« السابقةمتابعة »
which he persuaded his school-fellows to act, with the addition of his master's gardener, who personated Ajax.
At the two last schools he used to represent himself as having lost part of what Taverner had taught him, and on his master at Twyford he had already exercised his poetry in a lampcon. Yet under those masters he translated more than a fourth part of the Metamorphoses. If he kept the same proportion in his other exercises, it cannot be thought that his loss was great.
He tells of himself, in his poems, that he lifpd in numbers; and used to say that he could not remember the time when he began to make verses. . In the style of fiction it might have been said
of him as of Pindar, that when he lày in his cradle the bees swarmed about his mouth,
About the time of the Revolution his father, who was undoubtedly disappointed by the sudden blaft of popish prosperity, quitted his trade, whatever it was, and retired to Binfield in Windfor Forest, with about twenty thousand pounds; for which, being conscientiously determined not to intrust it to the government, he found no better use than that of locking it up in a chest, and taking from it what his expences required; and his life was long enough to consume a great part of it, before his fon came to the inheritance.
To Binfield Pope was called by his father when he was about twelve yearsold; and there he had for a few months the affiftance of one Deane, another priest, of whom he learned only to conftrue a little of Tully's Offices. How Mr. Deane could spend, with a boy who had translated so much of Ovid, fome months over a small part of Tully?s Offices, it is now vain to enquire..
Of a youth fo successfully employed, and so conspicuously improved, a minute account must be naturally defired; but curiosity must be contented with con, fused, imperfect, and sometimes improbable intelligence. Pope, finding little advantage from external help, resolved thenceforward to direct hiinself, and at
twelve formed a plan of study' which he completed with little other incitement than the desire of excellence.
His primary and principal purpose was to be a poet, with which his father accidentally concurred, by proposing subjects, and obliging him to correct his performances by many revisals; after which the old gentleman, when he was satisfied, would say these are good rhymes.
In his perusal of the English poets he soon distinguished the versification of Dryden, which be considered as the model to be studied, and was impressed with such veneration for his instructer, that he persuaded some friends to take him to the coffee-house which Dryder
frequented, and pleased himself with having seen him.
Dryden died May 1, 1701, some days before Pope was twelve; so early must he therefore have felt the power of harmony, and the zeal of genius. Who does not with that Dryden could have known the value of the homage that was paid him, and foreseen the greatness of his young admirer ?
The earliest of Pope's productions is his Ode on Solitude, written before he was twelve, in which there is nothing more than other forward boys have attained, aud which is not equal to Cowley's performances at the same age.
His time was now spent wholly in reading and writing. As he read the