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View him with scornful, yet with jealous eyes,
much better than he had used Pope, on that account, though he had been more roughly treated by Swift than Pope's nature would suffer him to treat any one.
But the reason is plain. Swift was Addison's rival only in politics: Pope was his rival in poetry; an opposition less tolerable, as more personal. However, Addison's social talents, in the entertainment and enjoyment of his intimate friends, charmed both Pope and Swift alike; as a quality far superior to any thing that was to be found in any other man.
Warburton. Ver. 193. But were there one whose fires, &c.] The strokes in this Character are highly finished. Atterbury so well understood the force of them, that in one of his letters to Mr.
says: "Since you now know where your strength lies, I hope you will not suffer that talent to lie unemployed.” He did not; and, by that means, brought satiric poetry to its perfection. Warburton.
Ver. 198. Bear, like the Turk,] This is from Bacon de Aug. Scient. lib. iii. p. 180. And the thought was also used by Lord Orrery, and by Denham.
were of different parties : Addison was required to give up his acquaintance, but he constantly refused; he treated him with respect and kindness, though, by so doing, he disobliged Lord Sunderland.
He declared that he would not give up Swift, to be made chief governor of the kingdom ; and indeed so high was his character, that Swift himself says of him : “Mr. Addison's election has passed easy and undisputed, and I believe, if he had a mind to be chosen king, he would hardly be refused.” Why should he be jealous and splenetic only when Pope was concerned ? Bowles.
Dreading even fools, by flatterers besieged,
Ver. 209. Like Cato, give] In the second volume of the Biographia Britannica is a vindication of Addison, by a writer who, to a consummate knowledge of the laws and history of his country, added a most exquisite taste in literature; I mean Sir William Blackstone, who thus concludes this vindication : “ Nothing surely could justify so deep a resentment, unless the story be true of the commerce between Addison and Gildon ; which will require to be very fully proved, before it can be believed of a gentleman who was so amiable in his moral character, and who in his own case) had two years before expressly disapproved of a personal abuse of Mr. Dennis. The person, indeed, from whom Mr. Pope seems to have received this anecdote, about the time of his writing the character, (viz. about July, 1715,) was no other than the Earl of Warwick, son-in-law to Mr. Addison himself: and the something about Wycherley (in which the story supposes that Addison hired Gildon to abuse Pope and his family) is explained by a note on the Dunciad, to mean a pamphlet containing Mr. Wycherley's Life. Now it happens, that in July, 1715, the Earl of Warwick (who died at the age of twenty-three, in August, 1721) was only a boy of seventeen, and not likely to be intrusted with such a secret, by a statesman between forty and fifty, with whom it does not appear he was any way connected or acquainted; for Mr. Addison was not married to his mother, the Countess of Warwick, till the following year, 1716: nor would Gildon have
been VARIATIONS. After Ver. 208, in the MS.
Who, if two wits on rival themes contest,
Approves of each, but likes the worst the best. Alluding to Mr. P.'s and Tickell's translation of the first book of the Iliad.
Who but must laugh, if such a man there be ?
been employed in July, 1715, to write Mr. Wycherley's Life, who lived till the December following. As therefore so many inconsistencies are evident in the story itself, which never found its way into print till near sixty years after it is said to have happened, it will be no breach of charity to suppose that the whole of it was founded on some misapprehension in either Mr. Pope or the Earl; and unless better proof can be given, we shall readily acquit Mr. Addison of this most odious part of the charge.”
I beg leave to add, that as to the other accusation, Dr. Young, Lord Bathurst, Mr. Harte, and Lord Lyttelton, cach of them assured me that Addison himself certainly translated the first Book of Homer.
An able vindication of Addison was written by Mr. Jeremiah Markland, then a young man, and afterwards the celebrated critic. Both were printed together, by Curll, so early as 1717. And perhaps this circumstance may furnish a clue to what has been so ably discussed by Judge Blackstone, in the Biographia Britannica, under the article Addison. The Epistle to Arbuthnot was not published till January, 1735; that to Augustus, with some others, appeared in 1738.—“I have seen Mr. Pope's best performances, and find that he pleases the town most when he is most out of humour with the court. He has made
free with his gracious majesty, in the Epistle to Augustus. But he had lost his favourite bill; even my Lord Harvey had carried a point against him; and while he is angry, he will never be idle. In this last Epistle he seems to have recanted all he had before said of Addison," viz.
