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fo, for my fake no less than your own; fince if you fhould reveal any thing of this Nature, it would be no wonder Reports fhould be raised, and there are thofe (I fear) who would be ready to improve them to my Difadvantage. I am forry you told the great Man, whom you met in the Court of Requests, that your Papers were in my Hands. No Man alive fhall ever know any fuch thing from me; and I give you this Warning belides, that tho' your felf fhould fay I had any way affifted you, I am notwithstanding refolved to deny it.
The Method of the Copy I fend you is very different from what it was, and much more regular. For the better help of your Memory, I defire you to compare it by the Figures in the Margin, answering to the fame in this Letter. The Poem is now divided into four Parts, mark'd with the literal Figures I. II. III. IV. The first contains the Praife of Dulness, and fhews how upon feveral fuppofitions, it paffes for 1. Religion, 2. Philofophy, 3. Example, 4. Wit, and 5. The Caufe of Wit, and the End of it. The fecond Part contains the Advantages of Dulness; 1ft, In Business, and 2dly, at Court; where the Similitudes of the Byafs of a Bowl, and the Weights of a Clock, are directly tending to illuftrate thofe Advantages of Dulnefs, tho' introduced before in a Place where there was no Mention made of them (which was your only Objection to my adding them.) The third contains the Happiness of Dulness in all Stations, and fhews in a great many Particulars, that it is fome good Quality or other in all Soris of People; that it is thought Quiet, Senfe, Caution, Policy, Prudence, Majesty, Valour, Circumfpection, Honesty, &c. The fourth Part I have wholly added, as a Climax which fums up all the Praife, Advantage, and Happiness of Dulnefs in a few Words; and itrengthens them all by the B. 4
Oppofition of the Difgrace, Difadvantage, and Unhappiness of Wit, with which it concludes (b).
Tho' the whole be as fhort again as at firft, there is not one Thought omitted, but what is a Repetition of fomething in your first Volume, or in this very Paper: Some Thoughts are contracted, where they feem'd encompafs'd with too many Words; and fome new exprefs'd, or added, where I thought there wanted heightening, (as you will fee particularly in the Simile of the ClockWeights: (c) and the Verfification throughout is, I believe fuch, as no body can be fhock'd at. The repeated Permissions you give me of dealing freely with you, will (I hope) excufe what I have done; for if I have not fpared you when I thought Severity would do you a kindness, I have not mangled you where I thought there was no abfolute Need of Amputation. As to Particulars, I can fatisfy you better when we meet; in the mean time, pray write to me when you can, you cannot too often.
(b) This is totally omitted in the prefent Edition, Some of the Lines in the H. M. are these.
Thus Dulness, the fafe Opiate of the Mind,
As Clocks run fafteft when moft Lead is on. We find it fo in a Letter of Mr. Pope to Mr. Wycherley, dated April 3, 1705; and in a Paper of Verfes of his, To the Author of a Poem called Succeffio, which got out in a Mifcellany in 1712, three Years before Mr. Wycherley died, and two after he had laid afide the whole Delign of publishing any Poems.
Mr. Wycherley's Answer.
Nov. 22. 1707.
You may fee by my Stile, I had the Happiness
and Satisfaction to receive Yesterday (by the Hands of that Wagg, Mr. Englefyld) your extreme kind and obliging Letter of the 20th of this Month; which, like all the reft of yours, did at once mortify me, and make me vain; fince it tells me with fo much more. Wit, Senfe and Kindness, than mine can exprefs, that my Letters are all welcome to you. So that even whilft your Kindness invites me to write to you, your Wit and Judgment forbids me; fince I may return you a Letter, but never an Answer.
Now, as for my owning your Affiftance to me, in over-looking my unmufical Numbers, and harfher Senfe, and correcting them both, with your Genius, or Judgment; I muft tell you I always own it, (in Spite of your unpoetick Modefty) who would do with your Friendship as your Charity; conceal your Bounty, to magnify the Obligation; and even whilft you lay on your Friend the Favour, acquit him of the Debt. But that fball not serve your turn; I will always own, 'tis my infallible Pope has, or would redeem me from a poetical Damning the fecond time; and fave my Rhimes from being condemn'd to the Critics Flames to all Eternity. But (by the Faith you profefs) you know your Works of Supererogation, transfer'd upon an humble, acknowledging Sinner, may fave even Him; having good Works enough: of your own befides, to enfure yours, and their Immortality.
And now for the Pains you have taken to recommend my Dulness, by making it more methodical B 5 I give
I give you a thousand thanks; fince true and na-
Mr. POPE's Reply.
Nov. 29, 1707.
HE Compliments you make me, in Regard
are very unkind, and do but tell me in other Words, that my Friend has fo mean an Opinion of me, as to think I expect Acknowledgments for, Trifles; which upon my Faith I fhall equally take amifs, whether made to my felf, or to any others. For God's Sake, (my dear Friend Wycherley) think better of me, and believe I defire no fort of Favour fo inuch, as that of ferving you more confiderably, than I have yet been able to do.
Ifhall proceed in this Manner, with fome others. of your Pieces; but fince you defire I would not deface your Copy for the future, and only mark the Repetitions; I muft as foon as I have mark'd thefe, tranfcribe what is left on another Paper; and in that, blot, alter, and add all I can devife for their Improvement. For you are fenfible, the Omiffion of Repetitions is but one, and the easiest
Part of yours and my Defign; there remaining befides to rectify the Method, to connect the Matter, and to mend the Expreffion and Verification. I will go next upon the *Poems of Solitude, on the Publick, and on the mixt Life; the Bill of Fare, the Praifes of Avarice, and fome others.
I must take fome Notice of what you fay of "My Pains to make your Dulnefs methodical;" and of your Hint, that "The sprightlinefs of Wit "defpifes Method." This is true enough, if by Wit you mean no more than Fancy or Conceit; but in the better Notion of Wit, confidered as Propriety, furely Method is not only neceflary for Perfpicuity and Harmony of Parts, but gives Beauty even to the minute and particular Thoughts; which receive an additional Advantage from those which precede or follow in their due Place: According to a Simile Mr. Dryden ufed in Converfation, of Feathers in the Crowns of the wild Indians, which they not only chufe for the Beauty of their Colours, but place them in fuch a Manner as to reflect a Luftre on each other. I will not disguise any of my Sentiments from you: To methodize in your Cafe, is full as neceflary as to ftrike out; otherwife you had better deftroy the whole Frame, and reduce them into fingle Thoughts in Profe, like Rochefoucault, as I have more than once hinted to you.
* Some Brouillons of thefe, tranfcrited and very much blotted by Mr. Pope, are extant in the Harley Library.