« ZurückWeiter »
L I F E
Printed for C. BATHURST, H.WOODFALL, W. STRAHAN,
J. and F. RIVINGTON, W. JOHNSTON, B. White,
of A. MILLAR. MDCCLXIX.
T HE following History hath been chiefly
1 compiled from original manuscripts, which the writer had the honour to be entrusted with by the reverend and learned prelate, the Bishop of Gloucester, the intimate friend of Mr. Pope.
As a composition of this nature ought to be compleat in itself, without reference to any other work, the reader will, nevertheless, unavoidably meet with fome repetitions of matter, which is already perhaps familiar to him.
In those instances, where the writer hath been indebted to others, more especially in what he hath borrowed from the Commentary and Notes, he hath, for the most part, followed the very words of the author, from whom the passages are taken. As in justice to the public, he would not fresume to alter expressions which he could not ménd; so ia justice to himself, he would not A 2
incur the suspicion, of attempting to conceal the true owner, by a pitiful variation.
With respect to the critical animadversions on Mr. Pope's writings, and genius, he is far from being over anxious to make others adopt his sentiments. He will think it sufficient, if his remarks should engage the reader to review his own opinions. Where he hath presumed to differ from the most respectable authorities, he would be rather understood to propose a doubt, than to offer a contradiction: he is not so vain, to make light of the opinions of others; nor yet so modest, to suppress his own. It will give him less concern, however, to expose his want of judgment, than to be conscious of the despicable insincerity of feigning a conviction, which he does not feel.
To fome, perhaps, the extracts will appear too copious, and he once entertained thoughts of referring to the passages, he judged proper to select. But, beside the great trouble and inceffant interruption, which this would have occasioned to the reader, it occurred to him that it would be impoflible, more especially in our
author's moral and didactic pieces, fully and candidly to exemplify the beauties and blemishes of his compositions, without giving a short connected view of the plan of each piece, and of his chain of reasoning; which contributes, in fome instances, to constitute the peculiar excellencies and faults, which are most material to be remarked. ,
It would, to a few perhaps, have been sufficient to have pointed out particular beauties by inverted commas, or other marks of distinction; and the writer is aware of the oftentation of citing fine passages with general applaufes, and empty exclamations, at the ends of them. But he recollected, that Night intimations do not always strike precipitate readers. Besides, it is scarce possible sometimes, when we are smitten with a fine passage, to suppress those involuntary bursts of applause---Euge! atque belle ! though, in truth, they are but empty exclamations.
Whenever fuch may have escaped from his pen, he trusts that the candid reader will ascribe them to a solicitude, which made him rather earnest to do justice to the poet's merit, than to raise an admiration of his own judgment. .