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Lives through all life, extends through all extent,
Spreads undivided, operates unspent;
Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part,
As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart;
As full, as perfect, in vile man that mourns
As the rapt seraph that adores and burns :
To him no high, no low, no great, no small ;
He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all !
Submit-In this or any other sphere,
Secure to be as bless'd as thou canst bear;
Safe in the hand of one disposing Power,
Or in the natal or the mortal hour.
All nature is but art unknown to thee :
All chance direction, which thou canst not see ;
All discord, harmony not understood ;

All partial evil, universal good. 4 It could sum up a life, a character, a tragedy. Equally it immortalized fame and infamy, affection and glory.

Whatever the subject, he could warrant it to supply appropriate music. Courage was needed to charge the heavy jingle with The Rape of the Lock; and the trust was justified. Nothing could be lighter and daintier. The setting is preposterously and delightfully monumental. An archaeologist might draw up from the poem a treatise on the toilette service of a lady of fashion in the golden days, when, near the scene of the epic,

Great Anna, whom three realms obey, Did sometimes counsel take-and sometimes tea.5 If no record survived of the game of ombre, it could be reconstructed from the encounter here between the heroine and the Baron. The description of the race of Sylphs, the tutelary guardians of sovereign beauty, is as ample. There would seem even to be danger of suffocation of the plot by its sumptuous properties. Yet the nicest proportion is maintained between accessaries and principals. Belinda,

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the object of universal care by the powers of air and of drawing-rooms, down to obsequious

Sir Plume, of amber snuff-box justly vain,
And the nice conduct of a clouded cane,

With earnest eyes, and round unthinking face, 6 reigns in the tale supreme. For conquest of hearts she hardly needs the spell of the two unequalled locks, whence the temptation to a shameless outrage, and to mortal strife, only to be healed by the snatching-up of the radiant trail of hair into the starry heavens. Her general charms would have sufficed :

On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore,
Which Jews might kiss, and infidels adore,
Bright as the sun her eyes the gazers strike,
And like the sun they shine on all alike.
Yet graceful ease, and sweetness void of pride,
Might hide her faults, if belles had faults to hide ;
If to her share some female errors fall,

Look on her face, and you'll forget them all.? The prettiest of fantastic trifles; and it wears its panoply of iron heroics as if of gossamer !

But a still bolder application of the measure was to the translation of the Iliad. For an indifferent scholar to have undertaken the work at all was in itself audacious; his choice of the heroic metre was almost an insult. Nothing, however, succeeds like success; and indisputably the adventure succeeded. During a century and a half Pope's version held the field; who can say that it has been superseded yet? Even the learned have been in the habit of dealing gently with its sciolism. The facile consistency of the rhythm, though regular to monotony, was accepted in exchange for the long sinuous sweep of the old Ionic. A consciousness that deep down lay the germ of a poet's genuine fellowship with the great original has acted on criticism as an opiate.

There the clue will be found to the wonders he wrought in the realm of poetry at large; to the evils to which his triumphant example conduced. Partly the fashion set by Dryden, partly the decay of Elizabethan spontaneity, and the divorce of verse from music, put the heroic couplet into his hands for his instrument. He accepted it, with less choice perhaps even than his mighty predecessor. At all events, he soon learnt it would serve him well. But it was no chance, no necessary property of the metre, that, under his touch, it reflected almost every human mood. Multitudes of other writers have declared how jaundiced they were with their fellows and with existence; and have never been heeded. The world was compelled to mark every jeer and groan

of his :
Behold the child, by Nature's kindly law,
Pleas'd with a rattle, tickled with a straw ;
Some livelier plaything gives his youth delight,
A little louder, but as empty quite.
Scarfs, garters, gold, amuse his riper stage ;
And beads and prayer-books are the toys of age ;
Pleas’d with this bauble still, as that before,

Till tir'd he sleeps, and life's poor play is o'er. 8 Disposition and circumstances inclined him to unmask and mock at weaknesses. But there was genius also in whatever phase his cross-grainedness assumed. It might be virulence, as at Duchess Sarah :

From loveless youth to unrespected age,

No passion gratified, except her rage. 9 Sometimes it was less contempt than malicious amusement at the manifold forms—all crazy—which social folly

may take :


A salmon's belly, Helluo, was thy fate;
The doctor call’d, declares all help too late.
' Mercy, cried Helluo, “mercy on my soul !
Is there no hope ? Alas ! then bring the jowl.'
The frugal crone whom praying priests attend,
Still strives to save the hallow'd taper's end,
Collects her breath, as ebbing life retires,
For one puff more, and in that puff expires.

Odious in woollen ! 'twould a saint provoke '—
Were the last words that poor Narcissa spoke-

No, let a charming chintz and Brussels lace
Wrap my cold limbs, and shade my lifeless face ;
One would not, sure, be frightful when one 's dead-
And-Betty-give this cheek a little red.'
The courtier smooth, who forty years had shin'd
An humble servant to all humankind,
Just brought out this, when scarce his tongue could stir ;
'If—where I'm going-I could serve you, Sir ?'
“I give and I devise,'—old Euclio said,
And sighed—“my lands and tenements to Ned.'
* Your money, Sir ? '—‘My money, Sir! What, all ?
Why, if I must,'—then wept—'I give it Paul.'
* The manor, Sir ?' The manor ! hold,' he cried ;
'Not that I cannot part with that’-and died.10


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Rarely, something may be infused warmer than sarcasm :

In the worst inn's worst room with mat half hung,
The walls of plaster, and the floors of dung,
On once a flock-bed, but repair'd with straw,
With tape-tied curtains never meant to draw,
The George and Garter dangling from that bed
Where tawdry yellow strove with dirty red,
Great Villiers lies—alas ! how changed from him,
That life of pleasure, and that soul of whim !
Gallant and gay, in Cliveden's proud alcove,
The bower of wanton Shrewsbury and love ;
Or just as gay at council, in a ring
Of mimic statesmen and their merry King.

No wit to flatter left of all his store.
No fool to laugh at, which he valued more.
There, victor of his health, of fortune, friends,
And fame, this lord of useless thousands ends ! 11

Is there not a spice of pity here for the wasted life-perhaps for the teller of the tale too, to whom every gift thrown away upon the profligate had been denied, and, in fancy, it seemed, would have been a joy?

A first impression of Pope is of a satirist visiting the blame for his many infirmities and privations on the whole of society, and finding in his habitual metre an instrument dedicated to his vindictiveness. It is indisputable that he commonly used criticism as a hangman's noose. But in a fine, if chequered, nature like his a spring of tenderness will rise hard by one of bitterness. The thundercloud of wrath which darkens the Elegy on an Unfortunate Lady breaks to let tears shower down :

What can atone, oh, ever injured shade!
Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites unpaid ?
No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear
Pleas’d thy pale ghost, or grac'd thy mournful bier.
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were clos'd,
By foreign hands thy decent limbs compos’d,
By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn'd,
By strangers honour'd, and by strangers mourn'd !
What though no friends in sable weeds appear,
Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year,
And bear about the mockery of woe
To midnight dances, and the public show ?
What though no weeping loves thy ashes grace,
Nor polish'd marble emulate thy face
What though no sacred earth allow thee room,
Nor hallow'd dirge be mutter'd o'er thy tomb ?
Yet shall thy grave with rising flowers be dress’d,
And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast;

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