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Here, then, ends Pope's town life, or that part of his life when he gave himself most up to it. We now accompany him to his new and his last residence, his beloved Twickenham, or Twitenham, as he used to write it.

It seems that Pope did not purchase the freehold of the house and grounds at Twickenham, but only a long lease. He took his father and mother along with him. His father died there the year after, but his mother continued to live till 1733, when she died at the great age of ninety-three. For twenty years she had the singular satisfaction of seeing her son the first poet of his age; caressed by the greatest men of the time, courted by princes, and feared by all the base. No parents ever found a more tender and dutiful son. With him they shared in honour the ease and distinction he had acquired. They were the cherished objects of his home. Swift paid him no false compliment when he said, in condoling with him on his mother's death,—“ You are the most dutiful son I have ever known or heard of, which is a felicity not happening to one in a million.”

The property at Twickenham is properly described by Roscoe, as lying on both sides of the highway, rendering it necessary for him to cross the road to arrive at the higher and more ornamental part of his gardens. In order to obviate this inconvenience, he had recourse to the expedient of excavating a passage under the road from one part of his grounds to the other, a fact to which he alludes in these lines :

“ Know all the toil the heavy world can heap

Rolls o'er my grotto, nor disturbs my sleep.”

The lower part of these grounds, in which his house stood, constituted, in fact, only the sloping bank of the river, by much

the smaller portion of his territory. The passage, therefore, was very necessary to that far greater part, which was his wilderness, shrubbery, forest, and everything, where he chiefly planted and worked. This passage he formed into a grotto, having a front of rude stone-work opposite to the river, and decorated within with spars, ores, and shells. Of this place he has himself left this description.

“I have put the last hand to my works of this kind, in happily finishing the subterranean way and grotto. I found there a spring of the clearest water, which falls in a perpetual rill, that echoes through the cavern night and day. From the river Thames you see through my arch, up a walk of the wilderness, to a kind of open temple wholly composed of shells in the rustic manner; and from that distance under the temple, you look down through a sloping arcade of trees, and see the sails on the river passing suddenly and vanishing, as through a perspective glass. When you shut the door of this grotto, it becomes on the instant, from a luminous room, a camera obscura, on the walls of which all the objects of the river, hills, woods, and boats, are forming a moving picture, in their visible radiations; and when you have a mind to light it less, it affords you a very different scene. It is finished with shells, interspersed with looking-glass in regular forms, and in the ceiling is a star of the same material, at which when a lamp of an orbicular figure of thin alabaster is hung in the middle, a thousand pointed rays glitter, and are reflected over the place. There are connected to this grotto, by a narrow passage, two porches, one towards the river, of smooth stones, full of light and open; the other towards the garden, shadowed with trees, rough with shells, flints, and iron ore. The bottom is paved with simple pebbles, as is also the adjoining walk up the wilderness to the temple, in the natural taste, agreeing not ill with the little dripping murmur, and the aquatic idea of the whole place. It wants nothing to complete it but a good statue with an inscription, like that beautiful antique one which you know I am so fond of. You will think I have been very poetical in this description ; but it is pretty near the truth."

To this prose description Pope added this one in verse :

“ Thou who shalt stop, where Thames' translucent wave

Shines a broad mirror through the shadowy cave;
Where lingering drops from mineral roofs distil,
And pointed crystals break the sparkling rill;
Unpolished gems no ray on pride bestow,
And latent metals innocently glow;
Approach! great Nature studiously behold,
And eye the mine without a wish for gold.
Approach ; but awful! Lo! the Egerian grot,
Where, nobly pensive, St. John sat and thought;
Where British sighs from dying Wyndham stole,
And the bright flame was shot through Marchmont's soul.
Let such, such only, tread this sacred floor,
Who dare to love their country, and be poor.”


