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How did they fume, and stamp, and roar, and chafe! And swear, not Addison himself was safe.
Peace to all such! but were there One whose fires True Genius kindles, and fair Fame inspires ;
Ver. 192. And swear, not ADDISON himself was safe.] This is an artful preparative for the following transitions, and finely obviates what might be thought unfavourable of the severity of the satire, by those who were strangers to the provocation. W.
Ver. 193. but were there One whose fires, &c.] Our Poet's friendship with Mr. Addison began in the year 1713. It was cultivated on both sides with all the marks of mutual esteem and affection, and a constant intercourse of good offices. Mr. Addison was always commending moderation; warned his friend against a blind attachment to party; and blamed Steele for his indiscreet zeal. The translation of the Iliad being now on foot, he recommended it to the public, and joined with the Tories in pushing the subscription; but at the same time advised Mr. Pope not to be content with the applause of one half of the nation. On the other hand, Mr. Pope made his friend's interest his own, (see note on Ver. 215. Ep. I. B. ii. of Hor.) and, when Dennis so brutally attacked the Tragedy of Cato, he wrote the piece called A Narrative of his Madness.
Thus things continued till Mr. Pope's growing reputation, and superior genius in Poetry, gave umbrage to his friend's false delicacy: and then it was he encouraged Philips and others (see his Letters) in their clamours against him as a Tory and Jacobite, who had assisted in writing the Examiners; and, under an affected care for the Government, would have hid, even from himself, the true grounds of his disgust. But his jealousy soon broke out, and discovered itself, first to Mr. Pope, and, not long after, to all the world. The Rape of the Lock had been written in a very hasty manner, and printed in a collection of Miscellanies. The success it met with encouraged the Author to revise and enlarge it, and give it a more important air ; which was done by advancing it into a mock-epic poem. In order to this it was to have its Machinery; which, by the happiest invention, he took from the Rosicrucian System. Full of this noble conception, he communicated his scheme to Mr. Addison, who, he imagined, would have been equally delighted with the improvement. On the conBlest with each talent and each art to please, 195 And born to write, converse, and live with ease:
trary, he had the mortification to see his friend receive it coldly; and even to advise him against any alteration; for that the poem, in its original state, was a delicious little thing, and, as he expressed it, merum sal. Mr. Pope was shocked for his friend; and then first began to open his eyes to his Character.
Soon after this, a translation of the first book of the Iliad appeared under the name of Mr. Tickell; which coming out at a critical juncture, when Mr. Pope was in the midst of his engagements on the same subject, and by a creature of Mr. Addison's, made him suspect this to be another shaft from the same quiver : And after a diligent inquiry, and laying many odd circumstances together, he was fully convinced that it was not only published with Mr. Addison's participation, but was indeed his own performance. And Sir R. Steele, in the ninth Edition of the Drummer (which Tickell had omitted to insert amongst Addison's Works) in a long epistle to Congreve, affirms very intelligibly, that Addison, and not Tickell, was the translator of the first book of the Iliad to which the latter had set his name. Mr. Pope, in his first resentment of this usage, was resolved to expose this new Version in a severe critique upon it. I have now by me the Copy he had marked for this purpose; in which he has classed the several faults in translation, language, and numbers, under their proper heads. But the growing splendour of his own works so eclipsed the faint efforts of this opposition, that he trusted to its own weakness and malignity for the justice due unto it. About this time, Mr. Addison's son-in-law, the E. of Warwick, told Mr. Pope, that it was in vain to think of being well with his Father, who was naturally a jealous man; that Mr. Pope's talents in poetry had hurt him; and to such a degree, that he had underhand encouraged Gildon to write a thing about Wycherley ; in which he had scurrilously abused Mr. Pope and his family; and for this service he had given Gildon ten guineas, after the pamphlet was printed. The very next day, Mr. Pope, in great heat, wrote Mr. Addison a Letter, wherein he told him, he was no stranger to his behaviour; which, however, he should not imitate : but that what he thought faulty in him, he would tell him fairly to his face: and what deserved praise he would not deny him to the world; and, as a proof of this disposition
Should such a man, too fond to rule alone,
towards him, he had sent him the enclosed; which was the CHARACTER, first published separately, and afterward inserted in this place of the Epist. to Dr. Arbuthnot. This plain dealing had no ill effect. Mr. Addison treated Mr. Pope with civility, and, as Mr. Pope believed, with justice, from this time to his death ; which happened about three years after.
