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ALEXANDER POPE . . . . . . TRAITOR'S GATE . . . . . . . THE WALLACE MONUMENT . . . . APARTMENTS OF LAST MOORISH QUEENS. “ BEFORE I TRUST MY FATE TO THEE” . “THE SEA! THE SEA! THE OPEN SEA! ” .. THE CAUCASUS . . . . . . . QUINTILIAN . . . . . . . . François RABELAIS . .. JEAN RACINE . . . . . . . .. Sir WALTER RALEIGH . . . . . STRAFFORD ON THE WAY TO EXECUTION SHERIDAN'S RIDE . . . . . . . Peg WOFFINGTON . . . . . . CAPERNAUM . . . . . . . JEAN PAUL RICHTER . . . . . .
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POPE, ALEXANDER, a famous English poet; born at London, May 21, 1688; died at Twickenham, on the Thames, May 30, 1744. He early manifested unusual capacity, especially in versifying. His “ Ode on Solitude” was written before he had reached the age of twelve. Before he had reached the age of sixteen he had come to be known among the literati as a poet of genius. His first considerable work, “ The Pastorals," was published when he was twenty-one, but was probably written some years earlier. His “ Messiah, a Sacred Eclogue,” first appeared in 1712 in Addison's “Spectator.” In 1714 he issued proposals for publishing a translation of the “Iliad” in six volumes. The first volume appeared in 1715, the last in 1720. His later days were mainly devoted to the preparation of a complete edition of his works, of which, however, he lived only to supervise the “Essay on Criticisin,” the “Essay on Man,” and “The Dunciad.” He was buried at Twickenham. The following is a list of Pope's principal works, with the approximate date of their composition: “The Pastorals” (1709); “ Essay on Criticism” (1711); “ The Messiah ” (1712); “ The Rape of the Lock” (1714); translation of the “Iliad” (1715-18); “ Epistle of Eloise to Abelard” (1717); edition of Shakespeare (1725); translation of the “ Odyssey” (1726); “ The Dunciad” (1728, but considerably modified and much enlarged in 1742); “Epistle to the Earl of Burlington ” (1731); “Of the Use of Riches” (1732); “Essay on Man" (1733); “Imitations of Horace" (1733–38); “Epistle to Lord Cobham” (1733); “Epistle to Arbuthnot” (1735).
FROM THE “ESSAY ON CRITICISM.”
'T is hard to say if greater want of skill
Appear in writing or in judging ill;
But of the two less dangerous is th' offence
To tire our patience than mislead our sense.
Some few in that, but numbers err in this;
Ten censure wrong for one who writes amiss.
A fool might once himself alone expose :
Now one in verse makes many more in prose.
'Tis with our judgments as our watches, - none
Go just alike, yet each believes his own.
In poets as true genius is but rare,
True taste as seldom is the critic's share :
Both must alike from heaven derive their light,
These born to judge as well as those to write.
Let such teach others who themselves excel,
And censure freely who have written well:
Authors are partial to their wit, 'tis true,
But are not critics to their judgment too?
Yet if we look more closely, we shall find
Most have the seeds of judgment in their mind:
Nature affords at least a glimmering light;
The lines, though touched but faintly, are drawn right.
But as the slightest sketch, if justly traced,
Is by ill coloring but the more disgraced,
So by false learning is good sense defaced :
Some are bewildered in the maze of schools,
And some made coxcombs Nature meant but fools;
In search of wit these lose their common-sense,
And then turn critics in their own defence;
Each burns alike, who can or cannot write,
Or with a rival's or a eunuch's spite.
All fools have still an itching to deride,
And fain would be upon the laughing side.
If Mævius scribble in Apollo's spite,
There are who judge still worse than he can write. ...
Of all the causes which conspire to blind
Man's erring judgment, and misguide the mind,
What the weak head with strongest bias rules,
Is pride, -- the never-failing vice of fools.
Whatever nature has in worth denied
She gives in large recruits of needful pride.
For as in bodies, thus in souls, we find
What wants in blood and spirits, swelled with wind;
Pride, where wit fails, steps in to our defence,
And fills up all the mighty void of sense:
If once right reason drives that cloud away,
Truth breaks upon us with resistless day.
Trust not yourself; but your defects to know,
Make use of every friend — and every foe.
A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring;
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
Fired at first sight with what the Muse imparts,
In fearless youth we tempt the heights of arts,
While from the bounded level of our mind
Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind;
But more advanced, behold with strange surprise
New distant scenes of endless science rise!
So pleased at first the towering Alps we try,
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky;
Th' eternal snows appear already past,
And the first clouds and mountains seem the last;
But those attained, we tremble to survey
The growing labors of the lengthened way;
Th' increasing prospect tires our wandering eyes,
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise !
A perfect judge will read each work of wit
With the same spirit that its author writ:
Survey the whole, nor seek slight faults to find
Where nature moves and rapture warins the mind;
Nor lose, for that malignant dull delight,
The generous pleasure to be charmed with wit.
But in such lays as neither ebb nor flow,
Correctly cold, and regularly low,
That shunning faults one quiet tenor keep,
We cannot blame indeed — but we may sleep.
In wit, as nature, what affects our hearts
Is not th' exactness of peculiar parts;
'Tis not a lip or eye we beauty call,
But the joint force and full result of all.
Thus when we view some well-proportioned dome,
(The world's just wonder, and e'en thine, O Rome!)
No single parts unequally surprise, -
All comes united to th' admiring eyes ;
No monstrous height, or breadth, or length, appear:
The whole at once is bold and regular.
Whoever thinks a faultless piece to see,
Thinks what ne'er was, nor is, nor e’er shall be.
In every work regard the writer's end,
Since none can compass more than they intend;
And if the means be just, the conduct true,
Applause, in spite of trivial faults, is due.
As men of breeding, sometimes men of wit,
To avoid great errors must the less commit, —
Neglect the rules each verbal critic lays;
For not to know some trifles is a praise.