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Chapman's Homer, excellent as it was, was not in a popular measure, and
was known only to scholars.

In the execution of this project, Pope labored for six years - writing by
day and dreaming of his work at night; translating thirty or forty lines
before rising in the morning, and jotting down portions even while on a
journey. Pope's polished pentameters, when read, are very unlike the
full-voiced hexameters of Homer; but the errors in the translation are
comparatively few and unimportant, and his own poetry is in his best vein.
The poem was published by subscription, and was a great pecuniary success.
This was in part due to the blunt importunity of Dean Swift, who said:
"The author shall not begin to print until I have a thousand guineas for
him." Parnell, one of the most accomplished Greek scholars of the day,
wrote a life of Homer, to be prefixed to the work; and many of the
critical notes were written by Broome, who had translated the Iliad into
English prose. Pope was not without poetical rivals. Tickell produced a
translation of the first book of the Iliad, which was certainly revised,
and many thought partly written, by Addison. A coolness already existing
between Pope and Addison was increased by this circumstance, which soon
led to an open rupture between them. The public, however, favored Pope's
version, while a few of the _dilettanti_ joined Addison in preferring

The pecuniary results of Pope's labors were particularly gratifying. The
work was published in six quarto volumes, and had more than six hundred
subscribers, at six guineas a copy: the amount realized by Pope on the
first and subsequent issues was upwards of five thousand pounds - an
unprecedented payment of bookseller to author in that day.

VALUE OF THE TRANSLATION. - This work, in spite of the criticism of exact
scholars, has retained its popularity to the present time. Chapman's Homer
has been already referred to. Since the days of Pope numerous authors have
tried their hands upon Homer, translating the whole or a part. Among these
is a very fine poem by Cowper, in blank verse, which is praised by the
critics, but little read. Lord Derby's translation is distinguished for
its prosaic accuracy. The recent version of our venerable poet, Wm. C.
Bryant, is acknowledged to be at once scholarly, accurate, and harmonious,
and will be of permanent value and reputation. But the exquisite tinkling
of Pope's lines, the pleasant refrain they leave in the memory, like the
chiming of silver bells, will cause them to last, with undiminished favor,
unaffected by more correct rivals, as long as the language itself. "A very
pretty poem, Mr. Pope," said the great Bentley; "but pray do not call it
Homer." Despite this criticism of the Greek scholar, the world has taken
it for Homer, and knows Homer almost solely through this charming medium.

The Iliad was issued in successive years, the last two volumes appearing
in 1720. Of course it was savagely attacked by Dennis; but Pope had won
more than he had hoped for, and might laugh at his enemies.

With the means he had inherited, increased by the sale of his poem, Pope
leased a villa on the Thames, at Twickenham, which he fitted up as a
residence for life. He laid out the grounds, built a grotto, and made his
villa a famous spot.

Here he was smitten by the masculine charms of the gifted Lady Mary
Wortley Montagu, who figures in many of his verses, and particularly in
the closing lines of the _Epistle of Eloisa to Abelard_. It was a singular
alliance, destined to a speedy rupture. On her return from Turkey, in
1718, where her husband had been the English ambassador, she took a home
near Pope's villa, and, at his request, sat for her portrait. When, later,
they became estranged, she laughed at the poet, and his coldness turned
into hatred.

THE ODYSSEY. - The success of his version of the Iliad led to his
translation of the Odyssey; but this he did with the collaboration of
Fenton and Broome, the former writing four and the latter six books. The
volumes appeared successively in 1725-6, and there was an appendix
containing the _Batrachomiomachia_, or Battle of the Frogs and Mice,
translated by Parnell. For this work Pope received the lion's share of
profits, his co-laborers being paid only £800.

Among his miscellaneous works must be mentioned portions of _Martinus
Scriblerus_. One of these, _Peri Bathous_, or _Art of Sinking in Poetry_,
was the germ of The Dunciad.

