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the greater part would make a much better Figure as Single Maxims and Refleétions in Prose, after the manner of your Favourite Rochefoucaut, than in Verse: * And this, when nothing more is done but marking the Repetitions in the Margin, will be an eafy Task for your self to proceed upon, notwithstanding the bad Memory you complain of.
I am unfeignedly, dear Sir,
* But little Progress was made in this Design by Mr. Wysherley, thro? bis old Age, and the increase of his infirmities. He died 1715, and was buried in the Vault of St: Paul's Church, Covent Garden.
* Mr. WALSH and Mr.
P o P E.
From 17050 to 1707
Mr. Walsh to Mr. Pope.
April 20, 1705. I
Return you the + Papers you favour'd me with,
and had sent them to you yesterday morning, but that I thought to have brought them to you last night my self. I have read them over several
* Of Abberley in Worcestershire, Gentleman of the Horse in Queen Anne's reign, Author of several beautiful pieces in Prose and Verse, and in the Opinion of Mr. Dryden, (in bis Poffcript to Virgil,) the beft Critic of our Nation in his Time. + Mr. Pope's Paftorals:
times with great satisfaction. The Preface is very judicious, and very learned ; and the Verses very tender and easy.
The Author seems to have a particular Genius for that kind of Poetry, and a Judgment that much exceeds the years you told me he was of. He has taken very freely from the Ancients, but what he has mixt of his own with theirs, is no way inferior to what he has taken from them. 'Tis no flattery at all to say, that Virgil had written nothing fo good at his * Age. I shall take it
* Sixteen. as a favour if you will bring me acquainted with him ; and if he will give himself the trouble any morning to call at my House, I shall be very glad to read the Verses over with him, and give him my opinion of the particulars more largely, than I can well do in this Letter. I am, Sir,
Mr. Walsh to Mr. Popė.
June 24, 1706. I Received the favour of your Letter, and shall be
very glad of the continuance of a correspondence, by which I am like to be fo great a gainer. I hope when I have the happiness of seeing you again in London, not only to read over the Verses I have now of yours, but more that you have written fince; for I make no doubt but any one who writes fo well, must write more. Not that I think the most voluminous Poets always the best : I believe the contrary is rather true. I mentioned somewhat to you in London of a Pastoral Comedy, which I should be glad to hear you had thought
I find Menage in his observations upon Talo's Aminta, reckons up fourscore Pastoral Plays in Italian; and in looking over my old Italian Books, I find a great many Pastorals and Pifcatory Plays, which I suppose Menage reckons together. I find also by Menage, that Talo is not the first that writ in that kind; he mentioning another before him, which he himself had never seen, nor indeed have I. But as the Aminta, Pastor Fido, and Filli di Sciro of Bonarelli are the three best ; fo I think there is no dispute but Aminta is the best of the three: Not but that the Discourses in Pastor Fido are more entertaining and copious in several peoples opinion, tho' not so proper for Pastoral; and the Fable of Bonarelli more surprising. I do not remember many in other Languages, that have written in this kind with success. Rancan's Bergeries are are much inferior to his Lyrick Poems : And the Spaniards are all too full of Conceits. Rapin
will have the design of Pastoral Plays to be taken from the Cyclops of Euripides. I am sure there is nothing of this kind in English worth mentioning, and therefore you have that Field open to
You see I write to you without any fort of constraint or method, as things come into my head ; and therefore pray use the same freedom with me, who am, &c.
Mr. Pope to Mr. Walsh.
Fuly 2, 1706. I
Cannot omit the first opportunity of making you
my acknowledgments for reviewing those Papers of mine. You have no less right to correct me, than the same hand that rais'd à Tree has to prune it.
I am convinced as well as you, that one may correct too much; for in Poetry as in Painting, a Man may lay Colours one upon another, 'till they stiffen and deaden the Piece. Bea fides to bestow heightning on every part is monstrous : Some parts ought to be lower than the relt; and nothing looks more ridiculous, than a Work, where the Thoughts, however different in their own nature, seem all on a level : 'Tis like a Meadow newly mown, where Weeds, Grass, and Flowers are all' laid even, and appear undirtinguifhd. I believe too, that fometimes our first Thoughts are the best; as the first squeezing of the Grapes makes the finest and richest Wine.
I have not attempted any thing of Pastoral Comedy, because I think the Taste of our Age will not relish a Poem of that fort. People feek for what they call Wit,. on, all. subjects, and in all