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the couplet and without the antithesis, the following admirable stanza :

Beneath thy roof, Argyle, are bred

Such thoughts as prompt the brave to lie
Stretch'd out in honour's nobler bed,

Beneath a nobler roof-the sky.

Had Pope been able to break free from the fetters of the couplet one feels that he might have enriched our language with elegies like those of Gray.

I have dwelt chiefly on Pope's splendid gifts as a poet, but I trust my readers will not imagine that I am blind to his defects. They were many and great. Curiously enough, the greatest of all is a defect from which he is often considered to be entirely free. Pope, instead of being the most correct of poets, is one of the most slipshod as regards logic and perspicuity. He was utterly reckless as to his grammar. If by sacrificing it he could get a striking phrase, a poignant antithesis, or a pleasant metrical fall into his line, he made the sacrifice without compunction. There are hundreds of Pope's sentences which absolutely defy analysis and where the sense can only be obtained by making a shot at it. But though I feel bound to notice this defect, I do not desire to dwell

upon it.

If we strike the balance, how immensely great are the benefits which Pope has conferred on all true lovers of poetry! If he cannot be called the greatest of English satirical and didactic poets, it is only because he was not the first. That first is Dryden. But to be reckoned as second to such a poet as Dryden is indeed to win the palm of glory. As long as our literature lasts, and as long as men desire true poetry, so long will the verse of Pope be loved and honoured.

But I must not stop here. I want to end as I began with Pope's treatment of the eternal feminine. And I have kept back for this purpose the exquisite passage in which he makes amends in one glorious compliment to the whole sex for all the disagreeable things he had said of individual women and special types of women.

Before I quote this passage let me say, however, that to me, at any rate, its opening lines contain the essential fallacy in regard to the whole question of sex, the fallacy that woman is after all only a man in petticoats, with rather less strong legs and arms. I, at any rate, am one of those who hold that there is no possible comparison between men and women, and that it is only in superficial


things that they are alike. In fundamentals and essentials they are and always must be different.

But this indeed Pope himself admits in the last quatrain of the verses which depict with the utmost brilliancy and penetration the ideal woman :

And yet, believe me, good as well as ill,
Woman's at best a contradiction still.
Heaven, when it strives to polish all it can
Its last best work, but forms a softer man ;
Picks from each sex to make the favourite blest,
Your love of pleasure, our desire of rest;
Blends, in exception to all general rules,
Your taste of follies with our scorn of fools ;
Reserve with frankness, art with truth allied,
Courage with softness, modesty with pride ;
Fix'd principles with fancy ever new :
Shakes all together, and produces--you !




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Day was only just breaking when Postman Candy set forth on his morning round, and many of the villagers were not yet astir. In a few houses the flickering light of a freshly kindled wood fire betokened that some housewife was afoot, preparing the 'dewbit which husband or son would partake of before making his way to fields that in this mild south-country February were covered with a dim sheen of moisture. The postman had already disposed of a meal more ample than the 'dewbit,' for his round was to be a long one, and he would only return at dinner-time. He had prepared it himself, inefficiently enough with the aid of a small, evil-smelling oil stove. A neighbour would come in presently to straighten up the house and get ready his midday repast ; and then he would rest a bit, and dig in his patch of garden, until the hour came when he must start on his evening peregrinations. It was a simple life enough, and a lonely one ; since his old mother had 'shifted to the New House,' or in other words departed to the next world, he had led a seemingly comfortless existence. Yet Postman Candy was apparently content, and, when well-meaning friends counselled marriage, replied that as he had got along without a wife till his present mature age it ‘mid seem a bit risky to start looking for one now.' He knew when he was well off,' he stated, and he did not know how things mid be if he were to make experiments at that time o’day'-an opinion in which Mrs. Adlem, the neighbour who did for him 'cordially agreed.

Leaving the little hamlet known for many generations as the * New Town' behind, and trudging manfully along the slushy high road, Candy had, for some half hour or so, the country to himself. On either side of the leafless hedges stretched silvery pasture-land, or newly ploughed fields, a few sleepy rooks already at work in the latter, while the former were tenantless, the herds having been gathered in to shed and byre, for milking is done early in Dorset-frequently before daylight. Now and then, indeed

the distant call of Who-ope, who-ope !' signified that some energetic dairy.'chap' was preparing to drive his recently despoiled charges forth again. Birds were busy in the hedges, making their toilet for the day, with much twittering, and small rustlings and flutterings.

