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I thought the Pope bad pardoned you.'
The footman's next literary attempt was in a dramatic poem named “The Toy-Shop,” and he had the courage to send it to Pope. Why he selected this poet does not plainly appear; by some it is said that his then mistress introduced her servant's poems to Pope's notice, but it is not improbable that Dodsley had heard of him from his brother, who was gardener to Mr. Allen of Prior Park, Bath, where Pope was often on a visit. However this may have been, he received a very kind letter from the poet, and an introduction to Mr. Rich, whose approval of the piece led to its being performed at Covent Garden.* This play was the foundation of Dodsley's fortune. By means of the money thus obtained, he set himself up as a bookseller in Pall Mall, and became known to the world of rank and genius. He produced successively “ The King and the Miller of Mansfield,” and “ The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green." He published for Pope, and in 1738, Samuel
* There was a considerable amount of humour in it. Among the articles offered for sale in the toy-shop is, “ the least box that ever was seen in England,” in which never. theless, “a courtier may deposit his sincerity, a lawyer may screw up his honesty, and a poet may board up his money."
A Pipe of Tobacco.
Johnson sold his first original publication to him for ten guineas. He suggested to Dr. Johnson the scheme of writing an English Dictionary, and also, in conjunction with Edmund Burke, commenced the “ Annual Register.” Dodsley's principal work was the “Economy of Human Life," written in an aphoristic style, and ascribed to Lord Chesterfield. He also made a collection of six volumes of contemporary poems, and they show how much rarer humour was than sentiment, for Dodsley was not a man to omit anything sparkling. The following imitation of Ambrose Philips-a general butt-has merit :
A PIPE OF TOBACCO.
Few humorous writers have attained to a greater celebrity than Fielding. He was born in 1707, was a son of General Fielding, and a relative of Lord Denbigh. In his early life, his works, which were comedies, were remarkable for severe satire, and some of them so political as to be instrumental in leading to the Chamberlain's supervision of the stage. His turn of mind was decidedly cynical.
In the “ Pleasures of the Town," we have many songs, of which the following is a specimen :
“The stone that always turns at will
To gold, the chemist craves;
Turns all men into knaves.
For a courtier never pays.
Both kill you for a fee.” His plays were not very successful. They abounded in witty sallies and repartee, but the general plot was not humorous. The jollity was of a rough farcical character. It was said he left off writing for the stage
when he should have begun. He took little care with his plays, and would go home late from a tavern, and bring a dramatic scene in the morning, written on the paper in which he had wrapped his tobacco.
In many of his works he shows a mind approaching that of the Roman satirists. Speaking of “ Jonathan Wild,” he says :
"I think we may be excused for suspecting that the splendid palaces of the great are often no other than Newgate with the mask on ; nor do I know anything which can raise an honest man's indignation higher than that the same morals should be in one place attended with all imaginary misery and infamy, and in the other with the highest luxury and honour. Let any impartial man in his senses be asked, for which of these two places a composition of cruelty, lust, avarice, rapine, insolence, hypocrisy, fraud, and treachery is best fitted ? Surely his answer will be certain and immediate; and yet I am afraid all these ingredients glossed over with wealth and a title have been treated with the highest respect and veneration in the one, while one or two of them have been condemned to the gallows in the other. If there are, then, any men of such morals, who dare call themselves great, and are so reputed, or called at least, by the deceived multitude, surely a little private censure by the few is a very moderate tax for them to pay.”
There is a considerable amount of hnmour in Fielding's “ Journey from this World to the Next.” He represents the spirits as drawing lots before they enter this life as to what their destinies are to be, and he introduces a sort of migration of souls, in which Julian becomes a king, fool, tailor, beggar, &c. As a tailor, he speaks of the dignity of his calling, “the prince gives the title, but the tailor makes the man.” Of course his reflections turn very much upon his bills,
“ Courtiers,” he says, “may be divided into two sorts, very essentially different from each other; into those who never intend to pay for their clothes, and those who do intend to pay for them, but are never able. Of the latter sort are many of those young gentlemen whom we equip out for the army, and who are, unhappily for us, cast off before they arrive at preferment. This is the reason why tailors in time of war are mistaken for politicians by their inquisitiveness into the event of battles, one campaign very often proving the ruin of half-a-dozen of us.”
Julian also gives his experience during his life as a beggar, showing that his life was not so very miserable.
“I married a charming young woman for love; she was the daughter of a neighbouring beggar, who with an im. providence too often seen, spent a very large income, which he procured from his profession, so that he was able to give her no fortune down. However, at his death he left her a very well-accustomed begging but situated on the side of a steep hill, where travellers could not immediately escape from us; and a garden adjoining, being the twenty-eighth part of an acre well-planted. She made the best of wives, bore me nineteen children, and never failed to get my supper ready against my return home-this being my favourite meal, and at which I, as well as my whole family, greatly enjoyed ourselves.”
“No profession," he observes,“ requires a deeper insight into human nature than a beggar's. Their knowledge of the passions of men is so extensive, tbat I have often thought it would be of no little service to a politician to have his education among them. Nay, there is a much greater analogy between these two characters than is imagined: for both concur in their first and grand principle, it being equally their business to delude and impose on mankind. It must be admitted that they differ widely in the degree of advantage, which they make of their deceit; for whereas the beggar is contented with a little, the politician leaves but a little behind.”
There is a considerable amount of indelicacy