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has performed in this translation, what I once despaired to have seen done by the force of several masterly hands.” Indeed the same gentleman appears to have changed his sentiment in his Essay on the Art of Sinking in Reputation, (printed in Mist's Journal, March 30, 1728), where he says thus: “In order to sink in reputation, let him take it into his head to descend into Homer (let the world wonder, as it will, how the devil he got there), and pretend to do him into English, so his version denote his neglect of the manner how." Strange variation ! we are told in
Mist's Journal (June 8). “ That this translation of the Iliad was not in all respects conformable to the fine taste of his friend Mr. Addison; insomuch that he employed a younger muse in an undertaking of this kind, which he supervised himself.” Whether Mr. Addison did find it conformable to his taste, or not, best appears from his own testimony the year following its publication, in these words:
Mr. Addison's Freeholder, No. 40. “When I consider myself as a British freeholder, I am in a particular manner pleased with the labours of those who have improved our language with the translations of old Greek and Latin authors. We have already most of their historians in our own tongue, and what is more for the honour of our language, it has been taught to express with elegance the greatest of their poets in each nation. The illiterate among our own countrymen may learn to judge from Dryden's Virgil, of the most perfect epic performance. And those parts of Homer which have been published already by Mr. Pope, give us reason to think that the Iliad will appear in English with as little disadvantage to that immortal poem.”
As to the rest, there is a slight mistake, for this younger muse was an elder; nor was the gentleman (who is a friend of our author) employed by Mr. Addison to translate it after him since he saith himself that he did it before. Contrariwise, that Mr. Addison engaged our author in this work appeareth by declaration thereof in the preface to the Iliad, printed some time before his death, and by his own letters of October 26 and November 2, 1713, where he de. clares it is his opinion that no other person was equal to it.
Next comes his Shakspeare on the stage: “Let him (quoth one, whom I take to be
Mr. Theobald, Mists Journal, June 8, 1728) publish such an author as he has at least studied, and for. get to discharge even the dull duty of an editor. In this
1 Vide Preface to Mr. Tickell's translation of the first book of the 16 Iliad,” 4to.
project let him lend the bookseller his name (for a compe. tent sum of money) to promote the credit of an exhorbitant subscription.” Gentle reader be pleased to cast thine eye on the proposal below quoted, and on what follows (some months after the former assertion) in the same Journalist of June 8: “ The bookseller proposed the book by subscription, and raised some thousands of pounds for the same: I believe the gentleman did not share in the profits of this extravagant subscription.”
“After the Iliad he undertook (saith
Mists Journal June 8, 1728) the sequel of that work, the Odyssey; and having secured the success by a numerous subscription, he employed some underlings to perform what, according to his proposals, should come from his own hands.” To which heavy charge we can in truth oppose nothing but the words of
Mr. Pope's Proposal for the Odyssey (printed by J. Watts,
Jan. 10, 1724). “ I take this occasion to declare that the subscription for Shakespeare belongs wholly to Mr. Tonson: and that the benefit of this proposal is not solely for my own use, but for that of two of my friends, who have assisted me in this work.” Bnt these very gentlemen are extolled above our poet himself in another of Mist's Journals, March 30, 1728, saying, “That he would not advise Mr. Pope to try the experiment again of getting a great part of a book done by assistants, lest those extraneous, parts should unhappily as. cend to the sublime, and retard the declension of the whole. Behold! these underlings are become good writers !”
If any say, that before the said Proposals were printed, the subscription was begun without declaration of such assistance : verily those who set it on foot or (as the term is) secured it, to wit, the right honourable the lord viscount Harcourt, were he living, would testifiy, and the right honourable the lord Bathurst, now living doth testifiy, the same is a falsehood.
Sorry I am, that persons professing to be learned, or of whatever rank of authors, should either falsely tax, or be falsely taxed. Yet let us, who are only reporters, be impartial in our citations, and proceed.
Misť: Journal June 8, 1728). “ Mr. Addison raised this author from obscurity, obtained him the acquaintance and friendship of the whole body of our nobility, and transferred his powerful interests with those great men to this rising bard, who frequently levied by that means unusual contributions on the public.” Which surely cannot be, if, as the author of the Dunciad Dissected reportetle, Mr. Wycherly had before introduced him into
a familiar acquaintance with the greatest peers and brightest wits then living.”
“No sooner (saith the same journalist, was his body lifeless, but this author, reviving his resentment, libelled the memory of his departed friend; and what was still more heinous, made the scandal public.” Grievous the accusation! unknown the accuser! the person accused, no witness in his own cause; the person, in whose regard accused, dead! But if there be living any one nobleman whose friendship, yea any one gentleman whose subscription Mr. Addison procured to our author, let him stand forth, that truth may appear! Amicus Plato, amicus Socrates, sed magis amica veritas. In verity, the whole story of the libel is a lie; witness those persons of integrity, who several years before Mr. Addison's decease, did see and approve of the said verses, in no wise a libel, but a friendly rebuke sent privately in our author's own hand to Mr. Addison himself, and never made public, till after their own Journals, and Curll had printed the same. One name alone, which I am here authorized to declare, will sufficiently evince this truth, that of the right honourable the earl of Burlington.
