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is not even Cowper. As a child I first read Pope's “hit in the head," should be driven through his Homer with a rapture which no subsequent work own ears; I am sure that they are long enough. could ever afford, and children are not the worst The attempt of the poetical populace of the prejudges of their own language. As a boy I read sent day to obtain an ostracism against Pope, is as Homer in the original, as we have all done, some easily accounted for as the Athenian's shell against of us by force, and a few by favour; under which Aristides; they are tired of hearing bim always description I come is nothing to the purpose, it is called “the Just.” They are also fighting for life; enough that I read him. As a man I have tried to for, if he maintains bis station, they will reach read Cowper's version, and I found it impossible. their own by falling. They have raised a mosque Has any human reader ever succeeded ?
by the side of a Grecian Temple of the purest arAnd now that we have heard the Catholic re- chilecture; and, more barbarous than the barbaproached with envy, duplicity, licentiousness, rians from whose practice I have borrowed the avarice—what was the Calvinist? He attempted figure, they are not contented with their own the most atrocious of crimes in the Christian code, grotesque edifice, unless they destroy the prior and viz. suicide-and why? because he was to be exa- purely beautiful fabric which preceded, and which mined whether he was fit for an office wbich he seems shames them and theirs for ever and ever. I shall to wish to have made a sinecure. His connection be told that amongst those I have been (or it may with Mrs. Unwin was pure enough, for the old lady be, still am) conspicuous-true, and I am ashamed was devout, and he was deranged; but why then is of it. I have been amongst the builders of this the infirm and then elderly Pope to be reproved for Babel, altended by confusion of tongues, but his connection with Martha Blount? Cowper was never amongst the envious destroyers of tbe classic the almoner of Mrs. Throgmorton; but Pope's temple of our predecessor. I have loved and hocharities were his own, and they were noble and ex-noured the fame and name of that illustrious and tensive, far beyond his fortune's warrant. Pope unrivalled man, far more than my own paltry was the tolerant yet steady adherent of the most renown, and the trashy jingle of the crowd of bigoted of sects; and Cowper the most bigoted and “schools” and upstarts, who pretend to rival, or despondent sectary that ever anticipated damnation even surpass him. Sooner than a single leaf should to himself or others. Is this harsh? I know it is, betorn from his laurel, it were better that all which and I do not assert it as my opinion of Cowper these men, and that I, as one of their sel, have ever personally, but to show what might be said, with written, should just as great an appearance of truth and candour,
“Line trunks, clothe spice, or, Muliering in a row, as all the odium which has been accumulated upon
Besringe the rails of Bedlam, or Soho!” Pope in similar speculations. Cowper was a good man, and lived at a fortunate time for his works. There are those who will believe this, and those
Mr. Bowlcs, apparently not relying entirely upon who will not. You, sir, know how far I am sinhis own arguments, has, in person or by proxy, cere, and whether my opinion, not only in the short brought forward the names of Southey and Moore. work intended for publication, and in private let
Mr. Southey “agrees entirely with Mr. Bowles in ters which can never be published, has or has not his invariable principles of poetry.” The least been the same. I look upon this as the declining that Mr. Bowles can do, in return, is to approve age of English poetry; no regard for others, no the “invariable principles of Mr. Southey." I selfish feeling, can prevent me from seeing this, and should have thought that the word “invariable" expressing the truth. There can be no worse sign might have stuck in Southey's throat, like Mac- for the laste of the times than the depreciation of beth's“Amen!” Iam sure it did in mine, and I am Pope. It would be better to receive for proof Mr. not the least consistent of the two, at least as a Cobbelt's rough but strong attack upon Shakspeare voter. Moore (et tu, Brute!) also approves, and a and Milion, than to allow this smooth and“candid" Mr. J. Scott. There is a letter, also, of two lines undermining of the reputation of the most perfect from a gentleman in asterisks, who, il seems, is a of our poets, and the purest of our moralists. On poet of“ the highest rank:”—who can this be ? not his power in the passions, in description, in my friend, Sir Walter, surely. Campbell it can't the mock-heroic, I leave others to descant. I take be; Rogers it won't be.
