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his irritability, to them he was gentle. Life has, purpose of vindicating his own property by a genuamong its soothing and quiet comforts, few things ine edition, he offered to pay the cost. better to give than such a son.
' This however Pope did not accept; but in time One of the passages of Pope's life, which seems solicited a subscription for a Quarto volume, which to deserve some inquiry, was a publication of Let-appeared (1737,) I believe, with sufficient profit. ters between him and many of his friends, which In the preface he tells, that his Letters were refalling into the hands of Curll, a rapacious book-posited in a friend's library, said to be the Earl of seller of no good fame, were by him printed and Oxford's, and that the copy thence stolen was sent sold. This volume containing some Letters from to the press. The story was doubtless received noblemen, Pope incited a prosecution against him with different degrees of credit. It may be susin the House of Lords for a breach of privilege, and pected that the Preface to the Miscellanies' was attended himself to stimulate the resentment of his written to prepare the public for such an incident; friends. Curll appeared at the bar, and, knowing and to strengthen this opinion, James Worsdale, a himself in no great danger, spoke of Pope with very painter, who was employed in clandestine nego· little reverence: “He has,” said Curll, “ a knack tiations, but whose veracity was very doubtful,
at versifying, but in prose I think myself a match declared that he was the messenger who carried, for him.” When the orders of the House were by Pope's direction, the books to Curll. examined, none of them appeared to have been in When they were first published and avowed, as fringed; Curll went away triumphant; and Pope they had relation to recent facts, and persons either was left to seek some other remedy.
then living or not yet forgotten, they may be supCurll's account was, that one evening a man in a posed to have found readers; but as the facts were clergyman's gown, but with a lawyer's band, minute, and the characters, being either private or brought and offered to sale a number of printed literary, were little known, or little regarded, volumes, which he found to be Pope's epistolary they awakened no popular kindness or resentment; correspondence; that he asked no name, and was the book never became much the subject of convertold none, but gave the price demanded, and thought sation; some read it as a contemporary history, and himself authorised to use his purchase to his own some perhaps as a model of epistolary language: advantage.
but those who read it did not talk of it. Not much That Curll gave a true account of the transaction therefore was added by it to fame or envy; nor do it is reasonable to believe, because no falsehood as I remember that it produced either public praise, ever detected: and when, some years afterwards, or public censure. I mentioned it to Lintot, the son of Bernard, he It had, however, in some degree, the recommendeclared his opinion to be, that Pope knew better dation of novelty. Our language had few Letters, than any body else how Curll obtained the copies, except those of statesmen. Howel, indeed, about because another parcel was at the same time sent a century ago, published his Letters, which are to himself for which no price had ever been de commended by Morhoff, and which alone, of his manded, as he made known his resolution not to hundred volumes, continue his memory. Lovepay a porter, and consequently not to deal with a day's Letters were printed only once; those of nameless agent.
Herbert and Suckling are hardly known. Mrs. Such care had been taken to make them public, Phillips (Orinda's] are equally neglected. And that they were sent at once to two booksellers: to those of Walsh seem written as exercises, and Curll, who was likely to seize them as a prey; and were never sent to any living mistress or friend. to Lintot, who might be expected to give Pope in- Pepe's epistolary excellence had an open field; he formation of the seeming injury. Lintot, I believe, had no English rival living or dead. did nothing; and Curll did what was expected. Pope is seen in this collection as connected with That to make them public was the only purpose the other contemporary wits, and certainly suffers may be reasonably supposed, because the numbers, no disgrace in the comparison; but it must be reoffered to sale by the private messengers, showed membered, that he had the power of favouring himthat hope of gain could not have been the motive self; he might have originally had publication in of the impression.
his mind, and have written with care, or have afIt seems that Pope, being desirous of printing his terwards selected those which he had most hapLetters, and not knowing how to do, without im- pily conceived, or most diligently laboured; and I putation of vanity, what has in this country been know not whether there does not appear something done very rarely, contrived an appearance of com- more studied and artificial in his productions than pulsion; that, when he could complain that his Let- the rest, except one long Letter by Bolingbroke, ters were surreptitiously published, he might de- composed with the skill and industry of a professed cently and defensively publish them himself. author. It is indeed not easy to distinguish affec
Pope's private correspondence, thus promulgated, tation from habit; he that has once studiously formfilled the nation with praises of his candour, tender-ed a style rarely writes afterwards with complete ness, and benevolence, the purity of his purposes, ease. Pope may be said to write always with his and the fidelity of his friendship. There were reputation in his head; Swift, perhaps, like a man some Letters which a very good or a very wise who remembered he was writing to Pope; but man would wish suppressed; but as they had been Arbuthnot, like one who lets thoughts drop from already exposed, it was impracticable now to re- his pen as they rise into bis mind. tract them.
