii. 37. The date of Swift's reply-Sept. 20, 1723 (ib. p. 44)— makes the former date_probable. Pope was thirty-five. Two years later Swift wrote to him:-'To hear boys like you talk of millenniums and tranquillity!' Ib. p. 63.

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" Johnson, amidst the ruins of the
Cathedral at St. Andrews, said:-
'I have thought of retiring, and have
talked of it to a friend, but I find my
vocation is rather to active life.'
Boswell's Johnson, v. 63.

3 Ante, SWIFT, 135. Pope wrote
to Swift in 1730:-'If there be any
virtue in England I would try to stir
it up in your behalf, but it dwells
not with power. It is got into so
narrow a circle that it is hard, very

hard, to know where to look for it.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), vii. 192. See also ib. pp. 46, 264.

Lady M. W. Montagu wrote in 1755 (Letters, iii. 117):-Bolingbroke's confederacy with Swift and Pope puts me in mind of that of Bessus and his sword-men in the King and no King [by Beaumont and Fletcher], who endeavour to support themselves by giving certificates of each other's merit.'

Mr. Courthope says of Pope's intimacy with the men opposed to Walpole :-'No atmosphere could have been more congenial to Pope's habits of self-deception. An Opposition... assumes to itself the monopoly of virtue and enlightenment.... He caught with readiness the cant of Opposition. Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), iii. 30.

acted strongly upon his mind, and if he differed from others it was not by carelessness. He was irritable and resentful: his malignity to Philips, whom he had first made ridiculous, and then hated for being angry, continued too long. Of his vain desire to make Bentley contemptible, I never heard any adequate reason2. He was sometimes wanton in his attacks, and before Chandos 3, Lady Wortley, and Hill 5, was mean in his retreat.

The virtues which seem to have had most of his affection were 286 liberality and fidelity of friendship, in which it does not appear that he was other than he describes himself. His fortune did not suffer his charity to be splendid and conspicuous, but he assisted Dodsley with a hundred pounds that he might open a shop'; and of the subscription of forty pounds a year that he

I

Ante, GAY, 4; POPE, 68; post, A. PHILIPS, 20.

2

Essay on Pope, ii. 295. See ante,
SWIFT, 28.

4

Ante, POPE, 157.

Ante, POPE, 216n. 5,265. Having grossly libelled her as Sappho (Imit. Hor., Sat. ii. 1. 83) he said in his Letter to a Noble Lord:-'I protest I never applied that name to her in any verse of mine, public or private.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), v. 430.

3 Pope meeting Bentley 'at Dr. Mead's addressed him thus:-" Dr. Bentley, I ordered my bookseller to send you your books. I hope you received them." Bentley, who had purposely avoided saying anything about Homer, pretended not to understand him, and asked, "Books! books! what books?" My Homer," replied Pope, which you did me the honour to subscribe for.' "Oh," said Bentley, "ay, now I recollect your translation :-it is a pretty poem, Mr. Pope; but you must not call it Homer." Johnson's Works, 1787, iv. 126; post, POPE, 349.

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99 66

Monk (Life of Bentley, ii. 372) lays the scene of this meeting at Atterbury's table, and adds that 'Bentley, when asked what had been the cause of Pope's dislike, replied:-" I talked against his Homer, and the portentous cub never forgives."' Monk points out that Bentley was the enemy of Swift, Atterbury, Bolingbroke, and Oxford; the friend of Queen Caroline; but, above all, the head of the verbal critics of the age, a race against whom Pope had denounced war ever since his own failure as a critical editor of Shakespeare.' Another version of Bentley's saying is given in Gent. Mag. 1773, P. 499.

'Swift,' writes Warton, 'imbibed from Temple, and Pope from Swift, aversion and contempt for Bentley.'

Ante, POPE, 154.

6 Warburton mentions 'his unfeigned pleasure in acknowledging his mistakes.' Warburton, iv. 110.

'Pope was as great an instance as any he quotes of the contrarieties and inconsistencies of human nature, for, notwithstanding the malignancy of his satires, and some blamable passages of his life, he was charitable to his power, and active in doing good offices.' CHESTERFIELD, Misc. Works, iv. App. p. 15.

7 6

'Dodsley, by his literary merit, had raised himself from the station of a footman.' Boswell's Johnson, ii. 446. In 1732 he published A Muse in Livery: or the Footman's Miscellany. Six years later he bought the copyright of Johnson's London. 1b. i. 124. In the spring of 1734-5 a play he had written under the title of The Toy-Shop was, by Pope's recommendation to Rich (ante, GAY, 18), brought upon the stage. Genest's Hist. of the Stage, iii. 460; Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), ix. 536.

287

288

289

raised for Savage' twenty were paid by himself. He was accused of loving money, but his love was eagerness to gain, not solicitude to keep it 2.

In the duties of friendship he was zealous and constant: his early maturity of mind commonly united him with men older than himself, and therefore, without attaining any considerable length of life, he saw many companions of his youth sink into the grave3; but it does not appear that he lost a single friend by coldness or by injury: those who loved him once continued their kindness. His ungrateful mention of Allen in his will was the effect of his adherence to one whom he had known much longer, and whom he naturally loved with greater fondness *. His violation of the trust reposed in him by Bolingbroke could have no motive inconsistent with the warmest affection; he either thought the action so near to indifferent that he forgot it, or so laudable that he expected his friend to approve it 5.

