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made by Lord Hervey; yet Pope suppressed his letter. He writes to Swift, Jan. 6th, 1734: "There is a woman's war declared against me by a certain Lord. His weapons are the same which women and children use: a pin to scratch, and a squirt to bespatter. I writ a sort of answer, but was ashamed to enter the lists with him, and after showing it to some people, suppressed it; otherwise, it was such as was worthy of him and worthy of me." Horace Walpole says the letter was suppressed by desire of his uncle (old Horace Walpole), who had got an abbey from Cardinal Fleury for one Southcote, a friend of Pope's. "My Lord Hervey," adds Walpole, " pretended not to thank him." Pope's habitual caution must have come in support of the recommendation. As Vice-Chamberlain, Hervey was a favourite at Court, and enjoyed the confidence of the Queen, as well as that of the Ministry; and the publication of the letter would have given deep offence to all those royal and official personages, and to many others with whom its author wished to stand well. It might even have led to an action at law, and brought the poet under the cognizance of Judge Page, who was included in the same poem with the Vice-Chamberlain.
It would have been impossible, however, for Pope to have been wholly silent, and in the Grub-street Journal of December 6th, 1733, was inserted a dramatic imitation, or travesty, entitled, "Advice to a Nobleman, the Author of an Epistle to a Doctor of Divinity, by Ben Jonson." Pope had taken the arraignment scene in Jonson's Poetaster, act v., sc. 1, in which Crispinus and Fannius are formally indicted, and by altering and omitting some of the expressions, and confining the accusation to one person, Fannius, he made up what he termed "a case in point" against his enemy, Lord Fanny, or Hervey. As in the original, Fannius is indicted upon the statute of calumny, "that not having the fear of Phoebus before his eyes, he had ignorantly, foolishly, and maliciously gone about to deprave and calumniate the person and writings of Quintus Horatius Flaccus, taxing him falsely of railing, filching by translation," &c.
• Walpole to George Montagu, June 13, 1751. It was in this year, 1751, that Pope's Letter was first published, being included in Warburton's edition of the poet's works.
REPLY TO LORD HERVEY.
And, in conclusion, the oath for good behaviour is administered to the convicted peer, in the words of the drama, and he is enjoined "not to malign, traduce, or detract the person or writings of Quintus Horatius Flaccus, or any other eminent man transcending you in merit" (so the oath proceeds), "whom your envy shall find cause to work upon, either for that, or for keeping himself in better acquaintance, or enjoying better friends; or if transported by any sudden and desperate resolution, you do that then you shall not in the next PRESENCE, or any honourable assembly of his favourers, be brought to undertake the FORSWEARING or DENYING it. Neither shall you at any time suffer the itch of writing to overrun your performance in libel, upon pain of being taken up for lepers in wit, and (losing both your time and your papers) be irrecoverably forfeited to the hospital of fools. So help you our Roman gods, and the genius of great Cæsar. Rumpatur, quisquis rumpitur invidiâ.”
The adaptation here is close and apposite enough: "surly Ben" had been pliant to the poet's purpose, but the play of the Poetaster was too little read for the satire to be effective. Pope now tried a different style. He reprinted the scene, Horace versus Fannius, accompanying it with "A Most Proper Reply to the Nobleman's Epistle to a Doctor of Divinity," being an address to Lord Hervey, written in the name and character of Dr. Sherwin, Hervey's friend, and overloaded with Scriptural quotations:
"You say you are always employed in business or sport; but, under favour, you have no notion of either. Pray, my lord, what is your business? You have no business with any man.-Judg. xxiii. 7. Your office is to wait in the Courts. But, alas! if real business was to be transacted by such as you, you would render it a Court for owls. -Isa. xxxiv. 13. Therefore, I say as to business, content yourself with what you are, a shrub growing in the court.-1 Mac. iv. 38. And as to sport, it is as sport to a fool to do mischief-Prov. x. 23. You are the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?-Prov. xxvi. 19. But such sport, my lord, will ruin your interest. He that loveth sport shall be a poor man.-Prov. xxi. 17. And you should take care, my dear lord, not to call forth your betters to make your merriment, lest it befal you as it befel the silly lords of the Philistines, who said, Call Samson, that he may make us sport; and he pulled the WHOLE HOUSE on their head.-Judg. xvi. 25. For
certain it is the lords favour thee not.-1 Sam. xxix. 6. Thou shouldst be ashamed of a lie before a Prince.-Eccles. xli. 17. Yet art thou known to be of those who, if not admitted anywhere else, can still speak lies at ONE TABLE.-Dan. xi. 27. Thou hast need to tread warily, though thou seemest one of the daughters of Sion tripping nicely.-Isa. iii. 16. Thou hast made thy beauty to be abhorred.— Ez. xxv. Verily, verily, thou art a nointed cherub!-Ez. xxviii. 14. And if thou art, as thou sayest, only to one point true—viz., interest what else can be said of thee but that thy COMELINESS is turned into CORRUPTION.-Dan. x. 8.
