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A. Whether that blessing be denied or given,
cumstances with equanimity. Writing While every joy, successful youth ! is
thine, to Pope on the 7th of Sept., 1714, he
Be no unpleasing melancholy mine, says : “ Martin's office is now the
Me long, ah long ! may these soft cares second door on the left hand in Dover
To rock the cradle of reposing age, Street, where he will be glad to see
With lenient arts prolong a parent's breath, Mr. Parnell, Mr. Pope, and his old
Make languor smile, and smooth the bed friends to whom he can still afford a of death. half-pint of claret . .. I will never
Me, when the cares my better years have
shown forgive you if you cannot use my Another's age, shall hasten on my own, fore-said house in Dover Street with Shall some kind hands, like B***'s or the same freedom as you did that in
Lead gently down, and favour the deSt. James's ; for as our friendship was
cline ? not begun upon the relation of a
In wants, in sickness shall a friend be courtier, so I hope it will not end nigh, with it.”
Explore my thought, and watch my asking 1 He makes his friend close the
Whether that blessing be denied or given, dialogue with a sentiment very ex
Thus far is right; the rest belongs to
Heaven, pressive of that religious resignation, which was the character both of his These lines are presumably those to temper and piety.– WARBURTON. which Johnson alludes in his Life of
But the last couplet was originally Thomson as having formed part of a written as an expression of Pope's poetical epistle sent by Pope to own sentiment.
The passage con- Thomson in Italy. The reference to taining ver. 406 to the end, with Bolingbroke, however, would rather other lines, was enclosed by him in seem to indicate that the " successful a letter to Aaron Hill, dated 3 Sep- youth” was a political or legal friend, tember, 1731. It ran as follows: such as Lyttelton or Murray.
“ WHEN I had a fever one winter in town that confined me to my room for five or six days, Lord Bolingbroke, who came to see me, happened to take up a Horace that lay on the table, and, in turning it over, dropped on the first Satire of the Second Book, which begins, “Sunt quibus in Satirâ.' He observed how well that would suit my case if I were to imitate it in English. After he was gone, I read it over, translated it in a morning or two, and sent it to press in a week or a fortnight after. And this was the occasion of my imitating some others of the Satires and Epistles.”—POPE to Spence, p. 297.
“ The Imitations of Horace' seem to have been written as relaxations of his genius. This employment became his favourite by its facility; the plan was ready to his hand, and nothing was required but to accommodate as he could the sentiments of an old author to recent facts or familiar images; but what is easy is seldom excellent; such imitations cannot give pleasure to common readers ; the man of learning may be sometimes surprised and delighted by an unexpected parallel; but the comparison requires knowledge of the original, which will likewise often detect strained applications. Between Roman images and English manners there will be an irreconcileable dissimilitude, and the works will be generally uncouth and party-coloured; neither original nor translated, neither ancient nor modern.”—JOHNSON.
It would be interesting to learn if the above was intended to be regarded as a final judgment on London, and The Vanity of Human Wishes, the two works on which Johnson's reputation as a poet mainly rests. The criticism is at any rate only partially applicable to the Imitations of Pope, which, far from being “strained ” or "uncouth,” are among the most easy and polished of his compositions. What is said about the “irreconcileable dissimilitude between Roman images and English manners," is more true, and many improprieties of this kind will be pointed out in the notes to this edition. Johnson, however, appears not to have properly appreciated the design of Pope, as declared in the Advertisement to these Satires; he would otherwise have perceived that the zest, with which the poet pursued his course of “ Imitation,” was due much less to the pleasure he derived from finding modern parallels for ancient images, than to his sense of the propriety with which, under cover of adapting Horace, he might draw the public attention to his own affairs. Indeed, one of the most noticeable features in his Imitations is the latitude which he allows himself in departing from the sense of his original. This is more especially the case in the first Satire, in which it will be found that Pope, though professing to draw a close parallel between his own position and that of the Roman satirist, has most artfully contrived to emphasise the essential differences in their respective situations. The main object of Horace was at once to shelter himself behind the authority of Lucilius, and to point to the favour with which he was regarded by Augustus; he therefore very dexterously leads up his poem to conclude with a compliment to the Emperor, by comparing him, as his patron, with those great Romans of an earlier age, who, for the love of letters, had protected the father of Latin Satire. Pope is far from imitating the modesty of his original. His aim was to wound his enemies and to exalt himself, by describing, in the first place, the dangers from bad men, to which his single-minded love of virtue exposed him, and, in the next place, the familiarity with which he "lived among the great.” The Court of George II. was of course the natural parallel to the Court of Cæsar; but Pope belonged to the Opposition, and his rendering of Horace's compliments to Augustus is edged with the keenest irony. While Horace is constantly dwelling on the example of Lucilius, and while the most pleasing passage in his Satire is his description of the oldfashioned simplicity of Roman manners, shown in the relations of the poet with Lælius and Scipio, Pope only incidentally mentions Boileau and Dryden, in order to contrast their dependent position with his freedom; and in the same spirit he makes Horace's praises of Lucilius' honesty a pretext for enlarging upon his own virtue.
The Advertisement to the Satires was first published in the second volume of his Poetical Works, printed in 1735, and, like his other Advertisements, was intended much more to create an impression than to explain a fact. “The occasion of publishing these Imitations,” says he, was the clamour raised on some of my Epistles.” As a matter of fact only one Imitation was published on the “occasion ” referred to, and a clamour had been raised about only one of his Epistles, namely, the one addressed to Lord Burlington on False Taste. Pope mentions the first Epistle on the Use of Riches with this Imitation, in a letter to Swift of 16 February, 1733: “It was I,” he says, “ that sent you those books into Ireland, and so I did my Epistle to Lord Bathurst, even before it was published, and another thing of mine, which is a parody from Horace, writ in two mornings. I never took more care in my life of anything than of the former of these, nor less than of the latter. Yet every friend has forced me to print it, though in truth my own single motive was about twenty lines toward the latter end, which you will