Графични страници
PDF файл

Mr. POPE's Answer.

April 10, 1716.

y yours of the laft Month, you defire me to fe

from the firft


Volume of your Mifcellanies, which may be altered fo as to appear again. I doubted your meaning in this; whether it was to pick out the best of thofe Verfes, (as that on the Idleness of Business; on Ignorance; on Laziness, &c.) to make the Method and Numbers exact, and avoid Repetitions. For tho' (upon reading them on this Occafion) I believe they might receive fuch an Alteration with advantage; yet they would not be changed fo much, but any one would know them for the fame at first fight. Or if you mean to improve the worst Pieces, which are fuch, as to render them very good, would require a great Addition, and almoft the entire new writing of them. Or, laftly, if you mean the middle Sort, as the Songs and Love-Verses: For thefe will need only to be fhortned, to omit Repetition; the Words remaining very little different from what they were before. Pray let me know your mind in this, for I am utterly at a lofs. Yet I have tried what I could do to fome of the Songs, and the Poems on Laziness and Ignorance, but cannot (even in my own partial Judgment) think my Alterations much to the Purpose. So that I must needs defire you would apply your Care wholly at present to those which are yet unpublished, of which there are more than enough to make a confiderable Volume, of

*Printed in Folio, in the Year 1704. Vid. Letter of Nov. 20, 1707. ̃a· ·


[ocr errors]

full as good ones, nay, I verily believe, of better than any in Vol. I. which I could with you would defer, at leaft 'till you have finished thefe that are yet unprinted.

I fend you a Sample of fome few of thefe; namely, the Verses to Mr. Waller in his old Age; your new ones on the Duke of Marlborough, and two others. I have done all that I thought could be of Advantage to them: Some I have contracted as we do Sun-beams, to improve their Energy and Force; fome I have taken quite away, as we take Branches from a Tree, to add to the Fruit; others I have entirely new exprefs'd, and turned more into Poetry. Donne (like one of his Succeffors) had infinitely more Wit than he wanted Verfification for the great dealers in Wit, like thofe in Trade, take leaft Pains to fet off their Goods; while the Haberdashers of small Wit fpare for no Decorations or Ornaments.. You have commiflion'd me to paint your Shop, and I have done my best to brush you up like your Neighbours. But I can no more pretend to the Merit of the Production, than a Midwife to the Vertues and good Qualities of the Child fhe helps into the Light.

The few Things I have entirely added, you will excufe; you may take them lawfully for your own, because they are no more than Sparks lighted up by your Fire; and you may omit them at last, if you think them but Squibs in your Triumphs..

I am,


[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

Mr. Wycherley to Mr. Pope.

Feb. 19. 1706-7.

I Have received


kind as it

is ingenious, for which therefore I moft heartily thank you. It would have been much more welcome to me, had it not informed me of your want of Health; but you who have a Mind fo vigorous, may well be contented with its crazy Habitation; fince (you know) the old Similitude fays: The Keennefs of the Mind fooneft wears out the Body, as the fharpeft Sword fooneft destroys the Scabbard: So that (as I fay) you must be fatisfied with your Apprehenfion of an uneafy Life, tho' I hope not a fhort one; notwithstanding that generally you found Wits (tho' weak Bodies) are immortal hereafter by that Genius, which fhortens your prefentLife, to prolong that of the future. But I yet hope, your great, vigorous, and active Mind will not be able to deftroy your little, tender, and crazy Carcafs.

Now to say something to what you write concerning the prefent epidemic Distemper of the Mind and Age, Calumny; I know it is no more to be avoided (at one time or another of our Lives) than a Fever or an Ague; and as often those Diftempers attend, or threaten the best Conftitutions, from the worst Air; fo does that malignant Air of Calumny fooneft attack the found and elevated in Mind, as Storms of Wind the tallest and most fruitful Trees; whilft the low and weak, for bowing and moving to and fro, are by their Weakness fecure from the Danger and Violence of the Tempeft. But fo much for stinking Rumour,

mour, which weakest Minds are most afraid of; as Irish-Men, tho' the naftieft of Mankind, are moft offended at a Fart.

Mr. Wycherley to Mr. Pope.

Nov. 11, 1707.

Receive pleated and

yours of the 9th yesterday, which has

inftructed me; fo that I affure you, you can no more write too much to your abient Friends, than speak too much to the present. This is a Truth that all Men own, who have either feen your Writings, or heard your Difcourfe; enough to make others fhow their Judgment, in ceafing to write or talk, especially to you, or in your Company. However, I fpeak or write to you, not to please you, but my felf; fince I provoke your Answers, which, whilst they humble me, give me Vanity, tho' I am leffened by you even when you commend me; fince you commend my little Sense with fo much more of yours, that you put me out of Countenance, whilst you would keep me in it. So that you have found a way (against the Custom of great Wits) to fhew even a great deal of Good Nature with a great deal 'of good Senfe.

I thank you for the Book you promifed me, by which I find you would not only correct my lines, but my Life.

As to the damned Verses I entrusted you with, I hope you will let them undergo your Purgatory, to fave them from other People's damning them; fince B 3


the Critics, who are generally the first damn'd in this Life, like the Damn'd below, never leave to bring those above them under their own Circumstances. I beg you to perufe my Papers, and felect what you think beft, or most tolerable, and look over them again; for I refolve fuddenly to print fome of them, as a harden'd old Gamefter will (in spite of all former ill ufage by Fortune) pufh on an ill Hand, in expectation of recovering himself; efpecially fince I have fuch a Croupier or Second to stand by me as Mr. Pope.

Mr. Pope to Mr. Wycherley.

Nov. 20, 1707.


R. Englefyld being upon his Journey to London, tells me I must write to you by him, which I do, not more to comply with his defire, than to gratify my own; tho' I did it fo lately by the Meffenger you fent hither: I take it too as an Opportunity of fending you the fair Copy of the Poem (a) on Dulness, which was not then finish'd, and which I fhould not care to hazard by the common Poft. Mr. Englefyld is ignorant of the Contents, and I hope your Prudence will let him remain

(a) The Original of it in Blots, and with Figures of the References from Copy to Copy, in Mr. Pope's Hand, is in the Harley Library among other fuch Brouillons of Mr Wycherley's Poems, corrected by him. Vid. Lett. Ap 19, 1705 6. Note (a)

« ПредишнаНапред »