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Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike,
Who would not weep if Atticus were he ?” “I sent the verses to Mr. Addison,” said Pope, “and he used me very civilly ever after." No wonder he did. It was shame very likely more than fear that silenced him. Johnson recounts an interview between Pope and Addison after their quarrel, in which Pope was angry, and Addison tried to be contemptuous and calm. Such a weapon as Pope's must have pierced any scorn.
It flashes for ever, and quivers in Addison's memory. His great figure looks out on us from the past-stainless but for that-pale, calm, and beautiful : it bleeds from that black wound. He should be drawn, like St. Sebastian, with that arrow in his side. As he sent to Gay and asked his pardon, as he bade his stepson come and see his death, be sure he had forgiven Pope, when he made ready to show how a Christian could die.
Pope then formed part of the Addisonian court for a short time, and describes himself in his letters as sitting with that coterie until two o'clock in the morning over punch and burgundy amidst the fumes of tobacco. To use an expression of the present day, the “pace" of those viveurs of the former age was awful. Peterborough lived into the very jaws of death ; Godolphin laboured all day and gambled at night ; Bolingbroke,* writing to Swift, from Dawley, in
* “ LORD BOLINGBROKE TO THE THREE Yahoos of TWICKENHAM.
“July 23, 1726. “JONATHAN, ALEXANDER, JOHN, MOST EXCELLENT TRIUMVIRS OF PARNASSUS, –
"Though you are probably very indifferent where I am, or what I am doing, yet I resolve to believe the contrary. I persuade myself that you have sent his retirement, dating his letter at six o'clock in the morning, and rising, as he says, refreshed, serene, and calm, calls to mind the time of his London life ; when about that hour he used to be going to bed, surfeited with pleasure, and jaded with business; his head often full of schemes, and his heart as often full of anxiety. It was too hard, too coarse a life for the sensitive, sickly Pope. He was the only wit of the day, a friend writes to me, who wasn't fat.* Swift was fat; Addison was fat; Steele was fat; Gay and Thomson were preposterously fat—all that fuddling and punch-drinking, that club and coffee-house boozing, shortened the lives and enlarged the waistcoats of the men of that age. Pope withdrew in a great measure from this boisterous London company, and being put into an independence by the gallant exertions of Swift + and his private friends, and by the enthusiastic national admiration which justly rewarded his great achievement of the “Iliad," purchased that famous villa of Twickenham which his song and life celebrated; duteously bringing his old parents to live and die there, entertaining his friends there, and making occasional visits to London in his little chariot, in which Atterbury compared him to "Homer in a nutshell."
“Mr. Dryden was not a genteel man," Pope quaintly said to Spence, speaking of the manner and habits of the famous old at least fifteen times within this fortnight to Dawley farm, and that you are extremely mortified at my long silence. To relieve you, therefore, from this great anxiety of mind, I can do no less than write a few lines to you; and I please myself beforehand with the vast pleasure which this epistle must needs give you. That I may add to this pleasure, and give further proofs of my beneficent temper, I will likewise inform you, that I shall be in your neighbourhood again, by the end of next week : by which time I hope that Jonathan's imagination of business will be succeeded by some imagination more becoming a professor of that divine science, la bagatelle. Adieu. Jonathan, Alexander, John, mirth be with you !"
* Prior must be excepted from this observation. “He was lank and lean."
† Swift exerted himself very much in promoting the “Iliad” subscription ; and also introduced Pope to Harley and Bolingbroke.—Pope realized by the “Iliad” upwards of 5,000l., which he laid out partly in annuities, and partly in the purchase of his famous villa. Johnson remarks that "it would be hard to find a man so well entitled to notice by his wit, that ever delighted so much in talking of his money."
patriarch of “ Will's.” With regard 10 Pope's own manners, we have the best contemporary authority that they were singularly refined and polished. With his extraordinary sensibility, with his known tastes, with his delicate frame, with his power and dread of ridicule, Pope could have been no other than what we call a highly-bred person.' His closest friends, with the exception of Swift, were among the delights and ornaments of the polished society of their age. Garth, f the accomplished and benevolent, whom Steele has described so charmingly, of whom Codrington said that his character was "all beauty,” and whom Pope himself called the best of Christians without knowing it; Arbuthnot, one of the wisest, wittiest, most
* “His (Pope's) voice in common conversation was so naturally musical, that I remember honest Tom Southerne used always to call him the little nightingale.""
.'"-ORRERY. † Garth, whom Dryden calls “generous as his Muse," was a Yorkshireman. He graduated at Cambridge, and was made M.D. in 1691. He soon distinguished himself in his profession, by his poem of the “Dispensary,” and in society, and pronounced Dryden's funeral oration. He was a strict Whig, a notable member of the “Kit-Cat," and a friendly, convivial, able man. He was knighted by George I., with the Duke of Marlborough's sword. He died in 1718.
