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improving them on each revision, if Pope had not raised the standard of public taste with respect to poetical composition. His example operated on a high class of authors, poets like Goldsmith and Gray, or Rogers and Campbell, who selected different subjects, and could not be bound by servile rules. Cowper, in his early poems, followed the same guide, though in his blank verse he struck into an original path. It has been said by one who is himself a true poet, Professor Aytoun, that Pope founded no school of poetry, or if he did it was soon extinct, driven out by Percy's Reliques, by Cowper and Burns. The attempt to rival Pope on his own peculiar ground was hopeless. Where were disciples to be found possessing at once rare good sense, knowledge of the world, refinement of manner, judgment, satire, ethics, and metaphysics, all combined with the
power and animation of the poet? The outward form of the Pope worship was easily copied, but the fire that burned within the altar burned only and expired at Twickenham. The individual character of Pope was never lost in his works. He adopted the style of Dryden because it was best adapted to his powers. · He knew that the universal mind of Shakspeare, and the epic majesty of Milton, were unattainable; he therefore abstained from all imitation of them. He undertook such works as he felt he could accomplish ; his invention was limited, though in the Rape of the Lock he displayed the airiness, the grace, and winged fancy of a brilliant imaginative poet. He thought deeply and earnestly; he busied himself in mental analysis, corrected carefully, and polished highly. He studied his art with intense devotion ; but he aimed at no peculiar system or theory of poetry. He was, unfortunately, too fond of satire, and his constitution, moral and physical, was defective. In satire, however, he was a great master, and he was a master, also, in didactic verse (as in the Essay on Criticism), in refined pathos and select description. His poetry may be said to be identified with the national character of the English people, and with the Anglo-Saxon
GREAT POPULARITY OF POPE.
race in every quarter of the globe. His imagery, wit, and sense, his critical rules and moral reflections, have made us rich in expression. His maxims on life and manners form part of our daily speech and involuntary thought; nor have the most profound or acute of our moralists enunciated finer axioms than are to be found in his Essay on Man, or in such of his early verses as the following
Men must be taught as if you taught them not,
And things unknown proposed as things forgot. Poetry, like the material world, has undergone a great revolution since the days of Pope. There is no danger of our going back to the artificial style of the early part of the last century, even should such a poet as Pope arise again amongst
The fountains of passion and imagination have been opened; nature and the old masters, the interpreters of nature, are more closely studied; and there is a higher and juster appreciation of the poet's art and mission as a fellowworker in the cause of humanity and pure intellectual advancement. Our freedom, however, may run to prodigal excess and extravagance unless properly guarded, and it is important to point to one classic standard, limited in design, but unrivalled in execution, in which correctness is combined with poetical vigour and beauty, and the patient toils of genius are seen resulting in works of consummate taste and elegance.
THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF
ALEXANDER POPE, ESQ.
In the name of God, Amen. I, Alexander Pope, of Twickenham, in the county of Middlesex, make this my last Will and Testament. I resign my soul to its Creator in all humble hope of its future happiness, as in the disposal of a Being infinitely good. As to my body, my will is, that it be buried near the monument of my dear parents at Twickenham, with the addition, after the words filius fecit-of these only, et sibi : Qui obiit anno 17-, ætatis ; and that it be carried to the grave by six of the poorest men of the parish, to each of whom I order a suit of grey coarse cloth, as mourning. If I happen to die at any inconvenient distance, let the same be done in any other parish, and the inscription be added on the monument at Twickenham. I hereby make and appoint my particular friends, Allen Lord Bathurst, Hugh Earl of Marchmont, the Honourable William Murray, his Majesty's Solicitor-General, and George Arbuthnot, of the Court of Exchequer, Esq.,' the survivors or survivor of them, Executors of this my last Will and Testament.
But all the manuscript and unprinted papers which I shall leave at my decease, I desire may be delivered to my noble friend, Henry St. John, Lord Bolingbroke, to whose sole care and judgment I commit them, either to be preserved or destroyed ; or, in case he shall not survive me, to the abovesaid Earl of Marchmont. Those who in the course of my life have done me all other good offices, will not refuse me this last after my death : I leave them therefore
1 Son of Dr. Arbuthnot. He held a lucrative appointment in the Exchequer Office, and died June 8, 1779, aged 76.
this trouble, as a mark of my trust and friendship; only desiring them each to accept of some small memorial of me: That my Lord Bolingbroke will add to his library all the volumes of my works and translations of Homer, bound in red morocco, and the eleven volumes of those of Erasmus : That my Lord Marchmont will take the large-paper edition of Thuanus, by Buckley, and that portrait of Lord Bolingbroke, by Richardson, which he shall prefer : That my Lord Bathurst will find a place for the three statues of the Hercules of Farnese, the Venus of Medicis, and the Apollo in chiaro oscuro, done by Kneller : That Mr. Murray will accept of the marble head of Homer, by Bernini; and of Sir Isaac Newton, by Guelfi: And that Mr. Arbuthnot will take the watch I commonly wore, which the King of Sardinia gave to the late Earl of Peterborough, and he to me on his death-bed,2 together with one of the pictures of Lord Bolingbroke.
Item, I desire Mr. Lyttelton to accept of the busts of Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, and Dryden, in marble, which his royal master the Prince was pleased to give me. I give and devise my library of printed books to Ralph Allen, of Widcombe, Esq., and to the Reverend Mr. William Warburton, or the survivor of them (when those belonging to Lord Bolingbroke are taken out, and when Mrs. Martha Blount has chosen threescore out of the number). I also give and bequeath to the said Mr. Warburton the property of all such of my works already printed, as he hath written, or shall write, commentaries or notes upon, and which I have not otherwise disposed of, or alienated, and all the profits which shall arise after my death from such editions as he shall publish without future alterations.
Item. In case Ralph Allen, Esq., abovesaid, shall survive me, I order my Executors to pay him the sum of one hundred and fifty pounds, being, to the best of my calculation, the amount of what I have received from him, partly for my own and partly for charitable
If he refuses to take this himself, I desire him to employ it in a way I am persuaded he will not dislike, to the benefit of the Bath hospital.4
2“ He ordered on his death-bed his watch to be given me (that which had accompanied him in all his travels) with this reason, that I might have something every day to put me in mind of him. It was a present to him from the King of Sicily, whose arms and insignia are engraved on the inner case. On the outer, I have put this inscription: Victor Amadeus, Rex Siciliæ, Dux Sabaudiæ, &c. &c., Carolo Mordaunt, Comiti de Peterborough, D.D., Car. Mor. Com. de Pet. Alexandro Pope moriens legavit, 1735."Pope to Swift.
3 Lyttelton was then Secretary to the Prince of Wales. In 1744 he was appointed a Lord of the Treasury in the Coalition Ministry, known as the “Broad-bottom Administration."
4 "As Mr. Pope's extreme friendship and affection for Mrs. Blount made him consult her in all his concerns, so, when he was about making his last Will, he advised with