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ated Verse, the Essay on the Art of Poetry, and the Essay on Criticism."
In the lives of Addison and Tickell, some general nints concerning the quarrel have been thrown out, which subsisted between our poet and the former of these gentlemen; here it will not be improper to give a more particular account of it.
The author of Mist's Journal positively asserts, "That Mr. Addison raised Pope from obscurity, obtained him the acquaintance and friendship of the whole body of our nobility, and transferred his powerful influence with those great men to this rising bard, who frequently levied, by that means, unusual contributions on the public. No sooner was his body lifeless, but this author, reviving his resentment, libelled the memory of his departed friend, and, what was still more heinous, made the scandal public."
When this charge of ingratitude and dishonour was published against Mr. Pope, to acquit himself of it he called upon any nobleman whose friendship, or any one gentleman whose subscription, Mr. Addison had procured to our author, to stand forth and declare it, that truth might appear. But the whole libel was proved a malicious story by many persons of distinction, who several years before Mr. Addison's decease, approved those verses denominated a libel, but which were, it is said, a friendly rebuke, sent privately, in our author's own hand, to Mr. Addison himself, and never made public till by Curll, in his Miscellanies, 12mo. 1727. The lines, indeed, are elegantly satirical, and, in the opinion of many unprejudiced judges, who had opportunities of knowing the character of Mr. Addison, are no ill representation of him. Speaking of the poetical triflers of the times, who had declared against him, he makes a sudden transition to Addison:
Peace to all such! But were there one whose tiros
Some readers may think these lines severe, but the treatment he received from Mr. Addison was more than sufficient to justify them, which will ap pear when we particularize an interview between these two poetical antagonists, procured by the warm solicitations of Sir Richard Steele, who was present at it, as well as Mr. Gay.
Mr. Jervas being one day in company with Mr. Addison, the conversation turned upon Mr. Pope, for whom Addison, at that time, expressed the high est regard, and assured Mr. Jervas that he would make use not only of his interest, but of his art likewise, to do Mr. Pope service; he then said, he did not mean his art of poetry, but his art at court, and protested, notwithstanding many insinuations were spread, that it should not be his fault if there was not the best understanding and intelligence between them He observed, that Dr. Swift night have carried him
too far among the enemy during the animosity, but now all was safe, and Mr. Pope, in his opinion, was escaped. When Mr. Jervas communicated this conversation to Mr. Pope, he made this reply: “The friendly office you endeavour to do between Mr. Addison and me, deserves acknowledgments on my part. You thoroughly know my regard to his character, and my readiness to testify it by all ways in my power; you also thoroughly know the meanness of that proceeding of Mr. Phillips, to make a man I so highly value, suspect my disposition to wards him. But as, after all, Mr. Addison must be judge in what regards himself, and as he has seemed not to be a very just one to me, so I must own to you I expect nothing but civility from him, how much soever I wish for his friendship; and, as for any offers of real kindness or service, which it is in his power to do me, I should be ashamed to receive them from a man who has no better opinion of my morals than to think me a party man, nor of my temper than to believe me capable of maligning or envying another's reputation as a poet. In a word, Mr. Addison is sure of my respect at all times, and of my real friendship whenever he shall think fit to know me for what I am.
Some years after this conversation, at the desire of Sir Richard Steele, they met. At first, a very cold civility, and nothing else, appeared on either side: for Mr. Addison had a natural reserve and gloom at the beginning of an evening, which, by conversation and a glass, brightened into an easy cheerfulness. Sir Richard Steele, who was a most social benevo lent man, begged of him to fulfil his promise in dropping all animosity against Mr. Pope. Mr. Pope then desired to be made sensible how he had offended, and observed, that the translation of Homer, if that was the great crime, was undertaken at the request, and almost at the command, of Sir Richard Steele
He entreated Mr. Addison to speak candidly and freely, though it might be with ever so much severity rather than, by keeping up forms of complaisance conceal any of his faults. This Mr. Pope spoke in such a manner as plainly indicated he thought Mr. Addison the aggressor, expected him to condescend, and own himself the cause of the breach betweer. them. But he was disappointed; for Mr. Addison, without appearing to be angry, was quite overcome with it. He began with declaring that he always had wished him well, had often endeavoured to be his friend, and in that light advised him, if his nature was capable of it, to divest himself of part of his vanity, which was too great for his merit; that he had not arrived yet to that pitch of excellence he might imagine, or think his most partial readers imagined; that when he and Sir Richard Steele corrected his verses, they had a different air; reminding Mr Pope of the amendment, by Sir Richard, of a line in the poem called the Messiah;
He wipes the tears for ever from our eyes.
Which is taken from the prophet Isaiah :-" The
From every face he wipes off every tear.
And it stands so altered in the newer editions of Mr. Pope's works. He proceeded to lay before him the mistakes and inaccuracies hinted at by the writers who had attacked Mr. Pope, and added many things which he himself objected to. Speaking of his Translation in general, he said, that he was not to be blamed for endeavouring to get so large a sum of money, but that it was an ill-executed thing, and not equal to Tickell, which had all the spirit of Homer. Mr. Addison concluded, in a low hollow voice of feigned temper, that he was not solicitous about his
own fame as a poet; that he had quitted the Muses to enter into the business of the public, and that all he spoke was through friendship to Mr. Pope, whom he advised to have a less exalted sense of his own merit.
Mr. Pope could not well bear such repeated reproaches, but boldly told Mr. Addison, that he appealed from his judgment to the public, and that he had long known him too well to expect any friendship from him; upbraided him with being a pensioner from his youth, sacrificing the very learning purchased by the public money to a mean thirst of power; that he was sent abroad to encourage literature, in place of which he had always endeavoured to suppress merit. At last the contest grew so warm that they parted without any ceremony, and Mr. Pope, upon this, wrote the foregoing verses, which are esteemed too true a picture of Mr. Addison.
In this account, and indeed in all other accounts which have been given concerning this quarrel, it does not appear that Mr. Pope was the aggressor. If Mr. Addison entertained suspicions of Mr. Pope's being carried too far among the enemy, the danger was certainly Mr. Pope's, and not Mr. Addison's. It was his misfortune, and not his crime. If Mr Addison should think himself capable of becoming a rival to Mr. Pope, and, in consequence of this opinion, publish a translation of part of Homer at the same time with Mr. Pope's, and if the public should decide in favour of the latter, by reading his translation, and neglecting the other, can any fault be imputed to Mr. Pope? could he be blamed for exerting all his abilities in so arduous a province? And was it his fault that Mr. Addison (for the first Book of Homer was undoubtedly his) could not translate to please the public? Besides, was it not somewhat presumptuous to insinuate to Mr. Pope that his verses bore another face when he corrected them, while, at the