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development of an elaborate hierarchy and elaborate ceremonies. The idol sitting crosslegged (249 a) is in primary intention a tailor and secondarily, perhaps, the Pope, the origin of whose dignity and title some deduced from the Roman system of religion. Hell (ibid.) was a term applied in Swift's day to a box beneath the tailor's work-bench into which scraps were thrown, and also, say the satirists, such pieces of cloth as the tailor wished to steal from his customers. I do not understand the symbolism of the goose or of the yard-stick and the needle (ibid.). The shoulder-knots (p. 250 b) and the gold lace (p. 251 a) are symbolical of the additions made to the simple doctrines of early Christianity, and the discussions are a satire on the methods by which authority for these innovations was adduced. The nuncupatory will (ibid.) is tradition, to which the Catholics allow great authority. The flamecolored satin (p. 251 b) is the doctrine of Purgatory, which, according to views in vogue in Swift's day, had already appeared in Jewish rabbinical doctrine (my Lord C) and in Mohammedanism (Sir J. W.). The advice "to take care of fire and put out their candles before they went to sleep" (ibid.) means to shun hell and, in order to do so, to subdue and extinguish their lusts. The codicil (ibid.) figures the Apocryphal books of the Bible, and the dog-keeper is said to be an allusion to the Apocryphal book of Tobit. The interpretation of "fringe" as "broom-stick" (p. 252 a) alludes to medieval methods of interpreting scripture. The embroidered figures (ibid.) are images of Christ and the saints. The strong box in which the will was locked up (p. 252 b) signifies the Greek and Latin languages, and the power of adding clauses (ibid.) to the will signifies the Pope's power to issue bulls and decretals. The lord whose house was usurped (ibid.) means the Emperor Constantine, from whom the Church was said to have received the donation of St. Peter's patrimony, the foundation of the temporal power of the Church.
A MODEST PROPOSAL
Pp. 253 f. Written in Swift's bitterest mood, to show the terrible condition of the poor in Ireland, and the utter heartlessness of the English in dealing with the situation. The terrific force of the satire is due largely to the matter-of-fact handling of details in a proposition subversive of all civilization. Some simple-minded persons have failed to understand Swift's irony and supposed him to be really in favor of the plan he advocates.
JOSEPH ADDISON AND RICHARD STEELE
Pp. 254 ff. Addison and Steele are as commonly thought of as inseparable as are Beaumont and Fletcher, and the two are as different as the earlier pair. Addison is always cool, level-headed, with a keen eye for the humorous side of life, and an occasional flight of fancy. Steele is usually hot-headed and warm-hearted, inclined to preach and to sentimentalize, at times rather in the manner of Thackeray. These differences are very evident in the passages chosen. Both writers owe much of their charm to their ease and unaffectedness, and to the sense of leisure- the play element -- that pervades their work.
In No. 10 of the Spectator, Addison is at his best, chatting with his readers as if they were all personal friends; in No. 26, he is the man of taste (cf. Sir Thomas Browne on a similar theme, pp. 181-184, above); in No. 98, he is the satirist, amusing yet never sharp; in No. 159 and Nos. 584-585, he turns his imagination into Oriental fields and produces phantasies which show that even the most classical age has its romantic moods.
In No. 95 of the Tatler and No. 11 of the Spectator, Steele shows himself as a warm-hearted sentimentalist; in No. 167 of the Tatler, as a critic and philanthropist; and in No. 264, as a genial humor
P. 262. Addison was asked to celebrate in verse the Battle of Blenheim for the sake of helping the political party with which the Duke of Marlborough was connected. When he produced his Campaign, Godolphin, Marlborough's son-inlaw, and the other leaders were so pleased that they gave him a political post made vacant by the death of John Locke, the philosopher (see p. 238). Later, as the poem was an immediate and pronounced success, they made him under-secretary of state. One of the most admired passages was the simile of the angel, ll. 287-292, which taken in connection with a terrible storm that passed over England in November, 1704, was obvious and commonplace enough to hit the popular fancy. I have quoted a short passage from the work as a good specimen of utilitarian verse. To-day it is of historical value only.
HILPA AND SHALUM
Pp. 269 ff. The idea of this extravaganza was perhaps suggested by Marvell's poem, To His Coy Mistress, p. 220.
