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ciad;18 but Hill declared he was satisfied, and was willing the matter should drop. The poet again urged the point: "I am very desirous to leave out that note, if you like so. The two lords and one gentleman who really took and printed that edition, I can (I doubt not) bring easily to it." There is one touch of the poet's finesse in this letter, which has not been noticed by his biographers. He asks Hill, "Has it escaped your observation, that the name is a syllable too long? Or if you will have it a Christian name, is there any other in the whole book? Is there no author of two syllables whom it will better fit ?" Now, in the edition of 1729 two syllables are certainly requisite to complete the line—
tried, but hardly snatch'd from sight."
Pope reckoned, and reckoned justly as it appears, that Hill knew only this edition; but if the latter had turned to the editions of the year previous he would have found the line written in a manner that defied all misinterpretation and escape, standing thus:
"H- — tried the next, but hardly snatch'd from sight."
The labyrinth of error and confusion into which the poet was led from not openly acknowledging that his satire was intended for Hill, must have occasioned him no small uneasiness and chagrin. The good-natured dramatist forgot the circumstance, and a friendly correspondence was continued between them. Hill having clearly the advantage in the Dunciad affair, took occasion to submit poems and plays to Pope's revision, and the latter had to undergo an infliction which seemed like making restitution for former injustice. In truth, Hill's letters and applications became intolerable, and constituted a sufficient punishment, under which the irritable poet must often have groaned. If it had not been for the danger or disagreeableness of awakening past enmity, Pope would assuredly have ridiculed some of
18 The note was altered, as will be seen in the Notes to the Dunciad, book ii. In the collected edition of the poet's works, 1735, the letter "P" was substituted for "H;" but it was afterwards withdrawn and the H again replaced, thus tacitly confessing, what never was doubted, that Hill was the party satirised.
Hill's schemes and speculations. His wild commercial projects must have offered a tempting field, and his Tragic Academy for instructing and educating actors, would have shone in the Dunciad. In one letter we find Hill sending a draught of a monument, and explaining the design in terms -that seem indescribably ludicrous. The monument was to be in black and white marble. "About half-way up a craggy path," he says, "on the black mountain, below will be a figure of Time in white marble, in an attitude of climbing, obstructed by little Cupids, of the same colour; some rolling rocks into his path from above; some throwing nets at his feet and arms from below; others, in ambuscade, shooting arrows at him from both sides; while the Death you see in the draught will seem, from an opening between hills in relievo, to have found admission to a shorter way, and prevented Time at a distance." Pope's opinion as to the signicance of this design is solicited, but unfortunately no answer appears in the correspondence.
Hill had known or suspected that Pope was a contributor to the Grub-street Journal, and one communication drew from him a singular but complimentary copy of verses. A female friend, Mrs. Butler, of Sussex, died, and a long panegyric on the lady-a prose character-appeared in the Journal of Thursday, November 28th, 1734. In the Prompter (Hill's paper) of December 8th a poetical contribution was inserted, entitled "A Letter from the World to Come: to the Author of a Lady's Character, lately published in a Thursday's Journal." This "Letter" was the following lines, afterwards inserted in Hill's Works (1753), where they bear the title of "A Letter from a Departed Spirit to the Author (Mr. Pope) of a Lady's Character," &c. :
MONUMENT DESIGNED BY HILL.
"Stript to the naked soul, escaped from clay,
No, 'tis a spirit's nobler task of bliss,
The conceit of thus personating the "departed spirit," and the style of the verses, are exactly in Hill's manner, but quite unlike Pope's, yet they have often been published as a genuine production from Twickenham.19
When Pope was no more, Hill joined in the cry against him, and told at least half the truth in a letter to Richardson the novelist, whom he pampered with flattery. The popu larity of Pope, he said, arose originally from "meditated little personal assiduities, and a certain bladdery swell of management, having the cunning to blow himself up by help of dull, unconscious instruments, whenever he would seem to sail as if his own wind moved him." Aaron should have been content with the moral victory he had gained over Pope. He practised himself many personal assiduities, and blew himself up no less strenuously, but a collapse soon took place, and as a poet he sank never to rise again except as attached to the triumphal car of the Dunciad."
