Page images
PDF
EPUB

Befides, my father taught me from a lad,
The better art to know the good from bad: 55
(And little fure imported to remove,
To hunt for truth in Maudlin's learned grove.)

Iratus Graiis quantum nocuiffet Achilles.
Adjecere bona paulo plus artis Athenæ :
Scilicet ut poffem curvo dignofcere rectum,

But

NOTES,

characters he brought himself to imitate in great perfection, At eight he was put under one Taverner, a priest, whọ taught him the rudiments of the Latin and Greek tongues, together: from him, in a little time, he was fent to a private school at Twiford near Winchester. Here he continued about a year, and was then removed to another, near Hyde-park corner. Under these two laft maiters he loft the little he had got under the priest. At twelve, he went with his father into the Foreft; where he was for a few months under another prieft, and with as little fuccefs as before, For, as he used to fay, he never could learn any thing which he did not purfue with pleasure. And thefe miferable pedants had not the art of making his ftudies an amusement to him. Upon the remnants, therefore, of this small stock, fo hardly picked up, fo easily loft, and recovered (as we shall fee) with fo much labour, he at length thought fit to become his own master And now the only method of study he prefcribed to himfelf was reading thofe claffic writers, who afforded him most entertainment. So that while he was intent upon the fubject, with a strong appetite for knowledge, and an equal paffion for poetry, he infenfibly got Latin and Greek. And, what was extraordinary, his impatience of reftraint, in the ufual forms, did not hinder his fubjecting himself, now he was his own mafter, to all the drudgery and fatigue of perpetually recurring to his grammar and lexicon. By the time he was fifteen, he had acquired a very ready habit in the learned languages, when a strong fancy came into his head to remove to London to learn

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

But knottier points we knew not half so well,
Depriv'd us foon of our paternal cell;
And certain laws, by fuff'rers thought unjust, 60
Deny'd all posts of profit or of trust;

Atque inter filvas Academi quærere verum.
Dura fed emovere loço me tempora grato;

NOTES.

French and Italian. His family (whofe only object was the prefervation of his miferably infirm body) regarded it as a very wild project. But he perfifted in it, and they gave way: To town he went, and mattered thole two languages with furprifing difpatch. The whole treasure of Parnaffus now lay open to him; and, between this and his twentieth year, his constant employment was reading the moft confider. able poets and critics in the Greek, Latin, French, Italian, and English languages. But, all this, without much order, as chance threw them in his way, or the caprice of desultory reading directed his choice. This being one continued indulgence of his curiofity or amusement. made him always speak of these four or five years as the most pleasurable part of his life,

Yet his true understanding would not fuffer him to continue long eafy under fo defective an education. For a vast memory, and an accurate judgment, which remedied many of its inconveniencies, made him but the more fenfible of them all. So that, at twenty, when the impetuofity of his fpirits began to permit his genius to be put under restraint, he went over all the parts of his education anew, from the very beginning, and in a regular, and more artful manner. He penetrated into the general grounds and reasons of speech; he learned to distinguish the several species of style; he stu died the peculiar genius and character of each language; be reduced his natural talent for poetry to a science, and maftered those parts of philofophy that would moft contribute to enrich his vein. And all this, with fuch continued attention, labour, and severity, that he used to say, that he had been feven years (that is, from twenty to twenty leven) in unlearning all he had been acquiring for twice that time.

VOL. II.

L

Hopus

Hopes after hopes of pious Papifts fail'd,
While mighty WILLIAM's thund'ring arm prevail'd,
For Right Hereditary tax'd and fin'd,
He fluck to poverty with peace of mind ; 65
And me, the Mufes help'd to undergo it;
Convict a Papift he, and I a poet.
But (thanks to Homer) fince I live and thrive,
Indebted to no prince or peer alive,

Civilifque rudem belli tulit æftus in arma,
Cafaris Augufti non refponfura lacertis.
Unde fimul primum me dimifere Philippi,
Decifis humilem pennis, inopemque paterni
Et laris et fundi, paupertas impulit audax

Sure,

NOTES.

