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The vivid green his shining plumes unfold,
His painted wings, and breast that flames with gold !


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In 1713, the period to which our remarks have now brought us down, Pope commenced the translation of the Niad.' At first the gigantic task which he had undertaken oppressed him with its difficulty, but he gradually became more familiar with the language and imagery of the original, and in a short time was able to write fifty lines a day. From this translation he realized nearly six thousand pounds; but his fame was not advanced in an equal proportion by his labors as a translator. The facility of his rhyme, the additional false ornaments which he imparted to the ancient Greek, and his departure from the nice discrimination of character and speech which prevails in Homer, are faults now universally admitted, Cowper, therefore, justly remarks, that the Iliad and Odyssey in Pope's hands have no more the air of antiquity than if he had himself invented them. The success which attended the Iliad led to the translation of the Odyssey; but Pope now called in his friends, Broome and Fenton, to aid him. The labor was so arranged that the assistants performed one half of the task, but the compensation for the work was by no means so equally shared. Fenton, who was a poor country tutor, received three hundred pounds, and Broome, five hundred; while Pope obtained from his contract nearly three thousand.

Pope's Homeric labors lasted twelve years; and such was the improvement which his pecuniary resources derived from them, that he was enabled to remove from the shades of Windsor Forest to a situation nearer the metropolis. He purchased the lease of a house and grounds at Twiekenham, to which he removed, with his father and mother, and where he continued to reside during the remainder of his life. This classic spot which Pope de lighted to improve, and where he was visited by ministers of state, by wits, by poets, and by beauties, now bears few marks of its former elegance and taste.

In 1716, while Pope was engaged in his translation of the Iliad, he wrote, during a visit to Oxford, the Epistle of Eloisa to Abelard—a production which is the most highly poetical and passionate of all his works. The delicacy of the poet, in vailing over the circumstances of the story, and at the same time preserving the ardor of Eloisa's passion, the beauty of his imagery and descriptions, the exquisite melody of his versification, rising and falling like the tones of an Eolian harp, as he successively portrays the tumults of guilty love, the deepest penitence, and the highest devotional rapture, have scarcely ever been equalled. What could be sweeter than the following lines :

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In these deep solitudes and awful cells,
Where heavenly-pensive contemplation dwells,
And ever-musing melancholy reigns,
What means this tumult in a vestal's veins ?

Why rove my thoughts beyond this last retreat ?
Why feels my heart its long-forgotten heat ?
Yet, yet I love-From Abelard it came,
And Eloisa yet must kiss the name.

Dear, fatal name! rest ever unrevealed,
Nor pass these lips in holy silence sealed :
Hide it, my heart, within that close disguise,
Where, mix'd with God's, his loved idea lies:
O, write it not, my hand--the name appears
Already written-wash it out my tears !
In vain lost Eloisa weeps and prays,
Her heart still dictates, and her hand obeys.

Relentless walls! whose darksome round contains
Repentant sighs, and voluntary pains :
Ye rugged rocks, which holy knees have worn!
Ye grots and caverns shagged with horrid thorn !
Shrines, where their vigils pale-eyed virgins keep!
And pitying saints, whose statues learn to weep!
Though cold like you, unmoved and silent grown,
I have not yet forgot myself to stone.
All is not heaven's while Abelard has part,
Still rebel nature holds out half my heart;
Nor prayers nor fasts its stubborn pulse restrain,
Nor tears for ages taught to flow in vain.

Soon as thy letters trembling I unclose,
That well-known name awakens all my woes.
Oh, name forever sad, forever dear;
Still breathed in sighs, still ushered with a tear!
I tremble, too, where'er my own I find,
Some dire misfortune follows close behind.
Line after line my gushing eyes o'erflow,
Led through a sad variety of woe:
Now warm in love, now withering in my bloom,
Lost in a convent's solitary gloom!
There stern religion quenched the unwilling flame,
There died the best of passions, love and fame.

Yet write, oh write me all, that I may join
Griefs to thy griefs, and echo sighs to thine!
Nor foes nor fortune take this power away;
And is my Abelard less kind than they?
Tears still are mine, and those I need not spare ;
Love but demands what else were shed in prayer:
No happier task these faded eyes pursue;
To read and weep is all they now can do.

If less genial tastes, and a love of satire withdrew Pope from those fountain-springs of the Muse, it was evidently from no want of power in the poet to display the richest hues of imagination, or the finest impulses of the human heart.

In 1733, he published his Essay on Man, the subject having been suggested to him by Lord Bolingbroke. The 'Essay' was intended as part of a system of ethics in verse, which the poet had projected : it is now read, not for its philosophy, but for its poetry. Its metaphysical distinctions are neg


lected for those splendid passages and striking incidents which irradiate the whole poem. In lines like the following, he speaks with a mingled sweetness and dignity, superior even to his great master Dryden :

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Lo! the poor Indian, whose untutored mind
Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind;
His soul, proud science never taught to stray
Far as the solar walk on milky way;
Yet simple nature to his hope has given
Behind the cloud-topped hill a humbler heaven;
Some safer world in depth of woods embraced,
Some happier island in the watery waste,
Where slaves once more their native land behold,
Nor fiends torment, nor Christians thirst for gold.
To be, contents his natural desire,
He asks no angel's wing, no seraph's fire;
But thinks, admitted to that equal sky,
His faithful dog shall bear him company.

