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With qemoir, Critical Dissertation, and
REV. GEORGE GILFILLAN.
LONDON: JAMES NISBET AND CO.
GENIUS AND POETRY OF POPE.
Few poets during their lifetime have been at once so much admired and so much abused as Pope. Some writers, destined to oblivion in after-ages, have been loaded with laurels in their own time; while others, on whom Fame was one day to " wait like a menial,” have gone to the grave neglected, if not decried and depreciated. But it was the fate of Pope to combine in his single experience the extremes of detraction and flattery—to have the sunshine of applause and the hailstorm of calumny mingled on his living head; while over his dead body, as over the body of Patroclus, there has raged a critical controversy, involving not merely his character as a man, but his claims as a poet. For this, unquestionably, there are some subordinate reasons. Pope's religious creed, his political connexions, his easy circumstances, his popularity with the upper classes, as well as his testy temper and malicious disposition, all tended to rouse against him, while he lived, a personal as well as public hostility, altogether irrespective of the mere merit or demerit of his poetry. “We cannot bear a Papist to be our principal bard,” said one class. “No Tory for our translator of Homer,” cried the zealous Whigs. “Poets should be poor, and Pope is independent," growled Grub Street. The ancients could not endure that a “ poet should build an house, but this varlet has dug a grotto, and established a clandestine connexion between Parnassus and the Temple of Plutus.” “Pope,” said others, “is hand-in-glove with Lords Oxford and Bolingbroke, and it was never so seen before in any