Ver. 65. He fuck to poverty with peace of mind;] There was fomething very fingular in the economy of Mr Pope's father. He was a merchant, and lived in London. At the Revolution he left off trade, and converted his effects into money, amounting to between fifteen and twenty thousand pounds, with which he retired into the country As he was a Papift, he could not purchase, nor put his money to interest on real fecurity and as he adhered to the intereft of King James, he made a point of confcience not to lend it to the new government: fo he kept it in his cheft, and lived upon the principal; till, by that time his fon came to the fucceffion, it was almoft all faily spent.

Ver. 68. But (thanks to Homer) etc.] He began the Iliad at twenty-five and finifhed it in five years. It was published for his own benefit by fubfcription. He fold it to Lintot the bookfeller, on the following terms, Twelve hundred pounds paid down, and all the books for his fubfcribers. The Odyffey was published in the fame manner, and fold on the fame conditions; except only that inftead of twelve he had fix hundred pounds. He was affifted in this latter work by Broome and Fenton, to the firft of whom he gave fix hundred pounds; and to the other, three hundred.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Sure I fhould want the care of ten Monroes, jo
If I would fcribble, rather than repose.

[f] Years foll'wing years, fteal fomething evi
day,

75

At last they steal us from ourselves away;
In one our frolics, one amusements end,
In one a mistress drops, in one a friend:
This subtle thief of life, this paltry Time,
What will it leave me, if it fnatch my rhyme ?
If ev'ry wheel of that unweary'd mill,
That turn'd ten thousand verses, now ftands ftill?
[g] But after all, what would you have me do? 8☺
When out of twenty I can please not two;
When this Heroics only deigns to praife,
Sharp Satire that, and that Pindaric Lays?
One likes the pheafant's wing, and one the leg;
The vulgar boil, the learned roaft an egg 85

Ut verfus facerem: fed, quod non defit, habentem,
Quæ poterunt unquam fatis expurgare cicuta,
Ni melius dormire putem, quam fcribere verfus ?

(f) singula de nobis anni prædantur euntes;
Eripuere jocos, venerem, convivia, ludum;
Tendunt extorquere poemata. quid faciam vis?

(g)Denique non omnes eadem mirantur amatque.
Carmine tu gaudes: hic delectatur iambis;
Ille Bioneis fermonibus, et fale nigro.
Tres mihi convivæ prope diffentire videntur,
Pofcentes vario multum diverfa palato. [alter:
Quid dem ? quid non dem? renuis quod tu, jubet

NOTES.

Ver. 70. Monroes,] Dr Monro, phyfician to Bedlam Hof

pital.

L 2

Hard

Hard task to hit the palate of fuch guests, When Oldfield loves, what Dartineuf detefts. [b] But grant I may relapfe, for want of grace, Again to rhyme; can London be the place? Who there his mufe, or felf, or foul attends, In crowds, and courts, law, bus'nefs, feafts, and friends?

90

My counsel fends to execute a deed:
A poet begs me I would hear him read:
In Palace-yard at nine you'll find me there---
At ten for certain, Sir, in Bloomfb'ry fquare--- 95
Before the Lords at twelve my cause comes on---
There's a Rehearsal, Sir, exact at one.---
"Oh but a wit can ftudy in the streets,
"And raise his mind above the mob he meets."
Not quite fo well however as one ought;
A hackney-coach may chance to fpoil a thought;

103

6

Quod petis, id fane eft invifum acidumque duobus.
(b) Præter cætera me Romæne poemata cenfes
Scribere poffe, inter tot curas totque labares?
Hic fponfum vocat, hic auditum fcripta, relictis
Omnibus officiis: cubat hic in colle Quirini,
Hic extremo in Aventino; vifendus uterque.
Intervalla vides humane commoda. "Verum
"Puræ funt plateæ, nihil ut meditantibus obstet.”
Feftinat calidus mulis gerulifque redemtor:
Torquet nunc lapidem, nunc ingens machina tignum:
Triftia robuftus luctantur funera plauftris :

NOTES.

Ver. 87. Oldfield---Dartineuf.] Two celebrated glutton s.

And

« EelmineJätka »