The poetic labors of Pope during the last few years of his life were confined chiefly to satire. In 1727, he had published, in conjunction with Swift, three volumes of Miscellanies in prose and verse, which drew down, upon the authors, a torrent of invectives and lampoons, and which eventually led to the production of Pope's Dunciad. This elaborate satire displays the fertile invention of the poet, the variety of his illustration, and the force and facility of his diction; but the work is now read with a feeling more allied to pity than to admiration-pity that one so highly gifted should have allowed himself to descend to things so mean, and to devote the close of a great literary life to the infliction of unnecessary pain on every humble aspirant in the world of letters. “I have often wondered,' says Cowper, ‘that the same poet who wrote the ‘Dunciad' should have written these lines :

That mercy I to others show,
That mercy show to me.

Alas for Pope, if the mercy he showed to others was the measure of the mercy he received.'

Pope's satire is very different from that of Dryden. It is neither so keen nor so bright. Whom he attacks, he butchers; whom he cuts, he mangles. He shows us not the lifeless corpse of his victim, but the writhings and the tortured limbs. For the object of Dryden's satire we never feel any thing like sympathy. His fiat seems the fiat of unerring justice, which it would be almost impiety to dispute. Pope exhibits more of the accuser than of the judge. Petty interests and personal malice, instead of love of justice,


and hatred of vice, appear to be the powers which nerve his arm.

The victim is sure to fall beneath his blow, but the deed, however righteous, inspires us with no regard for the executioner.

Sir Walter Scott has very justly remarked that Pope must have suffered more from these wretched contentions than his antagonists. It is well-known that his temper was ultimately much changed for the worse. Misfortunes were also now gathering round him. Swift, his dearest friend, was fast verging on insanity, and was lost to the world. Atterbury and Gay died in 1732; and soon after his venerable mother, whose declining years he had watched with such affectionate solicitude, also expired. To this accumulation of sorrows we may add an important political event. The anticipated approach of the Pretender induced the government to issue a proclamation prohibiting every Roman Catholic from appearing within ten miles of London. Pope complied with the proclamation ; and he was soon afterward too ill to be in town. This additional proclamation from the Highest of all Powers,' as he termed his sickness, he submitted to without murmuring. A constant state of excitement, added to a life of ceaseless study and contemplation, operating on a frame naturally delicate, and even deformed from birth, had completely exhausted the sinking poet's powers. He complained of want of ability to think; yet a short time before his death he said, “I am so certain of the soul's being immortal, that I seem to feel it within me as it were by intuition. Another of his dying remarks was, “There is nothing that is meritorious but virtue and friendship; and, indeed, friendship itself is only a part of virtue. Pope died at Twickenham, on the thirtieth of May, 1744, having just passed the fifty-sixth year of his age.

As a poet, it would be improper to rank Pope with those great masters of the lyre-Chaucer, Spenser, Shakspeare, and Milton. He belongs to the school of Dryden, and was more the poet of artificial life and manners, than the poet of nature. In comparing his versification with that of his great master, it is difficult to determine to which the preference belongs. In ease and sweetness, Pope has the advantage; but in majesty and power, Dryden left our versification at a point from which it has since rather receded than advanced. Pope, it is true, levelled and polished it; but he levelled the rocks that impelled, as well as the stones that impeded its majestic current, and he polished away much of its grandeur, as well as of its roughness. Pope, however, had a finer fancy than Dryden, and we are almost inclined to say, in opposition to the popular opinion, that he possessed more genius. We know of nothing so original and imaginative in the whole range of Dryden's poetry as the “Rape of the Lock;' no descriptions of nature that can compare with those in the 'Windsor Forest ;' and nothing so tender and feeling as many parts of the Elegy on an Unfortunate Lady, and the ` Epistle from Eloisa to Abelard. With that ‘Elegy,' and the Messiah, we shall close our remarks upon this interesting author :


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What beck’ning ghost, along the moonlight shade,
Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade ?
'Tis she !—but why that bleeding bosom gored ?
Why dimly gleams the visionary sword ?
O ever beauteous, ever friendly! tell,
Is it in heaven, a crime to love too well ?
To bear too tender or too firm a heart,
To act a lover's or a Roman's part ?
Is there no bright reversion in the sky
For those who greatly think, or bravely die ?

Why bade ye else, ye powers ! her soul aspire
Above the vulgar flight of low desire ?
Ambition first sprung from your blest abodes;
The glorious fault of angels and of Gods:
Thence to their images on earth it flows,
And in the breasts of kings and heroes glows.
Most souls, 'tis true, but peep out once an age,
Dull sullen prisoners in the body's cage:
Dim lights of life, that burn a length of years,
Useless, unseen, as lamps in sepulchres;
Like eastern kings, a lazy state they keep,
And close confined to their own palace sleep.

From these, perhaps, (ere nature bade her die)
Fate snatched her early to the pitying sky.
As into air the purer spirits flow,
And separate from their kindred dregs below;
So flew the soul to its congenial place,
Nor left one virtue to redeem her race.

But thou, false guardian of a charge too good, Thou mean deserter of thy brother's blood ! See on these ruby lips the trembling breath, These cheeks now fading at the blast of death; Cold is that breast which warmed the world before, And those love-darting eyes must roll no more. Thus, if eternal justice rules the ball, Thus shall your wives, and thus your children fall: On all the line a sudden vengeance waits; And frequent hearses shall besiege your gates: There passengers shall stand, and, pointing, say (While the long funerals blacken all the way), Lo! these were they, whose souls the furies steeled And cursed with hearts unknowing how to yield. Thus unlamented pass the proud away, The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day! So perish all, whose breast ne'er learned to glow For other's good, or melt at other's woe.

What can atone (0 ever injured shade !) Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites unpaid ? No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear Pleas'd thy pale ghost, or graced thy mournful bier: By foreign hands thy dying eyes were closed, By foreign hands thy decent limbs composed,

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