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cause Prior's Henry and Emma charmed the finest tastes, our author writ his Eloise in opposition to it, but forgot innocence and virtue: if you take away her tender thoughts, and her fierce desires, all the rest is of no value." In which, methinks, his judgment resembleth that of a French tailor on a villa and garden by the Thames: " All this is very fine; but take away the river, and it is good for nothing." But very contrary hereto was the opinion of
himself, saying, in his Alma*,
"O Abelard! ill-fated youth,
Dan Pope, for thy misfortune griev'd,
A silken web; and ne'er shall fade
Its colours: gently has he laid
The mantle o'er thy sad distress,
And Venus shall the texture bless," &c.
Come we now to his translation of the Iliad, celebrated by numerous pens; yet it shall suffice to mention the indefatigable
SIR RICHARD BLACKMORE, KNT.
who (though otherwise a severe censurer of our author) yet stileth this " a laudable translation †." That ready writer,
in his fore-mentioned Essay, frequently commends the same. And the painful
MR. LEWIS THEOBALD
thus extols it: "The spirit of Homer breathes all through this translation I am in doubt whether I should most adinire the justness to the original, or the force and beauty of the language, or the sounding variety of the numbers; but when I find all these
meet, it puts me in mind of what the poet says of one of his heroes, that he alone raised and flung with ease a weighty stone that two common men could not lift from the ground; just so one single person has performed, in this translation, what I once despaired to have seen done by the force of several masterly hands." Indeed the same gentlenian appears to have changed his sentiment in his Essay on the Art of Sinking in Reputation, (printed in MIST'S JOURNAL, March 30, 1728,) where he says thus: "In order to sink in reputation, let him take it into his head to descend into Homer, (let the world wonder, as it will, how the devil he got there) and pretend to do him into English, so his version denotes his neglect of the manner how." Strange variation! We are told in
MIST'S JOURNAL, JUNE 8.
"That this translation of the Iliad was not in all respects conformable to the fine taste of his friend Mr. Addison; insomuch that he employed a younger muse in an undertaking of this kind, which he supervised himself." Whether Mr. Addison did find it conformable to his taste or not, best appears from his own testimony the year following its publication, in these words:
MR. ADDISON, FREEHOLDER, NO. 40.
"When I consider myself as a British freeholder, I am in a particular manner pleased with the labours of those who have improved our language with the translation of old Greek and Latin authors.-We have already most of their historians in our own tongue, and what is more for the honour of our language, it hath been taught to express with clegance the greatest of their poets in each nation. The illiterate among our own countrymen may learn to judge from Dryden's Virgil of the most perfect epic performance; and those parts of Homer which have been published already by Mr. Pope, give us reason
to think that the Iliad will appear in English with as little disadvantage to that immortal poem."
As to the rest, there is a slight mistake; for this younger muse was an elder: nor was the gentleman (who is a friend of our author) employed by Mr. Addison to translate it after him, since he saith himself that he did it before*. Contrariwise, that Mr. Addison engaged our author in this work, appeareth by declaration thereof in the Preface to the Iliad, printed some time before his death, and by his own letters of October 26, and November 2, 1713, where he declares it is his opinion, that no other person was equal to it.
Next comes his Shakspeare on the stage: "Let him (quoth one, whom I take to be
MR. THEOBALD, MIST'S JOURNAL, JUNE 8, 1728) publish such an author as he has least studied, and forget to discharge even the dull duty of an editor. In this project let him lend the bookseller his name (for a competent sum of money) to promote the credit of an exorbitant subscription." Gentle reader, be pleased to cast thine eye on the proposal below quoted, and on what follows (some months after the former assertion) in the same Journalist of June 8. "The bookseller proposed the book by subscription, and raised some thousands of pounds for the same: I believe the gentleman did not share in the profits of this extravagant subscription."
"After the Iliad, he undertook (saith
MIST'S JOURNAL, JUNE 8, 1728)
the sequel of that work, the Odyssey; and having secured the success by a numerous subscription, he employed some underlings to perform what, according to his proposals, should come from his own hands." To which heavy charge we can in truth oppose nothing but the words of
* Vide Preface to Mr. Tickell's Translation of the First Book of the Iliad, 4to.
MR. POPE'S PROPOSAL FOR THE ODYSSEY,
(printed for J. Watts, Jan. 10, 1724,)
"I take this occasion to declare, that the subscription for Shakspeare belongs wholly to Mr. Tonson; and that the benefit of this proposal is not solely for my own use, but for that of two of my friends, who have assisted me in this work." But these very gentlemen are extolled above our poet himself in another of MIST'S JOURNALS, March 30, 1728, saying, "That he would not advise Mr. Pope to try the experiment again of getting a great part of a book done by assistants, lest those extraneous parts should unhappily ascend to the sublime, and retard the declension of the whole." Behold! these underlings are become good writers!
If any say, that before the said proposals were printed, the subscription was begun, without declaration of such assistance; verily those who set it on foot, or (as the term is) secured it, to wit, the Right Honourable Lord Viscount Harcourt, were he living, would testify, and the Right Honourable the Lord Bathurst, now living, doth testify, the same is a falsehood.
Sorry I am that persons professing to be learned, or of whatever rank of authors, should either falsely tax, or be falsely taxed. Yet let us, who are only reporters, be impartial in our citations, and proceed.
MIST'S JOURNAL, JUNE 8, 1728.
"Mr. Addison raised this author from obscurity, obtained him the acquaintance and friendship of the whole body of our nobility, and transferred his powerful interests with those great men to this rising bard, who frequently levied, by that means, unusual contributions on the public." Which surely cannot be, if, as the author of the Dunciad Dissected reporteth, "Mr. Wycherly had before introduced him
into a familiar acquaintance with the greatest peers and brightest wits then living."
"No sooner (saith the same Journalist) 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." Grievous the accusation! unknown the accuser! the person accused no witness in his own cause; the person, in whose regard accused, dead! But if there be living any one nobleman whose friendship, yea, any one gentleman whose subscription, Mr. Addison procured to our author, let him stand forth, that truth may appear! Amicus Plato, amicus Socrates, sed magis amica veritas. In verity, the whole story of the libel is a lie; witness those persons of integrity who, several years before Mr. Addison's decease, did see and approve of the said verses, in no wise a libel, but a friendly rebuke, sent privately, in our author's own hand, to Mr. Addison himself, and never made public, till after their own Journals and Curl had printed the same. One name alone, which I am here authorised to declare, will sufficiently evince the truth, that of the Right Honourable the Earl of Burlington.
Next is he taxed with a crime (in the opinion of some authors, I doubt, more heinous than any in morality), to wit, plagiarism, from the inventive and quaint-conceited
JAMES MOORE SMITH, GENT.
"Upon reading the third volume of Pope's Miscellanies, I found five lines which I thought excelleat; and happening to praise them, a gentleman produced a modern comedy (the Rival Modes) published last year, where were the same verses to a tittle.
"These gentlemen are undoubtedly the first plagiaries, that pretend to make a reputation by stealing from a man's works in his own life-time, and out of a Daily Journal, March 18, 1728, O