« السابقةمتابعة »
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 those 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 ability, 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 remenibereth 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 aforesaid 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 acquaintance, 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, 1
Can all desert in sciences exceed.
choose, What laurel'd arch for thy triumphant Muse ? Though each great ancient court thee to his shrine, Though every laurel through the dome be thineGo to the good and just, an awful train ! Thy soul's delight. — Recorded in like manaer for his virtuous disposition, and gentle bearing, by the ingenious
MR. WALTER HART, in this apostrophe :
O ! ever worthy, ever crown'd with praise !
1 Verses to Mr. P. on his translation of Homer.AP.
The witty and moral satirist
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 worthy of his virtue:
Whyslumbers Pope, who leads the Muses' train, Nor hears that Virtue, which he loves, complain ?
MR. MALLET, in his epistle on Verbal Criticism :
Whose life, severely scann'd, transcends his lays ; For wit supreme is but his second praise.
MR. HAMMOND, that delicate and correct imitator of Tibullus, in his Love Elegies, Elegy xiv. Now fir'd 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. WILLIAM BROOME : Thus 2 nobly rising in fair Virtue's cause,
From thy own life transcribe th' unerring laws. And, to close all, hear the reverend Dean of St. Patrick's :
1 Universal Passion, Sat. 1.-P. 2 In his poems, and at the end of the Odyssey.-P.
A soul with every virtue fraught,
Whose meanest talent is his wit, &c. Let us now recreate thee by turning to the other side, and showing his character drawn by those with whom he never conversed, and whose countenances he could not know, though turned against him ; First again commencing with the high-voiced and never enough quoted
MR. JOHN DENNIS ; who, in his Reflections on the Essay on Criticism, thus describeth him: “A little affected hypocrite, who has nothing in his mouth but candour, truth, friendship, goodnature, humanity, and magnanimity. He is so great a lover of falsehood, that, whenever he has a mind to calumniate his contemporaries, he brands them with some defect which is just contrary to some good quality for which all their friends and their acquaintance commend them. He seems to have a particular pique to People of Quality, and authors of that rank. He must derive his religion from St. Omer's.”—But in the Character of Mr. P. and his Writings (printed by S. Popping, 1716), he saith, “Though he is a professor of the worst religion, yet he laughs at it;” but that “nevertheless, he is a virulent Papist; and yet a Pillar for the Church of England.” Of both which opinions
MR. LEWIS THEOBALD seems also to be; declaring, in Mist's Journal of June 22, 1728, “ That, if he is not shrewdly abused, he made it his business to cackle to both
parties in their own sentiments.” But as to his pique against People of Quality, the same Journalist doth not agree, but saith (May 8, 1728), “He had, by some means or other, the acquaintance and friendship of the whole body of our nobility.”
However contradictory this may appear, Mr. Dennis and Gildon, in the character last cited, make it all plain, by assuring us, “ That he is a creature that reconciles all contradictions: he is a beast, and a man; a Whig and a Tory; a writer (at one and the same time) of Guardians and Examiners; an Assertor of liberty, and of the dispensing power of kings; a Jesuitical professor of truth ; a base and
a foul pretender to candour.” So that upon the whole account, we must conclude him either to have been a great hypocrite, or a very honest man; a terrible imposer upon both parties, or very moderate to either.
Be it as to the judicious reader shall seem good. Sure it is, he is little favoured of certain authors whose wrath is perilous : for one declares he ought to have a price set on his head, and to be hunted down as a wild beast.? Another protests that he does not know what may happen ; advises him to insure his person ; says he has bitter enemies, and expressly declares it will be well if he escapes with his life.” One desires he would cut his own throat, or hang himself. But Pasquin seemed rather inclined it should be done by the government, repre1 The names of two weekly papers.-P.
Theobald, Letter in Mist's Journal, June 22, 1728.-P.
Smedley, Pref. to Gulliveriana, pp. 14, 16.-P.