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workmen, talked again of his history, and declaimed with great spirit against the meanness of the present great men and ministers, and the decay of public spirit and honour. It is impossible to conceive how much his heart is above his condition: he is dying every other hour, and obstinate to do whatever he has a mind to. He has concerted no measures beforehand for his journey, but to get a yacht in which he will set sail, but no place fixed on to reside at, nor has determined what place to land at, or provided any accommodation for his going on land. He talks of getting towards Lyons, but undoubtedly he can never travel but to the sea-shore. I pity the poor woman who is to share in all he suffers, and who can in no one thing persuade him to spare himself. I think he must be lost in this attempt, and attempt it he will.
"He has with him, day after day, not only all his relations, but every creature of the town of Southampton that pleases. He lies on his couch, and receives them, though he says little. When his pains come, he desires them to walk out, but invites them to stay and dine or sup, &c. Sir Wilfred Lawson and his lady, Mrs. Mordaunt and Colonel Mordaunt, are here: to-morrow come Mr. Poyntz, &c., for two days only, and they all go away together. He says he will go at the month's end, if he is alive. I believe I shall get home on Wednesday night. I hope Lady Suffolk will not go sooner for Stowe, and, if not, I'll go with her willingly. Nothing can be more affecting and melancholy to me than what I see here: yet he takes my visit so kindly, that I should have lost one great pleasure, had I not come. I have nothing more to say, as I have nothing in my mind but this present object, which indeed is extraordinary. This man was never born to die like other men, any more than to live like them.—I am ever yours, &c." 13 (No signature.)
In writing to his learned counsel, Fortescue, August 23, 1735, the poet asks, "When shall you and I sit by a fireside without a brief or a poem in our hands, and yet not idle, not thoughtless, but as serious, and more so, than any business ought to make us, except the great business-that of enjoying a reasonable being, and regarding its end? The sooner this is the case the better. God deliver you from law, me from rhyme, and give us leisure to attend to what is more important." This deliverance was never to come, but the poet indulged in a twelvemonth's abstinence from publication.
13 Roscoe, v. viii. p. 481, collated with the original. The address is to "Mrs. Blount, at the Countess of Suffolk's, at Marble Hill, in Twickenham."
THE GENUINE EDITION OF POPE'S LETTERS. HIS LITERARY FRIENDS. DTATIONS OF HORACE. CLOSE OF THE CORRESPONDENCE WITH SWIFT.
THE Letters of Pope, thus ushered into the world with dramatic preparation and effect, immediately became popular. Three editions were issued by Curll before the close of the year, and other booksellers pirated the collection. One gentleman, on reading the volume, formed so high an opinion of Pope's general benevolence and goodness of heart, that he sought his friendship, and offered to print a genuine edition of the correspondence at his own expense. This was Ralph Allen, already mentioned, the proprietor of Widcombe or Prior Park, near Bath; a man who had amassed a large fortune as a post-office contractor, and who was as generous and philanthropic as he was rich. The name of "humble Allen" will live in Pope's verse, but as durable and honourable a record of his worth is preserved in the fact that he was the original of Squire Allworthy, in Fielding's "Tom Jones." Pope declined the offer of his new friend. He would not, he said, "serve his private fame entirely at another's expense." But when he issued his subscription papers for printing the correspondence, Allen was indefatigable in promoting the success of the scheme. Fortescue was another warm admirer and zealous friend.
In order to augment his collection, or to prevent the letters falling into the hands of Curll, Pope endeavoured to obtain possession of his correspondence with Swift. He wrote to
POPE SOLICITS LETTERS FROM SWIFT.
the Dean: "I have too much reason to fear that those letters which you have too partially kept in your hands will get out in some very disagreeable shape, in case of our mortality; and the more reason to fear it since this last month Curll has obtained from Ireland two letters (one of Lord Bolingbroke and one of mine to you, which we wrote in the year 1723), and he has printed them, to the best of my memory, rightly, except one passage concerning Dawley, which must have been since inserted, since my lord had not that place at that time. Your answer to that letter he has not got; it has never been out of my custody; for whatever is lent is lost (wit as well as money) to these needy poetical readers." It may be asked, why were not Swift's letters-unquestionably the most original and striking in Pope's correspondencetransferred to the books in Lord Oxford's library? Or if there, why were they not included in the alleged theft and surreptitious publication? The answer, we suspect, must be, that Pope intended them for a separate volume. The poet next applied to Lord Orrery, entreating his lordship to get the letters from Swift; but all that could be obtained from the Dean was an assurance that the poet's letters were sealed up in bundles and delivered to Mrs. Whiteway, a cousin of Swift's his "female Walpole "-who was directed to send them to his friend after his (Swift's) decease. Mrs. Whiteway denied that she had received one of the Dean's letters; but this lady was certainly a party to the subsequent publication of them in Dublin; a proceeding which seems for a moment to have shaken Pope's steady affection for his old friend and benefactor.
