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As is the case of many other people, who, with all their philosophy, are not content to rest their claims to distinction on their own virtues and achievements, there was an attempt on the part of Pope to hang his family on an aristocratic peg; and, as was to be expected in the case of a man who did not spare his enemies and who wrote Dunciads, there was as stout an attempt to pull this peg out. In his epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot, he makes this claim for his parentage :

“Of gentle blood, part shed in honour's cause,

Whilst yet in Britain honour had applause,
Each parent sprang."

And in a note to that epistle we are further informed, “that Mr. Pope's father was a gentleman of family in Oxfordshire, the head of which was the Earl of Downe, whose sole heiress married the Earl of Lindsay. His mother was the daughter of William Turnor, of York, &c.” In reply to this, Warton tells us, that when Pope published this note, a relation of his own, a Mr. Pottinger, observed that his cousin, Pope, had made himself out a fine pedigree, but he wondered where he got it; that he had never heard anything himself of their being related to the Earls of Downe; and, what was more, he had an old maiden aunt, equally related, a great genealogist, who was always talking of her family, but never mentioned this circumstance, on which she certainly would not have been silent, had she known anything of it. That the Earl of Guildford had examined the pedigree and descents of the Downe family, for any such relationship; and that at the Heralds' Office, this pedigree, which Pope had made out for himself, was considered to be as much fabricated as Mr. Ireland's descent from Shakspeare.

This was one of Pope's weaknesses. No man did more than he did in his day, to free literature from the long degradation of servile, fulsome dependence on patrons. He created a property for himself by his own literary exertions, and set a splendid example to literary men of independence. He showed them, that they might be free, honourable, and even wealthy, by their own means. He had the pride to place himself on equal terms with lords, when they were intellectual, but he scorned to flatter them. It was a pride worthy of a literary man, and it was well that when he departed from this just feeling, and would fain set up a claim to rank with them on their own terms of family and descent-a proceeding which undermined his true and unassailable principle of the dignity of genius,—that he should receive a due reprimand from the hands of his enemies. The moment that he abandoned in any degree the patent of God, the long and luminous descent of genius from heaven,-a patent far above all other patents, a descent far higher than all other descents,it was a fitting retribution, that the pigmies of the Dunciad should Aing it in his face that his father was a mechanic, a hatter, or a cobbler, as it appears, from his reply to Lord Hervey and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, that they did; who themselves had thus addressed him in print :

None thy crabbed numbers can endure,
Hard as thy heart, and as thy birth obscure.”

The simple fact was, that Pope's grandfather, the highest they could trace the family, was a clergyman in Hampshire. The second son was Alexander, the father of the poet. This Alexander was intended for mercantile offices, and was sent out to reside in a family in Lisbon, where he embraced catholicism, and transmitted that faith to his son. He afterwards settled in Lombard-street, in London, as a linen-merchant, where Pope was born; and, acquiring an independence, retired first to Kensington, and afterwards to Binfield, where he purchased a house, and about twenty acres of land. This was pedigree enough for a poet, who needs none. In a truer tone, he pronounces the genuine honours of both his parents and himself in these words ;—“A mother, on whom I never was obliged so far to reflect as to say she spoiled me; and a father, who never found himself obliged to say that he disapprored my conduct. In a word, I think it enough that my parents, such as they were, never cost me a blush; and that their son, such as he is, never cost them a tear.”

Improving on this in his prologue to his Satires, he disclaims any adventitious distinctions for his parents whatever, and draws a beautiful character of his father:

"Born to no pride, inheriting no strife,

Nor marrying discord in a noble wife;
Stranger to civil and religious rage,
The good man walked innoxious through his age;
No courts he saw, no suits would ever try,
Nor dared an oath, nor hazarded a lie.
Unlearned, he knew no schoolman's subtle art,
No language but the language of the heart;
By nature honest, by experience wise,
Healthy by temperance and by exercise ;
His life, though long, to sickness passed unknown,
His death was instant, and without a groan."

From these parents, however, Pope inherited a feeble and crooked frame. This circumstance, added to his being the only child of his father, led to his domestic education and habits. When eight years old he was placed under the tuition of the family priest. From him he passed to the schools mentioned, and at the early age of twelve returned home. This, he says, was all the instruction he received. He continued, however, to educate himself; and as Milton had done in Buckinghamshire, so he at Binfield and in the shades of Windsor Forest, pursued steadily his studies, both of books and nature. One of his earliest favourite books was Homer; and at Twyford school he wrote a satire on the master, for which he was severely castigated. Both these facts indicated his future character and pursuits. At Binfield he not only went on strenuously with the study of Latin, Greek, and French, but he commenced author. At twelve, he wrote his Ode to Solitude; a subject with which his situation made him well acquainted. Pope was one of the very rare instances of a genius which was at once precocious and enduring. But the secret of this was, that he did not exhaust his young powers out of mere puerile vanity, but went on reading all the best authors, English, French, Italian, Greek, and Latin, and wrote rather to imitate and practise different styles. To his sedulous practice of all kinds of styles, as those of Spenser, Waller, Cowley, Rochester, Dorset, but especially Chaucer and Dryden, may be attributed that great mastery of language, and that exquisite harmony of versification, in which he has never yet been excelled.

