« ZurückWeiter »
on the tone and manner with which words of this kind are uttered; but we confess the anecdote seems incredible. Martha Blount could not be ignorant whether Pope was dead or alive; and even worldly prudence would have prevented such an unfeeling exclamation, for, if Pope was able to sit with his friends in the open air, he was fit also to alter the terms of his Will, and deprive Miss Blount of
her legacy. She well knew that the poet was too sensitive to brook either neglect or affront, and too proud not to resent it. Spence says nothing of this indifference and want of feeling, but on the contrary, he quotes a remark of Warburton's, that it “was very observable during Pope's last illness, that Mrs. Blount's coming in gave a new turn of spirits or a temporary strength to him." Pope's last letter to Fortescue, a very short time before his death, was written to urge his friend to procure an annuity for
£1000 in behalf of a lady of their acquaintance, undoubtedly Martha Blount. On the whole, therefore, we may assume that a story so inconsistent with the tenderness which had so long subsisted between the parties, and so foreign to the female character at any time of suffering or distress, is destitute of any real or olid foundation.
Of the same nature, we suspect, is a memorandum quoted by Steevens, from Dr. Farmer's papers, that Pope offered, in articulo mortis, to marry Miss Blount. The only allusion in the Maple-Durham MSS. to the subject of marriage occurs in a letter from one of Martha's friends, Mr. L. Schrader, Hanover. In reply to a suspicion thrown out by his female correspondent, this gentleman says, “I did not hear a word of a match between you and Mr. Pope. You once told me that no such thing could ever happen.” And apparently it never did,
On Sunday, the 6th of May, Pope appears to have been delirious, and four days afterwards he said to Spence (in what we may call the old vein), “One of the things that I have always most wondered at is, that there should be any such thing as human vanity. If I had any, I had enough to mortify it a few days ago, for I lost my mind for a whole day.”
He afterwards complained of that odd phenomenon, as he called it, of seeing everything in the room as through a curtain, and of seeing false colours on objects. “He said to me," continues Spence, “What's that?' pointing into the air with a very steady regard, and then looked down on me and said with a smile of great pleasure, and with the greatest softness, "'Twas a vision.Lyttelton visited him on the 15th, and as the doctor had previously been congratulating his patient on some improvement in his case, Pope observed to his friend, “Here am I dying of a hundred good symptoms." He suffered most, he said, from finding that he could not think. Bolingbroke wept over his dying friend, exclaiming several times, interrupted by sobs,“ O great God, what is man!" Spence says that when he was telling his lordship that Pope, on every recovery of his mind, was always saying something kindly either of his present or his absent friends, as if his humanity outlasted his understanding, Bolingbroke replied, “It has so! I never in
my life knew a man that had so tender a heart for his particular friends, or a more general friendship for mankind. I have known him these thirty years, and value myself more for that man's love than—" sinking his head and losing himself in tears. A short time before his death, Pope said, “I am so certain of the soul's being immortal, that I seem
to feel it within me as it were by tuition ; and Ruff head mentions that one morning, at the early hour of four o'clock, he rose from his bed and went into his library, where he was discovered by a friend (Warburton) very busily writing.