But it was not merely in forming this grotto that Pope employed himself; it was in building and extending his house, which was in a Roman style, with columns, arcades, and porticos. The designs and elevations of these buildings may be seen by his own hand in the British Museum, drawn in his usual way on backs of letters. The following passage, in a letter to Mr. Digby, will be sufficient to give us his idea of both his Thamesward garden and his house in a summer view :-“No ideas you could form in the winter could make you imagine what Twickenham is in this warm

Our river glitters beneath the unclouded sun, at the same time that its banks retain the verdure of showers; our gardens are offering their first nosegays; our trees, like new acquaintance brought happily together, are stretching their arms to meet each other, and growing nearer and nearer every hour. The birds are paying their thanksgiving songs for the new habitations I have made them. My building rises high enough to attract the eye and curiosity of the passenger from the river, where, upon beholding a mixture of beauty and ruin, he inquires, What house is falling, or what church is rising? So little taste have our common Tritons for Vitruvius; whatever delight the poetical gods of the river may take in reflecting on their streams, my Tuscan porticos, or Ionic pilasters."

Pope's architecture, like his poetry, has been the subject of much and vehement dispute. On the one hand, his grottos and his buildings have been vituperated as most tasteless and childish; on the other, applauded as beautiful and romantic. Into neither of these disputes need we enter.

In both poetry and architecture a bolder spirit and a better taste have prevailed since Pope's time. With all his foibles and defects, Pope was a great poet of the critical and didactic kind, and his house and place had their peculiar beauties. He was himself half inclined to suspect the correctness of his fancy in such matters, and often rallies himself on his gimcracks and crotchets in both verse and prose. Thus, in his first epistle of his first book of Horace, addressed to Bolingbroke:

“But when no prelate's lawn with haircloth lined

Is half so incoherent as my mind;
When-each opinion with the next at strife,
An ebb and flow of follies all my life-
I plant, root up; I build, and then confound;
Turn round to square, and square again to round;
You never change one muscle of your face ;
You think this madness but a common case.”

Pope's building madness, however, had method in it. Unlike the great romancer and builder of our time, he never allowed such things to bring him into debt. He kept his mind at ease by such prudence; and soothed and animated it under circumstances of continued evil, by working amongst his trees and grottos and vines, and at his labours of poetry and translation. At the period succeeding the rebellion of 1715, when that event had implicated and scattered so many of his highest and most powerful friends, here he was labouring away at his Homer with a progress which astonished every one. Removed at once from the dissipations and distractions of London, and from the agreeable interruptions of such society, he found leisure and health enough here to give him vigour for exertions astonishing for so weak a frame. The tastes he indulged here, if they were not faultless according to our notions, were healthy and they endured. To the end of his life he preserved his strong attachment to his house and grounds. In 1736, writing to Swift, he says:-“I wish you had any motive to see this kingdom. I could keep you, for I am rich; that is, I have more room than I want. I can afford room for myself and two servants. I have indeed room enough; nothing but myself at home. The kind and hearty housewife is dead! The agreeable and instructive neighbour is gone! Yet my house is enlarged, and the gardens extend and flourish, as knowing nothing of the guests they have lost. I have more fruit trees and kitchen garden than you have any thought of; nay, I have melons and pine-apples of my own growth. I am as much a better gardener, as I am a worse poet, than when you saw me; but gardening is more akin to philosophy, for Tully says, ' Agricultura proxima sapientiæ.'And towards the end of the same year he says, in a letter to Ralph Allen,—“I am now as busy planting for myself as I was lately in planting for another; and I thank God for every wet day and for every fog that gives me the head-ache, but prospers my works. They will indeed outlive me, but I am pleased to think my trees will afford fruit and shade to others, when I shall want them no more. And it is no sort of grief to me that those others will not be things of my own poor body; but it is enough that they are creatures of the same species, and made by the same hand that made me.”

In 1743, the last year of his life, he was still inspired by the same tastes, and occupied in the same pursuits. “I have lived,” says he, March 24th, 1743, “much by myself of late, partly through ill health, and partly to amuse myself with little improvements in my gardens and house, to which, possibly, I shall, if I live, be much more confined.”

Of the mode of Pope's life here we have, from the letters of himself and his friends, a pretty tolerable notion. He was near enough town to make occasional visits to it, and his friends there near enough to visit him. His friends and acquaintances were every distinguished man and woman of the time, whether literary characters or statesmen. The greater part of them may be set down as his guests here, at one period or another. He delighted to have his most intimate friends near him, and some

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