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Scilicet UNI ÆQUUS VIRTUTI ATQUE EJUS AMICIS.
Quin ubi fe a vulgo et fcena in fecreta remôrant
Quidquid fum ego, quamvis
fame time, he never spoke one word of a penfion. For this offer, he was folely indebted to the Whig Minifters. In the beginning of George I. Lord Halifax, of his own motion, fent for Mr. Pope, and told him, it had often given him concern that so great a Poet had never been diftinguifhed; that he was glad it was now in his power to serve him; and, if he cared to accept of it, he should have a penfion not clogged with any engagements. Mr. Pope thanked him, and defired time to confider of it. After three months (having heard nothing further from that Lord) he wrote him a Letter to repeat his Thanks; in which he took occafion to mention the affair of the penfion with much Indifference. So the thing dropt, till Mr. Craggs came into the Ministry. The affair of the penfion was then refumed. And this Minifter, in a very frank and friendly manner, told Mr. Pope, that three hundred pounds a-year were then at his service: he had the management of the fecret fervice money, and could pay him fuch a pension without its being known, or ever coming to account. But now Mr. Pope declined the offer without hefitation: only, in return for fo friendly a proposal, he told the Secretary, that if at any time he wanted Money, he would draw upon him for 100 or zool. Which liberty, however, he did not take. Mr. Craggs more than once preffed him on this head, and urged to him the conveniency of a Chariot; which Mr. Pope was fenfible enough of: But the Precarioufnefs of that supply made him very prudently decline the thoughts of an Equipage; which it was much better never to fet up, than not properly to fupport. From Spence. WARBURTON.
VER. 125. There, my retreat] I know not whether thefe lines, fpirited and fplendid as they are, give us more pleasure than the natural picture of the great Scipio and Lælius, unbending them
I will, or perish in the gen'rous cause:
Hear this, and tremble! you, who 'scape the Laws.
TO VIRTUE ONLY and HER FRIENDS A FRIEND, The World befide may murmur, or commend. Know, all the diftant din that world can keep, Rolls o'er my Grotto, and but fooths my sleep.
There, my retreat the best Companions grace, 125 Chiefs out of war, and Statesmen out of place.
felves from their high occupations, and defcending to common. and even trifling fports: for the old commentator fays, that they lived in fuch intimacy with Lucilius, ut quodam tempore Lælio circum lectos triclinii fugienti Lucilius fuperveniens, eum obtortâ mappâ quafi percuffurus fequeretur." For this is the fact to which Horace feems to allude, rather than to what Tully mentions in the second book De Oratore, of their amufing themselves in picking up fhells and pebbles on the fea-shore.
Bolingbroke is here represented as pouring out himself to his friend in the moft free and unreserved converfations on topics the moft interesting and important But Pope was deceived: for it is afferted that the philofopher never difcovered his real principles to our Poet; who is faid, strange as it appears, not even to have been acquainted with the tenets and contents of those very efsays which were addreffed to himself, at the beginning of Bolingbroke's Philofophical Works. And it is added, that Pope was surprised, in his laft illness, when a common acquaintance informed him that his Lordship, in a late converfation, had denied the moral attributes of God. There is a remarkable paffage in a letter from Bolingbroke to Swift, dated June 1734: "I am glad you approve of his Moral Effays. They will do more good than the fermons and writings of fome, who had a mind to find great fault with them. And if the doctrines taught, hinted at, and implied in them, and the trains of confequences deducible from these doctrines, were to be difputed in profe, I think he would have no
Cum magnis vixiffe invita fatebitur ufque Invidia; et fragili quærens illidere dentem,
reafon to apprehend either the free-thinkers on one hand, or the narrow dogmatists on the other. Some few things may be expressed a little hardly; but none are, I believe, unintelligible." With refpect to the doctrines in the Effay on Man, I shall here infert an anecdote copied exactly from the papers of Mr. Spence in the words of Pope himfelf: " In the moral poem, I had written an address to our Saviour, imitated from Lucretius's compliments to Epicurus, but omitted it by the advice of Dean Berkley. One of our priests, who are more narrow than your's, made a lefs fenfible objection to the Epiftle on Happiness. He was very angry that there was nothing faid in it of our eternal happiness hereafter; though my subject was exprefsly to treat only of the ftate of man here."