Next is he taxed with a crime (in the opinion of some authors, I doubt, more heinous than any in morality), to wit, plagiarism, from the inventive and quaint-conceited
James Moore Smith, Gent. “Upon reading the third volume of Pope's Miscellanies, I. found five lines which I thought excellent; and happening to praise them, a gentleman produced a modern comedy (the Rival Modes) published last year, where were the same verses to a tittle.
“These gentlemen are undoubtedly the first plagiaries, that pretend to make a reputation by stealing fro:n a man's works in his own life-time, and out of a public print."1 Let us join to this what is written by the author of the Rival Modes, the said Mr. James Moore Smith, in a letter to our author himself, who had informed him a month before that play was acted, Jan. 27, 1726-7, that, “These verses, which he had before given him leave to insert in it, would be known for his, some copies being got abroad. He desires, nevertheless, that since the lines had been read in his comedy to several, Mr. P. would not deprive it of them.” &c. Surely, if we add the testimonies of the lord Bolingbroke, of the lady to whom the said verses were originally addressed, of Hugh Bethel, Esq. and others, who knew them as our author's long before the said gentleman composed his play; it is hoped, the ingenious, that affect not error, will rectify their opinion by the suffrage of so honourable personages.
And yet followeth another charge, insinuating no less than his enmity both to church and state, which could come from no other informer than the said
Mr. James Moore Smith, “ The Memoirs of a Parish Clerk was a very dull and unjust abuse of a person who wrote in defence of our religion and constitution, and who has been dead many years." This seemeth also most untrue; it being known to divers that these memoirs were written at the seat of the lord Harcourt, in Oxfordshire, before that excellent person (bishop Burnet's) death, and many years before the appearance of that history, of which they are pretended to be an abuse. Most true it is, that Mr. Moore had such a design, and was himself the man who pressed Dr. Arbuthnot and Mr. Pope to assist him therein; and that he borrowed these memoirs of our author, when that history came forth, with intent to turn them to such abuse. But being able to obtain from our author but one single hint, and either changing his mind, or having more mind than abil. ity, he contented himself to keep the said memoirs, and read them as his own to all his acquaintance. A noble person there is, into whose company Mr. Pope once chanced to introduce him, who well remembereth the conversation of Mr. Moore to have turned upon the “contempt he had for the work of that reverend prelate, and how full he was of a design he declared himself to have, of exposing it.” This noble person is the earl of Peterborough.
Here in truth should we crave pardon of all the foresaid right honourable and worthy personages, for having mentioned them in the same page with such weekly riff-raff railers and rhymers; but that we had their ever-honoured commands for the same; and that they are introduced not as witnesses in the controversy, but as witnesses that cannot be controverted; not to dispute, but to decide.
Certain it is, that dividing our writers into two classes, of such who were acquaintances, and of such who were strangers to our author; the former are those who speak well, and the other those who speak evil of him. 'Of the first class, the most noble
John Duke of Buckingham sums up his character in these lines :
*And yet so wondrous, so sublime a thing,
Can all desert in sciences exceed.'?
The Hon. Simon Harcourt.
1“ Daily Journal,” April 3, 1728,
Recorded in like manner for his virtuous disposition, and gentle bearing, by the ingenious
, Mr. Walter Hart, in this apostrophe:
*Oh! ever worthy, ever crown'd with praise !
Views with just scorn the malice of mankind.'1
Dr. Edward Young, wishing some check to the corruption and evil manners of the times, calleth out upon our poet to undertake a task so ivorthy of his virtue :
•Why slumbers Pope, who leads the Muses' train,
Mr. Mallet, an his Epistle on Verbal Criticism:
*Whose life, severely scann'd, transcends his lays;
Mr. Hammond, that delicate and correct imitator of Tibullus, in his Love Elegies, Elegy xiv
• Now, fired by Pope and virtue, leave the age,
In low pursuit of self-undoing wrong,
Whose blameless life still answers to his song.'
Mr. Thomson, in his elegant and philosophical poem of the Seasons:
• Although not sweeter his own Homer sings,
Yet is his life the more endearing song.' To the same tune also singeth that learned clerk, of Suffolk,
Mr. Willliam Broome:
• Thus, nobly rising in fair virtue's cause,
From thy own life transcribe the unerring laws.'3 And. to close all, hear the reverend dean of St. Patrick's:
A soul with every virtue fraught,
By patriots, priests, and poets taught: 1 In his poems, printed for B. Lintot. ? “Universal Passions," sat. i.
In his poems at tho end of the “Odyssey.”