Pp. 273 ff. Pope was avowedly the pupil of Dryden, but within his more limited field, he far excelled his master. His immediate success was due not only to the fact that he voiced most perfectly the predominant spirit of the cultivated classes of the age in which he lived the age of obedience to rule, and worship of form - but also to his remarkable faculty, however unconscious, of advertising himself by means of a host of friends and an even greater host of rivals and foes. His enduring success is based upon qualities very different from those so admired by his contemporaries. His ideas in criticism, which they regarded as infallible axioms, seem to us partly commonplace, and partly false; his theory of metaphysics, which they regarded with admiring awe, we smile at as superficial, and even so, as borrowed from Bolingbroke; his satires we are likely to read with half-impatient amusement, because they are so largely works of personal spite, and so often ascribe to his enemies qualities which they did not possess. But with all his glib superficiality and his petty malice, Pope has two qualities more highly developed perhaps than they are found in any other English poet: one is almost inexhaus
tible wit, which spices his dullest subjects and his most objectionable satires; the other is an amazing instinct for the minor perfections of form.
AN ESSAY ON CRITICISM
I, ll. 68-91. The doctrine that creative artists should take Nature as their guide is one of the most astonishing doctrines of the critical theory of Pope and his fellows- the so-called classicists; for it seems to us that this is precisely the thing which they did not do, and the thing by doing which the leaders of romanticism, Thomson, Cowper, Wordsworth and others, introduced new subjects and new methods into English literature. The difficulty is cleared up, however, when we learn (from 11. 88-89, 126, 135, and especially 139-140) that the way to "follow Nature" is, not to observe things as they are, but to imitate and defer to the "ancients" Homer (124), Vergil (129-130), and Aristotle (138).
That this official doctrine did not entirely satisfy Pope's native impulses may be seen from 11. 146– 155, where he represents Pegasus, the winged horse of poesy, as boldly deviating "from the common track." See also the romantic sentiments expressed in Eloisa to Abelard. In landscape gardening Pope's tastes were decidedly romantic. The classicism of his writings was therefore not so much the expression of anything fundamental in his nature as the result of deliberate conformity to a critical theory.
P. 274. l. 180. Horace, in his Ars Poetica, had admitted that even Homer sometimes nods; Pope suggests that when we suspect a good writer of writing poorly, the fault may be, not his, but
P. 275. II, II. 374-383. Compare Alexander's Feast, p. 224. Pope heightens the compliment by recalling the phrasing of the original.
THE RAPE OF THE LOCK
Pope's mocking spirit made him particularly successful in dealing with this petty quarrel as if it were a matter of national importance. The occasion of the poem was this: A young nobleman named Lord Petre had stolen a lock of hair from a well-known beauty, Miss Arabella Fermor, and a quarrel arose. Their common friend, John Caryll, suggested to Pope, whom he also knew well, that the poet write something to make peace. The first version of The Rape of the Lock was the result. At first, all parties to the quarrel were incensed by the satire, but eventually they were
placated, and Miss Fermor allowed Pope to dedicate the second edition of the poem to her. In the first form the "machinery" of the sylphs was absent. In order that the reader may compare the two versions, Pope's later additions are shown within brackets; aside from these additions and a few minor verbal changes, the poems are identical.
The charm of the poem comes from its mock solemnity, its sudden bits of bathos, its delicious wit and sparkle, its light sketching of human vanities and follies, and the perfect art of its verse and phrasing.
I, 1. 32. silver token, the silver penny which superstition said the elves would drop into the shoe of a maid who was tidy about her work. Circled green, the fairy ring (cf. the song from A Midsummer Night's Dream (p. 143), l. 8).
P. 278. II, II. 112-115. Note that the fanciful name in each case tells the sylph's occupation: Zephyretta, little breeze; Brillante, shining one (for Belinda's earrings); Momentilla, little moment, i.e., timekeeper; Crispissa, curly one (cf. IV, 99-102, from which it appears that Belinda's hair did not curl by nature).
II, ll. 134-135, and III, 1. 106. The drinks served were chocolate and coffee. The chocolate was evidently brought in a hard ball or cake, as it is still prepared in the West Indies, and was ground in a hand mill, as were the roasted coffee berries.
Pp. 279 f. III, ll. 25-100. The popular Spanish game of ombre. Evidently Pope's description is accurate (cf. Lamb's Mrs. Battle's Opinions on Whist, p. 426). Most commonly it was played by three persons, one of whom made the trump and played against the other two. Nine cards were dealt (11. 29-30). The Matadores (1. 33) were the principal trumps, in the order of importance (l. 34) as follows: (1) Spadillio (1. 49), the ace of spades; (2) Manillio (1. 51), with a black trump, the deuce (as here, cf. ll. 46-47), with a red trump, the seven; (3) Basto (1. 53), the ace of clubs; (4) Pam (11. 61-62), the knave of clubs.
The game runs thus: Belinda leads successively the ace of spades (1. 49), the deuce of spades (1. 51), the ace of clubs (1. 53), the king of spades (1. 56), and takes four tricks: (1) two trumps (1. 50), (2) two trumps (1. 51), (3) a trump and another card (1. 54), (4) Pam and another card (ll. 61, 64).
