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alighted, put the poor lady into the chariot, and walked on himself to Oxford, three miles, in a close sultry day. And the same evening he was able to proceed to Colonel Dormer's at Rousham.
The poet's constitutional infirmities increased considerably after he had passed his fortieth year. His excursions on horseback were abandoned; he became a troublesome visitor, calling up servants, at all hours, but recompensing them liberally; and he stimulated himself by high-seasoned dishes and liqueurs. Mr. Berkeley (afterwards the husband of Lady Suffolk) describes a journey made by a party of which Pope was one in the summer of 1734. Writing from Shotover, near Oxford, Berkeley says, “We performed our journey hither with great ease, only little Pope was very ill the whole day. Pope grew better at supper, and, of course, very irregular, and laughed at me for the care I pretended to take of him.” The pretence had been too obvious. Some of the poet's friends treated these sicknesses as imaginary, setting them down to what Johnson calls “the unpleasing and unsocial qualities of a valetudinary man." Lady Hervey—no very friendly observer-remarks, “He always loved applying himself to all the quacks he could meet with; and when he was in perfect health, was always fancying or feigning himself ill, often changed his physician, and frequently would have three or four at a time; but they all found him out, and the moment they felt his pulse, declared him only the malade imaginaire." Alas, Lady Fanny, blessed with health and beauty and domestic happiness—the world all sunshine with her (and she deserved it)--could ill understand the solitary, irritable, studious poet, his constant headaches and morbid nervous temperament! He snatched at every passing enjoyment, eager for relief, and paid a heavy penalty for what would have harmed no other person. “You do well,” said Bathurst to Mrs. Howard, " to reprove him (Pope) about his intemperance; for he makes himself sick at your most moderate and plain table in England. Yesterday I had a little piece
NOTICES BY SPENCE, BERKELEY, AND LADY HERVEY. 313
of salmon just caught out of the Severn, and a fresh pike that was brought me from the other side of your house out of the Thames. He ate as much as he could of both, and
FAC-SIMILE OF THE ONLY FULL-LENGTH PORTRAIT OF POPE.
insisted upon his moderation, because he made his dinner upon one dish.” And, no doubt, he rewarded his mode
ration with some choice cordial from one of the longstalked glasses that were handed round at Oakley Bower.
Mr. Rogers remembers an old shopman of Cadell the publisher relating the following incident, illustrative of Pope's personal appearance in his latter years. morning as I was visiting a friend at Twickenham, and walking in one of the lanes there, we met a thin little man in a suit of rusty black and cocked hat, who walked with difficulty. My friend's son, a boy, who was with us, exclaimed, 'Poor man!' Poor man ! interrupted the senior, ‘that is no poor man; it is the great Mr. Alexander Pope.' He was always at Twickenham called Mr. Alexander Pope, probably because there was some other Mr. Pope in the village.” Like Dryden, Pope took snuff; but we are not told that he was so particular about this luxury as the elder bard, who prepared it himself after some peculiar fashion of his own. In his epistle to Bolingbroke, Pope says,
You laugh, half beau, half sloven, if I stand,
My wig all powder and all snuff my band. But when he went abroad or received company he was as particular and precise in his dress as he was in his poetry. With regard to his small person, that fertile topic with his enemies, the dunces and censors (including even Lady Mary), we need only quote Pope's own description of it in his history of the Little Club, in the Guardian for June 26, 1713:—“Dick Distich we have elected President, not only as he is the shortest of us all, but because he has entertained so just a sense of his stature as to go generally in black, that he may appear yet less; nay, to that perfection is he arrived that he stoops as he walks. The figure of the man is odd enough; he is a lively little creature, with long arms and legs: a spider is no ill emblem of him; he has been taken at a distance for a small windmill.” But though he could bring himself occasionally to jest on his little misshapen figure, Pope was exceedingly sensitive regarding the caricatures by his enemies. No injury was held more atrocious than
The libellid person and the pictured shape.
POPE'S PERSON AND HOUSEHOLD.
His “effigies” were generally in the form of a monkey in a library, holding a pen in his hand, and leaning on a pile of books. None of them, however, defrauded him of his best feature, the quick piercing eye.
The poet's household was managed with exemplary care and economy. Prudence has been pronounced a pharisaical virtue not much in favour with poets; but Pope was an exception to the careless irregularity of the tuneful tribe. His income was about £800 per annum, arising from life annuities purchased after the Homer subscription, from three or four thousand pounds left him by his father, and from the sale of his works. He is said to have given away, like Swift, a tenth of his income in charity. His liberality to Savage has been already mentioned, and Johnson states that he assisted Dodsley, when the latter commenced bookseller, with a hundred pounds. He loved to entertain his friends at Twickenham, though, if we may credit Johnson's information, there was something of ostentatious meanness in his hospitality—“as when he had two guests in his house he would set at supper a single pint of wine upon the table, and having taken himself two small glasses, would retire and say, 'Gentlemen, I leave you to your wine.' This statement receives some countenance from an expression in one of the Duchess of Queensberry's letters to Swift:—“The Duke," she
and will never leave you to your wine." Swift, who indulged liberally in the use of wine, had probably complained of his host at Twickenham, though he loved him with the affection of a brother. Pope's weakness, and his custom of early rising, made him a bad after-dinner companion. “He nodded in company," says Johnson, “and once slumbered at his own table, while the Prince of Wales was talking of poetry.” This drowsiness was an early peculiarity, characteristic of him in society before he was thirty ; but Frederick's disquisition on poetry was probably soporific enough to set any poet asleep. To see Pope to advantage he must have been seen in the morning, warmed by the genial rays of the sun—“ the load of yesterday left behind”—after receiving a letter from Martha Blount, or while conversing with a chosen few ("envy must own I live among the great”) in his own laurel circus and winding walks, or in the gardens and pleasure-grounds of his distinguished friends.
The most striking virtues of Pope as a man were his devotedness to his parents, his fondness and steadiness as a friend, and his unceasing cultivation of his intellectual faculties. In these his example is at once endearing and instructive; and society is benefited by the example of preeminent genius and the highest popularity, united to homely, domestic, and personal qualities, which all can emulate and attain. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu asserted that Pope courted the company of old men that he might obtain legacies. The assertion is wholly destitute of proof, and is contradicted by known facts. His attachments grew warmer as he advanced in years; and among his most cherished friends were, Gay, from whom he could expect nothing; Swift, after he knew that the fortune of the latter was to be applied towards endowing a charitable asylum in Ireland; and young men whom he could not expect to survive, as Cornbury, Lyttelton, Murray, and Marchmont. Political disgrace or public obloquy never cooled the poet's regard for his associates. They were the same to him in all fortunes ; he adopted most of their quarrels and antipathies; and he eagerly embraced every occasion of investing them with those poetic honours which he dispensed with such inimitable art and taste. That his expressions towards his friends are often exaggerated, and that he was too apt to confine all virtue within his own circle, may be admitted without detracting from his sincerity. His bodily weakness induced a morbidly delicate organisation, and made him feel tenderly and acutely his dependence upon others. Professions of regard and attachment would seem natural in Pope that would have appeared absurd and ironical in Swift or any other
person of robust frame and manly constitution. To the same cause we would attribute in part his duplicity and