him on his strong ground, as an ethical poet: in “You have hit the nail in the head, and the former none excel, in the mock-heroic and the [Pope, I presume) on the head also.
ethical none equal, him; and in my mind, the laller “I remain yours, affectionately, is the highest of all poetry, because it does that, in
“(Five Asterisks).” verse, which the greatest of men have wished 10 And in asterisks let him remain. Whoever this accomplish in prose. If the essence of poetry must person may be, he deserves, for such a judgment be a lie, throw it to the dogs, or banish it from of Midas, that “the nail” which Mr. Bowles has your republic, as Plalo would have done. He who
can reconcile poetry with truth and wisdonı, is the Post Scriptum.-Long as this letter has grown, only true "poet" in its real sense, “the maker I find it necessary to append a postcript; it possible, “the creator,”—why must this mean the “liar,” | a short one. Mr. Bowles denies that he has acthe “feigner,” the “lale-teller ?” A man may cused Pope of “ a sordid money-gelling passion;" make and crcate better things than these.
but, he adds, “if I had ever done so, I should be I shall not presume to say that Pope is as high a glad to find any testimony that might show he was poetas Shakspeare and Milton,--though his enemy, not so.” This testimony he may find, to his heart's Warton, places him immediately under them. (1) content, in Spence and elsewhere. First, there is I would no more say this than I would assert in the Mariha Blount, who, Mr. Bowles charitably says, mosque (once Saint Sophia's), that Socrates was a "probably thought he did not save enough for her, greater man than Mahomet. But if I say that he is as legalee.” Whatever she thought upon this very near them, it is no more than has been asserted point, her words are in Pope's favour. Then there of Burns, who is supposed
is Alderman Barber; see Spence's Anecdotes. "To rival all but Shakspeare's name below."
There is Pope's cold answer to Halifax when he
proposed a pension : his behaviour to Graggs and I say nothing against this opinion. But of what to Addison upon like occasions, and his own two " order,"according to the poetical aristocracy, are linesBuros's poems? There are bis opus magnum, Tam O'shanter, a lale; the Cotters Saturday
"And, thanks to Homer, since I live and thrive,
Indebted lo no prince or peer alive;" Night, a descriptive sketch; some others in the same style: the rest are songs. So much for the written when princes would have been proud to rank of his productions, the rank of Burns is pension, and peers to promote him, and when the the very first of his art. Of Pope I have expressed whole army of dunces were in array against him, my opinion elsewhere, as also of the effect which and would have been but too happy to deprive him the present altempis at poetry have had upon our of this boast of independence. But there is someliterature. If any great national or natural convul- thing a little more serious in Mr. Bowles's declarasion could or should overwhelm your country, in lion, that he would have spoken” of his “noble such sort as 10 sweep Great Britain from the king- generosity 10 the outcast Richard Savage,” and doms of the earth, and leave only that, after all, the other instances of a compassionate and generous most living of human things, a dead language, to heart, had they occurred to his recollection be studied and read, and imitated by the wise of when he wrote.” What! is it come lo this? Does future and far generations, upon foreign shores; if Mr. Bowles sit down to write a minute and laboured your literature should become the learning of man- life and edition of a great poet? Does he analokind, divested of party cabals, temporary fashions, mise his character, moral and poetical ? Does he and national pride and prejudice; an Englishman, present us with his faults and with his fuibles ? anxious that the posterity of strangers should know Does he sneer at his feelings, and doubt of his sinthat there had been such a thing as a British epic cerity? Does he unfold his vanily and duplicity? and tragedy, might wish for the preservation of and then omit the good qualities which might, in Shakspeare and Milton; but the surviving world part, have “covered this multitude of sins ?" and would snatch Pope from the wreck, and let the then plead that “ they did not occur to his recor rest sink with the people. He is the moral poet of lection!” Is this the frame of mind and of meall civilisation; and as such, let us hope that he will mory with which the illustrious dead are to be apone diy be the national poet of mankind. He is proached? If Mr. Bowles, who must have had the only poet that never shocks; the only poet access to all the means of refreshing his memory, whose faultlessness has been made his reproach. did not recollect these facts, he is unfit for his task; Cast your eye over his productions; consider their but if he did recollect, and omit them, I know not extent, and contemplate their variety :-pastoral, what he is fit for, but I know what would be fit for passion, mock-heroic, translation, satire, ethics, him. Is the plea of “not recollecting” such proall excellent, and often perfect. If his great charm minent facts to be admitted ? Mr. Bowles has been be his melody, how comes it that foreigners adore at a public school, and as I have been publicly him, even in their diluted translations? But I have educated also, I can sympathise with his predilec
had made this letter too long.–Give my compliments tion. When we were in the third form even, to Mr. Bowles.
