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educated by the family priest. He was afterwards machinery of the poem, founded upon the Rosicrucian sent to a Catholic seminary at Twyford, near Win theory, that the elements are inhabited by spirits,
which they called sylphs, gnomes, nymphs, and
And mounts exulting on triumphant wings: chester, where he lampooned his teacher, was Short is his joy, he feels the fiery wound, 14 severely punished, and afterwards taken home by Flutters in blood, and panting beats the ground. his parents. He educated himself, and attended no Ah! what avail his glossy varying dyes, school after his twelfth year! The whole of his His purple crest and scarlet-circled eyes ; early life was that of a severe student. He was a The vivid green his shining plumes unfold, poet in his infancy.
His painted wings, and breast that flames with gold! As yet a child, and all unknown to fame, Another fine painting of external nature, as pic I lisped in numbers, for the numbers came. : turesque as any to be found in the purely descrip
| tive poets, is the winter piece in the Temple of The writings of Dryden became the more particular
Fame'object of his admiration, and he prevailed upon a friend to introduce him to Will's coffeehouse, which | So Zembla's rocks (the beauteous work of frost) , Dryden then frequented, that he might have the gra. Rise white in air, and glitter o'er the coast; tification of seeing an author whom he so enthusias- Pale suns, unfelt, at distance roll away, *** tically admired. Pope was then not more than twelve And on the impassive ice the lightnings play years of age. He wrote, but afterwards destroyed, External snows the growing mass supply, various dramatic pieces, and at the age of sixteen Till the bright mountains prop the incumbent sky: composed his Pastorals, and his imitations of Chaucer. As Atlas fixed, each hoary pile appears, He soon became acquainted with most of the eminent The gathered winter of a thousand years. The persons of the day both in politics and literature. In 1211 appeared his Essay on Criticism, unquestion. Pope now commenced his translation of the lhid. ably the finest piece of argumentative and reasoning
At first the gigantic task oppressed him with its poetry in the English language. The work is said
difficulty, but he grew more familiar with Homer's to have been composed two years before publication, images and expressions, and in a short time was when Pope was only twenty-one. The ripeness of able to despatch fifty verses a-day. Great part of judgment which it displays is truly marvellous.
the manuscript was written upon the backs and Addison commended the Essay' warmly in the covers of letters, evincing that it was not with Spectator, and it instantly rose into great popu
out reason he was called paper-sparing Pope. The larity. The style of Pope was now formed and com- poet obtained a clear sum of £5320, 4s. by this plete. His versification was that of his master,
translation : his exclamationDryden, but he gave the heroic couplet a peculiar And thanks to Homer, since I live and thrive, terseness, correctness, and melody. The essay was
Indebted to no prince or peer alive shortly afterwards followed by the Rape of the Lock. The stealing of a lock of hạir from a beauty of the was, however, scarcely just, if we consider that this day, Miss Arabella Fermor, by her lover, Lord large sum was in fact a benevolence' from the upper Petre, was taken seriously, and caused an estrange- classes of society, good-naturedly designed to reward ment between the families, and Pope wrote his his literary merit. The fame of Pope was not advanced poem to make a jest of the affair, and laugh them in an equal degree with his fortune by his labouts together again.' In this he did not succeed, but he as a translator. The fatal facility' of his rhyme added greatly to his reputation by the effort. The the additional false ornaments which he imparted
to the ancient Greek, and his departure from the commenced, and probably finished, the most highly nice discrimination of character and speech which poetical and passionate of his works, the Epistle prevails in Homer, are faults now universally ad-from Eloisa to Abelard. The delicacy of the poet in mitted. Cowper (though he failed himself in Homer) veiling over the circumstances of the story, and at justly remarks, that the Iliad and Odyssey in Pope's the same time preserving the ardour of Eloisa's hands have no more the air of antiquity than if he passion, the beauty of his imagery and descriptions, had himself invented them. The success of the the exquisite melody of his versification, rising and Iliad led to the translation of the Odyssey ; but Pope falling like the tones of an Eolian harp, as he succalled in his friends Broome and Fenton as assistants. cessively portrays the tumults of guilty love, the These two coadjutors translated twelve books, and deepest penitence, and the highest devotional rapthe notes were compiled by Broome. Fenton re- ture, have never been surpassed. If less genial ceived £300, and Broome £500, while Pope had tastes and a love of satire withdrew Pope from those £2885, 5s. The Homeric labours occupied a period fountain-springs of the Muse, it was obviously from of twelve years—from 1713 to 1725. The improve- no want of power in the poet to display the richest ment of his pecuniary resources enabled the poet to hues of imagination, or the finest impulses of the remove from the shades of Windsor Forest to a human mind. The next literary undertaking of situation nearer the metropolis. He purchased a our author was an edition of Shakspeare, in which lease of a house and grounds at Twickenham, to he attempted, with but indifferent success, to esta
blish the text of the mighty poet, and explain his
His faithful dog shall bear him company.
