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Clafficks, he amused himself with translating them; and at fourteen made a version of the first book of the Thebais,. which, with some revision, he afterwards published. He must have been at this time, if he had no help, a considerable proficient in the Latin tongue.
By Dryden's Fables, which had then. been not long published, and were much in the hands of poetical readers, he was tempted to try his own fkill in giving Chaucer a more fashionable appearance, and put January and May, and the Prologue of the Wife of Bath, into modern English. He translated likewise the Epistle of Sappho to Phaor from Ovid, to complete the version, which was before imperfect; and wrote
fome other small pieces, which he afterwards printed.
He sometimes imitated the Englifh poets, and professed to have written at fourteen his poem upon Silence, after Rochester's Nothing.
He had now formed his versification, and in the smoothness of his numbers furpaffed his original : but this is but a small part of his praise; he discovers such acquaintance both with human life and publick affairs as is not easily conceived to have been attainable by a boy of fourteen in Windsor Foreft. Next year
he was defirous of opening to himself new sources of knowledge, by making himself acquainted with modern languages; and removed for a time
to London, that he might study French and Italian, which, as he desired nothing more than to read them, were by diligent application foon dispatched. Of Italian learning he does not appear to have ever made much use in his subfe
.: He then returned to Binfield, and delighted himself with his own poetry. He tried all styles, and many subjects. He wrote a comedy, a tragedy, an epick poem, with panegyricks on all the Princes of Europe; and, as he confesses, thought himself the greatest genius that
Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings; he, indeed, who forms his opinion of himself in solitude, without knowing the powers
of other men, is very liable to errour; but it was the felicity of Pope to rate himfelf at his real value.
Most of his puerile productions were, by his maturer judgement, afterwards destroyed'; · Alcander, the epick poem, was burnt by the persuasion of Atter·bury. The tragedy was founded on the
legend of St. Genevieve. Of the comedy there is no account.
Concerning his studies it is related, that he translated Tully on old Age'; and that, besides his books of poctry and criticism, he read Temple's Elays and Locke on human Understanding. His reading, though his favourite authors are not known, appears to have been sufficiently extensive and multifarious; for
his early pieces shew, with sufficient evidence, his knowledge of books.
He that is pleased with himself, easily imagines that he shall please others. Sir William Trumbal, who had been ambassador at Constantinople, and secretary of state, when he retired from business, fixed his residence in the neighbourhood of Binfield. Pope, not yet fixteen, was introduced to the statesman of fixty, and so distinguished himself that their interviews ended in friendship and correspondence. Pope was, through his whole life, ambitious of splendid acquaintance, and he seems to have wanted neither diligence nor success in attracting the notice of the great; for from his first entrance into the world,