we pleaded, on the Monday morning, that we had Yours ever, very truly,
not brought up the Saturday's exercise, because BYRON.
we had forgolten it,” what would have been the 70 John Murray, Esq.
reply? And is an excuse, which would not be (1) If the opinions cited by Mr. Bowles, of Dr. Johnson against 'good against Gray. Millon, Swift, Thomson, and Dryden : in that Pope, are to be taken as decisive authority, they will also hold case what becomes of Gray's poelical, and Milton's moral cua
pardoned 10 a school-boy, to pass current in a cumstance which occurred on board of a frigate, matter which so nearly concerns the fame of the, in which I was a passenger and guest of the captain's first poet of his age, if not of his country? If Mr. for a considerable time. The surgeon on board. a Bowles so readily forgets the virtues of others, why very gentlemanly young man, and remarkably able complain so grievously that others have a better in his profession, wore a wig. Upon this ornament mcmory for his own faults? They are but the he was extremely tenacious. As naval jests are faults of an author; while, the virtues he omilted sometimes a little rough, his brother officers made from his catalogue are essential to the justice due occasional allusions to this delicate appendage to to a man.
the doctor's person. One day a young lieutenant, Mr. Bowles appears, indeed, to be susceptible in the course of a facetious discussion, said." Supbeyond the privilege of authorship. There is a pose now, doctor, I should take off your hat.”plaintive dedication 10 Mr. Gifford, in which he is “Sir,” replied the doctor, “I shall talk no longer made responsible for all the articles of the Quar- with you; you grow scurrilous.” He would not terly. Mr. Southey, it seems, "the most able and even admit so near an approach as to the hat which eloquent writer in that Review," approves of Mr. protected it. In like manner, if any body apBowles's publication. Now it seems to me the proaches Mr. Bowles's laurels, even in his outside more impartial, that notwithstanding that “the capacity of an edilor, “they grow scurrilous.” great writer of the Quarterly” entertains opinions You say that you are about to prepare an edition opposite to the able article on Spence, nevertheless of Pope ; you cannot do better for your own credit
that essay was permitted to appear. Is a Review as a publisher, nor for the redemption of Pope from to be devoted to the opinions of any one man ? Mr. Bowles, and of the public taste from rapid deMust it not vary, according to circumstances, and generacy. according to the subjects to be criticised ? I fear that writers must take the sweets and bitters of the public journals as they occur, and an author of so OBSERVATIONS UPON “OBSERVATIONS." long a standing as Mr. Bowles might have become accustomed to such incidents; he might be angry,
-A SECOND LETTER TO JOHN MURRAY, ESQ. ON but not astonished. I have been reviewed in the
THE REV. W. 1. BOWLES'S STRICTURES ON THE Quarterly almost as often as Mr. Bowles, and have
LIFE AND WRITINGS OF POPE. had as pleasant things said, and some as unpleasant, as could well be pronounced. In the
Now frst published. review of the Fall of Jerusalem, it is stated that I have devoted “my powers, etc. to the worst parts
RAVENNA, March 25, 1821. of Manicheism;" which, being interpreted, means that I worship the devil. Now, I have neither written
DEAR SIR, a reply, nor complained to Gifford. I believe that I observed, in a letter to you, that I thought “that In the further “ Observations” of Mr. Bowles, in the critic might have praised Milman without find rejoinder to the charges brought against his edition ing it necessary to abuse me;" but did I not add, of Pope, it is to be regretted that he has lost his at the same time or soon after (apropos of the note temper. Whatever the language of his antagonists i in the book of Travels), that I would not, if it were may have been, I fear that his replies have afforded even in my power, have a single line cancelled on more pleasure to them than to the public. Thal my account in that nor in any other publication ? Mr. Bowles should not be pleased is