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Next year he published some select poeins
of his friend Dr. Parnell, with a very elegant Dedication to the Earl of Oxford; who, after all his struggles and dangers, then lived in retirement, still under the frown of a victorious faction, who could take no pleasure in hearing his praise.
He gave the same year (1721) an edition of Shakespeare. His name was now of fo much authority, that Tonfon thought himself entitled, by annexing it, to demand a subscription of fix guineas for Shakespeare's plays in fix quarto volumes; nor did his expectation much deceive bim; for of seven hundred and fifty which he printed, he dispersed a great number at the price proposed. H 2
The reputation of that edition indeed sunk afterwards so low, that one hundred and forty copies were sold at fixteen fhillings each.
On this undertaking, to which Pope was induced by a reward of two hundred and seventeen pounds twelve shillings, he seems never to have reflected afterwards without vexation ; for Theobald, a man of heavy diligence, with powers, first, in a book called Shakejpcare Restored, and then in a formal edition, detected his deficiencies with all the infolence of victory; and, as he was now high enough to be feared and hated, Theobald had from others all the help that could be supplied, by the defire of humbling a haughty character.
From this time Pope became an onemy to editors, collaters, commentators, and verbal criticks; and hoped to pero suade the world, that he miscarried in this undertaking only by having a mind too great for such minute employment.
Pope in his edition undoubtedly did many things wrong, and left many things undone; but let him not be defrauded of his due praise. He was the first that knew, at least the first that told, by what helps the text might be improved. If he inspected the early editions negligentiy, he taught others to be more accurate. In his Preface he expanded, with great skill and elegance, the character which had been given of Shakespeare by Dryden ;: and he drew
the publick attention upon his works, which, though often mentioned, had been little read.
Soon after the appearance of the Iliad, resolving not to let the general kindness cool, he published proposals for a translation of the Odyley, in five volumes, for five guineas. He was willing, however, now to have associates in his labour, being either weary with toiling upon another's thoughts, or having heard, as Ruffhead relates, that Fenton and Broome had already begun the work, and liking better to have them confederates than
In the patent, instead of saying that he had translated the Odyssey, as he had le ! of the Iliad, he says that he had
undertaken a translation ; and in the
propoals the subscription is said to be not solely for his own use, but for that of two of his friends who have alisted him in this work.
In 1723, while he was engaged in this new version, he appeared before the Lords at the memorable trial of Bishop Atterbury, with whom he had lived in great familiarity, and frequent correspondence. Atterbury had honestly recommended to. him the study of the popith controverfy, in hope of his conversion; to which Pope answered in a manner that cannot much recommend his principles, or his judgement. In questions and projects of learning, they agreed better. He was called at the trial to give an account