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and by his own diligence, with such help as kindness or money could procure him, in somewhat more than five years he completed his version of the Iliad, with the notes. He began it in 1712, his twenty-fifth year, and concluded it in 1718, his thirtieth year.
When we find hiin translating fifty lines a day, it is natural to suppose that 'he would have brought his work to a more speedy conclusion. The Hiad, containing less than fixteen thousand verses, might have been despatched in less than three hundred and twenty days by fifty verfes in a day. The notes, compiled with the affistance of his merce naries, could not be supposed to require more time than the text. According to this calculation, the progress of Pepe E
may seem to have been slow ; but the distance is commonly very great between actual performances and speculative possibility. It is natural to suppose, that as much as has been done to-day may be done to-morrow; but on the morrow some difficulty emerges, or fome external impediment obstructs. Indolence, interruption, business, and plea· fure, all take their turns of retardation; and every long work is lengthened . by a thousand causes that can, and ten thousand that cannot, be recounted. Perhaps no extensive and multifarious performance was ever effected within the term originally fixed in the undertaker's mind. He that runs against Time, has an antagonist not subject to casualties,
The encouragement given to this translation, though report seems to have over-rated it, was such as the world has not often seen. The subscribers were five hundred and seventy-five. The copies, for which subscriptions were given, were fix hundred and fifty-four. For those copies Pope had nothing to pay; he therefore received, including the two hundred pounds a volume, five thousand three hundred and twenty pounds four fhillings, without deduction, as the books were supplied by Lintot.
By the success of his subscription Pope was relieved from those pecuniarydistreiles with which, notwithstanding his populo larity, he had hitherto struggled. Lord Oxford had often lamented his disqua
lification for publick employment, but never proposed a pension. While the translation of Homer was in its progress, Mr. Craggs, then secretary of ftate, offered to procure him a pension, which; at least during his ministry, might be enjoyed with secrecy. This was not accepted by Pope, who told 'him, however, that, if he should be preffed with want of money, he would send to him for occasional supplies. Craggs was not long in power, and was never folicited for money by Pope, who disdained to beg what he did not want.
With the product of this subscription, which he had too much discretion to squander, he secured his future life from want by considerable' annuities.
The estate of the Duke of Buckingham was found to have been charged with five hundred pounds a year, payable to Pope, which doubeless his translation enabled him to purchase.
It cannot be unwelcome to literary auriosity, that I deduce thus minutely the history of the English Iliad. It is certainly the noblest version of poetry which the world has cver seen ; and its publication must therefore be confidered as one of the great events in the annals of Learning
To those who have skill to estimate the excellence and difficulty of this great work, it must be very desirable to know how it was performed, and by what gradations it advanced. to correct