natural, wheOf course, I reserve to myself the privilege of ther right or wrong; but a temperate defence would response when necessary. Mr. Bowles seems in a have answered his purpose in the former casewhimsical state about the author of the article on and, in the latter, no defence, however violent, Spence. You know very well that I am not in can tend to any thing but his discomfiture. I have your confidence, nor in that of the conductor of read over this third pamphlet, which you have been the journal. The moment I saw that article, I was so obliging as to send me, and shall venture a few morally certain that I knew the author “ by his observations, in addition to those upon the previous style.” You will tell me that I do not know him: controversy. that is all as it should be; keep the secret, so shall Mr. Bowles sels out with repeating his “con1, though no one has ever intrusted it to me. He firmed conviction,” that “what he said of the is not the person whom Mr. Bowles denounces. Mr. moral part of Pope's character was, generally Bowles's extreme sensibility reminds me of a cir- speaking, true; and that the principles of poelical
racter ? even of Milton's poetical character, or, indeed, of Eng- every laurel. Still Jobpson's is the finest critical work estadi, lis) poetry in general? (or Johnson strips mony a lea: from and can never be read without instruction and delight.
criticism which he has laid down are invariable lude in such acuteness of feeling: it has been, and and invulnerable, etc.; and that he is the more may be, combined with many good and great quapersuaded of this by the “exaggerations of his lities. Is Mr. Bowles a poet, or is he not? if he opponents.” This is all very well, and highly na-be, he must, from his very essence, be sensitive to tural and sincere. ody ever expected that ei-criticism; and ev if he be not, he need not be ther Mr. Bowles, or any other author, would be ashamed of the common repugnance to being alconvinced of human fallibility in their own per- tacked. All that is to be wished is, that he had
But it is nothing to the purpose—for it is considered how disagreeable a thing it is, before he not what Mr. Bowles thinks, but what is to be assailed the greatest moral poet of any age, or in Thought of Pope, that is the question. It is what any language. he has asserted or insinuated against a name which Pope himself" sleeps well,”— nothing can touch is the patrimony of posterily, that is to be tried; him further; but those who love the honour of their and Mr. Bowles, as a party, can be no judge. The country, the perfection of her literature, the glory more he is persuaded, the better for himself, if it of her language-are not lo be expected to permit give him any pleasure; but he can only persuade an alom of his dust to be stirred in his lomb, or a others by the proofs brought out in his defence. leaf to be strippeil from the laurel which grows
After these prefalory remarks of “conviction," over it. etc. Mr. Bowles proceeds to Mr. Gilchrist; whom Mr. Bowles assigns several reasons why and when he charges with “slang" and "slander,” besides a "an author is justified in appealing to every upright small subsidiary indictment of “abuse, ignorance, and honourable mind in the kingdom.” Ir Mr. malice," and so forth. Mr. Gilchrist has, indeed, bowles limits the perusal of his defence to the shown some anger; but it is an honest indignation, upright and honourable” only, 1 greatly fear that which rises in defence of the illustrious dead. It it will not be extensively circulated. I should rather is a generous rage which interposes between our hope that someof the downright and dishonest will ashes and their disturbers. There appears also read and be converted, or convicted. But the whole to have been some slight personal provocation. of his reasoning is here superfluous—“an author Mr. Gilchrist, with a chivalrous disdain of the fury is justified in appealing," etc. when and why of an incensed poet, put his name to a letter avow-lhe pleases. Let him make out a tolerable case, and ing the production of a former essay in defence of few of his readers will quarrel with his motives. Pope, and