Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

And He, whose fustian's so sublimely bad,
It is not Poetry, but prose run mad:
All these, my modest Satire bad translate,
And own'd that nine such Poets made a Tate. 190
How did they fume, and stamp, and roar, and chafe!
And swear, not Addison himself was fafe.

Peace to all such! but were there One whose fires True Genius kindles, and fair Fame inspires;

Notes. VER. 186. Means not, but blunders round about a meaning :) A case common both to Poets and Critics of a certain order; only with this difference, that the Poet writes himself out of his own meaning; and the Critic never gets into another man's. Yet both keep going on, and blundering round about their subject, as benighted people are wont to do, who seek for an entrance which they cannot find.

Ver. 189. All these, my modest Satire bad transate,] See their works, in the Translations of classical books by several hands.

Ver. 190. —- nine fuch Poets, &c.] Alluding, not to the nine Muses, but to nine Taylors.

Ver. 192. And swear, not Addison himself was safe.] This is an artful preparative for the following transition; and finely obviates what might be thought unfavourably of the severity of the satire, by those who were strangers to the provocation.

VER. 193. But were there One whose fires &c.] Our Poet's friendship with Mr. Addison began in the year 1713. It was cultivated, on both sides, with all the marks of mutual esteem and affection, and constant intercourse of good offices. Mr. Addison was always commending moderation, warned his friend against a blind attachment to party, and blamed Steele for his indiscreet zeal. The translation of the Iliad being now on foot, he recommended it to the public, and joined with the Tories in pushing the subscription; but at the same time advised Mr. Pope not to be content with the applause of one half of the nation. On the other hand, Mr. Pope made his friend's Interest his own (sce note on 215. 1 Ep. B. ii. of Hor.) and, when

higher going on the Critic nehe Poet wie

Blest with each talent and each art to please, 195
And born to write, converse, and live with ease:
Should such a man, too fond to rule alone,
Bear, like the Turk, no brother near the throne,

NOTES. Dennis so brutally attacked the Tragedy of Cato, he wrote the piece called A narrative of his madness.

Thus things continued till Mr. Pope's growing reputation, and superior genius in Poetry gave umbrage to his friend's falle delicacy: and then it was he encouraged Philips and others (see his Letters) in their clamours against him as a Tory and Jacobite, who had assisted in writing the Examiners; and, under an affected care for the government, would have hid, even from himself, the true grounds of his disgust. But his jealousy foon broke out, and discovered itself, first to Mr. Pope, and, not long after, to all the world. The Rape of the Rock had been written in a very hasty manner, and printed in a collection of Miscellanies. The success it met with encouraged the Author to revise and enlarge it, and give it a more important air, which was done by advancing it into a mock-cpic Poem. In order to this it was to have its Machinery ; which, by the happiest invention, he took from the Rosycrufian Systein. Full of this noble conception, be communicated it to Mr. Addison, who he imagined would have been equally delighted with the improvement. On the contrary, he had the mortification to have his friend receive it coldly; and more, to advise him against any alteration ; for that the poem in its original state was a delicious little thing, and, as he expressed it, merum fal. Mr. Pope was fhocked for his friend; and then first began to open his cycs to his Character.

Soon after this, a translation of the first book of the Iliad appeared under the name of Mr. Tickell ; which coming out at a critical juncture, when Mr. Pope was in the midst of his engagements on the same subject, and by a creature of Mr. Addison's, made him suspect this to be another shaft from the same quiver : And after a diligent enquiry, and laying many odd circumstances together, he was fully convinced that it was not only published with Mr. Addison's participation, but was in

[ocr errors]

View him with scornful, yet with jealous eyes, -
And hate for arts that caus’d himself to rise; 200
Damn' with faint praise, assent with civil leer,
And without sneering, teach the rest to sneer;