# “ Arbuthnot was the son of an episcopal clergyman in Scotland, and belonged to an ancient and distinguished Scotch family. He was educated at Aberdeen ; and, coming up to London-according to a Scotch practice often enough alluded to-to make his fortune-first made himself known by 'An Examination of Dr. Woodward's Account of the Deluge.' He became physician successively to Prince George of Denmark and to Queen Anne. He is usually allowed to have been the most learned, as well as one of the most witty and humourous members of the Scriblerus Club. The opinion entertained of him by the humourists of the day is abundantly evidenced in their correspondence. When he found himself in his last illness, he wrote thus, from his retreat at Hampstead, to Swist :66MY DEAR AND WORTHY FRIEND,
Hampstead, Oct. 4, 1734. "You have no reason to put me among the rest of your forgetful friends, for I wrote two long letters to you, to which I never received one word of answer. The first was about your health; the last I sent a great while ago, by one De la Mar. I can assure you with great truth that none of your friends or acquaintance has a more warm heart towards you than myself. I am going out of this trouble. some world, and you, among the rest of my friends, shall have my last prayers and good wishes.
accomplished, gentlest of mankind; Bolingbroke, the Alcibiades of his age; the generous Oxford ; the magnificent, the witty, the
I came out to this place so reduced by a dropsy and an asthma, that I could neither sleep, breathe, eat, nor move. I most earnestly desired and begged of God that he would take me. Contrary to my expectation, upon venturing to ride (which I had forborne for some years), I recovered my strength to a pretty considerable degree, slept, and had my stomach again.
What I did, I can assure you was not for life, but ease ; for I am at present in the case of a man that was almost in harbour, and then blown back to sea—who has a reasonable hope of going to a good place, and an absolute certainty of leaving a very bad one. Not that I have any particular disgust at the world; for I have as great comfort in my own family and from the kindness of my friends as any man; but the world, in the main, displeases me, and I have too true a presentiment of calamities that are to befall my country. However, if I should have the happiness to see you before I die, you will find that I enjoy the comforts of life with my usual cheersulness. I cannot imagine why you are frightened from a journey to England : the reasons you assign are not sufficient—the journey I am sure would do you good. In general, I recommend riding, of which I have always had a good opinion, and can now confirm it from my own experience.
“My family give you their love and service. The great loss I sustained in one of them gave me my first shock, and the trouble I have with the rest to bring them to a right temper to bear the loss of a father who loves them, and whom they love, is really a most sensible affliction to me. I am afraid, my dear friend, we shall never see one another more in this world. I shall, to the last moment, preserve my love and esteem for you, being well assured you will never leave the paths of virtue and honour; for all that is in this world is not worth the least deviation from the way. It will be great pleasure to me to hear from you sometimes; for none are with more sincerity than I am, my dear friend, your most faithful friend and humble servant.
“ Arbuthnot,” Johnson says, was a man of great comprehension, skilful in his profession, versed in the sciences, acquainted with ancient literature, and able to animate his mass of knowledge by a bright and active imagination; a scholar with great brilliance of wit; a wit who, in the crowd of life, retained and discovered a noble ardour of religious zeal.”
Dugald Stewart has testified to Arbuthnot's ability in a department of which he was particularly qualified to judge : “Let me add, that, in the list of philosophical reformers, the authors of Martinus Scriblerus’ ought not to be overlooked. Their happy ridicule of the scholastic logic and metaphysics is universally known; but few are aware of the acuteness and sagacity displayed in their allusions to some of the most vulnerable passages in Locke's • Essay.' In this part of the work it is commonly understood that Arbuthnot had the principal share."-See Preliminary Dissertation to Encyclopædia Britannica, note to p. 242, and also note B. B. B., p. 285.
famous, and chivalrous Peterborough : these were the fast and faithful friends of Pope, the most brilliant company of friends, let us repeat, that the world has ever seen. The favourite recreation of his leisure hours was the society of painters, whose art he practised. In his correspondence are letters between him and Jervas, whose pupil he loved to be-Richardson, a celebrated artist of his time, and who painted for him a portrait of his old mother, and for whose picture he asked and thanked Jervas in one of the most delightful letters that ever was penned, *--and the wonderful Kneller, who bragged more, spelt worse, and painted better than any artist of his day.t
It is affecting to note, through Pope's correspondence, the marked way in which his friends, the greatest, the most famous, and wittiest men of the time-generals and statesmen, philosophers and divines-all have a kind word and a kind thought for the good simple old mother, whom Pope tended so affectionately. Those men would have scarcely valued her, but that they knew how much he
“ To MR. RICHARDSON.
“ Twickenham, June 10, 1733. “As I know you and I mutually desire to see one another, I hope that this day our wishes would have met, and brought you hither. And this for the very reason, which possibly might hinder you coming, that my poor mother is dead. I thank God, her death was as easy as her life was innocent; and as it cost her not a groan, or even a sigh, there is yet upon her countenance such an expression of tranquillity, nay, almost of pleasure, that it is even amiable to behold it. It would afford the finest image of a saint expired that ever painter drew; and it would be the greatest obligation which even that obliging art could ever bestow on a friend, if you could come and sketch it for me. I am sure, if there be no very precedent obstacle, you will leave any common business to do this; and I hope to see you this evening, or to-morrow morning as early, before this winter flower is faded. I will defer her interment till to-morrow night. I know you love me, or I could not have written this—I could not (at this time) have written at all. Adieu ! May you die as happy!
Yours," &c. “Mr. Pope was with Sir Godfrey Kneller one day, when his nephew, a Guinea trader, came in. “Nephew,' said Sir Godfrey, 'you have the honour of seeing the two greatest men in the world.'—'I don't know how great you may be,' said the Guinea man, “but I don't like your looks: I have often bought a man much better than both of you together, all muscles and bones, for ten guineas.' Dr. WARBURTON. Spence's Anecdotes.