If Bolingbroke concealed his real opinions from Pope, yet furely he speaks out plainly and loudly to Swift in one of his let ters, and openly tells him he difmiffes from his creed the belief of a future ftate, as fuperfluous, and unneceffary to be called in to vindicate the general plan of Providence.
"Does Pope talk to you of the noble work which, at my ftigation, he has begun in such a manner that he must be convinced by this time I judged better of his talents than he did. The first Epiftle, which confiders Man relatively to the whole fyftem of universal Being: The fecond, which confiders him in his own habitation, in himself: And the third, which fhews how an univerfal caufe works to one end, but works by various laws: how man, and beast, and vegetable, are linked in a mutual dependency; parts neceffary to each other, and neceffary to the whole : how human focieties were formed: from what spring true religion and true policy are derived: how God has made our greatest interefts and our plaineft duty indivifibly the fame: Thefe three Epiftles, I fay, are finished. The fourth he is now intent upon. It is a noble fubject: he pleads the caufe of God. I ufe Seneca's expreffion against that famous charge which atheists in all ages have brought the fuppofed unequal difpenfations of Providence ; a charge which I cannot heartily forgive your divines for admitting. You admit it, indeed, for an extreme good purpofe, and
There ST. JOHN mingles with my friendly bowl
Envy must own, I live among the Great,
you build on this admiffion the neceffity of a future flate of rewards and punishments; but if you fhould find that this future flate will not account for God's justice in the present state, which you give up, in oppofition to the atheift, would it not have been better to defend God's juftice in this world, against thefe daring men, by irrefragable reafons, and to have refted the other point on revelation? I do not like conceffions made against demonstration, repair or fupply them how you will. The Epiftles I have mentioned will compofe a first book: the plan of the fecond is fettled. You will not underland by what I have faid, that Pope will go fo deep into the argument, or carry it fo far as I have hinted." WARTON:
VER. 129. And HE, whofe lightning, &c.] Charles Mordaunt Earl of Peterborow, who in the year 1705 took Barcelona, and in the winter following, with only 280 horfe and 90 foot, enterprifed and accomplished the Conqueft of Valentia. POPE.
"Tu le romprois toutes les dents,
VER. 133. Envy must own,] Pope has omitted an elegant allufion. Horace feems to have been particularly fond of thofe exquifite morfels of wit and genius, the old fopic fables. He frequently alludes to them, but always with a brevity very different from our modern writers of fable. Even the natural La Fontaine has added a quaint and witty thought to this very fable. The File fays to the Viper, Fab. 93.
T. 'Equidem nihil hinc diffingere poffum. Sed tamen ut monitus caveas, ne forte negotî Incutiat tibi quid fanctarum infcitia legum :
Si mala condiderit in quem quis carmina, jus eft Judiciumque."
H. Efto, fiquis mala. fed bona fi quis Judice condiderit laudatus CÆSARE? fi quis
* nifi quid tu, docte Trebati,
VER. 13. With eyes that pry not,] Pope triumphs and felicitates himself upon having lived with the Great, without defcending into one of those characters which he thinks it unavoidable to efcape in fuch a fituation. From the generofity and openness of Horace's character, I think he might be pronounced equally free (at least trom the laft) of these imputations. There must have been fomething uncommonly captivating in the temper and manners of Horace, that could have made Augustus so fond of him, though he had been fo avowed an enemy, and ferved under Brutus. I have feen fome manufcript letters of Shaftesbury, in which he has ranged, in three different claffes, the Ethical writings of Horace, according to the different periods of his life in which he fuppofes them to have been written. The firft, during the time he profeffed the Stoic philofophy, and was a friend of Brutus. The fecond, after he became diffolute and debauched at the court of Auguftus. The third, when he repented of this abandoned Epicurean life, wifhed to retire from the city and court, and become a private man and a philofopher. I have read a poem, which may one day fee the light, in which Horace is reprefented as meeting Brutus in Elyfium, who will not deign to hold any converfation with our Court-poet, but turns away from him with the fullen filence and haughty difdain with which Ajax treats Ulyffes in the Odyffey.