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Yet ne'er one fprig of laurel grac'd thefe ribalds,
Each word-catcher, that lives on fyllables,
Of hairs, or straws, or dirt, or grubs, or worms!
Were others angry: I excus'd them too;
He, who ftill wanting, though he lives on theft,
Ver. 164. flashing Bentley] This great man, fays Mr Warburton, though with all his faults, deserved to be put into better company. The following words of Cicero defcribe him not amifs. "Habuit a natura genus quoddam acuminis, quod etiam arte limaverat, quod erit in reprehendendis verbis verfutum et folers: fed fæpe ftomachofum, nonnunquam frigidum, interdum etiam facetum.”
Ver. 173. Were others angry:] The poets.
Ver. 180. a Perfian tale] Ambrofe Philips tranflated a book called the Perfian Tales. VOL. II,
And he, who now to fenfe, now nonfenfe leaning,
Peace to all fuch! but were there one whose
True genius kindles, and fair fame infpires;
Ver. 189. All these my modeft fatire bade tranflate,] See their works in the translations of claffical books by feveral hands.
Ver. 190. nine fuch poets, &c.] Alluding, not to the nine mufes, but to nine tailors.
Ver. 192. And fwear, not ADDISON himself was fafe.] This is an artful preparative for the following transition; and finely obviates what might be thought unfavourably of the feverity of the fatire, by thofe who were strangers to the provocation.
Ver. 193. But were there one whofe fires, &c.] Mr Pope's friendship with Mr Addifon began in the year 1713. It was cultivated, on both fides, with all the marks of mutual efteem and affection, and conftant intercourfes of good offices. Mr Additon was always commending moderation, warned his friend against a blind attachment to party, and blamed Steele for his indifcreet zeal. The tranflation of the Iliad being now on foot, he recommended it to the public, and joined with the Tories in pufhing the fubfcription; but at the fame time advised Mr Pope not be content with the applause of one half of the nation. On the other hand, Mr Pope made his friend's intereft his own, (fee note on ver. 215. 1 Ep. B. 2. of Hor. in this volume); and when Dennis fo brutally attacked the tragedy of Cato, he wrote the piece called "A Narrative of his madness."
Blefs'd with each talent, and each art to please,
Thus things continued till Mr Pope's growing reputation, and fuperior genius in poetry, gave umbrage to his friend's falfe delicacy: And then it was he encouraged Philips and others (fee his letters) in their clamours againft him as a Tory and Jacobite, who had affifted in writing the Examihers; and, under an affected care for the government, would have hid, even from himself, the true grounds of his difguft. But his jealoufy foon broke out, and difcovered itself, first to Mr Pope, and, not long after, to all the world. The Rape of the Lock had been written in a very hafty manner, and printed in a collection of mifcellanies. The fuccess it met
ith, encouraged the author to revife and enlarge it, and give it a more important air, which was done by advancing it into a mock epic poem. In order to this it was to have į machinery; which, by the happiest invention, he took 1.om the Rofycrufian fyftem. Full of this noble conception, communicated it to Mr Addifon, who he imagined would have been equally delighted with the improvement.
the contrary, he had the mortification to have his friend 1tive it coldly; and more, to advise him against any alteration; for that the poem in its original ftate, was a deous little thing, and, as he expreffed it, merum fal. Mr Fone was fhocked for his friend; and then first began to open his eyes to his character.
Soon after this, a tranflation of the first book of the Iliad appeared under the name of Mr Tickell; which coming cut at a critical juncture, when Mr Pope was in the midft of his engagements on the fame fubject, and by a creature Mr Addison's, made him fufpect this to be another shaft frun the fame quiver: and after a diligent inquiry, and Javing many odd circumftances together. he was fully conVored, that it was not only published with Mr Addison's pticipation, but was indeed his own performance. Mr Pop in his firit refentment of this ulage, was refolved to
View him with fcornful, yet with jealous eyes,
expose this new verfion in a fevere critic upon it. I have now by me the copy he had marked for this purpose; in which he has claffed the feveral faults in translation, language, and numbers, under their proper heads. But the growing fplendour of his own work fo eclipfed the faint efforts of this oppofition, that he trusted to its own weakness and malignity for the juftice due to it. About this time, Mr Addifon's fon-in-law, the Earl of Warwick, told Mr Pope, that it was in vain to think of being well with his father, who was naturally a jealous man; that Mr Pope's fuperior talents in poetry had hurt him, and to such a degree, that he had underhand encouraged Gildon to write a thing about Wycherley, in which he had fcurrilously abused Mr Pope and his family; and for this service he had given Gil don ten guineas, after the pamphlet was printed. The very next day, Mr Pope, in a great heat, wrote Mr Addison a letter, wherein he told him, he was no ftranger to his beha viour; which, however, he should not imitate; but that what he thought faulty in him, he would tell him fairly to his face; and what deferved praife, he would not deny to the world: and, as a proof of this difpofition towards him, he had fent him the inclofed, which was the character, first published feparately, and afterwards inferted in this place of the epiftle to Dr Arbuthnot, This plain dealing had no ill effect. Mr Addison treated Mr Pope with civility, and, as Mr Pope, believed, with justice, from this time to his death, which happened about three years after.
Dreading ev'n fools, by flatterers befieg'd,
What though my name stood rubric on the walls,
I ne'er with wits or witlings pafs'd my days,
Ver. 215. claps, in capitals ?] The bills of quack-doctors and quack bookfellers, being usually pafted together on the fame posts.
Ver. 218. On wings of winds came flying all abroad?] Hopkins, in the 104th Pfalm.
After ver. 208. in the MS.
Who, if two wits on rival themes contest,
Approves of each, but likes the worft the beft, Alluding to Mr P's and Tickell's tranflation of the first book of the Iliad.