« ZurückWeiter »
The encouragement given to this translation, That strew'd with warriors dead the Phrygian plain,
Heroes though report seems to have overrated it, was such as the world has not often seen. The subscribers
And peopled the dark hell with heroes slain;
fill'd the shady hell with chiefs untimely were five hundred and seventy-five. The copies, for which subscriptions were given, were six hun- Whose limbs, unburied on the naked shore, dred and fifty-four; and only six hundred and sixty Devouring dogs and hungry vultures tore, were printed. For these copies Pope had nothing Since great Achilles and Atrides strove; to pay; he therefore received, including the two Such was the sovereign doom, and such the will of Jove. hundred pounds a volume, five thousand three hun
Whose limbs, unburied on the hostile shore, dred and twenty pounds four shillings without de
Devouring dogs and greedy vultures tore, duction, as the books were supplied by Lintot. Since first Atrides and Achilles strove;
By the success of his subscription Pope was re Such was the sovereign doom, and such the will of Jove lieved from those pecuniary distresses with which, notwithstanding his popularity, he had hithertó Declare, o Muse, in what ill-fated hour struggled. Lord Oxford had often lamented his Sprung the fierco strife, from what offended Power ?
Lalona's son a dire contagion spread, disqualification for public employment, but never
And heap' the camp with mountains of the dead; proposed a pension. While the translation of . Ho- The King of men his reverend priest defy'd, mer was in its progress, Mr. Craggs, then secre- And for the King's offence the people dy'd. tary of state, offered to procure him a pension, which, at least during his ministry, might be en Declare, O Goddess, what offended Power joyed with secrecy. This was not accepted by
Enflamed their rage, in that ill-omen'd hour;
anger tatal, hapless Pope, who told him, however, that if he should be
Phæbus limself the dire debate procured, pressed with want of money, he would send to him
fierce for occasional supplies. Craggs was not long in T'avenge the wrongs his injured pricst endured ; power, and was never solicited for money by Pope, For this the God a diro infection spread, who disdained to beg what he did not want.
And heap'd the camp with millions of the dead: With the product of this subscription, which he The King of Men the Sacred Sire defy'd, had too much discretion to squander, he secured his
And for the King's offence the people dy'd.
By these he begs, and, lowly bending down
For Chryses sought by presents to regain
costly gifts to gain which the world has ever seen; and its publication Jlis captive daughter from the Victor's chain: must therefore be considered as one of the great Suppliant the venerable Father stands, events in the annals of Learning.
Apollo's awful ensigos grac'd bis hands. To those who have skill to estimate the excel By these he begy, and lowly bending down lence and ditliculty of this great work, it must be
The golden sceptre, and the laurel crown, very desirable to know how it was performed, and
Presents the sceptre by what gradations it advanced to correctness. Of
For these are ensigns of his God he bare,
The God that sends his goulent shafts afar; such an intellectual process the knowledge has very Then low on earth, the venerable man, rarely been attainable; but happily there remains
Supphant before the brother kings began. the original copy of the “Iliad,' which, being obtained by Bolingbroke as a curiosity, descended He sued to all, but chief implor'd for grace, from him to Mallet, and is now, by the solicitation
The brother kings of Atreus' royal race:
Ye kings and warriors, may your vows be crown'd, of the late Dr. Maty, reposited in the Museum.
And Troy's proud walls lie level with the ground: Between this manuscript, which is written upon May Jove restore you, when your toils are o'er, accidental fragments of paper, and the printed edi-safo to the pleasures of your native shore. tion, there must have been an intermediate copy, that was perhaps destroyed as it returned from the
To all he sued, but chief implored for grace,
The brother kings of Atreus' royal race: press. From the first copy I have procured a few trans
Ye sons of trous, may your vows be crown'd,
Kings and warriors cripts, and shall exhibit first the printed lines; then
Your lavours, by the Gods be all your labours those of the manuscripts, with all their variations. crown'd; Those words which are given in Italics, are can So may the Gods your arms with conquest bless, celled in the copy, and the words placed under And Troy's proud wall lie level with the ground them adopted in their stead.
laid The beginning of the first book stands thus: And crown your labours with deserved success ;
May Jove restore you, when your toils are o'er
Safu to the pleasures of your native shore.