| Before these Letters appeared, he published the From the perusal of those Letters, Mr. Allen first part of what he persuaded himself to think a first conceived the desire of knowing him; and with system of Ethics, under the title of an `Essay on so much zeal did he cultivate the friendship which Man:' which, if his Letter to Swift (of September he had newly formed, that, when Pope told his 14, 1735) be rightly explained by the commentator,
had been eight years under his consideration, and of writing them; at last, in 1734, he avowed the of which he seems to have desired the success with fourth, and claimed the honour of a moral poet. great solicitude. He had now many open, and in the conclusion it is sufficiently acknowledged, doubtless many secret enemies. The Dunces,' that the doctrine of the Essay on Man' was rewere yet smarting with the war; and the superi- ceived from Bolingbroke, who is said to have ridi. ority which he publicly arrogated, disposed the culed Pope among those who enjoyed his confiworld to wish his humiliation.
dence, as having adopted and advanced principles All this he knew, and against all he provided. lof which he did not perceive the consequence, and His own name, and that of his friend to whom the as blindly propagating opinions contrary to his own work is inscribed, were in the first editions care-That those communications had been consolidated fully suppressed; and the poem, being of a new kind, into a scheme regularly drawn, and delivered to was ascribed to one or another, as favour determin- Pope, from whom it returned only transformed from ed, or conjecture wandered; it was given, says prose to verse, has been reported, but hardly can Warburton, to every man, except him only who be true. The Essay plainly appears the fabric of could write it. Those who like only when they a poet; what Bolingbroke supplied could only be like the author, and who are under the dominion the first principles: the order, illustration, and emof a name, condemned it; and those admired it who bellishments, must all be Pope's. are willing to scatter praise at random, which, while These principles it is not my business to clear it is unappropriated, excites no envy. Those friends from obscurity, dogmatism, or falsehood; but they of Pope, that were trusted with the secret, went were not immediately examined: philosophy and about lavishing honours on the new-born poet, and poetry have not often the same readers; and the hinting that Pope was never so much in danger Essay abounded in' splendid amplifications and from any former rival.
sparkling sentences, which were read and 'admired To those authors whom he had personally of- with no great attention to their ultimate purpose: fended, and to those whose opinion the world con- its flowers caught the eye, which did not see what sidered as decisive, and whom he suspected of the gay foliage concealed, and for a time flourished envy or malevolence, he sent his Essay as a present in the sunshine of universal approbation. So little before publication, that they might defeat their own was any evil tendency discovered, that, as innoenmity by praises which they could not afterwards cence is unsuspicious, many read it for a manual of decently retract.
piety. With these precautions, 1733, was published the Its reputation soon invited a translator. It was first part of the ' Essay on Man.' There had been first turned into French prose, and afterwards by for some time a report that Pope was busy upon a Resnel into verse. Both translations fell into the System of Morality: but this design was not dis- hands of Crousaz, who first, when he had the vercovered in the new poem, which had a form and a sion in prose, wrote a general censure, and aftertitle with which its readers were unacquainted. wards reprinted Resnel's version, with particular Its reception was not uniform: some thought it a remarks upon every paragraph. very imperfect piece, though not without good Crousaz was a professor of Switzerland, eminent lines. While the author was unknown, some, as for his treatise of Logic, and his *Examen de will always happen, favoured him as an adventurer, Pyrrhonisme;' and, however little known or reand some censured him as an intruder; but all garded here, was no mean antagonist. His mind thought him above neglect; the sale increased, and was one of those in which philosophy and piety editions were multiplied.
