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Now, fir'd by Pope and virtue, leave the age,.
In low pursuit of self-undoing wrong, And trace the author through his moral page, .
Whose blameless life still answers to his song.
Mr. Thomson, in his elegant and philosophical poem of the Seasons
· Although not sweeter his own Horner sings, : Yet is his life the more endearing song. To the same tune also singethi that learned clerk, of Suffolk,
Mr. William Broome, Thus, nobly rising in fair virtue's cause,
From thy own life transcribe th' unerring laws*, And, to close all, hear the reverend dean of St. Pas trick's:
• A soul with ev'ry virtue fraught,
Whose meanest talent is his wit,' &c. . Let us now recreate thee by turning to the other side, and showing his character drawn by those with whom he never conversed, and vilose counte. nances he could not know, though turned against him : first again commencing with the high-voiced, and never-enough-quoted
Mr. John Dennis, who, in his Reflections on the Essay on Criticism, thus describeth him: • A little affected hypocrite, who has nothing in his mouth but candour, truth, friendship, good-nature, humanity, and magnanimly. He is so great a lover of falsehood, that when
* In his poems at the end of the Odyssey.
ever he has a mind to calumniate his contempora. ries, he brands them with some defect which was just contrary to some good quality, for which all their friends and acquaintances commend them. He seems to have a particular pique to people of quality, and authors of that rank.--He must derive his religion from St. Omer's.'--But in the character of Mr. P. and his writings (printed by S. Popping, 1716) he saith, • Though he is a professor of the worst religion, yet he laughs at it;' but that, * nevertheless, he is a virulent papist; and get a pillar of the church of England.'
Of both which opinions
Mr. Lewis Theobald seems also to be; declaring in Mist's Journal of June 22, 1718, · That, if he is not shrewdly abused, he made it his practice to cackle to both parties in their own sentiments. But as to his pique against people of quality, the same journalist doth not agree, but saith (May 8, 3728), · He had by some means or other, the acquaintance and friendship of the whole body of our nobility.'
However contradictory this may appear, Mr. Den. nis and Gildon, in the character last cited, make it all plain, by assuring us, . That be is a creature that reconciles all contradictions: he is a beast, and a man; a Whiġ, and a Tory; a writer (at one and the same time of Guardians and Examiners; an asserter of liberty, and of the dispensing power of kings: a Jesuitical professor of truth ; a base and a foul pretender to candour.' So that, upon the whole account, we must conclude him either to have been a great hypocrite, or a very honest man; a terrible imposer upon both parties, or very moderate to either. · Be it as to the judicious reader shall seem good.
• The names of two weekly papers.
Sure it is, he is little favoured of certain authors, whose wrath is perilous : for one declares he ought to have a price set on his head, and to be hunted down as a wild beast. Another protests that he does not know what may happen; advises him to ensure his person; says, be has bitter enemies, and expressly declares it will be well if he escapes with his lifet. One desires he would cut his own throat, or hang himself 1. But Pasquin seemed rather in. clined it should be done by the government, repre. senting him engaged in grievous desigos with a lord of parliament then under prosecution 5. Mr. Den, pis himself hath written to a minister, that he is one of the most dangerous persons in this kingdom; and assureth the public, that he is an open and mortal enemy to his country; a monster, that will, one day, show as daring a soul as a mad Indian, who runs a muck to kill the first Christian he meets. Another gives information of treason discovered in his poem**. Mr. Curll boldly supplies an imperfect verse with kings and princessestt: and one Matthew Concanen, yet more impudent, publishes at length the two most sacred names in this nation, as members of the Dunciadt.
This is prodigious! yet it is almost as strange,
* Theobald, Letter in Mist's Journal, June 2ë, 1798.
+ Smedley, Pref. to Gulliveriana, p. 14, 16. | Gulliveriana, p. 332. Anno 178.3. || Anno 1729.' Preface to Rem. on the Rapo of the Lock, p. 12, and in the last page of that treatise. ** Page 6, 7 of the Preface, by Conca. nen, to a book called, A Collection of all the Let ters, Essays, Verses, and Advertisements, occasioned by Pope and Swift's Miscellanies. Printed for A. Moore, octavo, 1714.
+ Key to the Dunciad, 3d edit. p. 18.
# A List of Persons, &c. at the end of the fore. mentioned Collection of all the Letters, Essays, &c.
that in the midst of these invectives his greatest enemies have (I know not how) borne testiinony to soine merit in him.
Mr. Theobald, in censuring his Shakespeare, declares, 'He has so great an esteem for Mr. Pope, and so high an opi: nion of his genius and excellencies; that, notwithstanding he professes a veneration almost rising to idolatry for the writings of this inimitable poet, he would be very loath even to do him justice, at the expense of that other gentleman's character.'
Mr. Charles Gildon, after having violently attacked him in many pieces, at last came to wish from his heart, • That Mr. Pope would be prevailed upon to give us Ovid's Epistles by his land, for it is certain we see the original of Sappho to Phaon with much more life and likeness in his version, than in that of sir Car Scrope. And inis (he adds) is the more to be wished, because in the English tongue we have scarcely any thing truly and naturally written upon lovet.' He alsa, in taxing sir Richard Blackmore for his heterodox opinions of Homer, challengeth him to answer what Mr. Pope hath said in his preface to that poet,
Mr. Oldmixon, calls him a great master of our tongue; declares
the purity and perfection of the English lan. guage to be found in his Homer; and, saying there are more good verses in Dryden's Virgil than in aby other work, except this of our author onlyi.'
Introduction to his Shakespeare Restored, in quarto, p. 3.
+ Commentary on the duke of Buckingham's Essay, octavo, 1721, p. 97, 98. ... in his prose Essay ou Criticism.
The Author of a Letter to Mr, Cibber says, 'Pope was so good a versifier (once) that his preciecessor Mr. Dryden, and his contemporary Mr. Prior excepted, the harmony of his numbers is equal to any body's. And, that he had all the me sit, thal a man can have that way*.' And
Mr. Thomas Cooke, after much blemishing our author's Homer, crieth out,
"But in his other works what beauties shine, i . While sweetest music dwells in every line !
These he admir'd, on these he stamp'd his praise,
And bade them live to brighten future dayst. So also one who takes the name of
H, Stanhope, the maker of certain verses to Duncan Campbelli, in that poem, which is wholly a satire upon Mr. Pope, confesseth,
L'is true, if finest notes alone could show
Pope more than we can offer should receive:
Mist's Journal, June 8, 1728.
* Printed by J. Roberts, 1742, p. 11,
Printed ander the title of the Progress of Dul. ness, duodeciino, 1928.