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supposed interview, Steele and Addison were estranged from each other, and had ceased to meet as friends. I ask no favours of Mr. Secretary Addison," writes Steele proudly to his wife in 1717; and certainly he would not officiously have intruded on him to request him to meet Pope, in order that he might be "cuffed down" in the mock-heroic manner described by Ayre. Dismissing the biographical figment (which is only worthy of notice because Johnson has grafted it into his masterly memoir of the poet, and Mr. Roscoe has attached importance to it), there still remains the statement of Spence.
Philips seems to have been encouraged to abuse me in coffee-houses and conversation," says Pope. By whom was he encouraged? Not by Addison, for Pope had previously said that Philips set Addison against him, and it was not likely that the patron and the protégé had changed places in the conspiracy. In truth, Philips had a very good case of his own. Pope had heaped the most provoking ridicule on his Pastorals, and had incited Gay to do the same, besides evincing towards him the most marked contempt. But it is added: "Gildon wrote a thing about Wycherley [in the notes to the Dunciad termed a Life of Wycherley] in which he abused both me and my relations very grossly," and Lord Warwick "assured me that Addison encouraged Gildon to publish those scandals, and had given him ten guineas after they were published." No copy of this pamphlet, nor any reference to it in any of the publications of the day, can be found.18 It is highly improbable that Addison knew Gildon, who was a wretched hack-scribbler; but that he should not only know him, but should bribe him to publish scandals against Pope and his relations, and, after having perpetrated this crime, should entrust the secret to a dissolute, unprin
18 It is certain, however, that Gildon published some work or observations on Wycherley before August 11, 1721. In a letter of that date to Dennis he says, "I am sorry I have not pleased you in what I have said of Mr. Wycherley, because I am sensible that by not pleasing you, I am so far in the wrong."-Dennis's Remarks on the Dunciad, 1729. In 1718 Curll published a short memoir of Wycherley, by Major Pack, to which Dennis made an interesting supplement in a letter to Pack, dated Whitehall, September 1, 1720; but in neither of these is there any allusion to Pope.
ADDISON PRAISES POPE'S HOMER.
cipled youth of eighteen-all this is so foreign to Addison's character, and evinces such extreme malice and folly, that the tale is utterly incredible. The resentment of Pope, brooded over for years, had conjured up phantoms as visionary as those in his own Cave of Spleen; or, what is as probable, the young Earl of Warwick, hating Addison for his approaching marriage with his mother, the Countess, and eager, in his senseless rage, to blacken the character of one who threw a lustre on his family, had condescended to the office of a spy, and become the retailer of false and malignant fables. In all our literature, as Pope himself afterwards wrote, "no whiter page than Addison remains ;" and the object of his writings was to "set the passions on the side of truth." We must not, therefore, suffer his moral purity to be stained by an imputation so foul and improbable. If in the course of his criticism, while intent on serving his friends, Philips and Tickell, he evinced coldness and neglect with regard to the superior claims of Pope, he took an early opportunity of making reparation. Pope's satire on Addison must, according to the statement in Spence, have been written and sent to him early in 1716, and Addison's only reply was contained in a paper in the Freeholder of May 7, praising the translation of Homer: "When I consider myself as a British freeholder," he said, "I am in a particular manner pleased with the labours of those who have improved our language with the translation of old Latin and Greek authors, and by that means let us into the knowledge of what passed in the famous Governments of Greece and Rome. We have already most of their historians in our own tongue, and what is still more for the honour of our language, it has been taught to express with elegance the greatest of their poets in each nation. The illiterate among our countrymen may learn to judge from Dryden's Virgil of the most perfect epic performance; and those parts of Homer which have already been published by Mr. Pope, give us reason to think that the Iliad will appear in English with as little disadvantage to that immortal poem." Addison had thus the last word in the contest, and it must be admitted that his last word was characteristic of the man. The unintentional injury was atoned
for, and the unmerited reproaches of the satirist, though perhaps felt keenly, were unanswered, and we may be sure forgiven, amidst higher cares and public duties.
REMOVAL FROM BINFIELD TO CHISWICK. QUARREL WITH CURLL AND CIBBER. DEATH OF POPE'S FATHER, AND CORRESPONDENCE WITH ATTERBURY. CHANGE OF RESIDENCE TO TWICKENHAM.
THE Homer subscription had brought the poet honour, wealth, and troops of friends. The year 1714 may be considered as marking the commencement of the gayest period of Pope's life. It was the beginning of a decade of prosperous years, in which, through all circumstances, his spirit was sanguine, exultant, and defiant. He had not yet assumed the philosopher's robe, or hardened down into severe satire and ethics. His wit was sportive; and his enemies-for he always supposed himself to be surrounded by a cloud of enemies he could afford to smile at. His pen was the sword with which he had cut his way through the world, and it was bright and trenchant, ready for any service. At first his good fortune seems to have transported him into excesses foreign to his real character. He set up for a bon-vivant and rake-frequented the October Club and gaming-houses, boasted of sitting till two in the morning over burgundy and champagne, and grew ashamed of business. Poor authors, of course, were his special aversion. He sketched plans and architectural designs with Lord Burlington; lounged in the library of Lord Oxford; breakfasted with Craggs; drove about Bushy Park with Lord Halifax; talked of the Spanish war with the chivalrous Mordaunt, Lord Peterborough, the English Amadis; or, in the evening, joined in the learned raillery of Arbuthnot. With young Lord Warwick and
other beaux esprits he had delicious lobster-nights and tavern gaieties. How different from life in Windsor Forest! At the country seats of Lords Harcourt, Bathurst, and Cobham, he was a frequent visitor-criticising groves, walks, glades, gardens, and porticos; and he may claim the merit of having done more than any other poet to render English scenes classic ground-a distinction in which he was followed by Gray and Walpole, the latter acting as historian of patrician improvement and rural beauty. In the society of ladies
of rank and fashion the diminutive figure of the poet might be seen in his suit of black velvet, with tie-wig and small sword, discoursing on topics of wit and gallantry, his fineeye and handsome, intellectual face soon making the defects of his person forgotten; for in company entirely to his mind, Pope possessed the art and gaiety that could "laugh down many a summer sun." The accomplished Lady Mary Wortley Montagu had recently quitted her retirement at Wharncliffe, and shone "a bright
particular star" in the brilliant circles of the capital. Pope was often by her side, whispering flatteries that were afterwards to be changed to curses. The Duchesses of Queensberry, Hamilton, and Kingston smiled graciously on the laurelled poet, and carried him to their concerts and