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perhaps be easy, but I think it would not be so to renounce the other.

"Your Lordship has formerly advised me to read the best controversies between the Churches. Shall I tell you a secret? I did so at fourteen years old, for I loved reading, and my father had no other books. There was a collection of all that had been written on both sides in the reign of King James II. I warmed my head with them, and the consequence was, I found myself a Papist or a Protestant by turns, according to the last book I read. I am afraid most seekers are in the same case, and when they stop, they are not so properly controverted as outwitted. You see how little glory you would gain by my conversion; and, after all, I verily believe your Lordship and I are both of the same religion, if we were thoroughly understood by one another, and that all honest and reasonable Christians would be so, if they did but talk enough together every day, and had nothing to do together but to serve God, and live in peace with their neighbours.

"As to the temporal side of the question, I can have no dispute with you; it is certain all the beneficial circumstances of life, and all the shining ones, lie on the part you would invite me to: but if I could bring myself to fancy, what I think you do but fancy, that I have any talents for active life, I want health for it; and besides, it is a real truth, I have, if possible, less inclination than ability. Contemplative life is not only my scene, but is my habit too. I begun my life where most people end theirs, with a disgust of all that the whole world calls ambition. I don't know why it is called so; for, tone, it always seemed to be rather stooping than climbing. I'll tell you my politic and religious sentiments in a few words: in my politics I think no farther than how to preserve my peace of life in any government under which I live; nor in my religion, than to preserve the peace of my conscience in any church with which I communicate. I hope all churches

If I was

and all governments are so far of God, as they are rightly understood, and rightly administered; and where they are or may be wrong, I leave it to God alone to mend or reform them, which, whenever he does, it must be by greater instruments than I am. I am not a Papist, for I renounce the temporal invasions of the Papal power, and detest their arrogated authority over princes and states. I am a Catholic in the strictest sense of the word, born under an absolute prince I would be a quiet subject; but I thank God I was not. I have a due sense of the excellence of the British constitution. In a word, the things I have always wished to see are not a Roman Catholic, or a French Catholic, or a Spanish Catholic, but a true Catholic; and not a king of Whigs, or a king of Tories, but a king of England."

These are the peaceful maxims upon which we find Mr. Pope conducted his life; and if they cannot in some respects be justified, yet it must be owned, that his religion and his politics, were well enough adapted for a poet, which entitled him to a kind of universal patronage, and to make every good man his friend.

We have already taken notice that Mr. Pope was called upon by the public voice to translate the Iliad, which he performed with so much applause, and, at the same time, with so much profit to himself, that he was envied by many writers whose vanity, perhaps, induced them to believe themselves equal to so great a design. A combination of inferior wits were employed to write the Popiad, in which his translation is characterized as unjust to the original, without beauty of language, or variety of numbers, Instead of the justness of the original, they say there is absurdity and extravagance: instead of the beautiful language of the original, there is solecism and barbarous English. A candid reader may easily discern from this furious introduction, that the critics were actuated rather by malice than truth, and that

they must judge with their eyes shut, who can see no beauty of language, no harmony of numbers, in this translation.

But the most formidable critic against Mr. Pope in this great undertaking was the celebrated Madam Dacier, whom Mr. Pope treated with less ceremony in his Notes on the Iliad, than, in the opinion of some people, was due to her sex. This learned lady was not without a sense of the injury, and took an opportunity of discovering her resentment.

"Upon finishing," says she, "the second edition of my translation of Homer, a particular friend sent me a translation of part of Mr. Pope's Preface to his version of the Iliad. As I do not understand English, I cannot form any judgment of his performance, though I have heard much of it. I am indeed willing to believe, that the praises it has met with are not unmerited, because whatever work is approved by the English nation cannot be bad; but yet I hope I may be permitted to judge of that part of the preface which has been transmitted to me; and I here take the liberty of giving my sentiments concerning it. 1 most freely acknowledge that Mr. Pope's invention is very lively, though he seems to have been guilty of the same fault into which he owns we are often precipitated by our invention, when we depend too much upon the strength of it; as magnanimity, says he, may run up to confusion and extravagance, so may great invention to redundancy and wildness.

"This has been the very case of Mr. Pope himself: nothing is more overstrained, or more false, than the images in which his fancy has represented Homer. Sometimes he tells us that the Iliad is a wild paradise, where, if he cannot see all the beauties, as in an ordered garden, it is only because the number of them is infinitely greater. Sometimes he compares him to a copious nursery, which contains the seeds and first productions of every kind; and, lastly, he represents him under the notion of a mighty tree,

which rises from the most vigorous seed, is improved with industry, flourishes and produces the • finest fruit, but bears too many branches, which might be lopped into form, to give it a more regular appearance.

"What! is Homer's poem then, according to Mr. Pope, a confused heap of beauties, without order or symmetry, and a plot whereon nothing but seeds, nor nothing perfect is to be found; and a production loaded with many unprofitable things, which ought to be retrenched, and which choak and disfigure those which deserve to be preserved? Mr. Pope will pardon me if I here oppose those comparisons, which to me appear very false, and entirely contrary to what the greatest of ancient and modern critics ever thought.

"The Iliad is so far from being a wild paradise, that it is the most regular garden, and laid out with more symmetry than any ever was. Every thing therein is not only in the place it ought to have been, but every thing is fitted for the place it hath. He presents you, at first, with that which ought to be first seen; he places in the middle what ought to be in the middle, and what would be improperly placed at the beginning or end; and he removes what ought to be at a greater distance, to create the more agreeable surprise; and, to use a comparison drawn from painting, he places that in the greatest light which cannot be too visible, and sinks in the obscurity of the shade what does not require a full view; so that it may be said that Homer is the painter who best knew how to employ the shades and lights. The second comparison is equally unjust: How could Mr. Pope say, that one can only discover seeds, and the first productions of every kind in the Iliad?' Every beauty is there to such an amazing perfection, that the following ages could add nothing to those of any kind; and the ancients have always proposed Homer as the most perfect model in every kind of poetry.

"The third comparison is composed of the errors of the two former. Homer had certainly an incomparable fertility of invention, but his fertility is always checked by that just sense which made him reject every superfluous thing which his vast imagination could offer, and to retain only what was necessary and useful. Judgment guided the hand of this admirable gardener, and was the pruning hook he employed to lop off every useless branch."

Thus far Madain Dacier differs in her opinion from Mr. Pope concerning Homer; but these remarks, which we have just quoted, partake not at all of the nature of criticism; they are mere assertion. Pope has declared Homer to abound with irregular beauties. Dacier has contradicted him, and asserted, that all his beauties are regular; but no reason is assigned by either of these mighty geniuses in support of their opinions, and the reader is left in the dark as to the real truth. If he is to be guided by the authority of a name only, no doubt the argument will preponderate in favour of our countryman. The French lady then proceeds to answer some observations which Mr. Pope made upon her Remarks on the Iliad, which she performs with a warmth-thatgenerally attends writers of her sex. Mr. Pope, however, paid more regard to this fair antagonist than any other critic upon his works. He confessed that he had received great helps from her, and only thought she had (through a prodigious and almost superstitious fondness for Homer) endeavoured to make him appear without any fault or weakness, and stamp a perfection on his works which is no where to be found. He wrote her a very obliging letter, in which he confessed himself exceedingly sorry that he ever should have displeased so excellent an authoress; and she, on the other hand, with a goodness and frankness peculiar to her, protested to forgive it; so that there remained no animosities

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