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tired to his wife's estate, in Wales, where he spent the short remainder of his variegated life, ending as he had begun, but it is to be hoped with better effect, in warm professions of virtue and religion, not suffering any books to be read to bim but the Bible and Common Prayer Book. He died in 1729 ; but it is remarkable, that neither to Steele nor Addison has private friendship or publick gratitude, given a monumental tablet

ALEXANDER

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ALEXANDER POPE,

The father of this elegant poet was a respectable merchant of the city of London, who retired from business at the revolution, with a fortune of twenty thousand pounds honourably acquired, but which he greatly diminished, by refusing to lay it out for improvement upon government security. He encouraged his son's propensity to poetry, by setting him, when a child, to make verses. It seems he was hard to please, and would oblige the lad to correct them over and over: and when, at last, they were such as he approved, he would say "these are good rhymes."

Among the favourite books of young Pope, were May's Lucan, and Sandys' Ovid: he also read other old writers of the minor class; and his works evince many direct imitations of them. At last the poems of Dryden fell in his way, and then he renounced all the other poets, having found an author whose taste was congenial with

At the age of twelve he was introduced to the veteran bard, at Will's coffee house, and Dryden gave him a shilling for translating the story of Pyramus and Thisbe.

While at school he formed a kind of play from Ogilby's Homer connected by verses of his own.

This

bis own.

This piece, which must have been a curiosity, was performed by his schoolfellows, the master's gardener representing Ajax.

His pastorals, written at the age of sixteen, procured him the friendship of Walsh, who, in Dryden's estimation was the best critick of his time, and yet his own works are deservedly sunk into contempt. At the age of eighteen, Mr. Pope enrolled among his friends and correspondents, the greatest writers of the day; and Wycherly had so high an opinion of his genius, that he submitted his poems to his judgment for correction. Pope executed the task with strict impartiality, and made so many emendations, that Wycherly was offended, and, like the Archbishop of Gre-· nada, broke off all connection with his youthful critick, as a person envious of his reputation, or void of taste.

The Essay on Criticism, which was written when our author was no more than twenty years, of

age, is a wonderful composition, and excited universal admiration and astonishment. The applause which this poem procured him was, however, exceeded by that which followed the publication of the “Rape of the Lock.” Of these performances, the author of Pope's life in the Biographia Britannica, observes that, “the Essay excelled in the didactic way, for which he was peculiarly formed ; a clear head and strong sense were his characteristical qualities ; his chief force lay in the understanding, rather than in the imagina

tion.

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