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PERSONAL TRAITS OF POPE.
pierced poor Theobald to the bone, fell blunt and pointless off a man of totally different character.
A frequent visitor at the Twickenham villa was Lord Bolingbroke, well known as a politician, a libertine, and a sceptic. Gradually the poison of his talk found its way into Pope's mind, and a metrical system of morals, The Essay on Man, sprang from the envenomed seeds. Condemning the opinions of the Essay, we cannot but admire its versification; but let us not forget that deadly serpents often lie coiled under the freshest leaves and sweetest blossoms of poetry.
Graceful and flowing Imitations of Horace were among Pope's latest works. Through all this poet's life of fifty-six years he was delicate and frail. The wonder is that soul and body kept together so long. When the poor little man got up in the morning, he had to be sewed into stiff canvas stays, without which he could not stand erect; his thin body was wrapped in fur and flannel; and his meagre legs required three pairs of stockings to give them a respectable look. After he grew bald, which happened early in life, a velvet cap became his favourite head-dress. On company days he wore a black velvet coat, a tie-wig, and a little sword. When he stayed with a friend, all the servants were kept in a bustle to answer Mr. Pope's never-ceasing calls. The house was roused up at night to make him coffee, or bring him paper, lest he might lose a happy thought. Poor fellow ! his fussiness was a foible easily pardoned; and as to his temper, when we remember that his life to use his own sad words-was one long disease," we can overlook the acid and the sting in remembrance of the pain. The little spider-so he describes his own meagre figure —that could spin webs of verse so brilliant and so deadly, lived with simple elegance upon £800 a year; paring his housekeeping with, perhaps, too close a hand, but cherishing to the last beneath his kindly roof the good old mother whom he loved so well. His death took place at Twickenham on the 30th of
1744 May, 1744. Asthma and other diseases had so worn away his strength, that the moment of his decease could not be perceived.
SPECIMEN OF POPE'S VERSE.
Pope's Letters, first published, as he tried to make the world believe, against his will, are well worth the reading; but his finest piece of prose is the Preface to his edition of Shakspere. Two of his well-known works have not yet been named-Windsor Forest and the Dying Christian to his Soul. The former, bright with hues caught in woodland rambles, presents glowing pictures of the scenery and sports which he had witnessed in the green glades of Windsor during the days of his dreamy, studious boyhood. The latter, perhaps the feeblest effort of his great pen, is a stiff and puerile rendering of the Emperor Adrian's last trembling sigh.
FROM "THE RAPE OF THE LOCK."
to the baron's brain
But when to mischief mortals bend their will,
SPECIMEN OF POPE'S VERSE.
Swift to the lock a thousand sprites repair,
The peer now spreads the glittering forfex wide
The life of the famous Dean Swift is a great tragedy. Through all the acts a dark gigantic genius moves, an intellectual Saul, towering by head and shoulders above his fellows, and possessed of an evil spirit, which does not quite abandon its wretched prey even when a pall of darkness settles on his ruined mind, and that dreadful silence of three years begins to unfold itself between a lurid life and the slumber of the narrow grave.
Swift was a Dublin man by birth, being born there in Hoey's Court in 1667. But his parents and his ancestors were English. His father, a mere bird of passage in Dublin, where he had come in the hope of getting some practice as a lawyer, died seven months before Jonathan's birth. At his uncle's expense
he went to Kilkenny School, and then to Trinity College, Dublin ; but in neither did he distinguish himself above the average run of students. Indeed, his degree of B.A. was of the lowest class, a narrow escape from the disgrace of being plucked, which roused him to studious resolves. . And to the steady industry of the next seven years he owed almost all the learning he ever had.
Dependence had all this while been burning like an acrid poison into the proud boy's soul. But his lessons in the hard school of adversity were not yet over. His uncle's death in 1688 flung him upon the world, and forced him to seek a shelter at Moor Park in the household of Sir William Temple, with whom his mother was slightly connected. Here for many years Swift continued to eat
SWIFT AT MOOR PARK.
bitter bread; waiting and looking out into the dim future for the time when he could break his chains, and smite tenfold for every stripe he had received. Standing mid-way between the elegantly selfish Sir William, who wrote and gardened and quoted the classics, and the liveried sneerers of the servants' hall, poor Swift gnawed at his own heart in disdainful silence, writhing helplessly under the lofty chidings of his Honour, and the vulgar insolence of his Honour's own man. We can well imagine the working of the swarthy features, the deadly concentrated light of the terrible blue eye, and the convulsive starts of the ungainly limbs, as those continual streams of petty scorn and malice trickled on the spirit of the morbidly sensitive youth, who felt them like molten lead, yet could not or dared not take revenge. At Temple's Swift met King William, who, walking in the garden, showed him how the Dutch cut their asparagus, and offered to make him a captain of horse. One cannot help wishing that Swift had accepted the troop. We should not, most probably, have had Gulliver's Travels on our shelves, but the sabreing of French dragoons might have acted as a safety-valve to the poisonous humours which so many years of bondage had generated in his breast; and the red coat would not have burned him to the bone, as the priest's cassock did, scorching him, as the poisoned shirt scorched Hercules, until the wretched man burst into shrieks of foaming rage.
In an evil hour Swift, who had already graduated as M.A. at Oxford, crossed to Dublin, took holy orders, and became prebend of Kilroot in Connor at £100 a year. But the life 1693 of a country parson was even worse misery to Swift than the A.D. wretchedness of Moor Park. Thither, accordingly, he returned, humbling himself in the dust before the great baronet. Then he became involved in his mysterious love-affair with Hester Johnson, daughter of Sir William's housekeeper, better known by Swift's pet name of Stella, whose black curls and loving eyes threw their spells around the lonely Levite.
Let us glance forward along the course of this strange and Eremingly unfinished life, over which, from its very beginning, the