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but all thought him above neglect. The sale increased, and editions were multiplied. The subsequent editions of the first epistle exhibited two memorable corrections. At first, the poet and his friend
“A mighty maze, but not without a plan ;” for if there was no plan it was in vain to describe or to trace the maze.
The other alteration was of these lines :
"And spite of pride, and in thy reason's spite,
One truth is clear, whatever is, is right: but having afterwards discovered, or been shown, that the truth” which subsisted “in spite of reason could not be very “clear," he substituted
"And spite of pride, in erring reason's spite."
To such oversights will the most vigorous mind be liable when it is employed at once upon argument and : poetry.
The second and third epistles were published, and Pope was, I believe, more and more suspected of writing them. At last, in 1734, he avowed the fourth, and claimed the honour of a moral poet. In the conclusion it is sufficiently acknowledged that the doctrine of the “Essay on Man" was received from Bolingbroke, who is said to have ridiculed Pope, among those who enjoyed his confidence, as having adopted and advanced principles of which he did not perceive the consequence, and as blindly propagating opinions contrary to his own. That those communications had been consolidated into a scheme regularly drawn, and delivered to Pope, from whom it
returned only transformed from prose to verse, has been reported, but hardly can be true. The essay plainly appears the fabric of a poet; what Bolingbroke supplied could be only the first principles, the order, illustration, and embellishments, must all be Pope's. These principles it is not my business to clear from obscurity, dogmatism, or falsehood, but they were not immediately examined. Philosophy and poetry have not often the same readers ; and the essay abounded in splendid amplifications and sparkling sentences, which were read and admired with no great attention to their ultimate purpose. Its flowers caught the eye, which did not see what the gay foliage concealed, and for a time flourished in the sunshine of universal approbation. So little was any evil tendency discovered, that, as innocence is unsuspicious, many read it for a manual of piety. Its reputation soon invited a translator. It was first turned into French prose, and afterwards by Resnel into verse. Both translations fell into the hands of Crousaz, who first, when he had the version in prose, wrote a general censure, and afterwards reprinted Resnel's version, with particular remarks upon every paragraph.
Crousaz was a professor of Switzerland, eminent for his treatise of logic, and his “Examen de Pyrrhonisme,"' and, however little known or regarded here, was no mea'? antagonist. His mind was one of those in which philosophy and piety are happily united. He was accustomed to argument and disquisition, and perhaps was grown too desirous of detecting faults, but his intentions were always right, his opinions were solid, and his religion pure. His incessant vigilance for the promotion of piety disposed him to look with distrust upon all metaphysical systems of theology, and all schemes of virtue and happiness purely rational; and therefore it was not long before he was persuaded that the positions of Pope, as they terminated for the most part in natural religion, were
intended to draw mankind away from revelation, and to represent the whole course of things as a necessary concatenation of indissoluble fatality, and it is undeniable that in many passages a religious eye may easily discover expressions not very favourable to morals or to liberty.
About this time Warburton began to make his appearance in the first ranks of learning. He was a man of vigorous faculties, a mind fervid and vehement, supplied by incessant and unlimited inquiry, with wonderful extent and variety of knowledge, which yet had not oppressed his imagination nor clouded his perspicacity. To every work he brought a memory full fraught, together with a fancy fertile of original combinations, and at once exerted the powers of the scholar, the reasoner, and the wit. But his knowledge was too multifarious to be always exact, and his pursuits were too eager to be always cautious. His abilities gave him a haughty confidence, which he disdained to conceal or mollify, and his impatience of opposition disposed him to treat his adversaries with sạch contemptuous superiority as made his readers commonly his enemies, and excited against the advocate the wishes of some who favoured the cause. He seems to have adopted the Roman Emperor's determination, oderint dum metuant ; he used no allurements of gentle language, but wished to compel rather than persuade. His style is copious without selection, and forcible without neatness. He took the words that presented themselves. His diction is coarse and impure, and his sentences are unmeasured. He had in the early part of his life pleased himself with the notice of inferior wits, and corresponded with the enemies of Pope. A letter was produced, when he had perhaps himself forgotten it, in which he tells Concanen, “ Dryden, I'observe, borrows for want of leisure, and Pope for want of genius, Milton out of pride, and Addison out of modesty." And when Theobald published Shakespeare, in opposition to Pope, the best notes were supplied by
Warburton. But the time was now come when Warburton was to change his opinion, and Pope was to find a defender in him who had contributed so much to the exaltation of his rival.
The arrogance of Warburton excited against him every artifice of offence, and therefore it may be supposed that his union with Pope was censured as hypocritical inconstancy, but surely, to think differently at different times of poetical merit may be easily allowed. Such opinions are often admitted, and dismissed without nice examination. Who is there that has not found reason for changing his mind about questions of greater importance ?
Warburton, whatever was his motive, undertook, without solicitation, to rescue Pope from the talons of Crousaz, by freeing him from the imputation of favouring fatality or rejecting revelation ; and from month to month continued a vindication of the “ Essay on Man," in the literary journal of that time called the “Republic of Letters.",
Pope, who probably began to doubt the tendency of his own work, was glad that the positions, of which he perceived himself not to know the full meaning, could by any mode of interpretation be made to mean well. How much he was pleased with his gratuitous defender the following letter evidently shows :
“ April 11, 1739. “SIR, I have just received from Mr. R. two more of your letters. It is in the greatest. hurry imaginable that I write this ; but I cannot help thanking you in particular for your third letter, which is so extremely clear short, and full, that I think Mr. Crousaz ought never to have another answer, and deserved not so good an one. I can only say, you do him too much honour, and me too much right, $o odd as the expression seems ; for you have made my system as clear as I ought to have done, and
could not. It is indeed the same system as mine, but illustrated with a ray of your own, as they say our natural body is the same still when it is glorified. I am sure I like it better than I did before, and so will every man else. I know I meant just what you explain ; but I did not explain my own meaning so well as you. You understand me as well as I do myself ; but you express me better than I could express myself. Pray accept the sincerest acknowledgments. I cannot but rish these letters were put together in one book, and intend (with your leave) to procure a translation of part at least, or of all of them, into French ; but I shall not proceed a step without your consent and opinion,” &c.
By this fond and eager acceptance of an exculpatory comment Pope testified that, whatever might be the seeming or real import of the principles which he had received from Boling broke, he had not intentionally attacked religion ; and Bolingbroke, if he meant to make him, without his own consent, an instrument of mischief, found him now engaged, with his eyes open, on the side of truth. It is known that Bolingbroke concealed from Pope his real opinions. He once discovered them to Mr. Hooke, who related them again to Pope, and was told by him that he must have mistaken the meaning of what he heard ; and Bolingbroke, when Pope's uneasiness incited him to desire an explanation, declared that Hooke had misunderstood him.
Bolingbroke hated Warburton, who had drawn his pupil from him ; and a little before Pope's death they had a dispute, from which they parted with mutual aversion. From this time Pope lived in the closest intimacy with his commentator, and amply rewarded his kindness and his zeal, for he introduced him to Mr. Murray, by whose interest he became preacher at Lincoln's Inn, and to Mr. Allen, who gave bim bis niece and his estate, and by