Like Dryden, he was attacked by the _soi-disant_ poets of the day, and
retorted in similar style and taste. In imitation of Dryden's
_MacFlecknoe_, he wrote _The Dunciad_, or epic of the Dunces, in the first
edition of which Theobald was promoted to the vacant throne. It roused a
great storm. Authors besieged the publisher to hinder him from publishing
it, while booksellers and agents were doing all in their power to procure
it. In a later edition a new book was added, deposing Theobald and
elevating Colley Cibber to the throne of Dulness. This was ill-advised, as
the ridicule, which was justly applied to Theobald, is not applicable to

ESSAY ON MAN. - The intercourse of the poet with the gifted but sceptical
Lord Bolingbroke is apparent in his _Essay on Man_, in which, with much
that is orthodox and excellent, the principles and influence of his
lordship are readily discerned. The first part appeared in 1732, and the
second some years later. The opinion is no longer held that Bolingbroke
wrote any part of the poem; he has only infected it. It is one of Pope's
best poems in versification and diction, and abounds with pithy proverbial
sayings, which the English world has been using ever since as current
money in conversational barter. Among many that might be selected, the
following are well known:

All are but parts of one stupendous whole
Whose body nature is, and God the soul.

Know thou thyself, presume not God to scan;
The proper study of mankind is man.

A wit's a feather, and a chief's a rod;
An honest man's the noblest work of God.

Among the historical teachings of Pope's works and career, and also among
the curiosities of literature, must be noticed the publication of Pope's
letters, by Curll the bookseller, without the poet's permission. They were
principally letters to Henry Cromwell, Wycherley, Congreve, Steele,
Addison, and Swift. There were not wanting those who believed that it was
a trick of the poet himself to increase his notoriety; but such an
opinion is hardly warranted. These letters form a valuable chapter in the
social and literary history of the period.

POPE'S DEATH AND CHARACTER. - On the 30th of May, 1744, Pope passed away,
after a long illness, during which he said he was "dying of a hundred good
symptoms." Indeed, so frail and weak had he always been, that it was a
wonder he lived so long. His weakness of body seems to have acted upon his
strong mind, which must account for much that is satirical and splenetic
in his writings. Very short, thin, and ill-shaped, his person wanted the
compactness necessary to stand alone, until it was encased in stays. He
needed a high chair at table, such as children use; but he was an epicure,
and a fastidious one; and despite his infirmities, his bright,
intellectual eye and his courtly manners caused him to be noted quite as
much as his defects.

THE ARTIFICIAL SCHOOL. - Pope has been set forth as the head of the
_Artificial School_. This is, perhaps, rather a convenient than an exact
designation. He had little of original genius, but was an apt imitator and
reproducer - what in painting would be an excellent copyist. His greatest
praise, however, is that he reduced to system what had gone before him;
his poems present in themselves an art of poetry, with technical canons
and illustrations, which were long after servilely obeyed, and the
influence of which is still felt to-day.

And this artificial school was in the main due to the artificial character
of the age. Nature seemed to have lost her charms; pastorals were little
more than private theatricals, enacted with straw hats and shepherd's
crook in drawing-rooms or on close-clipped lawns. Culture was confined to
court and town, and poets found little inducement to consult the heart or
to woo nature, but wrote what would please the town or court. This taste
gave character to the technical standards, to which Pope, more than any
other writer, gave system and coherence. Most of the literati were men of
the town; many were fine gentlemen with a political bias; and thus it is
that the school of poets of which Pope is the unchallenged head, has been
known as the Artificial School.

In the passage of time, and with the increase of literature, the real
merits of Pope were for some time neglected, or misrepresented. The world
is beginning to discern and recognize these again. Learned, industrious,
self-reliant, controversial, and, above all, harmonious, instead of giving
vent to the highest fancies in simple language, he has treated the
common-place - that which is of universal interest - in melodious and
splendid diction. But, above all, he stands as the representative of his
age: a wit among the comic dramatists who were going out and the essayists
who were coming in; a man of the world with Lady Mary and the gay parties
on the Thames; a polemic, who dealt keen thrusts and who liked to see them
rankle, and who yet writhed in agony when the _riposte_ came; a Roman
Catholic in faith and a latitudinarian in speech; - such was Pope as a type
of that world in which he lived.

A poet of the first rank he was not; he invented nothing; but he
established the canons of poetry, attuned to exquisite harmony the rhymed
couplet which Dryden had made so powerful an instrument, improved the
language, discerned and reconnected the discordant parts of literature;
and thus it is that he towers above all the poets of his age, and has sent
his influence through those that followed, even to the present day.


