Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

the publishing of that Book of D s's, which

otherwise I should never have known : It has been the Occasion of making me Friends and open Abettors of several Gentlemen of known Sense and Wit; and of proving to me whatl have 'till now doubted, that my Writings are taken some Notice of by the World in general, or I should never be attack'd thus in particular. I have read that 'twas a Custom among the Romans., while a General rode in Triumph, to have common Soldiers in the Streets that rail'd at him and reproach'd him; to put him in Mind, that tho' his Services were in the Main approved and rewarded, yet he had Faults enough to keep him humble.

You will see by this, that whoever sets up for Wit in these Days ought to have the Constancy of a Primitive Christian, and be prepared to suffer Martyrdom in the Cause of it. But sure this is the first Time that a Wit was attack'd for his Religion, as you'll find I am most zealously in this Treatise: And you know, Sir, what Alarms I have had from the opposite Side on this Account. Have I not Reason to cry out with the poor Fellow in Virgil,

£>uidjam miser9 mi hi (Unique rejlai?

Cui neque apud Danaos usquam locus, & super ipfi Dardanidæ insenst pcenas cum Sanguine poscunt I

'Tis however my Happiness that you, Sir, are impartial:

?ove was alike to Latian, and to Phrygian,
or you will know that Wit's of no Religion.

The Manner in which Mr. D. takes to Pieces several particular Lines detach'd from their natural Places, may shew how easy it is for a Caviller to give a new Sense, or a new Nonsense, to any Thing. And

indeed indeed his Constructions are not more wrested from the genuine Meaning, than theirs who objected to the heterodox Parts, as they call'd 'em.

Our Friend the Abbe is not of that Sort, who, with the utmost Candour and Freedom, has modestly told me what others thought, and sliew'd himself one (as he very well expresses it) rather of a Number than a Party. The only Difference between us in Relation to the Monks, is, that he thinks most Sorts of Learning flourish'd among them, and I am of Opinion that only some Sort of Learning was barely kept alive by them: He believes, that in the most natural and obvious Sense, that Line (Asecond Deluge Learning over-run) will be understood of Learning in general; and I sancy 'twill be understood only (as 'tis meant) of polite Learning, Criticism, Poetry, i&c. which is the only Learning concern'd in the Subject of the Essay. It is true, that the Monks did preserve what Learning there was, about Nicholas the Vth's Time; but those who succeeded fell into the Depth of Barbarism, or, at least, stood at a Stay while others rose from thence, insomuch that even Erasmus and Reuchlin could hardly laugh them out of it. I -am highly obliged to the Abbe's Zeal in my Commendation, and Goodness in not concealing what he thinks my Erjor. And his testifying some Esteem for the Book, just, at a Time when his Brethren rais'd a Clamour against it, is an Instance of great Generosity and Candour, which I shall ever acknowledge.

Tour, &c.

This Letter shews that our Author knew how to conceal and defer his Resentment, 'till he had got a little more Power and Advantage over his Antagonist:

G 3 Even Even Jove must flatter with an empty Hand; 'Tis Time to thunder when we grasp the Brandt

Nay more, when Mr. Dennis publish'd his Letters samiliar, moral, and critical, by Subscription, at one Guinea a Sett, Mr, Pope became a Subscriber for two Copies, and ordering them to be left- at Mr. Congreve's, called for them, leaving the Money with him. He wrote to Mr, Dennis,

May 3, 1721.

SIR,

I Called to receive the two Books of your Letters from Mr. Congreve's, and have left with him the little Money I am in your Debt. / look upon myself to be much more so, for the Omissions you have been pleased to make in those Letters in my Favour; and sinter ely join with you in the Desire, that not the least Tra-* (is may remain of that Difference between us, which indeed I am sorry for. You may therefore believe me, without either Ceremony or Falseness,

SIR,

Tow most obedient humble Servant,

A. Pops,

This Letter haditbeenflneere, us Dennis seems to have been then, (for it was rather pf Dis-service to him than otherwise, to omit any of the Correspondence between them, both as it leflen'd the Bulk of his Book, and that every Body was curious to read any Thing about Mr. Pope.) It will appear that Traces did always remain of this Difference 'tjll .and after the Death of poor Dennis, who died in the Year 1733, and was buried at St. Martin's in the Fields. (

:! r'Mr,

Mr. Curl, the Bookseller, calk this last Letter Mr. Pope's Recantation and Submission; but if it was a Submission, it was not hearty, for there will in the Course of Mr. Pope's Life-(which consisted chiefly in Study, Writing, and the Conversation of some select Friends) be Occasion to mention Mr. Dennis under his Correction; for Mr. Dennis attack'd bin* (repenting his former Desires of Amity and Oblivionof Injuries) on his translating Homer. ".'' >•

The Ejfay being (which set a new Value on iretranslated into French Verse, occasioned a Letter from the Poet to the Translator:

Te General ******. ". / .:,. j

. j

IF I could as well express, or (if you will allow me to say it) translate the Sentiments of my Heart, as you have done those of my Head, in your excellent Version of my Essay ; I should not only appear the best Writer in the World, but what I much more desire to be thought, the most your Servant of any Man living. 'Tis an Advantage very rarely known, to receive at once a great Honour and a great Improvement: This, Sir, you have afforded me, having at the same Time made others take my Sense, and taught me to understand my own; if. I, may call that my own which is indeed more properly, your's. Your Verses are no more a Translation of mine, than Virgil's are of Homer, but are like his, the justest Imitation and the noblest Commentary.

In putting me into a French Dress, you have not only -adorned my Outside, but mended my Shape; and if I am now a good Figure, I must consider you have naturaliz'd me into a Country, which is samous for making every Man a fine Gentleman. It is by your Means, that (contrary to most young TravelG 4 lere) lers) I am come hack much hetter than I went out,

I cannot but wish we had a Bill of Commerce for Translation established the next Parliament, we could not fail of biing Gainers by that, nor of making ourselves Amends for all we have lost by the War; Nay, tho'we should insist upon the demolishing of Boileau's Works; the French, as long as they have Wrirters of your Form, might have as good an Equivalent. \ -

Upon the whole, I am really as proud, as our Ministers can be, of the Terms I have gained from AT broad; and I design, like them, to publish speedily to the World the Benefits accruing from them; for I cannot resist the Temptation of printing your admirable Translation here; to which if you will be so obliging to give me Leave to prefix your Name, it will be the only Addition you can make to the Honour already done me< '.'',-. '. i: 7 I anty Your, &c.

From this Time, after very short Appearances, the Phantom Criticks all vanished; Mr. Pope's Poetry, his Pastorals, his Rape of the Lock, his EJfay on Criticism, his Temple as Fame, Eloisa, all his Compositions were in the Hands pf every Body; both Sexes, all Ages, almost all Europe; any one would think he ought to have been contented with his Share of Fame; the weak Attacks of his Enemies augmented it, hut the Profits arising from those Writings were inconsiderable, so he thought fit to check-his Fancy, and undertake a Work of Labour, from whence he might seeure, his future Fortune, shew his Learning,: eflablish his Reputation* and comply, wish the pressing Desires of many of the Nobility.

This was the Translation of. the Iliad of Homer i

by

« ZurückWeiter »