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PROJECTED HISTORY OF ENGLISH POETRY.
Translators from Italian. Golding, Ed., Fairfax, Harrington. 6. School of Donne. Cowley, Davenant, Michael Drayton, Sir Thomas Overbury, Randolph, Sir John Davis, Sir John Beaumont, Cartwright, Cleveland, Crashaw, Bishop Corbet, Lord Falkland.
Models to Waller. In Matter-Carew, T. Carey.-In versification -G. Sandys in his Par. of Job. Fairfax.
Originals of Hudibras. Sir John Mennis, Tho. Baynal.15
Pope was partial to this mode of arranging the poets in classes, and Spence gives many of his hints and conversations on the subject, disclosing, though cursorily, his critical opinions. Carew he called a bad Waller-yet Carew had some little pieces equal to any of Waller's, and unsurpassed in diction. Carew, Waller, and Lansdowne, he said, were all of one school. Crashaw was a worse Cowley, and a follower, too, of Petrarch and Marino. Herbert is lower than Crashaw, Sir John Beaumont higher, and Donne a good deal so. Cowley was a fine poet in spite of his faults-an opinion which Pope had also expressed very happily in verse. says little of the versification of these older brethren, who, in fact, wanted only a little taste and uniformity of style to become rivals to himself in metrical harmony. Detached passages in the heroic couplet may be found in Crashaw and
15 There are several mistakes in this sketch-unknown names, wrong classifications, &c., which Malone and Mitford (Life of Gray) have pointed out. Pope's plan, however, was a mere memorandum-a scribbled paperand may have been carelessly transcribed. The first entry in Æra II. is unintelligible. There is probably some omission to the effect that parts of the Fairy Queen are translated from Tasso. The Jerusalem reached Spenser when he was engaged on his great poem, and he copied large passages from it. The Bower of Bliss, book ii. canto vi. is a literal transcript of the Gardens of Armida. Pope's sketch formed the basis of a scheme by Gray, who also proposed writing a history of English Poetry, for which his extensive learning, fine taste, and studious habits so eminently qualified him. He intended introducing an account of Celtic and Gothic poetry, and also continuing the history to the time of the "School of France introduced after the Restoration,-Waller, Dryden, Addison, Prior, and Pope, which has continued (adds Gray) to our own times." It was exploded by Cowper, but Thomson could not be called of the French school, nor Gray himself. What Pope and Gray designed, but failed to accomplish, was undertaken by T. Warton, whose history of English poetry, though not brought later than the reign of Elizabeth, is a vast storehouse of curious and interesting information. Mr. Hallam's Introduction to the Literature of Europe carries forward our poetical annals to the close of the sixteenth century.
Beaumont as smooth and regular as any in Dryden or Pope. Chaucer and his contemporaries borrowed a good deal, according to Pope, from the Provençal poets. But this opinion has been controverted by Tyrrwhit, and is now abandoned. No clear instance of imitation can be pointed out, nor is there a phrase or a word fetched from the south of the Loire. Chaucer copied the style of the Norman or Northern French amatory poets, of whom Mr. Hallam says one hundred and twenty-seven are known by name in the twelfth century, and above two hundred in the thirteenth. A perfect swarm of worshippers in the Court of Love, who sang for ever of ladies' smiles, of spring, flowers, and nightingales! The robust intellect of Chaucer required stronger food, and though he dallied occasionally with these Delilahs of the south, he wisely sought for inspiration in his own heart, and in the life and nature around him.
Among the other plans of Pope was an epic poem, to be entitled "Brutus," the hero of which was to attempt the great ocean in search of a new country, and encounter, like Eneas, long perils both by sea and land. There seems to have been no part of this epic written. It was a mere vision, like the poet's grand architectural designs, and was equally unattainable by his resources. He had likewise, according to Ruffhead, planned two Odes, or Moral Poems, on the mischiefs of arbitrary power and the folly of ambition.
A severe shock was given to Pope's most cherished feelings by the publication in Dublín of his correspondence with Swift, said to have been printed by the Dean's consent and direction. Swift's cousin, Mrs. Whiteway, assured the poet that she had used her utmost endeavours to prevent the publication, and went so far as to secrete the book in which the letters were kept, until it was demanded from her and delivered to the Dublin printer, George Faulkner. Her son-in-law, Mr. Deane Swift, insisted upon writing a preface to justify Pope from having any knowledge of the work, and to lay it upon the corrupt practices of the printers in London; but this Pope would not agree to, as contrary to the fact.16 The poet had employed every means, of friendly
16 Note by Pope to the last letter in the genuine edition of 1741.
SWIFT PUBLISHES POPE'S LETTERS.
