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I sought no homage from the race that write;
are we to think of the deliberate inventor, and what credit is due to his bare suspicions, without any attempt at proof at all, and which are contradicted by Addison's general character, and by his acknowledged honour and worth?
I will also ask, whether any assertion be entitled to credit, which is brought forward so long after the death of the accused, as was the case in this instance?
One word respecting the supposed translation. It has been said that Pope, when he taxed Addison with being the author, was chiefly hurt by Addison's lofty manner and affected indifference. Is this to be attributed to innocence, or consciousness? An innocent man would, and must have behaved so—a guilty man might; but this has been weakly brought against Addison, as if such a mode of behaviour must have been affected. This, however, is hardly worth taking notice of. It has also been said, that Tickell was incapable of such a translation, without Addison's assistance, to which I have no hesitation in saying, that Tickell wrote verses better than Addison. Compare Tickell’s “ Prospect of the Peace,” his verses on Addison's death : they are so nervous and correct, that Addison's own verses appear (hazardous as may be my opinion) very inferior to them. Addison might have given his opinion respecting the merit of either translation, as he gave his opinion of the Sylphs in the Rape of the Lock; but it does not follow that it was directed by spleen and envy. But Dr. Warton would put the matter out of doubt; for he says, that Dr. Young, Lord Bathurst, Mr. Harte, and Lord Lyttelton, assured him of the fact! Very well ! and who assured Lord Bathurst, Young, &c.? I very much fear, Pope himself. These were all Pope's friends; they no doubt believed what Pope told them. But as there is no other evidence, I do not think it entitled to any other credit than what is due to Pope's own assertions; if it can be traced to Pope alone, with me it weighs nothing. In the last edition of Johnson's Lives there is a note, which, though not so designed, contributes to elucidate this point.
It relates to another story, Addison's arresting Steele: the words are by the Editor of Johnson's works, viz. “ The late Dr. Stin
Poems I heeded (now berhym'd so long)
ton confirmed this story to me, by saying he hud it from Mr. Hooke, author of the Roman History; and he from POPE."
On the same foundation probably rests a circumstance which Warton has admitted in a note; who
“ He was informed by Mr. Spence, that Addison in his last illness sent to speak with Gay, and told him he had injured him, probably with respect to his getting preferment at Court; but, if he lived, he would make him amends!" Where did Spence get this anecdote? how came it never mentioned openly before? As it happens, the cause which prevented Gay's preferment has been clearly ascertained by that accurate and sensible historian, Mr. Coxe. I shall speak of this under the article of Gay. In the mean time, perhaps, I ought to beg pardon of the reader for this long note; but I had no object but truth, and of such a character as Addison I could not bear
Et dici potuisse et non potuisse revelli. Bowles. As Mr. Bowles has given the note of Warburton in defence of Pope, so I have given the foregoing note by Mr. Bowles complete in the present edition ; observing only, that whoever wishes to enter fully into the subject, will find it more particularly discussed than the limits of a note will allow, in the Life of Pope, prefixed to the present edition, chap. iii. Some of the foregoing remarks of Mr. Bowles have also been pointedly animadverted on by Mr. Gilchrist, in his first letter to Mr. Bowles, p. 19.
Ver. 214. Atticus] It was a great falsehood, which some of the libels reported, that this character was written after the gentleman's death; which see refuted in the testimonies prefixed to the Dunciud. But the occasion of writing it was such as he would not make public out of regard to his memory: and all that could further be done was to omit the name, in the edition of his works
Pope. Ver. 218. On wings of winds came flying all abroad?] Hopkins, in the civth Psalm.
I ne'er with wits or witlings pass'd my days,
Proud as Apollo on his forked hill,
Ver. 232. Bufo] If Pope did not write the severe character of Addison after he was dead, this, which is intended for Lord Halifax, was written after the death of that nobleman, from whom Pope once expected preferment.
Bowles. Ver. 232. Sate full-blown Bufo, &c.] To whomsoever the character of Bufo may be supposed to refer, it cannot be to Lord Halifax, who died in 1715, when Pope was a very young man, and before he had published his Homer; whereas the person
alluded to must have been living in Pope's more advanced years, when he had been berhymed so long, and was “grown sick of fops and poetry and prate." To this it may be added, that it is not likely, if Pope had intended to stigmatize Lord Halifax under the name of Bufo, twenty years after his death, he would in a still later Poem (the Epilogue to his Satires) have mentioned him not only with respect, but affection, and perpetuated his name with those of his most distinguished friends—o. Epilogue to the Satires, Dial. ii. ver. 71. To degrade under a feigned name the character of a person from whose favour and friendship he openly aspires to derive honour, would be an absurdity of which Pope certainly was never guilty.-0. Life of Pope, in the present edit. chap. iii.
Ver. 232. Puff'd by ed’ry quill;] By Addison, in his Account of Poets; by Steele, in a dedication to the Spectator ; by Tickell, to his Homer. The ridicule on the Hind and Panther was the best of Halifax's compositions.
His library (where busts of poets dead 235
Ver. 236. a true Pindar stood without a head] Ridicules the affectation of antiquaries, who frequently exhibit the headless trunks and terms of Statues, for Plato, Homer, Pindar, &c. Vide Fult. Ursin., &c.
Pope. Ver. 245. Dryden alone] Our poet, with true gratitude, has seized every opportunity of shewing his reverence for his great master, Dryden; whom Swift as constantly depreciated and maligned. “I do affirm," says he severely, but with exquisite irony indeed, in the dedication of the Tale of a Tub to Prince Posterity, upon
the word of a sincere man, that there is now actually in being a certain poet, called John Dryden, whose translation of Virgil was lately printed in a large folio, well bound, and, if diligent search were made, for aught I know, is yet to be seen.” And he attacks him again in the Battle of Books. I remember to have heard my father say, that Mr. Elijah Fenton, who was his intimate friend, and had been his master, informed him, that Dryden, upon seeing some of Swift's earliest verses, said to him, “ Young man, you will never be a poet:” and that this was the cause of Swift's
rooted VARIATIONS. After Ver. 234 in the MS.
To bards reciting he vouchsafed a nod,
But still the Great have kindness in reserve;
rooted aversion to Dryden, mentioned above. Baucis and Philemon was so much and so often altered, at the instigation of Addison, who mentioned this circumstance to my father at Magdalen College, that not above eight lines remain as they originally stood.
Warton. Ver. 248. help'd to bury] Mr. Dryden, after having lived in exigencies, had a magnificent funeral bestowed upon him by the contribution of several persons of quality.
Pope. Ver. 248. help'd to starve.] Alluding to the subscription that was made for his funeral. Garth spoke an oration over him. His necessities obliged him to produce (besides many other poetical pieces) twenty-seven plays in twenty-five years. He got 25l. for the copy, and 701. for his benefits generally. Dramatic poetry was certainly not his talent. His plays, a very few passages excepted, are insufferably unnatural. It is remarkable that he did not scruple to confess, that he could not relish the pathos and simplicity of Euripides. . When he published his Fables, Tonson agreed to give him two hundred and sixty-eight pounds for ten thousand verses.
And, to complete the full number of lines stipulated for, he gave the bookseller the epistle to his cousin, and the celebrated Music Ode. “Old Jacob Tonson used to say, that Dryden was a little jealous of rivals. He would compliment Crown when a play of his failed, but was very cold to him if he met with success. He sometimes used to say that Crown had some genius: but then he added always, that his father and Crown's mother were very well acquainted.” Mr. Pope to Mr. Spence.