"I am, my good lord, your faithful monitor,
"Chichester, Childermas-day, 1733."
This style of writing must have been harder than translating Homer! The "Letter to a Noble Lord," so long suppressed, is infinitely superior to these in point and vigour. Johnson (who was partial to the Hervey family) says the letter exhibits nothing but tedious malignity. It is, however, a short and by no means heavy production. The bitterness of the sarcasm is conspicuous enough, and the marks of studied and careful preparation are obvious. Every scandal and insinuation made against Lord Hervey, by Pulteney and other political opponents, is introduced in the form of inuendo or explanation; the old arrows are barbed afresh and dexterously pointed; and the letter wants only a little more compression, and less visible straining after effect, to rival the invectives of Junius. As a defence it is poor. Pope committed the same capital blunder he had done in his former replies. The case was another of the poetica fraudes:
"I never heard," he said, "of the least displeasure you had conceived against me, till I was told that an imitation I had made of Horace had offended some persons, and among them your Lordship. I could not have apprehended that a few general strokes about a Lord scribbling carelessly, a pimp, or a spy at Court, a sharper in a gilded chariot, &c., that these, I say, should be ever applied as they have been, by any malice but that which is the greatest in the world, the malice of ill people to themselves.
"Your Lordship so well knows (and the whole Court and town through your means so well know) how far the resentment was carried upon that imagination, not only in the nature of the libel you propagated against me, but in the extraordinary manner, place, and presence in which it was propagated, that I shall only say, it
seemed to me to exceed the bounds of justice, common sense, and decency.
"I wonder yet more, how a lady, of great wit, beauty, and fame for her poetry (between whom and your Lordship there is a natural a just, and a well-grounded esteem), could be prevailed upon to take a part in that proceeding. Your resentments against me, indeed, might be equal, as my offence to you both was the same; for neither had I the least misunderstanding with that lady till after I was the author of my own misfortune in discontinuing her acquaintance. I may venture to own a truth, which cannot be unpleasing to either of you. I assure you my reason for so doing was merely that you had both too much wit for me, and that I could not do, with mine, many things which you could with yours. The injury done you in withdrawing myself could be but small, if the value you had for me was no greater than you have been pleased since to profess."
REPLY TO LORD HERVEY.
He stoutly denied having ever designated Lady Mary by the name of Sappho :
"In regard to the Right Honourable Lady, your Lordship's friend, I was far from designing a person of her condition by a name so derogatory to her as that of Sappho; a name prostituted to every infamous creature that ever wrote verse or novels. I protest I never applied that name to her in any verse of mine, public or private; and (I firmly believe) not in any letter or conversation. Whoever could invent a falsehood to support an accusation, I pity; and whoever can believe such a character to be theirs, I pity still more. God forbid the Court or town should have the complaisance to join in that opinion! Certainly I meant it only of such modern Sapphos as imitate much more the lewdness than the genius of the ancient one."
This denial the poet was afterwards willing to forget, and Sappho was repeatedly alluded to in reference to Lady Mary. Lord Hervey had revived the old scandal of the poet's "undertaking" the Odyssey:
"And sold Broome's labours printed with Pope's name."
This charge he meets with a distinct and clear refutation:
"How can you talk (my most worthy Lord) of all Pope's works as so many libels, affirm that he has no invention but in defamation, and charge him with selling another man's labours printed with his own name? Fie, my Lord, you forget yourself. He printed not his name before a line of the person's you mention; that person himself has told you and all the world in the book itself, what part he had in it, as may be seen at the conclusion of his notes to the Odyssey. I can
only suppose your Lordship (not having at that time forgot your Greek) despised to look upon the translation; and ever since entertained too mean an opinion of the translator to cast an eye upon it. Besides, my Lord, when you said he sold another man's works, you ought in justice to have added that he bought them, which very much alters the case. What he gave him was five hundred pounds: his receipt can be produced to your Lordship. I dare not affirm that he was as well paid as some writers (much his inferiors) have been since; but your Lordship will reflect that I am no man of quality, either to buy or sell scribbling so high, and that I have neither place, pension, nor power to reward for secret services. It cannot be, that one of your rank can have the least envy to such an author as I; but were that possible, it were much better gratified by employing not your own, but some of those low and ignoble pens to do you this mean office. I dare engage you will have them for less than I gave Mr. Broome, if your friends have not raised the market. Let them drive the bargain for you, my Lord, and you may depend on seeing, every day in the week, as many (and now and then as pretty) verses as these of your Lordship.'
sort of bill of complaint," drawn up at different times, but specially designed to rebut the aspersions of Lord Hervey. The two most perfect and powerful of all
Pope's satirical male portraits are contained in this epistle, namely, those of Addison and Lord Hervey. The dramatic