A great advantage to him in these pursuits was the friendship of Sir William Trumbull, who was not only an excellent scholar, but a man of great taste, and had seen the world. Sir William had been ambassador to the Ottoman Porte, and afterwards one of the secretaries of William III; he had now retired to East Hamstead, his native place, near Binfield, where he soon found out the promise of Pope, and became his guide and friend so long as he lived. Sir William introduced him to Wycherley, then an old man ; Wycherley introduced him to Walsh; and the literary connexions of the young poet spread so rapidly, that at seventeen he was an avowed poet, and frequented Will's coffee-house, which was on the north side of Russell-street, in Covent-garden, where the wits of the time used to assemble; and where Dryden had, when he lived, been accustomed to preside. But even while giving his evenings to society of the highest kind here, he was, during the day, pursuing his studies in town, and particularly prosecuting, under good masters, his knowledge of French and Italian. Neither, freely as he had written, had he rushed so very prematurely into print; it was not till 1709, when he was twenty-one, that he published his Pastorals, including some verses of Homer and Chaucer, in Jacob Tonson's Miscellany. This miscellany seemed to be the great periodical of the time; but the same year in which Pope's contributions appeared in it, brought forth the Tatler, which was succeeded by the Guardian and Spectator.

In 1711, Pope published his Essay on Criticism : this was soon followed by the Rape of the Lock; and Pope, still only twenty-three, was at once on the pinnacle of popularity. In 1715, or at the age of twenty-seven, he had already proceeded boldly with his grand enterprise, the translation of the Iliad of Homer, and had issued the first volume of it. This great work, however, had been preceded by the Windsor Forest, in 1712, and other detached poems, as his Ode on St. Cecilia's Day, in 1713; his Temple of Fame, in 1714; and his Key to the Lock, in 1715. Long before his Homer was out, he numbered amongst his acquaintance and friends every great and distinguished name of the time-Swift, Bolingbroke, Gay, Addison, Steele, Congreve, Mr. Secretary Craggs, Lord Halifax, Prior, Mallet, Arbuthnot, Parnell, Lord Oxford, Garth, Rowe, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, etc. All this Pope had accomplished by the age of twenty-seven, and while at Binfield. Binfield will, therefore, always remain a place of lively interest to the lovers of our national literature, and especially to the admirers of the polished, acute, logical, and moral intellect of Pope.

Binfield lies near Wokingham, and about two miles north of Cæsar's camp, a pleasant village, surrounded with handsome houses, and in the midst of the tract called the Royal Hunt. The house in which Pope's father, and Pope too, resided, till he went to Twickenham, is a small neat brick house, on the side of the London road. Within about half a mile of this house, and within a retired part of the forest, on the edge of a common, is the spot where, it is said, Pope used to compose many of his verses; on a large tree are inscribed in capital letters the words, Here Pope sung: this sentence used to be annually refreshed at the expense of a lady of Wokingham. There used also to be a seat under this tree, but that has long disappeared; the fact is, however, that tradition likes to fix on some particular spot, and especially some tree, as a particular object of a poet's attachment; it is a palpable affair, and satisfies the ordinary mind : but Pope, no doubt, especially when planning and working out his poem of Windsor Forest, used to ramble all through these scenes, and they may all be considered as associated with his memory and genius.

Of the town life of Pope we find but few traces, considering the well-known times, and the personages amongst whom he moved. Where his settled lodgings were I find no exact mention; he was sometimes at friends' houses, or at that of Jervas, the painter, which was probably near St. James's Park; as when Mr. Blount writes to Pope, in 1716, endeavouring to persuade him to make a journey to the continent with him, he exhorts him to leave “ laziness and the elms of St. James's Park.” Now, this summer Jervas was on a visit to Swift in Ireland, and during his absence Pope made use of his house as his town sojourn; it was exactly at the crisis of Pope's removal from Binfield to Twickenham, and no doubt was a great convenience to him till his own house was fully ready for him. His description of this house, in a letter to Jervas, will be well remembered by the readers of his letters:-“ As to your inquiry about

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