Oh Happiness ! our being's end and aim, which he removed with his father and mother, and
Good, Pleasure, Ease, Content, whate'er thy name; where he continued to reside during the remainder Th
nued to reside during the remainder That something still which prompts the eternal sigh, of his life. This classic spot, which Pope delighted For which we
ed For which we bear to live, or dare to die, to improve, and where he was visited by ministers which still so near us. Y
Which, still so near us, yet beyond us lies, of state, wits, poets, and beauties, is now greatly I O'erlooked, seen double, by the fool, and wise! defaced.* Whilst on a visit to Oxford in 1716, Pope Plant of celestial seed ! if dropped below.
Say, in what mortal soil thou deign'st to grow? * Pope's house was not large, but sufficiently commodious
Fair opening to some court's propitious shine, for the wants of an English gentleman whose friends visited
Or deep with diamonds in the flaming mine? himself rather than his dwelling, and who were superior to the
Twined with the wreaths Parnassian laurels yield, necessity of stately ceremonials. On one side it fronted to the road, which it closely adjoined ; on the other, to a narrow
Or reaped in iron harvests of the field ? lawn sloping to the Thames. A piece of pleasure-ground, including a garden, was cut off by the public road; an awkward side ones are of the character of grottos, paved with square and unpoetical arrangement, which the proprietor did his best bricks, and stuck over with shells. It is curious to find over to improve. After the poet's death, the villa was purchased by the central stone of the entrance into the left of these grottos, Sir William Stanhope, and subsequently by Lord Mendip, who I a large ammonite, and over the other, the piece of hardened carefully preserved everything connected with it; but, being in clay in which its cast was left. Pope must have regarded these 1807 sold to the Baroness Howe, it was by that lady taken merely as curiosities, or lusus nature, little dreaming of the down, that a larger house might be built near its site. Now wonderful tale of the early condition of our globe which they (1843), the place is the property of Young, Esq. ; the second assist in telling. A short narrow piazza in front of the grottos house has been enlarged into two, and further alterations are is probably the evening colonnade' of the lines on the absence contemplated. The grounds have suffered a complete change of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. The taste with which Pope since Pope's time, and a monument which he erected to his laid out his grounds at Twickenham (five acres in all), had a mother on a hillock at their further extremity has been re marked effect on English landscape gardening. The Prince of moved. The only certain remnants of the poet's mansion are Wales took the design of his garden from the poet's; and Kent, the vaults upon which it was built, three in number, the the improver and embellisher of pleasure grounds, received his central one being connected with a tunnel, which, passing best lessons from Pope. He aided materially in banishing the under the road, gives admission to the rear grounds, while the stiff formal Dutch style.
Where grows ?-where grows it not ? If vain our toil, The anticipated approach of the Pretender led the We ought to blame the culture, not the soil.
government to issue a proclamation prohibiting every Fixed to no spot is Happiness sincere;
Roman Catholic from appearing within ten miles of 'Tis nowhere to be found, or everywhere;
London. The poet complied with the proclamation; 'Tis never to be bought, but always free,
and he was soon afterwards too ill to be in town. And fled from monarchs, St John! dwells with thee. This additional proclamation from the Highest of Ask of the learned the way! The learned are blind; all Powers,' as he terms his sickness, he submitted This bids to serve, and that to shun mankind; to without murmuring. A constant state of excite. Some place the bliss in action, some in ease;
ment, added to a life of ceaseless study and contemThose call it pleasure, and contentment these; plation, operating on a frame naturally delicate and Some sunk to beasts, find pleasure end in pain; deformed from birth, had completely exhausted the Some swelled to gods, confess even virtue vain ; powers of Pope. He complained of his inability to Or indolent, to each extreme they fall,
think ; yet, a short time before his death, he said, I To trust in everything, or doubt of all.
