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semblance betwixt him and our author, in qualities, fame, and fortune; in the distinctions shewn them by their superiors, in the general esteem of their equals, and in their extended reputation amongst foreigners; in the latter of which ours has met with the better fate, as he has had for his translators persons of the most eminent rank and abilities in their respective nations. But the resemblance holds in nothing more, than in their being equally abused by the ignorant pretenders to poetry of their times; of which not the least memory will remain but in their own writings, and in the notes made upon them. What BoiLEAU has done in almost all his poems, our author has only in this. I dare answer for him he will do it in no more; and on this principle, of attacking few but who had slandered him, he could not have done it at all, had he been confined from censuring obscure and worthless persons, for scarce any others were his enemies. However, as the parity is so remarkable, I hope it will continue to the
* Essay on Criticism, in French verse, by General Hamilton ; the same, in verse also, by Monsieur Roboton, Counsellor and Privy Secretary to King George I.; after, by the Abbé Reynel, in verse, with notes. Rape of the Lock, in French, by the Princess of Conti, Paris 1728, and in Italian verse, by the Abbé Conti, a noble Venetian ; and by the Marquis Rangoni, Envoy Extraordinary from Modena to King George II. Others of his works by Salvini of Florence, &c. His Essays and Dissertations on Homer, several times translated into French.
P. Essay on Man, by the Abbé Reynel, in verse; by Monsieur Silhouette, in prose, 1737; and since by others in French, Italian, and Latin.
last; and if ever he should give us an edition of this poem himself, I may see some of them treated as gently, on their repentance or better merit, as Perrault or Quinault were at last by BOILEAU.
In one point I must be allowed to think the character of our English poet the more amiable. He has not been a follower of fortune or success: he has lived with the great without flattery; been a friend to men in power, without pensions, from whom, as he asked, so he received, no favour, but what was done him in his friends. As his satires were the more just for being delayed, so were his panegyrics; bestowed only on such persons as he had familiarly known, only for such virtues as he had long observed in them, and only in such times as others cease to praise, if not begin to calumniate them, I mean when out of power, or out of fashion.* A satire, therefore, on writers so notorious for the contrary practice, became no man so well as himself; as none, it is plain, was so little in their friendships, or so much in that of those whom they had most abused, namely, the greatest and best of all parties. Let me add a further reason, that, though engaged in their friendships, he never espoused their animosities ; and can al
* As Mr. Wycherley, at the time the Town declaimed against his book of Poems; Mr. Walsh, after his death; Sir William Trumball, when he resigned the office of Secretary of State ; Lord Bolingbroke, at his leaving England, after the Queen's death ; Lord Oxford, in his last decline of life; Mr. Secretary Craggs, at the end of the South-Sea year, and after his death : others, only in epitaphs.
most singly challenge this honour, not to have written a line of any man, which, through guilt, through shame, or through fear, through variety of fortune, or change of interests, he was ever unwilling to own.
I shall conclude with remarking what a pleasure it must be to every reader of humanity, to see all along that our author, in his very laughter, is not indulging his own ill-nature, but only punishing that of others. As to his poem, those alone are capable of doing it justice, who, to use the words of a great writer, know how hard it is (with regard both to his subject and his manner) VETUSTIS DARE NOVITATEM, OBSOLETIS NITOREM, OBSCURIS LUCEM, FASTIDITIS GRATIAM.
William CLELAND.* St. James's, Dec. 22, 1728.
• This Gentleman was of Scotland, and bred at the University of Utrecht, with the Earl of Mar. He served in Spain under Earl Rivers. After the peace, he was made one of the Commissioners of the Customs in Scotland, and then of Taxes in England; in which, having shewn himself for twenty years diligent, punctual, and incorruptible, though without any other assistance of fortune, he was suddenly displaced by the Minister, in the sixty-eighth year of his age, and died two months after, in 1741. He was a person of universal learning, and an enlarged conversation ; no man had a warmer heart for his friend, or a sincerer attachment to the constitution of his country.—And yet, for all this, the public would never believe him to be the author of this Letter.
Pot Many reasons have been alleged to prove it was written by our author himself.
I believe there is now no doubt of the circumstance; it is of a piece with Pope's other modes of describing his own virtues : but, if supposed to be written by Pope, the self-love and assumed virtues are disgusting; if written by another, the arguments are neither well-founded, nor the conclusions just.
It might have been as well if the former editors had stated the reasons which have been alleged for the opinion they have avowed; but whoever was the writer, this can make no difference in the validity of the arguments, or in the justice of the conclusions.