And give Chryseis to thero arms again;
If mercy fail, yet let my present move, The stern Pelides' rage 0 Goddess, sing,
And dread avenging Phæbus, son of Jove.
But oh! rolicve a hapless parent's pain,
And give nuy daughter to theso arus again:
Receive my gifts : if mercy fails, yet let my present High on his helm celestial lightnings play,
This beamy shield emits a living ray;
Th' unwearied blaze incessant stream supplies, avenging Phæbus, sou of Jove.
Like the red star that fires th' autumnal skies. The Greeks, in shouts, their joint assent declare
But Pallas now Tydides' soul inspires, The priest to reverence, and release the fair.
Fills with her rage, and warms with all her fires; Not so Atrides; be with kingly pride,
force, Repaised the sacred Sire, and thus reply'd.
O'er all the Greeks decrees his fame to raise,
Above the Greeks her warrior's fame to raise, He said, the Greeks their joint assent declare,
his deathless The father said, the gen'rous Greeks relent, 'T" accept the ransom, and release the fair,
And crown her hero with immortal praise :
Bright from his beamy crest the lightnings play,
From his broad buckler flash'd the living ray; Repulsed the sacred Sire, and thus reply'd. (Not so the tyrant. DRYDEN.)
High on his helm colestial lightnings play,
His beamy shield emits a living ray; Of these lines, and of the whole first book, I am
The Goddess with her breath the flame supplies, told that there was a former copy, more varied,
Bright as the star whose fires in Autumn rise;
Her breath divine tbick streaming flames supplies, and more deformed with interlineations.
Bright as the star that fires th' autumnal skies : The beginning of the second book varies very Th’ unwearied blaze incessant streams supplies, little from the printed page, and is therefore set Like the red star that fires th' autumnal skies. down without a parallel; the few differences do not require to be elaborately displayed.
When first he rears his radiant orb to sight,
And, bath'd in Ocean shoots a keener light. Now pleasing sleep had scald each mortal eye ;
Such glories Pallas on the chief bestow'd, Stretch'd in their lents the Grecian leaders lie;
Such from his arins the fierce effulgence flow'd; Th'Immortals slamber'd on their thrones above,
Onward she drives him, furious to engage, All but the ever-watchful eye of Jove.
Where the fight burns, and where the thickest rage. To booonr Thetis' son he bends his care, And plunge the Greeks in all the woes of war.
When fresh he rears his radiant orb to sight, Theo bids an empty phantom rise to sight,
And gilds old Ocean with a blaze of light. And thus commands the vision of the night:
Bright as the star that fires th' autumnal skies, directs
Fresh from the deep, and gilds the seas and skies, Ply bence, delusive dream, and, light as air,
Such glories Pallas on her chief bestow'd, To Agamemnon's royal tent repair;
Such sparkling rays from his bright armour flow'd; Bid him in arms draw forth th' embattled train,
Such from his arms the fierce effulgence flow'd; March all his legions to the dusty plain.
Onward she drives him headlong to engage,
furious Nuæ tell the King 'ris given him to destroy Declare even now
Where the war bleeds, and where the fiercest rage. The lofty walls of wide extended Troy;
The gons of Dares first the combat sought, Por now no more the Gods with Fate contend;
A wealthy priest, but rich without a fault; At Jano's suit the heavenly factions end.
In Vulcan's fane the father's days were led, Destruction hovers o'er yon devoted wall,
The sons to toils of glorious battle bred; hangs And nodding Ilium waits th' impending fall.
There lived a Trojan---Dares was his name,
The priest of Vulcan, rich, yet void of blame; Invocation to the catalogue of Ships.
The sons of Dares first the combat sought, Say, Virgins, seated round the throne divine,
A wealthy priest, but rich without a fault. Al-knowing Goddesses ! immortal nine !
CONCLUSION OF BOOK VIII. v. 687. Since Earth's wide regions, Heaven's unmeasured height, As when the moon, refulgent lamp of night, And Hell's abyss, hide nothing from your sight,
O'er heaven's clear azure spreads her sacred light, (We, wretched mortals! lost in doubts below,
When not a breath disturbs the deep serene, Bet guess by rumour, and but boast we know)
And not a cloud o'ercasts the solemn scene; Oh! say what heroes, fired by thirst of fame,
Around her throne the vivid planets roll, Of urged by wrongs, to Troy's destruction came!