am so certain of the soul's being immortal, that I Pope's future labours were chiefly confined to seem to feel it within me as it were by intuition.' satire. In 1727 he published, in conjunction with | Another of his dying remarks was, “There is nothing his friend Swift, three volumes of Miscellanies, in that is meritorious but virtue and friendship; and, prose and verse, which drew down upon the authors
indeed, friendship itself is only a part of virtue,' He a torrent of invective. lampoons, and libels, and
died at Twickenham on the 30th of May, 1744. ultimately led to the Dunciad. by Pope. This ela. The character and genius of Pope have given rise borate and splendid satire displays the fertile inven- / to abu
to abundance of coniment and speculation. The tion of the poet. the variety of his illustration, and occasional fierceness and petulance of his satire canthe unrivalled force and facility of his diction;
not be justified, even by the coarse attacks of his but it is now read with a feeling more allied to pity
opponents, and must be ascribed to his extreme than admiration-pity that one so highly gifted
sensibility, to over-indulged vanity, and to a hasty should have allowed himself to descend to this so and irritable temper. His sickly constitution debarmean, and devote the end of a great literary life to
ring him from active pursuits, he placed too high a the infliction of retributary pain on every humble value on mere literary fame, and was deficient in aspirant in the world of letters. I have often | the manly virtues of sincerity and candour. At the wondered,' says Cowper, that the same poet who
same time he was a public benefactor, by stigmatiswrote the “Dunciad” should have written these
ing the vices of the great, and lashing the absurd lines
pretenders to taste and literature. He was a fond
and steady friend ; and in all our literary biography, That mercy I to others show,
there is nothing finer than his constant undeviating That mercy show to me.
affection and reverence for his venerable parents. Alas for Pope, if the mercy he showed to others was
Me let the tender office long engage, the measure of the mercy he received, Sir Walter Scott has justly remarked, that Pope must have
"To rock the cradle of reposing age; suffered the most from these wretched contentions.
e With lenient arts extend a mother's breath, It is known that his temper was ultimately much | Explore the thought, explain the asking eye,
ntentions. | Make languor smile, and smooth the bed of death; changed for the worse. Misfortunes were also now
And keep at least one parent from the sky. gathering round him. Swift was fast verging on
Prologue to the Satires. insanity, and was lost to the world ; Atterbury and Gay died in 1732; and next year his venerable As a poet, it would be absurd to rank Pope with the mother, whose declining years he had watched with greatest masters of the lyre; with the universality of atfectionate solicitude, also expired. Between the Shakspeare, or the sublimity of Milton. He was years 1733 and 1740, Pope published his inimitable undoubtedly more the poet of artificial life and mano | Epistles, Satires, and Moral Essays, addressed to his ners than the poet of nature. He was a nice observer friends Bolingbrokc, Bathurst, Arbuthnot, &c., and and an accurate describer of the phenomena of the containing the most noble and generous sentiments, mind, and of the varying shades and gradations of mixed up with withering invective and the fiercest vice and virtue, wisdom and folly. He was too fond denunciations. In 1742 he added a fourth book to of point and antithesis, but the polish of the weapon ! the ‘Duneiad,' displaying the final advent of the god. was equalled by its keenness. Let us look,' says dess to destroy order and science, and to substitute | Campbell, 'to the spirit that points his antithesis, the kingdom of the dull upon earth. The point of and to the rapid precision of his thoughts, and we his individual satire, and the richness and boldness shall forgive him for being too antithetic and senof his general design, attest the undiminished powers | tentious.' His wit, fancy, and good sense, are as and intense feeling of the poet. Next year Pope remarkable as his satire. His elegance has never prepared a new edition of the four books of the been surpassed, or perhaps equalled: it is a combi* Dunciad,' and clevated Colley Cibber to the situa | nation of intellect, imagination, and taste, under the tion of hero of the poem. This unenviable honour direction of an independent spirit and refined moral had previously been enjoyed by Theobald, a tasteless feeling. If he had studied more in the school of critic and commentator on Shakspeare; but in thus nature and of Shakspeare, and less in the school of yielding to his personal dislike of Cibber, Pope in Horace and Boileau ; if lie had cherished the frame jured the force of his satire. The laureate, as War- / and spirit in which he composed the “ Elegy' and ton justly remarks, with a great stock of levity. the Eloisa,' and forgot his too exclusive devotion vanity, and affectation, had sense, and wit, and to that which inspired the 'Dunciad,' the world humour ; and the author of the “ Careless Husband" would have hallowed his memory with a still more was by no means a proper king of the dunces' Cib. affectionate and permanent interest than even that ber was all vivacity and conceit-the very reverse which waits on him as one of our most brilliant! of personified dulness,
and accomplished English poets. Sinking from thought to thought, a vast profound.