-" (Excuse some courtly stains)
“ No whiter page than Addison remains,” &c. From a manuscript letter of Mr. Clarke, who wrote on ancient coins, to his learned printer and friend, Mr. Bowyer, July 6, 1738.
Warton. Ver. 214. Who would not weep, if Atticus were he ?] But when we come to know it belongs to Atticus, i. e. to one whose more obvious qualities had before engaged our love or esteem, then friendship, in spite of ridicule, will make a separation; our old VOL. VI.
What tho' my name stood rubric on the walls, Or plaister'd posts, with claps, in capitals ?
impressions will get the better of our new; or, at least, suffer themselves to be no further impaired than by the admission of a mixture of pity and concern.
Warburton. Ver. 214. if Atticus were he ?] I have suffered Warburton's note to remain entire, that it may not be said any thing has been suppressed that could be stated in Pope's favour. A few obsertations I have made on it, as I went along. What I have further to offer, I trust will not be imputed to any desire of lessening Pope's character ; but merely to do that justice to Mr. Addison which truth seems to require.
Mr. Addison is accused of “mean jealousy towards Pope; that he encouraged Pope's abusers; that he objected to the finest part of the Rape of the Lock, from envy and jealousy; that he produced, in opposition, a translation of the first Book of Homer, which was given to the world ostensibly as Tickell's, but which was in reality the work of Addison, who was actuated in the attempt by the desire of “injuring Pope's reputation ;" that finally, Lord Warwick, Addison's son-in-law, had himself confessed that it was in vain for Pope to endeavour to be well with Addison, and that he had hired Gildon to abuse him."
These are severe charges, and they ought to be supported by certain proof, or the strongest probabilities.
With respect to the first charge, it is not impossible but that Pope, and this I have no doubt was the case, really thought, when he became, in the eye of the public and in his own of course, so great a man, that every one who had a high literary character must certainly be jealous of him. Once possessed with this idea, which was the natural consequence of his own self-importance, he saw the cloven foot of envy and jealousy in every thing connected with the name of Addison. If Philips, the rival Arcadian, hung up a rod at Button's Coffee-house to chastise Pope, the rival Pastoralswain, Addison was the instigator. If Gildon, soured by poverty, attacked the more successful bard with scurrility and anger, Addison bribed him! If a translation of Homer comes out at the same time with Pope's, certainly there can be but one cause Addison's jealousy: Addison suggested it, Addison mended it, Addison wrote it!
Or smoking forth, a hundred hawkers' load,
Pope has said himself, that “ all seems yellow to the jaundiced eye.” Was his eye quite clear in his view of things respecting Addison? We have his own ideas and assertions. Are these to be trusted, unsupported by other evidence? We have the ipse dirit” of one party against the other. The world is appealed to; it naturally asks, is such a charge admitted by Pope's cotemporaries? I exclude his own particular friends. Does Craggs, the friend of both, seem to believe it? Pope wrote to him on the subject,-he received no answer. What are Addison's and Pope's respective characters ? has the first ever been charged with duplicity, even by his enemies? Has the other escaped the charge? Have there been no unequivocal proofs against him in that respect? Look at Addison's warm, manly, disinterested, and honest conduct to Swift. Remember his liberal and humane mode of disavowing Pope's personal attack on Dennis, on account of his criticisms on Cato. Recollect the uniform testimony, not only of his friends, but of all with whom he associated; consider the proofs of his candor and kindness, in almost every situation; and reflect, that nothing was urged with the least appearance of weight against him, even from those who were hostile to him in politics, till after his death. And from whom do they come? From one man, that man angry and interested, and that man, whose character, compared to Addison's, was, as perhaps Johnson might say, like tortuosity opposed to rectitude.
These things are so ;-Pope possibly may have been right in his judgment, but Addison ought not to be condemned by candid and impartial judges, unless there was collateral and much stronger evidence, than the ex parte evidence of Pope. Neither candour, nor equity, nor justice allow it.
Let us now go a step further, and consider the more specific and severe charges brought with apparently direct proof. Lord Warwick’s testimony is adduced against Addison, solemnly and decisively. This has been clearly proved to be impossible, at least so utterly improbable, that no one can believe it (see Warton's note on ver. 209). The strongest proof falls at once to the ground; it was invented, and is proved to be false. What then