The letters were put to press, and early in 1737 appeared in folio and quarto, with a vignette portrait after Richardson, "The Works of Mr. Alexander Pope in Prose." Curll, we may remark, had not been idle in the interval. He issued successively a second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth volume (the last published after Pope's genuine edition, from which he pirated largely), but wanting his allies, the old gentleman and the clergyman with the barrister's band, "like the lost Pleiad, seen no more below," Curll was helpless. All the volumes were dignified with the title of "Mr. Pope's Literary Correspondence," but he had been only able to pick up the two authentic letters alluded to by Pope in his communica
tion to Swift. The remainder were letters of Lord Lansdowne, the Duke of Shrewsbury, Bolingbroke, Garth, &c. Some of the collection were even letters of Henry VIII. to Anne Boleyn !1
Pope's genuine edition must have disappointed honest Ralph Allen and the other subscribers. The guinea volume was, in truth, less valuable than the two or three shilling volume. Some letters had been withdrawn, and what was obscure in the former impressions was left in the same unsatisfactory state. The few meagre explanatory notes were not enlarged, incidents were recorded under wrong dates, and the arrangement of the letters was intricate and confused. This was, partly at least, intentional; else why should we have Mr. Caryll under three designations-as "the Hon. J. C., Esq.," "the Hon. -," and "Mr. C?" The Cromwell letters were the most genuine. Those addressed to Wycherley, we are informed in the preface to the volume, were originally published to vindicate the memory of the deceased wit. The posthumous works of Wycherley had been published, edited by Theobald, in 1728. "It was
1 Curll, in 1785, served Cooper with a writ on account of an advertisement concerning Pope's Letters. The poet acknowledged to Fortescue that he had connived at Cooper's republication, and instructed his legal friend to defend Cooper: "I am told," he says, "he (Cooper) put an advertisement into a newspaper against Curll." The poet did not require to be told this, for the advertisement appears to be from his own pen. It is in the Grub-street Journal of June 12, 1735:
"This day is published, LETTERS OF MR. POPE, and several eminent persons, vols. i. and ii., from the year 1705 to 1734. Printed not for Edmund Curll, but sold by T. Cooper, &c.
"N.B. This edition consists of the Letters simply, and is wholly free from the follies and impertinences of Edmund Curll's edition. And whereas he advertises a second vol. of Letters between Mr. Pope, the Lord Bolingbroke, and Bishop Atterbury, T. Cooper hereby promises to give to the said Edmund Curll a sum of Ten Pounds (as much as he gave his confederates for 240 books) for every letter, either of theirs to Mr. Pope, or Mr. Pope to him, or any other mentioned in his advertisement, for which he can produce any original or voucher. In the mean time he hopes every fair trader will give the preference to this edition, entered in the Hall Book, according to the Act of Queen Anne, which is not (as some imagine) expired, but remains unrepealed and in full force, and upon which Edmund Curll shall be prosecuted or any other pirater of this book."
It is not easy to discover Curll's ground of action in this, but it was probably a mere bravado.
thought a justice due to him," says Pope, "to show the world his better judgment; and that it was his last resolution to have suppressed those poems. As some of the letters which had passed between him and our author cleared that point, they were published in 1729, with a few marginal notes added by a friend." This publication of 1729 has not been met with, but the letters of Wycherley do not bear out the assertion that he meant to suppress the poems. The last declaration of the disappointed dramatist on the subject is his desire that Pope would mark the repetitions on the margin of his papers without defacing the copy. Pope's real object was twofold-to attack Theobald, who had not only edited Wycherley but had also edited Shakspeare, and to advance his own literary and personal reputation. His desire was not to present actual letters to the public. When he tells Congreve that he had got a custom of "throwing himself out upon paper without reserve," and declares to Bethell that he had "no vanity in writing," it is impossible not to smile at the delusion, and to recal the saying (which has so
POPE AND WYCHERLEY.
2 Although no copy of the volume has been found, it was certainly advertised. The following (evidently written by Pope) appears in the Country Journal of Saturday, Nov. 29, 1729: "This day is published the Posthumous Works of William Wycherley, Esq., in Prose and Verse. The Second Volume, containing-1. Letters of Mr. Wycherley and Mr. Pope, on several subjects (the former at seventy years of age, the latter at seventeen). 2. Poems not inserted in the first volume, and others more correct from original manuscripts in the Harley Library. 3. Hero and Leander, in burlesque; written by Mr. Wycherley under ten years old.-N.B. In the Preface to the first volume, a second having been promised (for which Mr. Theobald entered into a bond with the booksellers, but hath failed in his promise twelve years), the publick may be assured that this completes the whole, and that nothing more of Mr. Wycherley's which is any way fit for the press, can ever be added to it. Printed for J. Roberts, in Warwick-lane." In Pope's paper, the Grub-street Journal, this affair of Theobald and the bond is alluded to: "He who proposed, &c., a Shakespear in 1727 had proposed also an Odysses in 1717, and two volumes of Wycherley soon after (nay stood obliged for them by bond), all which he hath in a most exemplary manner left unperformed." If we may credit Curll, the Wycherley Letters were not only advertised but printed: "The plot is now discovered. Lawton Gilliver has declared that you bought of him the remainder of the impression of Wycherley's Letters, which he printed by your direction in 1728, and has printed six hundred of the additional Letters, with those to Mr. Cromwell, to make up the volume."-Mr. Pope's Literary Correspondence, vol. ii. (1785).