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been most abominable, and had rendered Homer the most impertinent of all Writers. Thu s far the combined Writers of the Popiad.
But Mr. Pope, in his Preface, not speaking of Madam Dacier, that very learned French Lady, with so much Regard as she thought her Due, drew on him a little of her Resentment; for she expected a Compliment from him, for the Light flic had given him into Homer, by her fine French Translation and Criticism; endeavouring not to appear angry, she, much exceeding our Englijh Criticks, makes him sensible of some Mistakes in his Judgment, concerning the Greek Poet, and his immortal Iliad.
UPON the finishing (fays she) of the second Edition of my Translation of Homer, a particular Friend sent me a Translation of Part of Mr. Pope's Preface to his Version of the Iliad. As I do not understand Englijh, I cannot form any Judgment of his Performance, though I have heard much of it. I am indeed willing to believe, that the Praises it has met with are not unmerited, because whatever Work is approved by the Englifl) Nation, cannot be bad; but yet I hope I may be permitted to judge of that Part of the Preface which has been transmitted to me, and I here take the Liberty of giving my Sentiments thereon. I must freely acknowledge, that Mr. Pope's Invention is very lively, though lie seems to have been guilty of the fame Fault into which he owns we are often precipitated by our Invention, when we depend too much upon the Strength of it: As Magnanimity, fays he, may run up to Confusion and Extravagance, so may great Invention to Redundancy and Wildness. - .'. .. . - .
This has been the very Case of Mr. Pope himself; nothing is more over-strained or more false than the Images in which his Fancy has represented Homer;
sometimes sometimes he tells us, that the Iliad is a wild Paradise, whereif we cannot see all the Beauties, as inan order'd . Garden, it is only because the Number of them is infinitely greater. Sometimes he compares him to a copious Nursery, which contain the Seeds and first Productions of every Kind; and lastly, he represents him under the Notion of a mighty Tree, which rises from the most vigorous Seed, is improved with Industry, flourishes and produces the finest Fruit, but bears too many Branches, which might be lopped into Form, to give it a more regular Appearance.
What! Is Homer's Poem then, according to Mr. Pope, a confused Heap of Beauties, without Order or Symmetry, and a Plat whereon nothing but Seeds, nor nothing persect or formed is to be found; and a Production loaded with many unprofitable Things, which ought to be retrenched, and which choak or disfigure those which deserve to be preserved I
The most inveterate Enemies to Homer, never" faid any Thing more injurious, or unjust, against that Poet.
As I have desended him, with pretty good Success, against the Cavils of so many ignorant Censors, who have condemned him because they did not understand him. I find myself again obliged to desend him againstone of greater Penetration, and may therefore do him more Injury in the Minds of unlearned Readers, tho' at the fame Time he pretends to have a great Veneration for him.
Mr. Pope will pardon me then if I here oppose these three Comparisons, which to me appear very salse, and entirely -contrary to what the greatest ancient and modern Criticks, ever thought.
To the Point then, the Iliad is so far from being a Wild Paradise, that 'tis the most regular Garden, and laid out With more Symmetry than any ever was.
Monsieur Monsieur le Nojlre, who was the first Man of the World in his Art, never observed in his Gardens a. more persect or more admirable Symmetry than Homer has observ'd in his Poems. Every Thing therein is not only in the Place it ought to have, but every Thing is made for the Place it hath. He presents you at first with that which ought to be first seen, he places in the Middle what ought to be in the Middle, and what would improperly be at the Beginning or End, and he removes what ought to be at a greater Distance, to create the more agreeable Surprize } and, to use a Comparison drawn from Painting, he places that in the greatest Light which cannot be too visible, and sinks, in the Obscurity of the Shade, what does not require a full View; so that it may be faid, that Homer is the Painter who best knew how to employ the Shades and Lights, and it was this wonderfully beauteous Order which Horace admired in his Poems, and on which he founded his Rules for the persecting of the Art of Poetry.
The second Comparison is as unjust: How could Mr. Pope fay, " that one can only discover Seeds "and the first Productions of every Kind in the "Iliad." Every Beauty is therein to so great a Persection, that the following Ages could add nothing to those of any Kind; and the Antients have always proposed Homer as the most persect Model in all Kinds of Poetry.
The third Comparison is composed of the Errors of the two former; Homer had certainly an incomparable Fertility of Invention, but his Fertility is always check'd by that just Sense, which made him reject every superfluous Thing which his vast Imagination could offer him, to retain only what was useful or necessary. Judgment guided the Hand of this admirable Gardiner, and was the Pruning Hook he
employ'*! employed to lop off every useless Branch; he- has done what Horace directs,
lnutilesque falce ramos amputans Feliciores inserts.
Mr. Pope had done us a great Piece of Service, if he had pointed out the useless Branches that ought to be lopp'd off from this Tree. The Symmetry which ought to be given to that wild Garden to render it more regular, and the Perfection which is wanting to the several Beauties, he fays Homes has only sketched out; it would be very happy for the present Age, and glorious to England, to have produced so persect a Critick.
x Now I have desended Homer, I must also defend myself against a Criticism he has made upon a Part of my Preface; where speaking of the Manners of Homer's Heroes, so like those of the Patriarchs, I have faid, I find these antient Times so much the finer, as they the less resemble our own. Upon this, Mr. Pope exclaims, who can be so prejudiced in their. Favour as to magnify their Felicity, when a Spirit of Revenge and Cruelty reigned through the World, when no Mercy was shewn but for the Sake of Lucre, when the greatest Princes wereput to the Sword,, and their Wives and Daughters made Slaves and Concubines? Mr. Pope sure mistook me!
When I faid so, could I mean that the Manners of these heroical Times were persect and without fault! Were they so in more happy Times! Were there no Tokens then of Cruelty or Revenge! Were there no Captives made! Were there no Kings put to the Sword! Were there no Concubines seen amongst them! And since the Christian Religion has taught a more persect Morality, was there never a Spirit of Revenge and Cruelty seen among Christians! Do they make no more Prisoners of War 1 And do
VOL. I. R they not redeem them! Was there never a Concubine, and something worse, seen among them! Did all these Vices, which Mr. Pope blames these antient Times for, hinder Nature from being then very plain, far from the Luxury, Pomp, and Effeminacy which have corrupted the following Ages! Are not these Manners of Homer's Heroes very like those of the Patriarchs, and very unlike those of our own Time! I might then fay, that those Times and Manners seemed so much the more excellent to me, as they less resemble those of our own. Durst Mr. Pcpe himself preser the Manners of the present Age to those of the antient Times! No, without Doubt; for six Lines after he embraces my Opinion, which he had blamed: I find, fays he, a Pleasure in ob'serving the Simplicity of that Age, in Opposition to the Pomp and Luxury of the following Ages. One may then, according to his own Sense, preser those Ages of natural Simplicity to these that are corrupted with Pomp and Luxury.
I own I did not expect to find myself attacked by' Mr. Pope, in a Preface wherein I might have expected some small Token of Acknowledgment, or at least some flight Approbation; for having been so happy as to think on several Things in the Way himself does, especially on the Manners of the Antients, after I had faid' in my Preface, that Princes tended their Flocks, and Princes drew Wafer at the Spring; and brought Examples to prove this from the Holy Scriptures, and the Reman History itself, I conclude with these Words: I love to see Juno dressing herself without the Trinkets of a Toilet, or the Assistance of a Waiting-Woman; it is the fame with the HeroBs as' with the Gods, one sees neither FooMMen, nor Valefs de Chambre, norGuards about Milles, Agamemnon, &c. Hercules