Notes. deed his own performance. Mr. Pope, in his first resentment of this usage, was resolved to expose this new Version in a severe critique upon it. I have now by me the Copy he had marked for this purpose ; in which he has classed the several faults in translation, language, and numbers, under their proper heads. But the growing splendor of his own work fo eclipsed the faint efforts of this opposition, that he trusted to its own weakness and malignity for the justice due to it. About this time, Mr. Addison's son-in-law, the E. of Warwick, told Mr. Pope, that it was in vain to think of being well with his Father who was naturally a jealous man; that Mr. Pope's superior talents in poetry had hurt him, and to such a degree, that he had underhand encouraged Gildon to write a thing about Wycherley, in which he had fcurrilously abused Mr. Pope and his family; and for this service he had given Gildon ten guineas, after the pamphlet was printed. The very next day Mr. Pope, in a great heat, wrote Mr. Addison a Letter, wherein he told him, he was no ftranger to his behaviour; which, however, he should not imitate : But that what he thought faulty in him, he would tell him fairly to his face; and what deserved praise he would not deny him to the world; and, as a proof of this disposition towards him, he had sent him the inclosed, which was the Character, firft published separately, and afterwards inserted in this place of the Epift. to Dr. Arbuthnot. This plain dealing had no ill effect. Mr. Addison treated Mr. Pope with civility, and, as Mr. Pope believed, with justice, from this time to his death, which happened about three years after.

Ibid. But were there one whose fires, &c.] The strokes in this Character are highly finished.Atterbury so well understood the force of them, that in one of his letters to Mr. Pope he says, • Since you now know where your strength lies, I hope you “ will not suffer that talent to lie unemployed.” He did not; and, by that means, brought satiric Poetry to its perfection.

Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike,
Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike ;
Alike reserv'd to blame, or to commend, 205
A tim'rous foe, and a suspicious friend;
Dreading ev'n fools, by Flatterers besieg’d,
And so obliging, that he ne’er oblig'd;
Like Cato, give his little Senate laws,
And fit attentive to his own applause; 210
While Wits and Templars ev'ry sentence raise,
And wonder with a foolish face of praise---
Who but must laugh, if such a man there be ?
Who would not weep, if Atticus were he!

VARIATIONS. After 208. in MS.

Who, if two Wits on rival themes contest,

Approves of each, but likes the worst the best. Alluding to Mr. P.'s and Tickell's Translation of the first Book of the Iliad.

Notes. VER. 208. And so obliging, that he ne'er oblig'd;] He was one of those obliging persons who are the humble Servants of all Mankind. Mr. Pope therefore did wisely, he soon returned his share in him to the common stock.

Ver. 212. And wonder with a foolish face of praise-] When men, out of flattery, extol what they are conscious they do not understand, as is sometimes the case of men of education, the fear of praising in the wrong place is likely enough to give a foolish turn to the air of an embarrassed countenance.

Ver. 213. Who but must laugh, if such a man there be ? ] While a Character is unapplied, all the various parts of it will be considered together; and if the afemblage of them be as in

What tho’my Name stood rubric on the walls, Or plaister'd posts, with claps, in capitals ? 216 Or smoaking forth, a hundred hawkers load, On wings of winds came flying all abroad? I sought no homage from the Race that write ; I kept, like Afan Monarchs, from their sight: Poems I heeded (now be-rym’d so long) 221 No more than thou,greatGeorge! a birth-day song. I ne'er with wits or witlings pass’d my days, To spread about the itch of verse and praise;

NOTE s. coherent as in this before us, it cannot fail of being the object of a malignant pleasantry.

VER. 214. Who would not weep, if Atticus were he! ] But when we come to know it belongs to Atticus, i. e. to one whose more obvious qualities had before gained our love or esteem; then friendship, in spite of ridicule, will make a separation: our old impressions get the better of our new, or, at least, suffer themselves to be no further impaired than by the admission of a mixture of pity and concern.

Ibid. ATTICUS] It was a great fallhood, which some of the Libels reported, that this Character was written after the Gentleman's death; which see refuted in the Testimonies prefixed to the Dunciad. But the occasion of writing it was such as he would not make public out of regard to his memory: and all that could further be done was to omit the name, in the Edition of his Works.

Ver. 216. claps, in capitals 7 The bills of Quack-Doctors and Quack-Booksellers being usually pasted together on the same posts.

Ver. 218. On wings of winds came flying all abroad?] Hopkins, in the civil Psalm.

« ZurückWeiter »