Mr Campbell in his 'Specimens' has given an elo
quent estimate of the general powers of Pope, with Political events came in the rear of this accumulated reference to his position as a poet:- That Pope was and vehement satire to agitate the last days of Pope. neither so insensible to the beauties of nature, por
so indistinct in describing them, as to forget the Rapt into future times, the bard begun : character of a genuine poet, is what I mean to urge, | A Virgin shall conceive, a Virgin bear a Son ! without exaggerating his picturesqueness. But be- From Jesse's root behold a branch arise, fore speaking of that quality in his writings, I would | Whose sacred flower with fragrance fills the skies : beg leave to observe, in the first place, that the fa- | The ethereal spirit o'er its leaves shall move, culty by which a poet luminously describes objects of And on its top descends the mystic Dore. art, is essentially the same faculty which enables him Ye heavens! from high the dewy nectar pour, to be a faithful describer of simple nature; in the se- | And in soft silence shed the kindly shower. cond place, that nature and art are to a greater degree | The sick and weak the healing plant shall aid, relative terms in poetical description than is generally From storms a shelter, and from heat a shade. recollected; and thirdly, that artificial objects and All crimes shall cease, and ancient frauds shall fail ; manners are of so much importance in fiction, as to Returning Justice lift aloft her scale; make the exquisite description of them no less cha- | Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend, racteristic of genius than the description of simple And white-robed Innocence from heaven descend. physical appearances. The poet is “creation's heir." | Swift fly the years, and rise the expected morn! He deepens our social interest in existence. It is Oh, spring to light, auspicious Babe, be born! surely by the liveliness of the interest which he ex See, nature hastes her earliest wreaths to bring, cites in existence, and not by the class of subjects With all the incense of the breathing spring! which he chooses, that we most fairly appreciate the See lofty Lebanon his head advance ! genius or the life of life which is in him. It is no
See nodding forests on the mountains dance ! irreverence to the external charms of nature to say, / See spicy clouds from lowly Sharon rise, that they are not more important to a poet's study
int to a poet's study And Carmel's flowery top perfume the skies ! than the manners and affections of his species. Hark! a glad voice the lonely desert cheers : Nature is the poet's goddess; but by nature, no one
Prepare the way! a God, a God appears ! rightly understands her mere inanimate face, how
A God, a God! the vocal hills reply; ever charming it may be, or the simple landscape
The rocks proclaim the approaching Deity. painting of trees, clouds, precipices, and flowers.
Lo! carth receives him from the bending skies ; | Why, then, try Pope, or any other poet, exclusively
Sink down, ye mountains; and ye valleys rise; by his powers of describing inanimate phenomena?
With heads declined, ye cedars homage pay; Nature, in the wide and proper sense of the word,
Be smooth, ye rocks: ye rapid floods, give way! means life in all its circumstances-nature, moral
The Saviour comes ! by ancient bards foretold : as well as external. As the subject of inspired fic
Hear him, ye deaf : and all ye blind, behold ! tion, nature includes artificial forms and manners.
He from thick films shall purge the visual ray, Richardson is no less a painter of nature than Homer.
And on the sightless eyeball pour the day : Homer himself is a minute describer of works of
'Tis be the obstructed paths of sound shall clear, art; and Milton is full of imagery derived from it.