It was reported, with such confidence as almost to enforce belief, that in the papers intrusted to his executors was found a defamatory Life of Swift, which he had prepared as an instrument of vengeance to be used, if any provocation should be ever given. About this I enquired of the Earl of Marchmont, who assured me that no such piece was among his remains.

The religion in which he lived and died was that of the Church of Rome, to which in his correspondence with Racine he professes himself a sincere adherent 7. That he was not scrupulously pious

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Pope's affection may have been as real as Swift's, but it is hidden beneath the affectation of his letters. Thus in the same letter he wrote:'You ask me if I have got any supply of new friends to make up for those that are gone.... As when the continual washing of a river takes away our flowers and plants, it throws weeds and sedges in their room, so the course of time brings us something, as it deprives us of a great deal,' and so on with this rhetorical rubbish.

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in some part of his life is known by many idle and indecent applications of sentences taken from the Scriptures'; a mode of merriment which a good man dreads for its profaneness, and a witty man disdains for its easiness and vulgarity. But to whatever levities he has been betrayed, it does not appear that his principles were ever corrupted, or that he ever lost his belief of Revelation 2. The positions which he transmitted from Bolingbroke he seems not to have understood, and was pleased with an interpretation that made them orthodox 3.

A man of such exalted superiority and so little moderation 290 would naturally have all his delinquences observed and aggravated: those who could not deny that he was excellent would rejoice to find that he was not perfect.

Perhaps it may be imputed to the unwillingness with which 291 the same man is allowed to possess many advantages that his learning has been depreciated.

Ramsay entreprit de les concilier. ... Il imagina d'écrire à Racine une lettre sous le nom de Pope, dans laquelle celui-ci semble se justifier. J'avais vécu une année entière avec Pope; je savais qu'il était incapable d'écrire en français. . . . J'avertis Racine que cette lettre était de Ramsay, et non de Pope. Je voulus lui faire sentir le ridicule de cette supercherie; j'en instruisis même le public dans un chapitre sur Pope, qui a été imprimé plusieurs fois du vivant de Pope même.' VOLTAIRE, Œuvres, xvii. 146. See also ib. xxiv. 136.

Racine attacked Pope in his poem, La Réligion. Ramsay's letter, says Mr. Elwin, was a translation of one written by Pope in English. 'Voltaire was annoyed that Pope should "retract" his deism, and wanted to have it believed that Ramsay alone was responsible for the sentiments in the letter.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), ii. 291. This letter is not printed by Mr. Elwin, who refers to Euvres de Louis Racine, 1808, i. 444. Pope's letter in English dated Sept. 1, 1742, and a translation of Racine's reply are given in Gent. Mag. 1754, p. 177. Racine ends by saying that 'the greatest poet in England is one of the humblest sons of the Church.'

He certainly was in his early

Warburton told Spence that he said to Pope:-""Why should you not conform with the religion of your country?" He seemed in himself not averse to it (Warburton added), and replied, there were but two reasons that kept him from it: one, that the doing so would make him a great many enemies, and the other that it would do nobody else any good.' Spence's Anec. p. 364.

Ante, BLACKMORE, 31. Pope, in Epil. Sat. i. 37'Why yes; with Scripture still you may be free,'

implies that impiety was allowed at Court.

In 1. 102 he describes how in Court 'All tears are wiped for ever from all eyes.'

On this Mr. Courthope remarks:'The parody in this line is but one among the offences of the same kind against decency and good taste which abound in his writings. The line itself is an adaptation of a verse in his Messiah, as it was first printed, "He wipes the tears for ever from our eyes."

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Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), iii. 466. See also ante, POPE, 46 n. 3. 2 Ante, POPE, 246.

3 Ante, POPE, 191.

4

Ante, POPE, 83.

292

life a man of great literary curiosity, and when he wrote his Essay on Criticism had for his age a very wide acquaintance with books'. When he entered into the living world it seems to have happened to him as to many others that he was less attentive to dead masters: he studied in the academy of Paracelsus, and made the universe his favourite volume. He gathered his notions fresh from reality, not from the copies of authors, but the originals of Nature. Yet there is no reason to believe that literature ever lost his esteem; he always professed to love reading, and Dobson, who spent some time at his house translating his Essay on Man, when I asked him what learning he found him to possess, answered, ' More than I expected 3. His frequent references to history, his allusions to various kinds of knowledge, and his images selected from art and nature, with his observations on the operations of the mind and the modes of life, shew an intelligence perpetually on the wing, excursive, vigorous, and diligent, eager to pursue knowledge, and attentive to retain it.

From this curiosity arose the desire of travelling, to which he alludes in his verses to Jervas, and which, though he never found an opportunity to gratify it, did not leave him till his life declined. 293 Of his intellectual character the constituent and fundamental principle was Good Sense, a prompt and intuitive perception of consonance and propriety. He saw immediately, of his own

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