And stars unnumber'd gild the glowing pole; To count them all, demands a thousand tongues,
O'er the dark trees a yellower verdure shed, A throat of brass and adamantine lungs.
And tip with silver every mountain's head;
Then shine the vales, the rocks in prospect rise, Now, Virgin Goddesses, immortal Nine !
A food of glory bursts from all the skies; That round Olympus' beavenly summit shine, The conscious swains, rejoicing in the sight, Who see through Heaven and Earth, and Hell profound, Eye the blue vault and bless the useful light. And all things know, and all things can resound!
So many flames before proud lion blaze, Relate what armies sought the Trojan land,
And lighten glimmering Xanthus with their rays; What nations follow'd, and what chiefs command;
The long reflections of the distant fires (For doubtful fame distracts mankind below,
Gleam on the walls, and tremble on the spires. And nothing can we tell, and nothing know)
A thousand piles the dusky horrors gild,
And shoot a shady lustrc o'er the field.
Whose umber'd arms by fits thick flashes send;
Loud peigh the coursers o'er their heaps of corn,
And ardent warriors wait the rising morn.
As when in stillness of the silent night,
As when the moon in all her lustre bright;
As when the moon, refulgent lamp of night, I quite please me. Be so good as to mark the place, O'or Heaven's clear azure sheds her silver light; and consider it a little at your leisure.-I am sure pure spreads sacred
you can give it a little turn.'-I returned from As still in air the trembling lustre stood,
Lord Halifax's with Dr. Garth, in his chariot; and, And o'er its golden border shoots a flood, When no loose gale disturbs the deep serene,
as we were going along, was saying to the Doctor, not a breath
that my Lord had laid me under a great deal of And no dim cloud o'ercasts the solemn scene; difficulty by such loose and general observations: not a
that I had been thinking over the passages almost Around her silver throne the planets glow,
ever since, and could not guess at what it was that And stars unnumber'd trembling beams bestow :
offended his Lordship in either of them. Garth Around her throne the vivid planets roll,
laughed heartily at my embarrassment; said, I had And stars unnumber'd gild the glowing pole ; Clear gleams of light o'er the dark trees are seen,
not been long enough acquainted with Lord Halifax o'er the dark trees a yellow sheds,
to know his way yet; that I need not puzzle myO'er the dark trees a yellower green they shed,
self about looking those places over and over, when gleam
I got home. All you need do,' says he, 'is to verdure
leave them just as they are; call on Lord IIalifax And tip with silver all the mountain heads
two or three months hence, thank him for his kind forest
observations on those passages, and then read them And tip with silver every mountain's head,
to him as altered. I have known him much longer The valleys opon, and the forests rise, The vales
than you have, and will be answerable for the the rocks in prospect rise,
appear, Then shine the vales, the rocks in prospect riso,
event.' I followed his advice; waited on Lord All nature stands reveal'd before our eyes;
Halifax some time after; said, I hoped he would A flood of glory burst from all the skies.
find his objections to those passages removed; read The conscious shepherd, joyful at the sight,
them to him exactly as they were at first; and his Eyes the blue vault, and numbers every light. Lordship was extremely pleased with them, and The conscious swains rejoicing at the sight,
cried out, 'Ay, now they are perfectly right, shepherds gazing with delight
nothing can be better.'” Eye the blue vault, and bless the vivid ligh
It is seldom that the great or the wise suspect glorious useful
that they are despised or cheated. Halifax, thinkSo many flames before the navy blaze,
ing this a lucky opportunity of securing immortaliproud Ilion
ty, made some advances of favour and some overAnd lighten glimmering Xanthus with their rays: tures of advantage to Pope, which he seems to have Wide o'er the fields to Troy extend the gleams, received with sullen coldness. All our knowledge And tip the distant spires with fainter beams; of this transaction is derived from a single letter The long reflections of the distant fires
(Dec. 1, 1715,) in which Pope says, “I am obliged Gild the high walls, and tremble on the spires; Gleam on the walls, and tremble on the spires.
