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gans and the fame thing may be fuppofed of metallic oxides; and thefe ideas ought to lead to fome new investigations in medicine and phyfiology. p. 52, 53.
We have thus introduced our readers to the important facts recorded in Mr Davy's very interesting communication. Satisfied that the experimental investigation itself is the most material part of the work, that we are as yet only on the verge of a much wider field, and that the facts already within our reach are insufficient for the foundation of a general theory, we have deemed it proper to confine our attention almost exclusively to a history of the subject, in so far as it is before us; and, without entering into any discussion of the hypothesis struck out by Mr Davy, or even of the inferences which he is entitled to draw, we have reserved for a more mature branch of the Inquiry, whatever we may have to deliver on these heads. In so doing, we have indeed only followed our author's own example; for nothing is more praiseworthy in his treatise, than the caution and modesty with which he ventures to suggest, rather than lay down, his theoretical opinions; and he uniformly keeps them in the back ground, applying himself almost exclusively to the multiplication of facts, and repeatedly admitting that the time for theorizing is not yet come. Even at present, however, and while awaiting, with impatience, the continuance of his investigations, we may be permitted to express the delight which we have received from his strict and patient induction. The chain of experiments by which he removes all the difficulties and obscurity that hitherto hung over the changes produced in water by Galvanic action, is surpassed by no inquiry of the kind, in modern times, for closeness, copiousnes, and minute accuracy. The examination of it gives us an irresistible disposition to confide in all the other processes of the author, which he passes over more hastily, or only refers to in general terms. The felicity with which he seizes and follows up the loose hints thrown out by other inquirers, and pursues also the various paths opened incidentally by his own preliminary course of experiments, must take away all the envy one might be apt to feel towards a person who, without so excellent a title, had, by happy chances, made such a progress in valuable discovery as has rewarded his labours. Whatever Mr Davy has done in this Inquiry, and all the more wonderful things which he has since accomplished, are the fair fruits of the industry and ability shown in the painful researches above analyzed. We shall wait with some impatience, until the remaining part of his Galvanic experiments are laid before the public; and shall then gladly resume the discussion, both for the sake of continuing our account of his progress, and of entering into an examination of the general reasonings.
ART. IX. The Works of Alexander Pope Esq., in Verse and Prose; containing the principal Notes of Drs Warburton and Warton: to which are added some Original Letters. By the Rev. William Lisle Bowles. 10 volumes 8vo. London. 1806.
HERE is something very perverse in the irregularity with which fortune distributes to literary men their chief sustenance-reputation. To some she gives full measure, and present payment; they live with nobles, and are buried among kings; they are worshipped by friends and flatterers; they exercise a sort of tyranny over the public taste, and the credit of their contemporaries; and after multiplying their acknowledged writings without any stint, but that which their own indolence or discretion may impose, there is still an abundant harvest remaining of private correspondence, and whole volumes of ana and anecdotes are hashed up out of their sayings. A less fortunate class have nothing in this world to comfort them, but that last solace of poor poets and scholars-the hope of posthumous fame from a wiser posterity; and to take off again from even this scanty pittance, they must be aware that posterity, even if it showers applause upon their labours, may be able to trace little more of themselves than could be discovered of P. P. clerk of the parish; that he walked about with a black and white cat, and swallowed loaches. Homer is, in fact, only a shorter expression for the anonymous author of the Iliad; we have just a trifle more about Pindar; we have some little light respecting Virgil; can tell still more of Shakespeare; and a good deal about Milton. But the three writers, of our own country at least, who seem to bask in the fullest sunshine of reputation, are Pope, Swift, and Johnson. They have fallen into the hands of portrait-painters, who think shadow unnecessary, and disdain that discreet management of the pencil, which keeps down certain parts of the picture, were it only to give relief to others. We own that the public are against us, who seem to crave insatiably for these literary morsels: but it does appear to us, that a man may have too much said about him, as well as too little; and that many a distinguished character may be the loser by showing the world, amidst all the blaze of hot-pressed paper, in what terms he gave orders to his steward, and with what compliments he returned thanks for a haunch of venison. Indeed, we almost doubt whether the possible existence of future Nicholses, Malones, and Chalmerses, events against which we see no security, is not a drawback upon literary exertion; and we put it to any modest young man who intends to obtain immortal renown, whether the consciousness that he is living,
living, like the Bonzes, in a house of glass, that all his loose sayings are sure to be as eternal as his writings, does not inspire, from time to time, an irksome and painful sensation.
The works of Pope were published soon after his death, by his friend and executor Warburton, in nine volumes, containing as well those poems upon which his fame most depends, as a collection of letters, copious enough, one would think, to satisfy the public curiosity for such compositions. By degrees, a few trifling poems, and some more letters became public and Dr Joseph Warton, in 1797, added these, with as much more as he could scrape together, to Warburton's edition; cutting down, at the same time, his own essay on the writings and genius of Pope, published 1761, into shreds and patches of notes, which he interspersed with those of Warburton. Mr Bowles has now republished Warton's edition, with a few letters which were not included in it. His own share of this edition consists of a life, a variety of notes, in addition to those of the preceding editors, and concluding observations on the poetical character of Pope.
The partiality of editors is not more notorious than natural. If an author is as a parent to his works, an editor is at least a guardian; he is loco parentis; and while he is bound to protect the inheritance from wrong, may be expected also to feel some little tenderness for the heir. There have been those, however, who, from this weakness, have seemed to lye under the opposite bias, and have endeavoured, rather to dispossess the world of too favourable an idea of their author, than to varnish over his failings. Of Pope's three critical commentators, Warburton is an indiscriminate and sophistical eulogist; Warton is, generally, candid and impartial; but Mr Bowles, we think, almost always evinces an adverse prepossession. The tone, indeed, of his own poetical feelings is so little in unison with his author, that one is led to wonder that he should have taken upon him a labour, the burthen of which could not have been alleviated by much zeal and interest about his subject.