As the sun climbed above the horizon the postman looked about him, with the quietly observant air of a man accustomed to take note of slight events.

The willow saplings had already turned ruddy, and tiny downy catkins were beginning to escape from their enfolding wrappings. A missel-thrush was singing lustily in the boughs of an elm which overhung the road.

‘Spring 'll be here before we know where we are,' said Postman Candy, stating the fact with a surprised air. It was not yet ten days since the last snow had melted, the rare snow which comes so seldom to Dorset that the inhabitants of that favoured county are apt to feel themselves aggrieved at even a chance visit; and here was the grass springing up anew by the wayside, while the bank beneath the willows was thickly strewn with celandines.

He continued to reflect on the mutability of things here below, particularly the weather, until he reached Chudbury Marshall, a village through which he frequently passed without delivering a single letter, but where, on this particular day he was bound to unburden himself of no less than three : one for the vicarage, one for Mr. Digwell, who kept 'The Red Cow Inn,' and a postcard for Miss Florence Inkpen-a picture postcard with a few lines scrawled in an unformed hand, and a row of crosses in the corner.

Susan Boyt, Miss Florence's aunt, was kneeling by the doorstep, scrubbing it with might and main, when the postman paused beside her. She was a middle-aged woman, with a round goodhumoured face, framed by bunches of old-fashioned ringlets. She wore a print gown, and a big apron, and was working with so much vigour that, even at this early hour, her face was glowing as she glanced up at Candy.

' I've brought summat for this house this morning,' remarked he, extending the postcard between his finger and thumb.

For me?' exclaimed Susan, sitting back on her heels, and stretching out a plump hand eagerly.

Nay, nay,' rejoined Candy. “'Tis for one of the young unsfrom a sweetheart I d' 'low-got such a lot of kisses on it as never was !!

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'I was only joking when I axed if 'twas for me,' explained Susan, hastily, though her face fell.

'I don't think I did ever bring you a letter, did I, Miss Boyt ? ' queried the postman, smiling.

No, that ye didn't. I'd be jist about set up if you was to bring me one,' returned Susan, with a rueful laugh ; 'there, I d’’low, I never had a letter in my life, and never will.'

With that she dropped forward again, and resumed her scrubbing. Postman Candy was not a man who ever hurried himself, and on this occasion he was so much tickled by Susan Boyt's confession that he remained to converse a little longer on the subject.

"You've never had a letter in your life?' he repeated, in a tone of amusement. There, now, I can scarce believe that.' “Tis true, though, rejoined Susan, squatting back on her

' heels again. “Why, who'd write to me?' she inquired innocently.

'Haven't you got no friends, beside them what lives in this 'ere village ? ' asked Candy.

Susan meditatively scratched her elbow with her disengaged hand before replying :

Well, I suppose I mid have friends same as another, but they don't ever seem to write to me, d'ye şee. They do write to my sister, or else to one of the young maids. Oh, Florrie and Mabel gets plenty o' letters, but-no, I can't call to mind as ever anyone has thought of writin' to me.'

Dear, to be sure, woman, you don't mean to tell I as you don't never get so much as a Christmas card ?'

“E-es, I do get Christmas cards now and again,' returned Susan, 'but folks wouldn't be like to put theirselves to the trouble of sending them by post. They jist step across the road wi' them. When I do get a Christmas card,' she added, after a moment's further reflection, ''tis generally from one o' my nieces. I do often laugh to myself, postman-they don't think much o'me here, ye know, and I do hear them sayin': “Here, that'll do for aunty and it's generally one what's got a bit soiled, ye know, or broke at the carners.'

'Well, I do think that's a shame,' exclaimed the postman warmly. “Where'd they all be without ye, I'd like to know? 'Tis you what does most of the work of the house, bain't it?'

' 'Tis, sure,' admitted Susan. “My sister is but delicate, ye see, and the maids—well, they're young still. Mabel do give me a hand now and then, 'e-es, Mabel's a good


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Mabel now,

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