to you, both for the favours you have done me, and A thousand fires at distant stations bright,
those you intend me. I distrust neither your will Gild the dark prospect and dispel the night. nor your memory, when it is to do good; and if I
ever become troublesome or solicitous, it must not Of these specimens, every man who has culti- be out of expectation, but out of gratitude. Your vated poetry, or who delights to trace the mind Lordship may cause me to live agreeably in the from the rudeness of its first conceptions to the ele- town, or contentedly in the country, which is really gance of its last, will naturally desire a great num- all the difference I set between an easy fortune and ber; but most other readers are already tired, and a small one. It is indeed a high strain of generosiI am not writing only to poets and philosophers. ty in you to think of making me easy all my life,
The “Iliad' was published volume by volume, as only because I have been so happy as to divert you (he translation proceeded: the four first books ap- some few hours: but, if I may have leave to add, it peared in 1715. The expectation of this work was is because you think me no cnemy to my natire undoubtedly high, and every man who had con- country, there will appear a better reason; for I nected his name with criticism, or poetry, was de- must of consequence be very much (as I sincerely sirous of such intelligence as might enable him to am) yours, &c.” talk upon the popular topic. Halifax, who, by These voluntary offers, and this faint acceptance, having been first a poet, and then a patron of poe- ended without effect. The patron was not accustry, had acquired the right of being a judge, was tomed to such frigid gratitude: and the poet fed his willing to hear some books while they were yet own pride with the dignity of independence. unpublished. Of this rehearsal Pope afterwards They probably were suspicious of each other. gave the following account.*
Pope would not dedicate till he saw at what rate “The famous Lord Halifax was rather a pre-his praise was valued; he would be “troublesome tender to taste, than really possessed of it.-When out of gratitude, not expectation.” Halifax thought I had finished the two or three first books of my himself entitled to confidence; and would give translation of the 'Iliad,' that Lord desired to have nothing unless he knew what he should receive. the pleasure of hearing them read at his house. Their commerce had its beginning in the hope of Addison, Congreve, and Garth, were there at the praise on one side, and of money on the other, and reading. In four or five places, Lord Halifax stopt ended because Pope was less eager of money than me very civilly, and with a speech each time of Halifax of praise. It is not likely that Halifax had much the same kind, 'I beg your pardon, Mr. Pope; any personal benevolence to Pope; it is evident but there is something in that passage that does not that Pope looked on Halifax with scorn and hatred.
The reputation of this great work failed of gain* Spence.
ling him a patron; but it deprived him of a friend.
Addison and he were now at the head of poetry and Dr. Swift was the principal man of talk and busicriticism; and both in such a state of elevation, ness, and acted as master of requests.-Then he that, like the two rivals in the Roman state, one instructed a young nobleman that the best Poet in could no longer bear an equal, nor the other a su- England was Mr. Pope (a papist,) who had beperior. Of the gradual abatement of kindness be- gun a translation of. llomer into English verse, for tween friends, the beginning is often scarcely dis- which he must have them all subscribe; for, says he, cernible to themselves, and the process is continued the author shall not begin to print till I have a by petty provocations, and incivilities sometimes thousand guincas for him.” perishly returned, and sometimes contemptuously About this time it is likely that Steele, who Reglected, which would escape all attention but was, with all his political fury, good-natured and that of pride, and drop from any memory but that officious, procured an interview between these anof resentment. That the quarrel of these two gry rivals, which ended in aggravated malevowits should be minutely deduced, is not to be ex- lence. On this occasion, if the reports be true, pected from a writer to whom, as Homer says, Pope made his complaint with frankness and spirit, “nothing but rumour has reached, and who has no as a man undeservedly neglected or opposed; and personal knowledge.”
