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themselves, if, according to their art, any thing can be more fully proved, or more safely sworn to.
To sum up my whole charge against this author in a few words :-he has ridiculed both the present ministry and the last ; abused great statesmen and great generals; nay, the treaties of whole nations have not escaped him, nor has the royal dignity itself been omitted in the progress of his satire; and all this he has done just at the meeting of a new parliament. I hope a proper authority may be made use of to bring him to condign punishment : in the mean while, I doubt not, if the persons most concerned would but order Mr. Bernard Lintot, the printer and publisher of this dangerous piece, to be taken into custody and examined, many farther discoveries might be made both of this poet's and abettor's secret designs, which are doubtless of the utmost importance to the government.
The hint of the following piece was taken from Chaucer's * House of Fame. The design is in a manner intirely altered, the descriptions and most of the particular thoughts my own : yet I could not suffer it to be printed without this acknowlegement. The reader who would compare this with Chaucer, may begin with his third book of Fame, there being nothing in the first two books that answers to their title.
THE TEMPLE OF FAME.
Pope, in his brief preface to this poem, acknowleges that its idea was taken from Chaucer's 'House of Fame.' Chaucer had probably adopted his plan from Petrarch's "Trionfo della Fama ;' in which he similarly introduced the leading names of ancient times. Poets seem privileged to huild on each others' foundations: the Italian poets of the fourteenth century borrowed largely from the Provencal bards or jongleurs ; the Provencals borrowed from the Arabs, the Arabs from the Greek and Roman poetry, the Greek and Roman from the rich traditions and solemn legends of India, and India from the records of the primeval revelation.
The fourteenth century was the great age' of Italian revival. Dante, Petrarch, and Boccacio,-minds of different ranks of power, but all equally ardent in the love of literature,—were the leaders in mysticism, passion, and romance. But the poetry of Dante was uncongenial to the Italian taste; it was the natural product of a sterner, bolder, and more vigorous spirit than breathes in the sunny climate of Ausonia. Petrarch is still the chief favorite of Italy: his languid grace and studied elegance belong to the character of an effeminate people. Boccacio is cosmopolite: he belongs to every region where curiosity is to be stimulated by adventure, and the love of human character is to be indulged
by an insight into the workings of the human heart. The habits of his time were gross, and neither the cloister nor the court tended to purify them: to this extent he has defrauded himself of his fame: but he was the father of the novel, and thus the father of the most popular, vivid, and animating class of modern literature.
The idea of congregating the eminent names of mankind, and arranging them in positions descriptive of their degrees of power, public use, or permanent renown, has been familiar in every language. Addison, in the Tatler, No. 81, gives a table of modern fame; curious from its conveying the opinion of an acute writer, fully acquainted with the opinions of his very intelligent day, on the distinguished names of Europe. He introduces, as worthy to take their successive places at the feast of renown, Columbus, Peter the Great, Leo X., Luther, Newton, Descartes, William I. of Orange, the Black Prince, Charles V., Locke, Galileo, Faust, Harvey, Machiavel, Tasso, Ariosto, Pope, Boileau, Bacon, Milton, Cervantes, and Molière. But this table is scarcely more irregular in its arrangement than imperfect in its members : we find no Dante, Michael Angelo, Raphael, Titian, Da Vinci, Ilandel, Calvin, Ben Jonson, Alfred, Marlborough, &c. &c.; and, chief of all, the very head of the true line of genius, no Shakspeare.