are happily united.' He was accustomed to arguThe subsequent editions of the first Epistle ex- ment and disquisition, and perhaps was grown too hibited two memorable corrections. At first, the desirous of detecting faults; but his intentions were poet and his friend
always right, his opinions were solid, and his reExpatiate freely o'er this scene of man,
His incessant vigilance for the promotion of piety A mighty maze of walks without a plan:
disposed him to look with distrust upon all metaFor which he wrote afterwards,
physical systems of Theology, and all schemes of
virtue and happiness purely rational: and therefore A mighty maze, but not roithout a plan:
it was not long before he was persuaded that the for, if there was no plan, it was in vain to describe
mal positions of Pope, as they terminated for the most or to trace the maze.
part in natural religion,' were intended to draw
mankind away from revelation, and to represent The other alteration was of these lines;
the whole course of things as a necessary concateAnd spite of pride, and in thy reason's spite, nation of indissoluble fatality; and it is undeniable, One truth is clear, whatever is, is right:
that in many passages a religious eye may easily
discover expressions not very favourable to morals, but having afterwards discovered or been shown, or to liberty. that the “ truth” which subsisted “ in spite of real About this time Warburton began to make his son” could not be very “clear,” he substituted
Jappearance in the first ranks of learning. He was And spite of pride, in erring reason's spite.
a man of vigorous faculties, a mind fervent and ve
hement, supplied by incessant and unlimited inqui. To such oversights will the most vigorous mind ry, with wonderful extent and variety of knowbe liable, when it is employed at once upon argu-l ledge, which yet had not oppressed his imaginament and poetry.
i tion, nor clouded his perspicacity. To every work The second and third Epistles were published; he brought a memory full fraught, together with a and Pope was, I believe, more and more suspected fancy fertile of original combinations, and at once
exerted the powers of the scholar, the reasoner, our natural body is the same still when it is gloriand the wit. But his knowledge was too multifa- fied. I am sure I like it better than I did before, rious to be always exact, and his pursuits too eager and so will every man else. I know I meant just to be always cautious. His abilities gave him a what you explain; but I did not explain my own haughty confidence, which he disdained to conceal meaning so well as you. You understand me as or mollify: and his impatience of opposition dis- well as I do myself; but you express me better than posed him to treat his adversaries with such con- I could express myself. Pray, accept the sincerest temptuous superiority as made his readers com- acknowledgments. I cannot but wish these Letmonly his enemies, and excited against the advocate ters were put together in one Book, and intend the wishes of some who favoured the cause. He (with your leave) to procure a translation of part seems to have adopted the Roman Emperor's de- at least, or of all of them, into French; but I shall termination, oderint dum metuant; he used no not proceed a step without your consent and opinion, allurements of gentle language, but wished to com- &c.” pel rather than persuade.
By this fond and eager acceptance of an exculpaHis style is copious without selection, and forci-tory comment, Pope testified that, whatever might ble without neatness; he took the words that pre- be the seeming or real import of the principles sented themselves; his diction is coarse and im- which he had received from Bolingbroke, he had pure; and his sentences are unmeasured.
not intentionally attacked religion; and BolingHe had, in the early part of his life, pleased broke, if he meant to make him, without his own himself with the notice of inferior wits, and cor- consent, an instrument of mischief, found him now responded with the enemies of Pope. A Letter engaged, with his eyes open, on the side of truth. was produced, when he had perhaps himself for- It is known that Bolingbroke concealed from Pope gotten it, in which he tells Concanen, “Dryden I his real opinions. He once discovered them to Mr. observe borrows for want of leisure, and Pope for Hooke, who related them again to Pope, and was want of genius; Milton out of pride, and Addison told by him that he must have mistaken the meanout of modesty." And when Theobald published ing of what he heard; and Bolingbroke, when Shakspeare, in opposition to Pope, the best notes Pope's uneasiness incited him to desire an explanawere supplied by Warburton.
tion, declared that Hooke had misunderstood him. But the time was now come when Warburton Bolingbroke hated Warburton, who had drawn was to change his opinion; and Pope was to find a his pupil from him; and a little before Pope's death defender in him who had contributed so much to they had a dispute, from which they parted with the exaltation of his rival.
mutual aversion. The arrogance of Warburton excited against him From this time Pope lived in the closest intimaevery artifice of offence, and therefore it may be cy with his commentator, and amply rewarded his supposed that his union with Pope was censured as kindness and zeal; for he introduced him to Mr. hypocritical inconsistency; but surely to think dif-Murray, by whose interest he became preacher at ferently, at different times, of poetical merit, may Lincoln's Inn; and to Mr. Allen, who gave him his be easily allowed. Such opinions are often ad-niece and his estate, and bị consequence a bishomitted, and dismissed, without nice examination.pric. When he died, he left him the property of Who is there that has not found reason for chang- his works; a legacy which may be reasonably estiing his mind about questions of great importance? mated at four thousand pounds.