_Matthew Prior_, 1664-1721: in his early youth he was a waiter in his
uncle's tap-room, but, surmounting all difficulties, he rose to be a
distinguished poet and diplomatist. He was an envoy to France, where he
was noted for his wit and ready repartee. His love songs are somewhat
immoral, but exquisitely melodious. His chief poems are: _Alma_, a
philosophic piece in the vein of Hudibras; _Solomon_, a Scripture poem;
and, the best of all, _The City and Country Mouse_, a parody on Dryden's
_Hind and Panther_, which he wrote in conjunction with Mr. Montague. He
was imprisoned by the Whigs in 1715, and lost all his fortune. He was
distinguished by having Dr. Johnson as his biographer, in the _Lives of
the Poets_.

_John Arbuthnot_, 1667-1735: born in Scotland. He was learned, witty, and
amiable. Eminent in medicine, he was physician to the court of Queen Anne.
He is chiefly known in literature as the companion of Pope and Swift, and
as the writer with them of papers in the Martinus Scriblerus Club, which
was founded in 1714, and of which Pope, Gay, Swift, Arbuthnot, Harvey,
Atterbury, and others, were the principal members. Arbuthnot wrote a
_History of John Bull_, which was designed to render the war then carried
on by Marlborough unpopular, and certainly conduced to that end.

_John Gay_, 1688-1732: he was of humble origin, but rose by his talents,
and figured at court. He wrote several dramas in a mock-tragic vein. Among
these are _What D'ye Call It?_ and _Three Hours after Marriage_; but that
which gave him permanent reputation is his _Beggar's Opera_, of which the
hero is a highwayman, and the characters are prostitutes and Newgate
gentry. It is interspersed with gay and lyrical songs, and was rendered
particularly effective by the fine acting of Miss Elizabeth Fenton, in the
part of _Polly_. The _Shepherd's Week_, a pastoral, contains more real
delineations of rural life than any other poem of the period. Another
curious piece is entitled, _Trivia, or the Art of Walking the Streets of

_Thomas Parnell_, 1679-1718: he was the author of numerous poems, among
which the only one which has retained popular favor is _The Hermit_, a
touching poem founded upon an older story. He wrote the life of Homer
prefixed to Pope's translation; but it was very much altered by Pope.

_Thomas Tickell_, 1686-1740: particularly known as the friend of Addison.
He wrote a translation of the First Book of Homer's Iliad, which was
corrected by Addison, and contributed several papers to _The Spectator_.
But he is best known by his _Elegy_ upon Addison, which Dr. Johnson calls
a very "elegant funeral poem."

_Isaac Watts_, 1674-1765: this great writer of hymns was born at
Southampton, and became one of the most eminent of the dissenting
ministers of England. He is principally known by his metrical versions of
the Psalms, and by a great number of original hymns, which have been
generally used by all denominations of Christians since. He also produced
many hymns for children, which have become familiar as household words. He
had a lyrical ear, and an easy, flowing diction, but is sometimes careless
in his versification and incorrect in his theology. During the greater
part of his life the honored guest of Sir Thomas Abney, he devoted himself
to literature. Besides many sermons, he produced a treatise on _The First
Principles of Geology and Astronomy_; a work on _Logic, or the Right Use
of the Reason in the Inquiry after Truth_; and _A Supplement on the
Improvement of the Mind_. These latter have been superseded as text-books
by later and more correct inquiry.

_Edward Young_, 1681-1765: in his younger days he sought preferment at
court, but being disappointed in his aspirations, he took orders in the
Church, and led a retired life. He published a satire entitled, _The Love
of Fame, the Universal Passion_, which was quite successful. But his chief
work, which for a long time was classed with the highest poetic efforts,
is the _Night Thoughts_, a series of meditations, during nine nights, on
Life, Death, and Immortality. The style is somewhat pompous, the imagery
striking, but frequently unnatural; the occasional descriptions majestic
and vivid; and the effect of the whole is grand, gloomy, and peculiar. It
is full of apothegms, which have been much quoted; and some of his lines
and phrases are very familiar to all.