It appears, from a collection of Swift's Letters lately pub: lished, that Mr. Addison, when party was at its height, used Swift much better than he had used Pope, on that account, though he had been more roughly treated by Swift than Pope's nature would suffer him to treat any one.
But the reason is plain. Swift was Addison's rival only in politics : Pope was his rival in poetry; an opposition less tolerable, as more personal. However, Addison's social talents, in the entertainment and enjoyment of his intimate friends, charmed both Pope and Swift alike; as a quality far superior to any thing that was to be found any other man.
W. Ver. 193. but were there One whose fires, &c.] The strokes in this Character are highly finished. Atterbury so well understood the force of them, that, in one of his letters to Mr. Pope,
“Since you now know where your Strength lies, I hope you will not suffer that talent to lie unemployed." He did not; and, by that means, brought satiric poetry to its perfection. W.
Ver. 198. Bear, like the Turk,] This is from Bacon de Aug. Scient. lib. 3.
p. 180. And the thought was also used by Ld. Orrery, and by Denham.
Dreading ev'n Fools, by Flatterers besieg'd,
After Ver. 208 in the MS.
Who, if two Wits on rival themes contest,
Approves of each, but likes the worst the best. Alluding to Mr. P.'s and Tickell's Translation of the first Book of the Iliad.
Ver. 209. Like Cato, give] In the second volume of the Biographia Britannica is a vindication of Addison, by a writer, who, to a consummate knowledge of the laws and history of his country, added a most exquisite taste in literature, I mean Sir William Blackstone ; who thus concludes this vindication : “ Nothing surely could justify so deep a resentment, unless the story be true of the commerce between Addison and Gildon; which will require to be very fully proved, before it can be believed of a gentleman who was so amiable in his moral character, and who in his own case) had two years before expressly disapproved of a personal abuse of Mr. Dennis. The person, indeed, from whom Mr. Pope seems to have received this anecdote, about the time of his writing the character (viz. about July 1715), was no other than the Earl of Warwick, son-in-law to Mr. Addison himself; and the something about Wycherley (in which the story supposes that Addison hired Gildon to abuse Pope and his family) is explained by a note on the Dunciad, to mean a pamphlet containing Mr. Wycherley's Life. Now it happens, that in July 1715, the Earl of Warwick (who died at the age of twenty-three, in August 1721) was only a boy of seventeen, and not likely to be intrusted with such a secret, by a statesman between forty and fifty, with whom it does not appear he was any way connected or acquainted; for Mr. Addison was not married to his mother, the Countess of Warwick, till the following year 1716: nor would Gildon have been employed in July 1715 to write Mr. Wycherley's Life, who lived till the December following. As therefore so many inconsistencies are evident in the story itself, which never found its way into print till near sixty years after it is said to have happened, it will be no breach of charity to sup
While Wits and Templars ev'ry sentence raise,
pose that the whole of it was founded on some misapprehension in either Mr. Pope or the Earl; and unless better proof can be given, we shall readily acquit Mr. Addison of this most odious part of the charge."
I beg leave to add, that as to the other accusation, Dr. Young, Lord Bathurst, Mr. Harte, and Lord Lyttleton, each of them assured me that Addison himself certainly translated the first Book of Homer.
An able vindication of Addison was written by Mr. Jeremiah Markland, then a young man, and afterward the celebrated Critic. Both were printed together, by Curll, so early as 1717. And perhaps this circumstance may furnish a clue to what has been so ably discussed by Judge Blackstone, in the “ Biographia Britannica,” under the article Addison. The epistle to Arbuthnot was not published till January 1735; that to Augustus, with some others, appeared in 1738.—“I have seen Mr. Pope's best performances, and find that he pleases the town most when he is most out of humour with the court. He has made very free with his gracious majesty, in the Epistle to Augustus. But he had lost his favourite bill; even my Lord Harvey had carried a point against him; and while he is angry, he will never be idle. In this last Epistle he seems to have recanted all he had before said of Addison,” viz.
"(Excuse some courtly stains)
No whiter page than Addison remains," &c. From a manuscript letter of Mr. Clarke, who wrote on Ancient Coins, to his learned printer and friend Mr. Bowyer ; July 6, 1738.
Ver. 214. Who would not weep, if Atticus were he ?] But when we come to know it belongs to Atticus, i. e. to one whose more obvious qualities had before engaged our love or esteem, then friendship, in spite of ridicule, will make a separation ; our old impressions will get the better of our new; or, at least, suffer themselves to be no farther impaired than by the admission of a mixture of pity and concern. W.