Addison affected a contemptuous unconcern, and, Pope doubtless approached Addison, when the in a calm even voice, reproached Pope with his reputation of their wit first brought them together,vanity, and, telling him of the improvements with the respect due to a man whose abilities were which his early works had received from his own acknowledged, and who, having attained that emi- remarks and those of Steele, said, that he, being nence to which he was himself aspiring, had in his now engaged in public business, had no longer any hands the distribution of literary fame. He paid care for his poetical reputation, nor had any other court with sufficient diligence by his Prologue to desire, with regard to Pope; than that he should 'Cato,' by his abuse of Dennis, and with praise yet not, by too much arrogance, alienate the public. more direct, by his poem on the Dialogues on To this Pope is said to have replied with great Medals, of which the immediate publication was keenness and severity, upbraiding Addison with then intended. In all this, there was no hypocrisy; perpetual dependance, and with the abuse of those for he confessed that he found in Addison some- qualifications which he had obtained at the public thing more pleasing than in any other man. cost, and charging him with mean endeavours to
It may be supposed, that as Pope saw himself obstruct the progress of rising merit. The contest favoured by the world, and more frequently com- rose so high, that they parted at last without any pared his own powers with those of others, his con- interchange of civility. fidence increased, and his submission lessened; and The first volume of Homer' was (1715) in time that Addison felt no delight from the advances of a published: and a rival version of the first 'Iliad,' young wit, who might soon contend with him for for rivals the time of their appearance inevitably the highest place. Every great man, of whatever made them, was immediately printed, with the kind be his greatness, has among his friends those name of Tickell. It was soon perceived that, who officiously or insidiously quicken his attention among the followers of Addison, Tickell had the to offences, heighten his disgust, and stimulate his preference, and the critics and poets divided into resentment. Of such adherents Addison doubtless factions. “I," says I'ope, “have the town, that had many; and Pope was now too high to be with is, the mob, on my side; but it is not uncommon for cut them.
the smaller party to supply by industry what it From the emission and reception of the proposals wants in numbers.-I appeal to the people as my for the “Iliad,' the kindness of Addison seems to rightful judges, and, while they are not inclined to have abated. Jervas the painter once pleased him- condemn me, shall not fear the high-flyers at Butself (August 20, 1714) with imagining that he had ton's.” This opposition he immediately imputed re-established their friendship; and wrote to Pope to Addison, and complained of it in terms suffithat Addison once suspected him of too close a con- ciently resentful to Craggs, their common friend. federacy with Swift, but was now satisfied with When Addison's opinion was asked, he declared his conduct. To this Pope answered, a week af- the versions to be both good, but Tickell's the best ter, that his engagements to Swift were such as his that had ever been written; and sometimes said, services in regard to the subscription demanded, that they were both good, but that Tickell had and that the Tories never put him under the neces- more of 'Homer.' sity of asking leave to be grateful. “But,” says Pope was now sufficiently irritated; his reputahe, “as Mr. Addison must be the judge in what tion and his interest were at hazard. He once inregards himself, and seems to have no very just tended to print together the four versions of Dryone in regard to me, so I must own to you I expect den, Maynwaring, Pope, and Tickell, that they nothing but civility from him.” In the same letter might be readily compared, and fairly estimated. be mentions Phillips, as having been busy to kindle This design seems to have been defeated by the reanimosity between them; but in a letter to Addi- fusal of Tonson, who was the proprietor of the son, he expresses some consciousness of behaviour, other three versions. inattentively deficient in respect.
Pope intended, at another time, a rigorous critiOf Swift's industry in promoting the subscription, cism of Tickell's translation, and had marked a there remains the testimony of Kennet, no friend copy, which I have seen, in all places that appearto either him or Pope.
ed defective. But, while he was thus meditating "Nov. 2, 1713, Dr. Swift came into the coffee- defence or revenge, his adversary sunk before him honse, and had a bow from every body but me, without a blow; the voice of the Public was not who, I confess, could not but despise him. When long divided, and the preference was universally I came to the anti-chamber to wait, before prayers, given to Pope's performance.
He was convinced, by adding one circumstance dulgences, or that mankind expect from elevated to another, that the other translation was the work genius a uniformity of greatness, and watch its deof Addison himself; but, if he knew it in Addison's gradation with malicious wonder; like him who, life-time, it does not appear that he told it. He having followed with his eye an eagle into the left his illustrious antagonist to be punished by clouds, should lament that she ever descended to a what has been considered as the most painful of all perch. reflections, the remembrance of a crime perpe While the volumes of his “Homer' were annutrated in vain.