Then she leads the king of clubs (1. 69) and loses the trick because the baron plays the queen of spades (11. 66-68). The baron then has the lead and takes three more tricks with the king, queen, and knave of diamonds (the last trick including Belinda's queen of hearts, ll. 75-76, 87-88).
As Belinda and the baron have four tricks each,
the next trick will determine who wins the deal. The baron leads the ace of hearts (1. 95), but Belinda has the king (l. 95-96), which, except when hearts are trumps, outranks the ace. Accordingly, she is saved from codille (1. 92), the failure of the person who makes the trump (Spanish: "yo suy hombre," "I am the man," which gives the name to the game) to take more tricks than her opponents.
P. 280. II. 122-124. Scylla stole for her lover Minos the purple lock of hair of her father Nisus, on which depended the safety of his city. For this she was scorned by Minos and changed by the gods into a bird (Ovid, Metamorphoses, VIII, 6-151).
P. 281. IV, 1. 20. In England, the raw wind that makes people blue and irritable. In Dickens's Bleak House, Mr. Jarndyce commented on all misfortunes with "The wind is in the East again."
P. 282. 11. 127-132. The irony of 1. 132 is pointed by the proportion of oaths and expletives used, fully half of the four lines.
P. 284. V, ll. 125-126. Romulus, the founder of Rome, was believed by the Romans to have been carried up to heaven by his father Mars, while he was reviewing his troops during a thunderstorm. He was said to have appeared in a vision to Proculus, and to have bidden him tell the Romans that their city would become the greatest in the world.
ELOISA TO ABELARD
Pp. 285 f. This poem is a highly romantic effort in itself, and surprising as coming from the pen of the leading poet of the age of common sense. It is based upon an English translation made by Hughes in 1714 of a French version published in 1693 of the famous correspondence of Abelard and Heloise. With the original Latin letters, the authenticity of which has been questioned, Pope's version has practically nothing to do.
The story, however, is as follows: Abelard, a famous scholar and teacher of the twelfth century, fell in love with his pupil Heloise; but the lovers were separated by her uncle and both entered the religious life. The letters are supposed to have been written some years later, when Abelard was Abbot of St. Gildas in Brittany and Heloïse Abbess of the convent of the Paraclete.
ESSAY ON MAN
Pp. 286 ff. Whether or not Pope actually had in his hands a manuscript embodying the ideas
of his friend Henry St. John, Lord Bolingbroke, his poem is little more than a skilful paraphrase of the deistic philosophy of the eighteenth century as expressed by him. It was at first published anonymously, and Pope took great delight in hearing the various comments upon it. Not until it had reached its fourth edition did he acknowledge authorship of it.
The poem had as great a success in Germany and France, in translations, as it had in England and America, where, notwithstanding its deism, it long remained a favorite with orthodox Christians of a mildly speculative turn. It was regarded as a model of cogent reasoning in verse.
EPISTLE TO DR. ARBUTHNOT
Pp. 288 ff. Dr. Arbuthnot, Queen Anne's physician, was one of Pope's most faithful friends. He also was a man of some literary skill, though he took no pains to preserve his writings it was Isaid that he let his children make kites of them. According to his contemporaries, he was one of the most brilliant, witty, and genial members of the famous Scriblerus Club. Cf. Dr. Johnson's opinion of him, p. 343.
The Epistle is interesting not merely as a satire on Pope's enemies but also as a defence of his own position and a study of his own character as he saw himself. It is impossible, however, to take him precisely at his own estimate. He had the double sensitiveness of the poet and the hunchback, which made him unable to bear the slightest unfavorable criticism, however good-natured, of his work or of himself. While it is true that many of his enemies deserved what he said of them, it is also certain that he was in most instances provoked by their failure to approve of him. For instance, the three singled out in l. 146 had all written against Pope. Thomas Burnet, son of the Bishop of Salisbury (satirized in The Dunciad, as G - [Gilbert Burnet], IV, I. 608), had published Homerides; or a letter to Mr. Pope occasioned by his intended translation of Homer, by Sir Iliad Doggrel, and Pope suspected him (wrongly) of writing Pope Alexander's Supremacy. Pope retaliated upon him also in The Dunciad. Oldmixon was a Grub Street writer, one of the many who replied to The Dunciad, and had criticised Pope on other occasions. Cooke, who himself translated Hesiod, abused Pope in an article called the Battle of the Poets. Again, "gentle Fanny," 1. 149 (Lord Hervey), had infuriated Pope by ridiculing his deformity and his birth. The passage in ll. 305333 (not given here) is one of the bitterest denun
ciations in all literature. It should be noted, however, that Pope, for reasons unknown, opened the war in his Imitations of Horace by scoffing at Lord Hervey for both his good looks and his pretensions to verse. In 1. 151, he expressed his opinion that Gildon had been paid by Addison to defame him. In 1. 153, what he says of Dennis might as justly have been applied to himself. Dennis had found fault with Pope's Pastorals; Pope ridiculed him in his Essay on Criticism; Dennis retorted in a violent pamphlet. The comments on Bentley and Tibbalds (Lewis Theobald), 1. 164, were drawn by the "slashing" that the famous classical scholar gave to Pope's Iliad in calling it "a very pretty poem but not Homer"; while the “piddling” (trifling) of Theobald refers to his objections to Pope's Shakespearean emendations and guesses. Theobald later brought out a much better edition of Shakespeare than Pope's. Pope's contempt for Ambrose Phillips (ll. 179-180) seems to be a case of sheer jealousy of the praise bestowed upon Phillips's Pastorals and of Addison's friendship for him.
