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tion. But it is the creative power of the last that constitutes the proper characteristick of poetry, and therefore it is in the Rape of the Lock, that Pope principally, appears as a poet ; since in this perfor.nance he has displayed more imagination than in all, his other works put together. The poem took its birth from an incidental quarrel that happened between two noble families, that of Lord Petre, and Mrs. Fermer, both of our author's acquaintance, and of the same religion.
His lordship, in a party of pleasure, carried it so far as to cut off a favourite lock of the lady's hair. This though done in the way of gallantry, was seriously resented, as being indeed a real in jury. Hence there presently grew mutual animosities, which being seen, with concern, by a com mon friend to all; that friend requested Pope to try the power of bis muse on the occasion, intimating that a proper piece of ridicule was the likeliest means to extinguish the rising flame. Pope readily complied with the friendly proposal; and the juncture requiring dispatch, his first de sign was compleated in less than a fortnight, which being sent to the lady, had more than the proposed effect., Pleased to the highest degree with the delicacy of the compliment paid to her, she first communicated copies of it to her acquaintance, and then prevailed with our author to print it: as he did, though not without the caution of concealing his name to so hasty a sketch. But the universal applause which the sketch met with,
put him upon enriching it with the machinery of the Sylphs, and in that new dress, two cantos, extended to five, came out the following year, 1712, ushered by a letter to Mrs. Fermor." When Pope formed the scheme of enriching this poem from the Roscicrusian systein, he mentioned it to Addison, who told him that his work was already “a delicious little thing," and discouraged him from making any additions to it. This circumstance has been very unjustly charged against Addison, by some writers, as an instance of his jealousy. But he has been well defended by Johnson, who observes that “as Addi: 31 could not guess the conduct of the new design, or the possibilities of pleasure comprised in a fiction of which there had been no examples, he might very reasonably and kindly persuade the author to acquiesce in his own prosperity, and forbear an attempt which he considered as an unnecessary hazard.
Addison's counsel was happily rejected. Pope foresaw the future effiorescence of imagery, then budding in his mind, and resolved to spare no art or industry of cultivation. The soft luxuriance of his fancy was already shooting, and all the gay varieties of diction were ready at his hand to colour and embellish it."
In 1713, he issued proposals for his translation of the Iliad, the subsribers to which were five hundred and seventy-five, and the copies subcribed for were six hundred and fifty-four. He
therefore, according to Dr. Johnson, gained by that work, “ five thousand, three hundred and twenty pounds four shillings.” But, as Mr. Malone says, he probably gained more ; for the Princess of Wales, the Earl of Oxford, and many other of his great friends, who appear in the list only as subscribers for single copies, made him very liberal presents.
But though this publication procured him wealth and patrons it lost him a friend; for from this time a coldness began between him and Addison, of which much has been said by Pope's biographers and panegyrists, with the intention of depreciating Addison's character. Nothing, however, has been proved but this, that Tickell, the friend of the latter, published a version of the first book of the Iliad, which Addison pronounced to be better than Pope's. This was a heinous offence to the little bard, who was by no means wanting in conceit; impartial posterity, however, have judged with Addison, that Pope's translation, though a beautiful poem, is not Homer. Addison was a liberal friend to Pope, even in this instance, and not only promoted the subscription to the Iliad with great zeal, but gave our author his advice in the progress of his undertakiny. After his death, Pope satirized his character, in an epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot, printed in 1753, an instance of implacable and deep rooted resentment which nothing can excuse.
Pope being now become a man of independ
ence, purchased a house at Twickenham, whither he removed with his father and mother, before the expiration of the year 1715. He displayed great taste in the improvement of this villa, 'of which, ten years afterwards he gave this description, in a letter to a friend.
be assured that I make nothing new in my gardens, without wishing to see them print their fairy steps in every part of them. I have put the last hand to works of this kiud, in happily finishing the subterraneous way and grotto. I there found a spring of the clearest water, which falls in a perpetual rill, that echoes through the cavern day and night. From the river Thames, you see through my arch, up a walk of the wilderness, to a kind of open temple, wholly composed of shells, in the rustic manner, and from that distance under the temple, you look down through a sloping arcade of trees, and see the sails on the river passing suddenly, and vanishing, as through a perspective glass. When
you shut the door of this grotto, it becomes on the instant, from a luminous room, a camera obscura ; on the walls of which all the objects of the river, hills, woods, and boats, are forming a moving picture in ther visible radiations; and when you have a niind to light it up, it affords a very different scene. It is finished with shells, interspersed with pieces ot looking glass in angular forms, and in the ceiling is a star of the same materials, at which, when a lamp of an orbicular figure, of chin alabaster, is hung in the iniddlı, a thousand pointed rays glitter, and are reflected over the place. There are, comected to this grotto, by a narrow passage, two porches, one towards the river, of smooth stones, full of light, and open; the other towards the garden, shadowed with trees, and rough with Aints, shells, and iron ores. The bottom is paved with simple pebble, as is also the adjoining walk
up the wilderness to the temple, in the natural taste, agreeing not ill with the little dripping murmur, and the