19 The Gentleman's Magazine, Dec. 1753, originated the blunder, by adding the words, "by Mr. Pope." The Hon. Charles Yorke sent the piece to Warburton, and Warburton inserted it in Ruff head's Life of Pope, stating that it was addressed to Dr. Bolton, Dean of Carlisle, "who," says Warburton, "lived some time at Twickenham with old Lady Blount. On the death of her mother, Mrs. Butler, of Sussex, Dr. Bolton drew up the mother's character; from thence Mr. Pope took occasion to write the epistle to Dr. Bolton," &c. This elaborate error was continued by Warton and Bowles. Mrs. Butler) was connected by marriage with Pope's friends, the Cæsars of Bennington. The Lady Blount alluded to by Warburton, and the daughter of Mrs. Butler, was the relict of Sir Thomas Pope Blount, Bart.
EPISTLES AND ESSAY ON MAN. DEATH OF GAY, OF POPE'S MOTHER, AND OF ARBUTHNOT. PUBLICATION BY CURLL OF POPE'S CORRESPONDENCE. LAST VISIT TO LORD PETERBOROUGH.
THE Epistles and Moral Essays of Pope formed his next class of publications. They are the most intellectual and refined of the works of his matured genius. The ease, grace, and dignity with which questions of taste and ethics are discussed in these poetical prelections, and the beauty of the imagery with which they are illustrated, render them the most pleasing, popular, and suggestive of all his productions.
The first of this series was the Epistle to the Earl of Burlington, published in 1731. It was entitled "Of Taste," which was subsequently altered to "Of False Taste," and again to "Of the Use of Riches." In this epistle the poet supports the character of a connoisseur, and lays down rules for architecture and gardening-rules founded upon sense, truth, and nature, and enforced by examples both of false and of correct taste. The description of Timon's Villa, designed to illustrate the false taste of magnificence, by which greatness is supposed to consist in the size and dimensions, instead of the proportion and harmony of the whole, raised a cry of ingratitude against Pope, as if he had attacked a benefactor in ridiculing the house and grounds, and the ostentatious hospitality, of the Duke of Chandos. The poet, it was said, had received a present of five hundred pounds from the
Duke-an assertion which he promptly denied. He had never received any favour from the Duke, " or from any great man whatsoever," except his subscription to Homer, and he had never been but twice in his company. He denied, also, that the description was intended to represent Canons. We have noticed the charge and denial in notes to the poem; but Pope being under no personal obligation to the Duke of Chandos, the absurd state and magnificence kept up at Canons formed a legitimate subject for his animadversion and ridicule. The real error of the poet was the same as that which he committed in the case of Aaron Hill, and the initial letters in the treatise on the Bathos. He denied instead of vindicating the object and intention of the satire.
Pope, with manly wisdom, despised the pia fraudes of his Church. He tolerated no juggling in concerns of eternal moment. But unfortunately he did not carry this spirit into literature. His poetica fraudes are numerous and undeniable. Some are serious, intended to avert the consequences of his satire; some are prompted by vanity; and some can be assigned to no other cause than a delight in stratagem. To equivocate genteelly, as he termed it, or to deny firmly, as circumstances might require, were expedients he never hesitated to adopt. The ardour of composition, it is probable, at times, carried him further than he intended, and led him to over-colour his pictures, so that he might safely deny part. "It must be owned," said Lord Chesterfield, "that Pope was the most irritable of all the genus irritabile vatum, offended with trifles, and never forgetting or forgiving them." Still he shrank from the responsibility of his attacks, and the contest between his irresistible proneness to satire and his want of moral courage, or his reluctance to continue injustice, involved him in pitiable and humiliating situations, which, without the cant of sensibility, all must deplore, if not condemn. These results became more conspicuous when his epistles led him to deal with higher characters than most of those in the Dunciad.
The name of Cleland was again employed in a defence published in the newspapers, as addressed to Gay, but written, as Warburton sarcastically remarks, "by the same hand that wrote the letter to the publisher prefixed to the Dunciad;" and we may add with no better result. Pope himself addressed the Duke of Chandos and Lord Burlington, indig