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Manner of your Favourite Rochefoucault, than irr Verse:* And this when nothing more is done butmarking the Repetitions in the Margin, will be an easy Task for yourself to proceed upon, notwithstanding the bad Memory you complain of.
/ am unjeignedly, dear Sir,
In Compliance with his Request, Mr. Pope, as you have seal, began to look them over, and as there was great Room for Amendment, to blot and interline, and sometimes almost new make Parts of the Performances. He was much complimented by Mr. IVycherley till the above Letters of Dissatisfaction came to his Hand, and one more, for Mr. Pope still continu'd to write. This last was of a very extraordinary Nature, letting him know in sew and hollow Words, that he was going out of Town: without faying where, and did not expect to hear from him till he came back. This extorted from Mr. Pope a Protestation that nothing should induce him ever to write to him again. In a Letter toMr. Cromwell he expresses himself thus:
IHope it will be' no Offence to give my most he?rty Service to Mr. Wycherley, tho' I perceive by his last to me, I am not to trouble him with my
* Mr. Wfcherley lived sive Years after, to December 171 but little Progress was made in this Design, thro' his Old Age, and the Increase of his Infirmities. However, some of the Verses which had been touched by Mr. P. with 308 of these Maxims in Prose were found among his Papers, which having the Misfortune to fall into the Hands of a Mercenary, were published in 1728, in Octrvo, under the Title of The Posthumous Works, of Willaim Wycherley, Esq;
Letters, since he there told me he was going instantly out of Town, and rill his Return was my Servant, &c. I guess by Your's he is yet with you, and beg you to do what you may with all Truth and Honour, that is, assure him I have ever born all the Respect and Kindness imaginable to him. I do not know to this Hour what it is that has estrang'd him from me; but this I know, that he may for the future be more fasely my Friend, since no Invitation of his shall ever more make me free with him. I could not have thought any Man had been so very cautious and suspicious, as not to credit his own Experience of a Friend. Indeed to believe no body, may be a Maxim of Sasety, but not so much of Honesty. There is but one Way I know of conversing fasely with all Men, that is, not by concealing what we fay or do, but by faying or doing nothing that deserves to be conceal'd, and I can truly boast this Comfort in my Affairs with Mr. Wycherley. But I pardon his Jealousy, which is become his Nature, and shall never be his Enemy, whatsoever he fays of me. Tour, &c.
Notwithstanding all this, he kept a constant Respect, and a Sort of Reverence to him, whenever spoke of he lamented the Misunderstanding between them, which wholly rose from the Jealousy, Weakness and Petulancy of Mr. Wycherley, and curs'd the Person (aThing not customary with him) whose wicked Insinuations had been the Cause of it. Upon the Death of that humorous and truly witty and natural Poet, he wrote his Friend Mr. Blount a Letter, which plainly shews his Opinion of his great Abilities, his Love of him as a good Man, and his Love of him as ene he was refolv'd always to be a. Friend to, though Age, Vexation, and the verv D 3 ill ill Usage of his next Heir had made him forward and almost too peevish to be humour'd by the best Natures, yet so very suspicious as to be open to all Whispers and Calumnies. Mr. Pope's Letter is dated 21 Jan. 1715-6.
To Edward Blount, Esq-,
I Know of nothing that will be so interesting to you at present, as some Circumstances of the last Act of that eminent Comic Poet, and our Friend, Wycherley. He had often told me, as I doubt not he did all his Acquaintance, that he would marry as soon as his Life was despair'd of. Accordingly a few Days before his Death he underwent the Ceremony: and join'd together those two Sacraments, which wise Men say should be the last we receive; for if you observe, Matrimony is plac'd after Extreme Unction in our Catechism, as a Kind of Hint of the Order of Time in which they are to be taken. The old Man then lay down, satisfied in the Conscience of having, by this one Act, paid his just Debts, oblig'd a Woman who (he was told) had Merit, and shewn an heroic Resentment of the ill Usage of his next Heir. Some Hundred Pounds which he had with the Lady, discharg'd those Debts; a Jointure of Four Hundred a Year made her a Recompence; and the Nephew he left to comfort himself, as well as he could, with the miserable Remains of a mortgaged Estate. I saw our Friend twice after this was done, less peevish in his Sickness than he used to be in his Health; neither much afraid of dying, nor (which in him had been more likely)
much asham'd of marrying. The Evening before he expir'd, he call'd his young Wise to the Bedside, and earnestly entreated her not to deny him one Request, the last he should make. Upon her Assurances of consenting to it, he told her, My Dear, it is only this; that you will never marry an old Man again. I cannot help remarking, that Sickness which often destroys both Wit and Wisdom, yet seldom has Power to remove that Talent which we call Humour. Mr. Wycherley shew'd his even isi this last Compliment, tho' I think his Request a little hard; for why mould he bar her from doubling her Jointure on the fame easy Terms.
So trivial as these Circumstances are, I should not be displeas'd myself to know siich Trifles, when they concern or characterise aily eminent Person. The wisest and wittiest of Men are seldom wiser or wittier than others in these sober Moments. At least our Friend ended much in the Character he had liv'd in, and Horace's Rule for a Play may as well be applied to him as a Playwright:
»-i—— servetur ad imum £hialis ab inceptu proeejprity & sibi conjiet.
I am, &t.
From Time to Time he shew'd himself more to the World, and brought to theLight a Sacred Poem call'd the Messiah, in Imitation of tho'much exceeding Virgil's Polio, concluding thus:
No more the rising Sun shall gild the Morn,
D 4 O'erslow
O'erflow thy Courts: The Light himself shall shine
Windsor Fore/?, a Poem address'd to my Lord Lansdown, in which is the beautiful Metamorphosis of a Nymph into the River Loddon.
Here, as old Bards have fung, Diana stray'd, Bath'd in the Springs, orsought the cooling Shade: Here arm'd with Silver Bows, in early Dawn, Her buskin'd Virgins trac'd the Dewy Lawn. Above the rest a rural Nymph was fam'd, Thy Offspring, Thames! the fair Lodana nam'd; (Lodona's Fate, in long Oblivion cast, The Muse shall sing, and what she sings shall last) Scarce could the Goddess from her Nymph be But by the Crescent and the golden Zone, [known, She scorn'd the Praise, of Beauty, and the Care, A Belt her Waste, a Fillet binds her Hair, A painted Quiver on her Shoulder sounds And with her Dart the flying Deer she wounds. Itchanc'd, as eager of the Chace, the Maid Beyond the Forest's verdant Limits stray'd, Pan faw and lov'd, and furious with Desire Pursu'd her Flight; her Flight increas'd his Fire. Not half so .swift the trembling Doves can fly, When the fierce Eagle cleaves the liquid Sky; Not half so swiftly the fierce Eagle moves, [Doves; When thro' the Clouds he drives the trembling As from the God with searful Speed she flew, As did the God with equal Speed pursue.