agency and remonstrance, and threats of legal proceedings, to prevent this publication; but the only concession he could obtain was that Swift ordered the printer to submit to any excisions he should make: an indulgence which the poet does not seem to have exercised. "The whole thing," he writes to Mr. Allen, "is too manifest to admit of any doubt in any man, how long this thing has been working; how many tricks have been played with the Dean's papers; how they were secreted from him from time to time, while they feared his not complying with such a measure; and how, finding his weakness increase, they have at last made him the instrument himself for their private profit; whereas I believe before they only intended to do this after his death." Curll, of course, seized upon the Dublin edition and reprinted it;17 and Pope, to ensure a correct copy, issued a second volume of his Prose Works, containing the correspondence with Swift, in a more complete form, and also the Memoirs of Scriblerus. This volume was published, in the style of his other works, in folio and quarto, in 1741, and was his only publication of that year. Some passages suppressed in the Dublin edition of the letters were restored, and one of these is curious. "I showed my cousin the above letter," Swift writes to Pope, August 24, 1738, "and she assures me, that a great collection of your letters to me are put up and sealed, and in some very safe hand." Pope remarks," "Tis written just thus in the original"—and very puzzling and sphinx-like the original must have appeared. Swift's mental decay and loss of memory too readily and painfully supply an explanation of the case; but he was in
17 "It is well known," said Curll, in his preface to the work, "that the Dublin edition of these letters is lawful prize here; and whatever we print is the same there. The safe hand to whom Dean Swift delivered them, conveyed them safely to us; so that all the pretences of sending a young peer [Lord Orrery] to go in search of them, or the attempts of an old woman [Mrs. Whiteway] to suppress them, was arrant trifling." Pope, however, filed a bill against Curll, and obtained an injunction. Lord Mansfield said: "Dr. Swift disclaimed the publication, and was extremely angry. The only question was whether the property was in Pope, who filed the bill, or in Swift, who was no party to the suit." Counsel. "Mr. Pope seems to hint his suspicions of his friend; but it was allowed that a property did subsist in the writer, for the injunction was granted and acquiesced in."-See Boscoe's Pope, vol. i. 478.
fluenced also by the secret workings of vanity and ambition, now more prominent as his understanding declined. He had thrice requested Pope to inscribe to him one of those Epistles by which the poet conferred honour and immortality on his friends. On the 3rd of September, 1735, he wrote to him, "I have the ambition, and it is very earnest, as well as in haste, to have one Epistle inscribed to me while I am alive, and you just in the time when wit and wisdom are in the height; I must once more repeat Cicero's desire to a friend: Orna me." Some months afterwards (April 22, 1736), he writes again: "I have a little repined at my being hitherto slipped by you in your Epistles, not from any other ambition than the title of a friend, and in that sense I expect you shall perform your promise, if your health, and leisure, and inclination will permit.' At the close of the same year he returns to the subject, and says his acquaintance resent that they had not seen his name at the head of one of the Epistles of Morality. Pope unaccountably resisted the repeated appeals, though he promised compliance. Perhaps he found it difficult to add to the elegance of the complimentary lines addressed to Swift at the commencement of the Dunciad, and the allusions to him in his Epistles and Imitations; but Swift was fed with strong flatteries by his Irish friends, and we have no doubt he was mortified by Pope's neglect on a point so tender and so strictly personal. Swift then solicited a similar commemoration from the pen of Bolingbroke. He says (August 8, 1738), "I can hardly hope to live till you publish your history, and am vain enough to wish that my name could be squeezed in among the few subalterns, quorum pars parva fui: if not, I will be revenged, and contrive some way to be known to futurity, that I had the honour to have your lordship for my best patron," &c.18 This thirst for posthumous fame, co-operating
18 There was a general impression that three public men were then engaged in writing Memoirs of their own Times, namely, Bolingbroke, Chesterfield, and Carteret. His Majesty, George II., spoke very plainly as to the qualifications of the historical triumvirate. "They will all three," said the king, have about as much truth in them as the Mille et Une Nuits. Not but I shall like to read Bolingbroke's, who, of all those rascals and knaves that have been lying against me these ten years, has certainly the best parts and the most knowledge: he is a scoundrel, but he is a scoundrel of a
POPE'S LAST LETTER TO SWIFT.
with the interested wishes and solicitations of the persons surrounding him, may have prompted Swift to sanction the publication of his correspondence; and it is remarkable that he had preserved copies of his own letters to Pope, which appeared in the Dublin edition along with those of his correspondent. His love of fame was stronger than his misanthropy! Pope's last letter to his friend, written after this injury to his feelings and his fortune, is the best proof of the sincerity of his friendship and of his warm affection for Swift. It is dated from Duke-street, Westminster (where he had called on Lord Orrery), March 22, 1740:
"MY DEAR FRIEND,-When the heart is full of tenderness, it must be full of concern at the absolute impotency of all words to come up to it. You are the only man now in the world who costs me a sigh every day of my life, and the man it troubles me most, although I most wish, to write to. Death has not used me worse in separating from me for ever poor Gay, Arbuthnot, &c., than disease and absence in separating you so many years. But nothing shall make me forget you, and I am persuaded you will as little forget me; and most things in this world one may afford to forget, if we remember, and are remembered by our friends. I value and enjoy more the memory of the pleasures and endearing obligations I have formerly received from you, than the perfect possession of any other. I am less anxious every day I live for present enjoyments of any sort, and my temper and mind is calmer as to worldly disappointments and accidents, except the loss of friends by death, the only way (I thank God) that I ever have lost any. Think it not possible that my affection can cease but with my last breath. If I could think yours was alienated, I should grieve, but not reproach you. If I felt myself even hurt by you, I should be
confident you knew not the blow you gave, but had' your hand guided
by another. If I never more had a kind word from you, I should feel my heart the same it has ever been towards you.
"I must confess a late incident has given me some pain; but I am satisfied you were persuaded it would not have given me any. And whatever unpleasant circumstances the printing our letters might be
higher class than Chesterfield. Chesterfield is a little tea-table scoundrel, that tells little womanish lies to make quarrels in families; and tries to make women lose their reputations, and make their husbands beat them, without any object but to give himself airs, as if anybody could believe a woman would like a dwarf baboon." The queen said all these three histories would be three heaps of lies, but lies of different kinds; she said Bolingbroke's would be great lies, Chesterfield's little lies, and Carteret's lies of both sorts."-Lord Hervey's Memoirs, ii. 360.