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These were copies; and he finished a portrait of Betterton, copied from Kneller, which was in the collection of his friend Murray, Lord Mansfield, and still exists. An original specimen of the poet's artistic powers—a pictorial satire is preserved in Ketley parsonage, Wellington, Salop. This is a picture in water colours, about three feet by four feet in size, representing the Prodigal Son, with other allegorical designs and inscriptions, as a death's-head crowned with laurel, a philosopher blowing bubbles in the air, a fallen statue, ruined columns, &c. An engraving was made from this picture, though not containing all the figures, as a frontispiece to an edition of the Essay on Man, with Warburton's Commentary, published by the Knaptons in 1748. The original has long been in the family of its present owner, the Rev. Thompson Stoneham, who is fully sensible of the value of this curious and interesting relic. One defect Pope laboured under, which must have been fatal to success as a painter-he was near-sighted and had weak eyes. He therefore entered all the more earnestly into those studies to which nature and destiny impelled him.

"Windsor Forest" was published in March, 1712-3. The earlier portion of the poem was written several years before, and it was evidently suggested by Denham's Cooper's Hill, which was then the most popular descriptive poem in the language. Pope was allegorical as well as descriptive. He introduced Diana, Lodona, and Father Thames; but little interest attaches to these mythological creations, which appear faint after the rich and glowing allegories of Spenser, or those of Ben Jonson in his gorgeous Masques, or of Milton in his Comus. The descriptive passages also seem tame and meagre after the woodland and river scenes of Thomson, Cowper, and Shelley. In his poem of Alastor-written under the oak shades of Windsor Great Park-Shelley has painted forest scenery with a beauty and magnificence certainly not surpassed in the whole compass of our poetry. Pope's are literal and miniature descriptions-poor in comparison, but touched occasionally with simple grace, and even pathos. All have admired his pictures of the death of the pheasant, the netting of partridges in the new-shorn fields, and the fowler in winter among the lonely woodcocks and clamorous lapwings. The conclusion of the poem is historical, and of a



higher order of poetry than the first part. In this portion, too, the poet avowed his political partisanship by eulogising the peace shortly afterwards consummated by the treaty of Utrecht-a treaty that destroyed the effect of Marlborough's glorious campaigns, and granted to France more than she had demanded, and we had refused, three years before.

Steele had introduced Pope to his important and distinguished friend Addison, then unquestionably the most popular man in England. "If he had a mind to be chosen king," said Swift, "he would hardly be refused." Unfortunately, a shade of suspicion and dislike mingled with Pope's admiration of that great man. In commending the Essay on


Criticism, Addison, as we have seen, qualified his praise in allusion to the attacks on Dennis and Blackmore. Pope had communicated to Addison his happy conception of raising the Rape of the Lock into a mock epic by adding the machinery of the Rosicrucian system; but Addison advised him against any alteration, for that the poem in its original state was a delicious little thing, and, as he expressed it, merum sal. "Mr. Pope," we are told, was shocked for his friend, and then first began to open his eyes to his


character." This is related by Warburton; but Spence records no such impression on the part of Pope. If Addison gave the advice, it was doubtless given in all sincerity, for no one could have predicted that Pope's invention was to be crowned with such brilliant results. Addison was strongly averse to altering his own productions after they were published, and he was likely to counsel the young poet against making any such

sweeping alteration as that which he contemplated. If there was treachery in Addison's advice, Pope himself, as all his critics and biographers admit, was open to the same charge; for, on the tragedy of Cato being submitted to him in manuscript, he gave an opinion that it had better not be acted, not being theatrical enough, and that Addison would gain sufficient reputation by only printing it. Here the circumstances were exactly parallel; but Addison, we dare say, as little dreamed of charging Pope with treachery as of making Sir Roger de Coverley plot treason. Warburton, we are willing to believe, misrepresented the feeling of Pope on this occasion; and accordingly we find the latter anxious for the success of the tragedy, writing for it the prologue, which forms one of the loftiest and most finished of his smaller poems, and attending the theatre on the first representation of the drama. Of this scene he gives a lively account in a letter dated April 30, 1713:

"Cato was not so much the wonder of Rome in his days as he is of Britain in ours; and though all the foolish industry possible has been used to make it thought a party-play, yet what the author once said of another may the most properly in the world be applied to him on this occasion:

"Envy itself is dumb, in wonder lost,

And factions strive, who shall applaud him most.'

"The numerous and violent claps of the Whig party on the one side of the theatre were echoed back by the Tories on the other; while the author sweated behind the scenes with concern to find their applause proceeding more from the hand than the head. This was the case, too, of the prologue-writer, who was clapped into a staunch Whig, sore against my will, at almost every two lines. I believe you have heard, that after all the applauses of the opposite faction, my Lord Bolingbroke sent for Booth, who played Cato, into the box, between one of the acts, and presented him with fifty guineas, in acknowledgment (as he expressed it) for defending the cause of liberty so well against a perpetual dictator. The Whigs are unwilling to be distanced this way, and therefore design a present to the same Cato very speedily; in the mean time, they are getting ready as good a sentence as the former on their side; so betwixt them, it is probable that Cato (as Dr. Garth expressed it) may have something to live upon after he dies."


