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for the Duke of Buckingham's vapid and prefumptuous alterations of Shakespeare's Julius Cæfar.

His acquaintance was now courted by moft men of diftinguished character in the republic of letters. At the age of nineteen he wrote the Effay on Criticism. This was, indeed, a moft fingular and striking production; and as we may date from it the first public enmity of the author to his contemporaries, it ought to be more particularly confidered.

After the circulation of his Paftorals, the teftimonies to his poetical merit were many and illuftrious; but, at this time, one individual, who had great weight as a claffical and critical judge, was filent: this was the memorable John Dennis.

Dennis, of whofe judgment in his favour Pope would most probably have been proud, was not found among the numbers of his admirers. That he had faid fomething against the Pastorals, feems apparent from thefe lines:

"Soft were my numbers, who could take offence,
"When pure defcription held the place of fenfe?
"Yet then did Dennis rave in furious pet:
"I never anfwer'd-I was not in debt."

Dennis had certainly published nothing; but as he did not join in the general voice of praise, this circumftance alone, from one who was confidered the most accurate critic of the age, was fufficiently mortifying to the felf-love of a young author.

To

To this caufe, though not generally remarked, I impute the origin of the Effay on CRITICISM, which was written in 1709, but not published till 1711.

Mortified pride fought to gratify itself by general obfervations; but perfonalities could not be avoided, where vanity was deeply wounded. Hence the lines;

"But APPIUS* reddens at each word you speak,
"And ftares tremendous with a threat'ning eye,
"Like fome fierce tyrant in old tapestry."

Many other paffages, which have not been confidered in that light, were probably written by Pope, in juftification of himself and his muse, against some fuppofed critical objections to his earlier poems. However this might be, Dennis conceived himself attacked; and Addison, in his review of the poem in the Spectator, laments there were "Some Strokes of ill-nature."

We may here remark, and it is a fingular circumftance, that the first effufions of Pope's mufe were the cause of unappeafable enmities. After the publication of his Pastorals, he was piqued that Phillips, who profeffed to write more from English country life than from what Pope calls the "Golden Age," fhould be compared as a pastoral writer with himself. The Paftorals of Phillips were printed in the year 1709, in the fame volume of Mifcellanies which contained those of Pope. Both were warmly commended by Addison in

the

Dennis had published a tragedy at this time, called "APPIUS."

the Spectator; but the praise given to the English ruftic was "wormwood," to the fhepherd of the "Golden Age ;" and he gratified his fpleen by an ironical comparison, three years afterwards, in the Guardian.

Not fatisfied with this difingenuous and unmanly hoftility, he encouraged Gay, who had gained his friendship by the dedication of "Rural Sports," to write the Eclogues in ridicule of Phillips, called the "Shepherd's Week."

Phillips, mortified and offended, it is faid, hung up a rod at Button's Coffee-houfe, to chaftife, horrefco referens, his rival Arcadian !

Thus Pope's Paftorals were the foundation of lasting animofity between Phillips and himself; his Effay on Criticism caufed all the subsequent unkindness between him and Dennis; and the Rape of the Lock was the commencement of the mifunderstanding with Ad

difon.

Pope was now in the twenty-third year of his age (1711), but he had not attained that period of his life without experiencing other feelings than those of friendship.

Sir William Trumbull was his first real friend, from whom he might have learned to combine every thing dignified and pleafing in the human mind.

Plain, accomplished, and fincere, he fhewed the greatest regard to Pope's rifing character, by judicious and affectionate advice; in particular when he left the Foreft, to mix with gayer fociety in London.

But

But at this dangerous period, when the mind is most susceptible of flattery, and most easily beset with temptation, he met with a different character in Cromwell. As he learnt the language of criticism and taste from Walsh, so he foon affected that of gallantry and licentious pleafantry from a companion who flattered him both for his poetry and powers of pleafing *.

Cromwell was a man of fingularity, a quaint compound of the beau and the pedant. Pope early caught the manners of his tutor, and fomething of his affectation, particularly in regard to the ladies, of whose acquaintance Cromwell was fuperlatively vain.

Cromwell introduced him to his Miftrefs, Mrs. Thomas, of whom more will be faid hereafter. She had the poetical name of Sappho, and is often spoken of under that name by Pope t.

I need not point out those paffages in the letters to Cromwell, undoubtedly genuine, which have been properly fuppreffed. Some idea of his friend's fingu. larity may be formed from one of Pope's letters, inviting him to Binfield, and another written to him. after his departure:

"Pray, bring a confiderable number of pint bottles with you. This might feem a ftrange odd request, if

you

* Let the reader compare his verses on leaving London, with Sir William's remonstrance, " Fly from all tavern company," Tamquam ex incendio ! !

This was before his acquaintance with Lady M. Montagu.

you had not told me you would stay but as many days as you brought bottles.”.

"All you faw in this country charge me to affure you of their humble fervice, and the Ladies in particular, who look upon us as plain country-fellows fince they faw you, and heard more civil things in that fortnight, than they expect from a whole fhire of us in an age. The trophy you bore away from one of them in your fnuff-box, will doubtlefs preferve her memory, and be a teftimony of your admiration for

ever.

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Pope now commenced lover, notwithstanding his appearance was ill calculated to excite tenderness.

The first person who feems to have engaged his tender feelings, about the year 1709, was the lady distinguished by the epithet of "unfortunate," in his exquifite Elegy, whofe real hiftory is ftill involved in mysterious uncertainty; and concerning whom as much inquiry has been inftituted, and with as little fuccefs, as of the man in the “iron mafk." One thing is plain, that he wished little fhould be known. It is remarkable, that Caryl of Weft Grinstead, mentioned in the Rape of the Lock, afks the queftion in two letters, but Pope returns no anfwer. It is in vain, after the fruitless inquiry of Johnson and Warton, perhaps, to attempt further elucidation; but I fhould think it unpardonable not to mention what I have myself heard, though I cannot vouch for its truth. Pope hints in

one

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