Over against these evidences of pettiness must be placed not only the list of men of letters and of social eminence by whom Pope's genius had been recognized and with whom he was on friendly terms (ll. 135-141), but also his own defence in ll. 125-134, with the tragic implications of 1. 132. Granville, Baron Lansdowne (1. 135), was a statesman and himself a verse-writer and dramatist. He said of Pope when the poet was only seventeen or eighteen years of age that he promised "miracles." Pope dedicated to him his Windsor Forest. Walsh (1. 136) and Garth (l. 137) were themselves poets and men of taste. Congreve (l. 138) was one of the leading dramatists of the Restoration. Talbot (1. 139), Earl and Duke of Shrewsbury, rose to be lord chamberlain. He was, according to Swift, one of the most popular men of the time and also "the finest gentleman we have." Lord Somers (1. 139), lord chancellor, was a member of the Kit Kat Club and a patron of various members of it. He gave Addison his pension, and to him Swift dedicated his Tale of a Tub. Sheffield (1. 139), Earl of Mulgrave and afterward Duke of Buckingham and Normanby, was a munificent patron to Dryden. He wrote in both prose and verse, and his Essay on Poetry was praised by Dryden and Pope. Pope edited his collected works. Rochester (1. 140) was Francis Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester, one of Pope's special friends and himself a writer of polished prose. St. John (1. 141) was Lord Bolingbroke, by whom the Essay on Man was largely inspired.
1. 190. Pope uses Tate merely as a type. He has been described as the "author of the worst alterations of Shakespeare, the worst version of the Psalms of David, and the worst continuation of a great poem (Absalom and Achitophel) extant."
Il. 193-214. The three enemies of whom Pope drew elaborate pen pictures were Addison, Lord Halifax, and Lord Hervey. Against Lord Hervey he seems to have cherished some strong personal grudge (see note on l. 149, above); he railed against Halifax not only because the First Lord of the Treasury failed to bestow the pension he had promised, but also because Halifax had the bad taste to approve of the poet Tickell. While his attacks on these two men are marked by the most undignified vituperation, the lines on Addison show a certain restraint, as if Pope stood in some awe of the Atticus (Addison was already so called for his supposedly flawless style) of his age; a certain unwilling respect shows through his taunting phrases. We have omitted the portraits of Halifax and Hervey.
P. 290. The Dunce-epic had as its hero in the first edition (1728) Lewis Theobald, who had pointed out the faults in Pope's edition of Shakespeare. The poem was written in imitation of Dryden's MacFlecknoe, which deals with the appointment of Shadwell (who supplanted Dryden as poet laureate in 1688) to succeed Flecknoe, an obscure poet, as monarch of the kingdom of Dulness. Pope represented Dulness as a goddess who chooses Tibbald (Theobald) to succeed Settle (Elkanah Settle, a third-rate dramatist who had become a hack writer and died in 1724) as ruler of her land. In 1741 Pope added a fourth book; and in 1743, he published a revised edition with Colley Cibber, the actor-dramatist, as hero. The change was due to one of Pope's many quarrels. Cibber had introduced into a play some lines ridiculing a play that had failed, in which Pope had had a hand. For this reason Pope had satirized Cibber in the fourth book added to the original Dunciad. Cibber replied in a printed letter, but in a spirit of good-humored raillery. Pope was roused by this to the point of fury which is reflected in the revised Dunciad.
The passage quoted concludes the poem. It tells how the reign of Dulness becomes universal and absolute, even the poet's Muse yielding to her power. It is often cited as the most eloquent passage in all Pope's writings.