He wrote papers on many topics, and among his tragedies the best known is
that entitled _The Revenge_. Very popular in his own day, Young has been
steadily declining in public favor, partly on account of the superior
claims of modern writers, and partly because of the morbid and gloomy
views he has taken of human nature. His solemn admonitions throng upon the
reader like phantoms, and cause him to desire more cheerful company. A
sketch of the life of Young may be found in Dr. Johnson's _Lives of the



The Character of the Age. Queen Anne. Whigs and Tories. George I.
Addison - The Campaign. Sir Roger de Coverley. The Club. Addison's
Hymns. Person and Literary Character.


To cater further to the Artificial Age, the literary cravings of which far
exceeded those of any former period, there sprang up a school of
Essayists, most of whom were also poets, dramatists, and politicians.
Among these Addison, Steele, and Swift stand pre-eminent. Each of them was
a man of distinct and interesting personality. Two of them - Addison and
Swift - presented such a remarkable contrast, that it has been usual for
writers on this period of English Literature to bring them together as
foils to each other. This has led to injustice towards Swift; they should
be placed in juxtaposition because they are of the same period, and
because of their joint efforts in the literary development of the age. The
period is distinctly marked. We speak as currently of the wits and the
essayists of Queen Anne's reign as we do of the authors of the Elizabethan

A glance at contemporary history will give us an intelligent clue to our
literary inquiries, and cause us to observe the historical character of
the literature.

To a casual observer, the reign of Queen Anne seems particularly
untroubled and prosperous. English history calls it the time of "Good
Queen Anne;" and it is referred to with great unction by the _laudator
temporis acti_, in unjust comparison with the period which has since
intervened, as well as with that which preceded it.

QUEEN ANNE. - The queen was a Protestant, as opposed to the Romanists and
Jacobites; a faithful wife, and a tender mother in her memory of several
children who died young. She was merciful, pure, and gracious to her
subjects. Her reign was tolerant. There was plenty at home; rebellion and
civil war were at least latent. Abroad, England was greatly distinguished
by the victories of Marlborough and Eugene. But to one who looks through
this veil of prosperity, a curious history is unfolded. The fires of
faction were scarcely smouldering. It was the transition period between
the expiring dynasty of the direct line of Stuarts and the coming of the
Hanoverian house. Women took part in politics; sermons like that of
Sacheverell against the dissenters and the government were thundered from
the pulpit. Volcanic fires were at work; the low rumblings of an
earthquake were heard from time to time, and gave constant cause of
concern to the queen and her statesmen. Men of rank conspired against each
other; the moral license of former reigns seems to have been forgotten in
political intrigue. When James II. had been driven out in 1688, the
English conscience compromised on the score of the divine right of kings,
by taking his daughter Mary and her husband as joint monarchs. To do this,
they affected to call the king's son by his second wife, born in that
year, a pretender. It was said that he was the child of another woman, and
had been brought to the queen's bedside in a warming-pan, that James might
be able to present, thus fraudulently, a Roman Catholic heir to the
throne. In this they did the king injustice, and greater injustice to the
queen, Maria de Modena, a pleasing and innocent woman, who had, by her
virtues and personal popularity alone, kept the king on his throne, in
spite of his pernicious measures.

When the dynasty was overthrown, the parliament had presented to William
and Mary _A Bill of Rights_, in which the people's grievances were set
forth, and their rights enumerated and insisted upon; and this was
accepted by the monarchs as a condition of their tenure.

Mary died in 1695, and when William followed her, in 1702, Anne, the
second daughter of James, ascended the throne. Had she refused the
succession, there would have been a furious war between the Jacobites and
the Hanoverians. In 1714, Anne died childless, but her reign had bridged
the chasm between the experiment of William and Mary and the house of
Hanover. In default of direct heirs to Queen Anne, the succession was in
this Hanoverian house; represented in the person of the Electress Sophia,
the granddaughter of James I., through his daughter, Elizabeth of Bohemia.
But this lineage of blood had lost all English affinities and sympathies.

