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fectation from habit; he that has once ftudiously formed a style, rarely writes afterwards with complete ease. Pope may be faid to write always with his reputation in his head; Swift perhaps like a man who remembered that he was writing to Pope; but Arbuthnot like one who lets his thoughts drop from his pen as they rise into his mind.
Before these Letters appeared, he published the first part of what he persuaded himself to think a system of Ethicks, under the title of an Elay on Mans. which, if his Letter to Swift (of Sept.. 14, 1725) be rightly explained by the commentátor, had been eight years under his confideration, and of which he feems to have defired the success with
O P great folicitude.
He had now many open and doubtless many secret enemies. The Dunces were yet smarting with the war; and the superiority which he publickly arrogated, disposed the world to wish his humiliation.
All this he knew, and against all this he provided. His own name, and that of his friend to whom the work is inferibed, were in the first editions carefully suppressed; and the poem, being of a new kind, was ascribed to one or another, as favour determined, or conjecture wandered; it was given, says Warburton, to every man, except him only who could write it. 'Those who like only when they like the author, and who are under the dominion of a name,
condemned it; and those admired it who are willing to scatter praise at random, which while it is unappropriated excites no envy. Those friends of Pope, that were trufted with the secret, went about lavishing honours on the new-born poet, and hinting that Pope was never so much in danger from any former rival. • To those authors whom 'he had personally offended, and to those whose opinion the world considered as decisive, and whom he suspected of envy or malevolence, he sent his essay as a present before publication, that they might defeat their own enmity by praises, which they could not afterwards decently retract.
With these precautions, in 1733. was published the first part of the Ejay on Mlan. There had been for some time a report that Pope was busy uponą System of Morality ; but this design was not discovered in the new poem, which had a form and a title with which its readers were unacquainted. Its reception was not uniform; some thought it a very imperfect piece, though not without good lines. While the author was un. known, fome, as will always happen, fayoured him as an adventurer, and some censured him as an intruder ; but all thought him above neglect; the sale increased, and editions were multiplied.
The subsequent editions of the first Epistle exhibited two memorable corrections. At first, the poet and his friend
Expatiate free o'er this scene of man,
A mighty maze of walks without a plan. For which he wrote afterwards,
A mighty maze, but not without a plan. For, if there were no plan, it was vain to describe or to trace the maze. The other alteration was of these lines; And spite of pride, and in thy reason's
Spite, One truth is clear, whatever is, is right: but having afterwards discovered, or been shewn, that the truth which subfifted in spite of reason could not be very clear, he substituted