« ПредишнаНапред »
Aunt, and that her Journey thither was something facilitated by my writing to that Lady as preffingly as possible, not to let any thing whatsoever obstruct it. I sent her obliging Answer to the Party it most concern'd; and when I hear Mrs W. is certainly there, I will write again to my Lady, to urge as much as possible the effecting the only thing that in my opinion can make her Niece easy. I have run out my Extent of Paper, and am,
Mr Pope's Answer.
MAY 28, 1712. IT is not only the Disposition I always have of
conversing with you, that makes me fo speedily answer your obliging Letter, but the Apprehenfion left your charitable Intent of writing to my Lady 4. on Mrs W's Affair should be frustrated, by the fhort Stay she makes there. She went thither on the 25th with that Mixture of Expectation and Anxiety, with which people usually go into uno, known or half-discover'd Countries, utterly ignorant of the Dispositions of the Inhabitants, and the Treatment they are to meet with. The Unforturate of all people are the moft unfit to be left alone ; yet we see the World generally takes care they shall be so. Whereas if we took a considerate Prospect of human Nature, the Business and Study of the Happy and Easy should be to divert and humour, as well as comfort and pity, the Distress’d. I cannot therefore excufe fome near Allies of mine for their Conduct of late towards this Lady, which has given me a great deal of Anger as well as Sorrow. All I shall say to you of 'em at present is, that they have not been my Relations these two Months ;
The Consent of Opinions in our Minds is certainly a nearer Tye than can be contracted by all the Blood in our Bodies ; and I am proud of finding I have something congenial with you. Will you permit me to confess to you, that all the Favours and kind Offices you have shown towards me, have not so strongly cemented me your's, as the Discovery of that generous and manly Compassion you manifested in the Case of this unhappy Lady? I am afraid to infinuate to you how much I esteem you: "Flatterers have taken up the Style which was once peculiar to Friends, and an honest Man has now no way left to express himself, besides the common one of Knaves : So that true Friends now-a-days differ in their Address from Flatterers, much as right Maltiffs do from Spaniels, and show themselves by a dumb furly sort of Fidelity, rather than by their complaisant and open Kindness. Will you never leave commending my Poetry? In fair Truth, Sir, I like it but too well myself already>Expose me no, more, I beg you, to the great Danger of Vanity, (the Rock of all Men, but most of young Men) and be kindly content for the future, when you wou'd please me throughly, to say only you like what I write.
Mr STEELE to Mr POPE.
June 1, 17124 IA A M at a Solitude, an House between Hampstead
and London, wherein Sir Charles Sedley dy'd. This Circumstance set me a thinking and ruminating upon the Employments in which Men of Wit exercise themselves. It was said of Sir Charles, who breath'd his last in this Room,
Şedley has that prevailing gentle Art,
In Dreams all Night, in Sighs and Tears all Day. This was an happy Talent to a Man of the Town, but I dare say, without presuming to make uncharitable Conjectures on the Author's present Condition, he would rather have had it said of him that he had pray'd,
- Oh thou my Voice inspire, Who touch'd Isaiah's hallow'd Lips with Fire
I have turn'd to every Verse and Chapter, and think you have preserv'd the sublime heavenly Spirit throughout the whole, especially at - Hark a glad Voiceand - The Lamb with Wolves shall grazeThere is but one Line which I think below the Original,
He wipes the Tears
for ever from our Eyes.
You have express'd it with a good and pious, but not with so exalted and poetical a Spirit as the Prophet.' The Lord God will wipe away Tears from off all Faces. If you agree with me in this, alter it by way of Paraphrase or otherwise, that when it comes into a Volume it may be amended.' Your Poem is already better than the Pollio. I am,
Mr POPË to Mr STE ELE.
JUNE 18, 1712. Y
OU have oblig'd me with a very kind Letter,
by which I find you shift the Scene of your Life from the Town to the Country, and enjoy that mix'd State which wise Men both delight in, and are qualify'd for. Methinks the Moralists and Philosophers have generally run too much into Extremes in commending intirely either Solitude, or public Life. In the former, Men for the most part grow useless by too much Reft, and in the latter are destroy'd by too much Precipitation ; as Waters lying still, putrify and are good for nothing, and runging violently on do but the more Mischief in their passage to others, and are swallow'd up and lost the fooner themselves. Those indeed who can be useful to all States, should be like gentle Streams, that not only glide thro' lonely Valies and Forests. amidst the Flocks and the Shepherds, but visit popua lous Towns in their Course, and are at once of Ornament and Service to them. But there are another sort of People who seem defign'd for Solitude, such I mean as have more to hide than to show: As for my own part, I am one of those of whom Seneca says, Tam umbratiles sunt, ut putent in turbida effe quicquid in luce eft*. Some Men like some Pictures, are fitter for a Corner than a full Light ; and I believe such as have a natural Bent to Solitude (to carry on the former Similitude) are like Waters which may be forc'd into Fountains and exalted into a great Height, may make a noble Figure and a louder
* These foregoing Similitudes our Author had put into Verse some Years before, and inserted into Mr Wycherley's Poem on Mix'd Life. We find him apparently in the Verfification of them, as they are fince printed in Wycherley's Posthumous Works, 8vo, page 3d and 4th.
Noise, but after all they would run more smoothly, 'quietly and plentifully, in their own natural Course upon the Ground. The Confideration of this would make me very well contented with the Poffeffion only of that Quiet which Cowley calls the Companion of Obscurity. But whoever has the Muses too for his Companions, can never be idle enough to be uneasy. Thus, Sir, you see I would flatter myself into a good 'Opinion of my own way of living. Plutarch just now told me that 'tis in human Life as in a Game of Tables, where a Man may wish for the highest Caft; but if his Chance be otherwise, he is even to play it as well as he can, and to make the best of it, I am,
Mr Pope to Mr STEELE.
JUNE 15, 1712. OU formerly observ'd to me, that nothing
made a more ridiculous Figure in a Man's Life, than the Disparity '
we often find in him fick and well: Thus one of an unfortunate Constitution is perpetually exhibiting a miserable Example of the Weakness of his Mind, and of his Body, in their Turns. I have had frequent Opportunities of late to consider myself in these different Views, and I hope have receiv'd some Advantage by it, if what Mr Waller fays be true, that
The Soul's dark Cottage, batter'd and decay'd,
Then surely Sickness, contributing no less than old age to the shaking down this scaffolding of the Body, may discover the inward Structure more