consequently of an attack upon Mr. Mr. Bowles “will now plainly set before the liBowles. Mr. Bowles appears to be angry with Mr. terary public all the circumstances which have led Gilchrist for four reasons:-firstly, because he lo his name and Mr. Gilchrist's being brought 10wrote an article in The London Magazine; se- gether," etc. Courtesy requires, in speaking of condly, because he afterwards avowed it; thirdly, others and ourselves, that we should place the name because he was the author of a still more extended of the former first-and not “Bgo et Rex meus." article in The Quarterly Review; and, fourthly, Mr. Bowles should have written “Mr. Gilchrist's because he was not the author of the said Quar-Dame and his.” terly article, and had the audacity lo disown it-for
This point he wishes “particularly lo address to no earthly reason but because he had not written it. those most respectable characters who have the
Mr. Bowles declares, that“he will not enter into direction and management of the periodicalcritical a particular imagination of the pamphlet,” which press.” That the press may be, in some instances, by a misnomer is called Gilchrist's Answer to conducted by respectable characters is probable Bowles, when it should have been called Gilchrist's enough; but if they are so, there is no occasion to abuse of Boioles. On this error in the baplism of tell them of it; and if they are not, it is a base Mr. Gilchrist's pamphlet, it may be observed, that adulation. In either case, it looks like a kind of an answer may be abusive and yet no less an an-Nattery, by which those gentry are not very likely swer, though indisputably a temperate one might to be softened; since it would be difficult to find be the better of the two: but if abuse is to cancel two passages in fifteen pages more at variance, all pretentions to reply, what becomes of Mr. than Mr. Bowles's prose at the beginning of this Bowles's answers to Mr. Gilchrist?
pamphlet, and his verse at the end of it. In page Mr. Bowles continues :-"But as Mr. Gilchrist | 4, he speaks of "those most respectable characters derides my peculiar sensiliveness to criticism, who have the direction, etc. of the periodical press," before I show how destitute of truth is this repre- and in page 10 we findsentation, I will here explicitly declare the only
“Ye dark inquisitors, a monk-ike band, grounds,” etc. etc. etc. - Mr. Bowles's sensibility,
Who o'cr some shrinking victim author sland, in denying his “sensitiveness to criticism,” proves, A solemn, secrel, and vindictive brood, perhaps, loo much. But if he has been so charged,
Only lerrific in your cowl and hood." and truly-what then? There is no moral turpi- and so on-10 “ bloody law” and “red scourges,"
with other similar phrases, which may not be alto-Glover, Chatterton, Burns, and Bloomfield, for his yether agreeable to the above-mentioned "most peers, should hardly have quarrelled with Mr. Gilrespectable characters.” Mr. Bowles goes on:“I christ for his critic. Mr. Gilchrist's station, concluded my observations on the last pamphleteer however, which might conduct him to the with feelings not unkind towards Mr. Gilchrist, highest civic honours, and to boundless wealth, or” [it should be nor] “ to the author of the review has nothing to require apology; but even if it of Spence, be he whom he might.”—“I was in had, such a reproach was not very gracious on hopes, as I have always been ready to admit the part of a clergyman, nor graceful on that of a any errors I might have been led into, or preju- gentleman. The allusion to Christian criticism” dice I might have entertained, that even Mr. Gil- is not particularly happy, especially where Mr. Gilchrist might be disposed to a more amicable mode christ is accused of having “set the first example of discussing what I had advanced in regard to of this mode in Europe.” What Pagan criticism Pope's moral character.” As Major Sturgeon ob- may have been, we know but little; the names of serves, “There never was a set of more amicable Zoilus and Aristarchus survive, and the works of officers—with the exception of a boxing-bout Aristotle, Longinus, and Quintilian: but of Chrisbetween Captain Shears and the Colonel.” tian criticism” we have already had some specimens
