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Lines of the Version (I suppose from Homer's Hifa tory) feem'd absurd in the Mouth of Priam, viz.
He cheard my Sorrows, and for Sums of Gold.'
Mr POPE's Answer.
July 20, 1710. you thanks for the Version you sent me of Ovid's Elegy. It is very muc
much an Image of that *Author's Writing, who has an Agreeableness that charms us without Correctness, like a Mistress whose Faults we see, but love her with them all. You have very judiciously alter'd his Method in fome Places, and I can find nothing which I dare insist upon as an Error : What I have written in the Margins being merely Guesses at a little Improvement, rather than Criticisms. I assure you I do not expect you shou'd subscribe to my private Notions but when you shall judge 'em agreeable to Reason and good Sense. What I have done is not as a Critic, but as a Friend ; I know too well how many Qualities are requisite to make up the one, and that I want almost all I can reckon up; but I. am sure I do not want Inclination, nor I hope Capacity, to be the other. Nor shall I take it at all amiss, that another difsents from my Opinion : 'Tis no more than I have often done from my own; and, indeed, the more a Man advances in Understanding, he becomes the more every Day a Critic
upon himself, and finds something or other fill to blame, in his former Notions and Opinions. I could be glad to know if you have translated the uth Elegy of Lib. 2. Ad amicam Navigantem, the 8th of Book 3, or the nith of Book 3, which are above all others my particular Favourites, especially the last of these.
As to the Passage of which you ask my Opinion in the ad Æneid, it is either fo plain as to require no Solution ; or else (which is very probable) you fee Farther into it than I can. Priam wou'd far, " That Achilles (whom surely you only feign to “ be your Father, since your Actions are so diffe“ rent from his) did not use me thus inhumanly
. “ He blush'd at his murder of Hector, when he " saw my Sorrows for him ; and restor'd his dead “ Body to me to be bury'd.” To this the Answer of Pyrrhus seems to be agreeable enough.
6 Go " then to the Shades, and tell Achilles how I dege66 nerate from him granting the Truth of what Priam had faid of the difference between them. Indeed Mr · Dryden's mentioning here what Virgil more judiciously passes in Silence, the Circumstance of Achilles's selling for Money the Body of Hector, seems not so proper; it in some measure lessening the Character of Achilles's Generosity and Piety, which is the very Point of which Priam endeavours in this Place to convince his Son, and to reproach him with the want of. But the Truth of this Circumstance is no way to be question'd being expressly taken from Homer, who represents Achilles weeping for Priam, yet receiving the Gold, Iliad 24: For when he gives the Body, he uses these Words, “O my * Friend Patroclus ! forgive me that I quit the o Corps of him who kill'd thee; I have great - Gifts in ransom for it, which I will bestow upon “ thy Funeral.”
I am, &c.
Mr C-.- to Mr POPE.
Aug. 3, 1710, LOOKING among fome French Rhymes, I was
agreeably surpriz'd to find in the Rondeau of * Pour le moins-your Apoticaire and Lavement, which I took for your own; so much is your Mufe of Intelligence with the Wits of all Languages. You have refin'd upon Voiture, whose Ou Vous Sçavez is much inferiour to your You know wherever You do not only pay your Club with your
Author (as our Friend says) but the whole Reckoning; who can form fuch pretty Lines from so trivial a Hint.
For + my Elegy ;' tis confess’d, that the Topography of Sulmo, in the Latin, makes but an awkward figure in the Version. Your couplet of the Dog-star is very fine, but may be too fublime in this Place. I laugh'd heartily at your note upon Paradise ; for to make Ovid talk of the Garden of Eden, is certainly most absurd: But Xenophon, in his Oeconomics, Speaking of a Garden finely planted and watered (as is here described) calls it Paradisos : 'Tis an In terpolation indeed, and serves for a Gradation to the Cæleftial Orb; which expresses in some sort the Sidus Caftoris in parte Cæli-how Trees can enjoy, let the Naturalists determine; but the Poets make em sensivity, Lovers, Bachelors, and married. Virgil in his Georgics Lib. 2. Horace Qde 15. Lib.
Platanus celebs evincet ulmos. Epod. 2. Ergo aut adulta vitium propagine Altas maritat populos. Your Critique is a very Dolce-piccante; for after the many Faults you justly find, you smooth your
Ri gour: but an obliging thing is owing (you think) to one who fo much esteems and admires you, and
who shall ever be
August 21, 1710. YOUR Letters are a perfe& Charity
to a Man in retirement, utterly forgotten of all his Friends but you ; for since Mr Wycherley left London, I have not heard a word from him; tho’ just before, and once since, I writ to him, and tho' I know my fell guilty of no Offence but of doing sincerely just what he *bid me. Hoc mihi libertas, hoc pia lingua dedit! But the greatest Injury he does me is the keeping me in Ignorance of his welfare, which I am always very follicitous for, and very uneasy in the feat of any Indisposition that may befal him. In what I fent
you some time ago, you have not verse enough to be severe upon, in revenge for my last Criticism: In one Point I must perfift, that is to say, my dislike of your Paradise, in which I take no pleasure; I know very well that in Greek 'tis not only usd by Xenophon, but is a common word for any Garden; but in English it bears the Signification and conveys the Idea of Eden, which alone is (I think) a Reason against making Ovid use it; who will be thought to talk too like a Christian in your Version at least, whatever it might have been in Latin or Greek. As for all the rest of my Remarks, since you do not laugh at them' as at this, I can be so civil as not to lay any stress upon 'em (as I think I told yote before) and in particular in the point of Trees enjoying, you have, I must own, fully fatisfy'd me that the Ex. pression is not only defensible, but beautiful. I fall be very glad to see your Translation of the Elegy, Ad Amicam navigantem, as soon as you can; for (without a Compliment to you) every thing you write either in Verse or Prose, is welcome to me; and you may be confident, (if my Opinion can be
* Correcting his Verses. See the Letters in 1906 and the following Years, of Mr Wyckerley and Mr Pope.
of any sort of consequence in any thing) that I will never be unsincere, tho' I may be often mistaken. To use Sincerity with you is but paying you in your own Coin, from whom I have experienc'd so much of it; and I need not tell you how much I really esteem you, when I efteem nothing in the World lo much as that Quality. I know you sometimes say civil things to me in your Epiftolary Style, but those I am to make allowance for, as particularly when you talk of Admiring ; 'tis a word you are fo us’d to in Conversation of Ladies, that it will creep into your discourse in spite of you, ev'n to your Friends. But as Women when they think themselves secure of Admiration, commit a thousand Negligences, which show them so much at disadvantage and off their guard, as to lose the little real Love they had before : So when Men imagine others entertain fome esteem for their Abilities, they often expose all their Imperfections and foolish Works, to the difparagement of the little Wit they were thought Masters of. I am going to exemplify this to you, in putting into your Hands (being encourag'd by so much Indulgence) fome Verses of my Youth, or rather Childhood; which (as I was a great Admirer of Waller) were intended in Imitation of his Manner; and arę, perhaps, such Imitations, as those you see in awkard Country Dames of the fine and well-bred Ladies of the Court. If you will take 'em with you into Lincolnshire, they may save you one hour from the Conversation of the Country Gentlemen and their Tenants, (who differ but in Dress and Name) which if it be there as bad as here, is even worse than my Poetry. I hope your Stay there will be no longer than (as Mr Wycherley calls it) to rob the Country, and run away to London with your Money. In the mean time, I beg the Favour of a Line from you, and am (as I will never cease to be)