And bid new music charm the unfolding ear :
The dumb shall sing, the lame his crutch forego, Satan's spear is compared to the pine, that makes
And leap exulting like the bounding roe. "the mast of some great ammiral;", and his shield is
No sigh, no murmur, the wide world shall hear; like the moon, but like the moon artificially seen
From every face he wipes off every tear. through the glass of the Tuscan artist. The "spirit
In adamantine chains shall death be bound, stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife, the royal banner,
And hell's grim tyrant feel the eternal wound. and all the quality, pride, pomp, and circumstance of
As the good shepherd tends his fleecy care, glorious war,” are all artificial images. When Shak.
Seeks freshest pasture, and the purest air, speare groups into one view the most sublime objects
Explores the lost, the wandering sheep directs, e universe, he fixes on the cloud.capt towers, By day o'ersees them, and by night protects; the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples.” Those
The tender lambs he raises in his arms, who have ever witnessed the spectacle of the launch
Feeds from his hand and in his bosom warins ; ing of a ship of the line, will perhaps forgive me for
Thus shall mankind his guardian care engage, adding this to the examples of the sublime objects
The promised father of the future age. of artificial life. Of that spectacle I can never forget | No more shall nation against nation rise, the impression, and of having witnessed it reflected Nor ardent warriors meet with hateful
es : from the faces of ten thousand spectators. They | Nor fields with gleaming steel be covered o'er, seem yet before me. I sympathise with their deep The brazen trumpets kindle rage no more : and silent expectation, and with their final burst of | But useless lances into scythes shall bend. enthusiasm. It was not a vulgar joy, but an affect- | And the broad falchion in a ploughshare end. ing national solemnity. When the vast bulwark | Then palaces shall rise : the joyful son sprang from her cradle, the calm water on which shall finish what his short-lived sire begun: she swung majestically round, gave the imagination | Their vines a shadow to their race shall yield, a contrast of the stormy element in which she was And the same hand that sowed, shall reap the field. soon to ride. All the days of battle and nights of The swain in barren deserts with surprise danger which she had to encounter, all the ends of Sees lilies spring, and sudden verdure rise ; the earth which she had to visit, and all that she And starts, amidst the thirsty wilds to hear had to do and to suffer for her country, rose in awful New falls of water murmuring in his ear. presentiment before the mind; and when the heart | On rifted rocks, the dragon's late abodes, gave her a benediction, it was like one pronounced | The green reed trembles, and the bulrush nods. on a living being.'
| Waste sandy valleys, once perplexed with thorn,
The spiry fir and shapely box adorn:
To leafless shrubs the flowery palms succeed,
And odorous myrtle to the noisome weed. Ye nymphs of Solyma ! begin the song:
The lambs with wolves shall graze the verdant mead, To heavenly themes sublimer strains belong.
And boys in flowery bands the tiger lead :
The steer and lion at one crib shall meet,
The smiling infant in his hand shall take
Pleased the green lustre of the scales survey,
Yet graceful ease, and sweetness void of pride, And with their forky tongue shall innocently play. | Might hide her faults, if belles had faults to hide; Rise, crowned with light, imperial Salem, rise ! | If to her share some female errors fall, Exalt thy towery head, and lift thy eyes !
Look on her face, and you'll forget them all. See a long race thy spacious courts adorn!
This nymph, to the destruction of mankind, See future sons and daughters yet unborn,
Nourished two locks, which graceful hung behind In crowding ranks on every side arise,
In equal curls, and well conspired to deck, Demanding life, impatient for the skies !
With shining ringlets, the smooth ivory neck. See barbarous nations at thy gates attend,
Love in these labyrinths his slaves detains, Walk in thy light, and in thy temple bend !
And mighty hearts are held in slender chains. See thy bright altars thronged with prostrate kings, With hairy springes we the birds betray,, And lieaped with products of Sabean springs. Slight lines of hair surprise the finny prey; For thee Idume's spicy forests blow,
Fair tresses man's imperial race ensnare, And seeds of gold in Ophir's mountains glow. And beauty draws us with a single hair. See heaven its sparkling portals wide display,
The advent'rous baron the bright locks admired; And break upon thee in a flood of day!
