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strong were his boyish impressions of Homer) was burnt in after years by the advice, or rather the command, of Atterbury. The mandate was probably felt to be severe; for • Alcander' had already swelled to four books, of a thousand lines each: the manuscript had been preserved for many years; and when it was doomed at last, Pope assisted at the sacrifice, not without the yearnings of a poetic parent for his offspring.
The • Translation of the first book of Statius,' the • Epistle of Sappho to Phaon,' and the · Imitations of English Poets,' were the work of the period between his thirteenth and fifteenth years. At fifteen he came to London to acquire French and Italian: if this were the object, the journey was unproductive; for he acquired neither.
Locality has some influence on all men; but the poet is made up of external impressions. Pope's residence in the midst of fields and groves had naturally filled his mind with images of the country; and thus his first public efforts were the • Pastorals,' and the poem of Windsor Forest.'
Dryden was now dead, (May 1st, 1701) but Pope had seen him four years before, when he. followed him to Will's, the coffee-house of the wits; and, as Warton says, on the authority of Harte, “had a shilling from him, as a reward for translating the story of Pyramus and Thisbe.
The student at length began to feel the physical hazards of his perilous pursuit. Seclusion and want of exercise, added to the natural feebleness of his frame, threatened his life. With the heroism of boyhood, he prepared to die the death of an ancient philosopher, and resolved to take no more medicines, but bravely defy his destiny. His conduct on this occasion might be rational and manly at a period of life capable of reason and manliness; but we can only smile at the garb of Stoicism on a sage of sixteen. One remaining trait of ostentation luckily saved him : he wrote farewell letters to his principal acquaintance, and, among them, to an abbé Southcote, in London : the abbé was a man of sense, and saw the absurdity of the young philosopher: he hurried to the celebrated Radcliffe ; received from him the simple direction, that the boy should shut up his books, and mount his horse for some hours a day; and with this advice he set off immediately for Binfield. Pope was easily reconciled to live, when he found life still within his reach: he obeyed the regimen, and speedily recovered.*
* Pope had the gratification, for such he must have felt it, of exhibiting his sense of this service, even twenty years after, by obtaining for Southcote an abbey at Avignon, through the influence of sir Robert Walpole with the French government.
There are few men, of whatever eminence, who have not been indebted for their triumph to what the world vaguely calls good fortune ; and it happens not seldom, that we can distinguish the exact point at which the prosperous tide began to flow. Pope's turned on his intercourse with sir William Trumball. The statesman and scholar, retired from the world, and soon to retire from life, treated the boy-poet with gentle regard. Pope's new habits of exercise had brought them frequently together in the rides of the forest; conversation acquainted them with each other's powers; and if Pope felt honored by the friendship of a man of Trumball's place in society, or enlightened by his knowlege of courts ;-we may justly conceive that he repaid the distinction by the ardor and the elegance of his mind.*
By this friend Pope was introduced to Wycherley; a connexion, of which, with his usual fortune, he enjoyed all the good without incurring the evil. Wycherley, in earlier life, was a gross and licentious, but a witty and fashionable, man; a hazardous tempter to a young and susceptible spirit, eager to be known, and with faculties to make itself admired: but he was now seventy; had been forgotten by the world; remembered it only to libel it; and was at once devoured by jealousy of the rising generation, and anger at discovering that he was no longer the model of mankind. If Pope had required a moral, he might have found it sooner than a temptation, in the neglected age, the helpless bitterness, and the unsatisfied ambition, of this worthless wreck of a man of the world.
* Trumball had seen much of public life, and possessed the natural and acquired means of seeing it to the best advantage ; for he was a man of learning, and had been a fellow of All Souls, Oxford. He became a distinguished civilian, and was successively appointed judge advocate at Tangier by Charles II., envoy at Florence, at Turin, and Paris, and ambassador extraordinary to the Porte. On his return, he was made a lord of the treasury, and then secretary of state : retiring in 1697, he died in 1716, aged 77.
The connexion was not made to last. With the natural disparity of objects and tempers between seventeen and seventy, Wycherley assumed the master too directly for Pope to be satisfied with acknowleging himself to be the pupil. He had gent his · Fugitive Poems' to Pope, with a carte blanche for their correction: the young poet took him at his word, and applied the pruningknife; but Wycherley was too old to be taught, and too self-satisfied to suffer criticism. Pope quickly found that the author who solicits revision is seldom to be pleased but with hearing that all revision is unnecessary: he tells us, • Wycherley was really angry with me for correcting his verses so much. A coldness took the place of this ill-assorted friendship. Pope, in one of his letters to Mr. Cromwell, says, with a simplicity at which he must have often laughed in more enlightened days,— I could not have thought any man so very cautious and suspicious as not to credit his own experience of a friend : indeed, to believe nobody, may be a maxim of safety, but not much of honor.' But, till then he had lived only in Windsor Forest, and written only pastorals; he was yet to learn more of the world: the farce of the archbishop of Granada was acted again, with the natural catastrophe; the adviser and the advised separated. Pope paid Wycherley an occasional visit of decency until the old man's death in 1716, but their poetic commerce was no more.
Yet this crude friendship had its influences on Pope's future celebrity; and the chain of connexion is traceable by which he was gradually led on to public favor. While the fervor of Wycherley's zeal continued, a copy of the yet unpublished • Pastorals' had been sent to Mr. Walsh, an intimate of the dramatist. Walsh was a scholar, fond of poetry, and, what was more to the purpose at the moment, a man of fortune. He read the poems with delight, pronounced that it was not flattery at all to say that Virgil had written nothing so good at