Warburton, whatever was his motive, under- Pope's fondness for the Essay on Man'appeared took, without solicitation, to rescue Pope from the by his desire of its propagation. Dobson, who had talents of Crousaz, by freeing him from the impu- gained reputation by his version of Prior's Solotation of favouring fatality, or rejecting revelation; mon,' was employed by him to translate it into and from month to month continued a vindication Latin verse, and was for that purpose some time of the Essay on Man,' in the literary jonrnal of at Twickenham; but he left his work, whatever that time called “The Republic of Letters.' was the reason, unfinished; and, by Benson's invi
Pope, who probably began to doubt the tendency tation, undertook the longer task of Paradise of his own work, was glad that the positions, of Lost.' Pope then desired his friend to find a which he perceived himself not to know the full scholar who should turn his Essay into Latin prose; meaning, could by any mode of interpretation be but no such performance has ever appeared. made to mean well. How much he was pleasedl Pope lived at this time among the Great, with with his gratuitous defender the following Letter that reception and respect to which his works enevidently shows:
titled him, and which he had not impaired by any
private misconduct or factious partiality. Though
April 11, 1732. Bolingbroke was his friend, Walpole was not his “I have just received from Mr. R. two more of enemy; but treated him with so much considerayour Letters. It is in the greatest hurry imagi- tion, as at his request, to solicit and obtain from the nable that I write this; but I cannot help thanking French minister an abbey for Mr. Southcot, whom you in particular for your third Letter, which is so he considered himself as obliged to reward, by this extremely clear, short, and full, that I think Mr. exertion of his interest, for the benefit which he Crousaz ought never to have another answer, and had received from his attendance in a long illness. deserved not so good a one. I can only say, you It was said, that, when the Court was at Rich,do him too much honour, and me too much right, so mond, Queen Caroline had declared her intention odd as the expression seems; for you have made to visit him. This may have been only a careless my system as clear as I ought to have done, and effusion, thought on no more; the report of such nocould not. It is indeed the same system as mine, tice, however, was soon in many mouths; and, if I out illustrated with a ray of your own, as they say do not forget or misapprehend Savage's account,
Pope, pretending to decline what was not yet of excellence, commonly spend life in one pursuit: for fered, left his house for a time, not I suppose for excellence is not often gained upon easier terms. any other reason than lest he should be thought to But to the particular species of excellence men are stay at home in expectation of an honour which directed, not by an ascendant planet or predomiwould not be conferred. He was therefore angry nating humour, but by the first book which they at Swift, who represents him as “refusing the read, some early conversation which they heard, visits of a Queen," because he knew that what had or some accident which excited ardour and emulanever been offered had never been refused. tion.
Beside the general system of morality, supposed It must at least be allowed that this "Ruling to be contained in the ' Essay on Man,' it was his Passion, antecedent to reason and observation, intention to write distinct poems upon the different must have an object independent on human conduties or conditions of life; one of which is the trivance; for there can be no natural desire of artiEpistle to Lord Bathurst (1733) on the Use official good. No man therefore can be born, in the Riches,' a piece on which he declared great labour strict acceptation, a lover of money; for he may be to have been bestowed.*
born where money does not exist: nor can he be Into this piece some hints are historically thrown, born, in a moral sense, a lover of his country; for and some known characters are introduced, with society, politically regulated, is a state contradisothers of which it is difficult to say how far they tinguished from a state of nature; and any attention are real or fictious; but the praise of Kyrl, the Man to that coalition of interests which makes the hapof Ross, deserves particular examination, who, af- piness of a country, is possible only to those whom ter a long and pompous enumeration of his public inquiry and reflection have enabled to compreworks and private charities, is said to have diffused hend it. all those blessings from five hundred a year. Won- This doctrine is in itself pernicious as well as ders are willingly told, and willingly heard. The false; its tendency is to produce the belief of a kind truth is, that Kyrl was a man of known integrity of moral predestination, or overruling principle and active benevolence, by whose solicitation the which cannot be resisted; he that admits it is prewealthy were persuaded to pay contributions to pared to comply with every desire that caprice or his charitable schemes; this influence he obtained opportunity shall excite, and to flatter himself that by an example of liberality exerted to the utmost he submits only to the lawful dominion of Nature, extent of his power, and was thus enabled to give in obeying the resistless authority of his Ruling more than he had. This account Mr. Victor re-Passion. ceived from the minister of the place; and I have Pope has formed his theory with so little skill, preserved it, that the praise of a good man, being that in the examples by which he illustrates and made more credible, may be more solid. Narra-confirms it, he has confounded passions, appetites, tions of romantic and impracticable virtue will be and habits. read with wonder, but that which is unattainable is To the Characters of Men,' he added soon after, recommended in vain; that good may be endea-in-an Epistle supposed to have been addressed to poured, it must be shown to be possible.