The life of Pope is one of the finest, as well as most elaborate, which Johnson has written. He seems to have been more on his guard than was usual with him, against a secret ill-will, and perhaps jealousy, which he had imbibed; and, in the present state of public opinion respecting Pope, that suffrage may be deemed favourable, which would have been spurned half a century since as the fruit of bad taste or malignity. If he has left on the mind an impression of dislike towards Pope's moral character, the cause, we fear, must be found rather in the plain truth of his story, than in his own commentary. Mr Bowles is more studious in bringing forward and dwelling upon the blemishes of his author's
author's disposition; but, in fact, they speak pretty plainly for themselves; and we stand in need of no guide-post to direct our contempt towards duplicity and cowardice. Perhaps, however, an editor might have done more for the brighter parts of the subject, and pointed out more fully that remarkable sensibility and tenderness of heart, which beamed through Pope's natural selfishness, and turned his connexions, even with the great, into real and ardent friendships.
The following account of the Unfortunate Lady,' is curious.
The ftory which was told to Condorcet by Voltaire, and by Condorcet to a gentleman of high birth and character, from whom I receiv ed it, is this. That her attachment was not to Pope, or to any Englifhman of inferior degree;' but to a young French prince of the bloodroyal, Charles Emmanuel Duke of Berry, whom, in early youth, the had met at the court of France. In 1710, if we give this date to the elegy, the Duke of Berry muft have been in his twenty-fourth year, being born 1686.
The verses certainly feem unintelligible, unless they allude to fome connexion, to which her highest hopes, though nobly connected herself, could not afpire. What other fenfe can be given to these words?
"Why bade ye, elfe, ye powers, her foul aspire
"Ambition firft iprung from your bright abodes,
She was herself of a noble family, or there can be no meaning in the line,
"That once had honour, virtue, titles, fame. "
Under the idea here fuggefled, a greater propriety is given to the verfe, which otherwife appears fo tame and cominon place,
"'Tis all thou art, and all the proud fhall be." Vol. I. P. xxxii. Mr Bowles justifies Addison, at some length, from the charge which Pope and all the world, since the publication of Pope's lines on Atticus, have brought against him, of disingenuously writing a translation of the first Iliad in Tickell's name. There is a similar defence of Addison in Bishop Hurd's Life of Warburton, which Mr Bowles has not quoted; it is said to have been satisfactory to Warburton himself.
The passion of Pope for the Misses Blount, which is almost passed over by Johnson, is put in a striking light by Mr Bowles.
A friendly but indefinite connexion, a ftrange mixture of paffion, gallantry, licentioufnefs, and kindness, had long taken place between himfelf and the Mifs Blounts. It has been faid, that Terefa was the first object of his attention. For fome time his partiality feems to have been wavering, He was confulted, and interefted himself in the affairs of the family; for the father died in 1710. After fome mifunderstand
ing, mutual bickerings, and complaints with Terefa, he finally fet his heart on Martha. She was neither fo handfome nor intelligent as her fifter; and, to be admired by a man fó celebrated as a wit, was the more grateful, as it flattered her understanding, the point in which she was most deficient. '
The curious letters which passed between him and her sister Teresa, published in the tenth volume, will show the decline and termination of their connexion, as well as evince how much he felt on the occasion.
As these letters are without date, we cannot say exactly when they were written. Pope seems to have fixed his regard solely on Martha so early as 1714; for he says, in one letter,
"In thefe overflowings of my heart, 1 pay you my thanks for those two obliging letters you favoured me with, of the 18th and 24th inftant. That which begins with "My charming Mr Pope!" was a delight to me beyond all expreffion. You have at laft entirely gained the conquèft over your fair fifter. 'Tis true, you are not handfome, for you are a woman, and think you are not; but this good-humour and tenderness for me has a charm that cannot be refifted. That face muft needs be irrefiftible, which was adorned with fmiles even when it could not fee the coronation. "
Though it is hardly worth noticing, my opinion is, that after this letter, the public appearance of Terefa in town at the coronation, reviv ed all his fuppreffed tenderness; and the most direct addreffes to Martha were not conceived till after the coolness of Lady Mary, and the death of the brother in 1726.
Pope, however, was in this refpect a politician; and he carefully, to the family at least, avoided any expreffion in his letters that might be conftrued into a direct avowal; and when his warmth fometimes betrayed him, he generally contrived to make old Mrs Blount and her other daughter parties, fo that whatever was faid might appear only the dictates of general kindness.
• On the death of their brother his intimate friend and correfpondent, he feems to fpeak more openly his undifguifed fentiments to Martha, who from this time became his confidant, having admitted a connexion which fubjected her to fome ridicule, but which ended only with his life. Pope was now in his 38th year. He was never indifferent to female fociety; and though his good fenfe prevented him, confcious of fo many perfonal infirmities, from marrying, yet he felt the want of that fort of reciprocal tenderness and confidence in a female, to whom he might freely communicate his thoughts, and on whom, in sickness and infirmity, he could rely. All this Martha Blount became to him: by degrees the became identified with his existence. She partook of his difappointments, his vexations, and his comforts. Wherever he went, his correfpondence with her was never remitted; and when the warmth of gallantry was over, the cherished idea of kindness and regard remained.' I. p. lxix.
Of this remarkable attachment, which enslaved the whole heart