He saw, he wished, and to the prize aspired. No more the rising sun shall gild the morn,
Resolved to win, he meditates the way, Nor evening Cynthia fill her silver horn ;
By force to ravish, or by fraud betray; But lost, dissolved in thy superior rays,
For when success a lover's toil attends, One tide of glory, one unclouded blaze
Few ask if fraud or force attained his ends. O'erflow thy courts : the Light himself shall shine For this, ere Phæbus rose, he had implored Revealed, and God's eternal day be thine!
Propitious heaven, and every power adored; The seas shall waste, the skies in smoke decay, But chiefly Love to Love an altar built, Rocks fall to dust, and mountains melt away; Of twelve vast French romances, neatly gilt. But fixed his word, his saving power remains; There lay three garters, half a pair of gloves, Thy realm for ever lasts, thy own Messiah reigns ! And all the trophies of his former loves;
With tender billet-doux he lights the pyre, [The Toilet.]
And breathes three amorous sighs to raise the fire.
Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes [From The Rape of the Lock.']
Soon to obtain, and long possess the prize; And now, unveiled, the toilet stands displayed, The powers gave ear, and granted half his prayer, Each silver vase in mystic order laid ;
The rest the winds dispersed in empty air. First, robed in white, the nymph intent adores, But now secure the painted vessel glides, With head uncovered, the cosmetic powers.
The sunbeams trembling on the floating tides: A heavenly image in the glass appears,
While melting music steals upon the sky, To that she bends, to that her eye she rears; And softened sounds along the waters die; The inferior priestess, at her altar's side,
Smooth flow the waves, the zephyrs gently play, Trembling begins the sacred rites of pride.
Belinda smiled, and all the world was gay. Unnumbered treasures ope at once, and here
All but the Sylph, with careful thoughts opprest, The various offerings of the world appear;
The impending wo eat heavy on his breast. From each she nicely culls with curious toil,
He summons straight his denizens of air; And decks the goddess with the glittering spoil. The lucid squadrons round the sails repair. This casket India's glowing gems unlocks,
Soft o'er the shrouds aërial whispers breathe, And all Arabia breathes from yonder box:
That seemed but zephyrs to the train beneath. The tortoise here and elephant unite,
Some to the sun their insect wings unfold, Transformed to combs, the speckled and the white. Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold; Here files of pins extend their shining rows,
Transparent forms, too fine for mortal sight, Puffs, powders, patches, bibles, billet-doux.
Their fluid bodies half dissolved in light, Now awful beauty puts on all its arms;
Loose to the wind their airy garments flew, The fair each moment rises in her charms,
Thin glittering textures of the filiny dew, Repairs her smiles, awakens every grace,
Dipped in the richest tincture of the skies, And calls forth all the wonders of her face;
Where light disports in ever-mingling dyes; Sees by degrees a purer blush arise,
While every beam new transient colours flings, And keener lightnings quicken in her eyes.
Colours that change whene'er they wave their wings, The busy sylphs surround their darling care,
Amid the circle on the gilded mast, These set the head, and those divide the hair; Superior by the head was Ariel placed; Some fold the sleeve, whilst others plait the gown, His purple pinions opening to the sun, And Betty's praised for labours not her own.
He raised his azure wand and thus begun :
Ye sylphs and sylphids, to your chief give ear; [Description of Belinda and the Sylphs.] Fays, fairies, genii, elves, and dæmons, hear!
Ye know the spheres, and various tasks assigned [From the same.]
By laws eternal to the aërial kind. Not with more glories, in the ethereal plain,
Some in the fields of purest ether play, The sun first rises o'er the purpled main,
And bask and whiten in the blaze of day; Than issuing forth, the rival of his beams
Some guide the course of wandering orbs on high, Launched on the bogom of the silver Thameg.
Or roll the planets through the boundless sky; Fair nymphs and well-drest youths around her shone, Some, less refined, beneath the moon's pale light But every eye was fixed on her alone.
Pursue the stars that shoot athwart the night,
Or dip their pinions in the painted bow,
Or brew fierce tempests on the wintry main, Quick as her eyes, and as unfixed as those.
Or o'er the glebe distil the kindly rain. Favours to none, to all she smiles extends ;
Others on earth o'er human race preside, Oft she rejects, but never once offends.
Watch all their ways, and all their actions guide: Bright as the sun, her eyes the gazers strike,
Of these the chief the care of nations own, And, like the sun, they shine on all alike.
| And guard with arms divine the British throne.