Meanwhile, the child born to James II., in 1688, had grown to be a man,
and stood ready, on the death of Queen Anne, to re-affirm his claim to the
throne. It was said that, although, on account of the plottings of the
Jacobites, a price had been put upon his head, the queen herself wished
him to succeed, and had expressed scruples about her own right to reign.
She greatly disliked the family of Hanover, and while she was on her
death-bed, the pretender had been brought to England, in the hope that she
would declare him her successor. The elements of discord asserted
themselves still more strongly. Whigs and Tories in politics, Romanists
and Protestants in creed, Jacobite and Hanoverian in loyalty, opposed each
other, harassing the feeble queen, and keeping the realm in continual

WHIGS AND TORIES. - The Whigs were those who declared that kingly power was
solely for the good of the subject; that the reformed creed was the
religion of the realm; that James had forfeited the throne, and that his
son was a pretender; and that the power justly passed to the house of
Hanover. The Tories asserted that monarchs ruled by _divine right_; and
that if, when religion was at stake, the king might be deposed, this could
not affect the succession.

Anne escaped her troubles by dying, in 1714. Sophia, the Electress of
Hanover, who had only wished to live, she said, long enough to have
engraved upon her tombstone: "Here lies Sophia, Queen of England," died,
in spite of this desire, only a few weeks before the queen; and the new
heir to the throne was her son, George Louis of Brunswick-Luneburg,
electoral prince of Hanover.

He came cautiously and selfishly to the throne of England; he felt his
way, and left a line of retreat open; he brought not a spice of honest
English sentiment, but he introduced the filth of the electoral court. As
gross in his conduct as Charles II., he had indeed a prosperous reign,
because it was based upon a just and tolerant Constitution; because the
English were in reality not governed by a king, but by well-enacted laws.

The effect of all this political turmoil upon the leading men in England
had been manifest; both parties had been expectant, and many of the
statesmen had been upon the fence, ready to get down on one side or the
other, according to circumstances. Marlborough left the Tories and joined
the Whigs; Swift, who had been a Whig, joined the Tories. The queen's
first ministry had consisted of Whigs and the more moderate Tories; but as
she fell away from the Marlboroughs, she threw herself into the hands of
the Tories, who had determined, and now achieved, the downfall of

Such was the reign of good Queen Anne. With this brief sketch as a
preliminary, we return to the literature, which, like her coin, bore her
image and carried it into succeeding reigns. In literature, the age of
Queen Anne extends far beyond her lifetime.

ADDISON. - The principal name of this period is that of Joseph Addison. He
was the son of the rector of Milston, in Wiltshire, and was born in 1672.
Old enough in 1688 to appreciate the revolution, as early as he could
wield his pen, he used it in the cause of the new monarchs. At the age of
fifteen he was sent from the Charter-House to Oxford; and there he wrote
some Latin verses, for which he was rewarded by a university scholarship.
After pursuing his studies at Oxford, he began his literary career. In his
twenty-second year he wrote a poetical address to Dryden; but he chiefly
sought preferment through political poetry. In 1695 he wrote a poem to the
king, which was well received; and in 1699 he received a pension of £300.
In 1701 he went upon the Continent, and travelled principally in France
and Italy. On his return, he published his travels, and a _Poetical
Epistle from Italy_, which are interesting as delineating continental
scenes and manners in that day. Of the travels, Dr. Johnson said, "they
might have been written at home;" but he praised the poetical epistle as
the finest of Addison's poetical works.

Upon the accession of Queen Anne, he continued to pay his court in verse.
When the great battle of Blenheim was fought, in 1704, he at once
published an artificial poem called _The Campaign_, which has received the
fitting name of the _Rhymed Despatch_. Eulogistic of Marlborough and
descriptive of his army manœuvres, its chief value is to be found in
its historical character, and not in any poetic merit. It was a political
paper, and he was rewarded for it by the appointment of Commissioner of
Appeals, in which post he succeeded the philosopher Locke.

The spirit of this poem is found in the following lines:

Fiction may deck the truth with spurious rays,
And round the hero cast a borrowed blaze;
Marlboro's exploits appear divinely bright,
And proudly shine in their own native light.

If we look for a contrast to this poem, indicating with it the two
political sides of the question, it may be found in Swift's tract on _The
Conduct of the Allies_, which asserts that the war had been maintained to
gratify the ambition and greed of Marlborough, and also for the benefit of
the Allies. Addison was appointed, as a reward for his poem,
Under-Secretary of State.

To this extent Addison was the historian by purpose. A moderate partisan,

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