Martha Blount, but which the last edition has This is the only piece in which the author has taken from her, the Characters of Women.' This given a hint of his religion, by ridiculing the cere-poem, which was laboured with great diligence, mony of burning the pope, and by mentioning with and, in the author's opinion, with great success, some indignation the inscription on the Monument.t was neglected at its first publication, as the com
When this poem was first published, the dia- mentator supposes, because the public was informlogue having no letters of direction, was perplexeded, by an advertisement, that it contained no chaand obscure. Pope seems to have written with no racter drawn from the Life; an assertion which very distinct idea; for he calls that an “Epistle to Pope probably did not expect nor wish to have Bathurst,' in which Bathurst is introduced as been believed, and which he soon gave his readers speaking.. . .
sufficient reason to distrust, by telling them in a He afterwards (1731) inscribed to Lord Cobham note that the work was imperfect, because part of his 'Characters of Men,' written with close atten- his subject was Vice too high to be yet exposed. tion to the operations of the mind and modifications The time however soon came, in which it was of life. In this poem he has endeavoured to esta- safe to display the Dutchess of Marlborough under blish and exemplify his favourite theory of the the name of Atossa; and her character was inserted Ruling Passion, by which he means an original with no great honour to the writer's gratitude. direction of desire to some particular object; an in- He published from time to time (between 1730 nate affection, which gives all action a dcterminate and 1740) Imitations of different poems of Horace," and invariable tendency, and operates upon the generally with his name, and once, as was suspectwhole system of life, either openly or more secret. ed, without it. What he was upon moral princi-. ly, by the intervention of some accidental or sub-ples ashamed to own, he ought to have suppressed. ordinate propension.
of these pieces it is useless to settle the dates, as Of any passion, thus innate and irresistible, the they seldom had much relation to the times, and existence may reasonably be doubted. Human perhaps had been long in his hands. characters are by no means constant; men change! This mode of imitation, in which the ancients by change of place, of fortune, of acquaintance; he are familiarized, by adapting their sentiments to who is at one time a lover of pleasure, is at another modern topics, by making Horace say of Shaksa lover of money. Those indeed who atiain any peare what he originally said of Ennius, and ac
commodating his satires on Pantolabus and Nomen* Spence.
| Erected to commemorate the great Fire of London, ou tanus to the flatterers and prodigals of our own Fish-street Hill.
"Itime, was first practised in the reign of Charles the Second by Oldham and Rochester, at least I re- His last Satires, of the general kind, were two member no instances more ancient. It is a kind Dialogues, named, from the year in which they of middle composition, between translation and were published, “Seventeen Hundred and Thirtyoriginal design, which pleases when the thoughts eight. In these poems many are praised, and are unexpectedly applicable, and the parallels many reproached. Pope was then entangled in the lucky. It seems to have been Pope's favourite opposition; a follower of the Prince of Wales, who amusement; for he has carried it further than any dined at his house, and the friend of many who obformer poet.