A page and half-nay, only a page before-Mr. in the works of Philelphus, Poggius, Scaliger, Bowles re-affirms his conviction, that “what he Milton, Salmasius, the Cruscanti (versus Tasso), has said of Pope's moral character is (generally the French Academy (against the cid), and the anspeaking) true," and that his “poetical principles tagonists of Voltaire and of Pope—to say nothing are invariable and invulnerable.” He has also of some articles in most of the reviews, since their published three pamphlets-ay, four, of the same carliest institution in the person of their respect. tenor,--and yet, with this declaration and these able and still prolific parent, The Monthly. Whi, declamations staring him and his adversaries in then, is Mr. Gilchrist to be singled out “as having The face, he speaks of his “readiness to admit er- set the first example ?” A sole page of Milton, or rors or to abandon prejudices!!!” His use of the Salmasius contains more abuse-rank, rancoroas, word "amicable” reminds me of the Irish institu- unleavened abuse-lhan all that can be raked tion (which I have somewhere heard or read of) forth from the whole works of many recent critics. called the" Friendly Society," where the president There are some, indeed, who still keep up the good always carried pistols in his pocket, so that when old custom; but fewer English than foreign. It is one amicable gentleman knocked down another, a pity that Mr. Bowles cannot witness some of the the difference might be adjusted on the spot, at the Italian controversies, or become the subject of one. harmonious distanee of twelve paces.
He would then look upon Mr. Gilchrist as a pancBut Mr. Bowles “has since read a publication by cyrist. him (Mr. Gilchrist) containing such vulgar slander, In the long sentence quoted from the article in affecting private life and character,” etc. etc.; and The London Magazine, there is one coarse image, Mr. Gilchrist has also had the advantage of read the justice of whose application I shall not pretend ing a publication by Mr. Bowles sufficiently imbued to determine:—“The pruriency with which his with personality; for one of the first and principal nose is laid to the ground” is an expression which, lopics of reproach is that he is a grocer, that he whether founded or not, might have been omitted. has a "pipe in his mouth, ledger-book, green can- But the "analomical' minuteness” appears to me isters, dingy shopboy, half a hogshead of brown justified even by Mr. Bowles's own subsequent quotreacle," etc. Nay, the saine delicate raillery is tation. To the point;-"Many facts tend to prove upon the very title-page. When controversy has the peculiar susceptibility of his passions; nor can once commenced upon this fuoting, as Dr. Johnson we implicitly believe that the connexion between said to Dr. Percy, “Sir, there is an end of polite- him and Martha Blount was of a nature so pure and ness—we are to be as rude as we please-Sir, you innocent as his panegyrist Ruffhead would have said that I was short-sighted.” As a man's pro- us believe,” etc.—“At no time could she have refession is generally no more in his own power than garded Pope personally with attachment," elc.his person—both having been made out for him, “But the most extraordinary circumstance, in reit is hard that he should be reproached with either, gard to his connection with female society, was the and still more that an honest calling should be strange mixture of indecent and even profane made a reproach. If there is any thing more ho- levity which his conduct and language often exbinourable to Mr. Gilchrist than another it is, that bited. The cause of this particularity may be being engaged in commerce he has had the taste, sought, perhaps, his consciousness of physical and found live leisure, to become so able a proficient | defect, which made him affect a character unconin the higher literature of his own and other coun- genial, and a language opposite to the truth.” If tries. Mr. Bowles, who will be proud to own this is not “minute moral analomy," I should be