ing enough to take an umbrella in cloudy weather might be called so. There is a manifest confusion between what we know about ourselves and about other people; the whole point of the passage being that we are always mercifully blinded to our own future, however much reason we may possess. There is also inaccuracy as well as inelegance in saying,

"Heaven, Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,

A hero perish or a sparrow fall." To the last verse Warburton, desirous of reconciling his author with Scripture, appends a note referring to Matthew x. 29: "Are not two sparrows sold for one farthing ? and one of them shall not fall to the ground without your Father.” It would not have been safe to have referred to the thirtyfirst verse: “Fear ye not, therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

To my feeling, one of the most beautiful passages in the whole


is that familiar one:

“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 or milky way:
Yet simple Nature to his hope has given
Behind the cloud-topt 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,
No fiends torment, no 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."


But this comes in as a corollary to what went just before:

“Hope springs eternal in the human breast,
Mau never is but always to be blest;
The soul, uneasy, and confined from home,

Rests and expatiates in a life to come." Then follows immediately the passage about the poor Indian, who, after all, it seems, is contented with merely being, and whose soul, therefore, is an exception to the general rule. And what have the “ solar walk” (as he calls it) and “milky way” to do with the affair ? Does our hope of heaven depend on our knowledge of astronomy? Or does he mean that science and faith are neces. sarily hostile ? And, after being told that it is the "untutored mind” of the savage which "sees God in clouds and hears him in the wind,” we are rather surprised to find that the lesson the poet intends to teach is that

"All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul,
That, changed through all, and yet in all the same,
Great in the earth, as in the ethereal frame,
Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,

Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees." So that we are no better off than the untutored Indian, after the poet has tutored us. Dr. Warburton makes a rather lame attempt to ward off the charge of Spinozism from this last passage. He would have found it harder to show that the acknowledgment of any divine revelation would not overturn the greater part of its teachings. If Pope intended by his poem all that the bishop


takes for granted in his commentary, we must deny him what is usually claimed as his first merit,

clearness. If he did not, we grant him clearness as a writer at the expense of sincerity as a

Perhaps a more charitable solution of the difficulty would be, that Pope's precision of thought was no match for the fluency of his verse.

Lord Byron goes so far as to say, in speaking of Pope, that he who executes the best, no matter what his department, will rank the highest. I think there are enough indications in these letters of Byron's, however, that they were written rather more against Wordsworth than for Pope. The rule he lays down would make Voltaire a greater poet, in some respects, than Shakespeare. Byron cites Petrarch as an example; yet if Petrarch had put nothing more into his sonnets than execution, there are plenty of Italian sonneteers who would be his match. But, in point of fact, the department chooses the man and not the man the department, and it has a great deal to do with our estimate of him. Is the department of Milton no higher than that of Butler ? Byron took especial care not to write in the style he commended. But I think Pope has received quite as much credit in respect even of execution as he deserves. Surely execution is not confined to versification alone. What can be worse than this?

“At length Erasmus, that great, injured name,

(The glory of the priesthood and the shame,)
Stemmed the wild torrent of a barbarous age,
And drove those holy vandals off the stage.”


It would have been hard for Pope to have found a prettier piece of confusion in any of the small authors he laughed at than this image of a great, injured name stemming a torrent and driving vandals off the stage. And in the following verses the image is helplessly confused :

“Kind self-conceit to some her glass applies,
Which no one looks in with another's eyes,
But, as the flatterer or dependant paint,

Beholds himself a patriot, chief, or saint." The use of the word “applies” is perfectly unEnglish ; and it seems that people who look in this remarkable glass see their pictures and not their reflections. Often, also, when Pope attempts the sublime, his epithets become curiously unpoetical, as where he says, in the Dunciad,

As, one by one, at dread Medea's strain,

The sickening stars fade off the ethereal plain.” And not seldom he is satisfied with the music of the verse without much regard to fitness of imagery; in the “ Essay on Man,” for example:

“Passions, like elements, though born to fight,

Yet, mixed and softened, in his work unite;
These 't is enough to temper and employ;
But what composes man can man destroy ?
Suffice that Reason keep to Nature's road,
Subject, compound them, follow her and God.
Love, Hope, and Joy, fair Pleasure's smiling train,
Hate, Fear, and Grief, the family of Pain,
These, mixed with Art, and to due bounds confined,

Make and maintain the balance of the mind." Here reason is represented as an apothecary compounding pills of “pleasure's smiling train” and the “family of pain.” And in the Moral Essays,

“Know God and Nature only are the same;

In man the judgment shoots at flying game,
A bird of passage, gone as soon as found,

Now in the moon, perhaps, now under ground." The “judgment shooting at flying game” is an odd image enough; but I think a bird of passage, now in the moon and now under ground, could be found nowhere — out of Goldsmith's Natural History, perhaps. An epigrammatic expression will also tempt him into saying something without basis in truth, as where he ranks together “Macedonia's madman and the Swede," and says that neither of them “looked forward farther than his nose," a slang phrase which may apply well enough to Charles XII., but certainly not to the pupil of Aristotle, who showed himself capable of a large political forethought. So, too, the rhyme, if correct, is a sufficient apology for want of propriety in phrase, as where he makes “ Socrates bleed.

But it is in his Moral Essays and parts of his Satires that Pope deserves the praise which he himself desired:

Happily to steer
From grave to gay, from lively to severe,
Correct with spirit, eloquent with ease,

Intent to reason, or polite to please.”
Here Pope must be allowed to have established a
style of his own, in which he is without a rival
One can open upon wit and epigram at any page.



“ Behold, if Fortune or a mistress frowns,

Some plunge in business, other shave their crowns ;
To ease the soul of one oppressive weight,
This quits an empire, that embroils a state;

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