structed and censured the conduct of the ministers. He published likewise a revival, in smoother His political partiality was too plainly shown: he numbers, of Dr. Donne's Satires, which was re- forgot the prudence with which he passed, in his commended to him by the Duke of Shrewsbury and earlier years, uninjured and unoffending, through the Earl of Oxford. They made no great impres-much more violent conflicts of faction. sion on the public. Pope seems to have known In the first Dialogue, having an opportunity of their imbecility, and therefore suppressed them praising Aslen of Bath, he asked his leave to menwhile he was yet contending to rise in reputation, tion him as a man not illustrious by any merit of his but ventured them when he thought their defi- ancestors, and called him in his verse “ low-born ciencies more likely to be imputed to Donne than Allen.” Men are seldom satisfied with praise into himself.
troduced or followed by any niention of defect. The Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot, which seems to Allen seems not to have taken any pleasure in his be derived in its first design from Boileau's Ad- epithet, which was afterwards softened into “humdress à son Esprit, was published in January 1735, ble Allen.” about a month before the death of him to whom it In the second Dialogue he took some liberty with is inscribed. It is to be regretted, that either ho- one of the Foxes, among others; which Fox, in a nour or pleasure should have been missed by Ar-reply to Lyttleton, took an opportunity of repaying, buthnot; a man estimable for his learning, amiable by reproaching him with the friendship of a lamfor his life, and venerable for his piety.
pooner, who scattered his ink without fear or de· Arbuthnot was a man of great comprehension, cency, and against whom he hoped the resentment skilful in his profession, versed in the sciences, ac- of the legislature would quickly be discharged. quainted with ancient literature, and able to ani- About this time Paul Whitehead, a small poet, mate his mass of knowledge by a bright and active was summoned before the Lords for a poem called imagination; a scholar with great brilliance of wit; Manners,' together with Dodsley his publisher. a wit, who, in the crowd of life, retained and dis- Whitehead, who hung loose upon society, skulked covered a noble ardour of religious zeal.
and escaped; but Dodsley's shop and family made In this poem Pope seems to reckon with the his appearance necessary. He was, however, soon public. He vindicates himself from censares; and dismissed; and the whole process was probably inwith dignity, rather than arrogance, enforces his tended rather to intimidate Pope, than to punish own claims to kindness and respect.
Whitehead. Into this poem are interwoven several para- Pope never afterwards attempted to join the graphs which had been before printed as a frag-patriot with the poet, nor drew his pen upon statesment, and among them the satirical lines upon Ad-men. That he desisted from his attempts of refordison, of which the last couplet has been twice mation, is imputed by his commentator, to his decorrected. It was at first,
spair of prevailing over the corruption of the time.
He was not likely to have been ever of opinion, Who would not smile if such a man there be ?
that the dread of his satire would countervail the Who would not laugh if Addison were he ?
love of power or of money; he pleased himself with being important and formidable; and gratified some
times his pride, and sometimes his resentment; till Who would not grieve if such a man there be ?
at last he began to think he should be more safe, if Who would not laugh if Addison were he ?
he were less busy. . At last it is,
The Memoirs of Scriblerus,'published about this
time, extend only to the first book of a work proWho but must laugh if such a man there be ?
Ijected in concert by Pope, Swift, and Arbuthnot, Who would not weep if Atticus were he ?
who used to meet in the time of Queen Anne, and He was at this time at open war with Lord Her- denominated themselves the "Scriblerus Club.' vey, who had distinguished himself as a steady ad-Their purpose was to censure the abuses of learning herent to the ministry; and, being offended with a by a fictitious Life of an infatuated Scholar. They contemptuous answer to one of his pamphlets,* had were dispersed; the design was never completed; summoned Pulteney to a duel. Whether he or and Warburton laments its miscarriage, as an event Pope made the first attack, perhaps, cannot now very disastrous to polite letters. be easily known: he had written an invective If the whole may be estimated by this specimen, against Pope, whom he calls, “Hard as thy heart, which seems to be the production of Arbuthnot, and as thy birth obscure;" and hints that his father with a few touches perhaps by Pope, the want of was a hatler. To this Pope wrote a reply in verse more will not be much lamented; for the follies and prose; the verses are in this poem; and the which the writer ridicules are so little practised, prose, though it was never sent, is printed among that they are not known: nor can the satire be unhis Letters, but to a cool reader of the present derstood but by the learned; he raises phantoms time exhibits nothing but tedious malignity. of absurdity, and then drives them away. He
cures diseases that were never felt ** Sedition and Defamation displayed.' 8vo. 1733. I For this reason this joint production of three great