1 Pope's Letters to Sir W. Trumbull. It appears from the Caryll papers in the Athenæum, that the original or a copy of this letter was sent to Mr.



The first performance of Cato took place on the 14th of April. Addison's anxiety was at an end, and Pope's noble prologue, not less popular, was on the 18th printed in the Guardian-the successor of the Spectator-accompanied by a few words of happy and discriminating praise from Steele. In the same journal, however, had shortly before appeared, a series of papers from the pen of Tickell, reviewing the pastoral poets from Theocritus downwards, in which Philips was largely quoted and pronounced to be the legitimate successor of Spenser. This exaggerated praise, dictated by friendship, was galling to Pope, though he had himself, in a letter to Cromwell, in 1710, concurred in the opinion expressed in the Tatler, and now repeated in the Guardian, that there were no better eclogues in our language than those of Philips. What might seem generosity with him was implied censure and unfair criticism on the part of Tickell, and Pope ingeniously turned the whole into ridicule by sending to the Guardian an additional essay on the pastoral writers, in which he institutes a comparison between himself and Philips, awarding the palm to Philips, but quoting all his worst passages as his best, and placing by the side of them his own finest lines, which he says want rusticity, and deviate into downright poetry! The grave irony of this piece is conducted with the utmost skill and humour. Philips is eulogised for his "great judgment" in describing wolves in England; and for not confining himself, "as Mr. Pope hath done," to one particular season of the year, one certain time of the day, or one unbroken scene in each eclogue. By a poetical creation Philips is said to have raised up finer beds of flowers than the most industrious gardener, and his roses, his endives, lilies, kingcups, and daffodils, blow all in the same season! His dialect is also said to prove him to be the eldest born of

Caryll, containing the words printed in italics. To his Catholic and Jacobite friend the poet's disavowal of Whiggism would be welcome, but it would not have suited the ex-secretary of William III. Pope, when he published the letter, may have put Trumbull's name to it, without ever having sent it to his old friend in the Forest, but it is as likely that he addressed copies to both Sir William and Mr. Caryll: the incident, he knew, would gratify both as an article of intelligence. Bolingbroke's allusion to the "perpetual dictator" was, of course, directed against Marlborough, who had endeavoured, it was said, to obtain a patent appointing him for life Captain-General of the army.

Spenser, and our only true Arcadian: in illustration of which Pope quotes from a pretended old pastoral ballad (in the style of Gay's Shepherd's Week, then unpublished) a description in the Somersetshire dialect, which he considers a perfect pastoral.

"At the conclusion of this piece," he says, "the author reconciles the lovers, and ends the eclogue the most simply in the world.

"So Roger parted vor to vetch tha kee,

And vor her bucket in went Cicely.'

"I am loth," he adds, "to show my fondness for antiquity, so far as to prefer this ancient British author to our present English writers of pastoral; but I cannot avoid making this obvious remark, that Philips hath hit into the same road with this old west-country bard of


Steele, either through inadvertence, or not wishing to disoblige Pope, inserted this ironical paper, and Gay continued the ridicule by publishing his mock Pastorals, which are so excellent for low humour and nature, that they are still admired without reference to their satirical origin. Philips was naturally much incensed at Pope. He threatened personal violence, and, according to various contemporary accounts, procured a rod and stuck it up in Button's coffeehouse, in the public room, vowing to exercise it upon Pope whenever he should meet him there.2

Ayre's Life of Pope, Cibber's Letter to Pope, &c. Ayre was imposed upon by Pope's ironical comparison of himself with Philips. He says, “The performances are very different, but Sir Richard Steele has pretended to compare them." And after quoting the essay, he adds, with amusing simplicity, "It was no small matter to be brought into the lists at sixteen years of age with Mr. Philips, who was then (not without very good reason) much applauded by the town and by Mr. Steele, who had a great partiality and personal friendship for Mr. Philips.". In Ayre's Memoir is a dissertation on pastoral poetry, in which he introduces long quotations from Tasso, Guarini, and Allan Ramsay. He says Pope admired the pastoral of the Gentle Shepherd, and pointed out to a gentleman two favourite passages in it, one on the married life beginning,

"But we'll grow auld together, and ne'er find

The loss of youth when love grows on the mind."

And the other where the shepherd and his mistress exchange vows—

"Speak on! speak ever thus, and still my grief."

Gay met Allan Ramsay when he attended the Duke and Duchess of Queensberry to Scotland, and he had probably made Pope acquainted with the Gentle Shepherd.

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