ally published, he collected his former works The other circumstances of their quarrel w re (1717) into one quarto volume, to which he prethus related by Pope.*
fixed a Preface, written with great sprightliness “Phillips seemed to have been encouraged to and elegance, which was afterwards reprinted, abuse me in coffee-houses and conversations: and with some passages subjoined that he at first omitGildon wrote a thing about Wycherley, in which ted; other marginal additions of the same kind he he had abused both me and my relations very made in the latter editions of his poems. Waller grossly. Lord Warwick himself told me one day, remarks, that poets lose half their praise, because that it was in vain for me to endeavour to be well the reader knows not what they have blotted. with Mr. Addison; that his jealous temper would Pope's voracity of fame taught him the art of obnever admit of a settled friendship between us: taining the accumulated honour, both of what he and, to convince me of what he had said, assured had published, and of what he had suppressed. me, that Addison had encouraged Gildon to publish In this year his father died very suddenly, in his those scandals, and had given bim ten guineas after seventy-fifth year, having passed twenty-nine they were published. The next day, while I was years in privacy. He is not known but by the heated with what I had heard, I wrote a letter to character which his son has given him. If the Mr. Addison, to let him know that I was not un- inoney with which he retired was all gotten by acquainted with this behaviour of his; that, if I was himself, he had traded very successfully in times to speak severely of him in return for it, it should when sudden riches were rarely attainable. not be in such a dirty way; that I should rather The publication of the 'Iliad' was at last comtell him, himself, fairly of his faults, and allow pleted in 1720. The splendour and success of this his good qualities; and that it should be something work raised Pope many enemies, that endeavoured in the following manner; I then adjoined the first to depreciate his abilities. Burnet, who was afsketch of what has since been called my satire on terwards a judge of no mean reputation, censured Addison. Mr. Addison used me very civilly ever him in a piece called “Homerides' before it was after."
published. Ducket likewise endeavoured to make The verses Addison, when they were sent to him ridiculous. Dennis was the perpetual perseAtterbury, were considered by him as the most ex- cutor of all his studies. But, whoever his critics cellent of Pope's performances; and the writer was were, their writings are lost; and the names which advised, since he knew where his strength lay, are preserved, are preserved in the 'Dunciad.' not tu suffer it to remain unemployed.
In this disastrous year (1720) of national infatuThis year (1715) being, by the subscription, ation, where more riches than Peru can boast were enabled to live more by choice, having persuaded expected from the South Sea, when the contagion his father to sell their estate at Binfield, he pur- of avarice tainted every mind, and even poets chased, I think only for his life, that house at panted after wealth, Pope was seized with the Twickenham, to which his residence afterwards universal passion, and ventured some of his money, procured so much celebration, and removed thither The stock rose in its price; and for a while he with his father and mother.
thought himself the lord of thousands. But this Here he planted the vines and the quincunx dream of happiness did not last long; and he seems which his verses mention; and being under the ne- to have waked soon enough to get clear with the cessity of making a subterraneous passage to a gar- loss of what he once thought himself to have won, den on the other side of the road, he adorned it and perhaps not wholly of that. with fossile bodies, and dignified it with the title Next year he published some select poems of his of a grotto, a place of silence and retreat, from friend Dr. Parnell, with a very elegant Dedication which he endeavoured to persuade his friends and to the Earl of Oxford; who, after all his struggles himself that cares and passions could be excluded. and dangers, then lived in retirement, still under
A grotto is not often the wish or pleasure of an the frown of a victorious faction, who could take no Englishman, who has more frequent need to solicit pleasure in hearing his praise. than exclude the sùn; but Pope's excavation was He gave the same year (1721) an edition of requisite as an entrance to his garden, and, as some 'Shakspeare. His name was now of so much aumen try to be proud of their defects, he extracted thority, that Tonson thought himself entitled by an ornament from an inconvenience, and vanity annexing it, to demand a subscription of six guineas produced a grotto where necessity enforced a pas- for Shakspeare's plays in six quarto volumes; nor sage. It may be frequently remarked of the stu- did his expectation much deceive him; for of seven dious and speculative, that they are proud of tri- hundred and fifty which he printed, he dispersed fles, and that their amusements seem frivolous and a great number at the price proposed. The repuchildish; whether it be that men, conscious of great tation of that edition indeed sunk afterwards so reputation, think themselves above the reach of low, that one hundred and forty copies were sold censure, and safe in the admission of negligent in- at sixteen shillings each. * Spence.
On this undertaking, to which Pope was induced 1 See, howover Lifo of Addison, in the Biographia Bri- by a reward of two hundred and seventeen pounds tannica.
Itwelve shillings, he scems never to have reflected